RIS 01-016: Update of Evacuation Time Estimates

August 1, 2001


All holders of operating licenses for nuclear power plants.


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS) to alert addressees to the possible need to update emergency planning evacuation time estimates as the results of the year 2000 census are published. This RIS does not transmit any new requirements or staff positions. No specific action or written response is required.

Background Information

Addressees are required to follow and maintain in effect emergency plans which meet the standards in Section 10 CFR 50.47(b) and the requirements of 10 CFR Part 50 Appendix E. The requirements concerning emergency plan changes are found in Section 10 CFR 50.54(q). This regulation allows a licensee to change its emergency plan without Commission approval provided that the change does not decrease the effectiveness of the plan and the plan, as changed, continues to meet the planning standards of Section 10 CFR 50.47(b) and the requirements of 10 CFR Part 50 Appendix E. Updating evacuation time estimates would not be considered a decrease in the effectiveness of the emergency plan under Section 10 CFR 50.54(q) and licensees may update the estimates without prior Commission approval.

Additionally, Section IV.G of Appendix E requires licensees to have provisions in these emergency plans to ensure that the emergency plan and its implementing procedures are kept up to date and that emergency equipment and supplies are properly maintained. Since the emergency plan is contained in the Final Safety Analysis Report in accordance with 10 CFR 50 Appendix E Section III, the updating requirements of 10 CFR 50.71(e) apply.

Guidance on evacuation time estimates is in Section J.8, 10l, 10m, and Appendix 4 of NUREG-0654, "Criteria for Preparation and Evaluation of Radiological Emergency Response Plans and Preparedness in Support of Nuclear Power Plants." This guidance was endorsed by NRC Regulatory Guide 1.101, Rev 2. Additional information can be found in NUREG/CR-4831, "The State of the Art in Evacuation Time Estimate Studies for Nuclear Power Plants", March 1992.

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Summary of Issue

Recently published results of the year 2000 census show increases or decreases in population within the plume exposure pathway emergency planning zone around certain nuclear power facilities. Consequently, the estimated times for evacuation of the public could increase or decrease. Longer or shorter evacuation times in turn affect decisions about evacuating the public in the event of a radiological emergency. Therefore, decision makers may need updated estimates of how long it would take to evacuate the public.

Backfit Discussion

This RIS does not require any action or written response nor does it require any modification to plant structures, systems, components or design of facilities; therefore, the staff did not perform a backfit analysis.

Federal Register Notification

A notice of opportunity for public comment was not published in the Federal Register because this RIS is informational and pertains to a staff position that does not represent a departure from current regulatory requirements and practice.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

This RIS does not request any information collection.

If you have any question about this matter, please contact the person listed below or the appropriate Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) project manager.

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  /RA Frank P. Gillespie Acting for/

David B. Matthews, Director
Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Technical contact: Edwin F. Fox, Jr., NRR
E-mail: eff@nrc.gov
Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Regulatory Issue Summaries

(ADAMS Accession Number ML012070310)

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