Environmental Protection

NRC Orders Criminal History Checks to Access Radioactive Material

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued an order Dec. 5 to nearly 1,000 licensees to begin fingerprinting and criminal history checks for all people granted unescorted access to certain radioactive materials.

The order applies to NRC licensees in industry, academia and medicine that are licensed to possess "radioactive materials in quantities of concern" from a security perspective. These quantities are essentially equivalent to Category 1 and Category 2 sources as defined in the International Atomic Energy Agency's Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources.

The order implements requirements contained in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The agency plans to develop a proposed rule to make the new requirements part of its regulations. The order is being issued to implement the requirement while the rule is being developed.

The order, including details of how the new requirements are to be implemented, will be published soon in the Federal Register.

The identities of licensees receiving the order are considered sensitive information and will not be released. The order applies to licensees in the 16 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories where the NRC has regulatory authority. The 16 states under NRC jurisdiction are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The 34 agreement states that regulate radioactive materials under agreements with the NRC will issue similar requirements to their licensees within 180 days.

For more information, contact NRC at http://www.nrc.gov.

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