United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Technical Assistance Request, NRC Licensed Facilities Requesting to Name a Consultant Physicist as their Full-Time Radiation Safety Officer

HPPOS-307 PDR-9306240030

See the memorandum from J. E. Glenn to M. M. Shanbaky dated October 18, 1990.

This NMSS memo responds to a technical assistance request from Region I, dated July 10, 1989, regarding an amendment request from an NRC licensee who wished to name a consultant as its full-time Radiation Safety Officer (RSO). Included with the memo is a list of issues that should be addressed prior to approving a consultant as RSO. HPPOS-306 contains a related topic.

Qualified individuals, as outlined in 10 CFR 35.900, may be appointed RSO to an NRC license issued under 10 CFR 35 provided the individual commits to being physically present at the facility for a specified amount of time in order to satisfactorily perform duties of the RSO. The specific time necessary is commensurate with the requirements of the facility and must be determined on a case-by-case basis. The time commitment must be during normal working hours to provide the opportunity for interaction between the consultant and licensee management.

Clarification as to the individuals availability to respond to questions, incidents, and/or emergencies, both by telephone and on-site is needed. However it should be noted, that there will be some programs where it would be inappropriate to designate a consultant as RSO. These include programs involving radiopharmaceutical therapy, teletherapy, and large scale users of byproduct material. The licensee must agree to the above as a license commitment with the caveat that if at a later date the number of hours and days spent by the RSO at the facility or the consultant's availability are insufficient to fulfill the responsibilities required, the program will be re-evaluated and adjustments made.

Any licensee requesting to designate a consultant as RSO should be reminded that 10 CFR 35.21 (a) states "the licensee, through the RSO, shall ensure that radiation safety activities are being performed in accordance with approved procedures and regulatory requirements in the daily operation of the licensee's byproduct material program." The use of a consultant as RSO does not negate the responsibility of the licensee to ensure the safe use of byproduct material.

A list of issues that should be addressed prior to approving a consultant as RSO is included as an enclosure to the memo. These issues were derived from questions from a similar request for technical assistance by Region III. The list of issues, which was reviewed and expanded by NMSS staff, should be addressed in the review process of any request by a licensee to use a consultant as an RSO.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 35.21, 10 CFR 35.900

Subject codes: 1.4, 1.5

Applicability: All

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, August 05, 2016