Safe Disposition of Endangered Sealed Radioactive Sources


J. G. Yusko, K. D. Modes, J. D. Kinneman


Late in 2003, a licensee in western Pennsylvania notified state and federal regulatory authorities that it was facing financial hardship. This licensee possessed over 400 sealed sources containing Am-241, Cs-137, Ra-226, and other radionuclides totaling over 2 TBq. As a result of the financial difficulties, the physical security of the storage location could not be guaranteed for an extended period and sufficient resources were not available to the licensee to dispose of the sources.Due to the serious concerns over source security and considering the current threat environment, the regulators requested assistance from DOE's Off-site Source Recovery Project (OSRP). The regulators worked closely with former licensee employees to maintain security of the storage facility while OSRP arranged for safe disposition of the sources. After disposition was arranged, regulatory technical staff members worked with former employees and the OSRP contractor to identify and account for all sources, to ensure that each source was properly packaged, and to ensure that the facility was suitable for release for unrestricted use. In March 2004, the sources were properly packaged and safely transported in three separate shipments to a facility where they could be repackaged for disposal at an authorized burial site. The licensee's storage location was surveyed and released for unrestricted use. This case illustrates effective cooperation among state and federal regulators and OSRP in addressing and solving a serious security threat posed by a large number of potentially orphaned radioactive sources.


This abstract was presented at the 38th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Materials Control and Security: Risk Assessment, Handling, and Detection", Source Security and Monitoring Programs Session, 2/13/2005 - 2/16/2005, held in New Orleans, LA.

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