United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-536 - Connell Limited Partnership

March 6, 1997

EA 96-536

John McCutchen, President
Connell Limited Partnership
Yuba Heat Transfer Division
P.O. Box 3158
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74101-3158

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL 
          PENALTY -  $8,800
          (NRC Inspection Report 030-05967/96-01)

Dear Mr. McCutchen:

This refers to the predecisional enforcement conference conducted in the NRC's Arlington, Texas office on February 10, 1997. The conference was conducted to discuss apparent violations of NRC requirements associated with a November 20, 1996 radiography incident at Connell Limited Partnership's (CLP) Yuba Heat Transfer Division, Tulsa, Oklahoma. An inspection report describing the incident and the apparent violations was issued by the NRC on January 27, 1997.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that the following violations of NRC requirements occurred: (1) failure to perform a survey of a radiographic exposure device after each exposure; (2) failure to secure a sealed source assembly in the shielded position each time the source was returned to that position; and (3) failure to read and record the exposure reading on a pocket dosimeter at the end of the day. These failures by a CLP radiographer resulted in a radiation overexposure to a radiographer employed by Tulsa Gamma Ray, Inc. (TGR), who followed CLP's radiographer on shift. Although the NRC is not issuing a citation to CLP for the overexposure, clearly the violations are more significant based on their consequences.

The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty and the circumstances surrounding them were described in detail in the subject inspection report. As discussed above, these violations resulted in a TGR radiographer receiving a radiation exposure in excess of NRC's annual occupational limits, i.e., a total effective dose equivalent of 8.3 rems, 6.465 rems of which were attributable to the November 20 incident. Although there were a number of contributing causes, including a malfunctioning alarm system in the facility, the root cause of this overexposure event was the CLP radiographer's failure to survey the radiographic exposure device and source guide tube when he completed his shift to assure that the source had been fully returned to its shielded position.

As discussed at the conference, CLP's corrective actions have included: (1) repairing an inoperable alarm system and installing a redundant system; (2) prohibiting radiography if the alarm system is non-functioning; (3) obtaining alarm ratemeters with ear plugs to overcome high noise levels in the facility; and 4) re-training of the CLP radiographer.

We recognize that CLP has a history of compliance with NRC requirements, and that the lapse in safety evidenced by these violations may be an isolated occurrence. Nonetheless, these violations are significant from both a safety and regulatory perspective, because: (1) they resulted in an unnecessary radiation overexposure; (2) they had the potential to result in more significant exposures had the unshielded source not been discovered when it was; and (3) the incident would not have occurred had the radiographer complied with these fundamental safety rules. Therefore, these violations are classified in the aggregate as a Severity Level II problem, in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty with a base value of $8,800 is considered for a Severity Level II problem. Based on the significance of the violations in this case (Severity Level II), the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Regarding identification, the violations were discovered only after the TGR radiographer realized, during a break when noise levels in the facility were reduced, that his alarm ratemeter had activated. The violations were essentially self-revealing. Therefore, CLP is not being given credit for identification. However, CLP is being given credit for its corrective actions, which were prompt and comprehensive. This credit is given on the assumption that CLP will apply these corrective actions, as appropriate, at any other location at which CLP conducts radiography. This results in the assessment of a civil penalty at the base value of $8,800.

To emphasize the importance of following all requirements related to the safe use of radiography equipment, 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 $8,800 for the Severity Level II problem described above and in the Notice.

CLP is required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice when preparing its response. CLP should document the specific actions taken and any additional actions planned to prevent recurrence. The NRC will use CLP's 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, 

                            org signed by 
                            J. E. Dyer
                            Acting Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-05967
License No. 35-13735-01

Enclosure:
Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/Enclosure:
Oklahoma Radiation Program Control Director
Pete Moss, President
Tulsa Gamma Ray, Inc.
1127 South Lewis
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Connell Limited Partnership                                  Docket No. 30-05967
Tulsa, Oklahoma                                              License No. 35-13735-01
                                                             EA 96-536

During an NRC inspection conducted December 9, 1996 through January 9, 1997, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 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 34.22(a) requires, in part, that during radiographic operations, the sealed source assembly be secured in the shielded position each time the source is returned to that position

Contrary to the above, on November 20, 1996, a licensee radiographer did not secure a sealed source assembly in the shielded position after retracting the source at the termination of the last radiographic exposure performed during his shift. (01012)

B. 10 CFR 34.43(b) requires, in part, that a licensee ensure that a survey with a calibrated and operable radiation survey instrument is made after each radiographic exposure to determine that the sealed source has been returned to its shielded position.

Contrary to the above, on November 20, 1996, a license radiographer did not perform a survey after the last radiographic exposure conducted during his shift to determine that the sealed source had been returned to its shielded position. (01022)

C. 10 CFR 34.33(b) requires, in part, that pocket dosimeters be read and exposures recorded daily.

Contrary to the above, on November 20, 1996, a license radiographer did not read and record his pocket dosimeter readings at the end of his shift. (01032)

These violations represent a Severity Level II problem (Supplement VI).
Civil Penalty - $8,800

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Connell Limited Partnership (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" 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. 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. Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, this response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

Within the same time as provided for the response required above under 10 CFR 2.201, the Licensee may pay the civil penalty by letter addressed to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with a check, draft, money order, or electronic transfer payable to the Treasurer of the United States in the amount of the civil penalty proposed above, or the cumulative amount of the civil penalties if more than one civil penalty is proposed, 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 the time specified, 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.B.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, letter with payment of civil penalty, and Answer to a Notice of Violation) should be addressed to: James Lieberman, 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 placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR), 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. 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). If safeguards information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, please provide the level of protection described in 10 CFR 73.21.

Dated at Arlington, Texas
this 6th day of March 1997

 

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