Home Emergency Management News EDM Wednesday Briefing: 3 Plant Shutdowns Prompt NRC Investigation
EDM Wednesday Briefing: 3 Plant Shutdowns Prompt NRC Investigation

EDM Wednesday Briefing: 3 Plant Shutdowns Prompt NRC Investigation

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for September 2, 2020: The NHC is monitoring two tropical storms that have formed in the Atlantic Basin along with two tropical waves off the coast of Africa; Amazon Prime Air has received a Part 135 air carrier certificate for its operation of delivery drones; this year's Great ShakeOut! international earthquake drill is scheduled for Thursday, October 15; federal training facilities for first responders remain closed, but online class offerings are in abundant supply; the NWCG has published its updated Air Tanker Base Directory to assist pilots and crews fighting wildfires; the FBI is investigating reports by commercial airline pilots of a man flying a jetpack close to the approach paths into LAX; the NRC is conducting a week-long investigation at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Florida after three unplanned shutdowns; and a CalFire Update highlights how firefighters are increasing containment on wildfires throughout California.

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1) The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is monitoring two tropical storms that have developed, along with two systems off the coast of Africa. Tropical Storm Nana is set to become a hurricane before it makes landfall somewhere along the Central American coast, with Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and the Yucatan Peninsula within its projected path. Tropical Storm Omar is well offshore of the East Coast of the United States and is expected to continue its trek further out to sea. Only one of the two systems off the coast of Africa appears to have a strong chance of development over the next several days.

2) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued Amazon Prime Air a Part 135 air carrier certificate for its operation of delivery drones. The drones that are being tested for use by Prime Air are self-piloting, fully electric and able to carry up to five pounds. Although the company now has its approval, a start date for drone deliveries to customers has yet to be determined as the company continues testing to refine its delivery service.

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3) Earthquakes can occur anywhere at any time. However, some regions are more prone to their occurrence than others, making mitigation and preparedness key factors in saving lives and protecting property. The Great ShakeOut! earthquake drill is always held on the third Thursday of October, and this year's drill is scheduled for October 15. Participants wishing to get involved with drills in official ShakeOut regions should contact their local emergency management agency to ensure coordination.

4) Federal training facilities for first responders remain closed amid ongoing COVID-19 mandates; however, many types of online classes are available. The National Fire Academy (NFA), the Emergency Management Institute (EMI), and the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) offer several types of online courses, including self-study, mediated, and virtual instructor-led classes, many of which offer continuing education credits. Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) restarted training on June 17 at four facilities around the country under revamped training protocols, and the current course catalog details available offerings.

5) The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) has published its updated Air Tanker Base Directory that offers a wealth of information for pilots and air crews assisting in fighting wildfires. Information contained in the directory includes phone numbers for U.S. Forest Service Regional Aviation Officers, Bureau of Land Management State Aviation Managers and State Aviation Point of Contacts. Other pertinent information includes information for pilots regarding airfields used as tanker bases, such as air tanker base frequencies, airport identifiers, available retardant types, maximum runway weights, hot loading and hot refueling permissions. Additional information includes the size of aircraft allowed, such as VLATs (Very Large Air Tankers) or LATs (Large Air Tankers), and reload (retardant) approval levels.

6) Commercial airline pilots told air traffic controllers at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that they had [encountered a man flying a jetpack on their approach into the airport Sunday evening. According to pilot accounts, the man was near the final approach paths of aircraft flying into LAX and was flying at about 3,000 feet. Pilots from both American Airlines and Skywest Airlines, a company that offers commuter and connecting services for several airlines, reported the jetpack operation sighting to the LAX tower, and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contacted local authorities. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now launched an investigation into the incident.

7) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has launched an investigation into the Turkey Point nuclear power plant operated by Florida Power and Light (FPL). The nuclear plant, located about 30 miles south of Miami near Homestead, Florida, had three trips or unplanned shutdowns between August 17 and August 20. The inspection was prompted by three separate incidents occurring on three separate days at the plant, including rising steam generator water levels, higher than expected neutron activity in the reactor core and the loss of a single operating steam generator feed water pump. NRC inspectors are expected to be on-site for about one week to conduct the inspection, and a report will be issued in about 45 days with the team's findings.

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8) Firefighters in California are continuing to increase containment on most wildfires, despite rising temperatures across the state. As a result, many of the evacuation orders have been downgraded or lifted. However, about 27,000 people still remain evacuated. Utility workers are removing fallen trees and other potential hazards, as firefighters work to put out hotspots in residential areas. An excessive heat watch is forecast for California, Arizona, and Nevada, beginning Thursday and continuing through the Labor Day weekend, which could impact wildfires and firefighting operations in those regions.

 

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.