Natural Resources and Environment:

Institutional and Jurisdictional Issues in Nuclear Waste Management

Published: May 20, 1977. Publicly Released: May 20, 1977.

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The fragmentation of existing responsibility governing the storage and disposal of nuclear wastes between the Energy Research and Development Agency (ERDA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and questions concerning the proper role of federal/state relations dealing with nuclear waste management can potentially hinder the orderly development and implementation of a national nuclear waste management program. ERDA, NRC, agreement states, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are the principal agencies involved with regulating and managing nuclear materials to protect the public and the environment from harmful radiation. NRC has relinquished regulatory authority over certain types and quantities of radioactive materials to some states by entering into formal agreements with them. Before approving an agreement state, NRC must determine that the state's radiation control program is compatible with NRC's regulatory program and is adequate to protect public health and safety. Currently, there are 25 agreement states. ERDA facilities for military weapons and nuclear research programs are not regulated by NRC. EPA is responsible for establishing overall environmental standards to protect the environment from radioactive hazards.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: NRC, in cooperation with the States, should identify long-term care requirements of commercial disposal sites which handle radioactive wastes, and should assist the States in planning for adequate funding to support such requirements.

    Agency Affected:

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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