About NRC Emergency Response

The NRC responds to events involving facilities or material we license, when public health and safety could be affected. The NRC's incident response program relies on our Headquarters Operations Center (Rockville, MD) and four Regional Incident Response Centers (Region I in King of Prussia, PA; Region II in Atlanta, GA; Region III in Lisle, IL; and Region IV in Arlington, TX). The agency's response provides expert consultation, support, and assistance to State and local public safety officials responding to the event. Activating the NRC incident response program brings teams of specialists, as needed, to the Headquarters Operations Center and Regional Incident Response Centers. These teams obtain and evaluate event information, assessing the event's potential impact on public health and safety and the environment.

The NRC's experts analyze the licensee's plans and actions to respond to the incident. Other NRC experts evaluate protective actions to minimize the event's impact on public health and safety and the environment recommended by the licensee and taken by State and local officials. NRC staff and management at the Operations Center coordinate any needed communications with the news media, State, other Federal agencies, Members of Congress, and the White House.

The nation's Response and Recovery Federal Interagency Operational Plans (specifically the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex) lay out how the NRC acts as the Primary Authority for radiological events involving facilities and/or materials licensed under our regulations. As the Primary Authority, NRC takes the technical lead for the Federal government's response to the event. If the incident could affect the general public, the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may assume coordination of the federal response, while the NRC would remain the primary federal authority for onsite response. Besides FEMA, other Federal agencies responding to an NRC-related event could include the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of State.

The NRC maintains a cadre of well-trained individuals, including agency senior leaders and technical experts, who would assemble to provide oversight of the licensee's actions to respond to an event and to coordinate the NRC's response to an event. If it would be beneficial, the NRC can also send individuals to the site to provide additional oversight of the licensee's actions. The NRC provides 24-hour logistical and technical support throughout a response.

Some specific topics for Incident Response include:

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