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Emergency Planning

Leaflet: Siren Test 

The Koeberg emergency plan                               

Koeberg Nuclear Power Station supplies electricity to the Western Cape, including the area in which you live. At Koeberg the chance of an accident serious enough to affect you, or anyone living near the plant is unlikely. Nevertheless an emergency plan has been prepared to protect you and your family. The following information tells you about the plan and what you should do in the event of an emergency. Please read this information and keep this calendar in a handy place. Do remember to tell everyone in your household where it is.

Why an emergency plan if an accident is unlikely?

In modern societies it is necessary to plan for all eventualities - chemical, industrial, nuclear, and others and to ensure that if the unlikely occurs, everything possible is done to minimise damage and avoid injury. This is the major reason for having an emergency plan and the need for Disaster Management organisations. A very serious emergency at Koeberg could, at worst, result in a release of radioactive material. This radioactive material would be blown downwind from the station and dispersed.

The emergency plan

How does this plan work?

A team consisting of members from Eskom, the local authorities, and other support organisations are available around the clock to handle any emergency at the power station. In the unlikely event of an emergency at Koeberg, Eskom will notify the City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management immediately. Eskom will recommend appropriate protective actions to the relevant authorities. Representatives of National, Provincial and Local Government will authorise the appropriate protective actions to be implemented. Emergency response personnel and resources from all three spheres of government will carry out these actions.

There are three levels of emergency

Alert - the first level

An alert is declared when an event has occurred that could reduce the level of safety of the plant, but backup plant systems will still function. Local authority officials are notified and response facilities are established on a standby basis.

Site emergency - the second level

In a site emergency, a problem with a safety system has occurred, or is likely to occur. Local authority officials are mobilised at this stage in preparation for the possibility of a more serious situation.

General emergency - the third level

A general emergency is the most serious but most unlikely emergency situation. Radioactive material could be released beyond the plant site boundaries. Local authority officials will take action to protect residents living near the plant. People in affected areas will be advised via the public notification system to stay indoors and shelter or to evacuate.

How will you be notified?

5km radius area

If you live within 5km of the power station you will be warned immediately via the public notification system in the area. Evacuation instructions will be issued via the public notification system, Good Hope FM, Kfm and local SABC television channels. This area will be constantly monitored for radiation during a general emergency and suitable steps will be taken to protect you.

16km radius area

It is highly unlikely that the entire area within the 16km radius surrounding Koeberg will be affected by a release of radioactive material during a general emergency. The radioactive material would travel downwind from the power station. This material will be monitored constantly and you will be warned if the area in which you live may be affected.

Routine Siren Test

The sirens are routinely tested on an annual basis. You will be notified in advance of these tests. Kfm and Good Hope FM will also broadcast announcements whilst these tests are being conducted.

The news media

At any level of emergency the news media will be fully informed by Eskom and the head of Disaster Management of the areas concerned.

What should you do if there is a general emergency?

Listen to your radio

If there is a General Emergency, the public notification system will be supplemented by regular instructions and messages on Good Hope FM 94-97 MHz and Kfm 94.5 MHz as well as on local SABC television channels. Tune in to the radio or television and listen for further instructions. 

What should you do if you are instructed to shelter?

To shelter means staying indoors (inside a building). If you receive instructions to shelter, you should do the following (this could be at home, work or school):

  • Stay indoors until further notice.
  • Close all windows and doors to keep outside air out.
  • If you must go outside, protect your breathing. Place a damp cloth or towel over your nose and mouth.
  • Switch off systems that draw in outside air such as air-conditioning units, fire places and dampers.
  • Minimise use of the telephone - keep the phone lines open for emergency use only.
  • If you are in a car, close the windows and air vents and leave the affected area.
  • Be a good neighbour. If you see anyone outside, advise them to take shelter.
  • Do not try to pick up your children at school. Children who are in school during an emergency will be cared for until you are able to pick them up.
  • Inform and help the deaf and handicapped.
  • Don't panic. Sheltering provides significant protection against radiation.
  • Keep listening to your radio for further instructions.

