1. Discontinue licensing of new cesium chloride irradiator sources.

  2. Put in place incentives for decommissioning existing sources.

  3. Prohibit the export of cesium chloride sources to other countries, except for purposes of disposal in an appropriately licensed facility.

In Chapter 10, the committee offers several suggestions as its lead candidates for how to implement the replacement, and they are summarized here. First, to stop the addition of new Category 1 and 2 cesium chloride sources to the nation’s inventory, the U.S. NRC should discontinue all new licensing and importation of these sources and devices. This includes import of new sources from other countries and recycling of sources from decommissioned devices. Second, many licensees may need incentives to decommission13 their existing sources or devices because the devices still have use value. Indeed, there are now also disincentives to decommissioning beyond the loss of use, including the costs of decommissioning. Third, if the sources recovered from decommissioned devices (or the devices themselves) are simply sold outside the United States, then the sources are still potentially available for use in an attack on another country or even the United States. Therefore, disposition options are needed in the United States. These are discussed in more detail in Chapter 10.

The overall policy could make exceptions based on unique needs that cannot be met with alternative technologies, but the threshold for creating exceptions should be set high, similar to what the U.S. NRC has done for panoramic irradiators.


U.S. NRC’s technical definition of the term decommissioning applies mainly to facilities and involves removing licensed radioactive material to an extent that allows public release of the facility and termination of the license. The committee’s usage here and throughout the report is slightly different: A decommissioned device is retired from service and sent to whatever disposition option is available (disposal or storage pending dismantlement and disposal), and the license for the device is terminated.

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