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Environmental Standards for Uranium Fuel Cycle Facilities (40 CFR 190)

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EPA and Nuclear Power Operations

EPA's mission is to protect human health and the environment. The Agency sets generally applicable environmental standards that limit the amount of radioactivity that can be released into the environment. EPA does not oversee the daily operations of nuclear power plants or nuclear fuel facilities. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has regulatory responsibility for licensing and oversight of nuclear power plants and other commercial facilities that use radioactive materials. NRC implements EPA standards at applicable facilities.

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EPA establishes certain generally applicable environmental standards to protect human health and the environment from radioactive materials. Issued in 1977, “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations (40 CFR 190) limit the radiation releases and doses to the public from the normal operations of nuclear power plants and other uranium fuel cycle facilities—the facilities involved in the manufacture and use of uranium fuel for generating electrical power.

Download the current standard (PDF) (15 pp, 45 K, About PDF) [42 FR 2860, Vol. 42, No. 9, January 13, 1977.]

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Review of the Standards

The standards at 40 CFR 190 are protective of human health and the environment, but advancements in radiation protection science and emerging technologies have led EPA to consider whether to revise them. The Agency collected public comment and information to support of its review of the standards in an Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking (ANPR).  EPA did not propose any changes to the current standards in the ANPR.  EPA is now evaluating the comments and information received. After completing this evaluation, EPA may propose revised radiation protection standards or leave the existing ones in place. Any proposed revisions to the standards would be published in the “Federal Register” in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Fact Sheets

Historical Documents

40 CFR 190 Text (PDF) (15 pp, 44 K, About PDF), January 1977.
This document includes the text from the Code of Federal Regulations for "Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations" found in 40 CFR Part 190.
40 CFR 190, Environmental Radiation Protection Requirements for Normal Operations of Activities in the Uranium Fuel Cycle-Final Environmental Statement, Volume 1, [EPA 520-4-76-016], November 1976.
This document is the first volume of the Final Environmental Statement developed in support of the 1977 standard promulgated as 40 CFR Part 190. It contains the technical underpinnings of the rule.
40 CFR Part 190, Environmental Radiation Protection Requirements for Normal Operations of Activities in the Uranium Fuel Cycle-Final Environmental Statement, Volume 2, [EPA 520-4-76-016B], November 1976.
This document is the second volume of the Final Environmental Statement developed in support of the 1977 standard promulgated as 40 CFR Part 190. It contains comments received on the rule and the Agency's responses to these comments.
Environmental Analysis of the Uranium Fuel Cycle, Part III, Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing, [EPA 520-9-73-003D], October 1973 and ERRATA (PDF) (1 pg, 62 K, About PDF)
This document, including the errata page published, contains the Agency's initial review of spent fuel reprocessing as an 'upcoming technology'. It includes assumptions embedded in the rationale for the 1977 standard.
Environmental Analysis of the Uranium Fuel Cycle, Part IV-Supplementary Analysis: 1976, [EPA 520-4-76-017], July 1976.
This document includes supplementary technical analysis conducted in support of the 1977 final rule promulgated as 40 CFR Part 190. It contains additional technical analysis conducted by the Agency in response to public concerns regarding areas where new information was available.
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the Federal Register, Federal Register 79 (4 February 2014): 6509
Fact Sheet: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (PDF) (2 pp, 309 K, About PDF) [EPA 402-F-12-001], September 2013.
This fact sheet explains the purpose of the ANPR and the rulemaking process.

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Webinar Recordings

EPA hosted a series of webinars to discuss the input and information desired from the public in response to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). Slides and recordings from the webinars can be downloaded below.

Webinars for Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

1. Overview of the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking—Why is EPA considering updating the standards, and what information is it asking the public to submit in formal comments? May 28, 2014.
Slides for the 5-28-14 presentation (PDF) (28 pp, 82 K About PDF)

Audio recording of the 5-28-14 presentation (mp3, 5.37 MB)

2. Radionuclide Release Limits— Should the Agency retain the radionuclide release limits in an updated rule and, if so, what should the Agency use as the basis for any release limits? April 9, 2014.
Slides from the 4-9-14 presentation (PDF) (13 pp, 61 K, About PDF)

Audio recording of the 4-9-14 presentation (mp3, 5,817 K)

3. Water Protection— How should a revised rule protect water resources? April 16, 2014
Slides for the 4-16-14 presentation (PDF) (11 pp, 53 K About PDF)

Audio recording of the 4-16-14 presentation (mp3, 7,107 K)

4. Risk-Based Standards— Should the Agency express its limits for the purpose of this regulation in terms of radiation risk or radiation dose? May 14, 2014
Slides for the 5-14-14 presentation (PDF) (11 pp, 357 K About PDF)

Audio recording of the 5-14-14 presentation (mp3, 4.94 MB)

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