United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-03-084 - Patterson Wireline

September 9, 2003

EA-03-084

Mr. Patrick Patterson, President
Patterson Wireline
3710 Freedom Road
Trinidad, Colorado 81082

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY - $3,000 (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 150-00005/02-03 AND INVESTIGATION REPORT NO. 4-2002-058)

Dear Mr. Patterson:

This refers to the predecisional enforcement conference conducted in the NRC Region IV office in Arlington, Texas on June 26, 2003. The purpose of the conference was to discuss two apparent willful violations identified during an inspection of Patterson Wireline activities in Wasila and Big Lake, Alaska. These findings were discussed with you during a telephonic exit briefing on May 19, 2003, and were documented in the subject inspection report dated June 5, 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 violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them were described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violations involve failures to: (1) wear personnel monitoring devices while handling licensed material and (2) placard the transport vehicle used to transport licensed material. Further, the NRC has concluded that willfulness is associated with these violations in that the logging supervisor deliberately failed to perform these activities.

The violations are significant because they were caused by deliberate misconduct. The NRC must be able to rely on its licensees and their employees to conduct activities in compliance with NRC requirements because the NRC cannot inspect all of these activities. Therefore, these violations are 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 civil penalty in the base amount of $3,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because of the deliberate misconduct involved, 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 violations, our conclusion is that Patterson Wireline is not deserving of Identification credit. However, we have determined that Patterson Wireline is deserving of Corrective Action credit. This results in the assessment of a civil penalty at the base value. Your corrective actions included taking actions to comply with the requirements (once the inspector put you on notice), discussing this incident with company well loggers to stress the importance of wearing dosimetry, placarding vehicles, and complying with radiation safety requirements, and reinforcing radiation safety requirements by using the company's bonus program.

Therefore, to emphasize the significance 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 $3,000 for the Severity Level III problem.

You are required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice when preparing your response. 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/

Thomas P. Gwynn
Acting Regional Administrator

Docket No. 150-00005
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:
Colorado Radiation Control Program Director
Alaska Radiation Control Program Director


ENCLOSURE 1

NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Patterson Wireline
Trinidad, Colorado
Docket No. 150-00005
General License pursuant to
    10 CFR 150.20
EA-03-084

During an NRC inspection and investigation which were concluded on May 19, 2003, violations of NRC requirements were 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 violations and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

A.   10 CFR 39.65(a) requires, in part, that the licensee may not permit an individual to act as a logging supervisor or logging assistant unless that person wears, at all times, during the handling of licensed radioactive materials, a personnel dosimeter that is processed and evaluated by an accredited National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) processor.

Contrary to the above, on November 13, 2002, a logging supervisor and logging assistant handled licensed radioactive material without wearing personnel dosimeters.

B.   10 CFR 71.5(a) requires that a licensee who transports licensed material outside of the site of usage, as specified in the NRC license or where transport is on public highways, or who delivers licensed material to a carrier for transport, comply with the applicable requirements of the regulations appropriate to the mode of transport of the Department of Transportation (DOT) in 49 CFR Parts 170 through 189. 49 CFR 172.504 prescribes requirements for placarding vehicles used to transport hazardous materials. Specifically, Table 1 requires, in part, that the transport vehicle be placarded on each side and each end with a "RADIOACTIVE" placard when transporting packages bearing a "RADIOACTIVE YELLOW-III" label.

Contrary to the above, on November 13, 2002, the licensee transported 2 packages bearing a "RADIOACTIVE YELLOW-III" label and the transport vehicle was not placarded with "RADIOACTIVE" placards.

This is a Severity Level III problem (Supplement IV).
Civil Penalty - $3,000. (EA-03-084)

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Patterson Wireline (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-03-084" 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 violations 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 J. 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).

In accordance with 10 CFR 19.11, you are required to post this Notice within two working days.

Dated this 9th day of September 2003

 

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