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Key Documents Leading to Establishment of the

Interagency Radiation Research Committee

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The President has signed an executive order creating a Radiation Policy Council and has directed the secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to establish an Interagency Radiation Research Committee. These actions implement decisions announced by the President on October 23, 1979, designed to improve the federal government's policies and programs related to radiation protection.

The Radiation Policy Council will coordinate the federal programs to reduce exposures to radiation from all sources, including medical and dental exposures; will be responsible for resolving conflicts in jurisdiction among federal agencies; and will recommend corrective legislation when needed. The Council wiil be responsible for liaison with the States and the Congress. It will also serve as a forum for public participation and comment and wiil stimulate information programs for the public and the media.

Douglas M. Costle, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, will chair the Radiation Policy Council. Other members will be high officials of the Departments of Defense, Justice, Commerce, Labor, HEW, Housing and Urban Development,. Transportation, and Energy, also the Veterans Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Nuclear Reguiatory Commission has been invited to participate.

The Interagency Radiation Research Committee will supersede an active Congressionally-mandated committee which has already reviewed various federally-supported studies. The committee will prepare an annual report on federal research activities for use in the President's budget request.

The President's budget request for FY 1981 includes $111.5 million for research on the biological effects of ionizing radiation, work supported by 15 agencies or departments. The budget is the result of a cross-agency review conducted by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the President's direction. This budget will assure a sound research program on the long-term health effects of low-level radiation and appropriate roles for the major agencies involved.

Today's actions complement the President's announcements on December 7, 1979, of his response to the recommendations of the Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, and on February 12, 1980, of his comprehensive program for management of radioactive wastes. These actions, taken together, substantially enhance the coordination of the federal government's varied activities related to radiation. These actions will improve the protection of the Ame:ican people from unnecessary exposures to medical, occupational, and environmental sources of radiation and increase their understanding of radiation uses and radiation hazards.

(For further information, contact Carl Gerber, 395-4931, or Gilbert Omenn, 456-7116.)

WASHINGTON

February 21, 1980

MEMORANDUM FOR

THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
THE SECRETARY OF LABOR
THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH, EDUCATION,

AND WELFARE
THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL

PROTECTION AGENCY
THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

SUBJECT:

Interagency Radiation Research Committee

After reviewing the recommendations of the Interagency Task Force on the Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation, I have concluded that there is a need for a formal, interagency mechanism to coordinate the extensive and diffuse Federal program of research into the biological effects of ionizing radiation.

I am therefore instructing the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to establish an Interagency Research Committee with membership drawn from the agencies and departments addressed by this memorandum. And by a copy of this memorandum, I am also inviting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to name a member to the Committee. The staff and other support necessary for the Committee to carry out its functions shall be provided by HEW.

I am requesting that each of the participating organizations name a representative at a senior level to serve on the Committee. The Committee may request the participation of other agencies as members or observers.

The Committee shall coordinate the Federal government's conduct of a comprehensive research program on the biological effects of ionizing radiation in order to ensure that the program is comprehensive and carried out efficiently, objectively, openly, and in accord with the highest scientific standards. The Committee shall:

Coordinate the planning, implementation, and
evaluation of Federal radiation research programs.

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