[ 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
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
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
YS Dept. of Health
iggs Laboratory, Room D486A
mpire State Plaza
lbany, NY 12201-0509
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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hank you for your cooperation.
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