United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-01-237 - SCI Engineering, Inc.

November 15, 2001

EA-01-237

William Green, President
SCI Engineering, Inc.
130 Point West Boulevard
St. Charles, MO 63301

SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY -$3000 (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 03017675/2001-001(DNMS))

Dear Mr. Green:

This refers to the inspection conducted on August 20 and 21, 2001, at SCI Engineering, Inc., St. Charles, Missouri. The inspection involved a review of the circumstances surrounding the loss of a moisture/density gauge on July 6, 2001. The inspection report was transmitted to SCI Engineering on September 17, 2001, and identified an apparent violation of NRC requirements for the failure to secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to licensed material stored in an unrestricted area.

In the letter transmitting the inspection report, we provided you the opportunity to address the apparent violation identified in the report either by attending a predecisional enforcement conference or by providing a written response before we made our final enforcement decision. In a letter dated October 12, 2001, you provided a response to the apparent violation.

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 and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report. On July 7, 2001, SCI Engineering notified the NRC that a portable moisture/density gauge had been stolen on July 6, 2001. The gauge was stolen when an individual left the key in the ignition of the vehicle where the gauge was stored and then left the vehicle and gauge unattended. The keys to the gauge were also attached to the key ring with the ignition key. The gauge was recovered following an accident involving the vehicle where the gauge was stored. The gauge was recovered undamaged.

The failure to adequately secure and limit access to a portable moisture/density gauge resulted in the loss of licensed material. In addition, the keys to the gauge were left unattended with the vehicle key and were, therefore, available to open the gauge container and unlock the gauge. The failure to adequately secure and limit access to licensed material is a significant safety issue. Implementation of adequate security measures for licensed materials is intended to prevent members of the public from being unknowingly and unnecessarily exposed to radiation. Therefore, this violation has been categorized in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), February 16, 2001, at Severity Level III.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty is considered for a Severity Level III violation involving the loss of a device such as the moisture/density gauge lost by SCI Engineering. 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) termination of the individual responsible for the violation; (2) a memorandum to applicable staff regarding ignition key control; (3) planned use of this memorandum and NRC Information Notice 2001-11, "Thefts of Portable Gauges," in future training sessions; and (4) planned audits of authorized users periodically on vehicle security.

Application of the normal civil penalty assessment process would not result in a civil penalty in this case. However, the revised Enforcement Policy published December 18, 2000, (effective February 16, 2001), provides that, notwithstanding normal application of the civil penalty assessment process, a civil penalty of at least the base amount should normally be proposed in this type of case to reflect the significance of the violation and to emphasize the importance of maintaining control of licensed material. See Section VII.A.1(g) of the Enforcement Policy. The base civil penalty values in the Enforcement Policy were developed to correspond to approximately three times the average cost of disposal. Normal application of the civil penalty assessment process, as reflected in Tables 1A.f.2 and 1B of the Enforcement Policy, would result in a civil penalty of $7500 in this case. The revised Enforcement Policy, however, also provides that civil penalties may be adjusted to correspond to three times the actual expected cost of authorized disposal. Your October 12, 2001, letter, stated the approximate disposal cost for a gauge would be $556. This included $500 for disposal, based on the manufacturer's estimate, dated September 7, 2001, and approximately $56 in transportation costs associated with returning a gauge to the manufacturer. Based on this, three times the expected cost of authorized disposal is $1668. However, the NRC has concluded that a civil penalty amount less than the lowest base civil penalty is not sufficient to emphasize adequately the importance of maintaining control of licensed material in the circumstances of this case. Therefore, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to issue the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) in the amount of $3000 for the Severity Level III violation. 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 Inspection Report No. 03017675/2001-001(DNMS). Therefore, you are not required to respond to this Notice pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, unless your response of October 12, 2001, 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/ James L. Caldwell for

J. E. Dyer
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-17675
License No. 24-20039-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

SCI Engineering, Inc.
St. Charles, Missouri
  Docket No. 030-17675
License No. 24-20039-01
EA-01-237

During an NRC inspection conducted on August 20 and 21, 2001, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, February 16, 2001, the NRC proposes to impose a civil penalty pursuant to Section 234 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (Act), 42 U.S.C. 2282, and 10 CFR 2.205. The particular violation and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

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 July 6, 2001, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to nominally 11 millicuries of cesium-137 and 44 millicuries of americium-241 in two sealed sources contained in a portable moisture/density gauge stored in the bed of a pickup truck parked in a residential driveway, which is an unrestricted area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material. Specifically, a licensee authorized user left the portable moisture/density gauge in the truck unattended with the ignition key and the gauge key, and the truck containing the gauge was stolen.

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement IV).
Civil Penalty - $3000

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 Inspection Report No. 03017675/2001-001(DNMS). 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 60532-4351, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice).

The Licensee may pay the civil penalty proposed above or the cumulative amount of the civil penalties if more than one civil penalty is proposed, in accordance with NUREG/BR-0254 and by submitting to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a statement indicating when and by what method payment was made, or may protest imposition of the civil penalty in whole or in part, by a written answer addressed to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Should the Licensee fail to answer within 30 days of the date of this Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty, an order imposing the civil penalty will be issued. Should the Licensee elect to file an answer in accordance with 10 CFR 2.205 protesting the civil penalty, in whole or in part, such answer should be clearly marked as an "Answer to a Notice of Violation" and may: (1) deny the violation listed in this Notice, in whole or in part, (2) demonstrate extenuating circumstances, (3) show error in this Notice, or (4) show other reasons why the penalty should not be imposed. In addition to protesting the civil penalty in whole or in part, such answer may request remission or mitigation of the penalty.

In requesting mitigation of the proposed penalty, the factors addressed in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy should be addressed. Any written answer in accordance with 10 CFR 2.205 should be set forth separately from the statement or explanation in reply pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201, but may incorporate parts of the 10 CFR 2.201 reply by specific reference (e.g., citing page and paragraph numbers) to avoid repetition. The attention of the Licensee is directed to the other provisions of 10 CFR 2.205, regarding the procedure for imposing a civil penalty.

Upon failure to pay any civil penalty due that subsequently has been determined in accordance with the applicable provisions of 10 CFR 2.205, this matter may be referred to the Attorney General, and the penalty, unless compromised, remitted, or mitigated, may be collected by civil action pursuant to Section 234c of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2282c.

The response noted above (Reply to Notice of Violation, statement as to payment of civil penalty, and Answer to a Notice of Violation) should be addressed to: Frank Congel, Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852-2738, with a copy to the Regional Administrator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region III.

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 15th day of November 2001.

 

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