U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Authority to Penalize Willful False Exposure of Personnel Monitoring Device and Other Hoaxes
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