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Environmental Standards for Uranium Fuel Cycle Facilities: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR)

Comment period extended to August 3, 2014
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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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EPA is seeking public input

The Agency is reviewing its standards for nuclear power operations and is seeking public comment. EPA has extended the comment period to give the public more time to prepare written comments.  Comments are now due on August 3, 2014.

About the Standards and this ANPR

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 has issued an Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking to solicit public comment. The ANPR requests information on exposure limits, dose calculations, release limits for radioactive substances, spent fuel storage, protection of water resources, and environmental standards for new fuel cycle technologies. Comments are due August 4, 2014.

The ANPR does not propose revisions to the current regulation, but is being issued only to collect information to support EPA’s review. After reviewing the responses received, 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.

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Download the ANPR and Submit Comments on Line

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Fact Sheets

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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.

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Informational Webinars

EPA will host a series of webinars to discuss the input and information that the Agency would like to receive from the public in response to this Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). The webinars are informational and intended to help members of the public submit written comments; they are not a means of submitting formal comments. Exact dates will be announced on this webpage. Please check back for updates. Get e-mail updates when this information changes.

Webinars for Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Topic

Date, Time and Webinar Link

Note: If the number of registrations exceeds phone line capacity, we will schedule additional webinars to give all interested persons the chance to participate.

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?

March 19, 2014, 1 PM EDT.
Slides from the 3-19-14 presentation (PDF) (27 pp, 81 K, About PDF)

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, 1 PM EDT

3. Water Protection— How should a revised rule protect water resources?

April 16, 2014, 1 PM EDT.

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, 1 PM EDT

5. Repeat Webinar: 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, 1 PM EDT. Note the date change.

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