On September 30, 2009, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and New Jersey signed an Agreement authorizing the State to license and regulate byproduct, source, and certain special nuclear radioactive materials users. This authority is in addition to our existing authority to regulate diffuse Naturally Occurring and Accelerator-Produced Radioactive Materials (NARM).
The Bureau of Environmental Radiation is responsible for licensing more than 700 users, including hospitals, universities, industrial facilities, doctors, irradiators, water treatment systems, and pharmaceutical companies. The radioactive material employed by these users may be contained in medical pharmaceuticals administered to patients or inside an industrial device such as a moisture density gauge or a static eliminator.
Each materials license is valid for 10 years. Radioactive Materials Program staff inspect each licensee periodically from once a year to every 5 years depending on the type of license. During the inspection, the inspector takes direct radiation readings and interviews and observes personnel. The inspector also reviews records, and if necessary, collects samples from equipment surfaces and the general environment which are later analyzed for contamination.
The inspector then discusses the preliminary inspection findings with the licensee during an exit interview and, if necessary, sends a letter requiring corrective action of any deficiencies. If the licensee has significant violations or fails to correct the deficiencies, the Bureau may impose an administrative fine or modify, suspend, or revoke the license.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission audits all Agreement State Programs. New Jersey’s first audit will be scheduled in March of 2011.