FEMA to evaluate Virginia's nuclear response capability

The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency will be conducting a Plume and Ingestion Pathway Emergency Preparedness Exercise at the Surry Power Station in Virginia on July 15 to test nuclear emergency response capability.

"The Plume Exercises are held every other year, and the Ingestion Pathway Exercise is currently held every six years to test government's ability to protect public health and safety," Regional Administrator for FEMA Region III MaryAnn Tierney said. "We will assess state and local emergency response capabilities within the 10-mile emergency-planning and the 50 mile Ingestion Planning zone of the nuclear facility."

Ninety days following the evaluation, FEMA will send the results to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for licensing decisions. The final decision will be available roughly 120 days following the evaluation.

FEMA created the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program to ensure the public safety of those living near nuclear plants and to educate the public about radiological emergency preparedness. The REP ensures citizens living near nuclear power plants are protected in the event of a nuclear power plant accident.

Accidents which occur onsite of the nuclear power plant are the responsibility of the NRC. The REP Program handles offsite accidents, such as local and state government emergency planning.