EM Forum Presentation — July 11, 2012

New Requirements for Radiological Preparedness
Implementation of the NRC Emergency Preparedness Rule
and the FEMA REPP Manual

Robert Kahler
Chief, Emergency Preparedness Inspection and Regulatory Improvements Branch
U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Patricia Gardner
Project Manager, REP Program Manual
Program Specialist, Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program

Technological Hazards Division, FEMA

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

This transcript contains references to slides which can be downloaded from http://www.emforum.org/vforum/FEMA/REPprogram.pdf
A video recording of the live session is available at http://www.emforum.org/pub/eiip/lm120711.wmv
An audio podcast is available at http://www.emforum.org/pub/eiip/lm120711.mp3

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone and welcome to EMForum.org. We are very glad you could join us today. I am Amy Sebring and will serve as your Moderator.

Today we are going to learn about some recent changes to Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules pertaining to emergency preparedness for radiological incidents associated with nuclear facilities and FEMA Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program requirements.

As mentioned in our announcement, the new rules went into effect last December 23rd, and are currently in the process of being implemented. A series of forums and workshops have been held around the country to answer questions and resolve issues and I expect we will be hearing about that effort as well. Please note there are several related links on our Background Page that you can check out later.

[Slide 1]

Now it is my pleasure to welcome and introduce our two distinguished guest speakers:

Robert Kahler serves as Branch Chief of the NRC's Emergency Preparedness Inspection and Regulatory Improvements Branch where he is responsible for maintaining oversight of the emergency preparedness rule implementation effort and inspection program. Mr. Kahler has over 33 years of extensive experience in nuclear power encompassing the areas of emergency preparedness, Pressurized Water Reactor operations, and licensed operator training.

We do have a substitution for Timothy Greten this morning. We are very pleased to welcome Patricia Gardner who is the Project Manager for the REP Program Manual and I’m sure she is extremely knowledgeable about that topic.

Welcome to you both, and thank you very much for taking the time to be with us today. I now turn the floor over to Bob to start us off please.


Robert Kahler: Thank you, Amy, for that kind introduction. I am Bob Kahler and I’m Chief of the Inspection and Regulatory Improvement Branch here at NRC Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. By the title alone it identifies that my branch is responsible for developing regulation and guidance documents that would accompany those regulations.

I also have underneath my purview the inspection program which is the inspection performance indicators and enforcement activities related to commercial nuclear power plants in the emergency preparedness areas. I like to say that not only do I write the laws but I enforce the law at the same time with the area of EP at commercial nuclear power plants.

[Slide 2]

The topics for today’s presentation—my objective today is to provide a background on the EP rule and how it was developed and then to go forward and explain the rule topics themselves and what was changed in the area of EP regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 50, and also to present the supporting guidance documents to assist inspectors and industry and other stakeholders on how to interpret the regulation and how to implement the regulation.

[Slide 3]

First of all, a brief background of the EP rulemaking—this rulemaking was initiated several years ago post 9/11. It was initiated in order to review and to evaluate what could be enhanced in EP regulations as a result of the change in the post 9/11 threat environment that was previously not fully understood prior to that event.

As a result of that we had enhancements that were made and issued in 2005 in the form of a bulletin. Those enhancements eventually ended up getting into rule language (I’ll discuss that later). Also, we saw it as a great opportunity as we are going to go through a major undertaking of EP regulation enhancements to perform a comprehensive review of all EP regulations.

This is the first time this sort of detailed analysis of EP regulations occurred since Three Mile Island and it also addressed a few other issues. There has been a very large outreach effort in this rulemaking both before and after issuance of the proposed rule—most significantly from 2005 to 2008 and ending with a 150 day comment period.

During the comment period we held twelve public meetings at six different locations nationwide—here at NRC headquarters in Rockville, near to each of our NRC regional offices and also once in Florida tapping into an NEI forum that was occurring at the same time. A very large number of comments were submitted to both the NRC and FEMA during the 150 day public comment period.

