The US Environmental Protection Agency has published a notice requesting comment on its proposal to update its environmental radiation protection standards for nuclear power plants and fuel cycle facilities (40 CFR part 190), originally issued in 1977.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has published a notice requesting comment on its proposal to update its environmental radiation protection standards for nuclear power plants and fuel cycle facilities (40 CFR part 190), originally issued in 1977.

In a document published in the US Federal Register, EPA said that it had not sought to update them since then because of little change in the US nuclear industry. It added: "Nonetheless, we recognize that they do not reflect the most recent scientific information, and that this may be an opportune time to conduct a thorough review of their continued applicability."

It said later: "EPA believes the existing standards remain protective of public health and the environment; however, the Agency also believes that the changes mentioned above are sufficient to warrant a review of the standards and solicit public input on possible updates."

EPA said that it is now introducing this change because of:

  • the projected growth of nuclear power
  • advances in radiation protection and dosimetry science, including the adoption of effective dose
  • advances in radiation risk science
  • on-site storage of nuclear fuel
  • extension of nuclear reactor licences
  • groundwater.

Comments are requested on or before 4 June 2014, docket ID number. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0689

See PDF for the full text.