EPA Dramatically Weakens Radiation Protections

EPA has just issued (April 15, 2013) new Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for dealing with radioactive releases. The new PAGs are in many ways worse than the extremely weak PAGs Bush tried to push out in the last days of that Administration that Obama pulled back.  The PAGs eliminate requirements to evacuate people when thyroid or skin radiation doses exceed certain levels, lift a lifetime limit on radiation from such an event that would have triggered relocation, recommend dumping radioactive waste in municipal garbage dumps not designed for such waste, and propose five options for drinking water, all of which would dramatically increase the permitted concentrations of radioactivity in drinking water, by as much as 27,000 times.

Additionally, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has published draft guidance for implementing the long-term cleanup portions of the PAGS.  The NCRP guidance would allow the public to be exposed to extraordinarily higher levels of radiation than previously permitted, sufficient to cause a cancer in every sixth person exposed.  Although public comments are supposedly being solicited, EPA has made the PAGs immediately effective, making the comment opportunity pretty meaningless.

  • Summary of EPA PAGs Weakening Radiation Protections
  • Letter criticizing NCRP guide for relaxing radiation protections, being sent to NCRP.
  • Critique by CBG, NIRS, PSR-LA, and SCFS of NCRP Draft Report on Late-Phase Recovery from Nuclear or Radiological Incidents

Read the CBG/NIRS press release:

EPA PAGs suggest permitting radioactive concentrations in drinking water orders of magnitude higher than EPA has long deemed acceptable pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Below you will find two charts which detail the suggested concentrations.  You may view them in detail by clicking on them below:

Chart 1
Click the image to view the chart in detail


Chart 2
Click the chart to view the data in detail


CBG Powerpoint Presentation to Gina McCarthy (current EPA Administrator nominee) and other senior EPA officials opposing weakening of protections.

Summary of NCRP Proposals to Dramatically Increase Permissible Radioactive Contamination

Below you will find two charts which demonstrate the dramatic increase in permissible radioactive contamination, click on the images below to view the data in detail:

Click the chart to view the data in detail
Click the chart to view the data in detail
Click the chart to view the data in detail
Click the chart to view the data in detail

Read CBG’s Report on EPA’s PAGs:

Group Letters to EPA urging them not to relax radiation protections, i.e., to not take the action they have just now taken:

For more information, go to the Nuclear Information and Resource Service:  http://www.nirs.org/radiation/radstds/radstdshome.htm

Also see Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility:  http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2013/04/08/white-house-approves-radical-radiation-cleanup-rollback/

To read the EPA PAGs:   http://www.epa.gov/radiation/rert/pags.html
To read the NCRP report:  http://www.ncrponline.org

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