United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Interpretation of 10 CFR 20.201 (b), "Survey Requirements"

HPPOS-138 PDR-9111210373

Title: Interpretation of 10 CFR 20.201 (b), "Survey

Requirements"

See the memorandum from J. Lieberman to P. F. McKee dated

October 23, 1986. Surveys are required to comply with 10

CFR 20. Licensees must also make surveys as are reasonable

under the circumstances to evaluated radiation hazards that

may be present. Citations are permitted against 10 CFR

20.201 (b) when no 10 CFR 20 limit or requirement is

violated. This health physics position also applies to

"new" 10 CFR 20.1501 (a).

A memorandum dated October 2, 1986, requested the views of

OGC on the meaning of subparagraph (2) of 10 CFR 20.201 (b)

which states: "Each licensee shall make or cause to be

made such surveys as (1) may be necessary for the licensee

to comply with the regulations in this part, and (2) are

reasonable under the circumstances to evaluate the extent

of radiation hazards that may be present." In addressing

the issues raised, OGC consulted the Statements of

Consideration which accompanied both the proposed rule

amending Section 201 (b), 45 FR 45302 (July 3, 1980) and

the publication of the final rule which added subparagraph

(2), 46 FR 53647 (October 30, 1981). The matter was also

discussed with the Rulemaking Division of OGC.

Section 20.201 (b) originally provided: "Each licensee

shall make or cause to be made such surveys as may be

necessary for him to comply with the regulations in this

part." The proposed rule would have amended this section

to read: "Each licensee shall make or cause to be made

such surveys as are reasonably called for by circumstances

surrounding the use of source, byproduct, or special

nuclear material." The Statements of Consideration which

accompanied the publication of the proposed rule stated

that the regulation was redrafted "to clarify the intent of

the survey requirement to assure that licensees are on

notice that the requirement is to make appropriate surveys

and that the requirement may be violated even if compliance

with some other requirement of Part 20 does not result from

the failure to survey...." In the final rule, the text of

revised Section 20.201 (b) differed from that set out in

the proposed rule. The existing text of the section was

retained, with the addition of subparagraph (2). As

indicated in the Statements of Consideration which

accompanied the publication of the final rule, this was

done in response to a public comment received on the

proposed amendment to the section which questioned whether

the proposed language eliminated the goal of preventing

overexposures. The commentary explained:

"While there is a significant relationship between the

survey and other Part 20 requirements in that information

obtained through responsible compliance with 20.201 (b) may

well prove essential in determining whether a licensee has

or has not satisfied other Part 20 requirements, this is

not the primary function of the survey requirement. The

principal role of the survey is preventive. Adequate

survey procedures provide measurable protection for the

health and safety of the worker and the public because they

provide the information necessary for the establishment of

adequate protective measures. The usefulness of this early

warning system may be seriously reduced if licensees are

not held responsible for failure to conduct any survey or

for failure to conduct an adequate survey when violations

of other Part 20 requirements have not occurred.... The

clarifying phrase provides that when a violation of other

Part 20 requirements has not occurred, the Commission will

consider in determining whether the 20.201 survey

requirement has met the reasonableness of the actions taken

in the light of all circumstances to evaluate the extent of

the radiation hazards."

Nowhere in the Statements of Consideration is the view

expressed that the surveys required are only those which

relate to or are necessary to comply with the regulations

of Part 20. Indeed, the commentary emphasizes that the

determination of whether a licensee has or has not

satisfied other Part 20 requirements is not the primary

function of the survey requirement. Based on the above,

OGC concluded that the correct interpretation of 10 CFR

20.201 (b) [or 10 CFR 20.1501 (a)] is that surveys are

required in accordance with specific Part 20 regulations

and also are required as is reasonable under the

circumstances to evaluate the extent of radiation hazards

that may be present. Consequently, citations are permitted

against 10 CFR 20.201 (b) [or 10 CFR 20.1501 (a)] when no

other specific Part 20 limit or requirement is violated.

Note: 10 CFR 20.1501 (a) states: "Each licensee shall make

or cause to be made, surveys that - (1) may be necessary

for the licensee to comply with the regulations in this

part; and (2) are reasonable under the circumstances to

evaluate - (i) the extent of radiation levels; (ii)

concentrations or quantities of radioactive materials; and

(iii) the potential radiological hazards that could be

present."

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 20.201, 10 CFR 20.1501

Subject codes: 7.1, 7.2, 7.6

Applicability: All

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012