Pantex 10-mile Emergency Planning Zones updated
AMARILLO, Texas – Pantex works closely with area partners to prepare the public for the unlikely incident of an emergency at Pantex. Part of that preparation involves educating and communicating with residents living within 10 miles of Pantex – in what are called the Pantex 10-mile Emergency Planning Zones (EPZ).
A newly designed Pantex 10-mile EPZ went into effect January 1. The EPZ has changed from a pie grid shaped map to a zone system that is aligned with county roads and county borders.
“We have revised our emergency planning zone map to make it easier for people who might need to use it and take protective actions, or people who might need to make protective action decisions to identify where that needs to happen,” Chuck Rives, Pantex Emergency Management Senior Specialist said.
The earlier EPZ map was designed in pie-shaped wedges that didn’t align to anything that could be seen on the ground.
“While the old map was functional in a lot of ways, it made it really difficult in emergency management to do road closures, to have first responders know exactly where to go, and also for the residents to know what part of the pie they were in,” Carson County Judge Dan Looten said.
The updated EPZ is broken down into sectors – C, P and A sectors – which stand for Carson County, Potter County, or Armstrong County.
“If you're in C5 you'll know exactly you're in Carson County Zone 5, where beforehand you didn't know exactly the way the pies spread out in a pie shape - it would cross quite a few county lines and cross quite a few county roads,” Judge Looten said.
This updated map is easier for those living within the zones to understand which zone they reside in, and the new EPZ is more concrete by using existing roadways and county lines to separate the zones.
“The biggest benefit of this change is the understandability of the map. Someone can look at where they are on the ground compared to the map and say ‘I'm north or south of this road or east or west of that road’ and that corresponds to one of the sectors of the map,” Rives said. “If we tell Carson 3 to take a protective action, you can look at the map and see it's bounded by these roads and you know you're in or out of there.”
Residents living within the 10-mile EPZ will be receiving a new calendar from the Texas Division of Emergency Management with the new EPZ map included along with other information for residents to
use in case of an emergency at Pantex. The calendars include contact information for all of the Agreement In Principal (AIP) Emergency Management offices, what Shelter in Place means, how to pack a go bag, emergency classification levels, and more.
“I hope the public, especially those in this area, will really educate themselves, will try to use this new calendar and use this new map to educate themselves where they're at and things to look for in case there is any kind of emergency in the area,” Looten said.
A group of stakeholders called the (AIP) with representatives from state agencies, regional partners, bordering counties and Pantex have worked over the last several months to design the EPZ.
“This map came about not because we think there was a problem – we’re just improving what we already have. I think, especially from county judges’ point of view and from emergency responders, this gets us all on the same page,” Looten said. “We all know exactly how the new map reads. We'll all be able to know exactly what road closures we’re going to set up. Because, in the first few minutes to a first few hours of an emergency, that's a very critical time. We don't need to be second-guessing so we want to be for sure everybody's on the same page.”
Members of this group will be working to update the public on the new zone through town hall meetings and other initiatives in the coming weeks.
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS) operates the Pantex Plant, located in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, under a single contract for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. Pantex and Y-12 are key facilities in the U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, and CNS performs its work with a focus on the absolute priorities of safety, security, quality, mission delivery and cost efficiency.
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