United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-257 - Wilcox Associates

September 3, 1996

EA 96-257

Richard D. Wilcox
President
Wilcox Associates
7711 South U.S. 131
Cadillac, MI 49601

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION
          (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 030-20901/96001(DNMS))

Dear Mr. Wilcox:

This letter refers to the routine safety inspection conducted from June 25 to July 12, 1996, to review NRC-licensed activities at Wilcox Associates, Cadillac, Michigan. Also reviewed during the inspection were the circumstances surrounding damage to a Troxler moisture/density gauge<1> that occurred on August 19, 1995, located at a highway construction site in Kent County, Michigan. The inspection report was mailed to Wilcox Associates on August 2, 1996, and in a letter dated August 13, 1996, Wilcox Associates responded to the apparent violations discussed in the inspection report.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information provided in the letter from Wilcox Associates, the NRC has determined that a significant violation of NRC requirements occurred. This violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the inspection report.

While the NRC recognizes that the sealed sources were not damaged during the event, the violation is of significant regulatory concern because each NRC licensee is responsible for the protection of the public health and safety, and the health and safety of its employees, by ensuring that all NRC requirements are met. Each licensee must ensure that NRC-licensed material is controlled so that it does not become a hazard to the public. The incident on August 19, 1995, is considered to be a violation representing a significant failure to control licensed material and is 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. Your facility has not been the subject of a previous NRC escalated enforcement action; therefore, 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. Credit was warranted because Wilcox Associates: disciplined the gauge technician; trained four assistant radiation safety officers in the use of Troxler gauges; and implemented a training program for gauge users to prevent similar situations. Other corrective actions included: forming an emergency response team, obtaining beepers so that supervisors can be immediately contacted during an emergency; and contracting with an environmental firm to conduct emergency radiation surveys during an event involving NRC-licensed material.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive corrective actions and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement actions, I have decided not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty.

Three other violations were identified during the inspection. These violations concerned the failures to: (1) detain and survey for contamination the vehicle involved in the August 19, 1995 event; (2) test sealed sources for leakage and contamination at prescribed intervals; and (3) review the content and implementation of the radiation program annually.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reasons for the violation, and the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report No. 030-20901/96001(DNMS) and the letter from Wilcox Associates dated August 13, 1996. 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 choose to provide additional information, 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, the enclosed Notice, and your response if you choose to respond, will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room.

                                  Sincerely, 

                                  /s/ W. L. Axelson (for)

                                  A. Bill Beach
                                  Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-20901
License No. 21-23314-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
Wilcox Associates                                               Docket No. 030-20901
Cadillac, Michigan                                              License No. 21-23314-01
                                                                EA 96-257

During an NRC inspection conducted from June 25 to July 12, 1996, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

A. 10 CFR 20.1801 requires that the licensee secure from unauthorized removal licensed materials that are stored in an unrestricted area. 10 CFR 20.1802 requires that the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material that is in an unrestricted area and that is not in storage. As defined in 10 CFR 20.1003, an unrestricted area means an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.

Contrary to the above, on August 19, 1995, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to a Troxler moisture/density gauge containing NRC-licensed material (nominally 10 millicuries (370 MBq) of cesium-137 and 40 millicuries (1.48 GBq) of americium-241 in sealed sources) located at a highway construction site in Kent County, Michigan, an unrestricted area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material. Specifically, the gauge technician placed the device in front of his vehicle and walked away. He later returned to his truck and started to drive away at which time the gauge was struck. (01013)

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

B. License Condition No. 12.A, Amendment No. 2, to NRC Materials License No. 21-23314-01, which was in effect from January 30, 1989, until it was superseded by License Amendment No. 4 on June 16, 1995, required, in part, that sources be tested for leakage and/or contamination at intervals not to exceed 6 months.

License Condition No. 13.A, Amendment No. 4, to NRC Materials License No. 21-23314-01, which became effective on June 16, 1995, requires the licensee test sealed sources and detector cells for leakage and/or contamination at intervals not to exceed 6 months or at such other intervals that are specified by the certificate of registration referred to in 10 CFR 32.210. The certificate of registration of the Troxler Model No. 3411 moisture/density gauge specifies that leak tests shall be made at a frequency of 6 months.

Contrary to the above, the licensee did not test sealed sources for leakage and/or contamination at intervals not to exceed 6 months. Specifically, sealed sources of nominally 10 millicuries (370 MBq) of cesium-137 and 40 millicuries (1.48 GBq) of americium-241, contained in a Troxler Model No. 3411 (Serial No. 10377) moisture/density gauge, were not tested from January 1995 to February 1, 1996, an interval that exceeded 6 months. (02014)

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

C. License Condition 20.B of NRC Materials License No. 21-23314-01, requires, in part, that the licensee conduct its program in accordance with the statements, representations and procedures contained in a letter dated May 18, 1995 and the attachments thereto.

The Licensee's "Standard Operating and Emergency Procedures" were attached to the May 18, 1995 letter. Paragraph 3 of the "Emergency Procedure" required the licensee detain any heavy equipment that may be involved in an emergency or unusual situation until it is determined that no contamination is present.

Contrary to the above, on August 19, 1995, a Troxler Model No. 3411 moisture/density gauge containing NRC licensed materials (nominally 10 millicuries (370 MBq) of cesium-137 and 40 millicuries (1.48 GBq) of americium-241 in sealed sources) was struck by a pick-up truck and the licensee did not detain the truck or otherwise determine that there was no contamination present. (03014)

D. 10 CFR 20.1101(c), which became effective on January 1, 1993, requires that the licensee periodically (at least annually) review the radiation protection program content and implementation.

Contrary to the above, from January 1, 1993, to June 25, 1996, the license did not conduct any reviews of the radiation program content or implementation. (04014)

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

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reasons for the violation, and the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report No. 030-20901/96001(DNMS) and a letter from Wilcox Associates dated August 13, 1996. However, you are required to respond to the provisions of 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 III, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Illinois 60532-4351, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation.

Dated at Lisle, Illinois
this 3rd day of September 1996

 

 

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