United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

2008 Fuel Cycle Facilities

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BWX Technologies, Inc. (EA-08-204)

On October 20, 2008, a Notice of Violation (NOV) and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the amount of $32,500 was issued to BWX Technologies, Inc. This action is based on a Severity Level III violation of 10 CFR 70.61 involving the failure of the licensee to provide adequate engineered and administrative controls to limit or prevent an acute chemical exposure from a hazardous chemical produced from licensed material. Specifically, the licensee failed to properly label a storage tank containing liquid hydrogen fluoride (HF), and failed to ensure that a Process Operator was adequately trained. As a result, on April 28, 2008, a Process Operator received an ocular exposure to liquid HF while trying to neutralize a spill that could have led to irreversible or other serious, long-lasting health effects. In this case, no permanent vision loss was sustained by the operator. However, under different circumstances, such as a delayed response from the emergency team, the exposure could have resulted in a more severe consequence to the operator.

Global Nuclear Fuel -- Americas, L.L.C. (EA-08-187)

On August 13, 2008, a Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the amount of $16,250 was issued for a Severity Level (SL) III violation for circumstances surrounding an incorrect emergency action level declaration. The incorrect emergency action level declaration stemmed from an event that occurred on January 29-30, 2008, also categorized as SL III (EA-08-123), involving introduction of moisture into the Dry Conversion Process Line-2 cooling hopper containing uranium dioxide powder. At the time of this event, GNF-A instruments indicated that the cooling hopper contained uranium dioxide above the safe critical mass limit indicating a potential for criticality existed from an unsafe mass, while the system was undergoing maintenance testing. It was later determined that the cooling hopper contained a safe mass of uranium dioxide and the moisture in the powder was within normal limits. GNF-A initially declared the event as an “Off-Normal Condition” and later upgraded the event to an “Alert”, without obtaining any new information. NRC concluded that GNF-A failed to follow its own procedure. GNF-A implemented immediate and long-term corrective actions to prevent this type of event from repeating. In this case, no actual consequences resulted because an inadvertent criticality accident did not occur.

BWX Technologies, Inc. (EA-08-171)

On August 8, 2008, a Notice of Violation was issued to BWX Technologies, Inc. for a Severity Level III problem involving three violations of their license. Specifically, the licensee did not (1) inspect Raschig ring-filled vacuum (RRVCs) cleaners on multiple occasions between January 28, 2008, and March 5, 2008 to ensure adequate levels of Raschig rings were present to prevent inadvertent criticality, (2) establish, prior to March 5, 2008, double contingency for operation of RRVCs to ensure that a criticality accident could not occur with only one change in process conditions, and (3) fill, prior to March 5, 2008, multiple RRVCs with well-settled Raschig rings in accordance with ANSI/ANS-8.5-1996 such that further settling was not likely during use. In this case, no actual consequences resulted because an inadvertent criticality accident did not occur.

Westinghouse Electric Company (EA-08-165)

On August 6, 2008, a Notice of Violation was issued to Westinghouse Electric Company, Commercial Nuclear Fuel Division, for a Severity Level III problem involving three violations associated with the loss, on February 4, 2008, of sixteen sample vials of uranium hexafluoride. Specifically, the violations involved (1) the failure to properly document and control the transfer of sixteen sample vials of uranium hexafluoride from shipping and receiving to the chemistry laboratory as required by procedures, (2) the failure to secure from unauthorized removal the sixteen vials when they were stored in a controlled area and the failure to control and maintain constant surveillance of the sample vials when they were not in storage, and (3) the failure of an individual to annotate that he had read and acknowledged the procedure governing the disposal of empty shipping containers prior to performing that work assignment. In this case, there are no indications of any radiation or chemical exposures as a result of the licensee’s loss of control of the sixteen uranium hexafluoride sample vials.

AREVA NP, Inc. (EA-08-122)

On June 13, 2008, a Notice of Violation was issued for a Severity Level III violation. The violation involved the failure to properly prepare a package containing fuel service equipment such that dose rates on the surface of the package would not exceed 10 CFR 71.5(a) and 49 CFR 173.441(a) limits. Specifically, on February 3, 2008, AREVA shipped surface contaminated equipment as an open conveyance on a flatbed trailer. On February 4, 2008, the shipment arrived at a nuclear power facility with measured contact radiation levels between 800-2000 mr/hr in a localized area on the bottom of the container. The localized area was not easily accessible and no measurable radiation exposures to workers or members of the public occurred as a result of this event.

Westinghouse Electric Company (EA-08-057)

On May 1, 2008, a Notice of Violation was issued for a Severity Level III violation. The violation involved the failure to assure safe and compliant activities involving nuclear material. Specifically, on November 17, 2006, a safety significant control interlock was willfully bypassed by an operator who disabled an alarm acknowledgement pushbutton associated with Conversion Line 5 while hydrogen gas was flowing to the calciner in the licensee’s wet conversion process. This activity is prohibited by licensee procedures and NRC license conditions.

BWX Technologies, Inc. (EA-07-240)

On January 24, 2008, a Notice of Violation (NOV) and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the amount of $32,500 was issued to BWX Technologies, Inc.  This action is based on a Severity Level III violation of Safety Condition S-1 of NRC License SNM-42 and Section 5.1.1 (f), “Protection Against Criticality,” of the License Application involving the failure of the licensee to analyze a specific transfer process to ensure the configuration of SNM during transfer could not result in a criticality accident. Specifically, on July 26, 2007, a Raschig ring vacuum cleaner spilled its contents containing a solution of SNM during transfer on a fork lift into a plastic bag being used for contamination control, which created an unanalyzed condition.  In this case, no criticality event occurred because of the low amount and concentration of SNM present.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, July 12, 2013