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Nuke Commission Updates Rules For Plant Emergencies

Photo: Eric Isselée

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved changes to the emergency preparedness regulation requirements for existing and nuclear power plants to come.

The changes place limitations on the duties of the plant’s on site emergency responders, avoiding overburdening during emergencies. Additionally, drills and exercise programs should now incorporate hostile-action-based scenarios. New measures will be taken to improve the alert and notification systems in place.

“Although there are likely to be lessons learned from Japan that will apply to emergency preparedness, I do not think that we need to wait to implement the many enhancements that this rule will provide,” said NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko.

Nuclear plants will be required to update their evacuation time estimates based on the lesser value of the U.S. census or when population change would increase the estimate by 25 percent or 30 minutes.

Rulings will be published in the Federal Register and become effective in 30 days.

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