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Radiation Protection

Federal Guidance for Radiation Protection

Federal guidance reports are used by federal and state agencies in developing radiationHelpradiationEnergy given off as either particles or rays. protection regulations and standards to protect the American public from harmful effects of radiation. EPA's federal guidance authority allows EPA to provide advice to federal agencies about radiation matters directly or indirectly affecting public health. 

There are two types of federal guidance: 

  • Technical reports provide current scientific and technical information for conducting radiation dose and risk assessments. Federal and state agencies use these reports to develop and implement radiation protection regulations and standards.​ Regulated entities also use these reports for demonstrating regulatory compliance.
  • Policy recommendations are guidelines for radiation protection of the public and workers that are signed by the President of the United States and issued by EPA.  

Technical Reports

Federal Guidance Report No. (FGR)  Issued Description
14 2014

"Radiation Protection Guidance for Diagnostic and Interventional X-Ray Procedures" 
This federal guidance provides federal facilities that use diagnostic and interventional x-ray equipment with recommendations for keeping patient doses as low as reasonably achievable without compromising the quality of patient care. The Interagency Working Group on Medical Radiation updated this guidance to address the significant increase in the use of digital imaging technology, such as CT scans, and high dose procedures, such as interventional fluoroscopy.

To learn more, see Frequent Questions about FGR 14

13 1999 "Cancer Risk Coefficients for Environmental Exposure to Radionuclides: Updates and Supplements"
This report provides methods and data for estimating risks due to both internal and external radionuclideHelpradionuclideRadioactive forms of elements are called radionuclides. Radium-226, Cesium-137, and Strontium-90 are examples of radionuclides. exposures. It includes coefficients for assessing cancer risks from environmental exposure to about 800 radionuclides. Both mortality and incidence riskHelp

riskThe probability of injury, disease or death from exposure to a hazard. Radiation risk may refer to all excess cancers caused by radiation exposure (incidence risk ) or only excess fatal cancers (mortality risk). Risk may be expressed as a percent, a fraction, or a decimal value. For example, a 1% excess risk of cancer incidence is the same as a 1 in a hundred (1/100) risk or a risk of 0.01. coefficients are tabulated for inhalation, food and water ingestion, submersion in air and exposure to uniform soil concentrations. The age-averaged coefficients consider age-specific intake rates, dose modeling and risk modeling. The information presented in this report is for use in assessing risks from radionuclide exposure in a variety of applications ranging from environmental impact analyses of specific sites to the general analyses that support rulemaking.

To view the report and other materials see: Federal Guidance Report No. 13: Supporting Materials

12 1993 "External Exposure to Radionuclides in Air, Water, and Soil"
The external dose coefficients in this report are intended for use by federal agencies having regulatory responsibilities for protection of members of the public and/or workers. We also encourage their use by state and local authorities.
11 1988 "Limiting Values of Radionuclide Intake and Air Concentration and Dose Conversion Factors for Inhalation, Submersion, and Ingestion"
This report provides limiting values of radionuclide intake and derived air concentrations for control of occupational exposure that are consistent with the 1987 federal guidance policy recommendation, "Radiation Protection Guidance to Federal Agencies for Occupational Exposure." The derived guides serve as the basis for setting upper bounds on the inhalation and ingestion of, and submersion in, radioactive materials in the workplace. The report also includes tables of exposure-to-dose conversion factors for general use in assessing average individual committed doses in any population that is adequately characterized by Reference Man (ICRP 1975). This report supersedes Federal Guidance Report No. 10.
10 1984 "The Radioactivity Concentration Guides"
This report has been superseded by Federal Guidance Report No. 11 above. 
9 1976

"Radiation Protection Guidance for Diagnostic X-rays"
This report and its companion, "Background Report: Recommendations on Guidance for Diagnostic X-Ray Studies in Federal Health Care Facilities", have been superseded by Federal Guidance Report No. 14 above.

