New regs for Friday: Radiation, coal mines, model airplanes

Friday's edition of the Federal Register contains new rules for radiation at nuclear facilities, explosives used in coal mining operations, model airplanes and recreational drones, and energy efficiency at manufactured homes.

Here's what is happening:

Radiation: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering new radiation protections at nuclear facilities.

The radiation standards would protect workers and the public from hazardous radiation stemming from a nuclear facility, the NRC said Thursday.

The public has 120 days to comment.

Explosives: The Interior Department's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is considering more stringent blasting regulations at surface coal mine sites, the agency said Thursday.

The Interior Department is considering a petition from WildEarth Guardians, an environmental group that wants the agency to prohibit visible nitrogen oxide emissions resulting from blasting operations. 

The petitioners argue this would protect the health, welfare and safety of mine workers and the surrounding public.

The public has 30 days to comment.

Model airplanes: The Federal Aviation Administration is delaying a rule that would restrict model airplanes, also known as recreational drones, from flying near airports and interfering with commercial planes.

The FAA announced new rules last month that would prohibit people from flying model airplanes within five miles of an airport, more than 400 feet above the ground, or over populated areas where there is an increased risk of someone getting injured from a crash.

But the FAA said Thursday it is extending the comment period through Sept. 23 to give the public more time to discuss the proposed rules.

Beer: The Department of Agriculture is considering new standards for barley, which is often used to produce beer.

The USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration is looking to improve the quality of the barley produced in the U.S. The agency said more than 60 percent is used to produce beer and other alcoholic beverages.

The public has 60 days to comment.

Efficiency: The Department of Energy is considering new energy efficiency standards for manufactured homes, which would help homeowners save money on their electricity bills. 

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will hold two meetings next month on Aug. 4 and 5 to consider the proposed rule.

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