United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Authority to Penalize Willful False Exposure of Personnel Monitoring Device and Other Hoaxes

HPPOS-176 PDR-9111210268

Title: Authority to Penalize Willful False Exposure of

Personnel Monitoring Device and Other Hoaxes

See the memorandum from J. Lieberman to J. R. Metzger dated

August 26, 1980, and the incoming request from J. P. Stohr

dated May 7, 1980. It is an OELD opinion that using

licensed materials for malicious purposes or obtaining

false dosimeter readings is not authorized by licenses. A

person who does so is conducting activities without a

license. Depending on the circumstances, such a person

could be subject to enforcement sanctions.

Region II pointed out the apparent deliberate exposure of

five personnel dosimeter devices (film badges) at Whittaker

Memorial Hospital to between 38 and 71 rem as

representative of false alarms and hoaxes that have

exercised licensees, NRC Regional Offices, and State

Agencies with increasing frequency in recent years. This

results in the dilution of safety programs and the waste

and misdirection of limited resources. The question

involves NRC authority to penalize this type of behavior.

It is an OELD opinion that a person conducting activities

without a license is in violation of the Atomic Energy Act.

A person as used here could mean a licensee, employee, etc.

It must not be construed that licensees should always be

cited for something an employee does in the way of hoaxes,

where the licensee has no control and no regulatory

requirement exists. Of course, this should be determined

on a case-by-case basis.

One case mentioned by OELD involved two employees damaging

some fuel bundles with corrosive material. Some 68

allegations were made and an investigation showed none of

them to be valid. An extensive search of the Atomic Energy

Act by OELD indicated that the licensee could not be found

in violation of the Act because of what the employees had

done. In this case, the licensee pressed charges and the

employees were found guilty and sentenced to jail terms.

Hoaxes, willful false dosimeter exposures, or other similar

events should be brought to the attention of HQ. It may be

that the licensee was at fault, such as failure to follow

approved security measures. If an employee commits an

offense against the licensee, there may be something NRC

can do depending on the circumstances, but it is doubtful.

The most likely course of action would be for the licensee

to dismiss the employee or to ask for local police

assistance and press charges if the licensee desires.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 30.3

Subject codes: 3.8

Applicability: All

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012