SANATOGA PA – Although still 10 months away, according to Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Michael Foltz, it may take that long for all involved to adequately plan, gear up for, and successfully execute a mandatory emergency preparedness drill at Exelon Nuclear’s Limerick Generating Station.
The elaborate exercise is a mock disaster that engages company employees and first responders from across several counties. It’s now set for Nov. 17 (2015; Tuesday), Foltz reported to the Board of Commissioners during its Monday night (Feb. 2) meeting. He promised his department and township emergency management operations will be ready to participate.
The hours-long disaster scenario at the twin-reactor complex that straddles the Lower Pottsgrove-Limerick township line is crafted and monitored in part by representatives of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It measures actions and reactions of law enforcement, fire, ambulance, medical, plant and other personnel, and ends with a report on what worked well or didn’t.
There’s always something that can be improved, officials have acknowledged in the past, but those involved in previous exercises have generally received good grades for the speed and effectiveness of their response.
On-site security has been tested in earlier drills as well, and that too is anticipated to continue. Exelon also periodically conducts its own security drills.
Even some community volunteers play a role. Because communications abilities across several counties surrounding the generating station might be affected in a disaster, groups of amateur radio operators are enlisted to set up messaging origin and repeater stations to ensure vital information promptly gets to the right recipients.