The EPA has the authority to regulate the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) which is a Department of Energy repository that permanently disposes of transuranic waste from defense programs. Authority for EPA’s response in radiological emergency situations is described in Emergency Support Function 10, which includes a multitude of radiological events where the EPA would step in to respond, including those that may involve nuclear waste. The EPA also sets air emission and drinking water standards, and has created the Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) to protect human health and the environment.
For more information, visit the Department of Energy’s website.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) also has authority over nuclear power plants’ waste and spent nuclear fuel. Additionally, the NRC regulates radioactive sources and byproduct materials. For more information on their authority and Agreement States, visit the NRC website.
Occasionally, the Department of Defense also regulates nuclear waste when it is in the custody of or being transported for the Department of Defense.
The Department of Transportation regulates the quantities, radioactivity, and shipment processes for transporting radioactive materials. For more information, see Transportation of Radioactive Material (PDF) (21 pp, 371.05 K, About PDF).
For more information about the various regulators of radioactivity, visit Radiation Resources Outside of EPA.
Return to Frequent Questions about Radioactive Waste: General Information.