NRC takes control over certain radioactive materials

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NRC is taking regulatory control due to contamination. Image Source: Environmental Science Division  

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has assumed regulatory authority over certain radioactive materials in five states, Guam and some U.S. possessions, effective Sept. 30, under provisions of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005.

The material in question consists of naturally occurring and accelerator-produced radioactive material (NARM), which had been under state authority until the EPAct included this material as “byproduct material,” which is subject to the NRC's jurisdiction. Recently, concern was raised over the increasing stockpiles of such radioactive materials in hospitals and labs and whether it could lead to potential dirty terrorist bombs.

The states affected by the current action are Vermont, West Virginia, Idaho, Missouri and South Dakota.

The NRC initially issued a waiver of its authority to allow the states to continue to regulate the material while it developed new regulations to implement the legislation.

On Nov. 30, 2007, the final regulations became effective and the NRC terminated the waiver and assumed authority for NARM held by federal agencies and licensees in federally recognized Indian tribes, Delaware, Indiana, Wyoming, Montana, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This current action is the second phase of waiver terminations.

The NRC's 35 Agreement States, which regulate radioactive materials under agreements with the NRC, retain regulatory authority over NARM under their existing agreements with the agency.