BURLINGTON, Kan. - Wolf Creek Emergency Planning conducted a hostile action-based drill Wednesday, Nov. 12. In addition to Wolf Creek, representatives from the State of Kansas, Coffey County, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission participated.
Drill activities involve support facilities at the plant, in and around Burlington and Topeka. Approximately 400 people participated.
"After recent natural disasters, the federal government realized that there were some challenges in local, state and federal agencies communicating with one another," said Jenny Hageman, Communication Specialist at Wolf Creek. "It prevented them from being as effective as they could be."
In connection with the aftermath of events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the National Incident Management System was put into place. It allows those local, state and federal agencies to practice communicating together in case of an emergency.
The drill is in response to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission and industry initiative that all nuclear power plants test integrated hostile action-based emergency response capabilities. To this end, it is expected that each site will perform one hostile action-based drill by December 2009.
The drill was an opportunity for Wolf Creek and the participating agencies to demonstrate the ability to respond to a security event at Wolf Creek Generating Station, such as an attack on the facility or intruders.
"You have plant operators who are dealing with things that are going on in the plant," said Hageman. "You have federal law enforcement agencies working together on how they would respond, and then you have plant personnel who work together to communicate with the public on what's going on."
Wolf Creek, the State of Kansas and Coffey County regularly practice responding in the event of an accident at the plant as part of its emergency plan.
"In reality we have not really had any need to put into play a lot of the things we have practiced," said Hageman. "The importance of having an emergency plan and practicing, in particular, how we would respond in the event of a security emergency, is to ensure that we are prepared to protect the health and safety to the public."
Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation (WCNOC) operates Wolf Creek Generating Station near Burlington, Kan. Kansas City Power & Light Company; KGE, a Westar Company; and Kansas Electric Power Cooperative Inc., own Wolf Creek.