FEMA to Evaluate Readiness of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Release Date Release Number
Release Date:
July 11, 2023

PHILADELPHIA - The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will evaluate a Biennial Radiological Emergency Preparedness Exercise at the Surry Power Station during the week of July 17, 2023.  The exercise will assess the ability of the Commonwealth of Virginia to respond to an emergency at the nuclear facility. 

“These drills are held every other year to evaluate government’s ability to protect public health and safety,” said MaryAnn Tierney, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region 3. “We will assess state and local government emergency response capabilities within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone surrounding the Surry Power Station.  

The Commonwealth of Virginia and communities located within approximately 10 miles of a nuclear power station have prepared emergency response plans. These plans provide guidelines to the state and local government organizations which ensure effective direction and control in a nuclear emergency. The plans include procedures for warning the public and for taking protective actions, such as sheltering or evacuation, in the event of a nuclear emergency. Protective action plans within this area are designed to avoid or reduce dose from potential exposures such as inhaling radioactive particles.

Within 90 days, FEMA will send its evaluation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for use in licensing decisions. The final report will be available to the public approximately 120 days after the exercise. 

FEMA will present preliminary findings of the exercise during a public meeting at 4:00 p.m. on July 20, 2023. The meeting will be conducted in-person at the Marriott Newport News City Center.  Planned speakers include representatives from FEMA and the NRC. The location of the public meeting is provided below:

Marriot Newport News City Center

740 Town Center Drive

Newport News, VA 23606

(757) 873-9299

At the public meeting, FEMA may request that questions or comments be submitted in writing for review and response. Written comments may also be submitted after the meeting by emailing FEMAR3NewsDesk@fema.dhs.gov or by mail to:

MaryAnn Tierney

Regional Administrator

FEMA Region 3

615 Chestnut Street, 6th Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19106

FEMA created the Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) program in 1980 to (1) ensure the health and safety of citizens living around commercial nuclear power plants would be adequately protected in the event of a nuclear power plant accident and (2) inform and educate the public about radiological emergency preparedness.

REP Program responsibilities cover only offsite activities, such as state and local government emergency planning and preparedness activities that take place beyond the nuclear power plant boundaries, such as public information and warning. Onsite activities, such as fire protection, engineering, and environmental monitoring inspections, continue to be the responsibility of the NRC.

Additional information on FEMA’s REP Program is available online at FEMA.gov/Radiological-Emergency-Preparedness-Program

Additional information on nuclear safety from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management can be found online at vaemergency.gov/threats/nuclear-safety.


FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region 3’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

 Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3 and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/company/femaregion3

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