Today, the U.S. NRC Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report on the NRC’s oversight of its Research and Test Reactor (RTR) Program. The OIG’s Special Inquiry saw its origins in an investigation into the events and circumstances surrounding a February 2021 radiation release at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and later broadened to include consideration of the NRC’s oversight of other RTR facilities nationwide, to assess potential systemic issues.
“As our report shows, addressing opportunity areas in the NRC’s RTR program is vital to ensuring successful regulatory oversight of new projects, such as medical isotope facilities and prospective RTRs based on advanced reactor technology, since these programs are currently planned to be reviewed under RTR policy guidance. This report demonstrates that the same or similar causes that led to the NIST event have ramifications for other RTRs nationally,” said Inspector General Robert J. Feitel.
The Inspector General added, “The OIG’s investigative and technical staff must be commended for such a thorough and far-reaching report that demonstrates superb, independent oversight.”