Training For An Emergency At QC Nuclear Power Plant - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Training For An Emergency At QC Nuclear Power Plant

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Smoke, an evacuation, and dozens of firefighters at the Quad Cities nuclear power plant.

It was not a drill Wednesday afternoon, after the plant reported a possible fire in part of reactor two.

There was no fire, but emergency crews in and outside of the plant reacted quickly.

Crews were putting reactor 2 back online as it has been down for maintenance the last few days.

Emergency crews train together for events just like these.

Part of running a nuclear power plant includes planning and training for a variety of emergencies.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the plants to conduct full scale exercises every two years.

Local emergency responders take part in those exercises to help ensure incidents like Wednesday's remain as normal as possible.

"We followed all our emergency procedures, we shut the reactor back down, put it in a safe condition and now, we're just assessing what happened," says power plant spokesman Bill Stoermer.

He says part of those emergency procedures include something we would do in an emergency. Dialing 911.

"We immediately call for first responders to ensure we have enough resources to fight any kind of fire," says Stoermer.

Cordova Fire Chief Chuck Smalley says his department trains with the nuclear power plant staff on a regular basis. When an event like today's occurs, he already knows how to respond.

"If they tell me, I can pull the book out, this is where you're going and they get there," says Smalley.

When today's call first went out the dispatcher told the chief the situation was critical. The chief took no chances.

"I went ahead and called a box 13 mabas 30, and brought in extra units, extra manpower," says Smalley.

The call pulled in help from across the area.

"Port Byron, Hillsdale, Albany, and Erie."

Extra firefighters, trucks, and ambulances. They helped clear unit two, ensuring everyone was out and accounted for. That's part of their training. Now it's up to Exelon to find out what caused smoke to appear in the first place.

"We won't start the plant back up until we fully understand what the root cause is, and what happened today," says Stoermer.

In a place as tightly controlled as a nuclear power plant, training makes all the difference.

Exelon says the cause of the smoke was a water pipe that spilled water onto an electrical system.

The water caused an electrical fault, generating the smoke in unit two.

The plant has canceled its alert status.

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