United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-327 - Frontier Production Logging, Inc.

November 7, 1997

EAs 97-327 & 97-457

W. Bram Lasseter, President
Frontier Production Logging, Inc.
P.O. Box 2778
Cody, Wyoming 82414

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL 
          PENALTY -$2,750 AND CONFIRMATORY ORDER MODIFYING LICENSE
          (NRC Inspection Report No. 030-20586/97-01& Investigation 
          Report No. 4-97-023) 

Dear Mr. Lasseter:

This refers to the inspection conducted on March 19-20, 1997, at your Cody Wyoming facility, and to an investigation completed by the NRC's Office of Investigations on June 13, 1997. The findings of the inspection and investigation were communicated to you during a telephonic exit briefing conducted on July 9, 1997, and were documented in the subject inspection report dated July 22, 1997. The inspection report identified six apparent violations which were being considered for escalated enforcement action. Consequently, we conducted a telephonic predecisional enforcement conference with you on August 4, 1997.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violations involve failures to: (1) file the appropriate documentation to receive NRC approval prior to vacating an authorized radioactive material storage location, (2) conduct operations so that the dose in any unrestricted area from external sources does not exceed 2 millirem in any 1 hour, (3) make adequate surveys of radiation levels in unrestricted areas to demonstrate compliance with the dose limits for individual members of the public, (4) utilize authorized shipping containers while transporting radioactive material, (5) monitor, upon receipt, the external surfaces of Department of Transportation (DOT) labeled packages for radioactive contamination, and (6) properly post areas in which licensed materials are stored. We note that your failure to seek NRC approval prior to vacating an authorized radioactive material storage location demonstrated at least a careless disregard for regulatory requirements. Specifically, you were aware of the requirement to obtain prior authorization and you did not comply with this requirement so as to delay payment of the applicable fees.

Your willful failure to file the appropriate documentation and receive NRC approval prior to vacating an authorized radioactive material storage location (Violation A in the attached Notice) is of significant regulatory concern to the NRC because the NRC's regulatory program is based on licensees acting with integrity and communicating with candor. 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 $2,750 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because Violation A was willful, 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. In this case, since the NRC identified the violation, you are not deserving of identification credit. However, the NRC has determined that you are deserving of corrective action credit given that you requested an amendment to reflect the correct address on your license and you committed during the conference to improve your communication with the NRC.

Therefore, to emphasize the significance of willful violations, 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 in the base amount of $2,750 for this Severity Level III violation.

During the telephonic predecisional enforcement conference, we also discussed the circumstances surrounding the remaining five violations. Based on the information you provided at the conference, it appears that these violations resulted from your lack of understanding of the regulations. Although none of the violations is significant individually, in total, the violations represent a breakdown in the control of your licensed activities. Therefore, these violations are classified in the aggregate in accordance with the Enforcement Policy, as a Severity Level III problem.

A civil penalty also was considered for this Severity Level III problem. To correct the violations, you agreed to attend Radiation Safety training, and to retain the services of an independent consultant to perform two audits of your radiation safety program. By letter dated October 20, 1997, we outlined the specific commitments concerning the training and audits which we would confirm by a Confirmatory Order Modifying License. You agreed to confirming these commitments in a Confirmatory Order Modifying License by your response dated October 29, 1997.

Consequently, to encourage your comprehensive corrective actions and in recognition of your commitments confirmed through the Confirmatory Order Modifying License, I am not proposing a civil penalty for this Severity Level III problem. Pursuant to Section 223 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, any person who willfully violates, attempts to violate, or conspires to violate, any provision of this Order shall be subject to criminal prosecution as set forth in that section. Violation of this Order may also subject the person to civil monetary penalty.

You are required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice when preparing your response. In your response, you should document the specific actions taken and any additional actions you plan to prevent recurrence. 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 enclosures, and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).

