Information Notice No. 85-01: Continuous Supervision of Irradiators

                                                         SSINS NO.: 6835 
                                                         IN 85-01       

                                UNITED STATES
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555

                              January 10, 1985



All licensees possessing irradiators that are not self-shielded and contain 
more than 10,000 curies of radioactive material. 

This information notice is provided to alert recipients of a potential 
safety hazard and violation of NRC license requirements which can arise if 
licensees do not provide continuous supervision of large irradiator 
operations. "Large" irradiators are those which contain more than 10,000 
curies of radioactive material and which are not self-shielded. Although 
proper supervision and security also is important for smaller irradiators, 
they are not the subject of this notice. 

It is expected that licensees will review this notice for applicability to 
their facilities, if appropriate, to preclude a similar problem occurring at
their facilities. However, suggestions contained in this information notice 
do not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written
response is required. 

Description of Circumstances: 

Some large irradiators operate 24 hours per day. Recently a case came to our
attention in which an irradiator was left operating overnight totally 
unattended. The irradiator license specifically required the physical 
presence of a fully trained supervisor whenever the irradiator was in use. 
This provision of the license is consistent with NRC policy and good safety 
practice that large irradiators should be continuously attended by a fully 
trained supervisor except when the radioactive sources are secured in their 
safe storage position. Compliance with that requirement assures that a 
qualified individual is immediately available to respond to emergencies or 
other problems. Note that 10 CFR 20.203(c)(6) requires that large 
irradiators must be equipped with entry control devices and alarms to make 
an individual attempting to enter the exposure area aware of the hazard and 
to alert at least one other individual who is familiar with the irradiator 
and prepared to render or summon assistance. The NRC is closely reviewing 
this matter during inspections and licensing actions. Most irradiator 
licenses explicitly state that a trained person must be physically present 
whenever the irradiator is being used. The NRC regional office will contact 
separately any irradiator licensee whose license may not be clear with 
respect to physical presence. 


                                                          IN 85-01        
                                                          January 10, 1985 
                                                          Page 2 of 2     

No specific action or written response is required by this information 
notice. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the 
Material Licensing Branch (301) 427-4203) in NRC Headquarters or the 
materials licensing section of your NRC regional office. 

                                   J. Nelson Grace, Director
                                   Division of Quality Assurance,     
                                     Safeguards, and Inspection Programs 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement

Technical Contact:  J. Hickey, NMSS
                    (301) 427-4203

                    J. Metzger, IE
                    (301) 492-4947

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