United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-465 - Defense Logistics Agency

October 31, 1997

EA No. 97-465

Mr. Jeffrey R. McCauslin, P.E., Director
Administrative Support Center East
Defense Logistics Agency
Defense Distribution Region East
ASCE, Building 81
14 Dedication Drive, Suite 3
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania 17070-5001

          (NRC Inspection Report No. 030-33261/97-002)

Dear Mr. McCauslin:

This refers to the NRC inspection conducted on September 3, 8, and 12, 1997, at the Letterkenny Army Depot, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to review the circumstances associated with the loss of seven 3-curie radio-luminescent tritium light sources from your facility at the Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. This also refers to the telephone conversations on September 4 and 5, 1997, between Gloria Wrights, Larry Wenger, and Michael Coogen of your staff, and Mr. Thor Oberg, NRC Region I, and on September 8 and 24, 1997, between Allen Hilsmeier of your staff and Mr. Oberg. During the inspection, a violation of NRC requirements was identified, as described in the NRC inspection report transmitted with our letter, dated October 10, 1997. On October 22, 1997, a predecisional enforcement conference was held with you and other members of your staff to discuss the violation, its causes, and your corrective actions. A copy of the enforcement conference report is enclosed.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information you provided during the enforcement conference, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements occurred. The violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice), and the circumstances surrounding the violation are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violation involves the failure to maintain security of tritium sources located in the Dock 2 area of Building 331. That large area, which is located outside and is not enclosed by a fence, is easily accessible by personnel inside the facility. As a result of this failure to maintain security, an individual employee, who was not involved in NRC licensed activities, was able to gain access to these seven tritium sources and take them to his residence. In the process, the individual broke one of the glass encapsulated sources resulting in contamination in the public domain (his residence), albeit of a minor nature since the tritium gas promptly dispersed and only a very small amount of contamination remained.

While the safety consequences of the broken source were low, the NRC is concerned with your failure to exercise control of the material which contributed to the loss of the sources, and one of them being damaged, causing contamination at the individual's residence. Therefore, the violation has been classified at Severity Level III 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 base civil penalty in the amount of $2,750 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has not been the subject of an escalated enforcement action within the last two inspections conducted in 1994 and 1991, 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 both prompt and comprehensive. These actions were described during the enforcement conference and included, but were not limited to: (1) requiring all materials to be maintained in a locked locker for which only one individual has the key; (2) discussion of this item at the annual Radiation Protection Officer's workshop; (3) visiting the other depot that operates in a similar fashion and assuring improvements in security there; (4) informing other depots of the occurrence of this event; (5) issuance of a lessons learned paper that is being distributed to all depot commanders; and (6) development of a radiological incident checklist for the purpose of reviewing depot radiation safety programs.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized to not propose a civil penalty in this case. However, similar violations in the future could result in further escalated enforcement action.

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 and its enclosures, will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).


                              ORIGINAL SIGNED BY
                              HUBERT J. MILLER

                              Hubert J. Miller
                              Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-33261
License No. 37-30062-01

1. Notice of Violation
2. Enforcement Conference Report

cc w/encls:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
State of Delaware

Defense Logistics Agency                               Docket No. 030-33261
Letterkenny Army Depot                                 License No. 37-30062-01
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania                             EA 97-465

During an NRC inspection conducted on September 3, 8, and 12, 1997, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," (Enforcement Policy), 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 20.1003, unrestricted area means an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.

Contrary to the above, prior to August 28, 1997, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to tritium in glass capsules (each containing 3 curies of tritium) located in the Building S-331 staging area, an unrestricted area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material, and this contributed to the unauthorized removal of seven tritium sources by an individual employee. (01013)

This violation is classified at Severity Level III (Supplement IV).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Defense Logistic Agency is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555, with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region I, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice). This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation" and should include for each violation: (1) the reason for the violation, or, if contested, the basis for disputing the violation, (2) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (3) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further violations, and (4) the date when full compliance will be achieved. Your response may reference or include previous docketed correspondence, if the correspondence adequately addresses the required response. 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. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the response time.

Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, this response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

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 King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
this 31st day of October 1997


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