Medical, Industrial, & Academic Uses of Nuclear Materials

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What We Regulate

NRC and the Agreement States regulate the following activities associated with medical, industrial, and academic uses of nuclear materials. The Agreement States administer about 75 percent of licensees while NRC administers the remainder of the licensees.

The Materials Licensees Toolkits Index provide category-specific information on regulations, guidance, license types, forms, and fees.

  • Sealed Sources and Devices - NRC and the Agreement States perform safety evaluations of the ability of sealed sources and devices to safely contain radioactivity under the conditions of their possession and use. These evaluations are summarized in registrations that NRC maintains in the National Sealed Source and Device Registry.
  • Product Manufacturing and Distribution - issuance of licenses authorizing commercial distribution of products containing radioactive materials to other licensees and members of the public.
  • Medical Uses - use of nuclear materials to monitor, image, or treat metabolic processes or tissues in humans. See the Medical Uses Licensee Toolkit for regulatory information for medical providers. Patients Treated with Radioactive Drugs contains information for patients and their families.
  • Veterinary Uses - use of nuclear materials to treat animals
  • Industrial Uses - the use of nuclear materials in industrial devices such as, irradiators, gauging devices, well-logging devices, and industrial radiography systems.
  • Academic and Research Uses - use of nuclear materials in universities, colleges, and other academic institutions for course work, laboratory demonstrations, and research.
  • General License Uses - commercial use of nuclear materials by general licensees for activities such as measuring, gauging, or controlling devices, etc.
  • Exempt Consumer Product Uses - products containing radioactive materials whose use is exempt from regulation and that are available in the marketplace to the public.

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How We Regulate

NRC regulates medical, industrial, and academic uses of nuclear materials through a combination of regulatory requirements; licensing; inspection and enforcement; and regulatory support activities. For information on the first three components that applies generally to medical, industrial, and academic uses, see:

To ensure that the public is given notice and, thus, the opportunity to request a hearing on materials licensing actions, the lists of materials licensing and other related actions are available on Public Availability of Material License Applications for Medical, Industrial, & Academic Uses.

The Response to the 2022 GAO Audit and Investigation on NRC and Agreement State Materials Licensing provides actions that the NRC is undertaking to ensure that the licensing process is secure as well as recommendations provided by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

See the How We Regulate page for general information on these activities.

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