United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-03-047 - SWVA, Inc.

April 24, 2003

EA-03-047

SWVA, Inc.
d/b/a Steel of West Virginia, Inc.
ATTN: Mr. Timothy R. Duke
             President, CEO and Treasurer
P. O. Box 2547
Huntington, West Virginia 25703

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 47-16310-02/02-01)

Dear Mr. Duke:

This refers to the inspection conducted on December 18-19, 2002, at your Huntington, West Virginia facility and a review of your report dated February 3, 2003. The purpose of the inspection was to examine issues related to an incident that occurred on December 16, 2002, involving damage to a Kay Ray fixed gauge containing 380 millicuries of Cesium-137. The results of the NRC inspection were forwarded to you by letter dated March 3, 2003.

On April 16, 2003, a predecisional enforcement conference was conducted at the Steel of West Virginia, Incorporated (SWVA, Inc.) facility, located in Huntington, West Virginia, with you and members of your staff to discuss the apparent violations, their significance, their root causes, and your corrective actions. Enclosures 2 and 3, contain copies of the material presented by the NRC and SWVA, Inc., respectively.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Violation A involved the removal of a damaged gauge and installation of a device containing sealed sources to replace the damaged gauge by an individual who was not under the supervision of the Radiation Safety Officer and who was not specifically licensed by the Commission or an Agreement State to perform such services. This is contrary to the requirements of License Condition Nos. 12 and 14. Violation B involved the conduct of a radiation survey with a meter that could not evaluate the extent of the radiation levels present and that had not been calibrated at the proper frequency. This is contrary to the requirements of 10 CFR 20.1501.

Upon recognizing that the gauge was damaged, plant personnel took immediate action to evacuate the casting deck and relocate the gauge to an area where it could be safely secured in the short term. Plant personnel had an awareness of the potential radiation hazards and took actions to limit the amount of time each individual was subjected to the radiation field and maximize their distance from the radioactive source. These and other steps limited each individual's exposure to radiation to very low levels (estimated by a consultant hired by SWVA, Inc., to be less than 41 millirem whole body). SWVA, Inc., subsequently notified the NRC of the event on the morning of December 17, 2002, and contracted with a licensed consultant and waste broker to package and dispose of the damaged gauge. This event, however, highlights the potential radiation hazard to individuals who have not received training in proper response to a non-routine or emergency event such as occurred when the gauge was damaged on December 16, 2002. Because the survey meter used by plant personnel was off-scale high, the responders had no way of accurately determining the radiation levels emanating from the damaged gauge. In addition, the company employees involved in the removal of the damaged gauge and installation of a device containing sealed sources to replace the damaged gauge, may have lacked specific knowledge of the safeguards and/or techniques necessary to safely conduct these activities. This could have created the potential for much greater radiation exposure to these individuals, as well as to other plant employees. 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 NRC 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 you described during the predecisional enforcement conference included the taking of immediate actions to secure the damaged gauge, proper notification to the NRC and actions to package and dispose of the damaged gauge, the purchase of a survey meter capable of measuring dose rates of up to 50 rem, the installation of firebrick directly above the gauge such that any molten steel would be diverted away from the gauge, discussions about the incident with plant personnel and the conduct of management meetings within the company on the details of and lessons learned from the event, the successful completion of Radiation Safety Officer training for six additional licensee personnel, the conduct of an additional audit each year to ensure the calibration of instruments at the required frequency, and acquiring the services of an independent technical consultant to audit the company's use of licensed gauges and to conduct a review of the dose reconstitution (completed in February 2003). 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 inspection and involved your failure to amend the license to name a Radiation Safety Officer. Violation C has been characterized at Severity Level IV in accordance with the Enforcement Policy because of its low safety significance. Corrective actions have been taken to amend the license to name a Radiation Safety Officer.

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. 47-16310-02/02-01, Enclosure 3, 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.

This letter also serves to close the NRC's Confirmatory Action Letter (CAL) No. 02-02-005, dated December 23, 2002. Closure of the CAL is based on the SWVA corrective actions documented in this letter and discussed at the conference, and our review of the SWVA responses to the CAL dated December 27, 2002 and February 3, 2003.

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

Sincerely,

  /RA/ BSM for LAR

  Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket No: 030-28692
License No: 47-16310-02



Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/ encl:
State of West Virginia


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Steel of West Virginia, Inc.
Huntington, West Virginia
  Docket No: 030-28692
License No: 47-16310-02
EA-03-047

During an NRC inspection conducted on December 18-19, 2002, 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.   Condition No. 12 of the Steel of West Virginia, Inc. (SWVA) license in effect on December 16, 2002, and during the NRC inspection requires, in part, that licensed material be used by, or under the supervision of, Benjamin C. Rickard. Condition No. 14 of that license further required, in part, that installation, initial radiation survey, relocation, or removal from service of devices containing sealed sources be performed by Benjamin Rickard or by persons specifically licensed by the Commission or an Agreement State to perform such services.

Contrary to the above, on December 16, 2002 an individual who was not under the supervision of Benjamin C. Rickard and who was not specifically licensed by the Commission or an Agreement State to perform such services, removed a damaged gauge from service, and installed a device containing sealed sources to replace the damaged gauge.

B.  10 CFR 20.1501(a) requires that each licensee make or cause to be made surveys that may be necessary for the licensee to comply with the regulations in Part 20 and that are reasonable under the circumstances to evaluate the extent of radiation levels and the potential radiological hazards that could be present.

10 CFR 20.1501(b) requires that the licensee ensure that instruments and equipment used for quantitative radiation measurements (e.g., dose rate and effluent monitoring) be calibrated periodically.

Contrary to the above, on December 16, 2002, the licensee performed a radiation survey with a meter that could not evaluate the extent of the radiation levels present in that it was off scale on its highest range. In addition, the licensee performed a radiation survey with a meter that was last calibrated on September 5, 2001 and was due for calibration in September 2002.

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

C.   Condition No. 11 of the SWVA license in effect on December 16, 2002, and during the NRC inspection designated Benjamin C. Rickard as the Radiation Safety Officer.

Contrary to the above, as of December 18, 2002, the licensee failed to amend the license to name a replacement Radiation Safety Officer after the individual named on the license discontinued his radiation safety duties.

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. 47-16310-02/02-01, Enclosure 3, and in the 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 24th day of April 2003

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