The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 30, 2012

Nuclear drill will test local response

By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Next week, local government agencies will partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to test their emergency preparedness in case of an event or emergency at the Quad Cities Nuclear Power Station in Cordova, Ill.  

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, local agencies will activate emergency facilities and have their actions evaluated by FEMA and the NRC.  

“We’re preparing for worst case scenarios,” Clinton County Emergency Management Coordinator Chance Kness said. “We’re protecting the people. The work we do also prepares us from other emergencies.”

Kness said if everything goes accordingly, the public won’t notice anything unusual during the biennial exercise.  

Officials will test their ability to protect and inform residents who live in the emergency planning zone  around the facility.  The EPZ around the Cordova facility includes all areas within a 10-mile radius including Camanche, Low Moor, LeClaire, Port Byron, Cordova, Albany and parts of Clinton. These residents should be particularly aware of what to do in the case of an emergency, according to the NRC.

Exelon and the NRC also account for the possibility that radiation could spread as far as a 50-mile radius in an emergency and suggests residents and agencies should be prepared in case the impact was to spread that far.  

Residents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the emergency planning brochure delivered by Exelon. 

Along with Kness’ agency,  Clinton, Camanche, Low Moor, the highway patrol, the Red Cross, Area Education Agency, Board of Supervisors, public information officers, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton Police Department, Clinton Fire Department and KROS will be participating in the exercise. Local agencies in Scott, Whiteside and Rock Island counties will also participate.

During the last exercise, Clinton County agencies had a few issues with the public information process, but since has instituted changes and performed additional training to ensure the process runs smoothly, Kness said.   

“I think we’re better than average.  We’re well practiced in this,” Kness said. “And that’s why we do these exercises, to keep improving.”

To follow up, on Friday Dec. 7, a public meeting will be held at the Scott County Emergency Management Agency facility, 1100 E. 46th St., Davenport. The purpose of the meeting is to describe and explain the full-scale response exercise process. However, because the process of evaluating the full-scale response exercise will take months, only preliminary findings which are very limited in scope can be shared during the meeting, according to a FEMA press release.