The NRC received approximately 700 comments. All of these comments were considered and where appropriate changes were made and the comment resolution document was issued with the rule. As another outreach effort the draft final rule language and the guidance draft documents were made publicly available while the final administrative steps were completed in order to provide the industry and other stakeholders insights as to what was being provided to our five body commission for their approval.

[Slide 4]

EP rule background continuing. This slide shows two different bar charts. In traditional rulemaking, as illustrated by the upper timeline, there would have been only one formal opportunity for stakeholders to comment and that would have been a public comment period in which we would place the rule on the federal register and seek formal comments. This rulemaking however, shown on the lower timeline, offered many more opportunities for stakeholder participation.

Although we realize this increased the time to get the rulemaking out and finalized this increased transparency and public involvement was seen to be a significant plus on gathering insight into the rule language, implementation dates and also we are proud to say that our process was one of the processes used for current initiatives at NRC as how to do rulemaking in the future and how to engage external stakeholders from the NRC.

We believe we were on the cutting edge of it although it took quite a while—six years actually from the time we initiated what we considered to be our rulemaking process until the rule was issued in 2011. We thank anybody in our audience today who had the opportunity to review and provide us a comment. We do appreciate all comments we receive.

[Slide 5/6]

This is a table of the rule changes themselves. We identify in this table by topics. This doesn’t actually identify the regulations that were changed. That you will find in the final rule in the final register notice. This table gives twelve topical for the changes that were made in the rule and their associated guidance documents that were published with them.

The first six, one through six topics, were related to the post 9/11 enhancements and review that we did. Topics seven through eleven were a result of that comprehensive review—not a direct result of 9/11. The last one was an administrative rule topic. I can get into that briefly at the end.

The first rule topic—On-shift Multiple Responsibilities—was a change in which we are now requiring licensees to perform an analysis of their on-shift staff. That is staff that is there twenty-four seven on Christmas Eve, so on and so forth—to confirm that staffing level will be adequate to implement the emergency response functions.

We have outlined in our guidance document to them what types of events they are supposed to analyze and to give consideration to their current staffing levels and to essentially at the end of that analysis to adjust as necessary.

The next topical area—Number 2: Emergency Action Levels for hostile action—this actually was in the bulletin that was issued in 2005. As a result of it all industry licensees had taken the emergency action levels that were in that bulletin and incorporated that into their emergency action level scheme. This would be things such as a hostile action occurring at the site, whether that be airborne, land-borne or waterborne—what type of classification it would be in the various levels of plant control that were maintained during the hostile action. These EALs were in place essentially at the time the rule was published but it codified the requirements so that any future sites would be required to incorporate these EALs.

On the next topical area—Number 3: Emergency Response Organization Augmentation and Alternative Facilities—this is really related to occurrence during a hostile action event. One of our reviews identified the fact that if a hostile action event was actually occurring at a plant site that the augmented emergency response organization that would be coming toward the site to aid in whatever type of event that was occurring, probably wouldn’t be a good idea to have them enter the site during a hostile action. We are requiring an alternative facility for them to go to and also some functional capabilities at that alternative facility.

The next topical area—Number 4: Licensee Coordination with Offsite Response Organizations—it is also for hostile action based events. This was such that the licensee was to be able to identify and provide a description of the LLEA resources, the offsite resources, that would respond to a plant site during a hostile action event such that these resources, that would respond to a plant site, were being considered by the outside agencies and also the consideration of how they would be able to implement the emergency plan response, such as a fire brigade firefighting, or maybe in the areas of traffic control, set up of evacuation centers and so forth.

Protection for Onsite Personnel is topic Number 5. This adds consideration for protective action for personnel during a hostile action, essentially telling them that during a hostile action event they have to be able to provide protection for onsite personnel, in particular those personnel that would be needed to safely shut down a reactor and place it in a cold shut down condition.

The next one—Challenging Drills and Exercises, the last one associated with 9/11—the major change that was done there was to include a hostile action event based scenario during a biennial evaluative exercise. This has to occur once every exercise cycle. To also state the exercise cycle was expanded from six year to eight years to provide additional time to conduct these new scenarios.

