United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 86-32: Request for Collection of Licensee Radioactivity Measurements Attributed to the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Accident

                                                           SSINS No:  6835 
                                                           IN 86-32        

                        PRIORITY ATTENTION REQUESTED

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
                           WASHINGTON, DC 20555

                                 May 2, 1986

Information Notice No. NO 86-32:   REQUEST FOR COLLECTION OF LICENSEE 
                                   RADIOACTIVITY MEASUREMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO 
                                   THE CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR PLANT ACCIDENT 

Addressees: 

All nuclear power reactor facility licensees holding an operating license 
(OL) or construction permit (CP) 

Purpose: 

The purpose of this information notice is to update licensees of the recent 
Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident and to request voluntary reporting of
any licensee environmental radioactivity measurement data probably caused by
that event 

In order to enhance the Federal and state monitoring programs, all nuclear 
power reactor facilities with on-going environmental monitoring programs are
requested to consider the NRC request to report confirmed anomalous 
environmental radioactivity measurements probably caused by radioactive 
material released in the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 
the USSR It is requested that recipients review the attached information 
and provide the environmental data discussed herein 

Description of Circumstances: 

Information issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning 
the recent reactor accident in Chernobyl, USSR is contained in Attachments 
1, 2 and 3 

In the week following the accident at Chernobyl, elevated levels of 
radioactivity have been detected in air, rainwater, soil and food in many 
European countries The radionuclides that have been detected in air in 
these countries include: I-131, Cs-137, Cs-134, Te-132, Ru-103, Mo-99, 
Np-239, and Nb-95 Although estimates of plume arrival time and location of 
entry into the continental United States are highly uncertain at this time, 
the plume may arrive in the Pacific Northwest United States during May 7-10, 
1986 

Discussion: 

It appears likely that radioactive material from the Chernobyl accident may 
arrive within the continental US in concentrations that are readily 
detectable In order to enhance nationwide environmental surveillance, the 
EPA (and some states) have increased the airborne monitoring sampling 
frequencies to be better able to detect any traces of the plume In order to
supplement and reinforce this state and federal nationwide surveillance 
program, the NRC licensees [as 


                                                            IN 86-32
                                                            May 2, 1986 
                                                            Page 2 of 2 

part of their routine Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP)] are requested 
to voluntarily provide the following information: 

1   Report to the NRC any anomalous environmental radiation or 
     radioactivity measurement that can be reasonably assumed to have 
     resulted from the Chernobyl accident These confirmed measurement 
     results from the licensee's routine EMP should be telephonically 
     reported to the NRC Operations Center (301-951-0550) within 24 hours of 
     determining that material from the accident has been measured 
     (Environment air sampling probably is the most sensitive and thus most 
     likely means of detecting the airborne materials Some other 
     less-sensitive potential means of detection may include personnel whole 
     body counting equipment) 

The reporting format should provide for: 

1   Sample date(s) and approximate locations(s) 
2   Medium or pathway (eg, air particulate, air charcoal, milk) 
3   Type of analysis (eg, gross beta, iodine-131, other gamma emitter) 
4   Statistical data (mean, range, number of samples) 

Any data provided by NRC licensees will be shared with appropriate federal 
agencies The NRC as part a combined Interagency Task Force is providing 
daily technical information reports to the Institute for Nuclear Power 
Operations (INPO) This updated technical information is available to member
utilities through INPO's Nuclear Network system Because the sensitivity and
broad scope of existing licensee programs, augmentation of the NRC licensee 
EMPs is not necessary 

Any anomalous detection of radioactive material should be evaluated in 
accordance with facility license, technical specifications and applicable 
regulations to assure that the detected materials are properly identified as
to source (eg, either plant operations or the Chernobyl Event) 

We appreciate your cooperation with us on this matter If you have any 
questions regarding this matter, please contact the Regional Administrator 
of the appropriate NRC regional office, or this office 

                                   Edward L Jordan, Director 
                                   Division of Emergency Preparedness 
                                     and Engineering Response 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Technical Contacts: James E Wigginton, IE 
                    (301) 492-4967 

                    Roger L Pedersen, IE 
                    (301) 492-9425 

Attachments: 
1   EPA Task Force Report (May 1, 1986) 
2   Talking Points (April 30, 1986) 
3   Fact Sheet (May 2, 1986) 
4   List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices 


                                                              Attachment 1
                                                              IN 86-32    
                                                              May 2, 1986 


EPA                            Soviet Nuclear
                                  Accident

               FOR RELEASE:  2:00 PM, THURSDAY, MAY 1, 1986

                             A Task Force Report

                            CONTACT:  DAVE COHEN 
                               (202) 382-4355

     On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency, which maintains the 
nation's radiation monitoring network, increased its sampling frequency for 
airborne radioactivity to daily  Results obtained thus far show no increase
in radioactivity above normal background levels  The Canadian air 
monitoring network has also increased its sampling frequency to daily  
Results there show no increase in radioactivity 

