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Laws & Regulations

Summary of the Atomic Energy Act

42 U.S.C. §2011 et seq. (1946)

The Atomic Energy Act (AEA) established the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to promote the "utilization of atomic energy for peaceful purposes to the maximum extent consistent with the common defense and security and with the health and safety of the public." Since the abolition of the AEC, much of the AEA has been carried out by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy. When EPA was formed, however, the AEC's authority to issue generally applicable environmental radiation standards was transferred to EPA. Other federal and state organizations must follow these standards when developing requirements for their areas of radiation protection.

EPA also received the Federal Radiation Council's authority under the AEA:

  • to develop guidance for federal and state agencies containing recommendations for their use in developing radiation protection requirements.
  • to work with states to establish and execute radiation protection programs.

More Information

The Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) develops national programs, policies, and regulations for controlling air pollution and radiation exposure.