Emergency Planning:

Federal Involvement in Preparedness Exercise at Shoreham Nuclear Plant

RCED-87-45: Published: Dec 2, 1986. Publicly Released: Dec 24, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) responsibility for evaluating the off-site emergency response test at the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station.

GAO found that: (1) FEMA does not have permanent statutory responsibility to review a utility's off-site emergency response plan or assess an exercise that a utility conducts; (2) FEMA agreed to review the utility's emergency response plan and monitor the exercise under a memorandum of understanding with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), but would not make a finding on off-site preparedness; and (3) because the state and local governments would not participate in the test, FEMA could not measure their capabilities and preparedness, and its report contained only an evaluation of the actual exercise. Although FEMA cited five deficiencies that could cause a finding of inadequate off-site emergency preparedness, the legal authority issue, which arose because there was no state and local participation, overshadowed these deficiencies. NRC stated that it would use the information in the same manner as a report with an overall negative finding.

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