The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing rulemaking that would change the emergency preparedness requirements for:
  • Operating nuclear power plants;
  • New nuclear power plants that might be licensed and built in the future; and,
  • Research and test reactors.

Emergency preparedness has traditionally focused on nuclear safety-related scenarios, and the proposed rule is intended to enhance a nuclear reactor facility's on-site emergency responders' duties by including additional threat preparedness considerations. Changes in the proposed rule have been developed over time with input from the public, and are intended to address:

  • Preventing on-site emergency responders from becoming overburdened during an emergency event;
  • Protecting emergency responders and other plant personnel during a hostile action event;
  • Incorporating hostile action security scenarios into drills and exercises; and,
  • New back-up measures for alerting and notification systems.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is proposing parallel changes to its supporting emergency preparedness program guidance. Supplement 4 to a joint FEMA/NRC document will revise and add criteria for preparing and evaluating emergency response plans for nuclear reactors licensed by the NRC, and draft revisions of the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program Manual will provide guidance on the proposed changes in Supplement 4.

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on May 18 and can be viewed at:

Documents associated with the proposed changes, and instructions for submitting comments, may be found at: (Reference Docket Nos. NRC-2008-0122 and FEMA-2008-0022)

Comments may also be submitted as follows:

Mail to:
Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff
Washington, D.C. 20555-0001

Fax to: 301-492-3466

E-mail to:

This information is provided by the Radiation Control Program within the Department of Public Health.