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Radiation Protection

Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations (40 CFR Part 190)

Rule Summary

This regulation limits 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.  The regulation sets limits on the annual dose equivalent to any member of the public to 25 millirem (0.25 millisievert (mSv)) to the whole body, 75 millirem (0.75 mSv) to the thyroid and 25 millirem (0.25 mSv) to any other organ.  In addition, it specifies limits on the quantity of radioactive materials entering the general environment per gigawatt-year of electricity produced. These limits are 50,000 curies (1850 terabecquerels) of krypton-85, 5 millicuries (185  megabecquerels) of iodine-129 and 0.5 millicuries (18.5  megabecquerels) combined of plutonium-239 and other alpha-emitting transuranicHelptransuranicElements with atomic numbers higher than uranium (92). For example, plutonium and americium are transuranics. radionuclides with half-lives greater than one year.

Rule History

2014 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The standards were issued in 1977.  In 2014, the Agency collected public comment and information to support of its review of the standards in an Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking (ANPR).  EPA has yet to propose any changes to the current standards in the ANPR. EPA is currently 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.

Review the ANPR, presentations and background documents related to 40 CFR Part 190.

Additional Resources

View the full text of the final rule published in the Federal Register January 13, 1977, "Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations" in the Federal Register (PDF)(5 pp, 1.53 MB, About PDF).