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Agreement States Implementing 10 CFR Part 37 Rules
Posted on August 31st, 2015

The Organization of Agreements States (OAS) Annual 2015 Meeting was held in Boston on August 24-27.  This joint meeting between Agreement State program directors and staff and NRC regulators focused on the implementation at the state level of 10 CFR Part 37 Physical Protection of Category 1 and Category 2 Quantities of Radioactive Material.  The new 10 CFR Part 37 was effective on May 20, 2013 and NRC licensees were required to comply with the requirements by March 19, 2014.  Agreement States have until March 19, 2016, to issue compatible requirements for their licensees.  As of the time of the meeting, only 5 states had developed and implemented their own rules that adopt Part 37 requirements.  Ohio State was highlighted as a success case in effectively rolling out the new rules through continual communication with licensees, training, and easy accessibility to information needed by licensees to develop their programs and policies. 

Only licensees that possess category 1 and 2 activity sources as defined by the IAEA in its Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources are required to comply with the new Part 37 rules.  Increased Protection (IP) orders were issued by Agreement States following the 9/11 attacks to ensure that category 1 and 2 sources were adequately protected from theft.  IP orders required enhanced security measures, background checks on employees who access the sources, and other administrative requirements.  Several licensees with category 1 and 2 sources have also installed comprehensive security systems offered by the Radiological Security Program (RSP), formerly called the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI).  In order to receive this federal funding to install enhanced systems, sites also need to develop additional procedures and programs to administer their system, safeguard information related to the system, and respond to any unauthorized attempts to access the sources.  Licensees who have installed RSP funded systems may believe that they have all of the necessary measures in place to comply with Part 37 regulations.  However, the new regulations involve additional administrative requirements, including annual training, security checks on T&R signing officials, and record keeping.  In order to facilitate licensees, the OAS meeting focused on best practices for notification of the Part 37 requirements, including use of summary checklists and information sessions to assist in the development of additional programs and policies required for compliance. 

States that have already implemented the new Part 37 rules noted that during inspections, the most common violations cited involved the administrative requirements of the rule.  With an emphasis on assisting licensees to come into compliance, these state regulators allowed sufficient time for the licensees to further develop their programs, with follow up inspections finding the majority of licensees were now in compliance.  As these new security measures are designed to further divert unauthorized access to high activity sources, regulators are invested in supporting their licensees with the implementation of Part 37 rules.  Licensees who need assistance with developing their programs to comply with Part 37 requirements can contact RSCS for assistance.  We have supported sites with Part 37 program audits and have secured RSP funding to install comprehensive security systems and develop enhanced security programs for licensees who possess category 1 and 2 sources.

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