United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-338 - S.C. Johnson & Sons, Inc.

September 4, 1997

EA 97-338

Nico J. Meiland
Senior Vice President
Manufacturing and Procurement
Worldwide Consumer Products
S.C. Johnson & Sons, Inc.
1525 Howe Street
Racine, WI 53403

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL 
          PENALTY - $2,500 
          (NRC Inspection Report No. 030-06740/96001(DNMS) and Investigation Report
           No. 3-96-053)

Dear Mr. Meiland:

This refers to the inspection conducted from November 21 through December 5, 1996, and the investigation conducted by the NRC Office of Investigations (OI) from December 2, 1996 through June 11, 1997, at S.C. Johnson & Sons, Inc., Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin. The purpose of the inspection was to determine whether activities authorized by the license were conducted safely and in accordance with NRC requirements. The inspection report was sent to you by letter dated December 19, 1996, and the synopsis of the OI findings was sent to you by letter dated July 11, 1997. A predecisional enforcement conference was held on August 1, 1997 to discuss the violations, their causes, and proposed corrective action.

Based on the information developed during the inspection, the investigation, and the information 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 (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Four violations were identified; unauthorized disposal of licensed material, removal of licensed material from service by unauthorized persons, inadequate security of licensed material, and failure to report lost or missing licensed material in a timely matter.

The violation in Section I of the Notice, unauthorized disposal of licensed material, occurred as the result of (1) improper storage of the nuclear gauges, (2) poor judgement on the part of plant personal participating in the scrapping program, and (3) inadequate direction provided to staff regarding the scrapping program. The lack of basic radiation safety instruction for employees frequenting areas where nuclear gauges are installed contributed to this incident which resulted in the loss of a 300 millicurie americium-241 source.

Incumbent upon each company possessing byproduct material is the responsibility to protect public health and safety by ensuring that radioactive materials are controlled at all times. Furthermore, the failure to effectively control material is a significant safety concern because it can lead to the inadvertent release of radioactive material in the public domain. Although the licensee is reasonably certain that the source is buried in a local landfill, this violation is of significant regulatory concern because several S. C. Johnson & Sons, Inc. employee's failed to follow established procedures regarding the handling of nuclear gauges. This failure resulted in loss of control of licensed material. Therefore, the violation in Section I of the Notice 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. 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. Credit was warranted in that your actions were prompt and comprehensive. The NRC recognizes that application of the civil penalty assessment process would normally not result in a civil penalty in this case because we want to encourage prompt and comprehensive corrective action. Nevertheless, the NRC is exercising discretion in accordance with Section VII.A.1(g) of the Enforcement Policy and is proposing a civil penalty of $2,500 for the violation identified in Section I of the Notice. Discretion is being exercised because licensed material was not controlled and is currently believed to be in a landfill.

Therefore, to emphasize the need to strictly control licensed material, 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 $2,500 for the Severity Level III violation.

Violation's A. and B. in Section II of the Notice, addressing the removal of nuclear gauges from service by unauthorized individuals and failure to secure the devices once removed, were the precursors of the violation addressed in Section I. If licensee personnel had notified the radiation safety officer before removing the device, as prescribed by the procedure, and awaited instructions before removing the devices the radioactive material would likely not have found its way to a landfill. Therefore, the violations are classified in the aggregate in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure of NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, as a Severity Level III problem.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $2,500 is considered for a Severity Level III problem. 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. Credit for corrective actions is warranted because your corrective actions were prompt and comprehensive. These actions included: (1) cessation of informal scrapping practices; (2) installation of security locks on remaining nuclear gauges; and (3) training of employees concerning the nuclear gauge hazards, postings and procedures. Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, not to propose a civil penalty for this severity level III problem.

Violation C in Section II of the Notice, which addresses the failure to report the loss of licensed material in a timely manner, has been categorized as a Severity Level IV violation in accordance with the Enforcement Policy.

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 addition, issuance of this Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

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, 

                             Original Signed By
                             James Caldwell for

                             A. Bill Beach
                             Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-06740
License No. 48-06453-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and
Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
S. C. Johnson & Sons, Inc.                                  Docket No. 030-06740 
Mt. Pleasant, WI                                          License No. 48-06453-01
                                                           EA 97-338

During an NRC inspection conducted from November 21 through December 5, 1996, and an NRC investigation conducted from December 2, 1996 through June 11, 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 violations and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

I. Violation Assessed a Civil Penalty

10 CFR 20.2001(a) requires that the licensee dispose of licensed material only by certain specified procedures.

Contrary to the above, in approximately early October 1996, the licensee disposed of a nominal 300 millicurie americium-241 sealed source by release to a landfill, a method not authorized by 20.2001. (01013)

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement IV).
Civil Penalty - $2,500.

II. Violations Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

A. Condition 17 of License No. 48-06453-01 requires, in part, that installation, initial radiation survey, relocation, removal from service, maintenance, and repair of devices containing sealed sources be performed by Carmella Richards or by persons specifically licensed by the Commission or an Agreement State to perform such services.

Contrary to the above, in late August 1996, a device containing a sealed source was removed from service at the licensee's facility by individuals other than Carmella Richards or persons specifically licensed to perform such services. Specifically, an Industrial Dynamics Model CI-2GV gauge containing a nominal 300 millicurie americium-241 sealed source was removed from service by a line mechanic and an electrician, neither of whom was authorized nor technically qualified to perform such services. (02013)

B. 10 CFR 20.1801 requires that the licensee secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed material that is stored in 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, unrestricted area means an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.

Contrary to the above, between approximately late August 1996 and early October 1996, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or access, a gauge containing a nominal 300 millicurie americium-241 sealed source stored on a pallet in plant production areas # 515 and 505, both unrestricted areas. (02023)

These violations represent a Severity Level III problem (Supplements IV & VI).

C. 10 CFR 20.2201 requires, in part, that each licensee report by telephone to the NRC, immediately after its occurrence becomes known any lost, stolen, or missing licensed material in an aggregate quantity equal to or greater than 1,000 times the quantity specified in Appendix C to 10 CFR 20, under such circumstances that it appears to the licensee that an exposure could result to persons in unrestricted areas.

Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to immediately report to the NRC that licensed material in an aggregate quantity greater than 1,000 times the quantity specified in Appendix C to 10 CFR 20 was missing that could result in an exposure to persons in unrestricted areas. Specifically, on November 15, 1996, the licensee discovered that a nominal 300 millicurie americium-241 sealed source was missing and may have been disposed to a scrap recycler or the non-radioactive trash, and did not report the loss to the NRC until November 20, 1996. (03014)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, S.C. Johnson & Sons, 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 to 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 III.

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 a 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 Lisle, Illinois
this 4th day of September 1997

 

 

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