The purpose of this plan is to provide an effective means for State and local government response to any release of radiation which could create an off-site hazard. It provides reasonable assurance that government efforts will be directed towards mitigating the consequences of emergencies and that appropriate measures will be taken to protect health and safety as well as to prevent property damage. The plan assigns responsibilities and provides for coordinated emergency operations by State and local agencies to include coordination with other states. The plan provides radiological response augmentation to the disaster response plans of Nebraska for fixed nuclear facilities.
If an emergency occurs an either the Cooper Nuclear Station or the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station, direct lines (back-up communication systems are also in place) to the Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, and the local County Sheriff's Office would be activated to inform off-site authorities of the nature of the incident.
There are four levels of emergencies (called "emergency classification levels or "ECLs") covered by the emergency plans at nuclear power plants, local and state government agencies. Each level requires specific actions to be taken by the plant operator and off-site officials. These levels, in order of increasing severity, are:
- Radiological Emergency Preparedness - home
- Notice of Unusual Event (NOUE)
- Site Area Emergency (SAE)
- General Emergency (GE)
It should be noted here that when a nuclear power plant declares an emergency, the emergency does not necessarily begin at a NOUE and escalate to a GE. The emergency could begin with any of the four classification levels (ECL) listed above.