Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Graded Exercises – prepping the students

I watched the August 12 webcast of the NRC’s Commission briefing on emergency planning rulemaking. During the third panel, there was considerable discussion about an exercise conducted in May at San Onofre NPS in California. What caught my attention was Mike Rose mentioning that the players got together for nearly a full day of tabletops in late April and the graded exercise was conducted the first week of May. What he did not say but what seemed apparent to me was that the April session was a bit of a dress rehearsal for the May graded exercise. It seems to be quite unrealistic since in event of an actual emergency, it's unlikely that the responders would have gathered a couple days earlier to refresh on who does what to whom. Graded exercises are tests to see how well the responders are prepared. Getting the players together prior to the graded exercise makes about as much sense as a high school teacher showing the students the algebra test to let them practice answering the questions until they get it right - and then giving them the same questions on the final exam. They may all get A’s on the exam but have no real mastery of the subject matter. Check the next emergency planning NRC/FEMA graded exercise at your reactor.

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