Information Notice No. 92-08: Revised Protective Action Guidance for Nuclear Incidents

                                UNITED STATES
                          WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555 

                              January 23, 1992 

                                   NUCLEAR INCIDENTS 


All fuel cycle and materials licensees authorized to possess large 
quantities of radioactive material. 


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 


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. 


                                                       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 

                                   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 

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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