Another type of scenario we want the licensee (and I must stress the licensee is required to conduct during a biennial evaluative exercise) is a no-release or minimal release scenario. This was specifically directed by our commission because they wanted to ensure that no preconditioning occurred of the onsite ERO members such that they knew that the scenario would eventually progress to a general emergency with a radiological release and with protective action recommendations being necessary.

We have done that for the past odd 30 years and they felt like it was now time to start looking back and say that we may have provided some negative training in that it is the direction every radiological event would take so you take actions to be in a position prior to that occurring. We wanted to include a scenario where that may not be the case and how would our licensees would respond. We want to be able to evaluate that.

The third type of new scenario that was provided for was a rapidly escalating exercise to a site area emergency as a minimum. If they get to a site area and a scenario called for a general emergency—to escalate to that emergency in 30 minutes. That was to be able to evaluate the response capabilities of the emergency response organization.

In addition to that we identified certain performance elements that we wanted the ERO to demonstrate and that also we added that scenarios for exercises must be submitted to NRC for review. I’ll stress that is a review and not an approval—just for us to have a look at it and to ensure that we are in agreement with the scenario and if not, that we will provide comment back to the licensee. Of course it is the licensee’s scenario to do with it as they see fit and also for offsites and FEMA to conduct their portion of the exercise.

Topic Number 7 is part of a comprehensive review—Backup Means for Alert and Notification Systems. This codifies a new requirement that licensees need to demonstrate. Not that they are in charge of making the actual physical changes, which most often they are, but that the backup capability exists and that back up capability is of course evaluated by FEMA.

This is to provide an independent means of being able to alert and notify the public within a ten mile emergency planning zone other than the primary method. It is not to replace the primary method or have the same capabilities as the primary method but it is to have some sort of backup system in place to both alert and notify.

The next topical area is Emergency Declaration Timeliness. This is something we struggled with at the NRC for awhile—a requirement of how quickly a licensee must be able to declare an event. We’ve always talked to a reasonable time of fifteen minutes. Now we have codified a fifteen minute capability requirement. I have to say that is a capability not a performance requirement.

What we look at is how well a licensee from the time they receive indication that would have thrust them into a declaration, how long it takes them to get to the end point of declaring an event. That process should take them no longer than fifteen minutes.

It is really a process type of capability. During an actual emergency if they take eighteen or twenty minutes we evaluate that on a case by case basis and determine whether or not it was reasonable for them to take that time period in order to declare the emergency.

Emergency Operations Facility—item Number 9—that is we are now looking at the performance based approach to our licensees EOF. That is the facility that is the liaison between the onsite activities with the offsite activities. This is normally where the protective action recommendations are developed. This establishes performance requirements for the EOFs rather than a brick and mortar type of requirement for the EOF.

Evacuation Time Estimate Updating is Number 10. This item codifies requirements that licensees keep their EPs updated regarding population changes. This is for every ten years as a minimum with the census, and to also perform an annual screening of the ETE changes as a result of population changes.

All updates must be submitted to the NRC and also to the offsite organizations so they are aware of changes in the evacuation time estimates that the licensee is required to develop. This is also to be incorporated into part of their protective action recommendation strategy evacuation time estimates. This is only really for the impacts of the PARs. It may be that the ETEs, even if they have changed, they do not impact PAR strategy.

The last one, as far as comprehensive review, actual rule changes and Amended Emergency Change Process—this is the NRC telling licensees that you can make changes to your emergency plan as long as it doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of the plan. We gave a lot more clarifying statements within the regulation that was out there in the guidance area but needed to be provided directly in the regulatory regime.

The last item is removal of completed one-time requirements. Most of these were administrative requirements post TMI. They are now moot from these items such as having to submit an emergency plan by December 31, 1981. Obviously that has all occurred and that regulation no longer has any enforcement or compliance requirements associated with it. That is why we took the opportunity to get some of the regulations off the book.

