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Radioactive Materials Guidance Documents

This page offers free United States federal guidance documents and publications about radioactive materials.  

bulletBack to the main Radioactive Materials Page bulletNuclear waste overview bulletTypes of radiation bulletLow-level radioactive wastes bulletMan-made radiation bulletUranium mining - Uranium mill tailings bulletNuclear waste from weapons production bulletNaturally-occurring radioactive waste bulletNuclear emergencies bulletNuclear / radioactive guidance documents bulletGovernment agencies bulletHow to assess the danger from radiation bulletLinks to many federal government, scientific and reputable sources of information about radioactive materials bulletLinks to State nuclear agencies

An Overview of Federal Guidance

What is Federal guidance?

Federal guidance is a set of guidelines developed by EPA, for use by Federal and State agencies responsible for protecting the public from the harmful effects of radiation. Federal guidance helps protect both the general public and the people who work with and around radiation every day. There are two kinds of Federal guidance publications: bulletGuidance Documents that provide principles and policies for radiation protection.
bulletTechnical Reports that provide current scientific and technical information for radiation dose and risk assessment.

Who develops Federal guidance?
bulletThe authority to develop Federal guidance was given to the Federal Radiation Council (FRC) by Executive Order in 1959.
bulletOver the next decade the FRC developed Federal guidance ranging from guidance for exposure of the general public to estimates of fallout from nuclear weapons testing.
bulletFederal guidance developed by the FRC provided the basis for most regulation of radiation exposure by Federal and State agencies, prior to the establishment of the EPA.
bulletIn 1970, the responsibility for developing Federal guidance for radiation protection was transferred from the FRC to the newly formed EPA under Executive Order 10831 and Reorganization Plan No. 3.  [back to top]

Who uses Federal guidance?

Federal guidance is developed for use by Federal and State agencies in the development of radiation rules and regulations that affect public health.

How does EPA develop Federal guidance?

To develop these documents and reports EPA:
bulletConsults and/or coordinates with other Federal and State agencies and national and international experts.
bulletEvaluates information provided by radiation protection organizations such as the International Commission on Radiological Protection, and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.
bulletConducts independent studies of issues, often in consultation with a nationally recognized scientific organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences.  [back to top]

What is the difference between the guidance documents and the technical reports? bulletFederal Guidance Documents are signed by the President and issued by EPA. By signing these, the President provides a framework for Federal and State agencies to develop regulations that ensure the public is protected from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Federal Guidance is also an opportunity for the President to promote national consistency in radiation protection regulations.
bulletFederal Guidance Technical Reports are issued by EPA. The technical reports ensure that agencies and the public are up-to-date on scientific and technical advances in radiation protection.  [back to top]

Must Federal and State agencies follow the Federal guidance?

Since these are guidance documents not regulations, they are not legally enforceable. Federal and State agencies have the authority to determine the details of their own regulations. You should treat the Federal guidance recommendations and technical reports as basic guidelines.

Radioactive Materials Guidance Documents and Publications

Federal Guidance Reports and Related Documents

Federal Guidance Report 13: Cancer Risk Coefficients for Environmental Exposure to Radionuclides (PDF) (335pp, 3.06Mb [about pdf format]) [EPA 402-R-99-001 September 1999]
Includes radionuclide-specific lifetime radiogenic cancer risk coefficients for the U.S. population, based on age-dependent intake, dosimetry, and risk models.

Update to the Federal Guidance Report No. 13
CD Supplement
(April 2002)

Uncertainties in Cancer Risk Coefficients for Environmental Exposure to Radionuclides (PDF)(148pp, 1.35Mb [about pdf format]) [ORNL/TM-2006/583 January 2007]
This report is from a joint study by EPA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on uncertainties of the federal guidance report risk coefficients for both ingestion and inhalation of radionuclides.

Estimating Radiogenic Cancer Risks (PDF) (68pp, 271.29Kb [about pdf format]) [EPA 402-R-93-076 June 1994]
This document presents a revised methodology for EPA's estimation of cancer risks due to low-LET radiation exposures developed in light of information that has become available since the publication of BEIR III, especially new information on the Japanese atomic bomb survivors. NOTE: We have included minor updates to this methodology in Federal Guidance Report 13.

Addendum: Uncertainty Analysis (PDF) (47pp, 226.77Kb [about pdf format]) [EPA 402-R-99-003]
The analysis describes a method for estimating the uncertainties in EPA's risk projections for cancer risk from low-LET radiation exposures.

