[ RadSafe ] NRC does not speak for the States? (was: Soil Blending)

Clayton J Bradt CJB01 at health.state.ny.us
Tue Nov 13 08:58:52 CST 2012

On November 9, 2012 Duane Schmidt wrote: 

"Please note that some Agreement States may not endorse the NRC guidance 
on intentional mixing (NRC does not speak for States)." (emphasis added by 

I'm not picking on you personally, Duane but NRC speaks with forked tongue 
when it comes to its relationship with the Agreement States. Please 
consider these three quotes. The first two are taken from Management 
Review Board letters to the New York radiation control program. The third 
from a recent NRC News item regarding one of its licensees. (In each case 
I have added emphasis where appropriate.)

December 27, 2005 letter from Martin J. Virgilio, Deputy Executive 
Director for Materials, Research,
State and Compliance Programs to Anthony Germano, Director, Division of 
Safety & Health, New York State Department of Labor:

"The MRB directs that all four New York agencies promulgate, and submit to 
NRC for
review, all overdue regulations and develop a Plan to account for future 
adoption of NRC
amendments in the required time frames."

 November 29, 2011 letter from Michael F. Weber, Deputy Executive Director 
for Materials, Waste, Research, State, Tribal, and Compliance Programs to 
 Howard Freed, MD, Director Center for Environmental Health New York State 
Health Department: 

" The MRB found the New York Agreement State Program adequate, but needs 
improvement, to protect public health and safety, and not compatible with 
the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission?s (NRC) program. Because of the 
significance of the findings, the MRB determined that the New York Program 
should continue the period of Heightened Oversight. Heightened Oversight 
is an increased monitoring process the NRC uses to follow the progress of 
improvement needed in an Agreement State program." 

November 9, 2012 NRC News:

"NRC Says Palisades Performance Has Improved But Still Needs Heightened 

Can there be any doubt that the NRC regards it's Agreement States as 
lilcensees of whom it can "direct" certain actions to improve performance? 
Performance relative to what one must ask?  It even utilizes identical 
language, e.g. Heightened Oversight, to describe the relationship of 
regulator to "regulatee". 

 Although the statement "NRC does not speak for the States" should be true 
according to Sec. 274 of the Atomic Energy Act, the NRC historically has 
ignored this fact.  If a State decided to allow Soil Blending as a means 
of remediating a site, the NRC would speak very loudly indeed.

Clayton J. Bradt
Principal Radiophysicist
NYS Dept. of Health
Biggs Laboratory, Room D486A
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12201-0509


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