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NRC Agreement State Program. Carl Armstrong, MD Director, Office of Epidemiology Virginia Department of Health. Radioactive Materials Licensing. NRC regulates : Radioactive materials produced in a nuclear reactor ( “ byproduct materials ” )

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NRC Agreement State Program

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nrc agreement state program

NRC Agreement State Program

Carl Armstrong, MD

Director, Office of Epidemiology

Virginia Department of Health

radioactive materials licensing
Radioactive Materials Licensing
  • NRC regulates:
    • Radioactive materials produced in a nuclear reactor (“byproduct materials”)
    • Technologically enhanced naturally occurring materials that can be used as reactor fuel (“source materials”)
    • Radioactive materials that can be used as a nuclear weapon (“special materials”)
  • State regulates everything else:
    • Naturally occurring materials
    • Materials produced in an accelerator
nrc licensing program for radioactive materials
NRC Licensing Program for Radioactive Materials
  • NRC implements its regulatory authority by a licensing and inspection program
  • NRC charges licensing fees to fully recover its cost of administering the regulatory activity
nrc agreement state program4
NRC Agreement State Program
  • NRC can delegate its authority to states; however, NRC retains authority over:
    • Federal Facilities
    • Commercial Nuclear Reactor Facilities
    • Research Reactors
    • Exports and imports
    • Disposal in the ocean
    • High-level waste handling and disposal
    • Offshore waters
    • Certain aspects of mill tailings management
nrc agreement state program participation
NRC Agreement State Program Participation
  • Currently, 33 states are Agreement States and regulate 80% of the Nation’s material licenses
  • MN & PA have submitted letters of intent to become Agreement States
  • CT & NJ seeking legislation or support of licensees to become Agreement States
  • Fees charged by Agreement States are typically lower than those charged by the NRC
nrc funding of agreement state programs
NRC Funding of Agreement State Programs
  • NRC does not provide free training, operating funds or seed money to establish Agreement State Programs
  • NRC technical assistance provided to states on a fee-for-service basis
criteria for states entering into an agreement
Criteria for States Entering into an Agreement
  • Statutes and regulations
  • Licensing program
  • Inspection and enforcement program
  • Adequate number of trained and qualified personnel
  • Provision of fair and impartial administration
  • Event and allegation response program
nrc timeline for processing an agreement
NRC Timeline for Processing an Agreement
  • The average time is approximately 4 – 5 years after the letter of intent and appropriate paperwork has been submitted by the state
  • It has taken up to 8 years to complete the process and some states have accomplished it in 3 years.
radiation advisory board
Radiation Advisory Board

“It is advantageous for Virginia to participate in the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Agreement State Program and submits this recommendation to the State Health Commissioner and the State Board of Health”–12/19/97

Recommended “the Department of Health state its concurrence to the State Board of Health with the Radiation Advisory Board’s recommendation regarding becoming an NRC Agreement State”–03/27/98

fees collected by nrc from virginia licensees
Fees Collected by NRC from Virginia Licensees
  • Total 375 licenses in Virginia in federal FY2004
    • 18 licensees not transferable to state
    • 357 licensees transferable to state
  • In FY2004 NRC fees for VA licensees = $6,625,100
    • $5,239,925 from 18 non-transferable licensees
    • $1,385,175 from 357 transferable licensees (actually collected $1,196,450)
  • NRC collected $1,231,950 in FY2003
  • NRC collected $1,172,400 in FY2002
virginia radiation protection regulations vs nrc regulations
Virginia Radiation Protection Regulations vs. NRC Regulations
  • Most Virginia Radiation Protection Regulations are identical to the NRC regulations, with a few exceptions
  • Proposed Virginia regulations, when promulgated, would be compatible with NRC regulations
  • Proposed regulations have been approved by our Administration, published in Virginia Register and are awaiting public comment (period ends 09/29/05)
nrc agreement state program liability issues
NRC Agreement State ProgramLiability Issues
  • NRC has a Financial Assurance requirement in its regulations
  • Financial assurance is dependent on the quantity and half-life of the radioisotope, and whether the source is sealed or unsealed
  • NRC requires a decommissioning funding plan (funding and a plan for proper disposal of all radioactive materials and facility clean-up).
virginia licensees required to provide financial assurances to nrc
Virginia Licensees Required to Provide Financial Assurances to NRC
  • State agencies:
    • University of Virginia
    • VCU/MCV
    • Virginia Tech
    • Old Dominion University
    • Eastern Virginia Medical School (part of ODU)
  • Private enterprise:
    • Gammapar
liability issues relevant virginia statutes
Liability IssuesRelevant Virginia Statutes
  • § 32.1-230 Perpetual Custody
  • § 32.1-231 Bonds of licensees
  • § 32.1-232 Radioactive Material Perpetual Care Trust Fund
  • § 32.1-238 Impounding sources of ionizing radiation
nrc agreement state program16
NRC Agreement State Program


