[ RadSafe ] Agreement States v. NRC (was: radiography incident)

William Lipton doctorbill34 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 2 14:24:18 CDT 2012

Under section 274 of the AEA the NRC can withdraw an Agreement State's
exemption from NRC regulation.  Also, an Agreement State's program must be
compatible with NRC regulations.  I interpret this as giving the NRC final

Bill Lipton

On Apr 2, 2012 2:10 PM, "Clayton J Bradt" <CJB01 at health.state.ny.us> wrote:

> Bill Lipton wrote:
> ***************
> In response:
> 1.  The NRC still has final responsibility.  The licensee has an "Agreement
> State" license.  Although Texas issues the license, the standards are set
> by the NRC, and the NRC has responsibility for assuring that the state's
> program is adequate.  It seems that there are grounds for thinking
> otherwise.
> 2.  The problem is not the regulations, but their enforcement.  " If Texas
> Rad Control don't [sic] have time or expertise to do it..." the NRC should
> withdraw it's agreement state status.
> 3.  I agree.
> ***********************
> Not so , Bill.
> The final responsibility always rests with the Agreement State. Under an
> agreement, the NRC relinquishes its authority to regulate by-product
> material. The Agreement State enforces state, not federal, law through its
> radioactive materials regulations. Although the NRC has claimed otherwise,
> the Atomic Energy Act has no provision for NRC to assure that a state does
> *anything *once an agreement has been signed (with the sole exception of
> regulating uranium mill tailings site in accordance with federal
> standards).
> As has been said elsewhere, Texas does in fact have the one of the best
> regulation programs for industrial radiography in the country (which means
> probably one of the best on the planet). They do a better job than NRC. By
> all means we should look at the licensee's compliance history and the
> state's responses to previous incidents, but one should not expect to find
> any systemic problems with Texas' regulatory program.
> The reason we see the same radiography incidents repeating themselves over
> and over again is to be found in the nature of the industry itself.
> Radiographers are generally not unionized and not paid all that much. Turn
> over can be fairly high. Many of the trainees speak English as a second
> language. The work sites where radiography is performed, like all heavy
> construction sites, tend to be dirty, uncomfortable, and dangerous places -
> even without the radiography source! The radiographers frequently work
> under considerable time pressure because the construction work has to stop
> while they set up their shots and make an exposure. Given all the factors
> working against safety it is remarkable how few of these over-exposure
> incidents occur.
> Clayton J. Bradt
> Principal Radiophysicist
> NYS Dept. of Health
> Biggs Laboratory, Room D486A
> Empire State Plaza
> Albany, NY 12201-0509
> 518-474-1993

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