Nuclear Power Plants
Nuclear Power Plants in the United States are regulated and inspected by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to ensure that the safety of the public is maintained. Further, the nuclear power plant operators demonstrate their commitment to creating a safety conscious workplace, implement robust security measures, and institute strict quality assurance standards to prevent radiological emergencies. Through these pervasive inspections, security measures, and strict safety programs, an emergency resulting in the release of harmful amounts of radiation is unlikely to occur. However, we understand the impacts that could occur if such a release were to occur and strong emergency plans are necessary and training is vitally important to us in case an unforeseen incident did occur. For each plant, FEMA has the responsibility of ensuring, through a full-scale exercise, that off-site emergency responders can effectively implement their emergency plans and protect the public if an emergency were to occur. The regulations that must be met are part of FEMA's Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Program and are explained in FEMA's REP manual.
It is also important for the public to understand this potential hazard and what to do if an emergency were to ever occur. Residents and visitors that have a basic understanding of the hazard and what to do if there were an emergency will be in a better position to protect themselves, their families, and not put themselves into increased danger by responding inappropriately.
There are two Nuclear Power Plants that could have a potential emergency impact to Berrien County. The first, with two operating reactors, is Donald C. Cook. The second, with one reactor, is Palisades. Both of these organizations produce and mail residents and businesses emergency preparedness public information brochures (Calendars) each year outlining the instructions that would be given if an emergency were to occur. We highly recommend that Berrien County residents and visitors read these publications when they get them and make sure they are handy to reference if needed later. The key to this recommendation is that you understand what to do BEFORE an emergency and make a family plan in case evacuations or other protective actions are necessary.