United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-02-195 - H&H X-Ray Services, Inc.

February 3, 2003

EA-02-195

Mr. Kenneth Head, Sr., President
H&H X-Ray Services, Inc.
P. O. Drawer 517
West Monroe, Louisiana 71294-0517

SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC INSPECTION REPORT 030-17191/2002-001)

Dear Mr. Head:

This refers to the inspection conducted on August 22, 2002, at your corporate office in West Monroe, Louisiana. This inspection was an examination of activities conducted under your license as they relate to safety and compliance with the Commission's rules and regulations and with the conditions of the license. Two apparent violations of NRC requirements were identified. A telephonic exit briefing was conducted with you and Ken Head, Jr., of your staff on November 26, 2002. The inspection report was issued on November 27, 2002.

In the letter transmitting the inspection report, we provided you the opportunity to address the apparent violations 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 December 19, 2002, you provided a written response to the apparent violations.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided in your December 19, 2002, response to the inspection report, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice). The circumstances surrounding them were described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violations involve: (1) the failure, in establishing administrative controls under 10 CFR 20.1201(f), to reduce the allowable dose limit for an individual by 1.25 rems for each quarter for which complete records were unavailable, as provided for in 10 CFR 20.2104(e)(1); and, (2) as a result, the failure to limit the annual occupational dose to an adult radiographer to 5 rems total effective dose equivalent.

You stated in your response that H&H was unaware of the requirement to reduce an individual's allowable dose by 1.25 rems since in this case the individual had estimated his own exposure. While 10 CFR 20.2104(c) allows a licensee to accept a written, signed statement from an individual as a record of the occupational dose that the individual received during the current year, 10 CFR 20.2104(e) requires a licensee to reduce an individual's allowable exposure by 1.25 rems for each quarter for which the licensee is unable to obtain a complete record of an individual's current and previously accumulated occupational dose. In this case, the NRC does not consider the individual's estimated dose of 700 millirems a complete record. H&H should have taken additional steps to obtain a complete record of the individual's occupational dose received during the first calendar quarter of 2001, or reduced the individual's allowable exposure by 1.25 rems.

H&H's failure to reduce the individual's allowable exposure by 1.25 rems contributed to an actual overexposure, in that the individual exceeded the NRC's annual exposure limit of 5 rems total effective dose equivalent. Therefore, these violations have been 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 $6,000 is considered for a Severity Level III problem. Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last 2 years, 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. The corrective actions described in your December 19, 2002, letter include: (1) review of all employee files to determine if individuals had been employed by more than one radiography company within the same year; (2) revisions to application packages to permit easier review of information supplied by radiographers; (3) new computer software to more effectively manage your dosimetry program; (4) establishment of a 4-rem annual limit after which individuals are reassigned to non-radiography activities; and (5) the use of 35-foot crank-outs (vs. 25-foot) to add distance between radiographers and the radiography camera. In addition, In a January 21, 2003, telephone conversation between Randy Erickson of my staff and Burt Monte of your staff, Mr. Monte indicated that it was H&H X-Ray's intent to reduce the allowable exposure of any individual whose annual exposure history cannot be confirmed by documentation from a previous employer for the calendar year, and that H&H did not intend to leave that information out of its written response to the apparent violation. Based on its evaluation of H&H X-Ray's corrective actions, the NRC has determined that credit for corrective actions is warranted, resulting in no civil penalty being assessed.

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 problem constitutes escalated enforcement action, which may subject you to increased inspection effort.

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 this letter, your letter dated December 19, 2002, and Inspection Report No. 030-17191/2002-001 dated November 27, 2002. Therefore, you are not required to respond to this letter unless the description therein 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 any response you choose to submit will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the NRC's document system (ADAMS), accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To the extent possible, your response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be made available to the Public without redaction. The NRC also includes significant enforcement actions on its Web site at www.nrc.gov; select What We Do, Enforcement, then Significant Enforcement Actions.

Sincerely,

/RA by Thomas P. Gwynn Acting for/

Ellis W. Merschoff
Regional Administrator

Docket No.: 030-17191
License No.: 17-19236-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/Enclosure:  Louisiana Radiation Control Program Director


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

H&H X-Ray Services, Inc.
West Monroe, Louisiana
Docket No. 030-17191
License No. 17-19236-01
EA-02-195

During an NRC inspection completed on November 26, 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:

10 CFR 20.1201(a)(1)(i) requires, with exceptions not applicable here, that the licensee control the occupational dose to individual adults to an annual dose limit of 5 rems total effective dose equivalent. 10 CFR 20.1201(f) states that the licensee shall reduce the dose that the individual may be allowed to receive in the current year by the amount of occupational dose received while employed by any other person (see §20.2104(e)).
10 CFR 20.2104(a)(1) states, in part, that for each individual who is likely to receive in a year, an occupational dose requiring monitoring pursuant to §20.1502, the licensee shall determine the occupational radiation dose received during the current year.
10 CFR 20.2104(c) states, in part, that in complying with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, a licensee may accept, as a record of the occupational dose that the individual received during the current year, a written signed statement from the individual, or from the individual's most recent employer for work involving radiation exposure, that discloses the nature and the amount of any occupational dose that the individual may have received during the current year.
10 CFR 20.2104(e)(1) states, in part, that if the licensee is unable to obtain a complete record of an individual's current occupational dose, the licensee shall assume in establishing administrative controls under §20.1201(f) for the current year, that the allowable dose limit for the individual is reduced by 1.25 rems for each quarter for which records were unavailable and the individual was engaged in activities that could have resulted in occupational radiation exposure.
Contrary to the above, in calendar year 2001, the licensee did not limit the annual occupational dose to an adult radiographer to 5 rems total effective dose equivalent. Specifically, the individual received 5.606 rems total effective dose equivalent for calendar year 2001. In addition, despite not being able to obtain a complete record of the individual's current occupational dose, the licensee did not, in establishing administrative controls under §20.1201(f) for calendar year 2001, reduce the individual's allowable dose limit by 1.25 rems for each quarter for which records were unavailable. Specifically, the licensee accepted the individual's estimated occupational exposure for the first quarter of calendar year 2001 without obtaining a complete record. This contributed to the licensee's failure to limit the individual's occupational exposure to 5 rems total effective dose equivalent.

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 violation and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance was achieved, is already adequately addressed on the docket in the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation, the licensee's letter dated December 19, 2002, and Inspection Report No. 030-17191/2002-001 dated November 27, 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," reference EA number EA-02-195, 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 IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, TX 76011, 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 NRC's document system (ADAMS), accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. 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.

Dated this 3rd day of February 2003

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