NCRP Report 175

NCRP Report No. 175, Decision Making for Late-Phase Recovery from Major Nuclear or Radiological Incidents


NCRP Report No. 175, Decision Making for Late-Phase Recovery from Major Nuclear or Radiological Incidents, provides guidance on making decisions after a major nuclear accident (e.g., Fukushima), after an act of terrorism involving a radiological dispersal device (e.g., a dirty bomb) or an improvised nuclear device, that result in wide-area contamination with radioactive materials.

The Report considers the long-term consequences of widespread contamination and provides guidance on managing the cleanup and community restoration efforts. Health, environment, economic, psychological, cultural, ethical and political issues are addressed. Optimization is described as the best approach to decision making for balancing the complex issues that follow wide-area contamination with radioactive materials. Optimization is an iterative process that can be broken down into a series of steps, all of which involve cooperation with stakeholders as an essential element for a community-focused recovery effort.

After a catastrophic incident, a resilient community is one that is able to bounce back to near-normal conditions in an expedited manner. Recognizing that any response, especially for late-phase recovery, is incident and site specific, this Report emphasizes general principles for implementing the late-phase optimization process for circumstances that go well beyond those experienced in conventional cleanups. The Report concludes with the following eight recommendations:

  1. Develop a national strategy to promote community resilience as the most favorable preparedness approach for responding to and recovering from nuclear or radiological incidents involving widespread contamination.
  2. Integrate late-phase response into national, state and local government emergency response planning and ensure that it is regularly included in response exercises.
  3. Embrace the site-specific optimization process for managing widespread contamination with radioactive material.
  4. Ensure that stakeholder engagement and empowerment underpins the optimization process and uses consensus building in the decision-making process.
  5. Develop a communication plan as an integral part of the preparedness strategy to ensure that messages are accurate, complete, understandable, and widely distributed
  6. Develop adaptive and responsive cleanup and waste management strategies to facilitate the optimization process.
  7. Conduct research to develop new technologies, methods and strategies that address remediation of wide-area contamination.
  8. Establish a mechanism to integrate new information and lessons learned from past incidents into the strategies for late-phase recovery to promote continuous and adaptive improvements.

This Report will be of special value to local and regional authorities who are charged with making decisions and setting policies in dealing with large-area contamination resulting from a major radiological or nuclear terrorist attack or accident.

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Last modified: June 1, 2015