NRC Considering Wyoming’s Request to Become an Agreement State

On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is considering a request from Wyoming Governor Matthew Mead to assume part of the NRC’s regulatory authority over certain radioactive materials in the state.

If the request is accepted, Wyoming will become the 38th state to sign such an agreement with the NRC.


Under the proposed agreement, the NRC would transfer to Wyoming the responsibility for licensing, rulemaking, inspection and enforcement activities related to the extraction and concentration of uranium and thorium milling and the management and disposal of milling waste, or mill tailings.

If the proposed Agreement were approved, the NRC would transfer 14 specific licenses for radioactive material to Wyoming’s jurisdiction.  By law, NRC would retain jurisdiction over commercial nuclear power plants (of which there are none in Wyoming), federal agencies using certain nuclear material in the state and uses of nuclear material currently regulated by the NRC other than uranium and thorium milling activities.

Before entering into the agreement, the NRC must determine that Wyoming’s radiation control program is adequate to protect public health and safety, and is compatible with the NRC’s regulations.


Thirty-seven other states have signed similar agreements with the NRC.  They include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Copies of the proposed agreement, the Governor’s request/supporting documents and the NRC draft staff assessment are available on the NRC website at For additional information, please contact David McIntyre at (301) 415-8200.

GAO Releases Report re Security of Sealed Sources

On July 15, 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released GAO-16-330 titled, “Nuclear Security:  NRC Has Enhanced the Controls of Dangerous Radioactive Materials, but Vulnerabilities Remain.”  The report examines

  •   the steps that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the 37 states it permits to grant licenses for radioactive materials—called Agreement States—have taken to ensure that radioactive materials licenses are granted only to legitimate organizations and licensees can obtain materials only in quantities allowed by their licenses; and,
  •   the results of covert vulnerability testing designed to test the effectiveness of these controls.

In the report, GAO concludes that NRC and Agreement States have taken several steps to help ensure that radioactive materials licenses are granted only to legitimate organizations and that licensees can only obtain such materials in quantities allowed by their licenses.

However, GAO also determined that NRC and Agreement States have not taken some measures for better controlling Category 3 quantities of radioactive material—such as tracking and agency license verification—that leave vulnerabilities.

GAO-16-330 was prepared in response to a request from the Committee on Homeland Security of the U.S. House of Representatives.

GAO-16-330 can be obtained online at  For additional information, please contact David Trimble at (202) 512-3841 or at