United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-144 - Alaron Corporation

June 3, 1998

EA 98-144

Mr. Michael Rollor, President
Alaron Corporation
Point Industrial Park
Route #18, New Beaver Boro.
RD 2 Box 2140A
Wampum, Pennsylvania 16157

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY -
$5,500 AND DEMAND FOR INFORMATION
(NRC Inspection Report No. 030-30666/98-001)

Dear Mr. Rollor:

This refers to the NRC inspection conducted on February 26, 1998, at the above address in Wampum, Pennsylvania, the findings of which were discussed with your Operations Manager and Radiation Safety Officer during an exit meeting on that date. During the inspection, one violation of NRC requirements was identified, as described in the NRC inspection report transmitted with our letter dated March 31, 1998. On April 15, 1998, a Predecisional Enforcement Conference (conference) was held with you and your Operations Manager to discuss the violation, its causes, and your corrective actions. A copy of the enforcement conference report was sent to you on April 23, 1998.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the conference, the NRC has determined that one violation of NRC requirements occurred. The violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violation involves your willful failure to dispose of waste at your facility that had been in storage for more than two years. Although the NRC issued you a Notice of Violation (NOV) on April 11, 1997 for a violation involving at least 15 waste packages being in storage at your facility for more than two years, the NRC found, during the February 1998 inspection, that not only had you not removed two of those packages from the site, but the number of packages that had been in storage for more than two years had increased to 83.

As a result of this finding, the NRC issued you a Confirmatory Action Letter (CAL) (No. 1-98-004) which confirmed your commitment to (1) provide the NRC, by March 12, 1998, your final decision to either dispose of the waste with available funds, dispose of the waste with funds provided by the generator of the waste, or to remove this waste from your facility and return it to the generator's facility; and (2) remove from your facility, by April 12, 1998, all the licensed radioactive waste held greater than two years. In a letter dated March 12, 1998, you informed the NRC that you would dispose of the waste with funds provided by the generator of the waste. Also, in a letter dated April 10, 1998, you requested an extension until April 30, 1998, to remove from your facility all licensed radioactive waste which had been held greater than two years. The NRC granted the requested extension in a revision to the CAL dated April 13, 1998.

The NRC is concerned that although you were aware that it was a violation of your license requirements to store radioactive waste at your facility for a period of more than two years, as you admitted at the predecisional enforcement conference, you failed to dispose of all of the waste that was the subject of that previous NOV and failed to prevent recurrence of the violation. At the conference, you explained that between April 1997 and the February 1998 inspection, you had selectively disposed of waste packages regardless of how long they had been held, so that you could maximize the amount of waste that could be disposed given your limited resources. Using this approach resulted in your failure to dispose of certain material held greater than two years. Although you also contended that this met the intent of the license requirement and would ultimately prevent recurrence of the violation, the recent violation is, nonetheless, classified at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, given the significance the NRC places on willful violations of requirements. Willful violations are of concern because the NRC's regulatory programs are based on licensees and their employees acting with integrity.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $5,500 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because the violation is considered willful, 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. Credit for identification is not warranted because the NRC identified the repetitive failure to dispose of the waste within two years. Credit for corrective actions is warranted because once this violation was identified by the NRC in February 1998, your corrective actions were considered prompt and comprehensive. These actions, which were described at the conference, included, but were not limited to: (1) plans to dispose, by June 30, 1998, of all waste that would have been in storage for two years on December 31, 1998; (2) development of a tracking system, reports, and an administrative limit to ensure that all waste is disposed of within 18 months of when it was generated or received; (3) obtaining a commitment from your parent corporation to provide funding for waste disposal if operating funds are not available; and (4) training of your employees on the importance of waste disposal in a timely manner.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of compliance with license conditions and of prompt identification of violations, and in recognition of the willful nature of the violation, 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 $5,500 for the Severity Level III violation. In addition, issuance of this Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action, and may subject you to increased inspection effort.

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 to the Notice, the NRC is issuing to you this Demand for Information (DFI) because, as discussed above, you willfully failed to dispose of all of the waste that was the subject of a previous NOV to prevent recurrence of the violation, or to contact the NRC once you determined that you lacked adequate resources to comply with the conditions of your license. Therefore, in addition to the response required above, the Commission requires further information concerning Alaron Corporation's ability to comply with NRC regulatory requirements. Accordingly, pursuant to sections 161c, 161o, 182, and 186 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and the Commission's regulations in 10 CFR 2.204 and 10 CFR 30.32(b), in order for the Commission to determine whether your license should be modified, suspended or revoked, or other enforcement action taken to ensure compliance with NRC regulatory requirements, you are required, pursuant to this DFI, to submit to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington D.C. 20555, within 30 days of the date of this DFI, a response to the following questions, in writing and under oath or affirmation:

A. Why should the Commission have confidence that you will have adequate resources available in the future to comply with NRC regulatory requirements?
B. Why should the Commission have confidence that you will not knowingly allow violations to go uncorrected or unreported in the future in the event adequate resources are not available?
C. Why, in light of the willful nature of your violation, should the Commission have confidence that you will comply with NRC regulatory requirements in the future?

You may provide any other information that you want the Commission to consider.

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,
Hubert J.Miller
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-30666
License No. 37-20826-02

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/encl:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania


ENCLOSURE
NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Alaron Corporation
Wampum, PA
EA 98-144
Docket No. 030-30666
License No. 37-20826-02

During an NRC inspection conducted on February 26, 1998, 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), 42 U.S.C. 2282, and 10 CFR 2.205. The particular violation and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

Condition 13 of License No. 37-20826-02 requires, in part, that the licensee not store licensed material contained in waste for more than two years from the date the waste is put into storage.
Contrary to the above, as of February 26, 1998, the licensee stored licensed material contained in waste for more than the two years from the date the waste was placed into storage. Specifically, the licensee possessed a minimum of 83 waste packages containing licensed radioactive waste (71 55-gallon drums, 1 C-48 container, 8 30-gallon drums, and 3 B-25 containers) which had been in storage at their Wampum, Pennsylvania facility for more than two years. (01013)
This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement VI ).
Civil Penalty - $5,500.

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Alaron Corporation (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 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 I.

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 3rd Day of June 1998

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