Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is responsible for onsite emergency preparedness at the Nation’s commercial Nuclear Power Plants (NPP), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authority for offsite emergency planning and preparedness. Prior to the Three Mile Island incident in 1979, and the subsequent issuance of Executive Order 12128, full authority for nuclear preparedness rested with the NRC.
The assignment of offsite nuclear preparedness duties was consistent with FEMA’s statutory role in promoting, funding, coordinating, and providing technical assistance for disaster preparedness, as outlined in the Disaster Relief Act of 1974.
FEMA established the REP Program to manage its responsibility for Offsite Response Organizations' (ORO) emergency planning and preparedness in areas around commercial NPPs. The program coordinates the National effort to provide State, local, and Tribal governments with relevant and executable planning, training, and exercise guidance and policies necessary to ensure that adequate capabilities exist to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from incidents involving commercial NPPs.
The program assists State, local, and Tribal governments in the development and conduct of off-site radiological emergency preparedness activities within the emergency planning zones (EPZs) of NRC-licensed commercial nuclear power facilities.
The NRC Authorization Acts of 1980 directed the NRC to establish emergency preparedness as a criterion for licensing commercial NPPs. The Act prohibits the NRC from issuing an operating license for an NPP unless it finds that “there exists a State, local, or utility plan which provides reasonable assurance that public health and safety is not endangered by operation of the facility concerned.”
And, hence, the NRC is required to work hand-in-hand-with the FEMA REP Program.