PIKETON, Ohio – EM recently upgraded two facilities supporting the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, significantly enhancing DOE’s ability to communicate internally and to the public in the event of an emergency.
“As part of our emergency preparedness, we routinely go through exercises to ensure we are ready if an emergency situation occurs on the plant site,” said EM’s Matt Vick, who oversees Portsmouth Site Emergency Management operations for the Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO). “We identified areas where we needed communications and facility improvements and these upgrades address those needs.”
Crews overhauled several rooms within PPPO’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the site’s X-1020 Building to accommodate new ceilings, lighting, flooring, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, furniture, computers, and electrical components.
The other facility, the Joint Information Center — located at Miracle City Academy, a private school just north of the Portsmouth Site — is designed to inform nearby communities and accommodate news media during an emergency to ensure timely information is provided to the public.
State-of-the-art technology, including WebEOC incident-management and other software installed at both facilities, streamlines the information-sharing process and reduces cumbersome paperwork that can be time-consuming. WebEOC is used by local government, the state of Ohio, and the DOE Headquarters Watch Office in Washington, D.C. Such tools are being incorporated into the site’s continuity of operations plan, which outlines continuation of functions in times of emergency.
The facility upgrades were a collaborative effort between engineering, fire services, telecommunications, waste management, information technology, and various personnel with site contractors, including deactivation and decommissioning contractor Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth and infrastructure contractor Portsmouth Mission Alliance.