assistance to state and local governments in developing emergency plans (44 CFR 350)coordination of federal agencies’ assignments to carry out federal functions (44 CFR 351)
Onsite Emergency Organization The licensee is responsible for developing the on-site emergency organization of plant staff personnel for all shifts. An emergency coordinator must be designated who shall be on shift at all times and have the authority and responsibility to immediately and unilaterally initiate any emergency actions required to protect the health and safety of the public. Certain responsibilities cannot be delegated to others in the organization, including the decision to notify and to recommend protective actions to authorities responsible for offsite emergency measures. Emergency Classification System All utilities at all commercial nuclear power plants use a standard emergency classification system. The emergency classification system provides for graduated levels of response from minor events of low consequence to very severe events. Specific Emergency Action Levels (EAL) trigger each classification.
Emergency Communications and Notification Methods and Procedures The licensee must have the capability to notify responsible State and local government agencies within 15 minutes after declaring one of four emergency action levels. The licensee must also demonstrate that administrative and physical means have been established for alerting and providing prompt instructions to the public within the 10-mile plume exposure pathway. The notification system should have the capability to essentially complete the initial notification of the public within the EPZ within about 15 minutes once the offsite responsible State or local authorities decide to notify them. In November 1985, FEMA issued FEMA-REP-10, “Guide for the Evaluation of Alert and Notification Systems for Nuclear Power Plants.
Offsite Communications: Each licensee is responsible for a primary and backup telephone system to make notifications to offsite agencies (e.g., NRC, State, and counties) within 15 minutes after recognition and classification of an emergency condition at the plant. A dedicated telephone line has been established between the plant control room and the NRC’s headquarters Incident Response Center. IE Information Notice No. 86-97, “ Emergency Communications System,” dated November 28, 1986, defines the emergency communications requirements.Public Alerting Systems: Off-site emergency agencies are responsible for notifying the public of an emergency and activating the notification system. However, the licensee must be able to demonstrate that a notification system is available within the 10-mile EPZ. Sirens are the predominant method of public alerting around the U.S. commercial nuclear plants and federal regulations have established criteria for the design of acceptable siren systems. The number of sirens that are required for the 10-mile EPZ will depend on the population density, type of terrain and other limiting factors. The average site will have between 50 to 85 sirens positioned throughout their EPZ.Public Notification: Once the public has been alerted to an emergency, the capability must be in place to provide an informational message or instructions to the public through out the 10 miles EPZ within 15 minutes. This capability must be available 24 hours per day. The most common method of providing instructions to the public is local radio and television stations. Another method of providing instructions to the public is by the Alert Notification System (ANS), a system of AM and FM radio stations which provide or are capable of providing, 24 hours per day transmission and have backup power generation capability. In order to instruct the public to tune to a specific radio, television, or an EBS radio station for emergency information once alerted, emergency preparedness public information brochures are distributed throughout the 10 mile EPZ. The brochures identify the method of alerting and measures to be taken once alerted. The brochures discuss the various protective measures that residents may be asked to take, including sheltering, evacuation, and use of thyroid blocking agents or other precautionary measures.
Public Education and Information The responsibility to insure the education of the general public concerning radiological emergencies and protective actions is jointly shared by the licensee, the State and the local governments. Information is disseminated annually to the public within the 10-mile EPZ. Specifically, information is provided describing how they will be notified in the event of an emergency and what initial actions should be taken upon notification. In addition, educational information on radiation contacts and special needs for the handicapped are addressed, as well as how to obtain additional information. Emergency Facilities and Equipment Adequate provisions must be made for facilities and equipment to support the response to a given emergency. This includes monitoring, assessment, decontamination, first aid treatment and transportation. The physical facilities include an onsite technical support center, an operational support center, a near-site emergency operations facility, an onsite and offsite communications system, and a media center.
Emergency Response Centers: Control Room (Onsite) The Control Room is the primary facility where plant conditions are monitored and controlled and where corrective actions are taken to mitigate degradation of reactor systems. Technical Support Center (Onsite) The TSC is an emergency operations work area from that designated technical and engineering personnel trend plant conditions in order to predict further degradation and to devise appropriate corrective actions. Operational Support Center (OSC) (Onsite) The OSC is the assembly point for personnel providing emergency assistance to the Emergency Organization. The purpose of the OSC is to provide an assembly and staging area for essential operations support personnel who are deployed into onsite areas. Emergency Operations Facility (EOF) (Offsite) The EOF is the primary offsite center for the management of the licensee’s emergency response, coordination of radiological and environmental assessments, and determination of recommended public protective actions. Joint Public Information Center (JPIC) (Offsite) The JPIC is the principal media contact point for the licensee, state, and local communities during a radiological emergency. State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) This facility provides the management of offsite emergency responses. The State EOC will serve as a location from which local officials may request manpower and resource assistance. Local Community Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) The local EOCs serve the purpose of maintaining a communications point within each community as well as providing this capability with other adjacent communities and the State. Each local chief executive can direct protective actions to be taken for his community and can activate the public alerting system for his community.
