United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Authority of Agreement States Concerning Their Licensees Working at DOE Facilities

HPPOS-197 PDR-9111210327

See the memorandum from R. L. Fonner to G. L. Sjoblom dated March 20, 1987.

Agreement States have continuing authority over their licensees working at DOE facilities, such as the case of the radiography overexposure incident at Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. This is not true for the rare situation of exclusive federal jurisdiction.

Numerous documents are enclosed that describe an incident at the DOE's Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) where a source disconnect occurred while radiography operations were being conducted on December 8, 1976. Film badges worn by the two radiographers involved showed total body doses of 3.2 rems and 4.8 rems.

Guidance was sought because DOE's Chief Counsel at the Idaho Operations Office stated that, although INEL was not an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction but rather one of proprietary jurisdiction, DOE considered the site as exclusive for licensing purposes and that DOE does not recognize any State responsibility at INEL. The State of Idaho, however, questioned this opinion in regards to the State's role in licensing and investigative responsibility.

The Office of General Council, NRC, stated that the enforcement jurisdiction in this case was vested in the State of Idaho. This would also be the situation under the reciprocity provisions of State law if the radiography company had been licensed by NRC but engaged in activities in an Agreement State. (See the parallel reciprocity provisions contained in 10 CFR 150.20.)

As to jurisdiction, the NRC does not exercise regulatory or enforcement authority over radiographers at INEL. In Agreement States, the NRC would license and regulate private parties, such as the radiographers, who are normally subject to State jurisdiction only in areas of exclusive federal jurisdiction. Exclusive federal jurisdiction is based upon Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution and applies only to land acquired according to its terms; primarily that the State Legislature has ceded exclusive jurisdiction over the land to the federal government and Congress has accepted the land on that basis. Relatively few areas such as described exist.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 30.12, 10 CFR 150.20

Subject codes: 12.2, 12.9

Applicability: Byproduct Material

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, June 16, 2015