United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Fitness For Duty Rule

HPPOS-216 PDR-9111220013

Title: Fitness For Duty Rule

See the memorandum from L. J. Cunningham to R. R. Bellamy

(and others) dated December 7, 1989. The intent of 10 CFR

26.24 (a) (3), which requires drug testing "immediately ...

after accidents in individual performance resulting ... in

a radiation exposure or release ....," is not for minor

releases. NRC will use reasonable interpretation of

regulation to judge license action.

In November of 1988, the NRC published a proposed rule

concerning the issue of Fitness for Duty (10 CFR Part 26).

Paragraph 26.24 (a) (3) of this proposed rule lists

instances that require drug testing "for cause." In part,

this paragraph requires drug testing "immediately ... after

accidents involving a failure in individual performance

resulting ... in a radiation exposure or release of

radioactivity in excess of regulatory limits." A strict

reading of this criteria provides a very low threshold

since even a minute amount or activity in a solid form,

inadvertently released from site would be in excess of

regulatory limits. NRC received several questions from the

regions about the impact of Part 26 on the inspection


NUREG-1385 was issued to respond to several industry

questions regarding the implementation of Part 26.

Response No. 4.4 in the NUREG report, addressed testing for

cause, and states that "the NRC will use reasonable

interpretation of 10 CFR Part 26 to determine if the

licensee acted prudently." During a seminar on Part 26

implementation, one of the rules authors verified that the

reference to release of radioactivity refers to plant

effluents and was not intended to apply to inadvertent

releases of minor amounts of solid waste. It was also

stated that once Part 26 is finalized, a Temporary

Instruction will be issued and Team Inspections will be

conducted to ensure proper licensee compliance. As part of

this effort, inspection teams will be given appropriate

training to ensure consistency of review.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 26.24

Subject codes: 1.1, 12.14

Applicability: Reactors

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012