United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-205 - Raytheon Engineers & Constructors, Inc.

September 20, 1996

EA 96-205

Mr. Samuel J. Kasley, Program Director
Raytheon Engineers & Constructors, Inc.
2850 Pa'a Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION 
          (NRC Inspection Report No. 030-20425/96-01)

Dear Mr. Kasley:

This refers to the inspection conducted on May 14-15, 1996, of the activities performed by Raytheon Engineers & Constructors, Inc. (RE&C) at Johnston Atoll. The special inspection included a review of the controls implemented by RE&C for byproduct material used in chemical agent detectors, with particular emphasis on the loss of an americium-241 foil source reported by RE&C to the NRC Region IV office on May 10, 1996. The findings were discussed with you and members of your staff during a telephonic exit briefing on June 11, 1996. By letter dated July 9, 1996, we sent you the subject inspection report which documented our findings, and provided you with the opportunity to respond to the identified apparent violation or to request a predecisional enforcement conference. You did not request a predecisional enforcement conference and instead provided a written response dated September 3, 1996.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided in your September 3, response to the inspection report, 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. The americium-241 foil source is contained in an Army M8A1 chemical nerve agent detector, which RE&C uses at Johnston Atoll to detect any potential chemical nerve agent releases in conjunction with the storage and demilitarization operations at Johnston Atoll. The source was last inventoried on August 31, 1991, and was identified as missing during the subsequent inventory performed on January 28, 1992. (At the time, NRC's regulations did not require notification of the lost source.) In its September 3 response, RE&C stated that the company presently believes the unaccounted for source has either been removed from the atoll by a visiting army company that uses identical equipment or is currently in an inaccessible location on Johnston Atoll. As such, RE&C believes there is little opportunity for the equipment to come in contact with the public or pose a safety hazard.

We noted that RE&C's September 3 response states that RE&C does not believe that there has been a violation of NRC regulations or, if there has been a violation, it was due to "extenuating circumstances." However, the fact that the source was lost is a violation of 10 CFR 20.207 (the regulation in effect at the time). With regard to the "extenuating circumstances," RE&C implied that these were related to "much Army transient activity on the Atoll." We would point out that it is incumbent upon RE&C to develop procedures or practices to ensure compliance with applicable regulations including the requirements that deal with the control of radioactive material.

Although the circumstances described by RE&C indicate that the safety significance of the violation is minimal, the violation is of regulatory significance. 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 base civil penalty in the amount of $2,500 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last 2 years, or last two inspections, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. The NRC has determined that credit is warranted for the Corrective Action factor. RE&C's corrective actions included a review of inventory and security procedures, a review of compliance with those procedures by Army personnel, seeking an amendment to allow the Radiation Safety Officer to be located on Johnston Atoll, the formation of a Radioactive Materials User Committee to address common accountability issues and to formulate and approve procedures, weekly inventories of licensed material, an improved sign-out and tracking system, and training all users with particular emphasis on inventory and control.

Therefore, to encourage prompt identification and comprehensive correction of violations, and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement action, I have been authorized not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, significant violations in the future could result in more significant enforcement action, including a civil penalty. In addition, issuance of this Severity Level III violation constitutes 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 the subject NRC Inspection Report and RE&C's September 3 response to the report. Therefore, you are not required to respond to this letter unless the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you dispute the violation, you should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice.

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 placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).

                            Sincerely, 

                            original signed by

                            L.J. Callan
                            Regional Administrator 

Docket No. 030-20425
License No. 53-23258-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc (w/enclosure):
Mr. John P. Hageman
Southwest Research Institute
6220 Culebra Road
San Antonio, Texas 78228

State of Hawaii


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
Raytheon Engineers & Constructors, Inc.                            Docket No.  030-20425
Honolulu, Hawaii                                                   License No.  53-23258-01
                                                                   EA No.  96-205

During an NRC inspection conducted on May 14 through June 11, 1996, 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 20.207, the regulation in effect in 1991 and 1992, required that licensed material stored in an unrestricted area be secured from unauthorized removal from the place of storage and that licensed material in an unrestricted area and not in storage be tended under the constant surveillance and immediate control of the licensee. 10 CFR 20.3 defined an unrestricted area as any area to which access is not controlled by the licensee for the purpose of protecting individuals from exposure to radiation and radioactive materials, and any area used for residential quarters.

Contrary to the above, after August 31, 1991, a 250 microcurie americium-241 foil source was stored and used in an unrestricted area and the source was not secured from unauthorized removal nor tended under constant surveillance and immediate control of the licensee. The source was identified as missing during a physical inventory performed in January 1992 and as of June 11, 1996, the source had not been located.

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement IV).

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 correspondence dated September 3, 1996. 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, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011, and the Walnut Creek Field Office, 1450 Maria Lane, Walnut Creek, California 94596, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation.

Because the response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR), should you choose to respond, to the extent possible, it should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction. However, if it is necessary to include such information, it should clearly indicate the specific information that should not be placed in the PDR and provide the legal basis to support the request for withholding the information from the public.

Dated at Arlington, Texas,
this 20th day of September, 1996

 

 

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