Explosives Searches at Protected Area Portals (Generic Letter 91-10)
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D. C. 20555
July 8, 1991
TO ALL FUEL CYCLE FACILITY LICENSEES WHO POSSESS, USE, IMPORT, OR EXPORT
FORMULA QUANTITIES OF STRATEGIC SPECIAL NUCLEAR MATERIAL
SUBJECT: EXPLOSIVES SEARCHES AT PROTECTED AREA PORTALS
(GENERIC LETTER 91-10)
This generic letter is being issued to advise you of the results of a
recently completed study conducted by Sandia National Laboritories (SNL) for
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The classified study is entitled
"Personnel and Package Screening Using a Walk-Through Type Explosives
Under 10 CFR 73.46, licensees are required to conduct explosives searches of
personnel and hand-carried packages prior to entry into the protected area.
It is common practice for personnel to bring hand-carried packages into
walk-through or portal explosives detectors. This enables a licensee to
meet the personnel and package explosives search requirements concurrently.
This procedure is acceptable to the NRC in meeting the explosives search
requirements of paragraph 73.46. packages of a questionable nature are
typically searched with a hand-held explosives detector or via a "hands-on"
Results of the SNL study indicate an improved search methodology can be
achieved by directing personnel passing into an explosives detection portal
to hold hand-carried packages (1) in front of them, (2) a few inches from
the body, (3) at waist level, and (4) opened.
Furthermore, for the specific portal explosives detection equipment
installed at fuel cycle facilities using or possessing a formula quantity of
strategic special nuclear material, improved equipment performance over that
acceptable to the NRC may be achieved by operating the equipment in the
"high sensitivity" mode as opposed to the "fast" mode (current practice).
Alternatively, supplemental monitoring of the detector output voltage signal
during the "fast" mode also has the potential for achieving improved
Addressees may wish to review their procedures for conducting protected area
explosives searches in view of this guidance.
No specifc actions or written responses are required by this generic letter.
If you have any questions about this matter, please contact P. Dwyer,
Robert F. Burnett, Director
Division of Safeguards
and Transportation, NMSS
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 22, 2015