[Slide 7]

The guidance documents that accompany this rule—there are four of them: NUREG/CR-7002 which means it was developed by a contract overseen by the NRC is the criteria for development of evacuation time estimates. This provided technical guidance for what would be an acceptable approach for performing an ETE analysis. We now make them update their ETE every so often. We wanted to provide them some guidance on how exactly they should be doing that ETE analysis so we created this thing—NUREG.

The second item is regulatory guide 1.219. This goes back to that amended emergency change process basically outlining to them what we believe the process should look like.

NSIR/DPR-ISG-01—a lot of letters and a number in there—that is our interim staff guidance document. That’s why you see ISG in there for interim staff guidance. It is basically a catch all for guidance on rulemaking topics that didn’t warrant a dedicated regulatory guide or NUREG.

Ultimately this guidance is going to be incorporated into other regulatory documents including our current project to revise NUREG-0654/FEMA-REP-1. But this interim staff guidance document is meant to provide guidance on all rulemaking topics that are provided in other guidance documents.

Then we are also looking at supplement three. We did look at supplement three—NUREG-0654/FEMA-REP-1. This is a document on how to develop a protective action recommendation and this was in a draft form at the time. It was not finalized. We have now finalized that document. What you will find in that document is now an analysis of those strategies, ETEs and public communications enhancements.

[Slide 8]

Getting near to the end of my presentation, I would like to say as Amy said at the beginning that the EP rule was actually published in the Federal Register on November 23, 2011 and became effective on December 23, 2011. Following that effective date of December 23 there are various implementation dates for the various topics and they all differ.

This eye chart I provided for you on slide eight and slide nine identify the implementation dates for each one of those eleven rulemaking topics—it doesn’t identify administrative topic number twelve because I didn’t view it as needing any implementation associated with it.

[Slide 9]

You’ll see there’s a note at the bottom of the table that talks about those applications we received, and whether or not they are going to receive a license prior to December 23, 2013 or whether they are still in an application process prior to that date, and what they need to do in order to incorporate the new regulation.

[Slide 10]

I’d like to end my presentation a little bit by saying that part of our public outreach that continued after we implemented the new rule is to develop a frequently asked question process which is available on our public website. [http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/emerg-preparedness/faq.html]

Anybody can submit a question about the guidance documents that accompany the EP rule for clarification on issues. It is not meant to give comments on the rule—it is meant to ask questions about the rule. If you care to seek more about how to implement the process you can contact Mike Morris. He is the team leader in charge of the FAQ process.

[Slide 11]

As I conclude, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to provide you this short and brief background presentation on EP rule regulation. You see my phone number (301-415-7528) and email address [robert.kahler@nrc.gov] on here.

If you have any questions about the regulations or guidance documents or anything you would like to discuss with me, feel free to contact me. At this time I conclude my presentation and turn it over to Patty Gardner of FEMA who will give you the FEMA side of what occurred during this time period.

[Slide 12]

Patricia Gardner: Thanks, Bob, I appreciate your brief. Bob and I have been doing this for the past year. I have been working with Bob directly and I really appreciate his brief. I am going to follow up on a lot of things he said in regards to our guidance document that we put out—the REP program manual that came out at the same time and was very closely related to the EP rule that Bob just spoke about.

[Slide 13]

Today I want to talk about the REP Program Manual itself. Let me step back and introduce myself since I am obviously not Tim Greten, the Deputy Director. My name is Patricia Gardner and I am the Project Manager for the REP Program Manual itself. I have been working at FEMA for five years.

I came on board and they handed me the program manual and I was really excited to get that because it is really the one source that has all our guidance in it. It has been a great project to work on. So recently in April we sent out an update to what we sent out in October.

Since our document is very fluid and it is a guidance document we are able to send out updates as they become pertinent. In April we updated that and you can get that on our website. I’ll talk about where you can get a copy of our manual at the end of my presentation.

The REP program manual is a single source document that provides contemporary REP guidance. What we mean by contemporary REP guidance is—a lot of the documents we had been working from for the past 30 years had been piecemeal—a memo here and there, a guidance document here and a NUREG added other entities into that.

