United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Question 407: (a) Does Part 20 apply to emergency response

personnel such as city fire fighters? (b) If Part 20 does

apply, would the radiation dose received by the workers be

considered to be an occupational dose or a public dose?

Answer: (a) No. As stated in 10 CFR 20.1001, "Purpose,"

Part 20 applies to activities conducted under licenses

issued by the NRC. Emergency response activities such as

fire fighting by employees of a city fire department are

not conducted under a license issued by the NRC (even when

the fire being fought is in a facility of an NRC licensee).

Furthermore, as stated in 10 CFR 21.1001, nothing in Part

20 shall be construed as limiting actions to protect health

and safety. Thus, Part 20 does not apply to emergency

response activities and workers such as fire fighting by

employees of a city fire department.

For NRC licensees, it is the Commission's intent that the

regulations be observed to the extent practicable during

emergencies, but that conformance with the regulations

should not hinder any actions that are necessary to protect

public health and safety such as lifesaving or maintaining

confinement of radioactive materials (56 FR 23365). Also,

for nuclear power reactor licensees, a different part of

the regulations, 10 CFR Part 50, includes a requirement, in

10 CFR 50.47 (b) (11), that the offsite emergency response

plans must include means for controlling radiological

exposure of emergency workers in an emergency. (Reference:

10 CFR 20.1001)

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012