United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-174 - B J Services Company

June 12, 1997

EA 97-174

Mr. Charles L. Smith
Manager, Safety and Environmental
B J Services Company, U.S.A.
P. O. Box 4442
Houston, Texas 77210

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION 
          (NRC Inspection Report No. 030-19037/97-03)

Dear Mr. Smith:

This refers to the inspection conducted on March 17 and 19, 1997, at the Clinton, Oklahoma facility. This routine inspection was conducted to ensure that activities at B J Services Company's (BJ) field offices were performed in accordance with NRC requirements and the condition of its license. The inspection findings were subsequently discussed with your staff during a telephonic exit briefing on April 2, 1997, and were documented in the subject inspection report dated May 5, 1997. The cover letter to that inspection report provided BJ the opportunity to respond to the apparent violations in writing or to request a predecisional enforcement conference. BJ did not request a conference, and instead provided a written response in its letter dated May 23, 1997.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information provided in BJ's May 23 response to the inspection report, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements occurred. This violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Specifically, the issues involved BJ's failure to secure gauges containing licensed material from unauthorized removal as required by 10 CFR 20.1801. As a result, the dose rates from the gauges in an unrestricted area exceeded 2 millirem in any one hour, as limited by 10 CFR 20.1301.

The violation did not result in any known exposures to employees or members of the public in excess of regulatory requirements. However, the NRC considers failures to maintain security and control over licensed material to be of significant regulatory concern because these requirements are designed to protect your employees and members of the public from unintended radiation exposures. 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 civil penalty in the base amount of $2,750 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.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. We have determined that the actions described in BJ's May 23, 1997, letter are responsive to our concerns, and therefore corrective action credit is warranted. These actions included designating a building inside a fenced area in which to store the nuclear gauges, controlling the keys to the locked gate and locked buildings, limiting access to the building and property, and marking the gate to the property and the doors to the building with a "Caution - Radioactive Materials" sign.

Therefore, to encourage prompt 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 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 inspection report and BJ's May 23, 1997 letter. 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, its enclosure, and your May 23 response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room.

                             Sincerely, 


                             Ellis W. Merschoff
                             Regional Administrator 

Docket No. 030-19037
License No. 42-19649-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/Enclosure:
State of Texas
State of Oklahoma


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
B J Services Company, U.S.A.                               Docket No. 030-19037
Houston, Texas                                             License No. 42-19649-01
                                                           EA 97-174

During an NRC inspection conducted on March 17 and 19, 1997, 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 20.1002, 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.

10 CFR 20.1301(a)(2) requires that the licensee conduct operations so that the dose in any unrestricted area from external sources does not exceed 2 millirem in any one hour.

Contrary to the above, from March 15 through 17, 1997, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to six in-line gauges. All gauges contained licensed materials; specifically, four gauges contained 100 mCi of Cs-137 and the other two contained 200 mCi of Cs-137. As a result, licensee operations were conducted such that the dose in an unrestricted area from external sources exceeded 2 millirem in any one hour; specifically, the resultant dose rate was measured at approximately 15 millirem per hour on contact WITH a density gauge in an unrestricted area.

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 Inspection Report No. 030-19037/97-03, and the licensee's May 23, 1997 letter. 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, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice).

Because your response, should you provide one, 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).

Dated at Arlington, Texas,
this 12th day of June 1997

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