                             Sincerely, 


                            James Lieberman, Director
                            Office of Enforcement

Docket No. 030-20586
License No. 49-21384-01

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty
2. Confirmatory Order Modifying License

cc w/Enclosures:
Wyoming Radiation Control Program Director


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Frontier Production Logging, Inc.                      Docket No. 030-20586
Cody, Wyoming                                          License No. 49-21384-01
                                                       EA 97-327

During an NRC inspection and investigation conducted on March 19 through July 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 an associated civil penalty are set forth below:

A. Violation Assessed a Civil Penalty

Condition 10 of Byproduct Material License 49-21384-01 states that licensed material may be used at the licensee's facility located at 2121 East Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming, and at temporary job sites of the licensee anywhere in the United States where the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission maintains jurisdiction for regulating the use of licensed material.

Condition 11 of Byproduct Material License 49-21384-01 states that the licensee shall not vacate or release to unrestricted use a field office or storage location whose address is listed in Condition 10 of Byproduct Material License 49-21384-01, without prior NRC approval.

Contrary to this requirement, in October 1995, the licensee failed to obtain NRC approval prior to vacating the licensee's facility at 2121 East Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming. (01013)

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement VI).
Civil Penalty - $2,750.

B. Violations Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

1. 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 1 hour.

Contrary to this requirement, on March 20, 1997, the licensee failed to conduct operations so that the dose in an unrestricted area from external sources did not exceed 0.002 rem in any 1 hour. Specifically, on March 20, 1997, independent exposure rate measurements taken by the inspector at the licensee's storage location identified exposure rates of between 2.5 and 2.8 millirem/hr at the external wall of the licensee's vehicle. (02013)

2. 10 CFR 20.1302(a) requires, in part, that the licensee shall make or cause to be made, as appropriate, surveys of radiation levels in unrestricted and controlled areas to demonstrate compliance with the dose limits for individual members of the public.

10 CFR 20.1302(b) requires, in part, that the licensee shall show compliance with the annual dose limit by demonstrating by measurement or calculation that the total effective dose equivalent to the individual likely to receive the highest dose from the licensed operation does not exceed the annual dose limit, or by demonstrating that if an individual were continuously present in an unrestricted area, the dose from external sources would not exceed 0.002 rem (0.02 mSv) in an hour and 0.05 rem (0.5 mSv) in a year.

Contrary to these requirements, in calendar year 1996, the licensee failed to perform appropriate surveys of radiation levels in unrestricted areas to demonstrate compliance with the dose limits for individual members of the public. Specifically, rather than showing compliance with the annual dose limit by the methods authorized under 10 CFR 20.1302(b), the radiation safety officer evaluated the dose for an Individual Member of the General Public based upon his own dosimetry results and failed to account for the scenario in which an Individual Member of the General Public is continuously present in an unrestricted area. (02023)

3. 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 where transport is on public highways, 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 DOT in 49 CFR Parts 170 through 189.

49 CFR 173.475(a) requires, in part, that before each shipment of any Class 7 (radioactive) materials package, the offeror must insure by examination or appropriate tests, that the packaging is proper for the contents to be shipped.

Contrary to these requirements, on several occasions between October 1995 and March 1997, the licensee failed to ensure that the packaging utilized to transport radioactive material was appropriate for the contents to be shipped. The inspection disclosed that the licensee routinely transported on public roads, greater than 1.35 millicuries of I-131, a Type A quantity of radioactive material, in a subsurface tracer material ejector tool. The ejector tool was not evaluated to meet the DOT requirements necessary to be approved as a proper shipping container for a non-excepted, Type A quantity of iodine-131. (02033)

4. 10 CFR 20.1906(b)(1) requires that each licensee monitor the external surfaces of a package labeled with a Radioactive White 1, Yellow II, or Yellow III label for radioactive contamination, unless the package contains only radioactive material in the form of a gas or in special form as defined in 10 CFR 71.4.

Contrary to this requirement, as of March 20, 1997, the licensee failed to monitor the external surfaces of DOT labeled packages for radioactive contamination despite the fact that the radioactive material was not in the form of a gas or in special form as defined in 10 CFR 71.4. The inspection disclosed that, in accordance with the licensee's written procedures, the external surfaces of packages were only to be monitored for external contamination if there was evidence of package degradation. (02043)

5. 10 CFR 20.1902(e) requires that the licensee post each area or room in which there is used or stored an amount of licensed material exceeding 10 times the quantity of such material specified in Appendix C to 10 CFR Part 20 with a conspicuous sign or signs bearing the radiation symbol and the words "CAUTION, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL(S)" or "DANGER, RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL(S)."

