The current regulatory framework is not conducive to the use of risk assessment in the decision-making related to the remediation of DOE facilities. There is little incentive or requirement for the uniform methods and use of risk assessment in the state and federal regulatory process (as opposed to the high-level radioactive-waste disposal program) for the coordination of assessments. Assessments that DOE seeks to use in setting remediation priorities and more generally in risk management have little relation to assessments required by EPA in its CERCLA guidelines for Superfundsite remediation at DOE facilities. Indeed, because some stake-holders (including regulators) fear that DOE will use risk assessment simply to circumvent or cast doubt on current regulations or agreements, they are reluctant to help DOE to develop a tool that could be so used.

DOE needs to coordinate with EPA, other federal agencies, state regulatory agencies, and the public to facilitate the use of risk assessment in remediation. In addition, DOE should continue to improve its working relationship with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, so that appropriate population-based exposure and health surveillance information are improved for affected or potentially affected workers and members of the general population.

Stakeholders, in addition to DOE managers, need to be assisted in understanding the nature, workings, and limitations of risk assessment if they are to participate effectively in the risk-assessment process. All information on remediation and risk assessment should be presented in an understandable form and in a form that can be used by the participants.

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