A significant change to emergency preparedness requirements at our nation’s nuclear power plants has just been completed – after many years and much public dialogue.
A large part of the final rule enhances a nuclear power plant’s response to possible hostile action events by making drill and exercise programs more challenging, changing the criteria for declaring emergencies and taking additional steps to protect workers, among other new requirements.
Additional changes include updating certain requirements, such as those related to public notification systems and evacuation planning.
The lengthy rulemaking process was closely coordinated with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and included input gathered from licensees, state, local, and tribal governments, and the public.
In conjunction with our new regulations, FEMA has also revised its Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Program Manual. The manual guides how offsite response organizations respond to radiological emergencies.
The final rule and related guidance can be found in the Federal Register notice scheduled to run tomorrow. To access these documents online, visit http://www.federalregister.gov//
But the publication of the rule is not the end. Beginning next week, the NRC and FEMA are planning to hold a series of public meetings throughout the winter to share information and answer questions about the rule and related guidance documents.
These meetings will offer opportunities for licensees and response organizations, such as local police and fire departments, to talk to NRC and FEMA staff. Members of the public can observe these meetings and will have a chance to ask questions. There will be one meeting in each of the four NRC regions and near NRC headquarters, in Rockville, Md.
Public meeting notices with more details about these meetings can be found on the NRC website. Meeting participants are encouraged to review the documents prior to the meetings. They all can be found in ADAMS under the following accession numbers:
• NRC Headquarters Public Meeting Notice (November 29 – December 1, 2011): ML113190452
• NRC Region I Public Meeting Notice (December 13 – 15, 2011): ML113190520
• NRC Region II Public Meeting Notice (January 31 – February 2, 2012): ML113190540
• NRC Region III Public Meeting Notice (January 10 –12, 2012): ML113190457
• NRC Region IV Public Meeting Notice (February 14 –16, 2012): ML113190565
• Quick Reference for Document Links: ML113080528Sara Mroz Emergency Preparedness Specialist