Contrary to this requirement, between October 1995 and March 1997, the licensee failed to properly post areas in which licensed materials were stored. The inspection disclosed that the licensee had stored radioactive materials within company owned vehicles, and each vehicle contained licensed material exceeding 10 times the quantity of such material specified in Appendix C to 10 CFR Part 20 but was not posted with the required signs when parked at the licensee's lot in an industrial park. (02053)

These violations represent a Severity Level III problem (Supplement IV).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Frontier Production Logging, Inc. (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 violation(s) 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).

Dated at Rockville, Maryland
this 7th day of November 1997


UNITED STATES
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
In the Matter of                               )
Frontier Production Logging, Inc.              )            Docket No. 030-20586
Cody, Wyoming                                  )            License No. 49-21384-01
                                                            EA 97-457

CONFIRMATORY ORDER MODIFYING LICENSE
(EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY)

I

Frontier Production Logging, Inc., (Licensee) is the holder of NRC License No. 49-21384-01 issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Commission) pursuant to 10 CFR Part 39. The license authorizes the Licensee to conduct well logging activities related to the use of licensed material. The license was first issued on July 14, 1983, was most recently amended on April 17, 1997, and was due to expire on June 30, 1994, but remains in effect in a timely renewal status.

II

During a routine inspection conducted on March 19-20, 1997, an investigation completed by the NRC's Office of Investigations on June 13, 1997, and subsequent in-office reviews which were completed on July 9, 1997, the NRC identified six apparent violations which were considered for escalated enforcement. NRC Inspection Report 030-20586/97-01 dated July 22, 1997, documented the findings of the inspection. As a result, the NRC conducted a predecisional enforcement conference on August 4, 1997, in which the licensee's president participated by telephone. Based on the information obtained during the inspection and the information that the licensee's president presented at the August 4 conference, the NRC concluded that violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty dated November 7, 1997. The violations involve failures to: (1) file the appropriate documentation to receive NRC approval prior to vacating an authorized radioactive material storage location, (2) conduct operations so that the dose in any unrestricted area from external sources does not exceed 2 millirem in any 1 hour, (3) make adequate surveys of radiation levels in unrestricted areas to demonstrate compliance with the dose limits for individual members of the public, (4) utilize authorized shipping containers while transporting radioactive material, (5) monitor, upon receipt, the external surfaces of Department of Transportation (DOT) labeled packages for radioactive contamination, and (6) properly post areas in which licensed materials are stored.

The NRC concluded that the Licensee's failure to seek NRC approval prior to vacating an authorized radioactive material storage location demonstrated at least careless disregard for regulatory requirements. Specifically, the Licensee's president was aware of the requirements to obtain prior authorization and did not to comply with this requirement so as to delay payment of the applicable fees. As indicated in the November 7, 1997 Notice, a $2,750 civil penalty was proposed for this willful violation

The remaining five violations, which were not willful, were also discussed during the conference. Based on the information available, it appears that these violations resulted from a lack of understanding of the regulations by the company's radiation safety officer (who is also the company president). In fact, during the conference, the Licensee's radiation safety officer committed to attending appropriate radiation safety training as corrective action for the remainder of the violations. Subsequently, on August 8 and October 20, 1997, staff members from NRC Region IV discussed with the Licensee specific commitments that the NRC believed were necessary. Specifically, the NRC believed that, in addition to the training, two independent audits were warranted. The licensee agreed to the commitments during the August 8 and October 20 telephone discussions, and to confirming the commitments through an Order.

On October 20, 1997, the NRC sent the Licensee a letter listing the specific commitments and formally seeking the Licensee's consent to confirming the commitments through an Order, thereby waiving its right to a hearing. On October 29, 1997, the Licensee signed and returned its consent to this Order.

III

I find that the Licensee's commitments as set forth in Section IV are acceptable and necessary, and conclude that with these commitments the public health and safety are reasonably assured. In view of the foregoing, I have determined that the public health and safety require that the Licensee's commitments be confirmed by this Order. Based on the above, and on the Licensee's consent, this Order is immediately effective upon issuance.

