Report Of The President's Commission On
The Accident At Three Mile Island           > TMI-2 > Kemeny

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The Accident


Commission Recommendations


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 multi-state planning.

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 A.4.)

c.  The state must effectively coordinate its planning with the utility and with local officials in the area where the plant is to be located.

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 evacuation.

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.