Home » LDEQ participates in Nuclear Safety Training Exercise at GOSHEP

LDEQ participates in Nuclear Safety Training Exercise at GOSHEP

by Minden Press-Herald

On June 25 over 33 LDEQ employees participated in the biennial River Bend Power station exercises hosted by The Governors’ Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOSHEP). The employees were asked to role-play as if a nuclear catastrophe were ongoing.  The exercises follow FEMA protocols that have been put in place to assure that nuclear plant facilities are ready in case of any threats, whether by radiological or cyber means.

“We appreciate any chance to train with our local, state and Federal partners for events that potentially could impact Louisiana,” GOHSEP Director Jacques Thibodeaux said. “We often say the most important time to build relationships in emergency management is before you face an actual event.  The exercises involving our state’s nuclear facilities are a great way to make sure all of our partners understand the steps and coordination needed to get through an emergency. The exercise evaluation from FEMA allows us to strengthen any potential flaws and to reinforce our most efficient methods.” The drills included employees playing the roles of public information officer, field samplers, liaison officer, dose assessor and secretary designee. 

The exercises include participants at the plant, GOHSEP, all surrounding parishes within the 10-mile export processing zones, local media stations and LDEQ Headquarters.

“We are the first responders when it comes to air quality and want our employees to have the necessary training to handle all disasters quickly and effectively. The safety of our community is the highest priority at LDEQ,” said LDEQ Secretary Aurelia Giacometto. 

“FEMA, in coordination with State and local governments, conducts Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program (REPP) exercises on a biannual basis,” said FEMA Region 6 National Preparedness Division Director Tony Robinson. “The purpose of these exercises is to ensure state and local agencies are prepared to protect public health and safety in the event of an incident at a nuclear power plant.”

There are three nuclear plants within LDEQ’s event planning area:  River Bend Station in St. Francisville, Waterford-3 Steam Electric Station in Taft and The Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Port Gibson. The River Bend Power Station exercises prepare the participating agencies for possible events at all three facilities.

The graded exercises include making recommendations for additional actions to protect public safety.

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