United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-480 - Union Electric Company

October 28, 1997

EA 97-480

R. J. Schukai
Vice President, Power Plants
Union Electric Company
1901 Chouteau Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63166

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND 
          NRC INSPECTION REPORT 030-332690/97001(DNMS)
      

Dear Mr. Schukai:

This refers to the inspection conducted on September 22, 1997, with continuing review through October 1, 1997, at the Sioux Plant in West Alton, Missouri, and the Rush Island Plant in Festus, Missouri. 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 included a review of a 1996 event when contract workers removed a fixed gauge containing a 200 millicuries (mCi) (7.41gigabecquerel) of cesium-137 during a production line demolition project. The enclosed report contains the NRC inspection findings and describes the event and associated violations in detail. On October 9, 1997, members of my staff contacted Mr. N. Slaten, Radiation Safety Officer, by telephone to discuss the violations associated with the event which are being considered for escalated enforcement action. During the telephone conversation Mr. Slaten agreed with the inspection findings and indicated that a predecisional enforcement conference was not desired.

Based on the information developed during the inspection, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violations include (1) removal of licensed material by unauthorized individuals and (2) failure to secure licensed material from unauthorized removal.

The violations did not result in a loss of material or in any known exposures to employees, contract workers or members of the public. However, the NRC considers failures to maintain control and security 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, these violations are classified in the aggregate in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for 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 $2,000 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. We have determined that the actions

following the event were adequate and, therefore, corrective action credit is warranted. These actions included that prior to any future demolition activities, construction crews will be instructed during pre-job briefings not to remove gauges from their mountings and instructed to contact the compliance engineer if a gauge is observed mounted on plant equipment scheduled for repair or demolition.

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 problem constitutes escalated enforcement action that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violations, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violations and prevent recurrence and the date when full compliance was achieved is already adequately addressed in the enclosed Inspection Report 030-32690/97001(DNMS) and during our October 9, 1997, telephone conversation with Mr. Slaten. 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 enclosures, and your response, if you choose to send one, will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room.

                              Sincerely, 


                              A Bill Beach
                              Regional Administrator 
      

Docket No. 030-32690
License No. 24-02020-08

Enclosures:
1. Inspection Report 030-332690/97001
2. Notice of Violation

cc w/enclosures:
Mr. N. Slaten
Radiation Safety Officer
Union Electric Company
1901 Chouteau Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63166

Mr. D.Redington
Plant Manager, Sioux Plant
Union Electric Company
8501 N. State, Route 94
West Alton, MO 63166

Mr. A. Neuhalfen
Plant Manager
Rush Island Plant
Union Electric Company
100 Big Hollow Road
Festus, MO 63028

Mr. N. Slaten
Radiation Safety Officer
Union Electric Company
1901 Chouteau Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63166

Mr. D.Redington
Plant Manager, Sioux Plant
Union Electric Company
8501 N. State, Route 94
West Alton, MO 63166

Mr. A. Neuhalfen
Plant Manager
Rush Island Plant
Union Electric Company
100 Big Hollow Road
Festus, MO 63028


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
Union Electric Company                            Docket No.  030-32690    
West Alton, MO                                    License No.  24-02020-08   
                                                  EA 97-480
      

During an NRC inspection conducted on September 22, 1997, with continuing review through October 1, 1997, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions,"NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

A. 10 CFR 20.1801 requires that the licensee secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed materials that are stored in unrestricted areas. 10 CFR 20.1802 requires that the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material that is in an unrestricted area and that it 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, on April 10, 1996, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to a gauge containing 200 mCi (7.4 GBq) of cesium-127 located underneath a construction trailer outside of the licensee's building located at 8501 N. State, West Alton, MO, an unrestricted area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material.

B. Condition 15 of License No. 24-02020-08 requires that installation, relocation, maintenance, initial radiation survey, removal from service, and repair of devices containing byproduct material be performed only by persons specifically authorized by the Commission to perform such services.

Contrary to the above, on April 10, 1996, a gauge containing 200 mCi (7.4 GBq) of cesium-137 was removed from service by individuals not authorized by the Commission to perform such services.

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

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violations, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violations and prevent recurrence and the date when full compliance was or will be achieved is already adequately addressed in Inspection Report 030-32690 (DNMS) and during an October 9, 1997, telephone conversation with Mr. Slaten. 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 US Nuclear Regulatory commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region III, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Illinois 60532, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice.

If you choose to provide a response, it will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room, and 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.

Dated at Lisle, Illinois
this 28th day of October 1997

 

 

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