Federal Guidance Report 12: External Exposure to Radionuclides In Air, Water, and Soil (PDF) (238pp, 1.61Mb [about pdf format]) [EPA 402-R-93-081 September 1993]
Includes exposure-to-dose coefficients for general application, based on the 1987 Federal Radiation Protection Guidance.

Federal Guidance Report 11: Limiting Values of Radionuclide Intake and Air Concentration and Dose Conversion Factors for Inhalation, Submersion, and Ingestion (PDF) (224pp, 15.20Mb [about pdf format]) [EPA 520/1-88-020 September 1988]
Includes derived guides for control of occupational exposure and exposure-to-dose conversion factors for general application, based on the 1987 Federal Radiation Protection Guidance.

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(HEAST) Radionuclides Table -- Radionuclide Slope Factors

Health Effects Assessment Summary Tables (HEAST) Radionuclides Table
These tables contain radionuclide slope factors for estimating cancer risks at sites managed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. EPA has developed these cancer slope factors for ingestion, inhalation and external exposure to radionuclides in units of picocuries (pCi).

bulletIngestion and inhalation slope factors are central estimates in a linear model of the age-averaged, lifetime attributable radiation cancer incidence (fatal and nonfatal cancer) per unit of activity inhaled or ingested, expressed as risk/pCi. bulletExternal exposure slope factors are central estimates of lifetime attributable radiation cancer incidence for each year of exposure to external radiation from photon-emitting radionuclides distributed uniformly in a thick layer of soil, and are expressed as risk/year per pCi/gram soil. When combined with site-specific media concentration data and appropriate exposure assumptions, slope factors can be used to estimate lifetime cancer risks to members of the general population due to radionuclide exposures.

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EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes

EPA updates its assessment of health risks from indoor radon, which the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has determined to be the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking.

EPA Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes (PDF) (99pp, 1.28Mb [about pdf format]) [EPA 402-R-03-003]
This risk assessment is based primarily on results from a recent study of radon health effects (BEIR VI) by the NAS, with some technical adjustments and extensions.

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Comparative Dosimetry of BEIR VI Revisited

In support of EPA’s Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes, the Agency sponsored a study designed to aid in the extrapolation of risk estimates based on data from underground miner cohorts to the case of residential exposures.

Comparative Dosimetry of BEIR VI Revisited Exit EPA Disclaimer, Radiation Protection Dosimetry 108:3-26; 2004) [A.C. James, A. Birchall and G. Akabani]
estimates the radiation doses delivered to target cells in the lung from radon progeny under indoor and mine exposure conditions.

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Modifying EPA Risk Models Based on BEIR VII

Draft Blue Book - EPA Radiogenic Cancer Risk Models and Projections for the U.S. Population(116pp, 513Kb [about pdf format])The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences released a report on the health risks from exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation in 2006. Cosponsored by the EPA and several other federal agencies, Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation BEIR VII Phase 2 (BEIR VII) primarily addresses cancer and genetic risks from low doses of low-LET radiation (high energy photons and electrons).

The draft Blue Book is a proposed revision to EPA's methodology for estimating radiogenic cancers, based on the contents of the National Research Council's BEIR VII report and some ancillary information. It takes into account the Science Advisory Board's advisory review comments on the white paper below.

Draft White Paper: Modifying EPA Radiation Risk Models Based on BEIR VII (PDF) (36pp, 381Kb [about pdf format])
In this paper, we outline proposed changes in EPA’s methodology for estimating radiogenic cancers, based on the contents of BEIR VII and some ancillary information.

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Ground-Water Modeling

Documenting Ground-Water Modeling at Sites Contaminated with Radioactive Substances (PDF)(168pp, 1.48Mb [about pdf format]) [EPA/540-R-96-003]
This report demonstrates a thorough approach to documenting model applications in a consistent manner and is intended to assist technical staff responsible for identifying and implementing flow and transport models in support of cleanup decisions at radioactive and hazardous waste sites.

A Technical Guide to Ground-Water Model Selection at Sites Contaminated with Radioactive Substances (PDF) (146pp, 1.46 Mb [about pdf format])[ EPA/402-R-94-012]
This report specifically addresses the selection of ground-water flow and contaminant transport models and is intended to be used by hydrogeologists and geoscientists responsible for identifying and selecting ground-water flow and contaminant transport models for use at sites containing radioactive materials.

 

To order the following documents, call or fax:

By fax:1-513-489-8695
By phone:1-800-490-9198

 

bulletRadiation Protection Guidance to Federal Agencies for Occupational Exposure, Environmental Protection Agency 52 FR 2822 January 27, 1987.

