- Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL-8)
- Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL-3)
- Rep. Randy K. Weber, Sr. (R-TX-14)
- Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX-36)
- A variation of H.R.4733 was signed into law as part of the Energy Act of 2020.
WHAT IT DOES
This bill directs the Department of Energy to expand federal radiation research by establishing a basic research program into low-dose and low dose-rate radiation, aka radiation less than 100 millisieverts and 5 millisieverts per hour, respectively. A millisievert is a tiny measurement of radiation equivalent to the radiation one would experience after flying 250 hours in an airplane. Although we have thoroughly studied the effects of much higher radiation levels, there are still knowledge gaps about the effects of radiation at such low exposure. This bill aims to close that gap through research into the effects, if any, of such doses.
This bill requires the proposed research program to be a cooperative venture between space, health, and energy offices and organizations within the Executive branch, including NASA and the NRC. The purpose of this research is to better understand the health impacts of low-dose and low dose-rate radiation so as to advise the National Science and Technology Council on policies and initiatives in radiation biology.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Nuclear science is critical to America’s medical, aerospace, and energy sectors. While the effects of high doses of radiation have been subject to intense scientific scrutiny over the past seventy years, our current grasp of how radiation scales is only accepted because it hasn’t proven false. By diving deeper and better understanding the effects of exposure to low-dose radiation, the U.S. can craft smarter policy as we make cutting-edge breakthroughs in medical treatments, space exploration, and energy production.
- Allocates funds to the Biological and Environmental Research Program to carry out this research over the next four years, with a firm end to the program after 2023
- Requires the program results be used to form policies on radiation biology
- Requests international cooperation to leverage research and knowledge from across the globe
- Directs the Department of Energy to coordinate with other federal bodies that work with radiation: NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the EPA, the Department of Defense, the Nuclear
- Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Homeland Security