IEER Comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations — Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR)
(40 CFR Part 190; Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0689)

Submitted via email on August 3, 2014

Download the complete comments

These are initial comments of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) on EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0689, the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for a revision of 40 CFR 190. They are organized according to the questions that the EPA raised in the ANPR, listed below. IEER’s responses and additional comments are contained in the complete comments (PDF).

  1. Consideration of a Risk Limit to Protect Individuals.
    • Should the Agency express its limits for the purpose of this regulation in terms of radiation risk or radiation dose?
    • Should the Agency base any risk standard on cancer morbidity or cancer mortality? What would be the advantages or disadvantages of each?
    • How might implementation of a risk limit be carried out? How might a risk standard affect other federal regulations and guidance?
  2. Updated Dose Methodology (Dosimetry). How should the Agency update the radiation dosimetry methodology incorporated in the standard?
    • If a dose standard is desired, how should the Agency take account of updated scientific information and methods related to radiation dose—such as the concept of committed effective dose?
    • In updating the dose standard, should the methodology in ICRP 60 or ICRP 103 be adopted, or should implementation allow some flexibility? What are the relative advantages or disadvantages of not specifying which ICRP method be used for the dose assessment?
  3. Radionuclide Release Limits. The Agency has established individual limits for release of specific radionuclides of concern. Based on a concept known as collective dose, these standards limit the total discharge of these radionuclides to the environment.
    • Should the Agency retain the concept of radionuclide-specific release limits to prevent the environmental build-up of long-lived radionuclides? What should be the basis of these limits?
    • Is it justifiable to apply limits on an industry-wide basis and, if so, can this be reasonably implemented? Would facility limits be more practicable?
    • If release limits are used, are the radionuclides for which limits have been established in the existing standard still appropriate and, if not, which ones should be added or subtracted?
  4. Water Resource Protection. How should a revised rule protect water resources?
    • If a ground water protection standard is established in the general environment outside the boundaries of nuclear fuel cycle facilities, what should the basis be and how should it be implemented?
    • Are additional standards aimed at limiting surface water contamination needed?
  5. Spent Nuclear Fuel and High- Level Radioactive Waste Storage.
    • How, if at all, should a revised rule explicitly address storage of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste?
    • Is it necessary to clarify the applicability of 40 CFR part 190 versus 40 CFR part 191 to storage operations? Should the Agency clarify the scope of 40 CFR part 190 to also cover operations at separate facilities (off-site) dedicated to storage of spent nuclear fuel (i.e., should we clarify the definition of the ‘‘nuclear fuel cycle’’ to include all management of spent nuclear fuel up until the point of transportation to a permanent disposal site)?
  6. New Nuclear Technologies. What new technologies and practices have developed since 40 CFR part 190 was issued, and how should any revised rule address these advances and changes?”
    • Are there specific new technologies or practices with unique characteristics that would dictate the need for separate or different limits and do these differences merit a reconsideration of the technical basis for 40 CFR part 190?
    • Should the Agency develop standards that will proactively apply to new nuclear technologies developed in the future, and if so, how far into the future should the Agency look (near-term, mid-term, etc.)?
    • In particular, do small modular reactors pose unique environmental concerns that warrant separate standards within 40 CFR part 190?
  7. Other Possible Issues for Comment. IEER believes that three additional issues should be addressed in the revised rule.
    • Definition of “member of the public
    • Measurements for evaluating compliance of nuclear reactors with this rule
    • Carbon-14 and tritium