Emergency Preparedness Around Nuclear Facilities

Gao ID: 109390 May 16, 1979

The recent accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear powerplant underscores the need for sound nuclear emergency preparedness at all government levels. Since 1973, three federal agencies have had primary planning and coordination responsibility for general civil emergency preparedness and response: the Federal Preparedness Agency, the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, and the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration. Under a planned executive order, these three agencies will be incorporated into the new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA brings together the federal responsibilities for peacetime and wartime emergency planning. However, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will retain its responsibility for assisting state and local governments develop plans for responding to emergencies around nuclear facilities unless FEMA assumes this responsibility through administrative action. As the focal point for federal emergency planning and preparedness activities, FEMA, not NRC, should make policy and coordinate radiological emergency response planning as a part of its overall emergency planning and preparedness activities.

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