While on active duty in the US Army in EUCOM [European Command] from fall 1968 to July 1997 I was on special orders as a NAICO [Nuclear Accident Incident Control Officer] meaning I was on call and has special duties and procedures to follow 24/7/365 in the event an actual or probable NUWAX occurred.
In September 1979 I was hired by FEMA. Even though I had been working FEMA disaster and flood programs since July 1, 1974 in HUD all the HUD attorneys had to apply for their FEMA jobs while attorneys from all other predecessor agencies were transferred into FEMA by OMB Determination Order. HUD provided the largest contingent to FEMA for its legal shop- a total of 8 slots- even though documentation of up to 14-24 lawyers at HUD were working FEMA issues was provided to the President’s Reorganization Project. The legal transition team was led by George Jett who became the first General Counsel of FEMA and who served the longest in that job from April 1, 1979 to July 1986.
The nuclear accident at Chernobyl occurred in April 1986. See article:
I ran the litigation for FEMA from its inception until July 1986. REP administrative hearings were not under my jurisdiction during that period even though FEMA Regional Counsels in five regions did litigation and REP from FY 1983-1986. Stuart Glass was the Regional Counsel in FEMA Region II and had been working on the liscensing for the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station when he and the other through no fault of their own were laid off because of a line item reduction to the FEMA OGC budget in retaliation by Chairman Ed Boland of the House Appropriation Committee for the involvement of George Jett in disputed matters involving Louis O. Guiffrida, the Director of FEMA from April 1981 to September 1985.
In the last year I have documented that the President’s Reorganization Project team actually considered moving off site safety into FEMA long before the core-melt accident at TMI [Three Mile Island] which began on March 27, 1979, and led to President James Earl Carter’s assignment of REP to FEMA in 1980. That assignment was by Press Release. So it turns out TMI was the reason but not the rationale for REP becoming a FEMA program. Under joint FEMA/NRC regulations and in particular NUREG 0654 and current supplements FEMA findings of “reseasonable assurance” are rebuttable presumptions for NRC Commission actions.
In September 1986 I was assigned by Spence W. Perry, the General Counsel of FEMA to the Shoreham liscensing proceeding and spent much of the next two years in Long Island. My REP saga did not end however since I was later a key witness in the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station liscensing. I was a fact witness as to the evolution of FEMA’s position on the choice between evacuation and shelter in place.
Needless to say the events at Chernoybl had ratched up the stakes for the NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] and LILCO [Long Island Lighting co.] and the intervenors opposing the liscensing that included the STATE of NY and the CUOMO Administration (the PERE not the son]!
The major difference between the reactor at Chernoybl and US reactors was the protective shielding around the reactor. That reactor had almost none as opposed to US reactors. But I has occasion later to meet a Russian military officer of high rank who in a briefing to me and others indicated that 2/3rds of the entire supply of concrete in the Soviet Union had gone to encapsulate the melted core of the reactor. That effort has of course failed which is why in the article linked above the necessity of new encapsulation has occurred.
Oh did I mention that Director Louis O. Guiffrida was opposed to nuclear power and had testified as a witness against liscening Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station in San Luis Obispo CA? It was later determined that reactor is built directly over an earthquake fault. If the REAGAN ADMINISTRATION had fully vetted LOG despite his friendship with Ed Meese he never would have been Director of FEMA.