  • State assumes full regulatory authority
  • Less federal regulatory burden; one regulatory agency for most licensees
  • Quicker response (amendments to licenses, technical assistance, etc.)
  • Program self-supporting after the initial investment; State collects fees
  • Potentially lower licensing and inspection fees
  • Opportunity for State staff to receive NRC sponsored training
  • Financial advantage for Virginia companies doing business in another NRC Agreement State
  • Enhanced State emergency capacity/capability
nrc agreement state program17
NRC Agreement State Program


  • NRC does not provide seed money or operating funds
  • Possible perception of more State regulations and/or different State approach to handling Federal government work
  • Some licensees currently have a NRC and state license and will have to continue both.
  • Potential State liability should a licensee abandon the site and radioactive materials
  • VDH would have a new enforcement role and there may be political concerns.
nrc agreement state program18
NRC Agreement State Program

Other Considerations

  • Statutory authority exists to establish a fee schedule and collect fees
  • Allocation of additional staff (FTEs) and authority to obtain training ($15K each)
  • Appropriation of GF for initial start-up cost or set the licensee surcharge and obtain GA authority to spend
  • Projections based on assumptions that may change
  • Consider imposing stiff penalty for late surcharge payments and noncompliance based on repeated offenses, severity and mitigating factors
  • If a determination is made to proceed, identify the timetable for implementation
options to funds costs for virginia to become an agreement state
Options to Funds Costs for Virginia to Become an Agreement State
  • Assuming it takes 1-4 years to achieve Agreement State status and begin receiving income, we need $1.64 million.
  • Options to obtain needed funds:
    • Utilize existing resources
    • New, one-time General Fund appropriation
    • General Fund loan (must be repaid)
    • Licensee surcharge
    • Combination of the above
options continued
Options (continued)
  • Options to obtain needed funds:
    • Utilize existing resources (not available)
    • New, one-time General Fund appropriation (past attempts have been unsuccessful; further delays start-up)
    • General Fund loan (difficult to determine repayment)
    • Licensee surcharge – most commonly used by other States (may be cost prohibitive and will be unsuccessful unless it is paid promptly)
    • Combination of the above (harder to project and manage)
increasing costs to non agreement states
Increasing Costs To Non-Agreement States
  • VDH’s first bill (about 10 years ago) was $700. Costs have increased each year. Current cost is $2,500, represents a 250+% increase.
  • At this time, 4 states are taking action to become Agreement States. Once they transition, remaining states can expect higher fees.
    • Pennsylvania and Minnesota have 873 licenses (19% of current NRC total)
    • Connecticut and New Jersey have 692 licenses (15% of current NRC total)
    • At this point, the remaining 11 states would share the cost of NRC operations.
  • Licensees pay 30% surcharge to VDH for Years 1-4
    • (Other states have used 30% for 3 years and one added one additional quarter)
    • Year 1 surcharge ($358,935) based on current cost ($1,196,450)
    • Year 2-4 surcharge ($427,133) based on possible 19% increase in NRC costs as PA & MN transfer out ($1,423,776)
    • Did not factor in expected transfer out of CT and NJ (15%)
  • Assumptions
    • Unexpended fund balances carry forward
    • Licensee surcharge must be paid promptly
    • Did not take into consideration that a licensee may terminate their current NRC license or new licenses may be issued.


  • Vehicle needs will be addressed when exact needs are known and funding is available

Fee Structure

  • If our assumptions prove true for income and expenses, fees for licensees may be reduced by 60% in Years 5-6 and 65% in Years 7-10.
  • Any change in Advisory Board recommendation?
  • If a determination is made to proceed, identify the timetable for implementation
  • Suggestions on strategy