United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-00-232 - Pechiney Rolled Products, LLC

December 1, 2000

EA-00-232

Pechiney Rolled Products, LLC
ATTN: Rod Mott, CEO and
President
P.O. Box 68
Ravenswood, West Virginia 26164

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION (INSPECTION REPORT NO. 47-14123-01/00-01)

Dear Mr. Mott:

This refers to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) special inspection conducted on September 11, 2000, at a fabrication plant located near Ravenswood, West Virginia on State Route No. 2. The purpose of the inspection was to review the circumstances surrounding the removal of a fixed gauge and its subsequent relocation to a scrap yard. The results of the inspection, including three apparent violations, were discussed with members of your staff on September 11 and October 6, 2000, and formally transmitted to you by letter dated October 12, 2000. This letter also provided you the opportunity to either respond to the apparent violations in writing or request a predecisional enforcement conference. During a telephone conversation of October 17, 2000, you advised us of your intent to respond in writing. By letter dated November 10, 2000, you responded to the apparent violations, and addressed the causes and corrective actions to prevent recurrence. We have reviewed your response 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 you provided in your response, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violations involve the failure to properly control access to licensed material contained in an Accuray Model U-6 fixed gauge, the failure to ensure workers were properly trained on the operation and maintenance of the gauging system, and the removal and relocation of the gauge by individuals not authorized to do so. Your Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) identified the improper removal of the Accuray fixed gauge when he attempted to conduct routine leak testing of it. Although a foreman had initially discovered the gauge in a scrap yard and properly secured it on the day following its unauthorized removal, he failed to inform the RSO of the event. Your written response indicated that the root causes of the violations involved a lack of training on the gauge and the NRC license requirements associated with it; lack of communication with the RSO regarding the gauge; and an insufficient audit program, all of which were at least partially attributable to the reorganization of your company and the changed responsibilities of personnel after the September 1999 license transfer from Century Aluminum.

As discussed in the inspection report, the gauge was removed by plant personnel who were neither trained, authorized, nor licensed to perform such activities. Based on the as found condition of the gauge and the radiation measurements taken by the RSO and the NRC, it appears that the shutter to the gauge was closed during the removal of the gauge and during the period of time in which it was inadequately controlled in the scrap yard. Although no unplanned exposures to personnel were identified, the potential existed for such exposures to occur. Workers were unaware of the potential hazard present, the precautions to be taken, or the need to properly control the gauge. Because of their lack of knowledge and failure to communicate with the RSO, the gauge was also treated as scrap metal and sent to the scrap yard where it remained uncontrolled until secured by a foreman the next day. During this one-day period, the gauge could have been easily lost or disposed of inadvertently. Both situations could have had adverse dose consequences for members of the public. These violations indicate a significant lack of control of licensed material and the conduct of radiological work by technically unqualified individuals. Therefore, they are being categorized as a Severity Level III problem in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions - May 1, 2000" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $2750 is considered for a Severity Level III violation occurring prior to November 4, 2000. Because your company has not been the subject of escalated enforcement action 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 of the Enforcement Policy. Your corrective action included, in part: (1) communication of the incident to management; (2) instruction to maintenance and operations supervision in the Finishing and Cold Rolling Departments on the activities permitted under the license and the need to notify the RSO for non-routine operations; (3) completion of a manufacturer's training course for the RSO and a Finishing Department employee; (4) conduct of an independent audit by an outside consultant; (5) addition of new radioactive materials signs located at the gauges which provide additional instructions for contacting the RSO for non-routine activities; (6) removal of the industrial hygiene collateral duties of the RSO; (7) planned training of all departments having thickness gauges in general radiation safety; and (8) removal of the sealed source from the gauge and placement in secure storage pending disposal. Based on the above, NRC concluded that your actions were prompt and comprehensive, and credit was warranted for the factor of Corrective Action.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement action, I have been authorized to propose that no civil penalty be assessed 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, 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 this letter and in your November 10, 2000 letter. Therefore, you are not required to respond to this letter unless the description herein 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, its enclosure, and your response will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the Publicly Available Records (PARS) component of NRC's document system (ADAMS). ADAMS is accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html (the Public NRC Library).