     The air mass containing the radioactivity from the initial Chernobyl 
nuclear event is now widely dispersed throughout northern Europe and Polar 
regions  Portions of radioactivity off the northwest Norwegian coast 
yesterday morning should continue to disperse with possible movement toward 
the east in the next several days  Other portions of the radioactive air 
mass may move eastward through the Soviet Union and through the Polar 
regions over the coming week 

     The Soviets have reported they have smothered the fire From our 
information it is not clear whether the fire is out or not  We also cannot 
confirm news reports of damage at a second reactor, but the second hot spot 
seen in the LANDSAT photos is not a reactor 

     The US government has offered to provide technical assistance to the 
Soviet Government to deal with the accident  On Wednesday afternoon, a 
senior Soviet official from their Embassy in Washington delivered a note to 
the Department of State expressing appreciation for our offer of assistance 
and stating that for the time being, assistance is not needed 

     At the present time, the U S Government has no data on radiation 
levels or contamination levels at any location within the Soviet Union  We 
also have no firm information concerning the number of casualties from the 
accident 

                                  (more)


                                     -2-

     The Department of State is not advising against travel to the Soviet 
Union, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe As a result of the nuclear accidents,
the State Department has issued a travel advisory recommending against 
travel to Kiev and adjacent areas We are largely dependent on the Soviets 
for information on conditions within the USSR and we are doing everything 
possible to obtain relevant information from Soviet authorities Americans 
planning travel to the Soviet Union and adjacent countries should carefully 
monitor press reports on this rapidly changing situation to make as fully 
informed a decision as possible with respect to their travel plans They 
should bear in mind that many of these countries have reported increased 
levels of radiation in the environment 

     The State Department Office of Legislative Affairs has commented that 
customary international law requires the Soviet Union to notify other 
States/Countries of the possibility of transboundary effects of the incident
and to furnish them with the information necessary to address those effects

     The White House has established an Interagency Task Force to coordinate
the Government's response to the nuclear reactor accident in Chernobyl The 
Task Force is under the direction of Lee M Thomas, Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency, with representatives from the White House, 
Department of State, EPA, Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Air Force,
Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Federal Emergency 
Management Agency, Department of Interior, Federal Aviation Administration, 
the US Public Health Service, and other agencies 

                                   # # #


                                                              Attachment 2 
                                                              IN 86-32    
                                                              May 2, 1986 

                               TALKING POINTS
                         CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR ACCIDENT
                               April 30, 1986

     o Late Friday, April 25, or early Saturday, April 26, a serious 
accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear facility near Kiev in the Soviet 
Union As a result of an apparent loss of reactor coolant, the facility 
experienced a core meltdown, explosion, and fire  Causes of the accident 
are not known 

     o The explosion and resulting fire released a plume of radioactive 
materials to the atmosphere  So long as the reactor core fire continues, 
radioactive gases will be given off 

     o The facility involved is a graphite-moderated, boiling-water-cooled, 
pressure-tube unit  It is one of four such units at Chernobyl  To our 
knowledge, only this one unit, known as Unit #4, is involved in the 
accident 

     o The initial plume traveled in a northwest direction toward 
Scandanavia  Predictions now suggest it will move in an eastward direction 
Radiation levels above normal background have been detected in Scandanavian 
countries  However, these levels pose no significant risk to human health 
or the environment 

     o The US government has made an offer of technical assistance to the 
Soviets  This good faith offer was made out of genuine concern for the 
health and safety of the Soviet people  The Soviet government responded 
April 30 that no foreign assistance is needed 

     o We have also requested specific information on the accident  To 
date, we have not received a full response to that request  This is also a 
matter of great concern to the United States 

     o The radiation plume emitted as a result of the Chernobyl accident 
will disperse over time throughout the Northern Hemisphere  Eventually, 
some radioactive contamination will reach the United States  However, based 
on the limited information we now have, there is no reason to believe that 
levels reaching this country will pose any significant risk to human health 
or the environment  Please see the accompanying fact sheet on radiation 
health effects for basic information on exposure 



     o It is very unlikely that any significant amounts of radiation from 
the accident will reach the US during the next few days  The 
Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Radiation Ambient Monitoring 
System --ERAMS -- is conducting daily sampling throughout the nation In 
addition to ambient air, the system also monitors radiation levels in 
drinking water, surface water, and milk 

     o The White House has established an interagency task force to monitor 
the health, safety and environmental consequences of the Chernobyl accident 
The task force is chaired by Lee Thomas, Administrator of the US 
Environmental Protection Agency  Members represent the following federal 
agencies: EPA, DOE, NRC, NOAA, HHS, USDA, DOD, DOT and others  On a daily 
basis, the task force compiles, evaluates, and widely distributes current 
technical information on the Chernobyl accident and its environmental and 
health consequences 


