June, 2007

Dear Response Partner:

The purpose of this letter is to apprise you of a recent clarification in the Massachusetts Regulations for the Control of Radiation (MRCR) that should be of interest to you as a response partner to potential incidents involving nuclear/radiological material. It involves an important notification that is required to be made if/when unexpected radioactive material is detected or suspected anyplace within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Under the authority of M.G.L. c. 111, §§ 3, 5M, 5N, 5O, 5P, a new paragraph has been added to the MRCR as 105 CMR 120. 012(B), which states: "Any source of radiation that is found or detected by any person and that is not under the physical or administrative control of a licensee or registrant, and that is not excluded, exempted or otherwise authorized under the provisions of 105 CMR 120.000, shall be immediately reported to the Radiation Control Program."

While this requirement has been implicit in the regulations before, it is now an explicit legal requirement that broadly applies to "any person." "Person" is defined in both law and regulation as: "any individual, corporation, partnership, firm, association, trust, estate, public or private institution, group, agency of the commonwealth other than the department, any political subdivision of the commonwealth, any other state or political subdivision or agency thereof, and any legal successor, representative, agent, or agency of the foregoing, but not including federal government agencies."

Over the past five years, many emergency responders have obtained radiation detection instruments and nuclear/radiological incident response training. However, regulation and classification of radiation sources have not been uniformly emphasized by all trainers. Therefore, we're hoping this clarification on notification will serve to promote a new wave of awareness and alliance between the Radiation Control Program's action arm, its Nuclear Incident Advisory Team (NIAT), and emergency responders throughout the commonwealth. To that end, we continue to work closely with our emergency preparedness and response partners across the Commonwealth.

The Radiation Control Program's Nuclear Incident Advisory Team is available at all times by calling the following numbers, as indicated:

Mon-Fri, 9 to 5:
617-242-3035 and 617-242-3453 - Ask for the Officer of the Day

617-242-3453 - Rings through to the State Police after-hours
508-820-2000 - Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency
508-820-2121 - Massachusetts State Police (direct line)

Please update your nuclear/radiological incident response procedures and training protocols to include this important notification and our new contact information. If you have any questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We look forward to continuing to work with you to protect our responders and the public health of Massachusetts residents from exposure to harmful sources of ionizing radiation.


Robert Walker

This information is provided by the Radiation Control Program within the Department of Public Health.