United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-02-080 - CTI Consultants, Inc.

July 23, 2002

EA-02-080

CTI Consultants, Inc.
ATTN: Chris Stevenson, CEO
14221-B Willard Road
Suite 100
Chantilly, VA 20150

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY-$3,000 (NRC SPECIAL INSPECTION REPORT NOS. 45-23031-01/01-01 AND OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS REPORT 2-2001-018)

Dear Mr. Stevenson:

This refers to the inspection conducted on June 7-8, 2001 and an investigation completed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Investigations (OI) on March 25, 2002, to review the circumstances surrounding the damage to a Troxler Electronics Laboratories, Inc., Model 3430-B portable moisture density gauge and its transfer to an unauthorized recipient. The preliminary findings from the inspection were forwarded to you by letter dated July 19, 2001. Additional details from the inspection and investigation were forward to you by letter May 17, 2002. At the NRC's request, a closed and transcribed predecisional enforcement conference was conducted with you and members of your staff on June 17, 2002, in the Region II office. The enclosures to this letter include the list of conference attendees and copies of the material presented by the NRC at the conference.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and investigation, and the information you provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that three violations of regulatory requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice), and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violation cited in Part I of the Notice involved the failure to secure and control licensed material contained in a gauge, in accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR 20.1802. As a result of the operator's failure to control and maintain constant surveillance over the gauge, it was substantially damaged by a bulldozer at a job site. At the conference, you acknowledged that the violation occurred as stated, and indicated that the operator momentarily left the gauge unattended while he informed a job foreman about test results. You stated that your operators have taken the Troxler safety course which addresses control of gauge issues, and that the operator involved was simply not thinking when he left the gauge to speak with the foreman.

Although no actual consequences occurred, the potential existed for members of the public or the CTI staff to receive unnecessary exposure to radiation as a result of the damaged gauge. Therefore, in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions", NUREG-1600, this violation has been categorized at Severity Level III.

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 facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two inspections, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for the factor of Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process described in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Your immediate and long-term corrective actions included removal of the damaged gauge and transfer of the gauge to safe storage, which the NRC considered prudent from a safety perspective. In addition, CTI held discussions among management and job foremen regarding the event, and an internal meeting on June 25, 2002, with CTI senior staff. At the conference, you indicated your intent to conduct the internal meeting that occurred on June 25, 2002, and by letter dated June 25, 2002, you forwarded to the NRC the minutes of the meeting, which included a discussion of the January 2001 event, a review of future actions for possible emergency situations should a gauge be damaged again, a review of correct safety instructions for managers and technicians, and planned RSO adjustments. Also during the conference, you expressed CTI's intent to submit a license amendment to change the RSO to an individual of middle management level who could devote more time to RSO duties. Although the NRC considers the corrective actions taken, or intended to be taken, to be appropriate and thorough, a significant portion were not taken until June 25, 2002, 17 months after the event occurred. Based on this, the NRC concluded that credit was not warranted for the factor of Corrective Action.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of control of licensed material, and of prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, 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 base amount of $3,000 for the Severity Level III violation. In addition, issuance of this Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action, that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

Two additional violations (Violations II.A and II.B) were identified and are cited in the enclosed Notice. Violation II.A involved the failure to notify the NRC within 24 hours of the January 17, 2001, event during which the gauge was disabled, as required by 10 CFR 30.50(b). Violation II.B involved a non-compliance with the requirements of 10 CFR 30.41 when the damaged gauge was improperly transferred to CDS (a radiography licensee) for storage. Based on the low safety significance, these violations have been characterized separately at Severity Level IV in accordance with the Enforcement Policy.

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 NRC Inspection Report No. 45-23031-01/ 01-01, your discussion of the corrective actions presented at the predecisional enforcement conference, and in this letter. Therefore, you are not required to respond to the violations contained in 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 (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).

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. 030-20195
License No. 45-23031-01

Enclosure:   Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition Of Civil Penalty


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

CTI Consultants, Inc
Chantilly, VA
Docket No. 030-20195
License No. 45-23031-01
EA-02-080

During an NRC inspection conducted on June 7-8, 2001 and an investigation completed by the NRC's Office of Investigations on March 25, 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:

I.   Violations Assessed a Civil Penalty

A.   10 CFR 20.1802 requires the licensee to control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material that is in a controlled or unrestricted area and that is not in storage.

Contrary to the above, on January 17, 2001, a CTI Consultants gauge operator did not maintain control and constant surveillance of a Troxler portable gauge containing 40 mCi of Americium and 8 mCi of Cesium-137 which was in an unrestricted area. Specifically, the gauge operator walked away from the gauge and it was subsequently run over by a bulldozer.

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement VI).
Civil Penalty - $3,000

II.   Violations Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

A.   10 CFR 30.50(b) requires the licensee to notify the NRC within 24 hours after the discovery of an event during which equipment is disabled or fails to function as designed.

Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to notify the NRC of a January 17, 2001 event in which a Troxler gauge was disabled. Specifically, the gauge was damaged by a bulldozer at a job site that resulted in the gauge's source rod becoming unretractable and the shielding plate to completely detach.

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

B.   10 CFR 30.41 requires a licensee, before transferring byproduct material to a specific licensee of the Commission, to verify that the transferee's license authorizes the receipt of the type, form, and quantity of byproduct materials to be transferred.

Contrary to the above, on January 17, 2001, the licensee (a portable gauge licensee) transferred a damaged gauge containing 40 millicuries of Americium-241 and 8 millicuries of Cesium-137 to CTI Core Drilling Services, Inc. (CDS) (a radiography licensee) for storage, and CDS's NRC license did not authorize the receipt of this type, form, and quantity of material.

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 violations and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance was achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in NRC Inspection Report No. 45-23031-01/ 01-01, your discussion of the corrective actions at the predecisional enforcement conference, and in the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (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.

Within 30 days of the date of this 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 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 which 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 payment of civil penalty 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 II.

Should you choose to respond to the violation, 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), 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 23rd day of July 2002

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