United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-02-035 - Stora Enso North America Corporation

June 11, 2002

EA-02-035

Gerald Lazarski
Mill Manager
Stora Enso North America Corporation
231 First Avenue
P. O. Box 8050
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54495-8050

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY -$7500 (NRC Inspection Report No. 03006715/2002-001(DNMS))

Dear Mr. Lazarski:

This refers to the inspection conducted January 17 through February 20, 2002, at Stora Enso North America Corporation (SENA), Wisconsin Rapids Paper Mill, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. The inspection was conducted to review the circumstances surrounding the loss of a fixed gauge containing NRC-licensed material during the week of December 10, 2001. SENA staff notified the NRC regarding the loss of the gauge on January 16, 2002, and provided a written report, dated February 14, 2002. The inspection report was transmitted to you on March 14, 2002, and identified three apparent violations of NRC requirements: (1) failure to control and maintain constant surveillance of radioactive material that was in an unrestricted area and not in storage; (2) failure to clearly label a container (gauge) containing radioactive material; and (3) failure to ensure that a gauge containing a radioactive sealed source was removed by persons specifically licensed to perform such services.

On April 11, 2002, a predecisional enforcement conference was conducted in the Region III office with you and members of your staff to discuss the apparent violations, their significance, their root causes, and your corrective actions. A copy of the enforcement conference summary is enclosed.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided during the conference, 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 below and in detail in the subject inspection report. During the week of December 10, 2001, contractors removed a Kay Ray/TN Technologies fixed gauge, containing a nominal 200 millicurie cesium-137 sealed source, while dismantling plant equipment destined for China. The gauge was discovered missing during a quarterly inventory conducted on January 15, 2002. On January 16, 2002, your staff informed the NRC of the loss of the fixed gauge. Your staff searched the mill property and when the gauge was not located assumed that it was removed without your authorization. The Wisconsin Rapids Police Department was notified of the apparent theft on January 17, 2002. The police report (Incident No. 2002-000689-I), documenting a January 23, 2002, conversation with Mr. Jim Bergeron, Director of Security and Safety, indicated that a SENA employee cut the electric cable to the gauge at the request of a contractor employee and another employee saw the gauge on a pallet before it left the plant. These two circumstances were opportunities for SENA to prevent the loss of the gauge and further indicate that the gauge was not appropriately controlled.

Your staff also provided information to the firm purchasing the paper machine of the possibility that the gauge was inadvertently sent to China and attempted to contact the personnel involved with dismantling the paper machine. The NRC determined, through interviews of contractor personnel, that the gauge was removed with the dismantled equipment and shipped to China and we provided your staff with this information. Upon learning this information, the radiation safety officer (RSO) was sent to China and found the gauge attached to part of the dismantled equipment with the shutter locked in the closed position. The root cause of the lost gauge was the failure to secure the gauge from unauthorized removal or access during the dismantling of plant equipment. A contributing cause was the failure to ensure that the radioactive material label on the gauge was clearly visible.

The failure to secure the gauge from unauthorized access and to ensure the label was clearly visible resulted in the gauge being removed by contractor personnel who were neither trained, authorized, nor licensed to perform such activities. Based on the as found condition of the gauge and the radiation measurements taken by the RSO, it appears that the shutter to the gauge was closed during the removal of the gauge and while it was in transport to China. Although no unplanned exposures to personnel were identified, the potential existed for such exposures to occur. Workers were unaware of the hazard present, the precautions to be taken, or the need to control the gauge properly.

The failure to adequately secure and limit access to licensed material is a significant safety issue. Incumbent upon each NRC licensee is the responsibility to protect the health and safety of the public and its employees by ensuring that licensed material is controlled so that it is not lost and becomes a hazard to the public. 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, the violations are categorized collectively in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600 as a Severity Level III problem.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $7500 is considered for a Severity Level III problem involving a lost source of this type. 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 is warranted for corrective actions that included: (1) searching the facility for the missing gauge; (2) informing the Chinese firm receiving the dismantled equipment of the possibility that the gauge was in transit to them; (3) inspecting every truckload of equipment connected with the dismantling project before leaving the facility; (4) prohibiting the sale of equipment removed from service; (5) establishing a file with photographs of all gauging devices; (6) revising the color coding system used in dismantling projects to include the international radioactive hazard symbol and adding the system to the radiation safety policy; (7) discontinuing the storage-in-place of gauging devices; and (8) modifying the radiation safety policy to require more frequent inspections of gauges and signs and provide radiation gauge awareness training to all contractors.

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 violations 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 were developed to correspond to approximately three times the average cost of disposal. 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. 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 $7500 for the Severity Level III problem. The revised Enforcement Policy also provides that civil penalties may be adjusted to correspond to three times the actual expected cost of authorized disposal. Normally, the civil penalty would not be reduced to less than $3000, the minimum amount specified in the Enforcement Policy for a Severity Level III violation involving a lost source. 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 violations, the corrective actions taken or planned to correct the violations and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance will be achieved, is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report No. 03-6715/2002-001, and the letter from your attorney, dated April 25, 2002. Therefore, unless the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position, you are not required to respond to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201. In that case, or if you choose to provide additional information, including the expected cost of disposal, 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 any, 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. 030-06715
License No. 48-01117-01

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty
2. Predecisional Enforcement Conference Summary
3. NUREG/BR-0254 Payment Methods (Licensee only)


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Stora Enso North America Corporation
Wisconsin Rapids Paper Mill
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
  Docket No. 030-06715
License No. 48-01117-01
EA-02-035

During an NRC inspection conducted January 17 through February 20, 2002, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, 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 violations and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

A.   10 CFR 20.1801 requires that the licensee secure from unauthorized removal 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 an unrestricted area means an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.

Contrary to the above, during the week of December 10, 2001, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to a Kay Ray/TN Technologies gauge containing a nominal 200 millicurie cesium-137 sealed source that was stored in a controlled area. Specifically, the gauge was removed from its installed location, transferred to an offsite storage yard, and subsequently inadvertently transferred to China.

B. Condition No. 14.A. of License No. 48-01117-01 requires, in part, that removal from service of devices containing sealed sources be performed by specifically named individuals listed in License Condition 11.A. or by persons specifically licensed by the Commission or an Agreement State to perform such services.

Contrary to the above, during the week of December 10, 2001, a Kay Ray/TN Technologies gauge Model 7063PS (Serial No. S98C0304) containing a nominal 200 millicurie cesium-137 sealed source was removed from service and the removal activity was not performed by persons listed on the license, or specifically licensed by the Commission or an Agreement State to perform such services. Specifically, the gauge was removed by two sub-contractors.

C. 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, during the week of December 10, 2001, a gauge containing a nominal 200 millicurie cesium-137 sealed source did not bear a clearly visible label that identified the radionuclide or the quantity of radioactivity, nor did it otherwise bear sufficient information to permit individuals handling or using the gauge, or working in the vicinity of the gauge, to take precautions to avoid or minimize exposure. Specifically, the label on the gauge was obscured with paper pulp material.

This is a Severity Level III problem (Supplements IV and VI).
Civil Penalty - $7500

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violations, the corrective actions taken or planned to correct the violations and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance will be achieved, is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report No. 030-06715/2002-001, and the letter from your attorney, dated April 25, 2002. However, if the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position, you are required to submit a written statement or explanation pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201. 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, Suite 255, 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, 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 violations 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. In addition, if requesting mitigation based on the actual expected disposal costs, please provide documentation from the manufacturer or disposal facility indicating the cost, including any transportation expenses. 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 which subsequently has been determined to be due 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 11th day of June 2002.

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