Archive for Sunday, November 18, 2001

Good job,’ testers tell Wolf Creek

November 18, 2001


— Federal inspectors praised Wolf Creek nuclear power plant, along with state and local officials, for their response during a two-day accident simulation there.

The exercise Wednesday and Thursday simulated a serious accident at the Coffey County plant. More than 400 people representing Wolf Creek employees and local and state agencies practiced tracking a cloud of radioactive materials and judging effects on humans, livestock and plants.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission monitored the response of workers at Wolf Creek and the Federal Emergency Management Agency evaluated the response of Coffey County and various state emergency workers.

Evaluators from FEMA and the NRC presented preliminary findings Friday to the agencies who took part.

"We don't actually give a grade or a score, but on a scale of one to 10, 10 being very good, from what you heard today, you would probably assume they'd be around a 10. They did a very good job," said Eric Jenkins, a FEMA evaluator.

FEMA evaluators found only one issue that will need to be fixed: a news release designed to alert the public contained erroneous and confusing information. Otherwise, they found minor glitches and offered ideas to improve. Most changes were made on the spot, Jenkins said.

Although federal inspectors are stepping up procedures to guard against terrorist attacks, the Wolf Creek simulation involved only a series of mechanical failures.

Wolf Creek's last terrorist attack test was three years ago, and inspectors did not say when the next one might occur.

Federal inspectors will submit a draft report to the state within 30 days. The state can respond, and a final report will be filed within 90 days.

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