A radiological emergency exercise in Monticello at Xcel Energy’s nuclear generating station is making the skies over Wright County a bit noisier this week.
The joint drill conducted by such agencies as the State Department of Public Safety – Homeland Security and Emergency Management along with the Federal Departments of Energy and Radiological Monitoring Assessment Center will last through this week. Dubbed the “Northern Lights Exercise,” the chopper will cruise over Wright County and other areas at a low altitude of just 150 feet on a grid pattern in daylight hours. The helicopter will survey Todd, Benton, Stearns and other counties during the drills, as well.
A news advisory released by the State Department of Public Safety said crews are just carrying out field work as part of the drill. The helicopter is based at Camp Ripley, near Little Falls, as are the agents involved in the safety drill.
Some field activities will take place in communities surrounding the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant (MNGP) and Camp Ripley.
Other participating agencies include the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Natural Resources and Pollution Control, along with the Minnesota National Guard, Xcel Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.