United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-01-015 - Alaska Industrial X-Ray, Inc.

April 25, 2001

EA-01-015

Mr. Peter Millar, President
Alaska Industrial X-Ray, Inc.
4047 Kingston Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99504

SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF VIOLATION & EXERCISE OF ENFORCEMENT DISCRETION (NRC Inspection Report 030-10346/00-02 and Investigation Report No. 4-2000-051)

Dear Mr. Millar:

This refers to the NRC inspection and investigation of Alaska Industrial X-Ray, Inc.'s (AIX) radiographic operations under AIX's NRC license. On January 30, 2001, the NRC informed you that six apparent violations had been identified and were being considered for escalated enforcement action. We also informed you of our concern that one of the apparent violations was committed deliberately. The apparent violations were described in an inspection report issued February 15, 2001. On March 13, 2001, a closed, predecisional enforcement conference was conducted in Anchorage, Alaska with you and other representatives of AIX to discuss the apparent violations, their significance, their root causes, and your corrective actions.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and investigation, and the information that you provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that four violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and include failures to: (1) assure that two qualified radiography personnel were present when radiographic operations were being conducted; (2) wear an alarming ratemeter during radiographic operations; (3) comply with the requirements of the Certificate of Compliance when transporting a radiographic exposure device; and 4) maintain copies of certain documents and records required at temporary job sites.

Violation A, the failure to assure that two qualified radiography personnel were present during radiographic operations, was determined to be a deliberate violation based on an admission from one of your radiographers. He provided information about this violation in response to a question during the NRC's investigation regarding whether he had ever violated this rule. You stated at the conference that this occurred on a limited number of occasions of relatively short duration, and at a vault constructed by AIX at Alaska Petroleum Contractors which afforded some additional protection against inadvertent entry. Nonetheless, AIX's vault was not licensed as a permanent radiographic installation and therefore 10 CFR 34.41(a) applies. This violation has been classified at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, May 1, 2000. In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, the NRC considered whether the willfulness associated with this violation warranted an increase in the severity level. Based on the radiographer's forthrightness in providing information about this violation, the NRC determined that the severity level should not be increased.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty with a base value of $5,500 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because the violation was committed willfully, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy. We determined that credit was not warranted for Identification because you had not identified this violation prior to the NRC's inspection and investigation. We determined that credit was warranted for Corrective Action since you have put all AIX radiographers on notice that they must comply with this requirement. This would have resulted in the assessment of a $5,500 civil penalty. However, the NRC recognizes that this violation would not have been identified and corrected had the involved radiographer not voluntarily provided this information during the investigation. Thus, the NRC has decided to exercise enforcement discretion, as provided for in section VII.B.6 of the policy, and is not assessing a civil penalty for this violation.

Violation B, the failure of a radiographer's assistant to wear an alarm ratemeter while involved in radiographic operations, is a Severity Level III violation based on the potential safety consequences of working without this important warning device. A civil penalty was considered for this Severity Level III violation. Since the failure to wear an alarm ratemeter was not considered willful, and AIX had not received escalated enforcement action in the two inspection periods preceding this one, we considered only your Corrective Actions in determining whether a civil penalty should be assessed. Credit for Corrective Actions was warranted since the radiographer obtained and wore an alarm ratemeter prior to continuing operations and AIX subsequently advised all radiographers that they must use alarm ratemeters. This results in no civil penalty being assessed for this violation.

Therefore, for the reasons discussed above, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, not to issue a civil penalty for either of the Severity Level III violations described above and in the enclosed Notice of Violation. Nonetheless, issuance of the enclosed Notice of Violation constitutes escalated enforcement action which may subject AIX to increased inspection effort.

The failures to comply with the requirements of the Certificate of Compliance when transporting a radiographic exposure device and maintain copies of certain documents and records required at temporary job sites (Violations C and D in the Notice of Violation) are classified at Severity Level IV and, as such, are not candidates for civil penalties.

