United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Transfer of Reactor Activated Materials to Persons Exempt

HPPOS-203 PDR-9111210346

See the memorandum from S. A. Treby to V. L. Miller dated July 21, 1988.

The distribution of irradiated electronic components from neutron activation must be licensed under 10 CFR 32.11. In addition, and in a different context, the commercial transfer of products does not necessarily mean the transfer of money between supplier and consumer. HPPOS-131 and HPPOS-189 contain related topics.

Guidance was sought on whether a possession or distribution license under 10 CFR 32 was required for two separate situations. The first situation involved the irradiation of electronic components for the purpose of determining their "hardness" against radiation exposure. The irradiation of these various components would result in induced radioactivity.

The NRC stated that they had previously addressed the issue of induced radiation in another context (see HPPOS-095). From that issue, the term "introduction" was interpreted as encompassing not only the introduction of byproduct material into another product, but the activation of material within a product or material and transforming it into byproduct material. Therefore, if the activated material within the electronic device being irradiated is in exempt concentrations, it may be possessed and transferred pursuant to the exemption provided under 10 CFR 30.14. But, the irradiator introducing the byproduct material must be licensed pursuant to 10 CFR 32.11 if the material is to be transferred to an exempt person under 10 CFR 30.14.

The second situation in which guidance was sought involved the distribution of a small number of exempt quantity "check sources" by an x-ray equipment manufacturer. In this context, the manufacturer takes the position that because it distributes the sources to its customers for "free" (without monetary charge), he is not commercially distributing them.

The manufacturer is interpreting the term "commercial distribution" in a limited manner. The NRC views the meaning of "commercial distribution" as the introduction of a material into the market place, whether or not a charge is assessed for that distribution. Because the NRC is mandated to protect public health and safety from radiation hazards, it would be absurd to determine the protection of the public on the basis of whether a charge was made for a quantity of byproduct material. Therefore, the distribution is a "commercial distribution" and must be licensed pursuant to 10 CFR 30.18 (d) and 10 CFR 32.18.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 30.14, 10 CFR 30.18, 10 CFR 32.11

Subject codes: 3.5, 11.1, 11.3

Applicability: All

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, June 16, 2015