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Highlights

GAO reported on the adequacy of federal, state, and local offsite emergency planning and preparedness for mitigating the consequences of a nuclear power plant accident.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status
Congress may wish to consider whether stronger central control of the federal response to a nuclear power plant emergency is needed to improve federal coordination in such an emergency. If such central control is to be established, any proposed legislation would need to designate a federal agency to exercise the control. The proposed legislation should also provide the controlling agency the authority to require periodic exercises of the federal response plan in each region in conjunction with state and local exercises.
Closed - Not Implemented

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Federal Emergency Management Agency 1. The Director, FEMA, and the Chairman, NRC, should undertake a comprehensive reassessment of their agreement covering state and local emergency planning and preparedness. The reassessment should identify one procedure and the requirements necessary for making consistent findings on offsite emergency planning and preparedness.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission 2. The Director, FEMA, and the Chairman, NRC, should undertake a comprehensive reassessment of their agreement covering state and local emergency planning and preparedness. The reassessment should identify one procedure and the requirements necessary for making consistent findings on offsite emergency planning and preparedness.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 3. The Director, FEMA, should, in consultation with states, develop minimum requirements for exercise scenarios and identify which elements of the federal criteria are most important and must be given priority in exercises.
Closed - Implemented
FEMA issued a guidance memorandum in January 1988 that prioritizes exercise objectives into three levels.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 4. The Director, FEMA, should develop and implement a program for verifying compliance with elements in the federal emergency preparedness criteria that are not tested in exercises.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 5. The Director, FEMA, should implement, once developed, an agencywide system for tracking all deficiencies identified in exercises until corrected.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 6. The Director, FEMA, should improve the process for: (1) reporting exercise results so states receive exercise evaluations in a more timely manner; and (2) obtaining schedules of corrective action from the states by ensuring that recently issued guidance is effectively implemented.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 7. The Director, FEMA, should issue final guidance for evaluating public alert and notification.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 8. The Director, FEMA, and the Chairman, NRC, should prepare scenarios for exercises of state and local plans as required by their regulations. However, if FEMA develops minimum requirements for exercise scenarios, as recommended, this should improve the scenarios prepared by states and utilities and could eliminate the need for FEMA and NRC to prepare scenarios. Under these circumstances, if states and utilities are allowed to continue preparing exercise scenarios, the Director, FEMA, and the Chairman, NRC, should develop procedures to receive and review them in a timely manner to ensure that they meet minimum requirements.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission 9. The Director, FEMA, and the Chairman, NRC, should prepare scenarios for exercises of state and local plans as required by their regulations. However, if FEMA develops minimum requirements for exercise scenarios, as recommended, this should improve the scenarios prepared by states and utilities and could eliminate the need for FEMA and NRC to prepare scenarios. Under these circumstances, if states and utilities are allowed to continue preparing exercise scenarios, the Director, FEMA, and the Chairman, NRC, should develop procedures to receive and review them in a timely manner to ensure that they meet minimum requirements.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 10. The Director, FEMA, and the Chairman, NRC, should undertake a comprehensive reassessment of their agreement covering state and local emergency planning and preparedness. The reassessment should establish and implement controls to ensure that NRC receives periodic status reports on the outstanding deficiencies in each offsite plan and exercise.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission 11. The Director, FEMA, and the Chairman, NRC, should undertake a comprehensive reassessment of their agreement covering state and local emergency planning and preparedness. The reassessment should establish and implement controls to ensure that NRC receives periodic status reports on the outstanding deficiencies in each offsite plan and exercise.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 12. The Director, FEMA, should work through the Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee to develop guidance for assessing public education in the 10-mile emergency planning zone of nuclear plants.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 13. The Director, FEMA, should work through the Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee to develop definitive federal guidance on potassium iodide use.
Closed - Implemented
Action was completed and verified.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 14. The Director, FEMA, should work through the Federal Radiologicial Preparedness Coordinating Committee to update and expand guidance on using radiation measurement instruments and interpreting the information obtained.
Closed - Implemented
FEMA developed seven guidance documents related to radiation measurement systems.
Federal Emergency Management Agency 15. The Director, FEMA, should work through the Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee to improve existing radiological emergency training for state and local officials.
Closed - Implemented
FEMA completed a study of the current levels of radiological training and an analysis of skills required by NUREG-0654/FEMA-REP-1.

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