[ RadSafe ] Lost sources at Illinois Hospital

gelsg at aol.com gelsg at aol.com
Mon Jul 26 13:30:32 CDT 2010

I very much support the statements that Clayton is making.  This has the potential to become a very serious problem, one that all U.S. Health Physicists need to take seriously.

Gerald L. Gels, CHP
Cincinnati, OH

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayton J Bradt <CJB01 at health.state.ny.us>
To: blreider at aol.com; franz.schoenhofer at chello.at; radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
Sent: Mon, Jul 26, 2010 2:06 pm
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Lost sources at Illinois Hospital

I posted a response to Barb's and Franz's  posts on Sunday morning but it 
eems to be still floating out there somewhere. Let me try again:
I think Dan McCarn explained quite well what I was getting at with my 
riginal comments.  I was not suggesting that ignoring regulations or 
osing control of sources is acceptable. Nevertheless, these types of 
ncidents occur with regularity, and from my experience as a regulator the 
cenario described in the report is typical.  I am convinced that without 
egular and fairly frequent physical inspections by regulators, the 
ontrol of radioactive sources is jeopardized.  (Even with frequent 
nspections, security is not guaranteed.)  This being the case, the 
ntense pressure on states to cut payrolls could very likely result in the 
eduction of the frequency of inspections and thus increase the likelihood 
f more sources being lost track of in the future. 
As to Barb's question about a mechanism for NRC to take back an agreement: 
uch a mechanism is written into Section 274 of the Atomic Energy Act. It 
llows for a state to voluntarily discontinue its regulation of most 
adioactive materials and for the NRC to assume control. It also allows 
or the NRC to unilaterally terminate an agreement and assert regulatory 
uthority in cases where the public health and safety require it.  I am 
ware of only one instance where an agreement was returned to the NRC. 
bout 30 years ago (someone else may have a better recollection) the 
overnor of Idaho was persuaded to ask the commission to resume its 
egulatory authority in that state. This came about only after a decade or 
o of the state having no personnel assigned to its radiation control 
rogram.  Presumably in the future the Commission will act with more 
However, the existence of a mechanism doesn't mean that NRC has the 
apacity to absorb the radiation control programs of every state that is 
acing budgetary retrenchment.  The states regulate 80% of the materials 
icenses in the US.  NRC would have difficulty absorbing even a fraction 
f this. 
Let me also reiterate here what Barb has said about Illinois having had 
istorically a very strong radiation control program. It has and I assume 
till does, and there is nothing in this event to suggest otherwise. 
Clayton J. Bradt
rincipal Radiophysicist
YS Dept. of Health
iggs Laboratory, Room D486A
mpire State Plaza
lbany, NY 12201-0509
Dear Clayton, 
After having read for years complaints about the "all to strict" US
egulations (spare me a comment), I am rather surprised to find here a
ledge for ignoring regulations!!! 
"Jaw dropping" has even a corresponding meaning in German and means more 
ess the reaction to an opinion, which is first of all absolutely absurd 
nbelievable and secondarily totally unacceptable. 
Do you really recommend to forget radioactive sources somewhere, because
hey are not needed any more? Do you recommend that they should be
orgotten, because a new RSO was appointed? 
And "retirement" is another excuse?
No, come one, you cannot be serious about your message!!!! Do other
ADSAFErs support these opinion? Hopefully not!
layton & RadSafers,
I believe Illinois used to have quite a robust agreement state oversight 
rogram, perhaps they do not inspect known stored souces with the same 
requently as sources in use.  I find it surprising that the program would 
ot be required to have good records especially as concerns therapy 
ources, and that the safety department would not be in the loop on where 
ad safety involvement is needed.   More information is needed before 
etermining the root and contributing causes of the incident. 
The great beekeeper (D.S.) of INPO taught me that the root cause is almost 
lways management failure.  I do know of a (very) few cases where it was 
ot, for example I don't think managment should be held responsible for a 
ogue bee flying into a car and stinging the driver. 
Is there a process that allows agreement states to revert to non-agreement 
tatus if they cannot fulfill the tasks of maintaining proper oversight? I 
ave never seen the NRC revoke agreement state status.  I don't mean to 
mply that this one incident reflects on  Illinois' program, I am just 
sking in general since Clayton brought up the issue of the potential 
emise of good agreement programs due to the economy.
Barbara Reider, CHP
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