United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Licensing of Dial Painting Activities by Jewelers and Watch Repairers

HPPOS-142 PDR-9111210381

See the memorandum from T. F. Dorian to G. W. Kerr dated October 25, 1976.

It is an OELD opinion that Agreement State licensees can manufacture exempt products but they must possess an NRC license to distribute the exempt products. NRC has retained the authority under 10 CFR 150.15 (a) (6) to license under 10 CFR 32.14 and 30.15 (a) (1) watch repairers and jewelers who strip radium paint from dials and hands of watches and reapply tritium paint. Subsection 274c. of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954, as amended, provides that notwithstanding any agreement between the Commission and any State, the Commission is authorized to require that "the manufacturer, processor, or producer of any equipment, device, commodity, or other product containing source, byproduct, or special nuclear material shall not transfer possession or control of such product except pursuant to a license issued by the Commission."

In issuing 10 CFR Part 150, which implemented certain AEA provisions, the Commission exercised its authority under AEA subsection 274c. by providing in 10 CFR 150.15 (a) (6) that persons in Agreement States are not exempt from the Commission's licensing requirements with respect to: "The transfer or possession or control by the manufactures, processor, or producer of any equipment, device, commodity, or other product containing source, byproduct, or special nuclear material, intended for use by the general public."

With respect to the meaning of "products intended for use by the general public," the Statement of Considerations accompanying Part 150 read, in part, as follows: "Control over consumer type devices, such as luminous watches, would be retained by the Commission."

On May 16, 1969, NRC amended 150.15 (a) (6), and the Statement of Considerations accompanying the amendment that read, in part, as follows: "In retaining regulatory authority over transfer of products 'intended for use by the general public' the Commission was seeking to maintain surveillance over the safety of products containing radioactive materials, without the imposition of regulatory controls, and to be able to assess the effect of the attendant uncontrolled addition of these radioactive materials to the environment."

"In view of the increasing difficulty in determining whether or not such products are intended for use by the general public, the Commission has adopted the amendment of Part 150 set out below, which changes 150.15 (a) (6) by deleting the phrase 'product ... intended for use by the general public' and substituted the phrase 'product ... whose subsequent possession, use, transfer and disposal by all other persons are exempted for licensing and regulatory requirements of the Commission under Parts 30 and 40 of this chapter.'"

"Under Part 150 as amended below the transfer or possession or control by a manufacturer, processor, or producer of any equipment, device, commodity, or other product containing byproduct material or source material whose subsequent possession, use, transfer, and disposal by all other person are exempted from Commission licensing and regulatory requirements under Parts 30 and 40, is not subject to the licensing and regulatory authority of an Agreement State even though the product is manufactured, processed, or produced pursuant to an Agreement State license. The manufacturer of such products in an Agreement State is subject to the Commission's regulatory authority with respect to transfer of any product which has been so exempted from the Commission's licensing and regulatory requirements. The Commission has confined its regulation of the transfer of exempt products to specifications for the products, quality control procedure, requirements for testing, and labeling. The authority of Agreement States to regulate any radiation hazards that might arise during manufacture of such products is not affected by the amendment. Accordingly, dual regulation will continue to be avoided."

Watch repairers and jewelers engaged either in stripping radium paint from a watch and reapplying tritium paint or in repair or reconditioning a watch and reapplying tritium paint, can be called processors (see, for example, 10 CFR 32.22). This interpretation matches portions of the Statement of Considerations of the amendment to 10 CFR 150.15 (a) (6) quoted earlier.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 150.15

Subject codes: 3.5, 12.2, 12.9

Applicability: Byproduct Material

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, June 15, 2015