United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-02-045 - Westinghouse Electric Company

May 29, 2002

NMED No. 010718

EA-02-045

Westinghouse Electric Company
ATTN: Mr. M. Fecteau, Manager
              Columbia Plant
Commercial Nuclear Fuel Division
Drawer R
Columbia, SC 29250

SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC REPORT 70-1151/2002-03 AND U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CASE NUMBER 2-2001-022)

Dear Mr. Fecteau:

This refers to Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Inspection Report (IR) 70-1151/2001-08, issued on October 12, 2001, and an investigation completed by the NRC Office of Investigations (OI) on January 23, 2002. A finding from the inspection and investigation indicated that a contractor working for Westinghouse Electric Corporation's (WEC) Commercial Fuel Fabrication Facility located in Columbia, South Carolina, falsified documentation to reflect the completion of important procedural requirements related to receipt and processing of material. This resulted in a small quantity of special nuclear material (SNM) being improperly shipped back to BWX Technologies, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Additional details of our review, including the identification of apparent violations involving material control and transportation of SNM and the synopsis to the OI investigation, were discussed and formally transmitted to you in NRC Inspection Report 70-1151/2002-03 dated April 10, 2002. This letter also provided you the opportunity to either respond to the apparent violations in writing or request a predecisional enforcement conference. At WEC's request, a closed pre-decisional enforcement conference was conducted with you and members of your staff on May 7, 2002, to discuss your position on this issue. The enclosures to this letter include the list of attendees at the predecisional enforcement conference, and copies of the material presented by WEC and the NRC at the conference.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and investigation, and the information that you provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that six violations of NRC requirements occurred. The 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) involved two examples of WEC's failure to follow approved procedures. Specifically, a confirmation of gross weight value was willfully not performed upon receipt of SNM, and a survey was not performed on the shipping container prior to reloading the container onto the shipping trailer. As a consequence of violation (A), WEC improperly shipped SNM containing approximately 278 grams of Uranium-235 back to BWX Technology in Lynchburg, Virginia, which resulted in non-compliance with additional regulatory requirements. These included: Violation (B), failure to secure from unauthorized removal the licensed material packaged in inner container TID No. 287840 while the material was stored in controlled or unrestricted areas, and failure to maintain constant surveillance of the licensed material while the transport containers were placed in a staging area before being shipped to BWXT, as required by 10 CFR 20.1801 and 10 CFR 20.1802; Violation (C), the transportation of hazardous material that was not properly classified, described, packaged, marked, labeled, and in condition for shipment required or authorized under Hazardous Material Regulations, as required by 49 CFR 171.2(a); Violation (D), failure to properly prepare shipping papers as required by 49 CFR 172.200-172.204; Violation (E), failure to maintain complete documentation of tests and engineering evaluations or comparative data showing that the construction methods, packaging design, and materials of construction complies with that specification, as required by 49 CFR 173.415(a); and Violation (F), failure to complete a Nuclear Material Transaction Report, DOE/NRC Form 741, for the transfer of SNM to BWX Technology as required by 10 CFR 74.15(a).

At the conference, you acknowledged that the above violations occurred as stated, and at our request focused your discussion on the apparent causes (procedural/oversight issues) for the improper processing of material and shipment. WEC's root cause investigation identified several causal factors that led to the improper actions, including a contract employee's documentation of fictitious container weight, inadequate oversight of the receipt and shipment process by WEC management, too high a degree of freedom for contractor personnel, and process/procedures that were not robust and were not followed.

In this case, there were no actual consequences because the SNM shipment reached BWX Technology without incident, and actions were subsequently taken to properly secure the material. Additionally, the material was transported by a shipper authorized to transfer this type of material. The improper processing and shipment of radiological material could have resulted in unintended radiological exposure to other workers or members of the public. For instance, a transportation accident, the theft or loss of radiological material, or vandalism of the shipment also could have resulted in unintended exposures because individuals would not be aware of the nature of the hazardous material. Violation (A), the failure to follow required procedures, is typically characterized at Severity Level IV in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600. However, because the NRC concluded that Violation (A) was willful, this issue is of particular concern to the NRC. The NRC's regulatory program is based on licensees, their employees, and contractors acting with integrity and candor in adhering to regulatory requirements. Based on this and in accordance with the Enforcement Policy, the NRC has concluded that this violation should be characterized at Severity Level III. In addition, the failure to follow procedures resulted in WEC's failure to control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material (Violation (B)), which is normally characterized as a Severity Level III violation, in accordance with the Enforcement Policy. Violations (C) through (F) would normally be characterized as Severity Level IV violations. Based on the fact that Violation (A) led to Violations (B) through (F), the NRC has concluded that these violations should be cited as one Severity Level III problem.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $30,000 is considered for a Severity Level III problem. Because one of the violations was willful, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for the factors of Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process described in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Regarding the factor of identification, the NRC concluded that the problem requiring corrective action was revealed through occurrence of the event involving the improperly shipped SNM. In this case, the falsification of data by the contractor precluded earlier opportunities for WEC to identify the problem requiring corrective action, and as such, the NRC has determined that credit was warranted for the factor of Identification. Your immediate and long-term corrective actions were discussed in detail at the conference, and included the immediate visual inspection of all containers believed to be empty, significant revision to the operating procedure used to control the receipt, initial processing, and shipment of uranium, training for relevant personnel on the revised procedure and consequences of record falsification, appropriate personnel disciplinary action, as well as other corrective actions. In addition, WEC management determined that WEC personnel would perform all future SNM-related uranium receipt processes. Based on the above, the NRC concluded that WEC's corrective actions were prompt and comprehensive, and credit was warranted for the factor of Corrective Action.

