United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-03-046 - G. A. Covey Engineering

March 31, 2003

EA-03-046

G. A. Covey Engineering
ATTN: Gary Covey
President
P.O. Box 185
1025 Old Woman Run
Sutton, West Virginia 26601-0185

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 47-25161-01/03-01)

Dear Mr. Covey:

This refers to the inspection conducted by this office on January 28, 2003, at your Sutton, West Virginia facility. The inspection was an examination of the activities conducted under your license as they relate to safety and compliance with the Commission's rules and regulations and the conditions of your license. The results of the NRC inspection were forwarded to you by letter dated February 26, 2003. A preliminary exit briefing was held with you at the completion of the inspection, and a final, telephonic exit briefing was held with you on March 6, 2003. During the telephonic briefing, you were informed that the NRC was considering escalated enforcement action for three apparent violations. These issues involved (1) the failure to secure or maintain constant surveillance of the portable moisture-density gauges against unauthorized removal as required by 10 CFR 20.1801 and 10 CFR 20.1802; (2) the failure to lock gauge operating handles or their outer containers when in storage, or when not under the direct surveillance of an authorized user as required by License Condition 15 of your NRC license; and (3) the failure to perform periodic reviews of the radiation safety program as required by 10 CFR 20.1101. Additionally, you were informed that the NRC had sufficient information regarding the apparent violations and your corrective actions to make an enforcement decision without the need for a predecisional enforcement conference or a written response from you. You indicated during the telephone conversation of March 6, 2003, that you did not believe that a predecisional enforcement conference or written response was necessary prior to taking enforcement action. In addition, your letter of March 26, 2003, confirmed your completion of certain corrective actions regarding this matter.

Therefore, based on the information developed during the inspection, the NRC has determined that three violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are described in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice), and the circumstances surrounding them are described in the subject inspection report. Violation A involved the failure to secure or maintain constant surveillance of the portable moisture-density gauges against unauthorized removal as required by 10 CFR 20.1801 and 10 CFR 20.1802. The gauges consisted of three Campbell Pacific Nuclear portable gauges, each containing approximately 10 millicuries (mCi) of Cesium-137 and 50 mCi of Americium-241, and three Troxler portable gauges, each containing approximately 8mCi of Cesium-137 and 40 mCi of Americium-241, which were left unsecured at the licensee's storage area in Sutton, West Virginia, an unrestricted area. Violation B involved another portable gauge found outside of its transportation box in the basement area. The gauge's handle was padlocked, but the key was still in the padlock. The failure to secure the gauges did not result in any actual safety consequences. Nonetheless, the failure to maintain appropriate control of licensed material created the potential for unauthorized use or misuse, theft, or diversion of licensed material, which could result in unnecessary radiation exposure. Therefore, these two violations have been categorized collectively in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" NUREG-1600, (Enforcement Policy) as a Severity Level III problem.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty with a base value of $3,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation or problem. Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement action since the last two NRC inspections or within the last two 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 by you during the preliminary exit interview of January 28, 2003, and in your letter of March 26, 2003, included the taking of immediate actions to lock all gauge handles or storage containers, the construction of a new storage facility/vault to limit access to gauges that would not be in use on a daily basis, the implementation of a sign in/sign out log to track gauge locations at all times, the conduct of a review by the Radiation Safety Officer, at least every six months, to verify the location and status of all gauges, and the satisfactory completion of a leak test for all gauges. Based on this, the NRC has determined that credit was warranted for corrective actions.

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, to propose that no civil penalty be assessed in this case. However, you are on notice that significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty. In addition, issuance of this Severity Level III problem constitutes escalated enforcement action that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

An additional violation (Violation C) was identified during the NRC's inspection and involved your failure to conduct periodic reviews of the radiation protection program as required by 10 CFR 20.1101. Violation C has been characterized at Severity Level IV in accordance with the Enforcement Policy because of its low safety significance.

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 will be achieved is adequately addressed on the docket in NRC Inspection Report No. 47-25161-01/03-01, your letter of March 26, 2003, 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.

Your letter of March 26, 2003, also requested the NRC to make certain changes to your license. We are reviewing this request and will contact you by separate correspondence regarding this matter.

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 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 about this inspection, please contact Mr. Douglas Collins, Director, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, at (404) 562-4700.

Sincerely,

  /RA/

  Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-32441
License No. 47-25161-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/ encl:  State of West Virginia


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

G. A. Covey Engineering
Sutton, West Virginia
  Docket No. 030-32441
License No. 47-25161-01
EA-03-046


During an NRC inspection conducted on January 28, 2003, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions - May 1, 2000," NUREG-1600, (Enforcement Policy), the violations are listed below:

A.   10 CFR 20.1801 states that the licensee shall secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed materials that are stored in controlled or unrestricted areas. 10 CFR 20.1802 states that the licensee shall 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 28, 2003, three Campbell Pacific Nuclear portable gauges, each containing approximately 10 millicuries (mCi) of Cesium-137 and 50 mCi of Americium-241, and three Troxler portable gauges, each containing approximately 8mCi of Cesium-137 and 40 mCi of Americium-241, were left unsecured at the licensee's storage area in Sutton, West Virginia, an unrestricted area.

B.   License Condition 15 states that each portable nuclear gauge shall have a lock or outer locked container designed to prevent unauthorized or accidental removal of the sealed source from its shielded position. The gauge or its container must be locked when in transport, storage, or when not under the direct surveillance of an authorized user.

Contrary to the above, on January 28, 2003, the licensee failed to lock the operating handle or the storage container of a portable gauge in storage so as to prevent unauthorized or accidental removal of the sealed source from its shielded position.

These violations are a Severity Level III problem (Supplement IV).

C.   10 CFR 20.1101 (c) states that the licensee shall periodically (at least annually) review the radiation protection program content and implementation.

Contrary to the above, as of January 28, 2003, the licensee had not conducted periodic reviews of the radiation protection program.

This is a Severity Level IV violation (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 NRC Inspection Report No.47-25161-01/03-01, your letter of March 26, 2003, and in this letter cover 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 31st day of March 2003

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