Nuclear RegulationNRC's Nuclear Materials Program Needs Improvement to Protect Public Health and Safety Gao ID: T-RCED-93-51 July 30, 1993
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licenses millions of individuals and organizations throughout the United States to use radioactive material for research and development; medical diagnosis and treatment; and industrial, academic, and consumer activities. This testimony, which draws on an April 1993 GAO report (GAO/RCED-93-90), questions whether the public is being adequately protected from nuclear materials outside power plants, noting that NRC lacks information on whether all states receive the same minimum level of protection. NRC does not collect comparable data for its licensing and inspection programs, and the agency lacks a common set of performance indicators to effectively evaluate both the agreement-states program and the NRC-regulated states program. Moreover, NRC does not have specific criteria or procedures for suspending or revoking an agreement state's program. As a result, NRC has failed to suspend or revoke state programs even though the states are not complying with NRC requirements.