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    West Hartford adding decontamination units as part of state plans for nuclear emergency


    July 29, 2022 - Alison Cross, Hartford Courant

     

      The West Hartford Town Council unanimously approved the allocation of a $115,253 grant to fund improvements to the town’s emergency facilities as part of the state’s preparedness plans for a radiological emergency at Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford.

      West Hartford, which holds the status of a “host community reception center,” would shelter evacuees in the event of a nuclear incident at Millstone. The town received the grant under the state’s Nuclear Safety Emergency Funding program, which supports Connecticut’s Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Program.

      In May, the council approved another NSEF grant worth $59,761 to purchase an “inflatable 4-lane decontamination unit and other equipment essential to its function.”

      According to a letter written by acting Town Manager Rick Ledwith to the council for its July 14 meeting, the latest $115,243 grant, “will fund the purchase of equipment and supplies necessary to improve the town’s response to emergency situations, and to better maintain and operate emergency facilities such as shelters, reception centers, and heating and cooling centers.”

      The expenditures of these purchases will be included in West Hartford Fire Department’s 2022-2023 budget and will be reimbursed by the NSEF grant.

      According to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, other host communities eligible for NSEF grants include New Haven and the University of Connecticut.

      In the event of a nuclear emergency at the Millstone plant, reception centers would assist evacuees with radiological monitoring and decontamination, potassium iodide tablets, medical services, crisis counseling and family reunification.

      Towns within the state’s designated Emergency Planning Zone for evacuations that lie within a 10-mile radius of Millstone include Waterford, East Lyme, Old Lyme, Lyme, Groton, New London, Ledyard, Montville and Fishers Island, NY.

      “EPZ towns and Host Communities typically have the highest level of training and capability of any local EOC’s [emergency operations center] in Connecticut. They also have the greatest responsibility in the event of an incident at Millstone,” the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said on its NSEF information page.

      Alison Cross can be reached at mailto:across@courant.com">across@courant.com.

      ©2022 Hartford Courant. Visit courant.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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