Full Title: High-Risk Radioactive Material: Opportunities Exist to Improve the Security of Sources No Longer in Use
Author(s): U.S. Government Accountability Office
Publisher(s): U.S. Government Accountability Office
Publication Date: November 12, 2023
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Radioactive sources are commonly used for medical, industrial, and research purposes. However, these materials can be harmful and dangerous, if used improperly.
NRC and states to which it has delegated authority issue licenses for the possession and use of radioactive sources. These entities regulate disposal facilities that can accept certain sources and waste. Several federal programs support disposal of some sources, but some licensees still hold onto sources beyond their useful lives. Doing so increases the risk that sources could be orphaned and misused.
House Report 117-118 accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 includes a provision for GAO to review the disposition of radioactive sources. This report examines the factors that contribute to licensees delaying disposal of disused high-risk radioactive sources, and leading practices that, if implemented, could help address challenges related to the disposal of some disused radioactive sources. GAO reviewed relevant laws, regulations, and key organizations’ documents on leading practices. GAO also interviewed agency and industry officials and conducted site visits.