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.