United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Control of Radioactively Contaminated Material

HPPOS-071 PDR-9111210163

Title: Control of Radioactively Contaminated Material

See IE Circular No. 81-07 entitled as above and dated May

14, 1981. This document specifies that the monitoring of

items and materials removed from a restricted area should

be done with instruments and techniques capable of

detecting 5000 dpm/100 cm2 total and 1000 dpm/100 cm2

removable beta / gamma contamination.

IE Information Notice No. 80-22 described events at nuclear

power reactor facilities regarding the release of

radioactive contamination to unrestricted areas by trash

disposal and the sale of scrap material. These releases

were caused by a breakdown in the contamination control

program including inadequate survey techniques, untrained

personnel performing surveys, and inappropriate material

release limits.

The recurring problems associated with minute levels of

contamination indicated that specific guidance was needed

by NRC nuclear power reactor licensees for evaluating

potential radioactive contamination and determining

appropriate methods of control. Thus, IE Circular No.

81-07 provides guidance on the control of radioactive

contamination. Because of the limitations of the technical

analysis supporting this guidance, it is only applicable to

nuclear power reactor facilities.

Contaminated or radioactive items and materials must be

controlled, contained, handled, used, and transferred in

accordance with applicable regulations. Items and materials

should not be removed from restricted areas until they have

been surveyed or evaluated for radioactive contamination by

a qualified individual. (A qualified individual is defined

as a person meeting the radiation protection technician

qualifications of RG 1.8, Rev. 1.) The only exceptions are

hand-carried personal effects (e.g., notebooks and

flashlights) that are subject to the same survey

requirements as the individual possessing them.

Contamination monitoring with portable survey instruments

or laboratory measurements should be performed with

instruments and techniques (survey scanning speed, counting

times, background radiation levels) that are capable of

detecting 5000 dpm/100 cm2 total and 1000 dpm/100 cm2

removable beta / gamma contamination. Instruments should be

calibrated with radiation sources that have energy spectrum

and instrument response characteristics consistent with the

radionuclides being measured. If alpha contamination is

suspected, appropriate surveys and/or laboratory

measurements capable of detecting 100 dpm/100 cm2 fixed and

20 dpm/100 cm2 removable alpha activity should be performed.

In evaluating the radioactivity of inaccessible surfaces

(e.g., pipes, drain lines, etc.), measurements at

accessible points may be used. However, this method can be

used only if the contamination at accessible points is

representative of contamination at inaccessible locations.

If this can not be demonstrated, the items should not be

released for unrestricted use.

Draft ANSI Standard 13.12 provides useful guidance for

evaluating radioactive contamination and should be

considered when establishing a contamination control and

radiation survey program. [Editorial Note: Draft ANSI

Standard 13.12 was never issued in final form and it is no

longer considered to be a source of useful guidance.]

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 20.201, 10 CFR 20.301, 10

CFR 20.1501, 10 CFR 20.2001

Subject codes: 7.6, 9.7

Applicability: Reactors

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012