WAYNE COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Over a quarter of electricity in Georgia is produced by nuclear power.
That makes it the second largest source of power in the Peach state, beating out coal by a few percentage points.
There are four nuclear energy facilities in Georgia. Vogtle 1 and Vogtle 2 sit just below Augusta. Then there’s Southern Nuclear’s “Hatch 1” and “Hatch 2” positioned along the Altamaha River, just north of Baxley.
Wayne County is now ready to respond to any radiological emergency. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office just received new detection devices.
Wayne County is one of 75 counties in Georgia within 50 miles of a nuclear facility.
“There’s a lot of things around us that, you know, we could be subject to some sort of dirty bomb or like I said a nuclear IED,” said Sheriff John Carter.
It’s a concern Wayne County’s sheriff takes seriously. He says the release of radiation is unlikely, but it’s not impossible.
That’s why the Sheriff’s Office just put deputies through a radiation detection backpack training.
“We felt like it was something we wanted our deputies to have the ability to detect the radiological material that they may come in contact with,” said Carter.
Plus, with a more than $100,000 grant, the office now has four radionuclide isotope identification devices, also called RIIDS.
“This gives us the information on the isotope to be able to relay that to the Department of Energy,” said Cpl. William Chitty.
Essentially, this yellow device can determine if something is a threat or not.
“This is giving us the radioactive reading,” said Chitty.
The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office awarded Wayne County the grant, and for that, Sheriff Carter is thankful as his goal is to keep the community safe from any dangerous radiological material.
“We hope we never have to confront that, but I want to protect our community,” said Carter.
Not only will the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office have the RIIDS, they just ordered 10 Personal Radiation Detectors for deputies’ belts, and that was also included in the grant.