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Palisades nuclear plant passes emergency drill this week with no violations

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

Officials from both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shared their preliminary results Friday of an emergency drill at Palisades earlier this week. During the two-day drill officials from the plant in Covert Township had to react to a simulated release of radiation into the environment. Agencies from several counties in Michigan and Indiana took part in the drill as well.

NRC Senior Emergency Preparedness Inspector Bob Jickling evaluated how the licensee, Entergy, responds.

“We don’t grade the licensees or compare them against each other. What we do is pass or fail,” Jickling said. “In this case they adequately implemented their procedures and demonstrated they have the capability to protect the health and safety of the public.” Jickling says Palisades passed with zero violations.

This kind of drill that includes officials from Michigan and Indiana only happens once every six years. The Federal Emergency Management Agency oversaw the drill outside the plant.

Dwayne Warren leads the radiological emergency preparedness program for FEMA region 5.

“Yes it’s compressed but it gives us a good perspective on capability of the counties and the states to be able to perform what they practice and trained at,” Warren said. “We’re assured that their plan or program is fine.”

Palisades has one of the worst safety ratings in the country after a series of problems last year. But the drill was unrelated to those problems.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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