United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-01-225 - Conam Inspection

November 9, 2001

EA-01-225

Thomas Sliva, President
Conam Inspection
192-4 Internationale Boulevard
Glendale Heights, IL 60139

SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 03035114/2001-002 (DNMS) AND INVESTIGATION REPORT NO. 3-2000-055)

Dear Mr. Sliva:

This refers to the inspection conducted on December 20, 2000, with continued review through August 22, 2001, and the investigation by NRC's Office of Investigations (OI) completed on July 20, 2001. The inspection included a review of Conam Inspection's radiographic operations at a temporary job site in Peru, Indiana. The inspection report was transmitted to Conam Inspection on September 21, 2001, and identified two apparent violations of NRC requirements. The violations involve the failure to have two qualified individuals present when conducting radiographic operations at temporary job sites and the failure to notify the NRC when work at a temporary job site exceeded 180 days. The purpose of the OI investigation was to review potentially deliberate actions by members of your staff regarding the first apparent violation. The OI investigation did not substantiate that a deliberate violation of NRC requirements occurred.

In the letter transmitting the inspection report, we provided you the opportunity to address the apparent violations identified in the report, by either attending a predecisional enforcement conference or by providing a written response, before we made our final enforcement decision. In a letter dated October 20, 2001, Conam Inspection's corporate radiation safety officer (RSO), Mr. Slack, provided a response to the apparent violations.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and investigation, and the information provided in Mr. Slack's October 20, 2001, letter, the NRC has determined that two violations of NRC requirements occurred. The NRC is concerned that Conam Inspection staff did not identify the violations through program reviews or audits between June 27, 1998 (effective date of the rule), until the violation was identified by the NRC on December 18, 2000, a period of approximately two and one-half years. We are concerned that the lack of management oversight of the radiation protection program resulted in the violations. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described below and in detail in the subject inspection report.

The first violation described in the Notice involves the failure to have two qualified individuals present during radiographic operations at a location other than a permanent radiographic installation (PRI) (i.e., a temporary job site) at a client's facility in Peru, Indiana. The first example of this failure involves conducting radiographic operations with only one individual in a fixed cell that was not an approved PRI. However, the fixed cell appeared to meet the requirements of a PRI or would meet the requirements with minor modifications or limitations on its use. The second example, and of greater concern, involves conducting radiographic operations with only one individual at locations outside the fixed cell. The violations occurred from June 27, 1998, until December 18, 2000, when the NRC informed Conam Inspection's RSO that the fixed cell was not on Conam Inspection's license.

The failure to have two qualified individuals present during radiographic operations at a temporary job site is a potentially significant safety issue. The purpose of the second individual is to observe radiographic operations and provide immediate assistance to prevent unauthorized entry into areas where radiography is being conducted and thus prevent unnecessary exposures to members of the public. Therefore, this violation has been categorized in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600 at Severity Level III.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $6000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two inspections, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Credit was warranted for corrective actions that included: (1) immediately ceasing radiographic operations at its client's facility in Peru, Indiana, until two qualified individuals were present; (2) informing Conam Inspection's divisional management and radiation safety managers regarding the issue at the Peru, Indiana facility; (3) reinforcing the requirement to have two qualified individuals present for radiographic operations outside a PRI; and (4) enhancing the regulatory management program by establishing a Director of Regulatory Affairs who reports to the company's president and having the RSO directly report to this director.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement action, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty. In addition, issuance of this Severity Level III violation constitutes escalated enforcement action, that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

The second violation described in the Notice involves the failure to notify the NRC that radiographic operations and storage of radioactive material had occurred for more than 180 days in a calendar year at the client's facility in Peru, Indiana. This violation is categorized in accordance with the Enforcement Policy at Severity Level 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 Inspection Report No. 03035114/2001-002 (DNMS) and in Mr. Slack's letter, dated October 20, 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 enclosures, 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).

Sincerely,

/RA/

J.E. Dyer
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-35114
License No. 12-16559-02

Enclosure: Notice of Violation


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Conam Inspection
Glendale Heights, Illinois
Docket No. 030-35114
License No. 12-16559-02
EA-01-225

During an NRC inspection conducted on December 20, 2000, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

1.   10 CFR 34.41(a) requires that whenever radiography is performed at a location other than a permanent radiographic installation, i.e., a temporary job site, 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). The additional qualified individual shall observe the operations and be capable of providing immediate assistance to prevent unauthorized entry. Radiography may not be performed if only one qualified individual is present.

Contrary to the above, from June 27, 1998, until December 18, 2000, radiography was performed at a location other than a permanent radiographic installation with only one qualified individual present. Specifically, radiography was performed in two areas of a facility in Peru, Indiana, with only one qualified radiographer present. These areas had not been reviewed and were not approved by the NRC to qualify as permanent radiographic installations.

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

2.   10 CFR 34.101(c) requires that any licensee conducting radiographic operations or storing radioactive material at any location not listed on the license for a period in excess of 180 days in a calendar year, shall notify the appropriate NRC regional office prior to exceeding the 180 days.

Contrary to the above, in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000, the licensee conducted radiographic operations or stored radioactive material at a client's facility in Peru, Indiana, a location not listed on the license, for a period in excess of 180 days in each calendar year and failed to notify the NRC Region III office prior to exceeding the 180 days.

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 Inspection Report No. 03035114/2001-002 (DNMS) and a letter from the licensee, dated October 20, 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 III, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, IL 60532, 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 may be required to post this Notice within two working days.

Dated this 9th day of November 2001.

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