In the Unlikely Event of an Emergency…
The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant has a comprehensive emergency preparedness program. Protecting the health and safety of the public and employees is our highest priority. It is extremely unlikely that an emergency that could affect the public would occur at the plant. But should an emergency occur, we are prepared to respond rapidly and effectively.
The plant has an emergency plan and written procedures that would direct our actions during an emergency. We work closely with county, state and federal emergency organizations to ensure a seamless blanket of protection for the community. We test our readiness frequently through drills and exercises, many held in conjunction with our community organizations.
There are two emergency levels possible at the Paducah plant:
Alert: An Alert is declared if the emergency hazard is limited to the plant property and will not affect the general public. Local government officials are advised so that their resources are ready to help out if needed.
Site Area Emergency: A Site Area Emergency is the more serious of the two emergency situations and is declared if the emergency hazard could affect the general public within two miles of the plant. It means that a significant release of hazardous chemicals has already occurred or may potentially occur. All people within two miles of the Paducah plant are immediately alerted and told what protective actions to take. Local government officials are notified immediately so that their resources can quickly focus on protecting the general public nearby. Experts from the plant, and from federal, state and local agencies will coordinate emergency actions.
In the event of a serious emergency, the Paducah plant would activate its Joint Public Information Center (JPIC) to ensure that the news media have access to accurate and timely information. At the JPIC, plant personnel would be joined by representatives of the Department of Energy and local emergency response agencies, who would all work together to provide coordinated public information throughout the course of the event.
The plant uses warning sirens to alert the public in case of a hazardous materials release that could pose a danger offsite. The warning signal is a steady siren blast three minutes long. This is followed by official instructions or information on local radio. Residents hearing the warning siren should take shelter indoors. They should keep all doors and windows closed and turn off all sources of outside air, like air conditioning, furnaces, attic fans and ventilation.
They should tune to an Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio or TV station, which provides guidance, information and instructions to the public should there be a potential danger to their health and safety. EAS stations are WKYQ/WKYX radio and WPSD TV.
The plant tests the sirens the first Saturday of each month. Before and after the sirens are sounded, a message is broadcast on the sirens’ public address system stating, "This is a test."
Emergency Information Calendar
A two-year calendar containing emergency information is distributed to all residents living within two miles of the plant. Neighbors of the plant should read and become familiar with this information and keep the calendar in a handy place.