April 16, 2020

ACR Offers COVID-19 Relief Recommendations to NRC

The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) has submitted recommendations to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff and advisors, covering temporary regulatory relief options for medical licensees during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The ACR’s recommendations were developed at the request of the NRC Advisory Committee for the Medical Uses of Isotopes (ACMUI). The ACMUI previously established a COVID-19 subcommittee to advise the agency’s efforts during the crisis.

The ACR described economic and safety issues that could be partially aided through temporary changes to the NRC’s enforcement of its regulations. Specifically, the ACR recommended:

  • Waiving, reducing or delaying fiscal year 2020 fees for medical licensees,
  • Delaying all non-essential NRC and Agreement State site inspections of medical licensees for virus safety reasons,
  • Prioritizing and expediting medical use license amendments, and
  • Implementing a clear and universal policy of not enforcing deadlines for periodic technical work (e.g., instrument calibrations and sealed source leakage tests) often performed by third-party contractors or device vendors on predetermined schedules.

The NRC Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards previously released a letter authorizing flexibility for regulations enforcement on a case-by-case basis. The agency will also convene an online seminar on April 22 at 2PM Eastern Time to inform medical use licensees about the currently available relief options. While any relief is welcome, the added value of universally applied policy changes is a clear enforcement approach that is not open to interpretation or uncertainty.

The ACR will continue to provide NRC and ACMUI feedback on ways to assist medical licensees and authorized personnel during the pandemic. ACR members with questions or input should contact Michael Peters, ACR director of legislative and regulatory affairs, by e-mail or phone at (202) 223-1670 ext. 4546.