State Notification and Licensing Requirements
Portable radioscopy systems come under the purview of state regulatory bodies. Each state has a department, perhaps radiation safety or public health that sets the rules for operating the portable x-ray source. Most state regulations cover the operation of the source, not the operator (i.e., the operator need not be licensed). Although there is reciprocity between most states, one of the current limitations to widespread use of the portable x-ray systems for historic preservation is that each project requires that the operator must comply with the regulations for that state, usually accompanied with a fee for registration of the source. Some states require an inspection of the source before it can be used. Nonetheless, over the past decade, the ability to register the source in a state has become easier as procedures between states become more standardized and the use of the equipment becomes more widespread (usually for other applications, such as bomb detection and security work). Selected state contacts and radiation usage regulations are provided in the appendix.
Portable digital radioscopy generally comes under the heading of industrial radiography, defined below, in most states. State regulatory bodies may require: type of equipment, dates on the proposed work, purpose of the investigation, address, contact person with contact information, and unit licensing information. States may require also that equipment is registered with them prior to use. Prior notice may require a few days to two weeks. Some states may also require a copy of calibration certificates for the radiation survey equipment. Additional information on identifying the proper registration agency is given in the appendix.
Industrial radiography (IR) is the process of performing nondestructive testing of materials using radiation from a radioactive materials source or a radiation- producing machine. The potential for harmful radiation exposure to the industrial radiographer, to other workers, and to the general public exists if the radioactive material or x-ray machine is not handled properly. Statistics show that more radiation-related accidents occur in this industry than in any other. In an attempt to ensure that industrial radiographers are familiar with appropriate radiation safety procedures and thereby reduce the number of accidents, states and NRC have adopted regulations requiring industrial radiographers to attend a radiation safety course, complete a specified number of on-the-job training hours, and successfully complete a written examination prior to being certified. In order to facilitate the certification of industrial radiographers, 10 states and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing, Inc. (ASNT) have nationally recognized certification programs. [Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors] CRCPD’s G-34 Committee on Industrial Radiography is active in issues regarding IR certification. (Source: www.crcpd.org/IR.asp Page created 2/23/04)
When purchasing portable low-energy x-ray equipment, regulations for licensing and operation vary by state. Initially, the manufacturer will notify the governing state’s licensing authority to whom the equipment has been sold. It is the owner’s responsibility to contact the proper state agency to learn the steps to register the equipment. Some information about certification and licensing is also provided with the equipment. Usually, registration with the state needs to be done within 30 days. An inspection of the equipment is also usually necessary. Many states provide a seal showing that it has been inspected.
The varied licensing and regulations use the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10, Part 34, (“Licenses for Radiography and Radiation Safety Requirements for Radiographic Operations”), as well as guidance from the Atomic Energy Commission or U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Agreement states have agreed to provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
Additional Resources on Regulations Governing Radiation Safety
The Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD) is a non-profit, non-governmental, professional organization of radiation professionals in state and local government who regulate the use of radiation sources. (CRCPD flyer 01/04 available on their website) This organization was established in 1968 with a two-fold purpose:
- To serve as a common forum for the many governmental radiation protection agencies to communicate with each other, and
- To promote uniform radiation protection regulations and activities. (CRCPD flyer 01/04)
Their website at www.crcpd.org provides links to state resources: “State Efforts: An Overview of What States Do” and Contacts for Radiation Control Fee Schedules. Their subcommittee called the G – 34 Committee on Industrial Radiography is working on recommendations to create a national industrial radiographer certification program. Currently, there are 10 states using the same certification process for industrial radiographers and /or radioactive materials.
The CRCPD website is useful as a quick place to check state contacts for information on regulations and certification programs. On their website there is a 50-state listing of the “State Radiation Control Programs: Industrial Radiographer Certification Contacts & Status”, updated in March of 2004. It provides a state contact with telephone and e-mail; provides the state’s status as an agreement or non-agreement state; states whether it is a radioactive material and/ or x-ray certifying entity; and finally provides notes for each state (please see table in the appendix). A December, 2005 update is available at: www.hsrd.ornl.gov/nrc/rulemaking.htm
American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) is recognized by CRCPD as an independent certifying program. At www.asnt.org/certification/irrsp/cp- irrsp-1a.pdf is an overview on the requirements to get Industrial Radiography Radiation Safety Personnel certification. Forty hours of training and 120 hours of experience are required to take the examination.
Most states want to know that the operator has received training in operating the x-ray equipment. Some require a training card from a state or supplier recommended trainer.
Survey of States
Phone surveys were done with Alabama, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. The summaries of the findings describing the regulatory requirements for use of this equipment for historic preservation research are provided in the appendix. The summary identifies the governing agency, who to contact, what is required to bring radioscopy equipment into that state, and if there is reciprocity or the ability to use licensing from your home state.