We put everything together so you would have a one-stop book to see what is the federal standard and guidance on radiological emergency preparedness around commercial nuclear power plants. The manual really goes into detail in part two about amplifying the planning standards that you can find in NUREG 0654. I apologize for the typo in that slide title—it is supposed to be 0654/FEMA-REP-1.

This book also aligns FEMA outside activities with NRC regulations and everything Bob just went through and talked about—we piggyback on that and talk more about how the states and local communities and local emergency management offices can respond to an incident at a nuclear power plant.

[Slide 14]

Some major changes that have occurred over the past ten years that enable us to update our program were obvious things to many of us in the emergency management community—things such as NIMS and the National Response Framework. HSEEP was a very big thing that came out that really solidified what we do here at the REP program with our exercises and things like that because we are already doing the things that are in HSEEP.

Transitioning into using the terminology from HSEEP really wasn’t a difficult process for us. Other things such as CPG-101—PKEMRA of course was a very big change in some of the things we had going on. We had to focus on specific items such as special needs and household pets, and things like that, which we are still trying to work out some of the kinks with.

Other programmized changes such as scenario enhancements when it comes to our exercises—what other things do we need to talk about and actually practice doing, such as a hostile action? That came out of one of the task forces that Bob talked about. We need to actually exercise what happens if there is an actual hostile action at a commercial nuclear power plant? What do we do as the offsite communities around these plants?

Also to vary the radiological release—not every time we are going to have something that breaks the EPA protective action guidelines. Not every time there is an incident at a plant are we going to hit that. What do we do in the instances that we don’t get that far? Do we activate our full EOCs? What exactly are we doing? We wanted to emphasize more realistic things that actually happen.

[Slide 15]

Some of the other emerging issues over the last few years along with the broader DHS initiatives that we just talked about were aligning our program with HSPD-5 and subsequently with PPD-8. Those were really important because sometimes our program has been pulled out of FEMA and put under DHS and then put back under FEMA so we really need to secure a position about where we were, how we fell and what we were responsible for under PPD-8 and HSPD-5 and how we were going to use those things in our program.

Like I said earlier, how we were going to prepare for and respond to a hostile action at a nuclear power plant—enhancing scenario realism and reducing negative training that comes with doing the same exercise scenario each time we have one. For those of you who are not familiar with our program, we have a biennial exercise cycle so every two years we would come around and do another exercise at the nuclear power plant and its ten mile EPZ (emergency planning zone).

It would always be kind of the same scenario where we would always go to a general emergency, have lunch and then respond to it and see how it goes from there. That really had an effect on a lot of our emergency preparedness personnel. It doesn’t always have to happen in this specific order. It is going to change. It might get really bad really fast or it might not get bad ever. So those were the things we wanted to change.

Another important item that we were updating was ensuring we had backup means for alert and notification with every single one of our systems. That has been a really interesting step forward and something that we are still trying to work with everybody on. To get everybody’s systems up to date and backed up so we can ensure we have that in place if there was ever an event.

[Slide 16]

As I spoke about briefly HSEEP underneath HSPD-8, and obviously PPD-8 has superseded it, established HSEEP as the official policy for all FEMA exercise activities. Anytime FEMA is involved in an exercise we have to utilize the HSEEP program, using its methodologies, its terminology and its documentation standards.

The REP program uses this for all of its design, development, conduct, evaluation and improvement planning. It wasn’t a big stretch from what we were already doing. We had been doing all of these things in the past, it’s just we had to conform to the terminology that the federal government wanted everyone to use—the same thing across the nation.

I feel like we have had some really good success with that. At first there were some growing pains but we have moved on and we are going to be constantly updating it. There is an update coming out within the next year and we’ll be moving along with that. The whole country now together in concert with the federal government we are all talking in the same terminology.

[Slide 17]

Along with that you have the NIMS and ICS. HSPD-5 required that federal agencies use NIMS and ICS as a condition to get grants. A lot of us in the emergency preparedness zones do not need or request grants; however they are still asking we use this program so that everyone across the nation is all talking in the same voice.