Therefore, to encourage identification and prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, 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.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violations representing the Severity Level III problem, 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 material presented at the conference (Enclosure 3), in NRC Inspection Report 70-1151/2001-08, 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 enclosures, and your response (should you chose 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/ BSM for

  Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 70-1151
License No. SNM-1107

Enclosures:
1.  Notice of Violation
2.  List of Attendees
3.  Information presented by WEC
4.  Information presented by NRC

cc w/encls:
Sam McDonald, Manager
Environment, Health and Safety
Commercial Nuclear Fuel Division
Westinghouse Electric Corporation
P. O. Box R
Columbia, SC 29250

Henry J. Porter, Assistant Director
Div. of Radioactive Waste Mgmt.
Dept. of Health and Environmental Control
Electronic Mail Distribution

R. Mike Gandy
Division of Radioactive Waste Mgmt.
S. C. Department of Health and
Environmental Control
Electronic Mail Distribution


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Westinghouse Electric Company
Columbia, SC
  Docket No. 70-1151
License No. SNM-1107
EA-02-045

During an NRC inspection conducted on April 10, 2002, and an investigation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Investigations (OI) completed on January 23, 2002, 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:

A.   The Materials License Number SNM-1107, Amendment 29, condition 10, requires that the licensee comply with the Safety Conditions specified in the license.

Safety Condition S-1 authorizes the use of material in accordance with statements, representations, and conditions in the license application dated April 30, 1995, and supplements thereof.

Section 3.4.1 of the license application states that operations to assure safe, compliant activities involving nuclear material will be conducted in accordance with approved procedures.

Chemical Operating Procedure (COP) 836041, "Receipt and Initial Processing of Uranium Shipments From Outside Sources," Revision 3, May 3, 2001, states that a confirmation of gross weight value is required upon receipt of Special Nuclear Material (SNM). The procedure also states that an external alpha and beta-gamma survey is required on the empty shipping containers prior to reloading into the shipping trailer.

Contrary to the above, on or before July 25, 2001, operations to assure safe, compliant activities involving nuclear material were not conducted in accordance with approved procedures. Specifically, a confirmation of gross weight value was not performed upon receipt of SNM contained in inner container TID# 878240. Also, an external alpha and beta-gamma survey was not performed on the shipping container thought to be empty prior to reloading the container onto the shipping trailer.

B. 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 25, 2001, the licensee failed to secure from unauthorized removal the licensed material packaged in inner container TID No. 287840 while the material was stored in controlled or unrestricted areas. The licensee also failed to maintain constant surveillance of the licensed material while the transport containers were placed in a staging area before being shipped to BWX Technology.

C.   10 CFR 71.5(a) requires that a licensee who transports licensed material outside of the site of usage, as specified in the NRC license, or where transport is on public highways, or who delivers licensed material to a carrier for transport, comply with the applicable requirements of the regulations appropriate to the mode of transport of the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 49 CFR Parts 170 through 189.

49 CFR 171.2(a) prohibits any person from offering hazardous material for transportation unless, among other requirements, the hazardous material is properly classified, described, packaged, marked, labeled, and in condition for shipment required or authorized under the Hazardous Material Regulations (49 CFR Parts 171-177).

Contrary to the above, on July 25, 2001, the licensee offered for transportation hazardous material (inner container TID No. 287840) that was not properly classified, described, packaged, marked, labeled, and in condition for shipment required or authorized under Hazardous Material Regulations (49 CFR Parts 171-177).

D.   10 CFR 71.5(a) requires that a licensee who transports licensed material outside of the site of usage, as specified in the NRC license, or where transport is on public highways, or who delivers licensed material to a carrier for transport, comply with the applicable requirements of the regulations appropriate to the mode of transport of the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 49 CFR Parts 170 through 189.

49 CFR 172.200-205 requires the licensee to prepare shipping papers that: (1) describe the material present in terms of proper shipping name, hazard class, shipment identification number, chemical form, physical form, the name of the radionuclide and the activity contained, the category of label used, and the appropriate descriptions for fissile class 7 (radioactive) materials, and (2) the shippers certification indicating that the DOT rules have been followed.

Contrary to the above, on July 25, 2001, the licensee failed to properly prepare shipping papers, in that the papers did not include the appropriate hazardous material descriptions and the shipper's certification indicating that the Department of Transportation (DOT) rules had been followed for the transport of inner container TID No. 287840.

E.   10 CFR 71.5(a) requires that a licensee who transports licensed material outside of the site of usage, as specified in the NRC license, or where transport is on public highways, or who delivers licensed material to a carrier for transport, comply with the applicable requirements of the regulations appropriate to the mode of transport of the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 49 CFR Parts 170 through 189.

49 CFR 173.415(a) requires that each shipper of a DOT Specification 7A package maintain on file for at least one year after the latest shipment, and shall provide (on request), complete documentation of tests and engineering evaluations or comparative data, showing that the construction methods, packaging design, and materials of construction comply with that specification.

Contrary to the above, on July 25, 2001, the licensee, a shipper of a DOT Specification 7A package (inner container TID No. 27840), failed to maintain complete documentation of tests and engineering evaluations or comparative data, showing that the construction methods, packaging design, and materials of construction complies with that specification.

F.   10 CFR 74.15(a) requires, in part, that each licensee who receives and ships Special Nuclear Material (SNM) complete a Nuclear Material Transaction Report, DOE/NRC Form 741.

Contrary to the above, on or before July 25, 2001, the licensee failed to complete a Nuclear Material Transaction Report, DOE/NRC Form 741, for the transfer of SNM (inner container TID  No. 287840) to BWXT.

This is a Severity Level III Problem (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 your material presented at the conference (Enclosure 3), in NRC Inspection Report 70-1151/2001-08, and the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice). 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 29th day of May 2002

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