NRC puts GA Nuke Program on Probation

Monday, August 12, 2013 @ 03:08 PM gHale

Georgia is now on probation from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for deficiencies in its Agreement State program, marking the first time the federal regulator has taken such action, officials said.

The move does not affect oversight of nuclear reactors in Georgia, which remain under NRC authority, or state responsibilities related to emergency preparedness at reactor sites, the NRC said in a statement.

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Georgia is one of 37 states that have entered into agreements with the NRC giving them authority to license and regulate certain nuclear material users within their borders, the NRC said.

Those agreements undergo review regularly and probation is an option for ensuring continued protection of public health and safety in cases where program weaknesses exist, NRC officials said.

The NRC said weaknesses identified in Georgia do not immediately threaten public health and safety.

“The problems identified relate largely to prioritization of work, specifically responding to incidents promptly and prioritizing inspections of licensees using radioactive materials with the greatest potential for harm. The team found numerous examples where tasks were not appropriately prioritized,” the NRC said.

“The review found Georgia’s program to be compatible with the NRC regulatory program and ‘adequate but needs improvement.’ The team recommended, and an NRC management review board agreed, that Georgia’s performance be found unsatisfactory for several performance indicators.”

Managers of Georgia’s program are addressing the concerns and have submitted an improvement plan the NRC reviewed and then approved, the agency said.

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