That is the same thing that really goes with the NRC. Working so close with Bob for the past few years I know that the NRC also encourages the licensee to work with OROs to make sure they are really talking the same language even if they are using NIMS or ICS or not. It is a really great concept we’ve been using and it is great that everybody—be it federal, state, local and some tribal levels are all talking the same language. It helps when it is time for an exercise or a real event.

[Slide 18]

Hostile action based scenarios was another thing we introduced with the REP manual and NUREG-0654-supplement four. Here it starts the new exercise cycle. It goes into a bit of detail there but I don’t know how much we need to talk about today. We are currently in a six year exercise cycle. Within the six year period you had so many exercise scenarios you needed to do.

We are upgrading that to an eight year cycle because we have added some additional scenarios that we would like to see and we think are very beneficial to our offsite response organizations. So that the scenario, by December, 2015, all of our plants across the nation will have conducted a hostile action based scenario at the plant and the offsites will have practiced trying to respond to that and see how it goes.

It goes on to say that it can coincide with either a full radiological release—you could have a hostile action based event that leads to some form of radiological release—or it doesn’t have to. It can just be a law enforcement thing. We are working currently on a checklist that will be able to show our offsite communities what FEMA will be looking for when we come to evaluate this kind of event.

This is something we will be updating via our website. This is a topic we know is new to many people and people are very interested in it as are we. We are trying to help our state and local communities out as best as possible. If you have questions about possible action based scenarios I would be happy to take them and forward them on to the right person.

[Slide 19]

Another area of great controversy, if you will, is the no or minimal release scenario that has been added to this eight year exercise cycle. Basically it is a no release or unplanned minimal release that requires the site to declare a site area emergency but not a general emergency. We feel that this is quite beneficial to our offsite response organizations and even to the licensee as well that they exercise what happens when we do not have a radiological release.

For the last 30 years we have been practicing every time we get a radiological release that exceeds the EPA protection action guidelines. From experience and as things have progressed over the last 30 years we have learned that is not going to happen every single time. We are going to have incidents where there is an event at the plant that does not end in a release.

We want to see how our offsite response organizations actually respond to that. What do we do and how do we handle that situation? We want to see what happens when field teams report a negative finding. What happens when you have someone go out in a field and they are monitoring for radiation and they come up with something that is below the protective action guide? What do we do there?

How does the decision making actually run through the chain at the EOC? We are interested to see this play out. It also reduces the preconditioning of every time an incident happens at the plant we go to a release—the negative training we were talking about earlier, preconditioning. It is really important to note the FEMA is not diminishing any of our requirements.

It is still required that every two years we see your decision making, field team monitoring and see the decontamination, if anyone was contaminated during an event, every two years. It just doesn’t have to be at that one exercise. It can be out of sequence. It can be after that exercise happens during that week.

We are still keeping our requirements. None of that has changed. We just want to see what happens when essentially it hasn’t gotten that bad. We also want to practice how things will most likely happen that way.

[Slide 20]

This next slide is our actual manual. I am really trying to get out there and promote the manual. I have worked on it really hard for three years. The manual has everything you need to know about our program from how we were created to some of the science behind the protective action guidelines to what we look for in an exercise, how to plan an exercise from start to finish and all of our reference documents going back over the last 30 years.

It is over 300 pages long but I feel like it is organized in a fashion where you don’t have to read the whole thing from cover to cover to understand what is in it. A lot of it is reference materials. If you go to our website [https://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=5865] that will take you directly to the program manual.

I don’t know if right now the one you see online matches the one you see on the screen. FEMA is currently going through a website update. As painful as it has been they have been a little slow on updating our materials. They have the April 2012 version though it doesn’t look the same. Just know that the material in it is all the same.

The FEMA website should be fully up to date within the next few months and then everyone will be on the same page. We also have a FAQ which takes you to the REP program website. That’s a little crude currently. In the new update it will all be on your screen and you can search for a certain word you are looking for—really user-friendly.