8 1967 "Guidance for the Control of Radiation Hazards in Uranium Mining" (Federal Radiation Council)
This report contains background material used in the development of the Federal Guidance policy recommendation, "Underground Mining of Uranium Ore."
7 1965

"Background Material for the Development of Radiation Protection Standards: Protective Action Guides for Strontium-89, Strontium-90 and Cesium-137" (Federal Radiation Council)
This report provides background material used in the development of guidance for federal agencies in planning activities to protect the population from strontium-89, strontium-90, and cesium-137 for certain situations. 

6 1964

"Revised Fallout Estimates for 1964-1965 and Verification of the 1963 Predictions" (Federal Radiation Council)
This report documented a study showing that the predictions in the Federal Radiation Council Report No. 4 were substantially correct, and the conclusions in that report still apply.

5 1964 "Background Material for the Development of Radiation Protection Standards" (Federal Radiation Council)
This guidance provided background material used in developing guidance for Federal agencies for (1) planning protective actions to reduce potential doses to the population from radioactive fissionHelpfissionThe splitting of an atomic nucleus into at least two other nuclei with the release of a relatively large amount of energy. Fissioning that occurs without any outside cause is called "spontaneous fission." products which may contaminate food, and (2) doses at which implementation of protective actions may be appropriate.
4 1963 "Estimates and Evaluation of Fallout in the United States from Nuclear Weapons Testing" Conducted Through 1962 (Federal Radiation Council)
This report provided an analysis of the levels of falloutHelpfalloutRadioactive material in the air from a nuclear explosion that will cool into dust-like particles and fall to the ground. anticipated in 1963 and subsequent years following the programs of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing conducted through 1962. The report forecasted a substantial increase in the probable levels of radionuclides from fallout during 1963, with decreasing quantities in subsequent years.
3 1962 "Health Implications of Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Testing Through 1961" (Federal Radiation Council)
This report evaluated the health implication of fallout from nuclear weapons testing conducted through 1961. It concluded that nuclear testing through 1961 increased the normal risks of adverse health effects to the general population by small amounts.
2 1961 "Background Material for the Development of Radiation Protection Standards" (Federal Radiation Council)
This report provided the background information for the 1961 federal guidance policy recommendation, "Radiation Protection Guidance for Federal Agencies." It includes Radiation Protection Guides for certain organs of individuals in the general population, as well as averages across exposed populations.
1 1960 "Background Material for the Development of Radiation Protection Standards" (Federal Radiation Council)
This report provided the background information for the development of the 1960 and 1961 policy recommendations, "Radiation Protection Guidance for Federal Agencies." It introduced and defined the term "Radiation Protection Guide" (RPG). It provided numerical values for RPGs for the whole body and certain organs of radiation workers, and for the whole body of individuals in the general population, as well as average population gonadal dose.

Policy Recommendations

Issued Description

Radiation Protection Guidance to Federal Agencies for Occupational Exposure
This guidance provides general principles and specifies the numerical primary guides for limiting worker exposure. It applies to all workers who are exposed to radiation in the course of their work, either as employees of institutions and companies subject to Federal regulation or as Federal employees.

1978 Radiation Protection Guidance to Federal Agencies for Diagnostic X-rays
This guidance is superseded by Federal Guidance Report No. 14.
1970 Underground Mining of Uranium Ore (Federal Radiation Council)
This guidance sets forth recommendations for radiation protection activities as they apply to the underground mining of uranium ore. EPA subsequently reviewed these recommendations and concluded that no modification was necessary.
1961 Radiation Protection Guidance for Federal Agencies (Federal Radiation Council) (PDF) (2 pp, 357.83 K, About PDF)
This guidance presents recommendations for population groups exposed to environmental sources of radiation. It provides Radiation Protection Guides (RPG); guidance on general principles of control applicable to all environmental radionuclides; and specific guidance in connection with exposure of population groups to radium-226, iodine-131, strontium-90, and strontium-89.
1960 Radiation Protection Guidance for Federal Agencies (Federal Radiation Council)
This guidance provides a general framework for radiation protection and general principles of radiation control based on the annual intake of radioactive materials. These recommendations provide the basis for the control and regulation of radiation exposure during normal peacetime operations. Numerical values for the Radiation Protection Guides (RPG), designed to limit the exposure of the whole body and certain organs, are provided.