U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Question 417: This question refers to the answer to Question 29 under §20.1302. The statement that a licensee can require members of the public to exit a controlled area at any time is not obvious, based on the published rule. A controlled area is one to which access can be limited, but that condition might exist only at certain times or under certain conditions or the access limits might be of a nature other than strict prohibition. For instance, it might be a control that specifically limits the stay time. Does NRC expect procedures to reflect the changing nature of such an area, i.e., controlled at one time but unrestricted at other times, or is an area that meets the requirements to be designated a controlled area for some portion of time simply a controlled area all the time? (The latter, I hope).
Answer: The words ". . . access to which can be limited . . ." in the definition of "controlled area" mean that access can be limited at any and all times, regardless of whether or not access is limited at any particular time. An area designated by a licensee as a controlled area continues to be a controlled area until that designation is changed; it does not change from being a controlled area, and become an unrestricted area, simply because access is not being limited at some particular time. [See discussions of "Licensee Discretion" and "Controlled Areas" in the answer to Question 26 (a).]
(References: 10 CFR 20.1003, 10 CFR 20.1302).