United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-03-011 - Global X-Ray and Testing Corporation

May 22, 2003

EA-03-011

Mr. Joel Moreau, President
Global X-Ray and Testing Corporation
P.O. Box 1536
Morgan City, Louisiana 70381

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY - $6,000 (NRC Inspection Report No. 150-00017/02-06 AND INVESTIGATION REPORT No. 4-2002-035)

Dear Mr. Moreau:

This refers to the predecisional enforcement conference conducted in the NRC Region IV office in Arlington, Texas on April 16, 2003. The purpose of the conference was to discuss an apparent willful violation involving a Global X-Ray and Testing Corporation (GXT) radiographer's failure to control and maintain constant surveillance over an industrial radiographic exposure device in an unrestricted area. At the conclusion of the inspection and investigation activities, a telephonic exit briefing was conducted with you and your staff on February 5, 2003, and this finding was documented in the subject inspection report dated March 4, 2003.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and investigation, and the information that you provided during the conference, 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. In summary, during an inspection conducted in offshore Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, an NRC inspector found a radiographic exposure device, containing licensed material, was left unsecured and uncontrolled in an unrestricted area on the BP WD-70I platform, while your radiographer and the radiographer's assistant were on a separate platform asleep. Our review found that the radiographer and his assistant were very tired from working their first night shift, just prior to the NRC inspector's arrival. Because of his fatigue and the difficulty in transporting the device to the platform with the darkroom, the radiographer (at about 4:30 a.m.) decided to leave the device on the platform where they had been working, recognizing it was unsecured and uncontrolled. Accordingly, the NRC has concluded that the radiographer engaged in deliberate misconduct. Although he failed to secure or control the device, the source was locked in the shielded position and the radiographer took the key with him.

This violation is significant because of the potential for inadvertent exposures to members of the public and because deliberate misconduct was involved. 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 civil penalty in the base amount of $6,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because of the deliberate misconduct involved and because of your prior escalated enforcement action approximately two years ago(1), the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for both Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Given that our inspector identified the violation, our conclusion is that GXT is not deserving of Identification credit. However, we have determined that GXT is deserving of Corrective Action credit. Your corrective actions included discussing this incident with other radiographers to stress the importance of securing industrial radiographic devices and of following radiation safety requirements, disciplining the radiographer, discussing with your offshore clients the necessity of having the dark room on the same platform where work is being performed or of having a storage box available (for securing the device), and increasing onsite surveillance of the safety practices of your radiographers.

Therefore, to emphasize the significance of maintaining security over licensed material, of willful violations, and of identifying your own 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 $6,000 for the Severity Level III violation.

You are required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice when preparing your response. Given that GXT was issued a civil penalty because of a willful violation on March 8, 2001 (EA-00-272), your response should address what actions you are taking to prevent future willful violations. The NRC will use your response, in part, to determine whether further enforcement action is necessary to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosure, and 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. 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/

Ellis W. Merschoff
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 150-00017
General License Pursuant to 10 CFR 150.20

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

cc w/Enclosure 1:
Louisiana Radiation Control Program Director


ENCLOSURE 1

NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Global X-Ray and Testing Corporation
Morgan City, Louisiana
Docket No. 150-00017
General License pursuant to
   10 CFR 150.20
EA-03-011

During an NRC inspection and investigation which were concluded on February 5, 2003, a violation of NRC requirements was 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 violation and associated civil penalty are set forth 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, in part, 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, a controlled area is an area, outside of a restricted area but inside the site boundary, access to which can be limited by the licensee for any reason. An unrestricted area is defined as an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.
Contrary to the above, on August 19, 2002, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to about 17.6 curies of Iridium-192 located in an industrial radiographic exposure device which was stored on a platform in Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, 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).
Civil Penalty - $6,000. (EA-03-011)

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Global X-Ray and Testing Corporation (Licensee) is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, within 30 days of the date of this Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice). This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation; EA-03-011" and should include for each alleged violation: (1) admission or denial of the alleged violation, (2) the reasons for the violation if admitted, and if denied, the reasons why, (3) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (4) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further violations, and (5) the date when full compliance will be achieved. Your response may reference or include previous docketed correspondence, if the correspondence adequately addresses the required response. If an adequate reply is not received within the time specified in this Notice, an order or a Demand for Information may be issued as why the license should not be modified, suspended, or revoked or why such other action as may be proper should not be taken. Consideration may be given to extending the response time for good cause shown.

Within the same time as provided for the response required above under 10 CFR 2.201, 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 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: Mr. 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 IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011.

Because your response will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the 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. 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 are required to post this Notice within two working days.

Dated this 22nd day of May 2003


1. On March 8, 2001, a Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the amount of $5,500 (EA-00-272) was issued to GXT for several violations, including a willful violation associated with the failure to adhere to the requirements of the NRC's exemption for use of a pipeliner device.

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