United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-161 - Theilsch Engineering, Inc.

April 23, 1998

EAs 98-161
      98-162



Mr. Helmut Theilsch, President
Theilsch Engineering, Inc.
195 Frances Avenue
Cranston, Rhode Island 02910-2211

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC Inspection Report No. 150-00038/98-001)

This letter refers to the NRC inspection conducted on March 9, 1998, at a temporary job site located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, of activities authorized by an NRC general license granted to you pursuant to 10 CFR 150.20(a). The inspection was conducted after the NRC was informed by the State of Connecticut that your staff had performed radiography at the Bridgeport Resco facility in Bridgeport, Connecticut (using a radiography device you possessed under a license issued to you by the State of Rhode Island), and that an unauthorized individual was inside the restricted area at the facility for a short period while an iridium-192 radiography source was exposed. During the inspection, the NRC confirmed that an unauthorized individual was in a restricted area when the radiography source was exposed. The NRC also learned that the performance of radiography at the Bridgeport Resco facility was done without you first filing the required reciprocity forms with the NRC so as to provide notification that the radiography device authorized by your Rhode Island license would be used in Connecticut and therefore subject to NRC jurisdiction. These two findings constituted apparent violations of NRC requirements which were described in the NRC inspection report sent to you on April 6, 1998. On April 21, 1998, an enforcement conference was conducted at our Region I office with Ms. Nancy Hoffman, Vice President, and other members of your staff to discuss the violations, their causes and your corrective actions. A copy of the Enforcement Conference Summary is enclosed.

Based on the information developed during the inspection, and the information provided during the conference, two violations of NRC requirements are being cited. The violations are described in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violations involve: (1) failure to file with the NRC, Form-241, AReport of Proposed Activities in Non-Agreement States,@ prior to engaging in activities in Connecticut, a Non-Agreement State; and (2) the failure to keep an unauthorized individual out of a restricted area when radiography was being performed.

With respect to the first violation, the NRC is concerned that radiography was being performed in the State of Connecticut without the NRC being aware of such use. Notification of the NRC is particularly important since the NRC, rather than the State of Rhode Island, regulates the use of radiography devices in the State of Connecticut. Your failure to obtain the required NRC authorization to work in Connecticut denied the NRC the opportunity to assure, through field inspections, that radiography activities were being conducted in compliance with all NRC radiation safety requirements. At the enforcement conference, you acknowledged this violation occurred, noting that the request for such work was made by Bridgeport Resco on short notice and the radiographer who promptly responded, although trained in reciprocity requirements, apparently overlooked those requirements when responding. You also described a number of corrective actions to address this finding. The violation is classified at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, (Enforcement Policy).

With respect to the second violation, on February 27, 1998, your radiographer performed radiography (one three-minute exposure) on the attemperator above the superheater penthouse on the 9th level (uppermost level) of a boiler at the Bridgeport Resco facility. During that time, an individual was located within the boiler room on the 9th floor which was within the restricted area. The NRC recognizes that the radiographer established a restricted area on the 7th, 8th and 9th levels of the facility by (1) placing yellow and magenta ropes and restricted area caution signs at elevator openings on the 9th, 8th, and 7th levels, (2) clearing the three levels of all personnel, (3) placement of ropes and signs across the stairways at the 6th level to restrict access, and (4) making an announcement over the facility=s public address system, prior to exposing the radiography source. However, these controls were not sufficient to preclude a Bridgeport Resco employee, from entering the superheater penthouse on the 9th level (the area below which the source was exposed), without the radiographer being aware of this condition until the Bridgeport Resco employee exited the superheater penthouse through the access hatch and was seen by the radiographer, at which time the source was immediately retracted.

While subsequent evaluations by your staff, determined that the exposure received by the individual was approximately 0.005 mrem, the violation is, nonetheless, of serious concern since the failure to ensure that no unauthorized individuals were in the restricted area when the source was exposed created the potential for more significant exposure to the individual, given the potential high radiation levels generated by exposure of the 27.6 curie iridium-192 source. Therefore, this violation is also classified at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, (Enforcement Policy).

