An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

Radiation Protection

Radiation Regulations and Laws

Congress and the president assign radiation protection responsibilities to EPA through laws (also known as statutes). Specific statutes make EPA responsible for writing regulations that explain what must be done to obey the law. Regulations are requirements that can apply to individuals, businesses, states, local governments, or other institutions. Many environmental regulations set standards that limit the amount of a hazardous material allowed in the environment. Read about how regulations are developed on EPA's Laws and Regulations web page.

On this page:

Regulations for Specific Radiation Sources

Nuclear Power Operations

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

These standards limit radiation releases and doses to the public from the normal operation (non-emergency) of nuclear power plants and other uranium fuel cycle facilities. Learn more about Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations (40 CFR Part 190).

Spent Nuclear Fuel, High Level, and Transuranic Wastes

Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Management and Disposal of Spent Fuel, High Level and Transuranic Wastes (40 CFR Part 191)

This regulation sets environmental standards for the disposal of spent nuclear fuelHelpspent nuclear fuelFuel that has been withdrawn from a nuclear reactor after use. It is still highly radioactive., high-level wastes and transuranicHelptransuranicElements with atomic numbers higher than uranium (92). For example, plutonium and americium are transuranics. radioactive wastes. Learn more about Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Management and Disposal of Spent Fuel, High Level and Transuranic Wastes (40 CFR Part 191).

Uranium Mill Wastes

Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uranium and Thorium Mill Tailings (40 CFR Part 192)

This regulation sets standards for the protection of the public health, safety and the environment from radiological and non-radiological hazards associated with uranium and thorium ore processing, and disposal of associated wastes.  Learn more about Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uranium and Thorium Mill Tailings (40 CFR Part 192).

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

Criteria for the Certification and Recertification of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s Compliance with the 40 CFR Part 191 Disposal Regulations (40 CFR 194)

These criteria apply to the certification and recertification of compliance with the radioactive waste disposal standards at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico. WIPP is a deep geologic repository operated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for permanent disposal of a specific type of waste from the nation's nuclear defense program. Learn more about Criteria for the Certification and Recertification of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s Compliance with the 40 CFR Part 191 Disposal Regulations (40 CFR 194).

Yucca Mountain

Public Health and Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Yucca Mountain, Nevada (40 CFR Part 197)

These regulations, promulgated in 2008, establish public health and environmental standards for storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel at the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would implement these regulations at Yucca Mountain if a repository were to be established there. Learn more about Public Health and Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Yucca Mountain, Nevada (40 CFR Part 197).

40 CFR Part 197 Resources

Top of Page

Air Standards

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to regulate airborne emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from a specific list of industrial sources called "source categories." Standards known as the "National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants" (NESHAPs) dictate specific regulatory limits for source categories that emit radionuclides. 

View compliance software for radiation laws and regulations.

40 CFR Part 61: National Emission Standards For Hazardous Air Pollutants: Subpart

B: Radon Emissions from Underground Uranium Mines

H: Emissions of Radionuclides Other than Radon from Department of Energy Facilities

I: Radionuclide Emissions from Federal Facilities Other than Nuclear Regulatory Commission Licensees and Not Covered by Subpart H

K: Radionuclide Emissions from Elemental Phosphorus Plants

Q: Radon Emissions from Department of Energy Facilities

R: Radon Emissions from Phosphogypsum Stacks

T: Radon Emissions from the Disposal of Uranium Mill Tailings

W: Radon Emissions from Operating Mill Tailings

Top of Page

Drinking Water Standards

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), EPA sets legal limits on the levels of certain radionuclides in drinking water.

Radionuclides in Drinking Water

Top of Page

Laws We Use

 

Top of Page