The FAQ—how it works is if you really have a question about our program, feel free to send it into your FEMA regional office and it will come to a FAQ committee. They will talk about it and they will post the answer to your question on the website. This is a guarantee that if you have a question it will be answered within a few weeks.

I think I’ve covered the REP program manual. Bob really covered the background about what went into getting where we are. I am very interested in any questions you may have and hopefully I can answer them. If not, I’ll be happy to take your information and get back to you.

[Slide 21]

Amy, thank you very much for the time and I’ll kick it back over to you.

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much to both of you. That was an excellent overview. I want to point that almost all the URLs shown on the slides today are also on our background page. Patricia my understanding is the FEMA library links will not changes so hopefully that one will stay okay. Let’s get to our Q and A.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Amy Sebring: Are you doing more workshops around the country?

Patricia Gardner: No more workshops at the federal level/ The FEMA regional offices would be happy to work directly with anyone who needs more guidance or assistance going forward. If there is a need or request for another briefing or information on this feel free to reach out to your FEMA regional office and they will assist you.

Amy Sebring: When they do the exercises are they done jointly between the offsite response organization and the licensee? Do they normally do desktop? How does that work?

Patricia Gardner: Each exercise done by the FEMA REP program is a joint exercise. It is a full scale or functional exercise done with the licensee and the state is involved, local communities and sometimes some federal players. It is a very big, robust exercise that occurs around these plants on a biennial basis. They are quite large and have a really good footprint.

Matthew Straeb: With the advent of newer alert and communications technologies, could one of you elaborate on the accommodations for these alert paths in the updated regulations.

Robert Kahler: Actually the regulation is written to accommodate—it does not delineate any specific type of means for incorporating a backup alert notification system. We placed it more on a performance level. Harry Sherwood, who is online with us today, is overseeing the FEMA side of the ANS backup means may have something to offer on that.

Harry Sherwood: I am actually in the room with Patty Gardner. The Professional Services Integration Branch does cover the engineering side of it and we deal with the alert notification not only for backup means for alert and notification but also the primary means.

As Bob pointed out although the traditional means of alert and notification has been sirens and the emergency alert system, we are now getting a considerable amount of requests not only for backup for to begin to look at some of the primary means of some of the other technologies that are out there including telephone notification systems, everything from the full range of those, integrated public alert systems and what IPAWS is going to entail.

It is a constantly changing scenario right now because IPAWS is going to be coming online in the coming months and years and that is going to have a profound effect on how local communications outlets, including telephony and broadcasters, are going to disseminate emergency information. In some cases there are technologies where IPAWS would be able to tie into actual siren systems.

What we are doing is we are in the process of revising our guidance. We call it the REP-10 manual. As we go along and are getting requests for backup means of alerts and notifications we are having the individual offsite communities and licensees if they have questions and need technical assistance send those requests to our regional offices.

If necessary we are providing headquarters technical support for that. We know there are new technologies coming onboard. We are revising our guidance to accommodate that. That is a very involved process right now. We are getting ready to put out a first draft document to generate initial public comment on our REP-10 guidance.

We are looking at possibly an entire year for getting that guidance finalized. It is a combination of putting out formal guidance and working directly with off sites and our licensees. Yes, we are accommodating newer technologies and new means of alert and notification.

Amy Sebring: Harry, does the REP-10 guidance specifically pertain to alert and warning or are there other topics?

Harry Sherwood: There are several documents involved. Those organization that use outdoor warning systems—there is the old CPG-117 guidance on outdoor warning systems. We have also provided update material to our national preparedness division for putting out updated guidance on sirens.

The REP-10 is specifically a guide for the review and approval of alert and notification systems. Although in the past it has focused on sirens but we are expanding that guidance to look at all alert and notification guidance.

Isabel McCurdy: Patricia, is the manual available in hardcopy vs online?

