Responding to Radiological Emergencies
EPA's radiological emergency response specialists prepare for and respond to a variety of emergencies involving radioactive materials:
- nuclear power plant accidents
- nuclear weapons accidents
- international incidents involving radioactive materials
- lost (orphan) radiation sources and devices
- acts of terrorism involving nuclear materials
- accidents involving satellites containing radioactive material.
Members of EPA's Radiological Emergency Response Team (RERT) and other specialists in EPA's Headquarters and ten regional offices continually conduct planning and training activities to prepare for emergencies. The RERT is a multi-disciplinary team which can track, contain, and clean up a radioactive release, while protecting people and the environment around the emergency site. RERT includes scientists and engineers, health physicists, laboratory staff, and other emergency response specialists, who are located at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC and at other EPA facilities across the nation.
EPA also has emergency response organizations that focus on hazardous chemical releases. Federal agencies that own or operate nuclear facilities, respond to emergencies at their facilities.
Sometimes emergencies involve both hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials. During such emergencies, organizations must coordinate carefully because of frequently overlapping roles assigned by environmental laws.
To learn more about this topic, visit Radiological Emergency Response.