Putting Laws to Work: Regulations
Congress generally uses laws to set environmental goals without including much detail about how to achieve them. Instead, Congress provides the authority for agencies, such as EPA, to work out the details to put the laws to work in the form of regulations.
The following pages contain the regulations developed by individual programs within EPA's overall Radiation Protection Program:
- Protection of Air (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants)
- Protection of Water
- Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Program
- Yucca Mountain Public Health and Safety Standards Program
- Mixed Waste
- Federal Guidance
Protection of Air (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants)
EPA uses its Clean Air Act authority to establish standards limiting radionuclide emissions from various sources.
Protection of Water
EPA puts several laws to work in protecting the nation's waters from radionuclide contamination. They include the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (Ocean Dumping).
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Program
The U.S. Department of Energy's WIPP facility is the nation's first deep underground facility for disposing of transuranic wastes. Congress required EPA to set and monitor DOE's compliance with radiation protection standards at the WIPP.
Yucca Mountain Public Health and Safety Standards Program
EPA is setting public health and environmental radiation protection standards for the proposed radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Congress assigned EPA this responsibility in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and its amendments and in the Energy Policy Act. Yucca Mountain would accept spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive.
Mixed waste is regulated as both a hazardous and a radioactive waste. EPA regulates hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Under the Atomic Energy Act, EPA issues guidance for other federal agencies with radiation protection responsibilities.EPA's federal guidance includes policy recommendations and technical reports.
Radiological Emergency Response
EPA's responsibilities during accidents and emergencies involving radioactive materials come from several sources. For example, the Clean Water Act, various Executive Orders and Presidential Decision Directives. EPA participates with other Federal agencies in planning the response to emergencies involving radiation. EPA is the lead Federal agency for certain types of radiological emergencies (such as international incidents)