United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-00-090 - Caribbean Quality Control Services, Inc.

May 31, 2000

EA-00-090

Caribbean Quality Control Services, Inc.
ATTN: Kenneth D. Eastman
             President
P. O. Box 1127
Christiansted
St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands 00821

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION
(NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 55-18380-01/00-01)

Dear Mr. Eastman:

This refers to the inspection conducted on March 21, 2000, at your St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands facility. The purpose of the inspection was to determine whether activities authorized by the license were conducted safely and in accordance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requirements. During the inspection, it was determined that Caribbean Quality Control Services, Inc. (CQCS) transferred a Troxler Model 3440 portable moisture-density gauge containing 8 millicuries of cesium-137 and 40 millicuries of americium-241 to an entity not licensed by the NRC or an Agreement State to possess or use byproduct material. The results of the NRC inspection were formally transmitted to you by letter dated April 18, 2000. That letter also provided you the opportunity to either respond to the apparent violation or request a predecisional enforcement conference. By letter dated May 4, 2000, you responded to the apparent violation and addressed the root causes and your corrective actions to prevent recurrence. We have reviewed the information you provided and have concluded that sufficient information is available to determine the appropriate enforcement action in this matter.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that was provided in your response of May 4, 2000, and your earlier response of March 20, 2000, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements occurred. The violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violation involves the transfer of a portable moisture-density gauge containing licensed material to Alton A. Adams, Jr., Inc., a person who was not authorized to possess or use such byproduct material. During the time in which the non-licensed entity had possession of the gauge, an untrained technician was allowed to operate it. CQCS's unauthorized transfer resulted in minimal, actual consequences to the public. However, licensed activities were conducted by a technically unqualified individual and, under different circumstances could have placed personnel and the public at risk for radiological exposure. Based on the potential safety significance of this issue, as described in the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violation has been categorized as a Severity III violation.

Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two inspections, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process described in Section VI.C.2.c of the Enforcement Policy. Your corrective actions included: (1) immediately taking possession of and shipping the gauge back to CQCS; (2) affirming that no unauthorized transfers would occur again; (3) conducting a staff meeting to discuss the apparent violation; (4) shifting radiation safety officer responsibility to a person more involved with daily operations; (5) increasing the frequency of internal audits to a quarterly basis; (6) strictly enforcing daily sign out and return procedures for gauges used in the field; and (7) organizing a visit from a Troxler representative to audit CQCS's operations and recommend changes. Based on this, the NRC has determined that credit is warranted for the factor of Corrective Action.

To encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violation, and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement, I have been authorized not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty. In addition, issuance of this Severity Level III violation constitutes escalated enforcement action, that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reasons for the violation, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence, and the dates when full compliance was achieved are addressed on the docket in Inspection Report No. 55-18380-01/00-01 and in your letters of March 20, and May 4, 2000. Therefore, you are not required to respond to this letter unless the description therein does not adequately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you choose to provide additional information, you should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosure, and your response, if any, will be made publicly available.

Sincerely,

  /RA/

  Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-14963
License No. 55-18380-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/encl:
U. S. Virgin Islands


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Caribbean Quality Control Services
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
  Docket No. 030-14963
License No. 55-18380-01
EA-00-090

During an NRC inspection conducted on March 21, 2000, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violation is listed below:

10 CFR 30.41(a) and (b)(5) require, in part, that no licensee transfer byproduct material except to a person authorized to receive such byproduct material under the terms of a specific or general license issued by the Commission or Agreement State.
Contrary to the above, on or about January 21, 2000, the licensee transferred a Troxler Model 3440 portable moisture-density gauge (serial number 14100) containing 8 millicuries of cesium-137 and 40 millicuries of americium-241 to Alton A. Adams, Jr., Inc., a person who was not authorized to receive such byproduct material under the terms of a specific or general license issued by the Commission or Agreement State.

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement IV).

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance was achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report No. 55-18380-01/00-01 and in your letters of March 20, and May 4, 2000. However, you are required to submit a written statement or explanation pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201 if the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you chose to respond, clearly mark your response as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation," and send it to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region II, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice).

If you contest this enforcement action, you should also provide a copy of your response, with the basis for your denial, to the Director, Office of Enforcement, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, any response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

If you choose to respond, your response will be made publicly available. Therefore, to the extent possible, the response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction.

In accordance with 10 CFR 19.11, you may be required to post this Notice within two working days.

Dated this 31st day of May 2000
Atlanta, Georgia

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