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

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We have identified a number of inadequacies with respect to procedures and programs to prevent or minimize hazards to health from radiation exposure from the operations of nuclear power plants. In setting standards for permissible levels of worker exposure to radioactivity in plant siting decisions, and in other areas related to health, the NRC is not required to, and does not regularly seek, advice or review of its health-related guidelines and regulations from other federal agencies with radiation-related responsibilities in the area of health, for example the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is inadequate knowledge of the effects of low levels of ionizing radiation, of strategies to mitigate the health hazards of exposure to radiation, and of other areas relating to regulation setting to protect worker and public health. In preparation for a possible emergency such as the accident at TMI-2, various federal agencies (NRC, Department of Energy, HEW, and EPA) have assigned responsibilities, but planning prior to the accident was so poor that ad hoc arrangements among these federal agencies had to be made to involve them and coordinate their activities.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, its Bureau of Radiation Protection and Department of Health -- agencies with responsibilities for public health -- did not have adequate resources for dealing with radiation health programs related to the operation of TMI. The utility was not required to, and did not, keep a record on workers of the total work-related plus non-work-related (for example, medical or dental) radiation exposure.

We make recommendations with respect to improving the coordination and collaboration among federal and state agencies with radiation-related responsibilities in the health area. We believe more emphasis is required on research on the health effects of radiation to provide a sounder basis for guidelines and regulations related to worker and public health and safety. We believe that both the state and the utility have an opportunity and an obligation to establish more rigorous programs for informing workers and the public on radiation health-related issues and procedures to prevent adverse health effects of radiation.