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, the base civil penalty for each Severity Level III violation is $5,500. Because your facility has not been the subject of an escalated enforcement action within the last two years(1), the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Corrective Action for both Severity Level III violations in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. The NRC notes that your corrective actions, which were described during the inspection, as well as during the conference, were prompt and comprehensive and included: (1) retraction of the radiography source to the shielded position immediately after the radiographer recognized that a Resco worker was located in the boiler, and immediate discussions with management of that facility to ensure that the workers understood the need to stay outside the restricted area; (2) issuance of a memorandum to all of your Nondestructive Examination Personnel (including radiographers) reminding them of their responsibilities with respect to filing of reciprocity, and maintaining control of access to restricted areas; (3) discussion of these events with your staff; and (4) creation and posting of a reciprocity reminder to remind the radiographers of their responsibilities in this area. However, we question the thoroughness of certain aspects of your analysis of the root causes of these violations. Specifically, you indicated that the responsible radiographer, (who has since left your company) provided vague responses when questioned regarding the filing of reciprocity. However, you did not pursue the matter to gain a complete understanding as to why he failed to file for reciprocity. Also, your investigation did not include an interview of (1) the Resco employee that entered the restricted area, to ascertain his recollection of the events that led up to him entering the restricted area or (2) the assistant radiographer on site the day of the event to ascertain his recollection of the event. However, after considering all of the comprehensive actions that were promptly taken following these events, the NRC has determined that credit for your corrective actions is warranted.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of appropriate corrective actions, I have been authorized not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, any similar violations in the future could result in significant 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 enclosure, will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).

Sincerely,

  ORIGINAL SIGNED BY
WILLIAM L. AXELSON

  FOR Hubert J. Miller
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 150-00038
Rhode Island License No. 3D-065-01

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation
2. Enforcement Conference Report

cc w/encls:
State of Connecticut
State of Rhode Island


ENCLOSURE 1
NOTCE OF VIOLATION

Theilsch Engineering, Inc.
Cranston, Rhode Island
  Docket No. 150-00038
RI License No. 3D-065-01
EAs 98-161 & 98-162

During an NRC inspection conducted on March 9, , 1998, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, the violations and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

10 CFR 30.3 requires in relevant part, that no person shall possess or use byproduct material except as authorized by a specific or general license issued by the NRC.

10 CFR 150.20(a) provides, in part, that any person who holds a specific license from an Agreement State is granted an NRC general license to conduct the same activity in non-Agreement States subject to the provisions of 10 CFR 150.20(b).


A.   10 CFR 150.20(b)(1) requires, in part, that any person engaging in activities in non-Agreement States shall, at least 3 days before engaging in each such activity, file 4 copies of NRC Form-241, "Report of Proposed Activities in Non-Agreement States", with the Regional Administrator of the appropriate NRC regional office.

Contrary to the above, on February 27, 1998, Theilsch Engineering, Inc., a licensee of Rhode Island, used a 27.6 Curie iridium-192 radiography source at a Resco facility in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a non-Agreement State, without a specific license issued by the NRC and without filing Form-241 with the NRC. (01013)

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement VI).

B.   10 CFR 150.20(b)(4) requires, in part, that any person engaging in activities in non-Agreement States shall comply with all terms and conditions of the specific license issued by an Agreement State.

Condition 19 of RI License No. 3D-065-01 requires that licensed material be possessed and used in accordance with statements, representations and procedures contained in Radiation Safety Manual NDT-41, Revision 15.

Item 7.2 of this manual requires ANo unauthorized personnel shall be allowed within the restricted area.@ Item 7.5 of this manual requires that licensee personnel will confirm that no unauthorized personnel are within the boundaries of the restricted area during and after radiographic exposures.

Contrary to the above, on February 27, 1998, during the performance of radiography on Boiler No. 3 at the Bridgeport Resco facility in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Theilsch Engineering Inc. did not adequately confirm that no unauthorized personnel were within the boundaries of the restricted area during and after a radiographic exposure. Specifically, on February 27, 1998, radiography was performed (one three minute exposure) on the attemperator above the superheater penthouse on the 9th level (uppermost level) of Boiler No. 3 at the Bridgeport Resco facility, and during that time, an individual was located within the boiler on the 9th floor which was within the restricted area. (02013)

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement VI).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Theilsch Engineering Inc. 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 or severity level, (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.

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.

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 23rd day of April 1998


1.   The NRC conducted prior inspections of this Rhode Island License in 1996 and 1997 because it has previously conducted work periodically in Non-Agreement States, and has apparently filed for reciprocity, when required, in the past. There were two Severity Level IV violations identified during the prior inspections but no escalated enforcement issues.

 

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