NRC Frequently Asked Questions

Last verified on July 21, 2017

NRC Frequently Asked Questions


Non-Authorized User Duties

If a radiologist is not an Authorized User (AU) on an NRC license at an institution, what duties may he or she perform in the nuclear medicine laboratory of that facility?

The NRC recognizes that it is frequently necessary for an Authorized User (AU) to delegate to other individuals the specific tasks associated with preparing and administering by-product material (radiopharmaceuticals) for medical uses in patients (10 CFR 35.27). These individuals include technologists and other physicians who may not be AUs. If the policies and procedures of the institution holding an NRC radioactive materials license allow, the NRC regulations (10 CFR 35, subparts D* & E**) permit delegation of these duties if the individuals performing the duties are properly instructed and supervised. The supervising AU does not need to be physically present for delegated use of by-product material under subparts D & E. Further, there is no NRC requirement that diagnostic studies performed using by-product material have to be interpreted by an AU. Thus, the NRC regulations do not restrict who can read and interpret diagnostic scans or the results of therapeutic procedures (i.e., radiologists who are not AUs may interpret such studies). However, it is strongly recommended that those radiologists practicing in NRC Agreement States consult the appropriate state regulatory agency to ensure that the state regulations allow for this delegation.
According to NRC regulations, only an AU can sign a written directive, including those necessary for therapeutic procedures involving unsealed by-product material (e.g., treatment of hyperthyroidism, ablation of residual function thyroid tissue, or treatment of functioning thyroid metastases using 131I). However, administration of the therapeutic unsealed by-product dose specified in the written directive may be delegated, if the individuals performing the administration are properly instructed in the written directive procedures and supervised accordingly.
*Subpart D- Unsealed By-product Material – Written Directive Not Required
      • 35.100 – Use of unsealed by-product material for uptake, dilution, and excretion studies for which a written directive is not required
        35.200 – Use of unsealed by-product material for imaging and localization studies for which a written directive is not required
**Subpart E – Unsealed By-product Material – Written Directive Required  

Radioisotope Safety Exam (RISE) FAQs


What is the nature of the exam?

You may review the Core Practice Exam in order to get a feel for the types of items that will be included on the exam.  

How long is the exam?

Exam details, including number of questions and exam length are located here.  

What material does it cover?

Questions on radiopharmaceuticals, including clinically relevant beta emitters, PET radioisotopes, and radioiodines should be anticipated. There will be considerable content on the safety and handling of radiopharmaceuticals.  

Does the ABR provide guidelines to facilitate preparation?

The NRC website provides the general areas of training content under 10CFR35 sections 290, 392 and 394, which are pertinent to the exam. The NRC website also provides rules and regulations applicable to the safe use of radiopharmaceuticals and compliance issues that are included on the exam. The candidate should be familiar with these. In addition, a study guide for the exam is available here on the ABR website. You may also review the Core Exam Study Guide.  

If I choose to defer taking the exam, what options/dates will be available to me later?

The RISE is held annually in the spring.  Registration information is available on our website. You are eligible to take the RISE up to seven years from the date your AU forms (A and B) were submitted to the ABR.  

What is the fee to take the exam?

The exam fee is located here on our website.  

Where can I take the exam?

The RISE is administered at the Tucson Exam Center.  

What benefit/rights does eligibility give me?

Being AU-eligible allows you to bypass some of the requirements set forth by the NRC to become an Authorized User. Otherwise, the ABR suggests contacting your institution/workplace for information regarding its particular nuclear medicine requirements.  

When will I receive my exam results?

Results for the separate RISE will be posted on myABR approximately three weeks after the exam.

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