The Local Emergency Planning Committee met with Arkansas Nuclear One representatives Wednesday to learn more about how the power plant functions and what would happen in the event of an emergency.

Representatives Josh Toben, Lauren Reed and Toney Ringgold headed the informational seminar.

Arkansas Nuclear One is based in Russellville and is "a source of safe, clean and reliable power," Toben said.

Around 30 LEPC members and county residents attended the seminar to learn more about how ANO functions and what plans are in place should an emergency be reported at the plant.

"In the unlikely event of an emergency, ANO is prepared to take appropriate measures to promptly protect the health and safety of the public," Toben said. "ANO partners with federal, state and local government agencies to ensure the public is informed and understands any actions that are needed. Employees at ANO participate in yearly emergency preparedness drills where they demonstrate proficiency in their role to protect our plant, employees and community."

After explaining about the plant's processes, the ANO representatives described what time of warning and alerts the center issues. ANO has four subgroups of emergency situations. Emergency personnel in withing a 10-mile radius of the plant are notified, depending on the severity of the alert issued. The plant stays in direct contact with its five surrounding counties -- Logan, Johnson, Pope, Cownay and Yell. Counties that surround the plant that are within a 50-mile radius undergo seminars with the representatives so that outlining counties know when they would need to help in the need of an evacuation.

"While not directly impacted, Faulkner County would be part of the evacuation plan," Reed said, adding that the need to evacuate was "unlikely" but that it was important to be prepared.

NEO has four alert categories:


Notification of an unusual event.
An alert.
A site area emergency.
A general emergency.

The general public would only be evacuated by a general emergency reported by the plant.

A notification of an unusual event is the least serious of emergency classifications.

Reed said this typically means that something slightly unusual has happened.

Something under this category "is not a big deal" and is only a precautionary measure to issue and alert, Reed said.

An "alert" issued "means that plant safety could become a problem" but does not affect the public.

When a "site area emergency" is issued, the public could be affected.

"The emergency siren warning system could go off," representatives said. "During this time, it is important for the public to tune into their local radio station for information. State and local officials will take action to protect those living in the area."

Once a general emergency is issued, the public, within a 10-mile radius of the Russellville plant, likely would be evacuated.

"This is the most serious classification," representatives said. "State and local officials will take action to protect people in the area. It's important to stay tuned into the local radio stations for instructions."

The plant will determine which of the four categories an issue falls under within 15 minutes of learning of a possible problem, Reed said.

The ANO representatives spoke to LEPC members at the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management on Wednesday.

Toben said the seminar was meant to educate and raise awareness among LEPC members.