United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-01-128 - SWVA, Inc.

June 27, 2001

EA-01-128

SWVA, Inc. (d/b/a Steel of West Virginia, Inc.)
ATTN: Mr. Tim Duke. President
             P. O. Box 2547
Huntington, West Virginia 25726

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION (INSPECTION REPORT NO. 47-16310-02/01-01)

Dear Mr. Duke:

This refers to the routine inspection conducted on April 24, 2001, at the Huntington, West Virginia facility. The purpose of the inspection was to determine whether activities authorized by the license were conducted safely and in accordance with NRC requirements. The results of the inspection, including two apparent violations, were discussed with you on April 24, May 4, and May 23, 2001, and formally transmitted to you by letter dated May 25, 2001. 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 June 4, 2001, the NRC confirmed your desire not to attend a predecisional enforcement conference. By letter dated June 6, 2001, you provided Steel of West Virginia's response to the apparent violations and addressed the causes and corrective actions to prevent recurrence. We have reviewed your response and conclude 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 you provided in your response to the inspection report, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice), and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Violation A, cited in the Notice, involves the failure to secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to licensed material and the failure to control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material as required by 10 CFR 20.1801 and 20.1802.

Based on direct observation of the physical layout of the facility as maintained at the time of inspection, the NRC concluded that licensed materials located in the storage building were potentially accessible to unauthorized individuals. Specifically, three fixed gauges containing sealed sources were located in an unmarked room inside the electricians' shop which was accessible from outside of the electrician's shop through an exterior door that was also unlocked. As such, the fixed gauges in the storage room were not secured in accordance with regulatory requirements.

In reviewing this issue, the NRC realizes that the licensee had trained its staff to recognize different types of gauges which minimize the probability of gauges being inadvertently disposed. However, due to the ability of members of the public to access the storage facility, prevention of unauthorized access was not assured. Based on the amount of material involved, i.e., significantly greater than 10 CFR Part 20, Appendix C quantities, the potential for unauthorized access is of concern because significant exposures could result if the material was improperly handled by unauthorized and/or untrained individuals. Therefore, in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions - May 1, 2000" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, as amended on December 18, 2000, the two described examples of the failure to comply with 10 CFR 20.1801 and 20.1802 of your license are categorized as a Severity Level III violation.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $3,000 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 for Violation A included, in part, (1) installing a lock and placard on the door to the room housing the spare sources while the inspector was present on April 24, 2001, (2) conducting a meeting with all authorized employees regarding proper security and tagging of spare sources on April 25, 2001, and (3) obtaining a locked and placarded metal locker expressly for the storage of the three spare sources on May 2, 2001. In addition, a weekly inspection of the affected area is planned to ensure compliance with regulations. Based on the above, the 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. Issuance of this Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action, that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

In addition, Violation B cited in the enclosed Notice involves the failure to ensure that containers of licensed material bear durable and clearly visible labels. This violation has been categorized at Severity Level IV. Your June 6, 2001, response addressed labeling of the gauge in storage but did not address those in use. However, prior to the end of the inspection, we received information that all the gauges (including the installed ones) were labeled. This information is documented in our inspection report of May 25, 2001.

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 adequately addressed on the docket in your June 6, 2001, letter, our May 25, 2001, inspection report and this 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 Materials Safety at 404-562-4700.

Sincerely,

  /RA/

  Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-28692
License No. 47-16310-02

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/encl:
Commonwealth of Virginia


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

SWVA, Inc.
d/b/a Steel of West Virginia, Inc.
Huntington, West Virginia
  Docket No. 030-28692
License No. 47-16310-02
EA-01-128

During an NRC inspection conducted on April 24, 2001, 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, as amended on December 18, 2000, the violations are listed below:

A.   10 CFR 20.1801 requires that the licensee secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed materials that are stored in controlled or unrestricted areas. 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 24, 2001, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to three Kay-Ray/Sensall gauges, each containing 500 mCi of cesium-137 (Cs-137), which were located in an unlocked electrician's shop, which is an unrestricted area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material.

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

B.   10 CFR 20.1904(a) requires the licensee to ensure that each container of licensed material bears a durable, clearly visible label bearing the words "CAUTION, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL," or "DANGER, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL." The label must also provide sufficient information (such as the radionuclide(s) present, an estimate of the quantity of radioactivity, the date for which the activity is estimated, etc.) to permit individuals handling or using the containers, or working in the vicinity of the containers, to take precautions to avoid or minimize exposures.

Contrary to the above, on April 24, 2001, four gauges containing Cs-137 did not bear labels that identified the radionuclide or the quantity of radioactivity, nor did they otherwise bear sufficient information to permit individuals handling or using the containers, or working in the vicinity of the containers, to take precautions to avoid or minimize exposure. Specifically, the labels on three of the gauges in use were covered with paint or other material, making their warnings non-visible, and the label on a gauge in storage included only the words "CAUTION, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL," and did not provide additional information to help individuals handling or using the containers, or working in the vicinity of the containers, to take precautions to avoid or minimize exposures.

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

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 the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice), in Steel of West Virginia, Inc.'s letter of June 6, 2001, and our May 25, 2001 inspection report. 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 27th day of June 2001

 

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