What is DOECAP Accreditation?

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Consolidated Audit Program (DOECAP) is a component of the DOE’s Analytical Services Program, which focuses on management of environmental regulatory compliance programs, remediation, clean-up efforts, and waste management. DOECAP helps conduct assessments of environmental analytical laboratories through the DOECAP-Accreditation Program. Working with the Department of Defense, the DOECAP program has adopted the Quality Systems Manual Version 5.3 as their governing standard and has also begun to rely on three ILAC recognized third party accreditation bodies, such as A2LA, to perform the assessments of the analytical laboratories. A2LA has been recognized by the DOE to grant accreditation for the DOECAP program since 2017.

As noted above, the DOECAP program uses the Quality Systems Manual (QSM) Version 5.3 which is a standard document that incorporates the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard, the 2009 TNI standard, and additional requirements set forth by both the DoD and the DOE. While there are many additional requirements that build upon existing clauses from the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard and the 2009 TNI standard, the main DOECAP requirements fall into a brand new section of the QSM: Section 6 Hazardous and Radioactive Materials Management and Health and Safety Practices. This section is solely for DOE labs and forms the bulk of additional requirements for this program.

As the DOECAP program primarily concerns itself with radiation chemistry, the set of requirements that differentiate it from ISO/IEC 17025 and the TNI Standard deal with materials management and health and safety practices. This is the information in Section 6, which features requirements that will assess labs on their plans for waste management, radiological material management, and chemical hygiene. The portion entitled “Radiological Material Management Plan” focuses on the laboratory’s requirements for receiving radioactive materials for testing purposes. It covers requirements for the radioactive survey equipment, radiation safety training, licensing to handle radioactive materials, and receiving and controlling radioactive materials. The “Waste Management” section has requirements for how the lab identifies and tracks their radioactive waste disposal, obliging accredited labs to maintain good records and reliably track their chemicals from receipt to removal. Lastly, the “Chemical Safety Plan” section requires labs to have up-to-date safety arrangements in their lab. These three plans put the onus on labs to continuously update their safety practices and consider all of these key requirements as they design their laboratory procedures. This focus on safety and health management forms the backbone of the DOECAP program.

The DOECAP program is a rising environmental accreditation program and is crucial for regulating radioactive chemistry and the proper management of its materials and waste. For labs wanting to perform work for the Department of Energy or one of its contract programs such as the National Nuclear Security Administration, the DOECAP accreditation program is an important step to take. For additional information on A2LA’s DOECAP Accreditation Program, visit our program page.