This guidance provides general principles, and specifies the numerical primary guides for limiting worker exposure. It applies to all workers who are exposed to radiation in the course of their work, either as employees of institutions and companies subject to Federal regulation or as Federal employees.

bulletRadiation Protection Guidance to Federal Agencies for Diagnostic X-rays, Environmental Protection Agency 43 FR 4377 February 1, 1978.

This guidance provides recommendations to reduce radiation exposure from the use of diagnostic x-rays. These recommendations, transmitted to the President jointly by EPA and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), were based on two guiding principles: avoidance of unnecessary prescription of x-rays, and use of good technique to minimize radiation exposure.

bulletUnderground Mining of Uranium Ore, Federal Radiation Council 34 FR 576 January 15, 1969 35 FR 245 December 18, 1970

This guidance sets forth recommendations for radiation protection activities as they apply to the underground mining of uranium ore. EPA subsequently reviewed these recommendations and concluded that no modification was necessary.

bulletRadiation Protection Guidance for Federal Agencies, Federal Radiation Council 25 FR 9057 September 26, 1961

This guidance presents recommendations for population groups exposed to environmental sources of radiation. It provides Radiation Protection Guides; guidance on general principles of control applicable to all environmental radionuclides; and specific guidance in connection with exposure of population groups to radium-226, iodine-131, strontium-90, and strontium-89.

bulletRadiation Protection Guidance for Federal Agencies, Federal Radiation Council 25 FR 4402 May 18, 1960

This guidance provides a general framework for radiation protection and general principles of radiation control based on the annual intake of radioactive materials. These recommendations provide the basis for the control and regulation of radiation exposure during normal peacetime operations. Numerical values for the Radiation Protection Guides, designed to limit the exposure of the whole body and certain organs, are provided.

Federal Guidance Technical Reports

(Note: The most current report is listed first)

Federal Guidance Report No. 13 (Final)Cancer Risk Coefficients for Environmental Exposure to Radionuclides, EPA 402-R-99-001

This report provides methods and data for estimating risks due to both internal and external radionuclide exposures. It includes coefficients for assessing cancer risks from environmental exposure to about 800 radionuclides. Both mortality and incidence risk coefficients are tabulated for inhalation, food and water ingestion, submersion in air and exposure to uniform soil concentrations. The age-averaged coefficients consider age-specific intake rates, dose modeling, and risk modeling. The information presented in this report is for use in assessing risks from radionuclide exposure in a variety of applications ranging from environmental impact analyses of specific sites to the general analyses that support rulemaking. [back to top]

Federal Guidance Report No. 13: Response to Comments on the Interim VersionResponse to Comments Received Regarding Federal Guidance Report No.13 - Part 1, Interim Version:  Health Risks From Low-Level Environmental Exposure to Radionuclides, EPA 402-R-97-014 January 1998,

This document contains the consolidated comments received from the public on the interim version of Federal Guidance Report No. 13 during the Public Comment Period, April 13, 1998 through June 30, 1998.  It also contains EPA's response to those comments.   These comments were considered in finalizing Federal Guidance Report No. 13.   [back to top]

Federal Guidance Report No. 13 (Interim)Health Risks from Low-Level Environmental Exposure to Radionuclides, Interim Version - Part I Environmental Protection Agency 401-R-97-014 January 1998.
This document has been superseded by the Final Report No. 13, above.[back to top]
Report No.12External Exposure to Radionuclides in Air, Water, and Soil, Environmental Protection Agency 402-R-93-81 September 1993.
This report provides tables of exposure-to-dose conversion factors for external exposure to photons and electrons emitted by radionuclides in air, water, and soil. It is intended to be a companion to Federal Guidance Report No. 11. The dose coefficients for exposure to external radiation are intended for the use of Federal agencies in calculating the dose equivalent to organs and tissues of the body. Dose coefficients for air submersion in Report No.12 update those given in Report No. 11.  [back to top]
Report No.11Limiting Values of Radionuclide Intake and Air Concentration and Dose Conversion Factors for Inhalation, Submersion, and Ingestion, Environmental Protection Agency 520/1-88-020 September 1988.
This report provides derived guides (limiting values) of radionuclide intake and air concentration for control of occupational exposure that are consistent with 1987 Federal Guidance Document, Radiation Protection Guidance to Federal Agencies for Occupational Exposure. The derived guides serve as the basis for regulations setting upper bounds on the inhalation and ingestion of, and submersion in, radioactive materials in the workplace. The report also includes tables of exposure-to-dose conversion factors for general use in assessing average individual committed doses in any population that is adequately characterized by Reference Man (ICRP 1975). This report supercedes Federal Guidance Report No. 10.  [back to top]

 

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This page was updated on 22-Mar-2017