United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-538 - Norcon, Inc.

January 23, 1998

EA 97-538

Mr. Alan T. White, President
Norcon, Inc.
101 East 100th Avenue
P.O. Box 190947
Anchorage, Alaska 99519

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION
(NRC Inspection Report No. 030-32804/97-01)


Dear Mr. White:

This refers to your letter dated December 29, 1997, in which you responded to apparent violations described in the subject NRC inspection report. The NRC's inspection was conducted on October 24, 1997, in your Anchorage, Alaska facility. The inspection was conducted after our inquiry found that a change in address and ownership had occurred without informing the NRC. The findings of our inspection were discussed with you and your staff during a telephonic exit briefing on December 4, 1997, and were documented in the subject inspection report dated December 11, 1997. The report identified three apparent violations which were being considered for escalated enforcement action. However, before making an enforcement decision, the NRC provided you with an opportunity to either request a predecisional enforcement conference or to respond to the apparent violations in writing. You did not request a conference and instead provided a written response by letter dated December 29, 1997.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided in your December 29 response to the inspection report, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice); the circumstances surrounding them were described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violations involved failures to: (1) secure the consent of NRC before transferring control of the license, (2) inform the NRC of new locations where material would be possessed, (3) conduct physical inventories every 6 months to account for all sources and/or devices received and possessed under the license, and (4) inform the NRC that the individual described as responsible for the radiation safety program, the radiation safety officer (RSO), was not employed for about 17 months. The fourth violation was not specifically identified as an apparent violation to you in the subject inspection report, but had been previously discussed with your staff and was discussed in the inspection report. After further review, the NRC has determined that this violation also occurred.

Your December 29 letter stated that the violations occurred after Eastwind's RSO left the company in October 1995, and some of the violations were discovered when the same individual returned to the employ of the new company, Norcon, Inc., in March 1997. However, between October 1995 and March 1997, there was no management oversight of the radiation safety program and no records were kept regarding use of the gauges (personnel who might have used the gauge have since left the company). In fact, at the conclusion of the inspection, Norcon, Inc. did not know whether the gauges had been used during this time period or whether they remained in storage; if the gauges had been used, whether they were used by trained personnel; and if the gauges had been used, whether leak tests had been performed. Your letter stated that the root cause was a lack of knowledge on management's part of the terms and conditions of the license.

The violations do not appear to have resulted in any safety consequences. However, the violations created a potential for radiation safety to have been compromised and are of regulatory significance because they indicate a breakdown in the control of your licensed activities for a 17-month period. 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 civil penalty with a base value of $2,750 is considered for a Severity Level III problem. Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last 2 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. Your corrective actions included promptly submitting a license amendment request, performing a physical inventory, performing wipe tests on all gauges, and setting up a tickler file to ensure all required inventories and leak tests are conducted. To address the root cause, you required all members of management, as well as the RSO, to thoroughly read the entire license and sign a statement acknowledging that they understand all terms and conditions of the license. Based on these actions, the NRC has determined that Norcon is deserving of corrective action credit.

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 violation 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 on the docket in the subject inspection report and Norcon's letter dated December 29, 1997, and its attachments. Although you did not specifically address the fourth violation in your December 29 response, it is evident that the violation had the same root cause and that your corrective actions are reasonable to prevent recurrence. 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 enclosure, and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room.

Sincerely,


Ellis W. Merschoff
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-32804
License No. 50-29042-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/Enclosure:
Alaska Radiation Control Program Director


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Norcon, Inc.
Anchorage, Alaska
Docket No. 030-32804
License No. 50-29042-01
EA 97-538

During an NRC inspection conducted on October 24, 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 30.34(b) requires, in part, that no license issued pursuant to the regulations in this part shall be transferred, assigned or in any manner disposed of through transfer of control of any license to any person unless the Commission, after securing full information, finds that the transfer is in accordance with the provisions of the Act and gives its consent in writing.
Contrary to the above, control of license 50-29042-01 was transferred to Norcon, Inc., on April 15, 1996, without the Commission securing full information or giving its consent in writing. (01013)
B. License Condition 16 requires, in part, that the licensee conduct its program in accordance with the statements, representations, and procedures contained in the letter dated May 18, 1992, including any enclosures.
Item 3 of the license application enclosed with the May 18, 1992, letter lists the address where licensed material will be used or possessed as 6400 Rovenna, Anchorage, Alaska 99502.
Contrary to the above, since December 1995, the licensee twice changed the location where licensed material was possessed and the licensee did not inform NRC of the new location where material would be possessed. (01023)
C. License Condition 14 requires the licensee to conduct physical inventories every 6 months to account for all sources and/or devices received and possessed under the license. Records of the inventories shall be maintained for two (2) years from the date of each inventory.
Contrary to the above, from June 6, 1995 to May 15, 1997, the licensee did not conduct physical inventories every 6 months to account for all sources and/or devices received and possessed under the license. (01033)
D. License Condition 16 requires, in part, that the licensee conduct its program in accordance with the statements, representations, and procedures contained in the letter dated May 18, 1992, including any enclosures.
Item 7 of the license application enclosed with the May 18, 1992, letter lists Mr. Gerard Eric Thompson, Radiation Safety officer, as the individual responsible for the radiation safety program.
Contrary to the above, from October 1995 through March 1997, Mr. Gerard Eric Thompson was not the individual responsible for the licensee's radiation safety program. He was not employed by the licensee during this time. (01043)

These violations represent a Severity Level III problem. (Supplement 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 will be achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report No. 030-32804/97-01, and in your letter dated December 29, 1997, and its attachments. 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 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN:  Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with copies to the Regional Administrator, Region IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011, and the Walnut Creek Field Office, 1450 Maria Lane, Suite 300, Walnut Creek, California 94596, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice).

If you contest this enforcement action, you should also provide a copy of your response to the Director, Office of Enforcement, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, and a copy to the Enforcement Officer, NRC Region IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011.

Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, any response you choose to submit shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

Because your response, if you choose to provide one, 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 Arlington, Texas
this 23rd day of January 1998

 

 

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