United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 83-48: Gaseous Effluent Releases of Radioactive Iodine-125 and Iodine-131 in Excess of Nuclear Regulatory Commission Limits

                                                             SSINS No: 6835 
                                                             IN 83-48      

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
                           WASHINGTON, D. C. 20555
                                     
                                July 14, 1983

Information Notice No. 83-48:   GASEOUS EFFLUENT RELEASES OF RADIOACTIVE 
                                   IODINE-125 AND IODINE-131 IN EXCESS OF 
                                   NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION LIMITS 

Addressees: 

NRC licensed byproduct material licensees, including all medical 
institutions, academic institutions, radiopharmaceutical suppliers, and 
industrial research and development facilities. 

Purpose: 

The intent of this information notice is to alert licensees to a potentially
generic problem that has been identified with regard to failure to conduct 
adequate surveys to determine the amounts of radioiodine released in 
effluents to unrestricted areas and to remind licensees of existing 
regulations. No new requirements are being imposed or implied. It is 
expected that recipients will review the information notice for 
applicability to their facilities. 

Description of Circumstances: 

Many licensees use radioiodine isotopes for pharmaceutical preparation and 
research. It has come to the attention of the NRC that several of those 
users do not have provisions for adequately evaluating amounts of 
radioiodine gases in effluents released to unrestricted areas. It was found 
through the NRC's inspection program that several licensees had been 
releasing iodine-125 and iodine-131 to the atmosphere in effluent streams 
that exceeded or had the potential for exceeding the NRC's limits for such 
releases set forth in Title 10, Part 20, Appendix B of the NRC's Code of 
Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 20). This Information Notice is to inform 
NRC licensees of the need to conduct surveys of releases of radioactive 
materials, as required by 10 CFR 20.201(a), "Surveys," to demonstrate 
compliance with the provision of 10 CFR Part 20 including 10 CFR 20.106, 
"Radioactivity in effluents to unrestricted areas." 

Discussion: 

During the first half of 1982, inspections by the NRC staff at certain 
licensees' facilities that perform iodinations using iodine-125 and-131 
revealed that some of the licensees inspected had not been conducting 
adequate surveys to determine the amounts of radioiodine released to 
unrestricted areas. In one case, it was found that a licensee had been 
releasing radioiodine in excess of the NRC's limits by a factor of 
approximately two for at least one year. Because the licensee had been 
performing evaluations using the same amount of material on a routine 
periodic basis, he most likely exceeded the limits each year for the 
previous seven-year period. 

8306270406 
.

                                                              IN 83-48     
                                                              July 14, 1983 
                                                              Page 2 of 2  

NRC licensees who release radioactive material to unrestricted areas are 
required to conduct surveys to ensure compliance with 10 CFR 20.106. A 
survey is defined as an evaluation of the radiation hazards incident to the 
production, use, release, disposal or presence of radioactive materials or 
other sources of radiation under a specific set of conditions. When 
appropriate, such evaluation should include a physical measurement of 
concentrations of radioactive materials released. For users of very small 
amounts of radioiodine, an evaluation without physical measurements may be 
appropriate using conservative assumptions. 

No written response to this information notice is required. If you need 
additional information regarding this matter, contact the Ad
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2013