On Tuesday and Wednesday the
Tennessee Valley Authority [TVA] will be testing a new supplemental voice
emergency notification system for notifying plant personnel at its nuclear
Tests will occur Tuesday
around Watts Bar Nuclear Plant from 8 to 10 a.m.
Similar to recently
updated emergency sirens within the 10-mile notification area around the
plants, the new voice system will be battery-powered, capable of operating for
up to seven days, and mounted on metal poles that can withstand high winds.
The need for supplemental
voice public address systems, which can operate independently of the normal
power grid, became apparent during Japan’s Fukushima event.
The Japanese facility
lost all AC electric power for extended periods, and with it they lost their
public address system, radios and cell phones. The result was a breakdown of
plant-wide communications that endangered the safety of personnel.
A truck-mounted speaker
system will be used to test the notification system in at least three locations
on each site. Each test will consist of an audible tone and a pre-recorded
voice announcement. If the tests validate the equipment can be heard by all
populated areas at the plant, TVA will move forward with a permanent
installation at all three TVA nuclear sites beginning in early 2014. The
installed voice systems will operate independently of existing public address
systems, and will be used only for emergencies.