Frequent Questions

How does the EPA protect people from radiation?

The EPA carries out its radiation protection responsibilities through regulations, guidance, emergency response, environmental monitoring and analysis, and collaboration with other organizations. Key elements of EPA’s radiation protection program include:

  • Radiation Regulations: federal laws require that the EPA develop and implement regulations to protect the public from sources of radiation. The EPA is involved with the regulation of nuclear waste, environmental releases from nuclear power facilities, other airborne radionuclide emissions, and radionuclides in drinking water. For more information, visit Radiation Regulations and Laws on EPA.gov
  • Federal Guidance Reports: The EPA has the authority to provide radiation protection guidance to other federal agencies. These reports leverage the best available science to promote protection of the public and workers and to estimate radiation doses and cancer risks to the public. Federal and state agencies use the technical information in these reports when developing radiation protection rules and regulations. For more information, visit Federal Guidance for Radiation Protection on EPA.gov.
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response: The EPA prepares for and responds to emergencies involving radioactive materials. In preparation for an emergency, the EPA coordinates with federal and state agencies to develop plans and exercise response actions. During an emergency, the EPA is equipped to assess the situation, support the states in their response, and assist in recovery. For more information, visit Radiological Emergency Response on EPA.gov.
  • Monitoring and Analysis: The EPA’s radiation protection program includes a nationwide environmental radiation monitoring system (RadNet), the National Analytical Radiation Environmental Laboratory (NAREL), and the National Center for Radiation Field Operations (NCRFO). Together, these resources enable EPA to conduct nationwide radiation monitoring and perform special analyses in an emergency.
  • Collaboration: The EPA coordinates with industry, states, tribes, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations that have a role in radiation protection.
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