Information Notice No. 87-54: Emergency Response Exercises

                                                        SSINS No.:  6835
                                                            IN 87-54

                                  UNITED STATES
                          NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                             WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                                October 23, 1987

Information Notice No. 87-54:  EMERGENCY RESPONSE EXERCISES


All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power 


This information notice is being provided to remind addressees of flexibility 
that exists in certain requirements contained in emergency planning rules.  It 
is expected that recipients will review the information for applicability to 
their program.  However, suggestions contained in this information notice do 
not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written 
response is required.  

Description of Circumstances:

To satisfy the current requirements of 10 CFR 50.47 and 10 CFR Part 50, Appen-
dix E, each licensee must annually exercise its emergency plan.  In addition, 
each licensee is required to exercise with offsite authorities such that the 
State and local government emergency plans are exercised biennially.  
Currently there are no specific requirements which address whether each 
exercise scenario must lead to the declaration of a General Emergency.  
However, perhaps as a carryover from the previous requirements for annual 
State and local exercises, almost all exercise scenarios are planned to 
progress to a General Emergency condition.  


While it may be appropriate for biennial offsite exercises to proceed to a 
General Emergency declaration, exercises other than biennial offsite exercises 
(off-year exercises) are not required to proceed to severe core damage.  Such 
exercises can provide an opportunity for more realistic emergency response 
training and evaluation of licensee staff.  For example, before severe core 
damage would be expected to occur, the operating staff may be given the oppor-
tunity to diagnose and attempt to correct the problem through an interactive 
scenario.  In addition, some exercise scenarios may be designed with 
initiating events at the Alert or Site Area Emergency classification.  Since 
actual events may go directly to these higher level classifications without 

                                                    IN 87-54
                                                            October 23, 1987
                                                            Page 2 of 2

through each emergency class, advance opportunity to activate response facili-
ties may not occur.  The flexibility within the requirements allows for the 
development of other realistic scenarios which, in turn, can improve emergency 
response capability.  

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix E, Section IV.F.3.f, states that "licensees shall 
enable any State or local government located within the plume exposure pathway 
EPZ to participate in annual exercises when requested by such State or local 
government."  To satisfy this requirement, it may be necessary for licensees 
to develop an exercise scenario which provides opportunities to test the 
appropriate aspects of the offsite response plan.  Such participation may need 
to be negotiated between the licensee and the offsite authorities.  

Licensees that have conducted realistic and interactive exercises have identi-
fied and corrected weaknesses in their ability to respond to such simulated 
onsite events as fire, loss of electrical power, and equipment failure.  The 
response of personnel and availability and utilization of alternate equipment 
to mitigate simulated severe off-normal plant conditions have been challenging 
and have led some licensees to conduct further training and provide added 
procedures and support equipment.  In addition, interactive exercises can 
provide a training opportunity for personnel that would be called upon to make 
strategic decisions in areas that are not addressed by existing procedures.  

Licensees and applicants may wish to consider incorporating these concepts in 
planning and conducting off-year emergency response exercises.  

The revision to the exercise frequency requirements of 10 CFR Part 50, 
Appendix E has been previously discussed in Information Notice No. 85-55, 
"Revised Emergency Exercise Frequency Rule."

No specific action or written response is required by this information notice.
If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the technical 
contact listed below or the Regional Administrator of the appropriate regional

                              Charles E. Rossi, Director
                              Division of Operational Events Assessment
                              Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Technical Contact:  Cheryl A. Sakenas, AEOD
                    (301) 492-9004

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices

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