Accident Assessment The means for determining the magnitude of and for continually assessing the impact of the release of radioactive material must be available to respond to an accident. Dose assessment is performed using actual in-plant effluent radiation monitors to generate the radionuclide source term, meteorological instrumentation, and associated hardware to develop a dispersion model for an atmospheric release, hydrological instrumentation to develop dilution factos for a liquid release, and the assumption of appropriate dose conversion factors (DCF) to account for the isotopic mixture and its concurrent chemical and physical state. As part of the Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program, nuclear power plants maintain a fixed environmental monitoring system, within the 10-mile EPZ, consisting of Thermoluminescent Dosimeters (TLDs), air particle detectors and another environmental media sampling stations. During and/or subsequent to emergency conditions, this program is modified to collect and analyze additional samples from existing stations. Results are used to confirm radiation exposure estimates and environmental calculations. Protective Response A range of protective actions for emergency workers and the public have been developed for the 10-mile EPZ. Systems are available to warn and advise onsite individuals including employees not having emergency assignments, visitors, contractors, construction personnel, or others in public access areas. Provisions have been made for these individuals to leave the site by designated routes to some suitable offsite locations. If needed, monitoring and decontamination capabilities of individuals leaving the site have been established. Having requested non-essential personnel to leave the site, the licensee must have the capability to account for all individuals onsite and be able to provide the names of missing individuals within 30 minutes of the start of an emergency. The licensee must be able to account for all onsite individuals continuously after that time. The licensee will also make recommendations, if needed, to the affected State and local authorities. This may include sheltering, evacuation, or use of potassium iodide in a sector around the plant, early dismissal of school children, or relocating individuals in a specific sector. As part of this process, the emergency plan includes a designated evacuation route and relocation centers in most areas and shelter areas. People whose mobility is impaired and the means for registering and monitoring of individuals at relocation centers have been established. For the 50-mile ingestion pathway, the procedure for protecting the public from consuming contaminated foodstuffs is addressed. The requirement that dairy animals be put on stored feed is a protective action. Lists are available of the names and locations of all plants that process milk products and other agricultural products. Radiological Exposure Control The licensee has established onsite exposure guidelines that are consistent with the EPA’s Emergency Worker and Lifesaving Activity Protective Action Guidelines. These guidelines address providing first aid, performing assessment actions, and decontamination, removal of injured persons and providing transportation and medical treatment of the injured. As an example of guidance developed on this subject, FEMA issued Guidance Memorandum EV-2, “Protective Actions for School Children” dated November 13, 1986. The purpose of the guidance is to assist State and local government officials and administrators of public and private schools in developing emergency response plans for use in protecting the students. Medical and Public Health Support Local and backup hospitals and medical services are identified for medical support of contaminated injured individuals. The licensee is responsible for having the onsite first aid capability. Transportation arrangements of the injured persons to the medical facilities are also part of the emergency-planning program. Recovery and Reentry Planning and Post Accident Operations Following the accident and when the plant has been stabilized, the licensee will go into the recovery phase of the event. Exercises and Drills Each licensee is required to exercise its emergency plan annually. Each licensee is required to exercise with offsite authorities within the plume exposure pathway 10-mile EPZ biennially. All parties within the ingestion pathway 50-mile EPZ must exercise its plan every six years. Continual Improvement Critiques and Corrective Actions: Following each exercise or drill, the licensee and Federal, State and local emergency response personnel conduct an in-depth critique. Areas for improvement are noted and placed in the licensee corrective action system. Corrective action attention is a year round responsibility. Audits, Reviews, and Self Assessments: One element assuring corrective actions is the audit or program review process through which all emergency preparedness programs work. Program reviews (checks) range from one end of the spectrum to the other…from quarterly communications checks (internally and externally) and equipment/facility checks to independent program reviews of the EP program. Periodic (on a set schedule) tests of the prompt public notification system are also a part of this process. Audits are conducted by the licensee’s own quality assurance departments and inspections are conducted at various times by outside regulatory groups such as the NRC. These audits/inspections cover all aspects of the emergency preparedness program. In all cases, the associated emergency plans and procedures must be reviewed at least annually and revised as necessary. Licensee’s periodically self-assess their program elements. Frequently the licensee will request a subject matter expert from another department or licensee to participate in the self-assessment.
