State-level legal preparedness for nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S.: a network analysis of state laws and regulations.


State-level lawmakers and planners might consider whether or not greater inclusion of agents, modeled on the federal government laws, would enhance their NRE laws and if more agents should be engaged in planning and policy-making for NRE incidents. Further research should explore if and to what extent legislated NRE directives impose constraints on practical response activities including emergency planning.

This study explored if and to what extent the laws of U.S. states mirrored the U.S. federal laws for responding to nuclear-radiological emergencies (NREs).

States' legal networks for NREs appear as not highly inclusive, involving an average of 28% of agents among those specified in the federal laws. Certain agents are highly central in NRE networks, so that their capacity and effectiveness might strongly influence an NRE response.

Emergency laws from a 12-state sample and the federal government were retrieved and translated into numeric codes representing acting agents, their partner agents, and the purposes of activity in terms of preparedness, response, and recovery. We used network analysis to explore the relationships among agents in terms of legally directed NRE activities.

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