Resolution of Generic Safety Issues: NMSS-0017. Misleading Marketing Information to General Licensees ( NUREG-0933, Main Report with Supplements 1–34 )
Radioactive products to be distributed under a general license are required to be inherently safe so that they can be used by untrained people. However, licensed devices containing radioactive materials have not always been disposed of, nor handled properly, particularly those authorized by general licenses. This has, on some occasions, resulted in radiation exposure to the public and subsequent costly decontamination of property.
NRC's routine inspections of licensees indicate that some distributors and manufacturers appear not to completely understand the regulations and their responsibilities. The general licensees that possess these types of products have responsibilities, but many times do not clearly understand them until an accident forces them to do so. Many times the manufacturers and distributors of these types of radioactive products portray them to prospective customers as non-maintenance items that can be readily bought off the shelf, installed without any consideration given to special circumstances or safe location, and forgotten about. Product-related literature may provide misleading information, or information that can easily be misconstrued by omission or commission. In order to address this issue,1780 the staff proposed to: (1) issue an information notice to all distributors and manufacturers of generally licensed devices; and (2) revise 10 CFR Part 32 to require manufacturers/distributors to provide more information on the general licensees' responsibilities under the regulations.
Information Notice 99-261781 was issued to all distributors and/or manufacturers of generally licensed products to alert them of the possible threat to public safety caused by misleading marketing information and lack of end-user understanding of the regulatory requirements in terms of the transfer and disposal of generally licensed devices. This issue was ultimately resolved with the approval of a final rule by the Commission on July 10, 2000. The final rule requires distributors to provide copies of § 31.5 to general licensees prior to time of transfer of the device rather than at the time of transfer of the device. The distributor is also required to provide copies of additional applicable sections of the regulations; a listing of the services that can only be performed by a specific licensee; in the case of NRC general licensees, a statement concerning high civil penalties for improper disposal of sources; and information regarding disposal options for the devices being transferred.