The two remaining apparent violations described in the inspection report are not being cited, based on the additional information AIX provided at the conference. Specifically, the apparent violation involving a failure to post an area adequately where radiographic operations were occurring was dropped based on AIX's description of the evaluation of the area AIX had made during previous radiography jobs at this same location. The apparent violation involving a failure to have the necessary information on transport documents for a radiographic exposure device was dropped based on AIX showing NRC's representatives at the conference copies of the paperwork that normally is present in AIX's vehicles, which included all of the required information.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violations, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violations and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance was achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in letters from AIX dated February 25, and March 12, 2001. 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, its enclosure, and any response you choose to submit 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).

Sincerely,

  /Thomas P. Gwynn, Acting for/

  Ellis W. Merschoff
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-10346
License No. 50-16084-01

Enclosure:  Notice of Violation

cc w/Enclosure: State of Alaska


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Alaska Industrial X-Ray, Inc.
Anchorage, Alaska
  Docket No. 030-10346
License No. 50-16084-01
EA-01-015

During an NRC inspection and investigation completed January 30, 2001, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, May 1, 2000, the violations are listed below:

A.   10 CFR 34.41(a) requires, in part, that whenever radiography is performed at a location other than a permanent radiographic installation, the radiographer must be accompanied by at least one other qualified radiographer or an individual who has at a minimum met the requirements of 10 CFR 34.43(c).

Contrary to the above, an AIX radiographer admitted that on at least two or three occasions between June 1998 and August 2000, he performed radiography at a location other than a permanent radiographic installation and was not accompanied by at least one other qualified radiographer or individual who met the minimum requirements of 10 CFR 34.43(c). (EA-01-015)

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

B.   10 CFR 34.47(a) requires, in part, that the licensee not permit any individual to act as a radiographer or a radiographer's assistant unless, at all times during radiographic operations, each individual wears, on the trunk of the body, a combination of a direct reading dosimeter, an operating alarm ratemeter, and either a film badge or thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD).

Contrary to the above, on August 31, 2000, a radiographer's assistant did not wear an alarm ratemeter on the trunk of his body while involved in conducting radiographic operations. (EA-01-016)

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

C.   10 CFR 71.12(c) states, in part, that a general license to transport licensed material, or to deliver licensed material to a carrier for transport, applies only to a licensee who has a copy of the certificate of compliance for the package and complies with the terms and conditions of the license, certificate, or other approval as applicable.

Certificate of Compliance 9283, issued by the NRC on June 19, 1998, to AEA Technology/OSA, Inc. (Amersham) states, in part, that the Amershan Model 660 series projector (exposure device) shall be transported in over-pack models OPL-660 or OP-660 designed and tested specifically to meet the requirements of 10 CFR Part 71.

Contrary to the above, on August 31, 2000, the licensee failed to comply with Certificate of Compliance 9283 for transport of a radioactive package. Specifically, the licensee transported an Amersham Model 660-B exposure device in an over-pack specifically approved for an Industrial Nuclear Corporation Model 100 exposure device rather than the required over-pack for the Amershan Model 660 series projector.

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

D.   10 CFR 34.89 requires, in part, that each licensee shall maintain copies of records sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the record keeping requirements of 10 CFR 34.89 at each temporary jobsite.

Contrary to the above, on August 31, 2000, the licensee failed to maintain copies of records sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the record keeping requirements of 10 CFR 34.89 at a temporary jobsite. Specifically, the licensee failed to have a copy of the NRC license; operating and emergency procedures; a copy of 10 CFR Parts 19, 20, and 34 of NRC regulations; and, records of direct reading dosimeters.

This is a Severity Level IV violation (Supplement 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 letters from AIX dated February 25, and March 12, 2001. 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 IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011, 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.

If you choose to respond, 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). Therefore, to the extent possible, the response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be made available to the Public without redaction.

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

Dated this 25th day of April 2001

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