Distribution of Products Irradiated in Research Reactors (Generic Letter No. 86-11)
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D. C. 20555
June 25, 1986
TO ALL NON-POWER REACTOR LICENSEES
SUBJECT: DISTRIBUTION OF PRODUCTS IRRADIATED IN RESEARCH REACTORS (GENERIC
We have recently received several inquiries regarding products which are
irradiated in research reactors and subsequently distributed to unlicensed
persons. The inquiries were related to irradiations of gems and silicon
chips, but other products may also be involved.
We are concerned that research reactor licensees may be irradiating and
redistributing products containing induced radioactivity to unlicensed
receivers who utilize or redistribute these irradiated products. Information
provided to NRC in specific cases indicates that gems, silicon chips, and
many other materials usually acquire relatively long-lived induced
radioactivity when irradiated in a reactor. Although irradiation of products
in a reactor is not of itself prohibited, 10 CFR Section 30.14 prohibits
introduction of byproduct material into a product for distribution to an
unlicensed person, unless the distributor has a specific license issued
pursuant to 10 CFR Section 32.11 which permits such distribution.
The purpose of this Generic Letter is to correct any misunderstanding
concerning the distribution of irradiated products to unlicensed persons. In
accordance with 10 CFR 30.14, the distribution of irradiated materials, even
with low levels of induced radioactivity, to unlicensed persons is
prohibited unless the distributor of such materials is licensed by the NRC
to do so. Furthermore, to measure these low levels of induced radioactivity
very sensitive low background instruments are required, such as shielded
sodium iodide or germanium-lithium detection systems.
In addition, we call your attention to subsection 3 of the enclosed NRC
Policy Statement in the Federal Register notice of March 16, 1965 (30 FR
3462) regarding products-which are toys, novelties or adornments. The staff
considers gems to be adornments and has not granted licenses for
distribution of irradiated gems or similar materials.
You are responsible for assuring that the distributors of any products you
have irradiated in your reactor, and which have acquired induced
radioactivity, are licensed to distribute these products in accordance with
10 CFR 30.14(c) and 30.31. If you directly distribute the irradiated
products to unlicensed persons, you must obtain a new license to reflect
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Applications should be addressed as follows:
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Director, Office of Nuclear Material
Safety and Safeguards
Division of Fuel Cycle and Material Safety
Washington, D. C. 20555
Please note that the NRC has exclusive jurisdiction over reactors and
distribution of radioactive consumer products. Agreement States do not issue
this type of license.
This letter is for information only and does not require any response.
Should you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Harold
Bernard at (301) 492-8529.
Frank J. Miraglia, Director
Division of PWR Licensing-B
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 22, 2015