United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
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About Emergency Preparedness

A key component of the mission of the NRC is to ensure adequate protective actions are in place to protect the health and safety of the public. Protective actions are taken to avoid or reduce radiation dose and are sometimes referred to as protective measures.

The overall objective of Emergency Preparedness (EP) is to ensure that the nuclear power plant operator is capable of implementing adequate measures to protect public health and safety in the event of a radiological emergency. As a condition of their license, operators of these nuclear power plants must develop and maintain EP plans that meet comprehensive NRC EP requirements. Increased confidence in public protection is obtained through the combined inspection of the requirements of emergency preparedness and the evaluation of their implementation.

The NRC maintains oversight of the capability of nuclear power plant operators to protect the public by conducting thorough inspections. The NRC maintains four regional offices (Region I in King of Prussia, PA; Region II in Atlanta, GA; Region III in Lisle, IL; and Region IV in Arlington, TX) that implement the NRC's inspection program. In addition to these region-based inspectors, the NRC places "resident inspectors" at each of the nation's operating nuclear plants to carry out the inspection program on a day-to-day basis.

The NRC assesses the capabilities of the nuclear power plant operator to protect the public by requiring the performance of a full-scale exercise at least once every two years that includes the participation of government agencies. These exercises are performed in order to maintain the skills of the emergency responders and to identify and correct weaknesses. They are evaluated by NRC inspectors and FEMA evaluators. Between these two-year exercises, additional drills are conducted by the nuclear power plant operators that are evaluated by NRC inspectors.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, September 26, 2014