The Technological Hazards Division (THD) coordinates the national effort to enhance the emergency preparedness and response capabilities of communities surrounding commercial nuclear power plants and U.S. Army chemical weapons stockpile sites. Key programs include the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program (REPP) and the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP).
Key Programs and Functions
On December 7, 1979, following the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident in Pennsylvania, President Carter transferred the federal lead role in offsite radiological emergency planning and preparedness activities from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to the FEMA.
FEMA established the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Program to (1) ensure the health and safety of citizens living around commercial nuclear power plants would be adequately protected in the event of a nuclear power plant accident and (2) inform and educate the public about radiological emergency preparedness.
REP Program responsibilities encompass only “offsite” activities, that is, state, tribal and local government emergency planning and preparedness activities that take place beyond the nuclear power plant boundaries. Onsite activities continue to be the responsibility of the NRC.
The Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) is a partnership between the FEMA and the U.S. Department of the Army that provides emergency preparedness assistance and resources to communities surrounding the Army’s chemical warfare agent stockpiles.
CSEPP’s mission is to “enhance existing local, installation, tribal, state and federal capabilities to protect the health and safety of the public, work force and environment from the effects of a chemical accident or incident involving the U.S. Army chemical stockpile.”
CSEPP’s mission aligns with FEMA and Army goals by protecting people who live and work near one of the two Army chemical depots in the unlikely event of a chemical accident or incident. The Army is fulfilling its mission to eliminate aging chemical munitions and warfare materials. This objective is in accordance with international treaties and national policy. CSEPP will remain in place until the stockpiles are completely destroyed.
The FRPCC is a national-level forum for the development and coordination of radiological prevention and preparedness policies and procedures. It also provides policy guidance for federal radiological incident management activities in support of state, tribal and local government radiological emergency planning and preparedness activities. The FRPCC is an interagency body consisting of the coordinating and cooperating agencies discussed in this Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex (NRIA), chaired by DHS/FEMA.