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Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC)
Overview and Mission

FRMAC Exercise photoThe Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC) is a federal asset available on request by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to respond to nuclear/radiological incidents as described in the National Response Framework (NRF). Under the NRP the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has the responsibility to maintain the operational readiness of the FRMAC.

The FRMAC is an interagency organization with representatives from various federal, state, and local radiological response organizations. The purpose of the FRMAC is to assist the states, local and tribal governments in their mission to PROTECT THE HEALTH AND WELL BEING OF THEIR CITIZENS with:

  • Verified radiation measurements
  • Interpretations of radiation distributions based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or local Protective Action Guidelines
  • Characterization of overall radiological conditions

Once a declaration to respond to a radiological emergency has been made, the DOE/National Nuclear Safeguards and Security Administration (NNSA) Headquarters will coordinate the response in consultation with the cognizant DOE/NNSA Regional Coordinating Office (RCO). Each of the eight RCOs maintains a 24-hour response capability for radiological emergencies that may occur in states served by its region.

When a FRMAC is established it operates under the parameters of the Incident Command System (ICS) as defined in the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS) construct.

The Consequence Management Home Team (CMHT) will be activated immediately during normal business hours (Pacific Time Zone) and will be activated within 2 hours otherwise.

The FRMAC deploys as a phased response. The Consequence Management Response Team (CMRT I) is “prepared for deployment” within 4 hours after activation; CMRT II is “prepared for deployment” within 12 hours of activation, and additional personnel and equipment for CMRT Augmentation is underway within 24 hours of activation. Travel time is not included in the above time sequence. With the phased response, DOE assets will be activated and deployed depending upon the real or potential impact of the emergency. Along with the assets, a FRMAC provides an operational framework for coordinating of all federal off-site radiological monitoring and assessment activities during a response to a radiological emergency to support the Coordinating Agency, state(s), local, and/or tribal governments.

Potential radiological emergencies that fall within the FRMAC vary widely in terms of the area affected, the nature of the contamination, and the scope of the government’s response. Detonation of a nuclear device, accidental release of radiation from a nuclear power plant, and a terrorist threat are just a few of the many possible scenarios that the FRMAC must be prepared to address. Through all this, supporting the state, local, and tribal organizations in the protection of the public remains the primary goal of the federal response.

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Date Last Modified: February 20, 2014