United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

A Risk Analysis of Fixed Nuclear Gauges (NUREG-1669)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: March 2000
Date Published: April 2000

Division of Risk Analysis and Applications
Office of Nuclear Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Abstract

Fixed nuclear gauges containing the radionuclides 137Cs, 60Co, or 241Am are used in many industries to improve the quality and lower the costs of products for industrial, commercial, and private uses. But gauges that are improperly controlled during use and transfer can expose people to radiation and, upon entering the stream of recycled steel, can cause steel mills to spend millions of dollars to decontaminate equipment and dispose of contaminated materials. The risk to licensees and the recycling industries that nuclear gauges pose is incompletely understood. An analysis of fixed nuclear gauges was performed to study the risk to life and property, from facilities where the gauges are used to steel mills where the gauges might be melted. A risk analysis should be of interest to all stakeholders- agencies that promulgate regulations, licensees who must comply with the regulations, and the recycling industries who use scrap steel as a resource for making products. Although risk could not be estimated because data are lacking, observations and insights were made that can be used by all stakeholders to reduce their risk, even if the extent of the reduction is unknown.

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