published Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Sequoyah Nuclear Plant safety calendars distributed

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    Staff photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press -- Aug 20, 2010 Pictured are the cooling towers at the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant on Friday afternoon.

TVA is sending out its 2012 Sequoyah calendar -- a yearly packet of pretty pictures and important emergency information about how to protect yourself in the event of a nuclear accident at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant in Soddy-Daisy.

And the utility is planning to spend about $7 million to replace all the sirens at all three of its nuclear plants in the coming year.

"They will have backup battery power and in some, we'll have remote radiation monitors," said Russell Thompson, the Tennessee Valley Authority's emergency preparedness manager for Sequoyah.

He said TVA will begin the work at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Athens, Ala., where April tornadoes destroyed many of the existing sirens.

In all, the utility will replace 307 sirens: 108 at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, 99 at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant and 100 around Browns Ferry.

The calendar packet also contains a letter from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and brochures on radiation and emergency preparedness. And the calendar includes a map of Sequoyah's 10-mile emergency planning zone, marking evacuation routes. Anyone living within 10 miles of the plant will receive a calendar.

Thompson and Jeremy Heidt, spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, want people to read the calendar's safety information, hang the calendar in conspicuous place and get a battery or crank radio.

"In the unlikely event of an accident or incident at either of the plants," TVA will notify TEMA, and depending on how severe the situation is, TEMA will notify local government and state agencies and directly warn citizens through sirens, broadcasters and social media.

"But be prepared to be self-sufficient," Height said. "And talk to your neighbors."

He said one of the things emergency planners have learned from the nation's recent spate of emergency weather and from Fukushima's nuclear accident in Japan is that neighborhoods, too, can have a plan and neighbors can help one another.

The calendar and its emergency information also can be accessed on the Internet at TVA's website. In coming weeks, Watts Bar and Browns Ferry calendars also will be distributed and posted online.

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about Pam Sohn...

Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...

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