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10 CFR Part 37 Program Review

On December 16, 2014, the "Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015,"(Public Law 113-235) was issued. Section 403 (a),"Securing Radiological Material," of the law directed, "No later than 2 years from enactment of this Act, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) shall provide a report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate that evaluates the effectiveness of the requirements of 10 CFR Part 37 and determines whether such requirements are adequate to protect high-risk radiological material. Such evaluation shall consider inspection results and event reports from the first two years of implementation of the requirements in 10 CFR Part 37 for NRC licensees."

A program review team (PRT) consisting of staff from the Offices of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS), Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR), Nuclear Security and Incident Response (NSIR), General Counsel (OGC), and Region III (RIII) conducted extensive assessment activities over the course of the program review. Progress of the program review was overseen by a Program Review Steering Committee (PRSC) comprised of Office Directors or designated representatives from NMSS, NRR, NSIR, OGC, and RIII. Three independent assessment consultants were selected to evaluate independent aspects of 10 CFR Part 37; these consultants made recommendations which were evaluated by the PRT and then presented to the PRSC for deliberation.

In order to address the Congressional mandate, the PRT performed an evaluation of the effectiveness of the requirements in 10 CFR Part 37. In addition to the Congressionally-mandated review areas, the PRT expanded the scope of its evaluation in order to perform a comprehensive, integrated review of the rule's effectiveness, and to consider relevant insights and recommendations, such as those made by the Government Accountability Office in its performance audits, GAO-12-925, "Additional Actions Needed to Improve Security of Radiological Sources at U.S. Medical Facilities"; and GAO-14-293, "Additional Actions Needed to Increase the Security of U.S. Industrial Radiological Sources."

In totality, the "program review" assessed nine areas related to the implementation of the rule:

  1. Analysis of 10 CFR Part 37 inspection results from the first years of rule implementation;
  2. Review of events from the Nuclear Material Events Database and Security Incident Database;
  3. Evaluation of the 10 CFR Part 37 trustworthiness and reliability program;
  4. Consideration of the definition of aggregation as it applies to well logging sources;
  5. Assessment of the adequacy of the materials security training program for NRC and Agreement State inspectors;
  6. Evaluation of enhanced tracking and accounting of radioactive sources;
  7. Conduct of a comparison to identify and evaluate differences between 10 CFR Part 37 and international standards and guidance;
  8. Assessment of separate, independent aspects of 10 CFR Part 37 by three external independent assessment consultants; and
  9. Consideration of comments, questions, and recommendations made during stakeholder outreach efforts.

The assessment showed that the requirements in Part 37 are effective in ensuring the security of risk-significant radioactive materials during use, storage, and transport when implemented appropriately by licensees. However, the assessment did identify a number of implementation issues due to licensees' incomplete understanding of differences between requirements in the rule and requirements in the Orders issued by the NRC to strengthen the security of risk-significant radioactive materials after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The NRC determined that, although substantial guidance has been issued on the new rule and the differences between the Orders and the rule, further outreach is necessary. Additionally, the NRC identified potential enhancements to the rule and guidance that could improve the clarity of the rule and consistency in its implementation.

The results of the program review were documented in a report that was transmitted to Congress on December 14, 2016. A detailed summary of the NRC staff's program review activities was also made publicly available. The referenced documents can be found at the following links:

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, August 11, 2017