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Maryland Department of Emergency Management

Maryland Department of Emergency Management Highlights Importance of Preparedness for Nuclear Power Plant Emergencies

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Peach Bottom Nuclear Power PlantREISTERSTOWN, MD (April 24, 2024) — The Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM), alongside other state, local, federal and private-sector partners,  successfully completed the Biennial Radiological Emergency Preparedness Exercise for the Peach Bottom Green Energy facility (previously known as Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station) on Tuesday,  April 16, 2024. Two days later, MDEM joined other partners in a joint Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) along the Potomac River and C&O Canal between Dam 3 and the town of Brunswick.

Both of those training exercises took place while MDEM continued to support the State response to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse and the subsequent reduction of activity at the Port of Baltimore.

“Participation in exercises like the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Exercise not only evaluates our readiness but also strengthens our ability to protect our communities in times of crises,” stated Secretary Russ Strickland of MDEM. “We can’t take a break from training and exercising, even if we are actively involved in a response or activation of our State Emergency Operations Center. Our collaboration with federal, State, and local partners ensures that we are well-prepared to mitigate the impact of any potential nuclear incident and safeguard the well-being of our residents.”

MDEM’s proactive engagement in emergency exercises, such as PBEX and SAREX, reflects its commitment to public safety and enhancing interagency collaboration. The radiological exercise, referred to as PBEX, also included the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), officials in Cecil and Harford counties, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), and local officials in southern Pennsylvania. The exercise was evaluated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The exercise underscored the critical importance of preparedness for all hazards, including nuclear power plant incidents, and assessed the response capabilities of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Maryland within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone surrounding Peach Bottom, in Delta, Pa., along the Susquehanna River.

SAREX was a collaborative effort, simulating a response for a hypothetical flood and bridge failure on the Potomac and C&O Canal. MDEM helped coordinate the event, which included the Maryland State Police (MSP), Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Police, Maryland National Guard (MDNG), CSX, and rescue teams and other officials from Frederick and Washington counties. Numerous other water rescue teams from around Maryland simulated a robust mutual aid response to rescue dozens of “victims” by boat, helicopter, and land search teams with K9s and mounted teams. SAREX exemplified the importance of interagency coordination and preparedness in managing emergencies.

MDEM reminds Maryland residents and visitors to have multiple ways to receive alerts. For more information, residents can also go to MDEM’s website at, follow MDEM’s Twitter feed at @MDMEMA, or follow MDEM’s Facebook page at To receive alerts, tips, and resources related to threats and hazards affecting or that may affect Maryland, text MdReady to 211-631 or text MdListo for Spanish.

PBEX Unified Command at Maryland Department of Energy's Emergency Operations Center

MDEM joined other agencies at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Emergency Operations Center as part of a federally graded exercise simulating an attack at the Peach Bottom nuclear facility in Delta, Pa. Photo Courtesy: David McCallister.

Rescue operations during the SAREX. Photo courtesy Digital Media Production Unit MCFRS

Rescue operations during the SAREX. Photo courtesy: Digital Media Production Unit MCFRS.


Jorge Castillo,, 443-381-3518
Ed McDonough,, 410-446-3333
24/7 line: 877-636-2872