United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 84-82: Guidance for Posting Radiation Area

                                                            SSINS No.: 6835 
                                                            IN 84-82       

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

                             November 19, 1984  

Information Notice No. 84-82:   GUIDANCE FOR POSTING RADIATION AREAS 

Addressees: 

All nuclear power plant facilities holding an operating license (OL) or 
construction permit (CP) and research and test reactors. 

Purpose: 

This information notice is provided as notification of a potential problem 
relating to posting of radiation areas at nuclear power plants. NRC staff 
guidance specifically related to the unique nuclear power plant radiological
working environment is provided. It is expected that recipients will review 
the information for applicability to their facilities and consider actions, 
if appropriate, to preclude a similar problem at their facilities. However, 
suggestions contained in this information notice do not constitute NRC 
requirements; therefore, no specific action or written response is required.

Description of Circumstances: 

Some power reactor licensees do not adequately post radiation areas in large
buildings such as auxiliary buildings or reactor buildings. Some licensees 
have argued that posting only the entrances to buildings and large areas 
meets the literal 10 CFR 20.203(b) requirements for posting radiation areas.
However, in many cases this posting practice may fail to properly inform the
worker of radiological hazards in the work areas. 

A "radiation area" is defined in 10 CFR 20.202(b)(2) as any area, accessible
to personnel, in which radiation, originating in whole or in part within 
licensed material, exists at such levels that a major portion of the body 
could receive a dose greater than 5 millirem in 1 hour or greater than 100 
millirem in 5 consecutive days. The provisions of 10 CFR 20.203(b) require 
that each radiation area be conspicuously posted with a sign or signs 
bearing the radiation caution symbol and the words: CAUTION-RADIATION AREA. 

Discussion: 

In response to past requests for guidance from nuclear power reactor 
licensees concerning proper implementation of the posting requirements for 
radiation areas, the following NRC staff position was developed and 
transmitted to several power plant licensees. The intent of 10 CFR 20.203(b)
is to alert 



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                                                       IN 84-82           
                                                       November 19, 1984  
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personnel to the presence of radiation and to aid them in minimizing 
exposures. The circumstances of each situation must be evaluated to ensure 
that posting practices do not detract from this intent by (1) desensitizing 
personnel through overposting or (2) failing to sufficiently alert personnel
to the presence and location of radiation areas. Radiation area posting 
should warn individuals of specific radiological conditions in their 
immediate vicinity. It is counterproductive to post substantial areas which 
are not radiation areas. Since the regulations do not provide implementing 
details, such as whether a room or building containing a radiation area must
be posted only at the entrance, or whether every discrete radiation area 
must be posted, the following should be used as guidance: 

1.   Posting only the entrances to a very large room or building is 
     inappropriate if most of the area is not a radiation area and only 
     discrete areas or individual rooms (cubicles) actually meet the 
     criteria for a radiation area. 

2.   If discrete areas or rooms within a large area or building can be 
     reasonably posted to alert individuals to radiation areas, these 
     discrete areas or rooms should be posted individually. 

3.   Items (1) and (2) above are not mutually exclusive. Where much of a 
     large area falls within the definition of a radiation area, but where 
     smaller, discrete areas within that radiation area have radiation 
     levels that are substantially above the general area levels, it may be 
     appropriate and more informative to the workers to: 

     a.   Post, as a radiation area, the entrances to the very large room or
          building. 

     b.   Define (and alert workers to) discrete, smaller areas or rooms 
          (within the larger, posted radiation area) in which the radiation 
          exposure rates are substantially higher than the predominant 
          exposure rates of the larger, posted area. 

Good posting programs focus on making the worker aware of the radiological 
environment so that the worker can minimize his/her exposure. By using an 
appropriate combination of posting and periodic worker awareness training, 
licensees can aid workers in minimizing exposures. 


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                                                       IN 84-82           
                                                       November 19, 1984  
                                                       Page 3 of 3        

No specific action or written response is required by this information 
notice. If you require any additional information about the matter, please 
contact the Regional Administrator of the appropriate regional office or 
this office. 



                                   Edward L. Jordan, Director 
                                   Division of Emergency Preparedness 
                                     and Engineering Response 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Technical IE Contacts:   J. Wigginton, IE 
                         (301) 492-4967 

                         L. J. Cunningham, IE 
                         (301) 492-9664 

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