Laws and Regulations
Congress and the President assign radiation protection responsibilities to EPA through laws, executive orders, and Presidential decision directives. Other responsibilities come to EPA through federal emergency response plans and regulations.
You'll find a basic description of how environmental laws and regulations are developed on EPA's Introduction to Laws and Regulation page.
On this page:
- Laws We Use
- Executive Orders
- Presidential Decision Directives
- Homeland Security Presidential Directives
- Federal Emergency Response Plans
- Regulations We Follow
- Regulations We Manage
Laws We Use
Laws, also known as 'statutes,' passed by Congress give EPA both responsibilities and (statutory) authority to protect people and the environment from harmful exposure to radiation.
Executive orders are official documents, numbered consecutively, through which the President of the United States manages the operations of the Federal Government. Through executive orders, the President assigns responsibility and transfers authority to EPA that shapes its radiation protection program.
Presidential Decision Directives
Presidential decision directives announce the President's decisions on foreign policy issues and national security matters.
Homeland Security Presidential Directives
In the George W. Bush Administration, Homeland Security Presidential Directives announce Presidential decisions governing homeland security policy.
Federal Emergency Response Plans
Requirements, instructions, and guidance in federal emergency response plans help define EPA's role in responding to emergencies involving radioactive materials.
Regulations We Follow
While EPA's Radiation Protection Program issues regulations and standards that direct the actions of other federal agencies, private industry, and states, the program's emergency response activities are shaped by regulations issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Regulations We Manage
- Fact Sheet: EPA's Radiation Protection Standards (PDF) (2 pp, 261 K About PDF) [EPA 402-F-12-002, September 2013.]
This fact sheet explains the different types of standards EPA uses to fulfill its radiation protection mission and describes the role of other federal agencies with radiation-related responsibilities.
- Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations (40 CFR 190)”
- Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uranium and Thorium Mill Tailings (40 CFR 192)
This section describes EPA's National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Radionuclides for each of the source categories identified as emitting significant amounts.
- Radionuclides in Drinking Water
This site describes the occurrence of radionuclides in drinking water sources and provides standards and guidance materials to help the states and water systems comply with them.
- Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Oversight