NCRP Report 165

NCRP Report No. 165, Responding to a Radiological or Nuclear Terrorism Incident: A Guide for Decision Makers


NCRP Report No. 165, Responding to Radiological or Nuclear Terrorism Incidents: A Guide for Decision Makers, provides the most comprehensive summary to date of recommendations and key decision points for planners preparing responses to radiological or nuclear terrorism incidents. It is unique because it considers both forms of terrorism within one publication while accounting for their fundamental differences. It is not uncommon for radiological or nuclear terrorism incident planning preparations to be broadly addressed together in a single radiation-specific hazard response publication. The potential consequences of nuclear terrorism are radically different from those of radiological terrorism and therefore the planning and preparation must take into account these differences. This Report accounts for those differences, yet draws from the characteristics that are similar for the two basic incident scenarios.

This Report is intended to support preparedness efforts by providing a framework of key recommendations and decision points needed by decision makers preparing for the response to a radiological or nuclear terrorism incident. The purpose of this NCRP Report is to provide this framework by defining:

  • Preincident planning and preparation;
  • Essential policy recommendations;
  • Issues to be addressed and key decision points;
  • Actions to be taken to protect public health, safety and security; and
  • Critical information needed by decision makers to initiate appropriate actions during the early (emergency) response to an act of radiological or nuclear terrorism.

The Report has two primary components:

  • Information needed by decision makers to protect the health and safety of emergency responders and members of the general public; and
  • Consolidated recommendations on key decision points; levels of radiation doses; dose rates at which a response should be initiated; and the nature, timing and extent of the response.

This Report is consistent with, and builds upon, existing U.S. federal policy and guidance.

NCRP strongly recommends that key decision makers use and understand this planning guidance in its entirety to adequately begin the planning process for response to radiological or nuclear terrorism incidents or to assess existing plans. It is incumbent upon key decision makers who use this guidance to understand the recommendations and decision points.

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Last modified: June 1, 2015