Nuclear power plant employees, along with state and local officials, test their readiness for disaster every other year, but anyone who lives within 10 miles of the Louisa County plant should be prepared to take care of themselves.
According to the North Anna Power Station’s Safety and Emergency Preparedness Guide, there are procedures area residents should follow in the event that a plant emergency spreads into the community.
“When sirens sound, find a local radio or TV station that is broadcasting emergency information,” the guide states. “Emergency officials will provide critical instructions in an emergency, such as evacuation orders or how to safely stay where you are.”
The guide is written by federal and state emergency management officials. Depending on the emergency, residents may be asked to shelter in place or go to an evacuation assembly center. Food and water will be available, but the guide recommends that residents take with them a pre-prepared disaster supply kit with medicines, food, water and other supplies and expect to be away from home for at least three days.
“It is important that you report to your [center] if ordered to do so,” the guide states. “At the [center], officials will monitor you for contamination and perform decontamination procedures, if necessary.”
Residents should make advance arrangements for pets because only guide dogs and bona fide service dogs will be allowed in the centers. They also should make plans to shelter farm animals with stored feed and water for at least three days. The animals should be placed inside with closed doors and windows.
“Please inform [evacuation center] personnel if you have left livestock sheltered at your residence,” the guide states. “Federal, state and local officials will check farm animals and crops for contamination. Decontamination of animals may be necessary for your safety and that of your animals.”
On the way to the center, the guide recommends drivers “close all windows and air vents in your vehicle; shut off your vehicle air conditioner or heater; and follow the directions of law enforcement and traffic control personnel stationed along the evacuation route to direct you to the nearest [center].”
Those ordered to remain at home should “stay indoors and close all windows, doors, vents and fireplace dampers; turn off all devices that draw in outside air, such as air conditioners, heat pumps and fans; and make sure you have a three-day supply of water and food that will not spoil.”
The emergency guide can be found at Dominion Energy’s website, dominionenergy.com. Follow the North Anna Power Plant links.
A list of supplies to include in a personal disaster kit can be found at www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.