1. Emergency plans must detail clearly and consistently the
actions public officials and utilities should take in the event of
off-site radiation doses resulting from release of radioactivity.
Therefore, the Commission recommends that:
a. Before a utility is granted an operating license for a
new nuclear power plant, the state within which that plant is to be
sited must have an emergency response plan reviewed and approved by
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The agency should
assess the criteria and procedures now used for evaluating state and
local government plans and for determining their ability to activate
the plans. FEMA must assure adequate provision, where necessary, for
b. The responsibility at the federal level for radiological
emergency planning, including planning for coping with radiological
releases, should rest with FEMA. In this process, FEMA should consult
with other agencies, including the restructured NRC and the
appropriate health and environmental agencies. (See recommendation
c. The state must effectively coordinate its planning with
the utility and with local officials in the area where the plant is to
d. States with plants already operating must upgrade their
plans to the requirements to be set by FEMA. Strict deadlines must be
established to accomplish this goal.
2. Plans for protecting the public in the event of off-site
radiation releases should be based on technical assessment of various
classes of accidents that can take place at a given plant.
a. No single plan based on a fixed set of distances and a
fixed set of responses can be adequate. Planning should involve the
identification of several different kinds of accidents with different
possible radiation consequences. For each such scenario, there should
be clearly identified criteria for the appropriate responses at
various distances, including instructing individuals to stay indoors
for a period of time, providing special medication, or ordering an
b. Similarly, response plans should be keyed to various
possible scenarios and activated when the nature and potential hazard
of a given accident has been identified.
c. Plans should exist for protecting the public at radiation
levels lower than those currently used in NRC-prescribed plans.
d. All local communities should have funds and technical
support adequate for preparing the kinds of plans described above.
3. Research should be expanded on medical means of
protecting the public against various levels and types of radiation.
This research should include exploration of appropriate medications that
can protect against or counteract radiation.
4. If emergency planning and response to a radiation-related
emergency is to be effective, the public must be better informed about
nuclear power. The Commission recommends a program to educate the public
on how nuclear power plants operate, on radiation and its health
effects, and on protective actions against radiation. Those who would be
affected by such emergency planning must have clear information on
actions they would be required to take in an emergency.
5. Commission studies suggest that decision-makers may have
over-estimated the human costs, in injury and loss of life, in many mass
evacuation situations. The Commission recommends study into the human
costs of radiation-related mass evacuation and the extent, if any, to
which the risks in radiation-related evacuations differ from other types
of evacuations. Such studies should take into account the effects of
improving emergency planning, public awareness of such planning, and
costs involved in mass evacuations.
6. Plans for providing federal technical support, such as
radiological monitoring, should clearly specify the responsibilities of
the various support agencies and the procedures by which those agencies
provide assistance. Existing plans for the provision of federal
assistance, particularly the Interagency Radiological Assistance Plan
and the various memoranda of understanding among the agencies, should be
reexamined and revised by the appropriate federal authorities in the
light of the experience of the TMI accident, to provide for better
coordination and more efficient federal support capability.