Questions and Answers – Emergency Planning
What emergency plans are required for spent fuel storage facilities at nuclear power plants undergoing decommissioning or sites that have completed decommissioning?
Decommissioning reactors continue to be subject to the NRC’s emergency planning requirements. For some period of time after the licensee ceases reactor operations, offsite emergency planning will be maintained. This period of time depends on when the reactor was last critical as well as site-specific considerations. Offsite emergency planning may be eliminated when the fuel has been removed from the reactor and placed in the spent fuel pool, and sufficient time has elapsed, such that there are no longer any postulated accidents that would result in offsite dose consequences large enough to require offsite emergency planning. There would be no requirement to maintain offsite systems to warn the public. Onsite emergency plans will be required for both the spent fuel pool and the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations, but offsite plans will not be required. If, however, an operating plant is located at the same site as the decommissioning plant, the emergency preparedness plans will still be in effect for the operating plant.
Although offsite emergency planning at a decommissioned site may no longer be required, licensees maintain offsite contacts since any emergency declaration requires notification of state and local officials as well as the NRC. In addition, due to the typically reduced staffs at a decommissioning facility they may rely even more on offsite assistance for fire, security, medical or other emergencies. These reduced EP requirements would remain in effect as long as fuel is onsite.
(Note: This general description also applies to emergency planning for specifically licensed ISFSIs; those requirements are spelled out in detail in 10 CFR 72.32.)