SC officials conduct test drill at nuclear power plant

Published: Jul. 22, 2015 at 8:54 PM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2016 at 1:21 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, SC (WIS) - South Carolina Emergency Management is training for the unthinkable: a nuclear radiation leak in the Palmetto State.

It's part of Southern Exposure 15, a three day drill putting everyone from the military to local power companies to the test.

The state Emergency Management division is working on their end in Columbia, and in Florence- you've got military presence, Army Navy and Air Force, government and civilian groups all working on a simulated nuclear leak drill.

While they say it's highly unlikely it will ever happen, they're prepared.

"The scenario for this drill required multiple backup pieces of equipment to fail," said Charles Ellison with Duke Energy. "It required our operators not to act according to procedures, and other factors that really wouldn't manifest themselves."

Each person in the drill has a specific role to play- whether it's assessing the damage at the plant, to containing the radiation leak, to getting the countless numbers of people in South Carolina's Pee Dee to safety.

"Today we've got more than 500 participants outside of Duke Energy taking part in this drill," Ellison said.

A nuclear disaster is a unique scenario, especially with the threat of radiation and permanent damage.

But at the same time, emergency management experts say many of the same things you need to know during a hurricane are in play in this situation.

"You need to make sure you have 72 hours' worth of food and water, if you have to go to a shelter or facility, you've got the things that you need, like your bank account information," said SCEMD Director Kim Stenson.

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