NRC seeks to track 20,000 more radioactive sources, licensees

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NRC seeks to expand its reach. Source: Environmental News Wire  

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to expand its National Source Tracking System (NSTS) to include an additional 3,500 NRC and state licensees and nearly 17,000 additional radioactive sources, to improve accountability and control of radioactive materials.

The proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register, and would require the additional licensees to report information on the manufacture, transfer, receipt, disassembly and disposal of these radioactive sources to the NSTS.

Manufacturers will be required to assign a unique serial number to each nationally tracked source.

Currently, the NSTS covers radioactive sources in Categories 1 and 2 as determined by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which are typically used in radiothermal generators, irradiators, radiation therapy, industrial gamma radiography and high- and medium-dose-range brachytherapy cancer treatments. That rule covers approximately 1,350 licensees nationwide, who possess Category 1 and 2 sources. The system is scheduled to be implemented by Jan. 31, 2009.

However, the proposed rule would expand the NSTS to include Category 3 sources as well as sources in the upper range of Category 4 – or at about 1/10 of the activity threshold for Category 3, which would include fixed industrial gauges (level gauges, conveyor gauges, thickness gauges, blast furnace gauges, dredger gauges, and pipe gauges); well-logging devices; medium- and low-dose-range brachytherapy; and certain radiography devices.