National Defense Authorization Act Continues NNSA Program re Voluntary Phasing Out of Cesium Chloride Blood Irradiation Devices

On August 13, 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (Public Law No. 115-232).  Amongst other things, the law directs the Administrator for Nuclear Security to continue working toward the voluntary phasing out of the use of blood irradiation devices in the United States that rely on cesium chloride by December 31, 2027.

The law authorizes the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to continue its current program to pay up to 50% of the per-device replacement costs and 100% of the disposition costs.  The law includes specified reporting requirements about the program to Congress.

The relevant text is as follows:


(a)  Goal.—The Administrator for Nuclear Security shall ensure that the goal of the covered programs is eliminating the use of blood irradiation devices in the United States that rely on cesium chloride by December 31, 2027.

(b)  Implementation.—To meet the goal specified by subsection (a), the Administrator shall carry out the covered programs in a manner that—

(1) is voluntary for owners of blood irradiation devices;

(2) allows for the United States, subject to the review of the Administrator, to pay up to 50 percent of the per-device cost of replacing blood irradiation devices covered by the programs;

(3) allows for the United States to pay up to 100 percent of the cost of removing and disposing of cesium sources retired from service by the programs; and

(4) replaces such devices with x-ray irradiation devices or other devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration that provide significant threat reduction as compared to cesium chloride irradiators.

(c)  Duration.—The Administrator shall carry out the covered programs until December 31, 2027.

(d)  Report.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the covered programs, including—

(1) identification of each cesium chloride blood irradiation device in the United States, including the number, general location, and user type;

(2) a plan for achieving the goal established by subsection (a);

(3) a methodology for prioritizing replacement of such devices that takes into account irradiator age and prior material security initiatives;

(4) in consultation with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, a strategy identifying any legislative, regulatory, or other measures necessary to constrain the introduction of new cesium chloride blood irradiation devices;

(5) identification of the annual funds required to meet the goal established by subsection (a); and

(6) a description of the disposal path for cesium chloride sources under the covered programs.

(e)  Assessment.—The Administrator shall submit an assessment to the appropriate congressional committees by September 20, 2023, of the results of the actions on the covered programs under this section, including—

(1) the number of replacement irradiators under the covered programs;

(2) the life-cycle costs of the programs, including personnel training, maintenance, and replacement costs for new irradiation devices;

(3) the cost-effectiveness of the covered programs;

(4) an analysis of the effectiveness of the new irradiation devices’ technology; and

(5) a forecast of whether the Administrator will meet the goal established in subsection (a).

(f)  Definitions.—In this section:

(1)  APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES.—The term “appropriate congressional committees” means—

(A) the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives; and

(B) the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate.

(2) COVERED PROGRAMS.—The term “covered programs” means the following programs of the Office of Radiological Security of the National Nuclear Security Administration:

(A) The Cesium Irradiator Replacement Program.

(B) The Off-Site Source Recovery Program.

For additional information, please see the following link to the bill:

Texas Compact Commission Publishes Proposed Waste Management Rule

On November 3, 2017, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) published a proposed rule regarding the management of low-level radioactive waste within the Texas Compact in the Texas Register.  Comments on the proposed rule were due no later than the close of business on December 8, 2017. 

Copies of the proposed rule can be obtained from the Texas Compact Commission’s website at 


The Texas Compact Commission is proposing a new §675.24 relating to a requirement to report on the importation of certain low-level radioactive waste for management or disposal that is not required to be disposed in the Texas Compact Facility.

In order to fulfill its responsibilities with respect to 42 United States Code, §§2021(b) – 2021(j) and §3.04(9) and §3.05(6) of the Texas Compact as set out in Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC) §403.006, the Texas Compact Commission has determined that it is in the public interest that it gather information regarding low-level radioactive waste that enters the host state irrespective of whether it requires an agreement for importation for disposal at the Texas Compact facility.