Critiques and Corrective Actions: Following each exercise or drill, the licensee and Federal, State and local emergency response personnel conduct an in-depth critique. Areas for improvement are noted and placed in the licensee corrective action system. Corrective action attention is a year round responsibility. Audits, Reviews, and Self Assessments: One element assuring corrective actions is the audit or program review process through which all emergency preparedness programs work. Program reviews (checks) range from one end of the spectrum to the other…from quarterly communications checks (internally and externally) and equipment/facility checks to independent program reviews of the EP program. Periodic (on a set schedule) tests of the prompt public notification system are also a part of this process. Audits are conducted by the licensee’s own quality assurance departments and inspections are conducted at various times by outside regulatory groups such as the NRC. These audits/inspections cover all aspects of the emergency preparedness program. In all cases, the associated emergency plans and procedures must be reviewed at least annually and revised as necessary. Licensee’s periodically self-assess their program elements. Frequently the licensee will request a subject matter expert from another department or licensee to participate in the self-assessment.
Emergency Response Training Annual training of company personnel (onsite and offsite) and training of non-company personnel (offsite at the local level) is conducted. This process is continual throughout the year. This element of emergency planning incorporates the following methods: classroom instruction; performance-based training, walk through for specific groups within certain emergency response facilities and between facilities; integrated drills; training drills; and medical drills. Emergency Planning Zones (EPZ) In 1978, a joint task force of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) developed the planning basis for offsite emergency preparedness efforts considered “necessary and prudent” for power reactor facilities. During the development of the planning basis, the task force received substantial input from other Federal agencies and the Inter-organizational Advisory Committee on Radiological Emergency Response Planning and Preparedness of the Conference of State Radiation Control Program Directors, which also included representatives of the National Association of State Directors for Disaster Preparedness and the U.S. Civil Defense Council. Subsequently, the planning basis has been adopted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which assumed the Federal lead role in offsite radiological emergency planning and preparedness responsibilities under order from President Carter in 1979. This planning basis continues today as the primary basis utilized by the Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee (FRPCC)1 with respect to coordinating all Federal responsibilities for assisting State and local governments in radiological emergency planning and preparedness activities. An important element of the planning basis developed by the NRC/EPA task force is that it defines the geographical area around nuclear power plants over which planning for predetermined actions should be carried out to protect public health and safety in the event of a radiological emergency at a nuclear power plant. In developing the planning basis, the task force did not attempt to define a single accident scenario. Rather, the task force considered a number of potential accidents, including the core-melt accident release scenarios of the Reactor Safety Study. The planning basis was related to two predominant pathways by which a population might be exposed to radiation released as the result of an accident. The two exposure pathways include the following: a. The plume exposure pathway includes direct exposure from radiation in a plume as it passes, as well as from radioactive material deposited on the ground or other surfaces. The pathway also includes exposure from inhalation of radioactive material in the passing plume. The recommended protective actions for the plume exposure pathway are evacuation from the area, or sheltering, if timely evacuation is not practical. More recently, the States are considering whether to include the distribution and use of potassium iodide to protect against exposure from radioactive iodine in the plume, as a supplement to evacuation and sheltering. b. The ingestion exposure pathway includes exposure from the consumption of contaminated water, milk, or foods. The recommended protective actions for the ingestion pathway include near-term actions, such as removing cows from pasture and putting them on stored feed supplies, as well as long-term actions such as monitoring and interdicting sources of water, milk and foods, as necessary to protect public health and safety. The areas, over which planning efforts are carried out, referred to as emergency planning zones (EPZs), are associated with the plume exposure pathway and the ingestion exposure pathway. The EPZs are defined as the areas for which planning is carried out to assure that prompt and effective actions can be taken to protect the public in the event of an accident. The two EPZs are discussed in more details below: a. The plume exposure EPZ includes a radius of 10 miles (more than 300 square miles) around the plant. The size of the plume exposure EPZ is based on the following conclusions by the NRC/EPA task force: Projected doses to the public from design basis accidents would not exceed Protective Action Guide (PAG) levels2 beyond the 10 mile zone;Projected doses from most core melt sequences would not exceed PAG levels beyond the 10 mile zone;For the worst-case core melt sequences, immediately life-threatening doses would generally not occur beyond the 10 mile zone;Detailed planning within the 10-mile zone would provide a substantial base to support the expansion of emergency response efforts in the event this proved necessary.
b. The ingestion exposure EPZ includes a radius of 50 miles (more than 2500 square miles) around the plant. The size of the ingestion exposure EPZ is based on the following conclusions by the NRC/EPA task force: The downwind range within which contamination might occur will generally not exceed PAG levels beyond the 50 mile zone because of wind shifts during the release and travel periods;There may be conversion of radioactive iodine suspended in the atmosphere during transit to chemical forms that do not readily enter the ingestion pathway;Much of the particulate material in a plume will have deposited on the ground during transit within the 50 mile zone; andThe small likelihood of exceeding ingestion pathway PAG levels at 50 miles is comparable to the small likelihood of exceeding plume exposure PAG levels at 10 miles.
The 10 and 50 mile EPZs are currently employed in nuclear power plant emergency preparedness programs as the basis for planning, testing and exercising predetermined emergency response capabilities.