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Radiation Emergencies
Emergency Response:

Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex to the NRF

Emergency Preparedness
and Response

The Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex to the National Response Framework describes the organization and responsibilities of federal agencies during responses to incidents involving radioactive materials. During the response to a nationally significant incident, the actions described in the Annex may be implemented as part of the National Response Framework. They may also be implemented independently for incidents that are not considered to be of national significance. The Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex is available as part of the NRF from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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When the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex Is Used

The annex applies to incidents involving the release or potential release of radioactive material that poses an actual or perceived hazard to public health, safety, national security, and/or the environment. This includes many types of incidents:

The level of federal response to a specific incident is based on many factors:

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How Leadership Is Assigned under the Annex

The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for the overall coordination of the federal response to all nuclear or radiological Incidents of National Significance, including those involving terrorism. Other agencies are assigned by the Annex to one of two levels of participation during radiation incidents. They are either the Coordinating Agency or a Cooperating Agency.

During a response to a nationally significant incident, both Coordinating and Cooperating Agencies provide technical expertise, specialized equipment, and personnel to support of the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for overall coordination of incident management activities.

Coordinating Agencies under the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex (Source: NRF, June 2008)

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Type of Incident Coordinating Agency

a. Radiological terrorism incidents (e.g., RDD, IND or radiological exposure device):

  1. Material or facilities owned or operated by DOD or DOE
  1. DOD or DOE
  1. Material or facilities licensed by NRC or Agreement State
  1. NRC
  1. All others
  1. DOE
b. Nuclear facilities:
  1. Owned or operated by DOD or DOE
  2. Licensed by NRC or Agreement State
  3. Not licensed, owned, or operated by a federal agency or an Agreement State, or currently or formerly licensed facilities for which the owner/operator is not financially viable or is otherwise unable to respond
  1. DOD or DOE
  2. NRC
  3. DOE
c. Transportation of radioactive materials:
  1. Materials shipped by or for DOD or DOE
  2. Shipment of NRC or Agreement State-licensed materials
  3. Shipment of materials in certain areas of the costal zone that are not licensed or owned by a federal agency or Agreement State
  4. All others
  1. DOD or DOE
  2. NRC
  4. EPA
e. Foreign unknown or unlicensed materials:
  1. Incidents involving foreign or unknown sources of radioactive material in certain areas of the coastal zone*
  2. All others
  2. EPA
f. Nuclear weapon accident/incident (based on custody at time of event) DOD or DOE
Other types of incidents not addressed above DHS designates

*Certain areas of the coastal zone is defined by the National Contingency Plan to include the following:

EPA is the coordinating agency for responses in areas of the coastal zone other than those defined above as certain areas of the coastal zone.

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