United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-00-124 - David Blackmore & Associates, Inc.

May 17, 2000

EA-00-124

Joseph Hughes
President
David Blackmore & Associates, Inc.
3335 West Ridge Pike
Pottstown, PA 19464-3348

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION
(NRC Inspection Report No. 030-30864/00-01)

Dear Mr. Hughes:

This refers to the NRC inspection conducted on April 27, 2000, at your temporary job site on Porter Road, Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The inspection was conducted to review the circumstances associated with the damage to a CPN Model MC Series portable nuclear density gauge, which occurred on April 27, 2000, when a construction vehicle ran over the gauge while it was left unattended. During the inspection, one apparent violation of NRC requirements was identified. The apparent violation was described to you during an exit meeting at the conclusion of the inspection on April 27, 2000. In a telephone conversation on May 12, 2000, Pamela Henderson of my staff informed you that the NRC had sufficient information regarding the violations and your corrective actions to make an enforcement decision without a predecisional enforcement conference or a written response from you. You indicated that David Blackmore & Associates, Inc. did not believe that a predecisional enforcement conference or written response was needed.

Based on the information developed during the inspection, the violation of NRC requirements is being cited. The violation is described in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violation involved the failure to control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed materials. Specifically, a portable nuclear density gauge containing 10 millicuries of cesium-137 and 50 millicuries of americium-241 was left unattended for a short period of time. During that time, the gauge was run over by a construction vehicle and was crushed.

There were no actual health or safety consequences in this case, since leak tests indicated that the source was not ruptured, and, although there was some damage to the shielding, there was no significant radiation exposure to individuals in excess of regulatory limits. Nonetheless, the NRC is concerned that licensed material was not controlled in the public domain, which led to the damage of the gauge, including the shielding, which created the potential for radiation exposure to workers or the public. Therefore, given the potential consequences that could result from the failure to control the gauge, the violation is categorized as a Severity Level III violation in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $2,750 is considered for a Severity Level III violation or problem. Because your facility has not been the subject of an escalated enforcement action within the last two years, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Credit for corrective actions is warranted because your corrective actions were considered prompt and comprehensive, including notification to the NRC regarding the accident. These actions include, but are not limited to: (1) immediately implementing the emergency procedures, once the gauge was damaged, which included cordoning off the area, posting an authorized gauge user to prevent unauthorized access and inadvertent exposures, and notification of the gauge manufacturer; (2) shielding and securing the source; (3) notifying other personnel in the company regarding the incident; and (4) individually counseling all gauge users on the need for constant surveillance and proper security of the gauges.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized to not propose a civil penalty in this case. However, similar violations in the future could result in further escalated enforcement action. In addition, issuance of this Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation, and the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence, are adequately addressed on the docket in this letter. Therefore, you are not required to respond to this letter unless the description therein does not accurately 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 and its enclosures, will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).

Sincerely,

/RA/ James T. Wiggins Acting for

Hubert J. Miller
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-30864
License No. 37-28297-01

Enclosures:
1.  Notice of Violation
2.  NRC Inspection Report No. 030-30864/00-001

cc w/encls:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania


ENCLOSURE 1

NOTICE OF VIOLATION

David Blackmore & Associates
Pottstown, PA
Docket No. 030-30864
License No. 37-28297-01
EA-00-124

During an NRC inspection conducted on April 27, 2000, one violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, the violation is listed below:

10 CFR 20.1802 requires that the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material that is in a controlled or unrestricted area and that is not in storage. As defined in 10 CFR 20.1003, controlled area means an area, outside of a restricted area but inside the site boundary, access to which can be limited by the licensee for any reason; and unrestricted area means an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.
Contrary to the above, on April 27, 2000, the licensee did not control and maintain constant surveillance of 10 millicuries of cesium-137 and 50 millicuries of americium-241 contained in a CPN Model MC Series portable nuclear density gauge located at a field construction site on Porter Road, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, which is an unrestricted area. This resulted in the CPN Model MC-1DR-P nuclear gauge containing the sources being damaged when a construction vehicle ran over it and crushed it. (01013)
This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement IV).

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violations, and the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violations and prevent recurrence are already adequately addressed on the docket in the NRC letter transmitting this Notice. 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 choose 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, DC 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region I, 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, this response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

If you choose to respond, your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR). 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. However, if you find it necessary to include such information, you should clearly indicate the specific information that you desire not to be placed in the PDR, and provide the legal basis to support your request for withholding the information from the public.

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

Dated this 17th day of May 2000

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