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Information Notice No. 92-08: Revised Protective Action Guidance for Nuclear Incidents
UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL SAFETY AND SAFEGUARDS WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 January 23, 1992 Information Notice No. 92-08: REVISED PROTECTIVE ACTION GUIDANCE FOR NUCLEAR INCIDENTS Addressees All fuel cycle and materials licensees authorized to possess large quantities of radioactive material. Purpose The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this information notice to notify addressees of recent revisions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Manual of Protective Action Guides and Protective Actions for Nuclear Incidents (PAG Manual). It is expected that recipients will review the information for applicability to their operations and consider actions, as appropriate, to update emergency response procedures. Suggestions contained in this information notice are not new NRC requirements, and no written response is required. Description of Circumstances On October 15, 1991, EPA revised Chapters 1, 2, and 5, and added a new Appendix C to its PAG Manual. The EPA's transmittal letter to emergency response planners is attached. EPA revised this manual to incorporate new dose units and to expand the scope of the manual to include nonreactor facilities, although the primary focus of the manual is still nuclear power reactors. Discussion The revisions update the PAG Manual in several important ways. The most important revision is the use of committed effective dose equivalent units, to express the protective action guides, instead of using whole-body dose units. This revision allows the use of a total dose that includes: 1) external exposure from airborne radioactive material; 2) internal exposure from inhaled airborne radioactive material; and 3) external exposure from radioactive materials deposited on the ground. Another important revision clarifies what offsite protective actions are most suitable. EPA emphasizes that, for most incidents, under normal conditions, evacuation of the public should be initiated at a projected dose of 1 rem. Sheltering the public may be used as an alternative to evacuation, under certain circumstances. 9201160195 . IN 92-08 January 23, 1992 Page 2 of 2 An important factor to consider when preparing for an emergency is that most incidents involving radioactive materials at nonreactor facilities are likely to occur quickly and with little warning. Therefore, any necessary offsite protective actions must be taken quickly to be effective. Usually, there will not be enough time for complicated dose projections or lengthy consultations, during an incident. Licensees should be prepared to recommend offsite protective actions to local officials immediately after an incident occurs. This can only be accomplished by evaluating potential consequences during the planning process and having preliminary recommendations for offsite protective actions ready for use before an incident occurs. Chapter 2 of the PAG Manual also provides guidance for controlling doses to emergency workers onsite and should be discussed with those offsite emergency workers (i.e., firemen, etc.) likely to respond to your facility during an emergency. Requests for copies of the PAG Manual can be directed to Allan C.B. Richardson (ANR-460), Office of Radiation Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. 20460. This information notice requires no specific action or written response. If you have any questions about the information in this notice, please contact one of the technical contacts listed below or the appropriate regional office. Richard E. Cunningham, Director Division of Industrial and Medical Nuclear Safety Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards Technical contacts: Kevin M. Ramsey, NMSS (301) 504-2534 W. Scott Pennington, NMSS (301) 504-2693 Attachments: 1. Letter from EPA Announcing Revision of the PAG Manual 2. List of Recently Issued NMSS Information Notices 3. List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices .
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