George J. Vargo vargo at physicist.net
Thu Jul 21 17:36:23 CDT 2005

Seen today on NRC's web site

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering amending its regulations to
implement a national tracking system for certain radioactive materials used
for academic, medical and industrial purposes. 
The NRC is working closely with other federal agencies and the states to
develop the National Source Tracking System to track certain radioactive
materials in specific quantities. During 2002-2003, the NRC worked with
other agencies and the international community to reach agreement on which
radioactive materials and sources should be tracked. Those sources are set
forth in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Code of Conduct on
the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources.
The proposed amendment to NRC regulations would require licensees to report
information on the manufacture, transfer, receipt or disposal of these
sources of interest to an automated National Source Tracking System, to be
administered by the NRC. The sources are considered "sealed sources" because
they are encased in a capsule designed to prevent leakage or escape of the
material. The radioactive materials that will be tracked include, but are
not limited to, certain amounts of Cobalt-60, Strontium-90, Cesium-137,
Iridium-192 and Americium-241. 
Each licensee would also have to provide its initial inventory of nationally
tracked sources to the National Source Tracking System and annually verify
and reconcile the information in the system with the licensee's actual
inventory. In addition, the amendment would require manufacturers to assign
a unique serial number to each nationally tracked source.
"This regulation would allow us to better understand and monitor who
possesses sources of interest on a national basis," said Charles L. Miller,
Director of the NRC's Division of Industrial and Medical Nuclear Safety. "It
is consistent with recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) and a joint NRC/Department of Energy report."
Once fully operational, the National Source Tracking System would help NRC
and Agreement States (the 33 states that have agreed with the NRC to
regulate the medical and industrial uses of radioactive material) to conduct
inspections and investigations, communicate nationally tracked source
information to other government agencies, and verify legitimate ownership
and use of nationally tracked sources. The NRC has developed and is
maintaining an interim database of radioactive sources of interest for both
NRC and Agreement State licensees. This database will be maintained until
the National Source Tracking System is complete. 
Radioactive materials provide critical capabilities in the oil and gas,
electrical power, construction and food industries; are used to treat
millions of patients each year in diagnostic and therapeutic medical
procedures; and are used in technology research and development. In
developing its requirements, the NRC seeks to provide appropriate security
for the materials without discouraging their beneficial use. 
Further details of the proposed amendments to NRC's regulations are
contained in a Federal Register notice, to be published soon. Interested
persons are invited to submit written comments within 75 days after
publication of the Federal Register notice to the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 2055-0001, Attention: Rulemakings and
Adjudications Staff. Comments may also be sent by e-mail to SECY at nrc.gov or
submitted via the NRC's rulemaking web site at http://ruleforum.llnl.gov.

George J. Vargo, Ph.D., CHP
Senior Scientist
MJW Corporation
610-925-5545 (fax)
vargo at physicist.net

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