How TVA works to make sure people near Watts Bar nuclear plant stay safe

Local News

There are two nuclear plants in East Tennessee – Sequoyah and Watts Bar. The Tennessee Valley Authority has a state of the art training facility next to Watts Bar so they can ruck mock emergencies.

It’s all part of their efforts to keep the community safe.

“Training is where we hone our skills, especially for the health and safety of the public,” said Tom Detchemendy, Watts Bar emergency preparedness manager.

That important training falls on his shoulders. 

“We train here in our simulator at Watts Bar at least every six weeks,” he said.

Along with all the bells and whistles going off inside the facility, there’s also concern outside the plant. TVA officials have an initial 10-mile radius concern, full of homes and families.      

“There are several ways in which we inform the public of situations that occur here at Watts Bar. We have local sirens in the 10-mile emergency planning zone and we have continuous communications with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well as the state of Tennessee,” said Detchemendy.

Detchemendy says many of those people who do live in that 10 mile radius around the nuclear plant work at Watts Bar. 

“If I had to tell the public anything about Watts Bar, I would tell them that they can sleep well at night knowing our operators are successfully operating and making electricity in a safe and efficient manner,” he said.

TVA also mails out calendars to everyone living in that 10-mile emergency radius. Inside is some interesting information, including how nuclear power is created at Watts Bar and the evacuation plan. 

Another thing to keep in mind if you’re visiting the plant or the surrounding area is they test their emergency sirens the first Wednesday of every month.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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