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First hostile-action emergency drill held for Three Mile Island

  • KELLY BOERNER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Pictured during the shelter simulation at the Blue Mountain High School in Schuylkill Haven are PEMA member Pam Weeks and Schuylkill EMA coordinator John Matz.
    KELLY BOERNER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Pictured during the shelter simulation at the Blue Mountain High School in Schuylkill Haven are PEMA member Pam Weeks and Schuylkill EMA coordinator John Matz.
Published April 18. 2013 05:03PM

Three Mile Island Nuclear Generation Station (TMI) held it's first "hostile-action" emergency drill at it's site and surrounding areas Tuesday.

Three Mile Island was the first to include such a shelter preparedness scenario as part of their annual and bi-annual emergency preparedness and evacuation drills monitored by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

As part of the drill, local and state organizations took part in a shelter scenario at the Blue Mountain High School in Schuylkill Haven. The TMI drill is held every 1 to 2 years in preparedness of an actual emergency.

"Volunteers put a lot of work and training into these drills," said S.A.R.A. (Schuylkill Amateur Repeater Association) member Kelly Boerner of Tamaqua, who served as an amateur radio operator during the drill.

New federal requirements state that operators of U.S. nuclear power plants must be prepared to handle a radiation-leak emergency caused by an armed attack by terrorists, airplane strike or other scenarios stem from Sept. 11, 2001.

The (TMI) is a civilian nuclear power plant (NPP) located on Three Mile Island in the Susquehanna River, south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It has two separate units, known as TMI-1 and TMI-2. The plant is also known for having been the site of the most significant accident in United States commercial nuclear energy, on March 28, 1979, when TMI-2 suffered a partial meltdown. The accident, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, resulted in no deaths or injuries to plant workers or members of nearby communities. Since then, reactor core of TMI-2 has been removed from the site; although the site has not been decommissioned.

During the drill, volunteers (portraying victims or radiation poisoning) would be tested and cleaned by volunteers and placed in a temporary shelter.

The Marian Catholic High School in Hometown also serves as an evacuee shelter.

In addition, S.A.R.A. also had an open radio net just as they would in the event of an actual emergency; which was manned by Jim Munley at the Schuylkill County Communications Center.

Also involved in the drill were representatives from Three Mile Island, Federal Evaluator, Frackville State Prison officials, Schuylkill/Berks Chapter of the American Red Cross, Schuylkill and Pennsylvania EMA and others.

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