Preparing for the worst with nuclear disaster drill

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A drill in New Haven helped a dozen different agencies plan for trouble in a whole other part of the state. If we ever have a radiation leak at the Millstone nuclear power plant, thousands of people would need to be evacuated from the area around Waterford.

Some of them would walk into the gym of Southern Connecticut State University, just as people did for this drill.

“We will be monitoring for radiological activity on any of these folks coming in,” explains New Haven Fire Department Operations Chief Matthew Marcarelli. “On their vehicles, their persons, or even their pets.”

The SCSU campus is a long way from Millstone, and that’s the idea. If there were a radiation leak, people who live around there would have to get away from it. Folks from East Lyme, Old Lyme and Lyme would come here to New Haven. If you live in those towns, you should already know that, according to emergency officials.

“They know exactly what to do, they know where to go,” according to New Haven Deputy Director of Emergency Operations Rick Fontana. “They know the numbers to call, they know how they’re going to get their information, so again the whole community is involved in this.”

Depending on the kind of emergency Millstone might have, those communities could be changed for a long time, so the final phase of the drill is helping find evacuees a place to live. They do drills like this every few years, and watching over each one is the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“The FEMA role here is to evaluate the performance and recommend improvements and to give them credit for good performance,” said FEMA Branch Chief Steve Colman.

FEMA will grade this morning’s effort. They also made a video of it to show the other towns that host Millstone evacuees. Evacuees from different places around Millstone go to different emergency centers.

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