Frequent Questions

What other agencies regulate nuclear waste?

The EPA currently has the authority to regulate the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) which is a Department of Energy repository that permanently disposes of transuranic waste from defense programs. Authority for EPA’s response in radiological emergency situations is described in the Emergency Support Function 10 document which includes a multitude of radiological events where the EPA would step in to respond, including those that may involve nuclear waste. The EPA also sets air emission and drinking water standards, and has created the Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) to protect human health and the environment.

For more information about the Department of Energy’s authorities, please visit their website.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) also has authority over nuclear power plants’ waste and spent nuclear fuel. Additionally, the NRC regulates radioactive sources and byproduct materials. For more information on their authority, and their Agreement States, please visit their website.

Occasionally, the Department of Defense also regulates nuclear waste when it is in the custody of or being transported for the Department of Defense.

The Department of Transportation regulates the quantities, radioactivity, and shipment processes for transporting radioactive materials. For more information, see the Transportation of Radioactive Material overview guide.

For more information about the various regulators of radioactivity, visit Radiation Resources Outside of EPA at

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