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact Douglas M. Collins, Director, Division of Nuclear Material Safety at 404-562-4700.

Sincerely,

  /ra

  Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket No.: 030-07657
License No.: 47-14123-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/encl:
State of West Virginia


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Pechiney Rolled Products, LLC
Ravenswood, West Virginia
  Docket No.: 030-07657
License No.: 47-14123-01
EA-00-232

During an NRC inspection conducted on September 11, 2000, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions - May 1, 2000," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

A.   10 CFR 20.1801 requires the licensee to secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed materials that are stored in controlled or unrestricted areas. 10 CFR 20.1802 requires the licensee to 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 July 27, 2000, a "C" frame mounted with an Accuray Model U-6 fixed gauge containing 70 millicuries (mCi) of strontium-90 (Sr-90) was not secured by the licensee from unauthorized removal or access, and the licensee did not control and maintain constant surveillance of the gauge in an unrestricted area. Specifically, the licensee removed the fixed gauge from the 533 Slitter and placed it in a scrap yard, an unrestricted area, without security or surveillance. (01013)

B.   Condition 18 of NRC License No. 47-14123-01 requires, except as specifically provided otherwise in the license, that the licensee conduct its program in accordance with the statements, representations, and procedures contained in the application dated April 17, 1991.

Item 8 of the application states, in part, that equipment operators and maintenance personnel are trained on both operation and maintenance of the gauging systems at the time of installation by the manufacturer. In the event it becomes necessary to train operators or maintenance personnel after the initial installation, the gauge manufacturer or the authorized users listed on the license will train the personnel in radiation safety, operation of the gauging system, and maintenance.

Contrary to the above, as of July 27, 2000, two employees in the Finishing Department, who removed an Accuray Model U-6 fixed gauge containing 70 mCi of Sr-90 on July 27, 2000, were not trained in the operation or maintenance of the gauge at the time of installation by the manufacturer, nor subsequently trained in radiation safety, operation of the gauging system or maintenance by the manufacturer or the authorized users listed on the license. (01023)

C.   Condition 14 of NRC License No. 47-14123-01 requires, in part, that relocation or removal from service of devices containing sealed sources be performed by George O'Brien, Bill Benson, Tim Domico, or by persons specifically licensed by the Commission or an Agreement State to perform such services.

Contrary to the above, on July 27, 2000, three workers and a supervisor removed and relocated a gauging device containing a sealed source, and they were not the individuals listed on the license nor were they specifically licensed by the Commission or an Agreement State to perform such services. Specifically, they removed and relocated an Accuray Model U-6, S/N S-1211-T containing 70 mCi of Sr-90, attached to a "C" frame from the 533 Slitter to a scrap yard and were not technically qualified or certified to do so. (01033)

This is a Severity Level III problem (Supplements IV and VI).

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violations, 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 the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice) and in Pechiney Rolled Products, LLC's letter of November 10, 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 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 II within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this 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.

Because any response will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the Publicly Available Records (PARS) component of NRC's document system (ADAMS), to the extent possible, it should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be made available to the public without redaction. ADAMS is accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rma/adams.html (the Public NRC Library). If personal privacy or proprietary information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, then please provide a bracketed copy of your response that identifies the information that should be protected and a redacted copy of your response that deletes such information. If you request withholding of such material, you must specifically identify the portions of your response that you seek to have withheld and provide in detail the bases for your claim of withholding (e.g., explain why the disclosure of information will create an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy or provide the information required by 10 CFR 2.790(b) to support a request for withholding confidential commercial or financial information). If safeguards information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, please provide the level of protection described in 10 CFR 73.21.

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

Dated this 1st day of December 2000

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