KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VII, which includes the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, was favorably impressed with the way local emergency managers managed a four-day evaluation of their ability to handle an accident at the Duane Arnold Energy Center (DAEC), located near Palo, Iowa. DAEC is Iowa's only nuclear powered generating station.
The evaluation involved Alliant Energy, the owner of the plant, and representatives from Iowa's Department of Emergency Management and the counties of Benton, Johnson and Linn. Over 600 people in 20 locations participated in the biennial exercise.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and FEMA conducted the exercise as part of the Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) program. The NRC's objective was to test the ability of DAEC to respond to a simulated emergency at the plant while FEMA evaluated the ability of off site emergency response agencies to prepare, alert and direct actions necessary to meet the health and safety needs of the community.
Beth Freeman, director of FEMA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., said everyone evaluated should be proud of how well they performed.
"Preparing to deal with a potential emergency at a nuclear power plant is serious business," Freeman said. "Area residents can rest assured that their community leaders and the operators of Duane Arnold are prepared in the event something happens."
Eric Jenkins, head of FEMA's Region VII evaluation team that included evaluators from FEMA Regions I, VII and X, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services/Public Health Service, said that not only could these agencies respond to a nuclear accident, they were better prepared to respond to any incident that could affect their communities.
"The 'can-do' attitude of the communities and the support of the local elected officials led to the success of this exercise," Jenkins said. "This exemplifies what community teamwork can accomplish and has made this an example to the nation."