Operators of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant have been granted a yearâ€™s delay in their required emergency drill in South Jersey because their state emergency counterparts are still occupied with the aftermath of a summer hurricane and an early fall snowstorm.
Michael Pacilio, president of Exelon Nuclear, which operates the plant, was notified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the exercise originally scheduled for Sept. 27, 2011 could be postponed until the end of June, 2012. By then, state and Ocean County emergency offices should be finished cleaning up after real disasters and able to concentrate on simulated safety efforts.
But the postponement raises questions bout the legitimacy of emergency drills which are only conducted when conditions and personnel staffing are optimal. Emergency planning in New York City prior to the 9/11/01 attacks, in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina, and at Fukushima Daiichi prior to the earthquake and tsunami all failed to take into account the impact of multiple emergencies either in proximity or simultaneously.