A simulated exercise of an emergency at the Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey has been deemed a success, officials said Friday.
The exercise, held Tuesday night, gauged the response of municipal, county and state agencies to a limited-scale nuclear plume, said Rebecca Thomson, Technological Hazards Branch Chief with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"You have some wonderful neighbors who do some great work," Thomson said, complimenting local volunteer emergency responders Friday at a lightly-attended meeting where the preliminary results of the drill were reported.
In all, 17 municipalities within the 10 mile emergency zone around the plant were involved in the drill, alongside county and state agencies, as well as FEMA, which monitored the exercise.
The simulation was conducted in real time – an emergency event at the plant on a Tuesday evening – and included ensuring the availability of evacuation buses, as well tests of traffic control measures, medical services and decontamination plans.
While many of the response events were simulated – no actual evacuations took place and no buses were physically dispatched to areas that needed evacuation – evacuee reception centers were set up and manned, and workers at the plant practiced as if a real emergency had occurred.
Thomson said the drill was funded by fees paid by nuclear plant owners nationwide.
The local response was judged by 182 criteria in six areas, including operations management, local decision-making, response implementation, notification, operations, facilities and field measurements.
The results of the drill showed "excellent participation" by emergency responders and "knowledgeable participants" in the overall response, Thomson said.
Lessons learned in the drill included a need to simplify forms so information could be better communicated to local municipalities by emergency managers, Thomson said.
"We found the form was confusing for some," Thomson said.