United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Policy and Guidance Directive FC 83-23, "Termination of Byproduct, Source and Special Nuclear Material Licenses"

HPPOS-266 PDR-9306070308

See the memorandum from R. E. Cunningham to J. E. Glenn (and others) dated November 4, 1983.

This directive provides guidance for Regions and Headquarters staff on findings that need to be made before terminating any byproduct, source, or special materials license.

The enclosed final rule (Enclosure 1) specifies licensee responsibility and requirements for terminating a license issued under 10 CFR Part 30, 10 CFR Part 40 and 10 CFR Part 70. Among other things, a licensee is required to submit on or before the expiration date a radiation survey report confirming the absence of radioactive materials or specifying existing levels of residual radioactive contamination present from past operations. A survey report is not required if a licensee can show the absence of radioactive contamination in some other manner, such as the use of only sealed sources that never showed evidence of leakage. If detectable levels of residual radioactive contamination attributable to licensed operations are found, the license continues in force until the Commission notifies the licensee in writing that the license is terminated.

Review Procedure: Before terminating a license where residual radioactive material contamination is present from past licensed operations, NRC should determine whether:

  1. A reasonable effort was made to eliminate residual contamination, and

  2. Residual radioactive contamination is acceptably low to permit unrestricted release of the affected facilities.

If the levels of residual radioactive contamination on surfaces and in soil are a small fraction of those normally acceptable for unrestricted release, it is not necessary for the licensee to describe the efforts made to reduce contamination levels.

Policy and Guidance Directive FC 83-3, "Standard Review Plan (SRP) for Termination of Special Nuclear Material Licenses for Fuel Cycle Facilities", contains information that is useful for terminating any byproduct, source, or special nuclear material license.

In most cases involving short half-live radionuclides or operations involving only sealed sources, an independent confirmatory survey by NRC will not be necessary. Confirmatory surveys should always be made if the licensee's survey report appears suspect or past licensee operations involved the chemical processing of hundreds of milligrams of plutonium, tens of kilograms of enriched uranium-235, or hundreds of kilograms of source material. For materials licensees that used and processed hundreds of millicuries of long half-life radionuclides (>1 year), confirmatory surveys should be made in all cases.

If it is determined that a confirmatory survey will be made, a notice should be sent to the licensee informing them that the equipment and facilities should be held for NRC inspection. Discretion may be exercised whether a confirmatory survey is necessary if information, such as inspections reports, is available that provides a basis for acceptance of the licensee's survey.

Contamination Levels Generally Acceptable for Unrestricted Areas: If the levels of contamination exceed the levels discussed below and a judgment is made that further efforts to reduce the contamination are not necessary for termination of the license, an environmental impact assessment should be made to support the termination. Such cases should be reported to the Director of the Division of Fuel Cycle and Material Safety, NMSS, before termination of the license.

  1. Surface contamination: See Enclosure 2 to memo.

  2. Soil contamination: See Enclosure 3 to memo

  3. Water contamination: If surface or ground water contamination is below EPA's National Interim Primary Water Regulations (EPA 570-9-76-003), the contamination is acceptable for unrestricted areas.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 30.36, 10 CFR 40.42, 10 CFR 70.38

Subject codes: 5.8, 11.4

Applicability: Byproduct, Source, and Special Nuclear Materials

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, June 30, 2015