                                                               Attachment 3 
                                                               IN 86-31    
                                                               May 2, 1986 

                            Fact Sheet-Chernobyl
                               SOVIET NUCLEAR
                                  ACCIDENT

                FOR RELEASE: 2:00 P M, FRIDAY, MAY 2, 1986

                     CONTACT: DAVE COHEN (202) 382-4355

     Radiation monitoring networks in the United States and Canada are 
continuing to analyze for airborne radioactivity daily No increases in 
radioactivity above normal background levels have been detected in either 
country Canadian officials intend to increase the sampling frequency of 
their milk monitoring network, which consists of 16 stations near population
centers in southern Canada, to weekly beginning next week 

     It is believed that air containing radioactivity now covers much of 
Europe and a large part of the Soviet Union The distribution of 
radioactivity is likely to be patchy Air containing radioactivity detected 
by aircraft at 5000 feet about 400 miles west of northern Norway is believed
to have moved westward and now appears to be heading south or southeastward 
perhaps to return to western Europe There is no independent confirmation of
the radioactivity in the air moving eastward across Asia 

     (A weather map should be attached to today's Task Force Report If you 
do not have a copy, it can be picked up in the EPA press office, room 311, 
West Tower, 401 M St, SW (202) 382-4355) 

     Environmental monitoring data have been provided by the Swedish 
government for the Stockholm area for April 28-30 Extrapolations of those 
data suggest that radiation exposure levels at the Chernobyl site would have
been in a range from 20 rem to hundreds of rem whole-body for the two-day 
period over which most of the radiation release probably took place 
Radiation doses for the thyroid gland have been estimated to be in a range 
from 200 rem to thousands of rem for the same period These doses are 
sufficient to produce severe physical trauma including death It should be 
emphasized that these are estimates subject to considerable uncertainty The
US has as yet no information from the Soviet Union as to actual radiation 
levels experienced at the accident site 



                                     -2-

     The Soviets have reported they have smothered the fire We still cannot
confirm that the reactor fire in unit 4 has been extinguished There is 
evidence that the reactor or associated equipment continues to smolder We 
also cannot confirm news reports of damage at a second reactor, but the 
second hot spot seen in the LANDSAT photos is not a reactor 

     Based on the fact that no harmful levels of radioactivity are expected 
to reach the continental United States, it is highly unlikely that potassium
iodide (KI) will be needed to minimize the uptake of radioactive iodine from
the Russian nuclear power plant accident KI, although relatively harmless, 
has been associated with certain allergic reactions; thus, since the use of 
KI is not without some risk to the population, the US Public Health 
Service recommends against taking KI as a precautionary measure Federal 
authorities do not believe there is any reason for concern at this time 
about the safety of either our domestic food or drug supplies Nor should 
there be concern over imported products already in the United States or on 
their way to the United States at the time of the nuclear accident in the 
Soviet Union 

     The State Department is continuing efforts to obtain relevant 
information from Soviet authorities on the nuclear accident and the 
potential health dangers that might be posed to individuals in the Soviet 
Union and adjacent countries State has noted, for example, recent 
statements issued by Polish authorities concerning public health 
precautionary measures 

     The State Department is seeking more information from all the 
governments in the region The US is sending experts to potentially 
affected areas for medical consultation and to provide relevant expertise on
which to make appropriate recommendations with regard to the health of 
American citizens 

     With the limited data at hand, the Departments of State and Health and 
Human Services have issued an advisory against travel to Kiev and adjacent 
areas To minimize possible exposure to radioactive contamination, we also 
suggest that those in Eastern Europe avoid milk and other dairy products In
addition, State is recommending that women of child-bearing age and children
should not travel to Poland until the situation is clarified 

     The State Department is receiving reports from our European embassies, 
based on their discussions with local officials, as to the impact of the 
accident and local reactions to it We are still not receiving the necessary
technical information from the Soviets on the details of the accident 



                                     -3-

     The White House has established an Interagency Task Force to coordinate
the Government's response to the nuclear reactor accident in Chernobyl The 
Task Force is under the direction of Lee M Thomas, Administrator of the 
Environmental Protection Agency, with representatives from the White House, 
Department of State, EPA, Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Air Force,
Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Federal Emergency 
Management Agency, Department of Interior, Federal Aviation Administration, 
the US Public Health Service, and other agencies 

                                   # # # 

PLEASE NOTE:  THE EPA PRESS OFFICE WILL BE OPEN OVER THE WEEKEND FOR 
UPDATING HOURS WILL BE FROM 10am TO 2PM 202-382-4355 

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