Shutdown may prevent ‘grading’ of drill

October 5, 2013

The shutdown of the federal government could impact an emergency drill scheduled for next week in Hood County – a drill that was ordered by the federal government.

The “graded” drills are mandated because of Hood County’s proximity to the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.

The practices involve a variety of federal, state and local agencies and entities. They are conducted on a regular basis so that the county will be prepared in the event of an emergency at the nuclear power plant.

On Wednesday afternoon, County Judge Darrell Cockerham received an email from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regarding the Oct. 1 shutdown of much of the federal government. The letter stated that the NRC had “initiated the efforts for reduced levels of operations.”

Of the drill at the county’s Emergency Operations Center scheduled for Wednesday of next week, Cockerham said: “It’s a graded exercise – so it’s not something we’re just doing.”

Thursday morning, Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Wilson sent an email to county officials informing them that Jim Ogden with the nuclear plant had notified him that the drill will go on as planned.

“He wanted us to know that if the shutdown is still ongoing that the folks from FEMA and NRC that grade us may or may not be present,” Wilson wrote in his email. “If there is still a government shutdown, they in all likelihood (will) be unable to fund their contractors that do the grading.”

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