ANS Urges EPA to Move Forward with Rewrite of Environment Radiation Protection Standards
Current radiation standards date back to 1977
The American Nuclear Society (ANS) has submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency urging a comprehensive rewrite of its environmental radiation protection standards for nuclear power plants.
“The current EPA radiation standards date back to 1977, nearly four decades ago,” said Michaele Brady Raap, President of ANS. “Since then, the global scientific community made substantial advances in understanding the health effects of ionizing radiation and has collected a large body of epidemiological data related to low level radiation exposure.”
In addition, the larger environmental and health context in which EPA's radiation standards are used has changed. There is now a fairly robust scientific consensus that climate change could pose significant potential risks to the general public. There is nearly global consensus that the continuation and expansion of nuclear energy is a necessary component to any meaningful strategy to reduce CO2 emissions as a means of mitigating those potential risks.
ANS has offered comments on six issue areas, including the dose limit calculations intended to protect individuals. In a statement to the EPA, the American Nuclear Society urged the EPA to refrain from over-estimating the likelihood of dose contributions from multiple radiation sources, or from applying protective factors that have already been accounted for in the dose constraint. Both of these practices, ANS believes, result in dose limits that are overly restrictive without appreciable improvement in safety.
Other issues focused on by the Society include updated dose methodology (dosimetry), radionuclide release limits, water resource protection, spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste storage, and new nuclear technologies.