In an Oct. 4 speech, Commissioner Peter Lyons of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission outlined the key opportunities and challenges facing the NRC and its "Agreement State" partnership. An agreement state (there are 32) regulates most if not all sources of radiation in that state in accordance with the Atomic Energy Act.
Lyons spoke about the NRC and agreement states' mission:
Addressing risks through an integrated approach that recognizes the complementary nature of safety and security requirements will meet our collective goal to enhance the control of sources in today's environment. This approach can ensure adequate control of sources to prevent both adverse health impacts and, as an additional complementary benefit, prevent potential malevolent use of radioactive sources.Lyons explained that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 "brings under the Commission's regulatory authority certain types of radioactive material ... that previously were not included under the Atomic Energy Act's definition of byproduct material or under the purview of NRC's regulatory program." This new jurisdiction ultimately will result in "a more coherent national framework for regulation of most radioactive materials," he said.
The commissioner also addressed the NRC's role in the proposed national radiation monitoring system for safety and security, which the Department of Homeland Security's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is attempting to establish:
The DNDO's mission is to provide a single accountable organization with dedicated responsibilities to develop the global nuclear detection architecture. DNDO will acquire and support the deployment of the domestic detection system to detect and report attempts to import or transport a nuclear device or fissile or radiological material intended for illicit use. NRC currently has two staff on a detail assignment assisting the DNDO in this effort.Lyons added that "state involvement will provide DNDO with valuable insight on how this national radiation monitoring system may be deployed." He went on to praise states' participation in the international radiation protection community.
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