United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-02-134 - GME Consultants, Inc.

August 8, 2002

EA-02-134

William C. Kwasny, President
GME Consultants, Inc.
14000 21st Avenue North
Plymouth, MN 55447

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION
(NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 03021028/2002-001(DNMS))

Dear Mr. Kwasny:

This refers to the inspection conducted May 21-22, 2002, at the GME Consultants, Inc., facility in Plymouth, Minnesota. The purpose of the inspection was to review the circumstances surrounding an event involving damage to a moisture density gauge and ensure that activities performed by the licensee were conducted safely and in accordance with NRC requirements. The inspection report was transmitted to you on June 27, 2002, and identified an apparent violation of NRC requirements involving the failure to control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material that was 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 by either attending a predecisional enforcement conference or by providing a written response before we made our final enforcement decision. In a letter, dated July 29, 2002, you provided a response to the apparent violation.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided in your written response, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements occurred. The violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report. On May 20, 2002, an authorized gauge user briefly placed a moisture density gauge on the ground behind a front-loading earth moving vehicle (front-loader), assuming that the front-loader was parked and not in use. The gauge user then walked approximately ten feet away, out of view of the gauge, and the front-loader began backing up, running over the gauge.

There were no actual health or safety consequences in this case since leak tests indicated that the source was not ruptured and no exposures to the authorized user or any members of the public occurred. However, members of the public could have been exposed if the authorized user had been farther from the gauge at the time of the event. Incumbent upon each NRC licensee and its employees is the responsibility to protect public health and safety by ensuring that all NRC requirements are met, and, in particular, that NRC licensed material is controlled so that it is not lost or damaged and does not constitute a hazard to 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 $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 Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Credit for corrective action is warranted because your actions were considered prompt and comprehensive, including notifying the NRC regarding the accident. The corrective actions included: (1) immediately cordoning off the area and posting an authorized gauge user at the controlled area boundary to prevent unauthorized access and inadvertent exposures; (2) shielding and securing the source; (3) notifying all branch managers regarding the incident and instructing the managers to discuss the event with the authorized users, emphasizing the importance of maintaining control of portable gauges; (4) scheduling a portable gauge consultant to provide gauge refresher training to all gauge users, focusing on the security and control of portable gauges; and (5) including radiation safety and/or licensed material topics during monthly safety talks.

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 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. 03021028/2002-001(DNMS), and your letter, dated July 29, 2002. 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 enclosure 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

Sincerely,

/RA/

J. E. Dyer
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 03021028
License No. 22-23402-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

GME Consultants, Inc.
Plymouth, Minnesota
Docket No. 03021028
License No. 22-23402-0
EA-02-134

During an NRC inspection conducted on May 21 and 22, 2002, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violation is listed 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 May 20, 2002, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to a CPN Model MC-3 Portaprobe portable moisture density gauge containing nominally 10 millicuries (370 MBq) of cesium-137 and 50 millicuries (1.85 Gbq) of americium-241-beryllium as two sealed sources at a temporary job site in New Hope, Minnesota, which is an unrestricted area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material.

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

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. 03021028/2002-001(DNMS), and your letter, dated July 29, 2002. 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 20555-0001 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region III, 801 Warrenville Road, Suite 255, Lisle, IL 60532-4351, 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 8th day of August 2002.

 

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