The Commonwealth of Virginia and Dominion Energy have worked together to change how you receive alerts in the unlikely event of an emergency at Virginia’s Nuclear Power Stations. Effective February 1, 2023, those living within an approximate 10-mile radius of Dominion Energy’s North Anna Power Station (NAPS) and Surry Power Station (SPS), will no longer hear siren alerts in the event of an emergency. Dominion Energy has now transitioned to utilizing the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), which has two methods for alerting the public to an emergency at the nuclear power stations.
The first method is Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) that will be sent to cell phones. The second method, Emergency Alert System (EAS) notifies television and radio broadcasters who, in turn, share messaging through television and radio channels. Both methods, identical in nature to Amber and Severe Weather alerts, have several advantages over the sirens. These alerts have the ability to offer real-time information in the event of an emergency instead of just a siren sound. In addition to WEA and EAS, residential and business phones will be called, and plans remain in place to notify recreational areas such as parks and waterways.
The change to receive alerts via WEA may lead to some Goochland County residents adjacent to Louisa and Hanover counties now receiving alerts based on the new technology, where previously they were not within the range of North Anna Power Stations siren alerts.
Dominion Energy, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), made the change to use current technology to better protect the health and safety of the public. This change will allow information to be provided on a real-time basis on what actions to take in the event of an emergency. The transition planning process has taken several years and was approved late last year by both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Quarterly siren tests will be replaced by frequent operational tests of the system by VDEM. During these internal operational tests, the public will not receive alerts on their phones. For additional information, you can visit https://www.dominionenergy.com/sirenschangetowireless or click on the links below to learn more about IPAWS.
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