U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Question 97: 10 CFR 20.1201 (b) refers to "doses received
during accidents, emergencies, and . . . ." Is there any
difference between an "accident" and an "emergency"?
Answer: Yes. An accident is an unexpected and
undesirable event. An emergency is a situation or
occurrence of a serious nature, developing suddenly and
unexpectedly, and demanding immediate action. Thus an
accident usually results in an emergency, but it is
possible to have an emergency without an accident (e.g.,
action taken in an emergency may prevent an accident). In
either case, licensees must account for doses received in
excess of the annual limits in either an accident or an
emergency, or both, in accordance with 10 CFR 20.1201 (b).
(Reference: 10 CFR 20.1201 (b)).