Multiple venues hold nuclear emergency exercise - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Multiple venues hold nuclear emergency exercise

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) The largest nuclear emergency drill our area has ever seen is taking place across the state and  a major portion of that drill happened in Florence.

The nuclear fallout training is all about making sure that all local, state and federal agencies are prepared should there ever be a nuclear event at the Robinson Nuclear Plant in Hartsville.

“We are simulating an accident at the Robinson Nuclear Plant. Our focus is on the action that all of the agencies and public safety agencies should take to keep the public safe,” Derrec Becker, South Carolina Emergency Management Division Public Information Coordinator said.

To protect you in the event of this type of emergency, crews are evaluating evacuation plans, long term effects of radiation fallout and also recovery plans.

This is the first time a drill of this magnitude has happened in our area.

“This one is a little unique in that we have so many federal agencies playing and that’s something that never had,” Becker said.

The Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Nuclear Security Administration are just a few of those organizations in Florence for the Southern Exposure 15.

“We have players playing citizens and calling in and asking about what’s happening at Robinson Nuclear and what the state is doing. We try to be as realistic as possible,” Becker said.

Duke Energy officials said radiation is a bi-product of the nuclear power produced at the Robinson Plant.

Crews just want to be prepared should there ever be an accident or a massive leak.

If there were ever a radiation problem at the Hartsville facility, special planes would be up in the air canvasing the area and taking readings to determine just how much radiation was released into the air.

“So you will see them flying low over your communities for the next couple of days as part of the exercise. They are taking background radiation measurements as well as simulated measurements through the exercise,” Shelley Laver, who works for the National nuclear administration said.

The NNSA also has ground teams taking samples for this drill.

In a real event, those samples would be given to local authorities who could advise you of any precautions you would need to take.

Experts said it is highly unlikely something like this drill would actually happen.

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