RICHMOND – The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will host a virtual public meeting to seek public comment on a significant plan change to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s alert and notification system for nuclear power plant emergencies. FEMA will conduct an exercise of the new system on June 28, 2022.
“FEMA is seeking the public’s comments on the proposed plan change to replace sirens with wireless emergency alerts via cellular phones as the primary alert and notification system. This drill will test the government’s ability to alert and notify the public with the new system in the event of an emergency at either the Surry Power Station or North Anna Power Station,” said MaryAnn Tierney, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region 3. “We will assess the plan changes that replace the sirens with wireless emergency alerts received through cellular phones within the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
FEMA will use the exercise results to make its decision on approving the significant plan change.
FEMA will hear from members of the public and present preliminary findings of the exercise during a public meeting at 5:00 p.m. on June 30, 2022. The meeting will be conducted in a virtual format via Zoom. Planned speakers include representatives from FEMA and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Access to the public meeting is provided below:
Meeting ID: 161 383 7407
At the public meeting, FEMA may request that questions or comments be submitted in writing for review and response. Written comments may also be submitted after the meeting by emailing FEMAR3NewsDesk@fema.dhs.gov or by mail to:
FEMA Region III
615 Chestnut Street, 6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
FEMA created the Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Program to (1) ensure the health and safety of citizens living around commercial nuclear power plants would be adequately protected in the event of a nuclear power plant accident and (2) inform and educate the public about radiological emergency preparedness.
REP Program responsibilities cover only “offsite” activities, that is, state and local government emergency planning and preparedness activities that take place beyond the nuclear power plant boundaries. Onsite activities continue to be the responsibility of the NRC.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) will test the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) infrastructure at the following dates, times, and locations:
North Anna Power Station – Tuesday, June 28, 2022 Test: 9:30 am
Surry Power Station – Tuesday, June 28, 2022 Test: 1:30 pm
This test will support ongoing preparations for the transition from the existing siren system to WEA for emergencies at Virginia’s two nuclear power stations. The tests will validate system design standards and help identify any administrative improvements.
The test message sent to the WEA infrastructure will only be received by specially configured phones and will read:
“This is a Wireless Emergency Alert Test. No actions are required.”
Only those phones that have been opted in specifically to receive system test messages will display the test message. Most mobile phones will not display the test message. It is important to note that in an actual emergency, everyone with alerts enabled will automatically receive wireless emergency alerts on compatible phones even if they do not receive test messages.
Members of the public may opt in to receive FEMA IPAWS/WEA test messages. Instructions on opt in procedures can be found in the following link:
IPAWS: New Procedure for Opting-In to WEA Tests on Apple Devices (govdelivery.com)
More information about FEMA IPAWS/WEA can be found at Integrated Public Alert & Warning System | FEMA.gov.
Additional information on FEMA’s REP Program is available online at FEMA.gov/Radiological-Emergency-Preparedness-Program.
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