Patricia Gardner: Yes. We have currently a contract with the government printing office to provide hardcopies however we are having minor snag in the process for printing. If you go onto the website you can request a hardcopy. You will get an email from my boss, Lou DeGilio, that says we have received your request and we will send it out to you when it becomes available. In a few more weeks everyone should be receiving their hardcopies. It is not an immediate process and we apologize for that. But yes, there is a hardcopy.

Laurin Fleming: We have an HAB exercise in April. When will the HAB checklist be ready?

Patricia Gardner: I will have to ask my colleagues how much longer it will be before the checklist comes out. I am pretty sure you will have it prior to—the whole purpose of having the checklist is to have it before the exercise kicks off. I will double check on that for you and find out the exact answer.

Lori Wieber:
Please clarify whether all current licensees should be fully using HSEEP process right now or is there a period of adoption? If not required yet when will they be required to use HSEEP?

Robert Kahler: HSEEP is not a requirement for licensees, just to clarify that. However because offsite organizations, states and locals are looking to adopt HSEEP philosophy it would behoove licensees to adopt it also so they are knowledgeable and can also identify how their scenarios and program line up with the HSEEP philosophy. Whenever they are talking to the offsite agencies they are all talking in essentially the same language.

I don’t know if the question might also want to get an answer on how the offsites are supposed to be implementing HSEEP.

Harry Sherwood: Just to clarify, the HSEEP is a methodology—there have been some misconceptions about it. Currently all our regions have migrated into the HSEEP methodology and there are going to be differences from offsite to offsite because the methodology is very flexible and very scalable. What is does essentially is provide a common platform for how exercises are planned.

There is a great deal of flexibility in using that. It provides a whole array of tools they can use. They aren’t required to use all of them but what we do is strongly recommend it. Now what it does do is provide some additional means for documenting exercise results and tracking improvement planning. Traditionally we used to put out an exercise report and sometimes we would wait up to a couple of years in order to see the results.

This is a more flexible process where exercise issues can be tracked and resolved and we know in real time when they are doing it. But as far as any strict guidance or strict guidelines, it is just like the various states that currently use HSEEP for other exercises. There are many different versions of it. What HSEEP is essentially is a toolkit and methodology. There are some things that everybody will use and some things only a few people will use.

Erin Daxon: Is additional guidance being developed for when it is efficacious to exceed 25 rem? The 25 rem is the EPA/DHS emergency life-saving PAG (protective action guide). At this point one of the concerns is providing a rationale for the decision to exceed or not to exceed the PAG for emergency operations.

Robert Kahler: Yes, 25 rem is the life-saving PAG that is identified in EPA-400 and also identified as to when you need to seek senior management approval from the licensee to have that occur. At this time the NRC, as far as I am aware, is not going to be providing any additional guidance on that.

However, the EPA-400 is in a review stage at this moment by NRC (it was provided to us) and it is hoped that the new EPA-400 or vision will be issued before the end of the year. I don’t know if it is going to provide any additional guidance in the final product so I can’t guarantee anything. Right now there is no move afoot within the NRC to provide guidance on that particular topic.

Patricia Gardner: Likewise with the FEMA side of that, as well as exceeding any PAG currently, is really a state decision. If there is a reason or a need to exceed a PAG or any reason for any offsite worker or response organization to do that, it is done at the state level and not the federal level. We will be interested to see what EPA-400 comes out with and whether or not it does discuss exceeding that.

Harry Sherwood: Keep in mind when we refer to the protective action guide it is a guide. Depending on the jurisdiction you’re in, some jurisdiction have statutory limits on when they can perform life-saving work and exceeding protection action guides and some don’t.

It is largely a state and local decision on what emergency responders can do and under what circumstances they can exceed an exposure level and what levels of approval and consent they would need to obtain. That varies from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.


Amy Sebring: Time to wrap for today. On behalf of Avagene, myself, and all our participants today, thank you very much Bob and Patricia, and Harry for sharing this information with us. We wish you continued success as you move forward with the implementation.

Our next program is planned for July 25th so please plan to join us then. Avagene and I will be attending the Natural Hazards Workshop next week, so if you are going, please look us up.