Nuclear Power Station Emergency Planning
There are two nuclear power stations in Virginia. These stations generate more than 30 percent of Virginia Power’s electric power requirements. Although it is unlikely that a serious nuclear accident could occur at one of the stations, it is wise to be prepared to respond so that the health and safety of citizens is not exposed to undue risk. The state and communities located within 10 miles of a nuclear power station have prepared emergency response plans. These plans provide response guidelines to the state and local government organizations which ensure effective direction and control in a nuclear emergency. The plans include procedures for warning the public and for taking protective actions, such as sheltering or evacuation, in the event of a nuclear emergency. The Surry Power Station planning area includes Isle of Wight, James City, Surry and York counties and the cities of Newport News and Williamsburg.
If an emergency occurs at the Surry Power Station, Virginia Power will immediately notify state and local emergency officials, who will promptly implement their emergency response plans. Federal officials will also be notified. Emergency sirens, located within the 10-mile zone around the Surry Power Station, will be the primary means of alerting the public. During routine or quarterly tests at the Surry Power Station, the alerting signal produced by the sirens is a steady tone that lasts for three minutes. The alerting signal for an actual emergency will be four separate three-minute activations, each separated by one minute of silence. Other means of notification include route alerting by law enforcement agencies using emergency services vehicles equipped with public address systems. Surry Power Station has been producing electricity in the United States for more than 30 years. During this time, no member of the public has been killed or seriously injured as a result of the commercial generation of nuclear power. Safety features in the design and operation of the Surry Power Station make the chance of an accident affecting public health and safety extremely remote. However, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires that you be notified periodically of emergency procedures that should be followed if an accident were to occur. The potential for such an event is very small, but the public should be prepared for nuclear emergencies.
If you hear sirens, you should tune in to your local (EAS) radio or television station for emergency information and instructions. The sirens are not a signal to evacuate. Your area may not be affected by an emergency, or you may be asked simply to remain indoors for a period of time. Do not jump to conclusions. You will be given specific instructions about whether to stay inside, leave the area or take protective action.
Full-scale siren tests consist of a single three-minute activation and are conducted quarterly, on the second Wednesdays of March, June, September and December.
Unscheduled Siren Soundings
In the event that you hear a siren signal that is not a quarterly test or actual emergency notification, you may contact your local Coordinator of Emergency Services/Emergency Management Official for further information. The telephone number for the responsible official in your jurisdiction is 757-564-2140 during office hours or 757-566-0112. Do not call 911. A report of an unfamiliar siren sounding will be investigated and you will be informed of the status.