Response to Hurricanes

a weather map image showing a hurricane just off the east coast of Florida

The NRC closely monitors tropical storms and hurricanes as they approach the U.S. mainland. If projections show possible storm impacts on a coastline within about five days, one or more of NRC's four Regional Offices (Region I in King of Prussia, PA; Region II in Atlanta, GA; Region III in Lisle, IL; and Region IV in Arlington, TX) will begin round-the-clock hurricane tracking using U.S. government (e.g. National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service) and commercial weather forecasting services.

NRC Regions located in the projected storm path will staff the Regional Incident Response Center and provide status updates on preparedness activities. To ensure continuous communications with all NRC-licensed facilities, NRC Regions will send staff to potentially affected sites to supplement NRC resident inspectors.

NRC staff head to relevant State Emergency Operations Centers about 48 hours before hurricane-force winds are expected to arrive at the licensee site. NRC Regional and Headquarters response personnel will be ready to respond to any storm-induced emergency. The agency also conducts additional testing of normal and backup communications channels during this time.

About 12 hours before hurricane-force winds could arrive at the licensee site, the NRC begins round-the-clock operations, with continuous status updates from all nuclear facilities in the hurricane's path. The NRC also maintains communications links with State emergency response officials and other Federal response agencies.

As the hurricane passes, the NRC maintains close contact with the licensee staff and with NRC inspection staff on site. Backup communications systems are available and used if necessary.

After the storm, the NRC helps assess any damage to the facility and, if necessary, responds to any storm-induced problems. NRC also works closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine when offsite emergency response organizations are ready to resume normal (day-to-day) response planning activities.