Things are going to be a bit quieter around Virginia’s Lake Anna.
The familiar sound of emergency sirens stemming from two of the commonwealth’s nuclear plants — North Anna and Surry — is now a thing of the past.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management says Dominion Energy switched over to the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System on Wednesday.
There are two types of emergency notifications. The first, Wireless Emergency Alerts, goes to people’s cellphones. The second, the Emergency Alert System, gets broadcast via radio and TV.
VDEM says the newer technology is a better way to keep the public safe.
“As technology changes, it is important that we take advantage of new opportunities especially when it comes to ensuring the health and safety of the public,” State Coordinator Shawn Talmadge said in a news release.
“We are excited about the transition to this new and improved technology for alerting the public in the extremely unlikely situation of an event at one of our nuclear stations.”
VDEM says the switch was approved late in 2022 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, though planning it took years.
The siren alerts that had been used at Dominion Energy’s North Anna Power Station and Surry Power Station could be heard within a 10-mile radius. The old tests were run quarterly.
VDEM says the new operational tests will be more frequent, but the public won’t get alerts for those on their phones.
The North Anna Power Station sits on the shore of Lake Anna in Louisa County, a popular vacation spot and second home destination for many in Northern Virginia.
Lake Anna itself spans Louisa, Orange, and Spotsylvania counties and is home to Lake Anna State Park. The Surry Power Station rests on the southern shore of the James River across from Jamestown, near Newport News.
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