Frequently Asked Questions About General Licenses

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Index to All Frequently Asked Questions Pages

What is a 10 CFR 31.5 general licensee (GL)?

A general licensee is a person or organization that acquires, uses, or possesses a generally licensed device, and has received the device through an authorized transfer by the device manufacturer/distributor, or by change of company ownership where the device remains in use at a particular location. If you receive, or have received, a device through an unauthorized means, contact your regulatory authority immediately.

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What is a generally licensed device (GLD)?

GLDs are devices containing radioactive material and are typically used to detect, measure, gauge, or control the thickness, density, level, or chemical composition of various items. Examples of such devices are gas chromatographs (detector cells), density gauges, fill-level gauges, and static elimination devices.

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What are the requirements for a general licensee?

GLs are subject to the NRC regulations listed in 10 CFR 31.5. These requirements include, but are not limited to:

Accountability and Control:

  • GLs shall not abandon the devices.

Routine Maintenance:

  • Comply with the instructions and precautions provided on the labels. Perform leak tests and shutter tests every six months, or as otherwise indicated on the label, and maintain records of tests for three years.

If the Device Becomes Damaged or Fails a Shutter or Leak Test:

  • Suspend operation of the device.

  • Have the device repaired or properly disposed of by the manufacturer or other specific licensee.

  • Report to the NRC within 30 days a brief description of the event and remedial actions taken and a plan (if contamination is likely or measured as greater than 0.005 microcuries (185 Bq) for ensuring that the premises and environs are acceptable for unrestricted use.

Other Reporting Requirements:

  • Report transfer or disposal of the device.

  • Include identification of the device by manufacturer's name and model number, serial number, name, address and license number of recipient, and date of transfer in the report.

  • Report change of ownership of the facility (when device remains in use at a particular location). Report needs to include manufacturer's name and model number, serial number, name and address of the transferee, and name of the responsible individual of the transferee.

A complete listing of requirements for GLs

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Where do I send reports?

Submit the reports previously listed within 30 days of occurrence to

Director of Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
Attn: GLTS
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

To make a report of incidents or lost or stolen devices, please provide the following information to the Regional Administrator for your location:

(A) Description of the radioactive material;

(B) Description of the circumstances under which the loss or theft occurred;

(C) Disposition of the radioactive material;

(D) Radiation exposure to individuals;

(E) Actions taken to recover the material; and

(F) Actions taken to prevent recurrence.

For the addresses of the Regional Administrators, please see our Region I, Region II, Region III, and Region IV Location pages.

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What is NRC registration of generally licensed devices?

NRC requires certain GLs to annually register their devices with NRC. This includes responding to NRC requests concerning location of the devices and information about the GL (e.g., correct contact person).

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Which GLs will be subject to NRC registration?

GLs that possess at least one device containing one of the following isotopes at or above the activity shown:

Isotope (mCi) (MBq)
Cesium-137 10 370
Stronium-90 0.1 3.7
Cobalt-60 1 37
Radium-226 0.1 3.7
Americium-241 1 37
Any other transuranic
(element with atomic
number greater than
uranium (92))
1 37

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Are there fees associated with the general license or registration?

GLs required to register with NRC are required to submit a fee. The fee can be found in 10 CFR 170.31 under byproduct material.

What if I do not want to be subject to registration?

If a GL does not want to be subject to registration, they can transfer or dispose of their devices that would be subject to registration.

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How can I transfer or dispose of a GLD?

A GLD can only be transferred (for disposal or to obtain a replacement device) to a person holding a specific license pursuant to 10 CFR Part 30 and Part 32, such as the device manufacturer or licensed waste broker. However, in the specific case of change of ownership where a GLD remains in use at a particular location, the new owner will be the new general licensee.

Who can provide additional information, including health and safety information?

You can call your device manufacturer who should be able to assist you and provide you with health and safety guidance about your specific GLD. Also, if the manufacturer is no longer in business, see "Working Safely with Nuclear Gauges" (NUREG/BR-0133). This document will provide you with basic health and safety guidance on using a nuclear gauge. To obtain a paper copy of this document, or for other information concerning general licenses, Contact a Public Affairs Officer.

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