LAW according to how or when it was generated and toward regulation based on the actual hazard of the material. Risk, as perceived by generators, regulators, concerned citizens, and elected officials, can provide a common basis—a common currency—leading to better cooperation, agreement, and progress for all stakeholders.

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that low-activity waste regulators implement risk-informed regulation of LAW through integrated strategies1 developed by the regulatory agencies. Improving the system will require continued integration and coordination among regulatory agencies including the USNRC, EPA, the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Defense (DOD), and other federal and state agencies.

While current statutes and regulations for LAW provide adequate authority for protection of workers and the public, current practices are complex, inconsistent, and not based on a systematic consideration of risks. More efficient and uniformly protective management of the risks posed by these wastes will require moving away from the present origin-based regulatory system—a system that is firmly established through decades of practice and involves a number of federal and state agencies that have different authorities.

The concepts of a risk-informed system developed in Chapter 3 of this report and the implementation approaches described in Chapter 4 would provide the basis for the strategies, which should incorporate the tiered approach set forth in Recommendation 2. The strategies would include legal, regulatory, and implementation issues at a level of detail greater than could be attempted by this committee.

The development and use of integrated strategies would strengthen waste regulators’ ongoing efforts to improve LAW regulation and management practices by

  1. Focusing the attention of decision makers at all levels on the needs for and benefits of implementing risk-informed practices,

  2. Providing a unified approach to developing risk-informed practices that is recognized by all stakeholders as cooperative and mutually supportive, and


By “integrated strategies” the committee means the results of agencies working together to develop a single or joint strategies for using the approach in Recommendation 2 to implement risk-informed practices. Because the regulatory agencies have different legal authorities they may develop separate, but integrated, strategies.

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