Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The purpose of this article is to explore the question of how governmental responsibility for regulation of radiation hazards associated with atomic energy activities may best be allocated between the federal government and the states. While division of such responsibility is theoretically not essential--it being legally conceivable that the federal government could shoulder the entire responsibility alone or could leave it entirely to the states--various factors which will be mentioned below appear to make some sort of division of responsibility a practical necessity. To explore this question of division of responsibility, we shall first review the nature of radiation and the hazards of radiation exposure, to protect against which governmental regulation is deemed to be necessary. We shall next review the present status of state and federal radiation protection regulatory patterns. Finally, we shall set forth our conclusions as to the proper role of federal and state governments at this time. It is our hope, in writing this article, that our observations will be found worthy of consideration by legislators and administrators, both state and federal, who are presently at work establishing public policy for the protection of the citizens of their jurisdictions from excessive radiation exposure.