United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-03-175 - Hastings Testing Engineers and Environment

March 4, 2004

EA-03-175

Robert Hastings, President
Hastings Testing Engineers and Environmental
4376 Barchester
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC ROUTINE INSPECTION REPORT NO. 030321
6/2003-001(DNMS))

Dear Mr. Hastings:

This refers to the routine inspection conducted on September 3, 2003, at your Howell, Michigan, facility, with continued in office record review until October 28, 2003. The purpose of the inspection was to determine whether licensed activities were performed safely and in accordance with NRC requirements. The inspection report was transmitted to you on November 18, 2003, and identified one apparent violation of NRC requirements involving the failure to lock and secure from unauthorized access or maintain constant surveillance of NRC-licensed materials. In addition, the inspection report identified four Severity Level IV violations of NRC requirements involving posting, labeling and transporting radioactive materials, and reporting an event.

In the letter transmitting the inspection report, we provided you the opportunity to address the apparent violation associated with the security of NRC-licensed materials by either attending a predecisional enforcement conference or by providing a written response before we made our final enforcement decision. In a letter, dated January 16, 2004, you provided a response to the apparent violation.

Based on the information developed during the on-site inspection, the in office record review, and the information that you provided in your January 16, 2004, response, 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. During the inspection on September 3, 2003, the NRC identified that three moisture density gauges were left unlocked, unattended and unsecured at your authorized storage location in Howell, Michigan. Each gauge contained sealed sources of NRC-licensed materials (nominally 8 millicuries of cesium-137 and 44 millicuries of americium-241).

Although there were no actual radiation safety consequences associated with this violation, the failure to secure from unauthorized access or maintain constant surveillance of licensed materials is a significant safety issue. Implementation of adequate security measures, including locking the gauges when not in use, is intended to prevent the loss or theft of licensed materials and to prevent members of the public from being unknowingly and unnecessarily exposed to radiation. Therefore, this violation has been categorized in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, at Severity Level III.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $3000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two inspections, 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. Credit was warranted for corrective actions that included: (1) immediately securing the portable moisture density gauges; (2) providing training to the authorized users on proper storage, locking the gauge when not in use, reporting damaged locks to the radiation safety officer, and ensuring that personnel are present when the gauges are being charged; and (3) informing the users that disciplinary action will be taken if gauges are left unsecured and unattended in the future.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement actions, 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 violation constitutes an escalated enforcement action, that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation, 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 Inspection Report No. 03032116/2003-001(DNMS) and your letter, dated January 16, 2004. Therefore, you are not required to respond to this letter unless the descriptions in our report and your letter do 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.

We reviewed the corrective actions documented in your December 16, 2003, and January 16, 2004, letters in response to the four Severity Level IV violations cited in the Notice enclosed in our November 18, 2003, letter. The corrective actions appear to be adequate and we have no further questions at this time. These corrective actions will be examined during a future inspection.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.390 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosure, and your response, if any, 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/ Geoffrey E. Grant for

James L. Caldwell
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-32116
License No. 21-26296-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Hastings Testing Engineers and Environmental Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Docket No. 030-32116
License No. 21-26296-01
EA-03-175

During an NRC inspection conducted between September 3 and October 28, 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 violation is listed 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 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, controlled area means an area, outside of a restricted area but inside the site boundary, access to which can be limited by the licensee for any reason; and unrestricted area means an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.
Condition 20 of License Number 21-26296-01 requires that each portable gauge 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 September 3, 2003, the licensee failed to secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to licensed materials in three Troxler Model 3430 portable moisture/density gauges, each containing 8 millicuries of cesium-137 and 44 millicuries of americium-241, located in the storage garage/soils testing lab at 4841 Golf Club Lane, Howell, Michigan, which is a controlled area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material. Additionally, the licensee failed to lock the gauges, to prevent unauthorized or accidental removal of the sealed source from its shielded position, when not under the direct surveillance of an authorized user.

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplements IV and VI).

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation, 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 Inspection Report No. 03032116/2003-001(DNMS) and your letter, dated January 16, 2004. You are not required to respond to this Notice of Violation (Notice). However, you are required to submit a written statement or explanation pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201 if the descriptions in our report and your letter do 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; EA-03-175" 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 III, 801 Warrenville Road, Suite 255, Lisle, IL 60532-4351, 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.

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.

In ccordance with 10 CFR 19.11, you may be required to post this Notice within two working days.

Dated this 4th day of March 2004.

 

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