Frequent Questions

When does EPA lead a radiological emergency response?

EPA leads and coordinates the federal response to accidents involving all radiological materials not regulated or owned by another federal agency. These materials include lost radiation sources, sources of unknown origin, and naturally occurring materials such as radium. In addition, EPA leads the U.S. response to foreign radiological accidents or events that have the potential to affect the United States or its territories (for example, Chernobyl; Ukraine; and Tokaimura, Japan). 

As Lead Federal Agency, EPA has a number of responsibilities:

  • provide overall coordination of federal response actions
  • recommend protective actions to state and local officials to minimize the radiological hazards to people in affected areas and the environment
  • coordinate releases of federal information to the public, and provide status reports on all aspects of the emergency to Congress, the White House, and other stakeholders
  • coordinate with the Department of State on the international aspects and notifying other countries.

To learn more about EPA's emergency response program, see Radiological Emergency Response: Authorities.


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