Kewaunee County Demonstrates Ability to Handle Nuclear Incident

Luxemburg – Kewaunee County passed its portion of the biennial Plume Pathway Emergency Response Exercise by meeting evaluated criteria of how to handle a potential incident at the Point Beach Nuclear Plant (PBNP) in Two Rivers.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evaluated Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County and the state of Wisconsin during a full-scale exercise to test emergency-response plans and gave each county a passing mark Sept. 17. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) evaluated PBNP and passed it as well.

During the exercise, agents were stationed at Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) in Luxemburg, Manitowoc and Madison, as well as at the Joint Information Center in Green Bay, to grade participants. FEMA and NRC officials monitored coordination and evaluated everyone on the execution of their tasks. 

These included the ability to handle an evolving situation through internal communication and external communication to the public through the media, how well each group protected the health and safety of those who would potentially be at risk within a 10-mile radius of PBNP, evacuation protocols, traffic impediments that could affect evacuation routes, and response to rumor control.

According to FEMA’s preliminary results for Kewaunee County, the county performed well during the drill, and no planning issues were detected. FEMA also recognized the strong leadership by Tracy Nollenberg, Kewaunee County emergency management director, at the Kewaunee County EOC, as well as the extraordinary level of preparation.

“The biennial Plume Pathway Emergency Response Exercise is no small task to organize,” Nollenberg said. “Kewaunee County itself has dozens of participating players, and it’s the actions of each and every one of them that helps us receive our passing marks. It’s important to be continuously practicing emergency response as a large group, [and] every time we get together, we find new ways to improve and adapt to different scenarios.”

For Kewaunee County, this exercise included a FEMA evaluation conducted last month regarding procedures at the county’s reception center, which would be located at Luxemburg-Casco Intermediate School in the event of an emergency. The reception center is where local residents would go to be monitored for radiological contamination and obtain assistance if they were evacuated. Kewaunee County also passed this portion of the exercise.

The finalized FEMA report is expected to be available in 90 days.