What is ALERT?
ALERT is an event in progress or that has occurred which involves actual or potential substantial degradation of the level of safety of the plant. Any releases are expected to be contained within the nuclear power plant boundary and limited to a small fraction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Protective Action Guideline exposure levels.
Purpose of Alert
The purpose of the Alert classification is to assure that emergency personnel are readily available to respond if the situation becomes more serious or to perform confirmatory radiation monitoring if required and to provide off-site authorities with current plant status information.
While Alerts are the result of events that should be monitored closely, they do not present a threat to the public. Some examples1 of initiating conditions for an Alert ECL are:
- Severe loss of fuel cladding.
- Steam line break.
- Loss of off-site power and loss of all on-site AC power.
- Loss of capability to achieve plant cold shutdown.
- Fire potentially affecting safety systems.
- Most or all alarms (enunciators) lost.
- Ongoing security compromise.
- Any tornado striking facility.
- The above examples have been edited for a non-technical audience.
Nuclear Power Plant Actions at an ALERT:
- Promptly inform State and/or local authorities of ALERT status and reason for ALERT as soon as discovered.
- Augment resources and activate on-site Technical Support Center (TSC) and on-site Operational Support Center OSC). Bring Emergency Operations Facility (EOF) and key emergency personnel to standby status.
- Assess and respond.
- Dispatch on-site monitoring teams and associated communications.
- Provide periodic plant status updates to off-site authorities.
- Provide periodic meteorological assessments to off-site authorities and, if any releases are occurring, dose estimates for actual release.
- Escalate to a more severe class, if appropriate. OR
- Close out or recommend reduction in emergency class by verbal summary to off-site authorities followed by written summary within 8 hours of close out or class reduction.
Broad View of State and/or Local Off-site Authority Actions at an ALERT:
- Provide fire or security assistance if requested.
- Augment resources and bring primary response centers to standby status.
- If necessary, Governor proclaims Disaster Emergency condition. Governor's Authorized Representative (GAR) may dispatch key emergency response personnel including radiological monitoring teams with associated equipment and communications to establish a State Field Command Post at the Plant EOF. State agencies and local government will be alerted to assume standby status.
- Prepare to provide confirmatory off-site radiation monitoring and ingestion pathway dose projections if actual releases substantially exceed technical specification limits.
- Escalate to a more severe class, if appropriate. OR
- Maintain ALERT status until verbal close out or reduction of emergency class.
Detailed View of State Actions at an ALERT:
- The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) Communications Center in Lincoln and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will be concurrently notified by the Nuclear Power Plant affected. (After normal working hours, the NSP Communications Center will notify the NEMA Duty Officer.)
- The NEMA Operations Officer will in turn will notify the Nebraska Health and Human Services Regulation and Licensure (HHS R&L) Point of Contact and the Governor's Authorized Representative (GAR).
- The HHS R&L Point of Contact telephones the affected Nuclear Power Plant and obtains the most current information.
- The HHS R&L Point of Contact then telephones the GAR with an assessment of the plant's condition.
- Based on the most current information, the GAR considers modified increased readiness measures for the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), i.e.:
- Activation of the SEOC (by the NEMA Duty Officer after hours) to continue monitoring.
- Activation of the SEOC and recall additional personnel to man it after hours only.
- Activation of the SEOC and escalate to a more severe class
- Based on circumstances and if necessary:
- The GAR requests the Governor proclaim a Disaster Emergency Condition
- The GAR may dispatch key emergency response personnel2, including radiological monitoring teams with associated equipment and communications to establish a State Field Command Post at the Plant EOF, and
- The SEOC becomes operational
- The GAR and his staff depart to the Plant EOF (GAR maintains contact with SEOC en route
- Designated NEMA staff depart for the Joint Information (Media) Center Designated NEMA staff depart to Risk Counties (those counties within 10 miles of the affected power plant) and for Host Counties (those counties which have been designated to receive evacuees) should an evacuation protective action guide be implemented.
- HHS R&L Dose Assessment and Field Monitoring Teams depart for affected Nuclear Power Plant.
- Verify that Special Needs Populations (Shut-ins, handicapped, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and jails) are alerted by the local governments emergency operations centers.
- HHS R&L upon arrival begins to provide confirmatory off-site radiation monitoring and ingestion pathway dose projections if actual release substantially exceeds technical specification limits.
- Escalate to a more severe ECL. OR
- Maintain Alert status until verbal close out or reduction of emergency class.
2 Due to the distances from the State Emergency Operations Center to both nuclear power plants, the people listed above who "may" be dispatched, normally do depart for their designated emergency response posts at the Alert ECL.