What should you do if you are instructed to evacuate?

You will only be instructed to evacuate if you could be affected by harmful levels of radiation. Evacuate means leaving the affected area immediately. Drive carefully. Go straight to the assembly point (as shown on the back page of this calendar) even if you plan to stay with family friends or at a hotel. You and your belongings will be checked for possible contamination.

Gather what you and your family will need. You will likely have to be away from home for a few days. Take these items along if you can:

  • This calendar;
  • Spectacles or prescription contact lenses;
  • A pillow, blankets and sheets, or a sleeping bag;
  • A small foam mattress;
  • Two changes of clothing including a jersey or coat;
  • Prescribed medicines;
  • It is not necessary to take any food, except special foods for medical reasons;
  • Toiletry items;
  • Cash, credit cards, cheque books, savings books, identity documents, etc;
  • A portable radio and batteries;
  • A torch and batteries;
  • The telephone numbers of close friends and/or family members.

What precautions should you take to secure your home?

  • Take all the normal precautions as if you were leaving the house for a holiday. Lock all outside doors, close windows, and arm your alarm if you have one.

  • Police will ensure the safety of your home while you are away. You will be notified by Disaster Management and the news media when you can return.

Methods of evacuation

Travelling by car

If you have a car, you should use it if you are instructed to evacuate. If you can, take neighbours who don�t have transport with you. Follow the route given to you over the radio to travel to the assembly points shown on the back of this calendar. Refer to the Evacuation Routes Map in the centre of this calendar. Familiarise yourself with this map. Identify which zone your house is situated in, as well as where the nearest evacuation routes are to your home. Drive carefully, stay calm and obey all traffic regulations, for your own and others- safety. There will be traffic officers along the route to assist you. Traffic will be directed in order to avoid vehicles driving through the affected areas.

Travelling by bus

Specially arranged buses will transport you to the assembly points. They will travel along normal bus routes at regular intervals. If you do not have transport, please go to the nearest bus route, where you will be picked up. In areas where there are no bus routes, radio announcements will inform you of where to meet the special busses and taxis which will be operating in these areas.

Children at school

Your school-going children will be well cared for. Disaster Management personnel will be in constant contact with local schools. If necessary, scholars will be evacuated to another school outside the affected area, where arrangements will be in place to care for the children and keep them in contact with their parents/guardians.

Where you should go

Friends or family

If possible, please travel to friends or members of your family who live anywhere outside the affected areas.

Assembly points

If you cannot travel to family or friends outside the affected areas, you need to travel to an assembly point as shown on the back of this calendar. The location of this assembly point will be decided by factors such as the wind direction, and the availability of the assembly point on that particular day. From these points you will be directed to a mass care centre. Mass care centres will provide you with meals and a place to live while you are away from home. The sick and elderly will be cared for by trained medical staff, who will also be able to provide medicines. Note: potassium iodate tablets, which protect the thyroid against radioactive iodine will be provided by the Disaster Management organisations when and where necessary.

For farmers and home gardeners

If a major incident happens at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, the Department of Agriculture will issue periodic information concerning the safety of using homegrown products.

Your crops

  • An unharvested crop is hard to protect, but normal harvesting and processing may still be possible if time permits.

  • Crops already harvested will be safer if they are stored inside.

  • You should wash and peel vegetables and fruits from your garden before use if they were not already harvested.

To protect your livestock

  • Provide as much shelter as possible. If you do not have enough space in barns or sheds, use natural shelters such as wooded lots or culverts.

  • Take care of dairy animals first.

  • Provide plenty of food and water and make sure shelters are well ventilated.

  • Use stored feed where possible.

Public Safety Information (PSIF) meetings are held quarterly. Should you wish to obtain more information about these meetings, please contact Stakeholder Management at tel +27 21 550 5263.