MANY FEDERAL AGENCIES AND THE STATES HAVE IMPORTANT ROLES IN PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC AND THE ENVIRONMENT FROM RADIATION
The states have agencies responsible for regulating the use of radiation and for addressing radiation questions and problems. They are the best first source of information about radiation issues which affect their constituents. The states regulate the use of x-ray machines. some are also licensed to regulate other sources of radiation within their state on behalf of EPA, NRC, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
EPA issues standards and guidance to limit human exposure to radition. EPA works with the public, industry, the states and other government agencies to inform people about radiation's risks and to promote actions that reduce human exposure. EPA also measures environmental levels of radiation and assesses radiation's effects on people and the environment.
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION (NRC)
NRC implements EPA's and its own standards for protecting the public from radiation. NRC regulates the civilian uses of nuclear materials in the United States by: licensing facilities that possess, use, or dispose of nuclear materials; establishing standards governing the activities of licensees; and inspecting licensed facilities to ensure compliance with its requirements. These regulatory functions relate to both nuclear power plants and to other users of nuclear materials for purposes such as nuclear medicine at hospitals, academic activities at educational institutions, research work, and industrial applications such as gauges and testing equipment.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (HHS)
HHS's Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiological Health establishes standards for x-ray machines and other electronic products to ensure that human health is protected from the radiation produced by these products.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE)
DOE is responsible for the development of the disposal system for spent nuclear fuel from the nation's civilian nuclear power plants. This activity is totally funded by a tax paid by the users of nuclear-generated electricity. DOE is also responsible for the management and disposal of nuclear waste and other radioactive materials associated with nuclear weapons production at federally-owned facilities. The Department is working to clean up its present and former nuclear sites. DOE is cooperating with state governments and private industry to clean up other locations around the United States that were contaminated with radiation as a result of government programs. DOE also provides technical advice and assistance to states and the private sector in the management and disposal of low-level radioactive waste.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD)
While DOE is responsible for the safe handling of radioactive material at defense production facilities, DOD is responsible for the safe handling and storage of nuclear weapons and other military uses of nuclear energy.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (DOT)
DOT, in cooperation with NRC and the states, governs the packaging and transport of radioactive materials. The Department also regulates carriers of radioactive materials.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (OSHA)
OSHA develops and enforces regulations to protect workers not covered by other agencies from radiation exposure.