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Nuclear Power Plants Request Use of Part 74 Headsets, Intercoms

Broadcasters aren't the only ones interested in using broadcast auxiliary spectrum. While a request for waiver of Section 74.832(h) of the FCC rules filed by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the United Telecom Council (UTC) does not appear to have the same impact on broadcast operations as the Clarity Broadcasting "Trucker TV" proposal for the 2 GHz ENG band, it could be an issue for broadcasters if it encourages other non-broadcast and otherwise unqualified entities to use wireless headsets and intercoms authorized under Part 74 rules.

In a Public Notice released last week, the FCC said NEI and UTC asked for the waiver "in order to permit the operators of nuclear energy power plants to continue to operate certain wireless headsets and intercom devices certified and manufactured for use pursuant to Part 74 of the rules at nuclear power plant sites." The power plant operators are currently using the equipment under special temporary authority for limited periods of time during refueling maintenance operations to minimize the risk of accident and to reduce workers' exposure to radiation.

The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology seeks comment on the waiver request. Comments must be filed on or before Jan. 17, 2006, with reply comments due on or before Jan. 30, 2006. Comments can be viewed by visiting the FCC Search for Filed Comments Web site and entering 05-345 in the first box ("Proceeding").