Bush Scandals List

215. Nuclear Regulatory Commission control of radioactive materials remain ineffective

On July 12, 2007, the GAO released a follow up to a 2003 report. It found that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing procedures for radioactive materials remained ineffective. GAO investigators incorporated a bogus company, got a post office box in West Virginia (one of 16 states which does not handle such applications), submitted an application for a radioactive materials license directly to the NRC, received it within 28 days, modified it, and were able to successfully approach two companies which sold road testing equipment containing americium-241 and cesium-137. The exercise was to see how easy it would be to get materials for a "dirty bomb." The NRC downplayed the threat but changed its procedures. It now requires face to face visits with applicants from unfamiliar companies (a recommendation from the 2003 report). The GAO also recommended in 2006 that the NRC take steps to prevent counterfeiting and modification of licenses. It is unclear what is being done on this front.

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