University of Missouri Research Reactor Center conducts emergency drill

POSTED: 02:17 PM CDT Jun 17, 2013    UPDATED: 02:28 PM CDT Jun 17, 2013 
Nuclear reactor drill
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

The University of Missouri Research Reactor Center held a required emergency drill Monday morning.

The drill started just before 11 a.m. and simulated a structure fire inside a laboratory. Employees and students had to evacuate the labs and surrounding buildings.

Part of the drill included a decontamination station where fire units practiced the decontamination of radiation exposure.

The Columbia Fire Department says it's important for all emergency agencies to work together in case a real hazard occurs.

"It's very important that we get together and see how our planning has gone, how our processes have evolved and that the communication all works and comes together," said CFD Capt. John Metz. "It's easy on paper to think it will work. It's easy to talk about it, but to actually do it proves that we have a system that works."

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the reactor to conduct an emergency preparedness drill with outside groups every two years. The reactor itself does a drill every year.

The University of Missouri Police Department, Columbia Fire Department, University Hospital and Clinics, Columbia-Boone County Joint Communications and other agencies participated in the drill.