10 CFR 50.72(b)(2)(xi), Notification to Government Agency or News Release
Notification to Government Agency or News Release
Reporting criteria which states basically if you tell someone else, tell us too.
Any event or situation, related to the health and safety of the public or onsite personnel, or protection of the environment, for which a news release is planned or notification to other government agencies has been or will be made. Such an event may include an onsite fatality or inadvertent release of radioactively contaminated materials.
When not to do this
According to ENS 40432, if reporting to other agencies is not related to the radiological health and safety of the public or onsite personnel or the protection of the environment than reporting under this criteria is not necessary. This example was for FAA reporting of off-gas stack lighting.
NUREG: News Release or Notification of Other Government Agency
§ 50.72(b)(2)(xi) "Any event or situation, related to the health and safety of the public or on-site personnel, or protection of the environment, for which a news release is planned or notification to other government agencies has been or will be made. Such an event may include an on-site fatality or inadvertent release of radioactively contaminated materials."
§ 50.73 There is no corresponding requirement in § 50.73.
If not reported under § 50.72(a) or (b)(1), licensees are required to notify the NRC via the ENS under (b)(2) [a 4-hour report].
The purpose of this criterion is to ensure the NRC is made aware of issues that will cause heightened public or government concern related to the radiological health and safety of the public or on-site personnel or protection of the environment.
Licensees typically issue press releases or notify local, county, State or Federal agencies on a wide range of topics that are of interest to the general public. The NRC Operations Center does not need to be made aware of every press release made by a licensee. The following clarifications are intended to set a reporting threshold that ensures necessary reporting, while minimizing unnecessary reporting.
Examples of events likely to be reportable under this criterion include
- release of radioactively contaminated tools or equipment to public areas
- unusual or abnormal releases of radioactive effluents
- onsite fatality
Licensees generally do not have to report media and government interactions unless they are related to the radiological health and safety of the public or onsite personnel, or protection of the environment. For example, the NRC does not generally need to be informed under this criterion of:
- minor deviations from sewage or chlorine effluent limits
- minor non-radioactive, onsite chemical spills
- minor oil spills
- problems with plant stack or water tower aviation lighting
- peaceful demonstrations
- routine reports of effluent releases to other agencies
- releases of water from dams associated with the plant
The NRC has an obligation to inform the public about issues within the NRC's purview that affect or raise a concern about the public health and safety. Thus, the NRC needs accurate, detailed information in a timely manner regarding such situations. The NRC should be aware of information that is available for the press or other government agencies.
However, the NRC need not be notified of every press release a licensee issues. The field of NRC interest is narrowed by the phrase "related to the health and safety of the public or onsite personnel, or protection of the environment," in order to exclude administrative matters or those events of no significance.
Routine radiation releases are not specifically reportable under this criterion. However, if a release receives media attention, the release is reportable under this criterion.
If possible, licensees should make an ENS notification before issuing a press release because news media representatives will usually contact the NRC public affairs officer shortly after its issuance for verification, explanation, or interpretation of the facts.
Other Government Notifications
For reporting purposes, "other government agencies" refers to local, State or other Federal agencies.
Notifying another Federal agency does not relieve the licensee of the requirement to report to the NRC.
Some plants provide a State incident response facility with alarm indication coincident with control room alarms, e.g., an effluent radiation monitor alarm. However, an alarm received at a State facility is in itself not a requirement for notifying the NRC under this criterion. A release is reportable under this criterion if a press release is planned or a specific report (beyond the automatic alarm indication) has been or will be made to a State agency.
(1) Onsite Drowning Government Notifications and Press Release
A boy fell into the discharge canal while fishing and failed to resurface. The licensee notified the local sheriff, State Police, U.S. Coast Guard and State emergency agencies. Local news agencies were granted onsite access for coverage of the event. The licensee notified the NRC resident inspector.
As ENS notification is needed because of the fatality on-site, the other government notifications made, and media involvement.
(2) Licensee Media Inquiries Regarding NRC Findings
As a result of a local newspaper article regarding the findings of an NRC regional inspection of the 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix R, Fire Protection Program, a licensee representative was interviewed on local television and radio stations. The licensee notified State officials and the NRC resident inspector.
The staff does not consider an ENS notification to be needed because the subject of the radio and TV interviews was an NRC inspection.
(3) County Government Notification
The licensee informed county governments and other organizations of a spurious actuation of several emergency response sirens in a county (for about 5 minutes according to county residents). The licensee also planned to issue a press release.
An ENS notification is needed because county agencies were notified regarding the inadvertent actuation of part of the public notification system. Such an event also would be reportable if the county informs the licensee of the problem because of the concern of the public for their radiological health and safety.
(4) State Notification of Unscheduled Radiation Release
The licensee reported to the State that they were going to release about 50 curies of gaseous radioactivity to the atmosphere while filling and venting the pressurizer. The licensee then revised their estimate of the release to 153 curies. However, since the licensee had not informed the State within 24 hours of making the release, they had to reclassify the release as "unscheduled" per their agreement with the State. The licensee notified the State and the NRC resident inspector.
An ENS notification is needed because of the State notification of an "unscheduled" release of gaseous radioactivity. The initial notification to the State of the scheduled release does not need an ENS notification because it is considered as a routine notification.
(5) State Notification of Improper Dumping of Radioactive Waste
The licensee transported two secondary side filters to the city dump as nonradioactive waste but later determined they were radioactive. The dump site was closed and the filters retrieved. The licensee notified the appropriate State agency and the NRC resident inspector.
An ENS notification is needed because of the notification to the State agency of the inadvertent release of radioactively contaminated material off site, which affects the radiological health and safety of the public and environment.
(6) Reports Regarding Endangered Species
The licensee notified the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and a State agency that an endangered species of sea turtle was found in their circulating water structure trash bar. No press release was planned.
An ENS notification is required because of the notification of state and federal agencies regarding the taking of an endangered species. (The NRC has statutory responsibilities regarding protection of endangered species.)
(7) Routine Agency Notifications
A licensee notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the circulation water temperature rise exceeded the release permit allowable. This event was caused by the unexpected loss of a circulating water pump while operating at 92-percent power. The licensee reduced power to 73 percent so that the circulating water temperature would decrease to within the allowable limits until the pump could be repaired.
A licensee notified the Federal Aviation Agency that it removed part of its auxiliary boiler stack aviation lighting from service to replace a faulty relay.
A licensee notified the State, EPA, U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Transportation that 5 gallons of diesel fuel oil had spilled onto gravel-covered ground inside the protected area. The spill was cleaned up by removing the gravel and dirt.
The staff does not consider an ENS notification to be needed because these events are routine and have little significance.