published Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Watts Bar Nuclear Plant disaster drill scheduled today

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    The Watts Bar Dam site in Spring City, Tenn., taken from across the dam inside the Meigs County line off state Highway 68. Photo by Kimberly McMillian

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    Watts Bar Nuclear Plant location

Don't be alarmed to see radiological monitoring teams scurrying around the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant today.

About 1,000 Tennessee Valley Authority and state emergency responders in McMinn, Meigs and Rhea counties will conduct an emergency preparedness exercise in and around the plant.

The drill is to help TVA and responders prepare for a Department of Homeland Security and Nuclear Regulatory Commission exercise in October, TVA spokeswoman Myra Ireland said. TVA will be graded on how it responds to the exercise.

"We do it for the health and safety of the public," Ireland said.

Residents may see the radiological monitoring teams or other responders in action as part of the exercise and may hear on-site and off-site sirens, she said.

Utilities operating nuclear power plants are required by the NRC to conduct emergency exercises annually as part of a long-term drill and exercise program.

Every two years, the Department of Homeland Security evaluates the readiness of state and local agencies.

After the graded exercise in October, the Department of Homeland Security will hold a public meeting to discuss the results.

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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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