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

Jim Hardeman Jim.Hardeman at dnr.state.ga.us
Mon Apr 2 16:46:08 CDT 2012

All --
See http://nrc-stp.ornl.gov/impeptoolbox/impep.html 
"In 1996, NRC began full implementation of the Integrated Materials
Performance Evaluation Program (IMPEP) to ensure that public health and
safety are adequately protected from the potential hazards associated
with the use of radioactive materials and that Agreement State programs
are compatible with NRC's program." (emphasis added)
Jim Hardeman

>>> Barbara Hamrick <blhamrick at aol.com> 4/2/2012 16:57 >>>

Dear Bill,

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

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

-----Original Message-----
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

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
ompatible with NRC regulations.  I interpret this as giving the NRC
Bill Lipton
On Apr 2, 2012 2:10 PM, "Clayton J Bradt" <CJB01 at health.state.ny.us>
> Bill Lipton wrote:
In response:

1.  The NRC still has final responsibility.  The licensee has an
State" license.  Although Texas issues the license, the standards are
by the NRC, and the NRC has responsibility for assuring that the
program is adequate.  It seems that there are grounds for thinking

2.  The problem is not the regulations, but their enforcement.  " If
Rad Control don't [sic] have time or expertise to do it..." the NRC
withdraw it's agreement state status.

3.  I agree.

Not so , Bill.

The final responsibility always rests with the Agreement State. Under
agreement, the NRC relinquishes its authority to regulate by-product
material. The Agreement State enforces state, not federal, law through
radioactive materials regulations. Although the NRC has claimed
the Atomic Energy Act has no provision for NRC to assure that a state
*anything *once an agreement has been signed (with the sole exception
regulating uranium mill tailings site in accordance with federal

As has been said elsewhere, Texas does in fact have the one of the
regulation programs for industrial radiography in the country (which
probably one of the best on the planet). They do a better job than NRC.
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
any systemic problems with Texas' regulatory program.

The reason we see the same radiography incidents repeating themselves
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.
over can be fairly high. Many of the trainees speak English as a
language. The work sites where radiography is performed, like all
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
while they set up their shots and make an exposure. Given all the
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


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