Columbia County emergency personnel use constant training and various exercises to ensure they are prepared for any situation.
On Oct. 24, they will get the chance to practice something new. As a matter of fact, no county in the state has put on a Waste Isolation Pilot Plant transportation full-scale exercise.
The exercise will take place the intersection of Wrightsboro Road and John Deere Parkway, just outside of the Grovetown city limits.
The scenario will consist of a "TRUPACT-II" transport vehicle traveling west on I-20 with two loaded waste containers.
After being rerouted to Wrightsboro Road to avoid a car accident on I-20, it will be hit by what officials called a mobile meth lab, sending a waste container into the road and causing several injuries.
Workers from several local and state agencies will respond to the emergency to treat injuries, clean the area of hazardous material and keep the public informed.
"We're learning how to use special monitors and how to work with all these agencies," Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker said of the preparation process. "Plus, what we learn, we can use for any similar situation."
Since March 9, 2001, nine shipments of nuclear waste have been transferred from the Savannah River Site to Carlsbad, N.M., for storage without incident.
Tucker said that number will steadily increase over the years as will the chances of accident occurring.
"These shipments are going through our county for the next 30 years," Tucker said."If (an accident) happens here, we will be very capable to respond."
As of July 15, WIPP has received the following number of shipments:
Idaho National Laboratory - 356
Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory - 25
Rocky Flats (Colo.) Environmental Technology Site - 605
Savannah River Site - 9
Total - 1,005
Source: Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
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