Proposed new §675.24 seeks to facilitate the gathering of that information by the way of reporting requirements after the entry of the low-level radioactive waste into the state rather than requiring approval for the importation of certain categories of low-level radioactive waste into the host state.

Proposed Rule Language

The proposed rule language is as follows:

  • 675.24. Requirement to Report on the Importation of Certain Low- Level Radioactive Waste for Management or Disposal that is not Required to be Disposed of in the Compact Facility.
  • This section is applicable only in the host state. 

(b)  This section is designed to gather information on the importation into the host state for disposal or management of certain low- level waste that:  

  • is required when shipped to be listed on Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Forms 540 or 541 (Uniform Low-Level Waste Manifest Shipping Forms);
  • is included within the definition of low-level radioactive waste found in 30 TAC §336.2(89) (relating to Definitions) as the definition is in effect on the date this section becomes effective or as 30 TAC §336.2(89) may be amended or renumbered in the future, but is not intended for disposal in the Compact Waste Facility;
  • is not low-level radioactive waste described by 42 United States Code, §2021c(b)(1); and

(4) for the purposes of this section, the material described in this subsection will be referred to as Non-Compact-Facility Low- Level Radioactive Waste (“NCFW”).  

(c) Any entity in the host state that imports NCFW must enter into an agreement with the Commission that contains a requirement that it will report to the Commission on a quarterly basis the following information with respect to each shipment of NCFW that it has received in the previous quarter:  

  • the name of the generator; 

  • the name of the state and the name of the low-level waste compact (if any) where the waste originated;
  • the activity of the waste in curies; 

(4)  the volume or weight of the waste; the date of receipt; whether the waste is being stored, processed, or otherwise managed;  

(5)  location of management; and 

(6)  the date of and location of disposal of that waste. 

(d) Quarterly reports must be submitted electronically on forms provided by the Commission and must be submitted before the 31st day after the end of each quarter of the Commission’s fiscal year.  

(e) An entity that imports low-level radioactive waste into the host state as described in subsection (c) of this section shall have entered into an agreement with the Commission within 90 days after the effective date of this section or within such time extensions thereafter as the Commission may allow. To the maximum extent possible, each agreement entered into under this section will contain provisions identical to those in each other agreement entered into under this section.  

(f) An entity that imports waste into the host state as described in subsection (c) of this section shall submit an application for entry into an agreement with the Commission electronically or on paper on a form provided by the Commission.  

(g) Failure on the part of an entity that imports waste into the host state as described in subsection (c) of this section to comply with any provision of this section or the agreement entered into pursuant to subsection (d) of this section may result in the Commission reporting such failures to the host state agency that has licensed, permitted, or otherwise authorized the operation of such entities.  

(h) The Commission may revoke or amend an agreement on its own motion or in response to an application by the agreement holder. When the Commission amends an NCFW agreement on its on motion, it may provide a reasonable time to allow the agreement holder to make the changes necessary to comply with any additional requirements imposed by the Commission. No importation of NCFW shall be allowed under any amended agreement for the importation of NCFW until:  

(1) the amendment to the NCFW agreement has been executed by both the Commission and the agreement holder; and  

(2) the agreement holder has made any changes necessary to comply with additional requirements.

Benefits and Costs

According to the Texas Register notice, the changes in the proposed rule are expected to increase the knowledge available to the Texas Compact Commission and the public with respect to the presence of low-level radioactive waste in the host state.

The notice states, “By requiring a quarterly report of certain information about low-level [radioactive] waste that enters the host state for a purpose other than disposal at the compact facility, the proposed [Texas Compact] Commission rule benefits the host state and the public by allowing more complete tracking of low-level radioactive waste that enters the host state.”

The Texas Compact Commission anticipates that businesses and individuals will have no significant additional economic costs as a result of their compliance with the proposed rule, as the new reporting requirements would require the reporting of minimal information that is already maintained by the entities required to report under the proposed new §675.24.

For additional information, please contact Texas Compact Commission Executive Director Leigh Ing at (512) 217-8045 or at