This Program protects the public from airborne radioactivity by enforcing federal and state standards for radioactive air emissions. This includes enforcing off-site dose standards and radionuclide control technology standards. Compliance with regulations is assured through inspections, plan reviews, and licensing.
The Radioactive Air Emissions Program is delegated federal authority for limiting radioactive air emissions from various types of sources. As part of that authority the Program issues Air Emission Licenses to Operate which are included in Air Operating Permits issued by the Department of Ecology (Ecology) (Code of Federal Regulations Title 40, subpart 70). Maintaining this delegation is essential in ensuring continued federal funds for many other programs. The Program is delegated federal authority from EPA for Code of Federal Regulations Title 40 Part 61 subparts for airborne radionuclides. These Programs are fee supported.
The state standards for radioactive air emissions are set by Ecology, by statute, and enforced state wide at any facility that emits, or has the potential to emit, radionuclides into the air. However, the enforcement of WAC 246-247 at most non-federal facilities is done by the Radioactive Materials Section as part of their Nuclear Regulatory Commissions Agreement State Program. This helps streamline the regulatory process, avoids duplicative efforts, and cuts costs. Exceptions to this are as follows:
University of Washington (UW) - They are required by federal and state law to hold an Air Operating Permit (AOP), which must be done consistently and coordinated with EPA, Ecology, and the local air pollution control agencies.
Washington State University (WSU) - They are required by federal and state law to hold an Air Operating Permit (AOP), which must be done consistently and coordinated with EPA, Ecology, and the local air pollution control agencies.
AREVA NP - As a fuel cycle facility, they are not regulated by the Radioactive Materials Program.
Perma-Fix - As a nuclear waste processing business they have an increased possibility for radioactive air emissions to occur.
In addition to UW and WSU, the Radioactive Air Emissions Program issues licenses for inclusion into AOPs to the Department of Energy at Hanford, US Ecology in Richland, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (USDOE) in Richland, the Dawn Mining Company in Spokane, the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, and Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis in Tacoma.
The program has civil and criminal enforcement authority which is practiced by
- Approving applications (Notices of Construction).
- Enforcing standards.
- Issuing licenses to operate with conditions and limitations.
- Inspecting and auditing emission units and projects to determine compliance.
- Providing technical assistance.