Watts Bar Nuclear keeps Emergency Plan at the ready

Jeremy Thompson an operator at WBN, gives Rhea County Emergency managers Jackie Reavley, and Heather Roberts a tour of the control room simulator. (ElmerHarris/RheaReview)

Rhea County takes great pride in being home to TVA’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant (WBNP).  In October 2016, the plant became the nation’s first new nuclear power of the 21st century.

Watts Bar was also the first nuclear facility in the United States to comply with all post-Fukushima requirements by way of their new FLEX building which stores generators and other necessary equipment to be used in the event of flooding or other disasters.

WBNP’s Emergency Preparedness Manager, Tom Detchemendy, hosted local media to showcase the plant’s new 2018 calendars and for a tour of their control room simulator.

All residents in a 10-mile area of the plant should have already received a calendar by mail.  It’s chocked full of useful information including siren testing dates and times.

It even explains how the plant works, but most importantly, it provides critical information for residents in the event of an emergency.

As shown in the image, zones are marked, and you’ll need to know your zone in the event of an emergency.

Detchemendy encourages residents to be prepared.  Have a plan.

His team partners with state and local agencies to be at the ready in the event of any emergency.

Watts Bar will conduct an emergency drill next Wednesday (December 13) to be graded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), an agency that oversees and regulates nuclear activity in the country.

The drill brings state, local, and TVA’s emergency teams together for a mock emergency event.  The Rhea County Sheriff’s Department, Tennessee Hwy Department, Rhea County Fire and Rescue, and the Red Cross each play significant roles.

Rhea County’s Fire Chief and Emergency Manager, Jackie Reavley says, “I feel very comfortable that in the event something happened, we’d be able to take care of the public.”

“That’s our main concern. Taking care of the public.”

While emergency agencies perform these drills quarterly, they are only graded by the NRC every other year.

You can learn more about preparedness at Watts Bar here: https://www.tva.com/Energy/Our-Power-System/Nuclear/Emergency-Preparedness/Watts-Bar-Emergency-Preparedness

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