Examining the county’s plan for nuclear fallout



In the event that a major incident should occur at Plant Vogtle, the 10-mile radius from the plant site known as the Plume Exposure Pathway Emergency Planning Zone, is divided into 11 zones. Zone A includes the 2-mile radius around the plant. Zones B-5 through F-5 include the approximate twoto five mile radius and Zones B-10 through F-10 include the approximate five-to-ten mile radius.

In the event that a major incident should occur at Plant Vogtle, the 10-mile radius from the plant site known as the Plume Exposure Pathway Emergency Planning Zone, is divided into 11 zones. Zone A includes the 2-mile radius around the plant. Zones B-5 through F-5 include the approximate twoto five mile radius and Zones B-10 through F-10 include the approximate five-to-ten mile radius.

What can citizens of Burke County expect in the case of a nuclear emergency?

The Burke County Emergency Management Agency Radiological Emergency Plan spells out what happens in the event of a nuclear incident at Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant.

The plan is key to the functions that must be performed and identifies the departments and agencies that have primary and support functions. It also outlines the concept of operations, direction and control necessary to support emergency response operations.

“The possibility of a nuclear incident occurring that would release radioactive material outside of the plant site and present a health hazard is extremely remote and highly unlikely; however, the possibility exists,” according to the plan.

The plan is designed to provide an effective response which will ensure the safety of the Burke County population within the 10-mile radius adjacent of Plant Vogtle. It has been developed upon the premise that after official notification that a nuclear incident has occurred at the plant, all or portions of the area have to be evaluated as quickly as possible, and/or other protective actions initiated, such as shelter-in-place or “go inside and stay inside.”

In accordance with Plant Vogtle’s call list, the Burke County EMA, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS) and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will be notified of any incident involving nuclear materials. However, responsibility for overall radiological emergency response planning, training and operations in Burke County rests with the Chairman of the Burke County Board of Commissioners who would have the authority to initiate action and conduct any emergency operations necessary to protect the county’s population.

When the incident is of such magnitude that local resources are not adequate to deal with the emergency created by the nuclear incident, the governor may declare a state of emergency or disaster and direct execution of an executive order. The decision to evacuate an area would originate from the BOC Chairman. Burke County EMA will maintain coordination from Plant Vogtle, and upon official receipt of a notification that a nuclear incident has occurred at the plant, the EMA Director will notify local governmental officials and initiate action. The Alert Notification System (ANS) will be activated by the EMA Director, acting upon direction from local elected officials.

The plan lists Burke Medical Center as the primary medical facility for off-site injured victims. Should the capacity be exceeded, the secondary medical facility is Doctor’s Hospital. Radiation victims requiring more advanced care will be transported to Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The Burke County High School is the only facility designated to serve as the Reception Center and shelter area to receive, process and house evacuees. Evacuees should report there for screening for contamination, decontamination, registration and accountability, emergency information and instructions and assignment to lodging space. Pets and service animals will be surveyed for contamination outside the high school.

In the event of an incident at that plant, the designated point of contact for the news media is the Joint Information Center (JIC) located at 636 Woodland Road.

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