United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-431 - U. S. Enrichment Corporation

December 8, 1997

EA 97-431

Mr. J. H. Miller
Vice President - Production
United States Enrichment Corporation
Two Democracy Center
6903 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTY - $55,000 
          (NRC Inspection Report 70-7001/97007(DNMS)) 

Dear Mr. Miller:

This refers to the inspection conducted from July 15 through September 12, 1997, at the U. S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC) Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Kentucky. The purpose of the inspection was to review the activities authorized by NRC Certificate No. GDP-1. The inspection report detailing our findings was issued on September 24, 1997. A predecisional enforcement conference was held with you and members of your staff on October 9, 1997, to discuss the apparent violation, its root causes, and your corrective action.

Based on the information developed during the inspection, and the information provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements occurred. The violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty, and the circumstances surrounding the violation are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Specifically, the violation involved USEC's failure to maintain control of classified matter (documents, drawings, videotapes, etc.) at the Paducah facility.

The first example of uncontrolled classified material discovered outside the controlled access area occurred on August 13, 1997. On August 14, a second example of uncontrolled classified material outside the controlled access area was identified. The two examples were different in that the first involved materials transferred to the area as a part of a recent project, while the second involved material that may have been outside of the controlled access area for numerous years. A previous violation addressing the same problem (see Inspection Report No. 70-7001/97-002 (DNMS) dated May 30, 1997) and the two incidents of uncontrolled classified materials found outside the controlled access area indicated the problems with both the historical and current measures used to control classified materials.

In spite of the above incidents, immediate measures to either identify or control other materials that could be classified and were maintained outside the controlled access area were not initiated. Two weeks after identification of the materials outside the controlled access area, the plant staff initiated a "purge" effort to identify and control classified materials inside the controlled access area. While this effort addressed a portion of the overall concern, it did not focus on the area of greatest risk, materials outside the controlled access area. As a result, approximately two weeks later two additional examples of classified material were identified outside the controlled access area. These findings were more significant than the previous findings in that the classified materials were discovered in the possession and active use of uncleared individuals.

The NRC is concerned about USEC's deficiencies regarding control of classified matter and its failure to grasp and define the breadth of the issue in a timely manner. While the actual security consequences appear to be minimal in this case, the violation represents a significant regulatory concern because of the potential for compromise of classified matter considered to be significant (i.e., the classified matter was accessible to uncleared personnel). In addition, NRC expects USEC to abide by all regulations and requirements, including those requirements related to the handling of classified matter. Therefore, this violation has been categorized in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600 as a Severity Level III violation.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $55,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two inspections, (1) 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. The discoveries of classified matter in various areas inside and outside of the plant controlled access area were identified by USEC personnel. Thus, credit for identification is warranted. However, immediate corrective action was not taken and NRC efforts were necessary to focus USEC's evaluative and corrective action process in order to obtain comprehensive corrective actions.

Specifically, it was not until the NRC highlighted both the security and regulatory significance of the items that plant management redirected their efforts to identify and control materials, which could be classified, outside the controlled access area. This final focus of efforts on the area of greatest risk occurred approximately one month after the first materials were identified outside the controlled access area. Significant NRC effort was necessary to ensure that the corrective actions to both the initial and the subsequent violation were correctly focused and comprehensive. Because of the stated examples, the NRC has determined that credit for corrective action is not warranted.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of prompt and comprehensive correction of 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 $55,000 for the Severity Level III violation.

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.

                              Sincerely, 


                              A.  Bill Beach
                              Regional Administrator 

Docket No. 070-7001
Certificate No. GDP-1

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
United States Enrichment Corporation                   Docket No. 70-7001
Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant                        Certificate No. GDP-1
Paducah, Kentucky                                      EA 97-431

During an NRC inspection conducted from July 15 to September 12, 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 NRC proposes to impose a civil penalty pursuant to Section 234 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (Act), U.S.C. 2282, and 10 CFR 2.205. The particular violation and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

10 CFR 76.60(I) requires, in part, that the Corporation (certificatee) shall comply with the provisions of 10 CFR Part 95.

10 CFR 95.35(a) requires, in part, that no person subject to the regulations in this part may receive or may permit any individual to have access to matter revealing Confidential Restricted Data unless the individual has a "Q" or "L" access authorization.

Contrary to the above, the certificatee, a person subject to the regulations in 10 CFR Part 95, permitted individuals who did not have either a "Q" or "L" access authorization to have access to matter revealing Confidential Restricted Data, as evidenced by the following examples:

a. On August 13, 1997, a drawing containing Confidential Restricted Data was identified in the engineering department, a location within the controlled access (fenced) area of the facility, which was not controlled to preclude access to individuals without either "Q" or "L" access authorization. The department was accessible to and routinely occupied by individuals who did not have either "Q" or "L" access authorization.

b. On August 13, 1997, drawings containing Confidential Restricted Data were identified in a trailer located outside the controlled access (fenced) area of the facility which were not controlled. The trailer was accessible to and routinely occupied by individuals who did not have either "Q" or "L" access authorization.

c. On August 14, 1997, a videotape containing Confidential Restricted Data was identified in a trailer located outside the controlled access (fenced) area of the facility which was not controlled. The trailer was accessible to and routinely occupied by individuals who did not have either "Q" or "L" access authorization.

d. On September 11, 1997, drawings containing Confidential Restricted Data were identified in a location outside the controlled access (fenced) area of the facility which were not controlled. The drawings were in the possession of an individual without either a "Q" or "L" access authorization.

e. On September 17, 1997, a procedure containing Confidential Restricted Data was identified in a location outside the controlled access (fenced) area of the facility which was not controlled. The procedure was in the possession of an individual without either a "Q" or "L" access authorization.

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement III).
Civil Penalty - $55,000.

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 76.70, the United States Enrichment Corporation (Certificatee) 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 Certificate of Compliance 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 76.70, the Certificatee 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 Certificatee fail to answer within the time specified, an order imposing the civil penalty will be issued. Should the Certificatee 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 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 76.70, but may incorporate parts of the 10 CFR 76.70 reply by specific reference (e.g., citing page and paragraph numbers) to avoid repetition. The attention of the Certificatee 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, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Illinois 60532.

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 Lisle, Illinois
this 8th day of December 1997


1. A Severity Level III violation was issued on September 22, 1997 (EA 97-267) for security plan violations.

 

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