IV

Accordingly, pursuant to sections 81, 161b, 161i, 161o, 182 and 186 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and the Commission's regulations in 10 CFR 2.202 and 10 CFR Part 110, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, THAT LICENSE NO. 49-21384-01 IS MODIFIED AS FOLLOWS:

A. The Licensee's Radiation Safety Officer shall attend a Radiation Safety training course designed to meet the requirements necessary to serve as a radiation safety officer and to implement and manage a radiation safety program specifically designed for well logging and tracer study operations.

B. The Licensee shall retain the services of an independent individual or organization (consultant) to perform two audits of the Licensee's radiation safety program. The consultant is to be independent of the Licensee's organization and is to be experienced in, or be capable of, evaluating the effectiveness of the management and implementation of a radiation safety program for well logging and tracer study operations. At a minimum, each audit will: (1) evaluate the effectiveness of the Licensee's radiation safety program and compliance with all NRC requirements; (2) evaluate the understanding of the Licensee's radiation safety officer of radiation safety and NRC requirements; (3) evaluate the adequacy of the Licensee's corrective actions for any violations or audit findings previously identified by the NRC or consultant; (4) make recommendations as necessary for improvements in management oversight of licensed activities; and (5) physically observe well logging and/or tracer study operations in the field.

C. Within 30 days of the date of this Order, the Licensee shall submit to the Regional Administrator, NRC Region IV, for NRC review and approval, the following:

i. The name, location, dates and syllabus of the course the Licensee proposes to use in meeting the requirements of this Order.

ii. The name and qualifications of the consultant the Licensee proposes to use in conducting the audits.

D. Within 60 days of the date of the NRC's approval of the consultant, the first audit shall be completed and the Licensee shall ensure that the consultant submit to NRC Region IV the results of the audit and the review, including the deficiencies identified, at the same time the consultant provides the results to the Licensee.

E. Within 6 months of the date of completion of the first audit, the second audit shall be completed and the Licensee shall ensure that the consultant submit to NRC Region IV the results of the audit and the review, including the deficiencies identified, at the same time the consultant provides the results to the Licensee.

F. Within 30 days of the date of completion of each audit, the Licensee shall submit to NRC Region IV its corrective actions for any identified deficiencies in the audit reports. Alternatively, if the Licensee does not believe that corrective actions should be taken, the Licensee shall provide justification for its position to the NRC.

G. For the purpose of the Order, the Licensee shall send the qualifications of the consultant and the results of the audits to the Director, Division of Nuclear Material Safety, NRC Region IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011.

The Regional Administrator, Region IV, may relax or rescind, in writing, any of the above conditions upon a showing by the Licensee of good cause.

V

Any person adversely affected by this Confirmatory Order, other than the Licensee may request a hearing within 20 days of its issuance. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the time to request a hearing. A request for extension of time must be made in writing to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington, D.C. 20555, and include a statement of good cause for the extension. Any request for a hearing shall be submitted to the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Chief, Docketing and Service Section, Washington, D.C. 20555. Copies also shall be sent to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555, to the Assistant General Counsel for Hearings and Enforcement at the same address, to the Regional Administrator, NRC Region IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011, and to Frontier Production Logging, Inc. If such a person requests a hearing, that person shall set forth with particularity the manner in which his interest is adversely affected by this Order and shall address the criteria set forth in 10 CFR 2.714(d).

If a hearing is requested by a person whose interest is adversely affected, the Commission will issue an Order designating the time and place of any hearing. If a hearing is held, the issue to be considered at such hearing shall be whether this Confirmatory Order should be sustained.

In the absence of any request for hearing, or written approval of an extension of time in which to request a hearing, the provisions specified in Section IV above shall be final 20 days from the date of this Order without further order or proceedings. If an extension of time for requesting a hearing has been approved, the provisions specified in Section IV shall be final when the extension expires if a hearing request has not been received. AN ANSWER OR A REQUEST FOR HEARING SHALL NOT STAY THE IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVENESS OF THIS ORDER.

                             FOR THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 


                             James Lieberman, Director
                             Office of Enforcement 

Dated at Rockville, Maryland
this 7th day of November 1997

 

 

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