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Emergency planning exercise to take place at Portland Port
1:01pm Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
PORTLAND Port is preparing to undertake an emergency planning exercise to run through how officials would cope in the case of a radiation leak.
The exercise, known as Shortbill, is part of statutory requirements to carry out procedures put in place in 2007 when the port began to be used as a base for visiting nuclear submarines.
County emergency planning officer Simon Parker said the event of a radiation emergency is ‘highly unlikely’ and that the exercise is an opportunity for people who live close to the port to find out more.
He said: “On the day, the majority of people will not even notice it is taking place.
“It is a very controlled exercise to allow the people who are responsible to feel what it is like in that situation.”
No nuclear submarines are expected in the port that day.
Commander Mark Prince, field marine engineer officer, said such visits have only taken place a handful of times since 2007.
He said: “At Portland Port, as an operational base, there are restrictions on what is allowed to take place on the submarines.
“That is in contrast with the naval bases at Davenport and the Clyde, where we are allowed to undertake more intrusive maintenance repair work.
“For Portland, that lowers what is already an incredibly small risk.”
The exercise will take place between 9am and 5pm on Wednesday, April 10.
Leaflets will be distributed to households within a two kilometre radius of the port with information on what to do in case of an incident.
Copies are also available online at www.dorsetforyou.com/planandbooklet