The leaders of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted against a controversial plan to reduce the stringency of authorized user (AU) criteria, which would enable non-experts to serve as AUs on NRC and agreement state licenses for unsealed diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. The disapproved plan was opposed by the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) and other medical stakeholders who believe that AUs must have adequate training in radiation to safely perform their responsibilities.
“I consider the radiation safety competency of Authorized Users to be one of the most important issues to ensure adequate protection of patients, healthcare workers, the public and the environment,” said NRC Chairman Christopher T. Hanson. “Adequately trained personnel are key to the safe use of radioactive material in medicine.”
Commissioner Jeff Baran noted the substantial feedback from concerned stakeholders, including the ACR. “Many stakeholders offer persuasive arguments that the current training and experience framework is working effectively to ensure radiological safety and is not resulting in a shortage of authorized users to administer radiopharmaceuticals,” Baran said.
The ACR applauds the NRC for this important decision, which prioritizes radiation safety by ensuring the continued expertise of physicians responsible for the medical use of radiological materials.