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Frank Kitching (Nuclear Emergency Response Specialist), “Proven Plans: The Value of Realism in Nuclear Emergency Response Exercises”

April 18 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Frank Kitching (Nuclear Emergency Response Specialist), “Proven Plans: The Value of Realism in Nuclear Emergency Response Exercises”Abstract: Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in March 2011, nuclear power plant operators and their national regulators took measures to ensure a similar accident couldn’t happen within their borders. Changes in public awareness and regulatory requirements ensured that most NPP operators invested in emergency mitigating equipment and the development of plans and procedures for their employment and proper use. Drills to deploy this equipment are conducted regularly to demonstrate the operator’s ability to cool and control an affected reactor. Undoubtedly, NPP operators are now more prepared for a nuclear accident than they were prior to 2011. Yet the off-site consequences of a nuclear accident, specifically the protection of the public, are the responsibility of the city, state and national governments. How can we know that they are prepared to deal with the uniquely challenging issues that a nuclear emergency brings to the fore? To demonstrate this capability, off-site organizations must conduct realistic exercises that test their plans to the fullest. Realistic exercises allow organizations to identify areas for improvement and to continuously strive for, and create, proven plans.
Frank Kitching started his career in nuclear emergency preparedness as the Nuclear Safety Officer (NSO) for Canadian Forces Base Halifax. As the NSO, Frank developed that plans required to safely host nuclear powered vessels of the USA, the UK and France. The NSO position requires a Masters in Nuclear Engineering, which Frank obtained from the Royal Military College of Canda in 2004. Since retiring from the Navy in 2008, Frank has participated in the conduct of nuclear emergency preparedness training and exercises in Canada and internationally. While working for International Safety Research (now Calian Nuclear), Frank’s expertise was used to develop, deliver and evaluate full scale exercises in Canada and Romania. Frank was the project manager for Exercise Unified Response, a three day exercise at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington’s Nuclear Generating Station. ExUR involved all levels of government and was a true full scale exercise. During the planning process for ExUR, Frank developed a media simulation tool and an exercise control tool that were necessary to fully engage the exercise participants in the reality of dealing with a situation of that scope. These same tools were used in Romania’s full scale exercise, Valahia 2016, as funded by Norway Grants and delivered through the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority. In addition to the media tool, a radiological simulation tool was used to create the radiation environment for responders on the ground in Romania. This tool provides responders with a radiological reading based on their GPS coordinates and the time within the scenario.
About the seminar series: This lecture continues a speaker series featuring leading international experts on nuclear emergency response. Part of an NSF CAREER Award (PI Sonja Schmid, SES1351575) and hosted by Virginia Tech’s Department of Science, Technology, and Society, with generous support from the Office of the Vice President for the National Capital Region, and Virginia Tech’s Policy Strategic Growth Area.
Light refreshments will be served.
Graduate students are encouraged to arrive at 11:30 to chat with the speaker before his talk.
The URL to the online version of the event is http://www.ncr.vt.edu/live/ for anyone who’d like to join remotely.
To submit a question to the speaker, please e-mail it to siren@vt.edu.
If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Sonja Schmid at 703-538-8482 or email sschmid@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.
For details, link here: https://siren28.eventbrite.com


April 18
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm