United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Exemption of H-3 or C-14 Contaminated Scintillation Media or Animal Tissues Under 10 CFR 20.306

HPPOS-031 PDR-9111210155

See the letter from D. A. Nussbaumer to J. D. Dunkleberger (New York State Energy Office) dated September 8, 1981. The letter states that H-3 or C-14 contaminated scintillation media or animal tissue that qualifies for disposal under 10 CFR 20.306 is exempt from further regulation. If it is transferred to an Agreement State without comparable regulation, the waste is subject to regulation by that State.

This health physics position also applies to "new" 10 CFR 20.2005. Representatives of New York State's radioactive material control agencies had met and reviewed NRC's rule (FR, Vol. 47, No. 47, pp. 16230-16234, March 11, 1981) on the disposal of certain H-3 and C-14 contaminated wastes.

In considering the NRC rule, questions concerning the exemption, jurisdiction, recycling and importation of wastes arose that needed to be resolved or clarified before the State of New York could formally adopt comparable provisions.

In response to the exemption question, NRR replied that upon determination by a licensee that H-3 or C-14 contaminated scintillation media or animal tissue qualified for disposal as non-radioactive waste under 10 CFR 20.306 [or 10 CFR 20.2005] or equivalent Agreement State provisions, the material is exempt from further regulation as radioactive material.

In response to the jurisdictional question, NRR replied that if radioactive wastes were exempt from regulations under 10 CFR 20.306 [or 10 CFR 20.2005] in one jurisdiction and subsequently transferred into the jurisdiction of an Agreement State that has not adopted comparable regulations, the waste is subject to regulation and licensing by the Agreement State.

In response to the recycling question, NRR stated that 10 CFR 20.306 [or 10 CFR 20.2005] pertains to the disposal of specific wastes and that these wastes are garbage or trash-material without value. In the context used, the term "disposal" means the removal of waste from the public and dispersing it to the environment through incineration, landfill burial, etc., and that all disposal techniques decrease the concentration of waste material. Any process, such as reclamation or recycling, that increases the volume concentration of the waste byproduct is not an appropriate disposal technique and is subject to licensing. On the question of the importation of H-3 or C-14 contaminated scintillation media or animal tissue, NRR replied that the likelihood of this situation is remote.

However, because scintillation media or animal tissue wastes originating outside the U.S. were not disposed of by "any [USNRC] licensee," 10 CFR 20.306 [or 10 CFR 20.2005] does not apply. Pursuant to 10 CFR 110.11, an NRC or Agreement State licensee, such as a waste broker, is exempt from an import license to the extent it imports byproduct material that it is authorized to possess under an exemption from licensing requirements or a specific or general license issued by the Commission or an Agreement State.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 20.306, 10 CFR 20.2005

Subject codes: 9.0, 9.7, 12.9

Applicability: All

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, June 04, 2015