United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-499 - Pennsylvania State University (The)

December 30, 1996

EA 96-499

William D. Taylor, Ph.D.
Director, Intercollege Programs
The Pennsylvania State University
202 Kern Building
University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION 
          (NRC Inspection Report No. 030-00952/96-001) 

Dear Dr. Taylor:

This refers to the inspection conducted on November 18-20, 1996, at your University Park, Pennsylvania facility. The purpose of the inspection was to determine whether activities authorized by the license were conducted safely and in accordance with NRC requirements. At the conclusion of the inspection, the findings were discussed with you and the members of your staff identified in the Inspection Report. The inspector identified apparent violations of NRC requirements, which were described in the NRC inspection report transmitted with our letter, dated December 6, 1996. On December 20, 1996, a predecisional enforcement conference was conducted with you, and other members of your staff to discuss the violations, their causes, and your corrective actions. A copy of the enforcement conference report is enclosed.

Based on the information developed during the inspection, information provided in a letter dated November 29, 1996, in response to a Confirmatory Action Letter issued by the NRC on November 22, 1996, as well as information 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. The first violation involves several examples of failure to secure licensed radioactive material or limit access to material at the facility. The unsecured material included: (1) an unopened package containing a 5.656 millicurie stock vial of phosphorus-32, a 1 millicurie stock vial of phosphorus-32, and a 1 millicurie stock vial of hydrogen-3, located in the Agricultural Science and Industry building, an unrestricted area; (2) liquid waste containing 6 millicuries of chromium-51, and a 1 millicurie stock vial of chromium-51 located in the Henning building, an unrestricted area; and (3) two 1 millicurie stock vials, and six stock vials containing at least 250 microcuries of phosphorus-32 located in the Althouse building, an unrestricted area. At the time each example was identified, the areas were not controlled, and constant surveillance was not maintained of the licensed material. This violation represents a significant safety and regulatory concern because it had the potential to cause exposures to members of your staff as well as members of the public. Therefore, the violation is classified 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 an escalated enforcement action 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.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Credit for corrective actions is warranted because your corrective actions were both prompt and comprehensive. These actions, which were described either during the enforcement conference and/or in your November 29, 1996 response to an NRC Confirmatory Action Letter, included, but were not limited to the following: (1) sending a written notice, on November 29, 1996, to all supervisors of radioisotope laboratories informing them that the security rule in section 12.10 of the Rules and Procedures for the Use of Radioactive Material at your facility is no longer valid and that 10 CFR 20.1801 and 1802 will be used to ensure security of radioactive material; (2) including evaluating compliance with 10 CFR 20.1801 and 1802 as part of the routine laboratory inspections; (3) training to the health physics staff on the requirements of 10 CFR 20.1801 and 1802 on November 26, 1996; (4) completion of audits of about 60% of the laboratories by the Health Physics Office with plans to also audit the other laboratories by January 21, 1997; (5) plans to include the security requirements of 10 CFR 20.1801 and 1802 in the radiation safety training required for all persons using radioactive material beginning November 26, 1996; and (6) plans to notify the University Isotope Committee of laboratories which do not meet the requirements of 10 CFR 20.1801 and 1802 and determining the corrective action that will be required.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, similar violations in the future could result in further escalated enforcement action.

Three additional violations identified during the inspection also are described in the enclosed Notice and are classified at Severity Level IV. Two other apparent violations set forth in the inspection report, which you identified and corrected prior to the inspection, are being treated as Non-Cited violations consistent with Section VII.B.1 of the NRC Enforcement Policy for the reasons provided in the enforcement conference report. One other apparent violation identified in the Inspection Report has been determined not to constitute a violation, as also described in the enforcement conference report.

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 placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).

                            Sincerely, 



                            Hubert J. Miller
                            Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-00952
License No. 37-00185-04

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation
2. Predecisional Enforcement Conference Report

cc w/encls:
Roger W. Granlund, Radiation Safety Officer
The Pennsylvania State University
228 Academic Projects Building
University Park, PA 16802

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
The Pennsylvania State University                                  Docket No. 030-00952
University Park, Pennsylvania                                      License No. 37-00185-04
                                                                   EA 96-499

During an NRC inspection conducted on November 18-20, 1996, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," (Enforcement Policy) NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

A. 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.

Contrary to the above, between November 18-20, 1996, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to licensed material stored in several laboratory areas which were unrestricted areas nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material. The following unsecured materials were observed during the inspection: in the Agricultural Science and Industry building, an unopened package containing a 5.656 millicurie stock vial of phosphorus-32, a 1 millicurie stock vial of phosphorus-32, and a 1 millicurie stock vial of hydrogen-3; in the Henning building, liquid waste containing 6 millicuries of chromium-51 and a 1 millicurie stock vial of chromium-51; in the Althouse building, two - 1 millicurie stock vials and six stock vials containing at least 250 microcuries of phosphorus-32. (01013)

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

B. 10 CFR 20.1501 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, concentrations or quantities of radioactive materials, and the potential radiological hazards that could be present.

Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.1003, survey means an evaluation of the radiological conditions and potential hazards incident to the production, use, transfer, release, disposal, or presence of radioactive material or other sources of radiation.

Contrary to the above, as of November 20, 1996, the licensee did not make surveys to assure compliance with 10 CFR 20.2003(a)(1), which limits the disposal of licensed material into the sanitary sewerage to material that is readily soluble (or readily dispersible biological material) in water. Specifically, the licensee routinely disposed of licensed material to the sanitary sewerage, but had not determined whether the material discharged was readily soluble (or readily dispersible biological material) in water. (02014)

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

C. 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 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 172.704(c)(1) requires, in part, that each hazmat employer shall train each hazmat employee within 90 days after employment or the hazmat employee may perform new hazardous material job functions prior to the completion of training provided the employee performs those functions under the supervision of a properly trained and knowledgeable hazmat employee.

Contrary to the above, as of November 18, 1996, the licensee did not train a hazmat employee within 90 days after employment or ensure that the hazmat employee performed new hazardous material job functions prior to the completion of training under the supervision of a properly trained and knowledgeable hazmat employee. Specifically, on five occasions in the two years prior to November 18, 1996, employees who transported moisture density gauges containing licensed materials, a hazardous material, had not received hazmat training within 90 days after employment nor were they performing hazmat functions under the supervision of a properly trained and knowledgeable hazmat employee. (02024)

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

D. 10 CFR 20.1101(c) requires that the licensee shall periodically (at least annually) review the radiation protection program content and implementation.

Contrary to the above, as of November 18, 1996, the licensee did not review the radiation protection program content and implementation at least annually. Specifically, a review of the radiation protection program content and implementation for 1995 had not been completed at the time of the inspection. (02034)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, The Pennsylvania State University (Licensee) is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region I, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice). This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation" and should include for each violation; (1) the reason for the violation, or if contested, the basis for disputing the violation, (2) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (3) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further violations, and (4) 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 the Notice, an order or Demand for Information may be issued as to why the license should not be modified, suspended, or revoked, or why such other action as may be proper should not be taken. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the response time.

Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, this response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

Because your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR), to the extent possible, it should not include any personal privacy, or proprietary, information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction. 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).

Dated at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
this 30th day of December 1996

 

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