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Homepage>ASTM Standards>13>13.200>ASTM E2601-23 - Standard Practice for Radiological and Nuclear Emergency Response
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Released: 01.10.2023

ASTM E2601-23 - Standard Practice for Radiological and Nuclear Emergency Response

Standard Practice for Radiological and Nuclear Emergency Response

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Standard number:E2601-23
Keywords:emergency response; nuclear; radiation; radiological;

1.1 This practice provides decision-making considerations for response to both accidental and intentional incidents that involve radioactive material. It provides information and guidance for what to include in response planning and what activities to conduct during a response. It also encompasses the practices to respond to any situation complicated by radiation in conjunction with the associated guidance for the specific type of incident.

1.1.1 The intended audience for the standard includes planners as well as emergency responders, incident commanders, and other emergency workers who should be protected from radiation.

1.1.2 The scope of this practice applies to all types of radiological emergencies. While it does not fully consider response to an NPP accident,3 an explosive RDD, or nuclear detonation, detailed guidance to respond to such incidents is provided in other documents, such as those cited in the introduction. With respect to the guidance documents, this practice provides the general principles that apply to the broad range of incidents and associated planning goals but relies on the AHJ to apply and tailor their response planning based on those documents as well as the limitation of the personnel and equipment resources in the jurisdiction. In addition, the AHJ should use those documents to identify improvements to planning and resources to be better prepared for the more complex emergencies.

1.1.3 This practice does not expressly address emergency response to contamination of food or water supplies.

1.1.4 The Emergency Response Guide (ERG) published by the Department of Transportation provides valuable information for response to traffic accidents involving radioactive materials. For other radiological or nuclear incidents, however, the ERG may not provide adequate information on appropriate protective measures and should not be the sole resource used.

1.2 This practice applies to those emergency response agencies that have a role in the response to an accidental or intentional radiological or nuclear incident. It should be used by emergency response organizations such as law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical services, and emergency management.

1.3 This practice assumes that implementation begins with the recognition of a radiological or nuclear incident and ends when emergency response actions cease or the response is supported by specialized regional, state, or federal response assets.

1.4 AHJs using this practice should identify hazards, develop a plan, acquire and track equipment, and provide training consistent with the descriptions provided in Section 6.

1.5 While response to radiological hazards is the focus of this practice, responders must consider all hazards during a response; it is possible that non-radiological hazards may present a greater danger at an incident, particularly in incidents with wide area dispersion.

1.5.1 This practice does not fully address assessing the risks from airborne radioactivity. Equipment to determine this potential hazard is not widely available in emergency responder communities. Like other responses to unknown hazards, respiratory protection commonly used by responders is required until a complete hazard identification assessment is complete.

1.6 This practice is divided into the following sections:






Referenced Documents




Summary of Practice


Significance and Use


Prerequisites for Radiological or Nuclear Emergency Response


Nuclear Detonation Response


Radiological Emergency Response

Appendix X1

Operational Guidance for Responding to Radiological or Nuclear Incidents, or both, and Emergencies

Appendix X2

Summary of Blast and Radiation Zones Following a Nuclear Detonation

Appendix X3

Practicing ALARA Using Time, Distance, and Shielding: Determining Radiological Dose

Appendix X4

Radiological Emergency Response Guidelines

Appendix X5

Emergency Response Checklist for Radiological Incidents

Appendix X6

Radiation Detection Instruments

Appendix X7

Example Radiation Safety Procedures

Appendix X8

Sample Radiation Safety Procedures

Appendix X9

Training Resources

Appendix X10

Radiation Units, Conversions, and Abbreviations





1.7 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.9 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.