[ RadSafe ] Agreement States v. NRC (was: radiography incident)
blhamrick at aol.com
Mon Apr 2 15:57:48 CDT 2012
I have to side with Clayton on this. The exact wording in Sec. 274.b. is “the Commission is authorized to enter into agreements with the Governor of any State providing for discontinuance of the regulatory authority of the Commission” (for certain byproduct, source and special nuclear materials).
Section 274.d(2) contains a reference to being “compatible” with the Commission, and as Clayton properly points out, this is a finding that must be made prior to entering into the agreement, but there is no provision for continued compatibility (except with respect to uranium mill tailings). Section 274.g states the “Commission is authorized and directed to cooperate with the States in the formulation of standards for protection…to assure that State and Commission programs…will be coordinated and compatible. This is a mandate to the Commission, not to the States.
Finally, in Section 274.j. the Commission may terminate or suspend an agreement after reasonable notice and opportunity for a hearing, and upon a finding that the action is required to protect the public health and safety, or if the State has not complied with a requirement in Section 274, which does not require continued compatibility with the Commission.
The Commission has only terminated one agreement, since 1962; that was an agreement with Idaho, who requested that the Commission terminate the agreement. There was also one partial termination of which I’m aware, and that was in New Mexico (I think) who requested that the Commission take back a specific program (either sealed source and device approvals or something to do with waste). It is true they can terminate or suspend an agreement, but they cannot walk into an Agreement State and start enforcing federal law, because the federal law does not apply to Agreement State licensees; those licensees are governed by State law unless and until the State agreement is terminated or suspended.
Barbara L. Hamrick
From: William Lipton <doctorbill34 at gmail.com>
To: Clayton J Bradt <CJB01 at health.state.ny.us>
Cc: radsafe <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Mon, Apr 2, 2012 12:25 pm
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Agreement States v. NRC (was: radiography incident)
Under section 274 of the AEA the NRC can withdraw an Agreement State's
xemption from NRC regulation. Also, an Agreement State's program must be
ompatible with NRC regulations. I interpret this as giving the NRC final
On Apr 2, 2012 2:10 PM, "Clayton J Bradt" <CJB01 at health.state.ny.us> wrote:
> Bill Lipton wrote:
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
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
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
Clayton J. Bradt
NYS Dept. of Health
Biggs Laboratory, Room D486A
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12201-0509
ou are currently subscribed to the RadSafe mailing list
Before posting a message to RadSafe be sure to have read and understood the
adSafe rules. These can be found at: http://health.phys.iit.edu/radsaferules.html
For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe and other settings visit:
More information about the RadSafe