United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-01-107 - Draper Aden Associates

June 4, 2001

EA-01-107

Draper Aden Associates
ATTN: Kenneth M. Piazza, P.E.
8090 Villa Park Drive
Richmond, VA 23228

SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 45-25246-01/01-01)

Dear Mr. Piazza:

This refers to the special inspection conducted on April 3, 2001, at your Richmond, Virginia facility. The purpose of the inspection was to follow up on the circumstances surrounding the temporary loss, on February 8, 2001, of a Troxler Electronics Model No. 3411-B portable gauge. The results of the inspection, including one apparent violation, were discussed with you on April 3, 2001, and formally transmitted to you by letter dated April 25, 2001. This letter also provided you the opportunity to either respond to the apparent violation in writing or request a predecisional enforcement conference. By telephone, the NRC confirmed your desire not to attend a predecisional enforcement conference, and by letter dated May 7, 2001, you provided Draper Aden's response to the apparent violation 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 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 failure to block and brace a portable Troxler gauge prior to transport, as required by 10 CFR 71.5(a) and 49 CFR 177.842(d), which resulted in the gauge falling from the rear of the truck. This resulted in the failure to maintain control and constant surveillance of licensed material as required by 10 CFR 20.1801 and 1802. In your response, you acknowledged that the gauge was not properly blocked and braced, and the circumstances surrounding the temporary loss of the gauge as described in the inspection report. You also indicated that the cause of the violation involved a fatigued employee (gauge operator) who failed to secure the gauge to his truck due to work related interruptions.

As discussed in the inspection report, as a result of the gauge operator's failure to block and brace the portable gauge prior to and during transport on February 8, 2001, the device fell from the rear of a pick-up truck onto a public highway. The gauge was not located by the licensee until February 9, 2001. No exposures in excess of regulatory requirements occurred as a result of this incident; however, members of the public had access to the gauge. Although the member of the public who recovered the gauge contacted the appropriate local authorities promptly, he was not trained on the potential radiation hazard present. Furthermore, absent his actions, the gauge could have been permanently lost or disposed of inappropriately. Both situations which could have had adverse radiological consequences. As such, this violation indicates a significant lack of control of licensed material, and is, therefore, being categorized at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions - May 1, 2000" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, as amended on November 3, 2000.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $3000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. 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, an immediate search for the gauge upon realization of its loss, prompt notification of the company radiation safety officer, local authorities, and the NRC upon discovery that the gauge had been lost, the performance of a leak test of the gauge subsequent to its recovery that confirmed normal radiation levels, and the conduct of training sessions with each gauge user that emphasized guidelines for proper storage, transportation, and security of gauges containing radioactive material. At the conclusion of the training sessions, gauge users were required to sign a memo attesting to their understanding of these guidelines. In addition, you advised in your response that you will increase the frequency of audits and training sessions to insure proper storage, transportation, and security of portable nuclear gauges in the future. 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, you should be aware that effective on February 16, 2001, the NRC revised its Enforcement Policy to provide for consideration of a civil penalty for all cases involving lost sources. Thus, similar violations in the future could result in further escalated enforcement action and substantial civil penalties. 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 May 7, 2001 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, its enclosure, and your response, if you choose to provide one, 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 Materials Safety at 404-562-4700.

Sincerely,

  /RA/

  Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-33154
License No. 45-25246-01

Enclosure:   Notice of Violation

cc w/encl:  Commonwealth of Virginia


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Draper Aden Associates
Richmond, Virginia
  Docket No. 030-33154
License No. 45-25246-01
EA-01-107

During an NRC inspection conducted on April 3, 2001, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions - May 1, 2000," NUREG-1600, as amended on November 3, 2000 (65 Federal Register 59274), the violation is listed below:

10 CFR 71.5 (a) requires that a licensee who transports licensed material outside of the confines of its plant or other place of use, or who delivers licensed material to a carrier for transport, comply with the applicable requirements of the regulation appropriate to the mode of transport of the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 49 CFR Parts 170 through 189. 49 CFR 177.842(d) requires that licensees block and brace packages containing radioactive material in/on motor vehicles so that they cannot change position during conditions normally incident to transportation.

10 CFR 20.1801 states that the licensee shall secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed materials that are stored in controlled or unrestricted areas. 10 CFR 20.1802 states that the licensee shall control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material that is in a controlled or unrestricted area and that is not in storage.

Contrary to the above, on February 8, 2001, a Troxler Electronics Model No. 3411-B portable gauge, containing 40 millicuries of Americium:Berrylium and 8.5 millicuries of Cesium-137, was not blocked and braced prior to and during transport. As a result, the gauge fell from the rear of a pick-up truck onto a public highway. Until recovered by the licensee on February 9, 2001, the gauge was in an unrestricted area and was not under the control and surveillance of the licensee. (01013)
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 the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice) and in Draper Aden Associates' letter of

May 7, 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 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-rm/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 4th day of June 2001

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