U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Fitness For Duty Rule
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