Emergency preparedness in the 10-mile emergency planning zone surrounding nuclear power plants

Amesh A. Adalja, Tara Kirk Sell, Sanjana J. Ravi, Katie Minton, Ryan Morhard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: Each of the nuclear power plants in the US is encircled by an Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ). Within each EPZ, government officials, utility professionals, emergency managers, and public health practitioners collectively conduct extensive planning, exercises, and outreach to better protect their communities in the event of a nuclear accident. Our objective was to conduct a cross-sectional study of off-site public health preparedness within EPZs to better understand the dynamics of nuclear preparedness and uncover lessons for all-hazards preparedness. Methods: Using a qualitative, interview-based method, we consulted 120 county emergency managers, state health preparedness officers, state radiation health officials, and industry officials from 17 EPZs in ten different states. Results: Interviewees reflected that EPZ emergency preparedness is generally robust, results from strong public-private partnership between nuclear plants and emergency management agencies, and enhances all-hazard preparedness. However, there exist a few areas which merit further study and improvement. These areas include cross-state coordination, digital public communication, and optimizing the level of public education within EPZs. Conclusions: This first-of-its-kind study provides a cross-sectional snapshot of emergency preparedness in the 10-mile EPZ surrounding nuclear power plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-100
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • emergency
  • nuclear
  • preparedness
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research


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