SRS, DOE preparing for Hurricane Florence

September 12, 2018

The Savannah River Site and the U.S. Department of Energy are ready for Hurricane Florence.

Implementation of emergency plans and potential emergency responses has already begun, a senior DOE spokesperson said Tuesday.

Those activities include “standing up” the site’s emergency organization, identifying critical resources and coordinating daily with South Carolina and Georgia officials, the spokesperson added.

Emergency equipment and fuel is being rounded up and staged just in case.

“The Department of Energy takes a very measured approach when it comes to the safety of the public, our workers and the environment,” the spokesperson said.

On Monday, Hurricane Florence strengthened to a Category 4 storm. The latest track has Florence barreling toward the Carolinas but with a more northern tilt.

The last Category 4 hurricane to slam South Carolina was Hugo in 1989.

On Monday, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster ordered mandatory evacuations as well as office and school closures across a broad swath of the state.

McMaster’s executive orders had “no impact” on SRS as of Tuesday morning, according to the DOE spokesperson. All “critical” site operations will be conducted and maintained at “safe levels” during the hurricane, the spokesperson added.

DOE nuclear structures are built with natural disasters and potential catastrophes in mind.

“Federal regulations require these facilities be able to withstand extreme natural events including hurricanes and floods,” the spokesperson said.

McMaster said precision and preparation is key ahead of a hurricane.

“We’re in for a real episode here,” McMaster said Monday.

The Site has its own meteorology, atmosphere and forecast center.

On Tuesday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center warned the public that Wednesday would be the last full day to prepare.

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