September 21, 2018

Nuclear plants prepared for Hurricane Florence – and so did Framatome’s SAFER Control center

As Hurricane Florence approached and made landfall on the U.S. east coast, nuclear plants in the storm’s path prepared for impact. And so did Framatome.

In a statement on Friday, Nuclear Energy Institute emphasized that “Safety and preparedness are in the nuclear industry's DNA. Our members are working hard to keep their communities safe and powered in the wake of Hurricane Florence.”

Just as our utility customer’s enacted their NRC-approved emergency preparedness plans, Framatome activated its Strategic Alliance for FLEX Emergency Response (SAFER) Control Center and alerted the National SAFER Response Centers to standby for a potential deployment. The SAFER Control Center coordinates deployment of the emergency off-site equipment from the National SAFER Response Centers.  These response centers store and maintain mobile operational equipment that can be quickly deployed to U.S. nuclear facilities when needed – like during a hurricane – in support of the industry’s flexible and multi-layered safety strategy.

On-call SAFER personnel received alerts and a roster of counterparts at the SAFER back-up facility in Birmingham, Ala., operated by Pooled Inventory Management (PIM). Last Monday evening, SAFER response team members received a SAFER ALERT indicating that the National Hurricane Center had issued a Hurricane Bulletin on Florence. At this time, all SAFER personnel were expected to be ready to responds should a nuclear plant site request SAFER equipment. On Tuesday evening, team members received a second SAFER ALERT with the updated status of Hurricane Warning including projected landfall times and wind speed probabilities.

The SAFER team also made other preparations. On-call personnel in the Framatome Outage Control Center (OCC) were alerted and prepared for response, should they receive a customer call. The SAFER back-up facility in Birmingham, Ala., was on standby to assist. And contracted transportation providers were contacted to ensure equipment is flown or trucked as quickly as possible to the site, was aware of the potential need and ready to act at a moment’s notice.

Together, we as an industry are committed to ensuring the safety of our communities and ongoing confidence in the nuclear industry’s response plans.