Radiological Emergency Response Team
The Radiological Emergency Response Team (RERT) of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responds to emergencies that involve the release of radioactive materials. The team responds to emergencies such as accidents at nuclear power plants, accidents involving the shipment of radioactive material, acts of nuclear terrorism, and even accidents involving satellites containing radioactive materials. For instance, personnel responded to nuclear power plant accidents at both Three Mile Island, in the United States, and to Chernobyl, in the Soviet Union (now within the Ukraine). RERT works with the EPA Superfund Program, as well as federal, state, and local agencies to develop and enforce strategic plans.
RERT is based in the EPA Office of Radiation and Indoor Air in Washington, D, and at two national laboratories. Environmental monitoring and assessment is performed by employees at the National Air and Radiation Environmental Laboratory in Montgomery, Alabama, and the Radiation and Indoor Environments National Laboratory in Las Vegas, Nevada. Approximately seventy-five RERT members were stationed in Washington and at the laboratories in the spring of 2002.
In an emergency, an RERT field team goes to the site where radioactive material was released. The team’s duties include taking environmental measurements and doing laboratory work. In addition, RERT works with state and local authorities to protect the public from exposure to harmful radiation levels. Team equipment ranges from a mobile radiation laboratory to the personal dosimeter used to measure the radiation dose in an individual.
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States led to the development and creation of the National Response Plan (NRP). The RERT is included within the NRP and its Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex, which coordinates all types of radiological activities involving the United States. Since then RERT personnel have been involved with many high-profile situations where terrorism was deemed possible such as the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, held in Salt Lake City, and the 2005 U.S. presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, performed in Washington, DC.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “Backgrounder on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident.” http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/chernobylbg.html (accessed November 1, 2010).
Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident.” http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/3mile-isle.html (accessed November 1, 2010).
Radiological Emergency Response Team, Environmental Protection Agency. “Emergency Preparedness and Response.” http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/rert/ (accessed October 29, 2010).
Gale Document Number: GALE|CX1918701219