United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-222 - Unified Testing Services, Inc.

June 16, 1998

EA 98-222

Unified Testing Services, Inc.
ATTN:Mr. Donald Uptain, President
P. O. Box 37
325 Industrial Park Drive
Woodstock, AL 35188

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND EXERCISE OF ENFORCEMENT DISCRETION (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 150-00010/98-01)

Dear Mr. Uptain:

This refers to the inspection conducted on April 1, 1998, at your Marietta, Georgia office and at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. The purpose of the inspection was to determine whether activities performed by Unified Testing Services, Inc. (UTS) in areas of exclusive Federal jurisdiction which were authorized by the general license granted by the NRC in accordance with 10 CFR 150.20 were conducted safely and in accordance with regulatory requirements. 10 CFR 150.20 requires, in part, that Agreement State licensees conducting activities in areas under exclusive Federal jurisdiction comply with the requirements of 10 CFR 20 and all terms and conditions of the specific license issued by an Agreement State. The results of the inspection were formally transmitted to you by letter dated April 24, 1998. That letter also provided you the opportunity to respond to the apparent violations or request a predecisional enforcement conference. Subsequently, you declined a conference, and by letter dated May 15, 1998, you submitted additional information to us regarding the apparent violations, the root causes, and your corrective actions to preclude recurrence. We have reviewed the inspection results and the additional information you provided and have concluded that sufficient information is available to determine the appropriate enforcement action in this matter.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that was provided in your May 15, 1998, letter, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice), and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Violation A is associated with the failure to secure from unauthorized removal or access and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material in an unrestricted area, in accordance with 10 CFR 20.1801 and 10 CFR 20.1802. In this case, the licensed material involved approximately 35 curies of iridium 192 (Ir-192), for use in an exposure device for industrial radiography. The subject inspection report documented a licensee radiographer who failed to maintain adequate control and surveillance of the licensed material for a period of approximately 5-10 minutes, before surveillance was re-established by licensee personnel. Your response of May 15, 1998, identified the root cause of the violation to be your radiographer's disregard of written procedures and regulations.

Although the actual safety consequences of the violation were low, the potential safety consequences were more significant because, under different circumstances, uncontrolled licensed material could result in excessive radiation exposure to members of your staff and members of the public. In this instance, your radiographer's failure to adhere to written procedures and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material is a significant regulatory concern. Therefore, this violation has been classified in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, as a Severity Level III violation.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $2750 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement action within the last two years or two inspections, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process described in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Your corrective actions included reinstruction of all radiation safety workers regarding regulatory requirements and written procedures associated with control and surveillance of licensed materials, training to emphasize Unified Testing Services expectations regarding zero tolerance toward violations of these regulatory requirements, revision of your radiation safety training manual, and substantial disciplinary action for the individuals involved. Based on these facts, the NRC determined that credit was warranted for the factor of Corrective Action.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement, I have been authorized, in consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, 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 Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

The inspection identified two additional violations of regulatory requirements. Violation B, as described in the enclosed Notice, involves three examples of failure to comply with 10 CFR 150.20, which requires that you comply with all terms and conditions of the specific license (in this case, Georgia Radioactive Materials License No. 1308-01). The three examples involve the failure to post radiation area signs, the failure to maintain visual surveillance of the restricted area, and the failure to verify the restricted area boundaries by survey. This violation has been classified at Severity Level IV. A violation was also identified associated with the failure to comply with 10 CFR 150.20 involving compliance with all terms and conditions of the specific license, involving the failure to train radiographers in accordance with required procedures. Based on your response of May 15, 1998, and discussions with the NRC Region II staff, it is apparent that a miscommunication occurred between our office and your Radiation Safety Officer regarding the training requirements for radiographers. Although the NRC has concluded that a violation occurred as stated in Inspection Report No. 150-00010/98-01, because of the special circumstances associated with this issue, and your documented corrective actions to prevent recurrence, the NRC determined that the exercise of discretion, in accordance with Section VII.B.6 of the Enforcement Policy, is appropriate. Therefore, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, I have been authorized not to issue a violation in this case.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the enclosed 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 your letter dated May 15, 1998. 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 a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region II, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosure, and your response, if submitted, will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR). To the extent possible, your response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction.

If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Douglas M. Collins, Director, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety at (404) 562-4700.

Sincerely,
Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 150-00010
License No. General (10 CFR 150.20)

Enclosure: Notice of Violation


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Unified Testing Servies, Inc.
Woodstock, Alabama
Docket No. 150-00010
License No. General (10 CFR 150.20)
EA 98-222

During an NRC inspection conducted on April 1, 1998, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

10 CFR 30.3 requires, in part, that except for persons exempted, no person shall possess or use byproduct material except as authorized by a specific or general license issued pursuant to Title 10, Chapter I, Code of Federal Regulations.

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 areas of exclusive Federal jurisdiction within Agreement States subject to the provisions of 10 CFR 150.20(b).

10 CFR 150.20(b) requires, in part, that any person engaged in licensed activities pursuant to 10 CFR 150.20(a), shall comply with all applicable regulations of the Commission, including 10 CFR 20 and all terms and conditions of the specific license issued by an Agreement State except when such terms or conditions are contrary to the requirements of this section.

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 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, on April 1, 1998, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to 35 curies of iridium 192 located in an unrestricted area within an area of exclusive Federal jurisdiction within an Agreement State at the B-1 bed-down area at Robins Air Force Base (RAFB), Georgia. The licensee also did not control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material. (01013)

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

B. Condition No. 24 of Georgia Radioactive Materials License No. 1308-01 requires that licensed activities be conducted in accordance with the statements, representations, and procedures contained in the license application dated November 14, 1995, and in the letters dated December 11, 1995, and September 12, 1997.

Unified Testing Services (UTS) Operating and Emergency (O&E) procedures (Revision 0, dated November 1, 1995), submitted as part of the license application dated November 14, 1995, describe in Section 5 the licensee's procedures for establishing restricted areas at temporary job sites.

Section 5 of the O&E procedure requires that radiation area signs be posted at all accessible entrances to the restricted area, that radiation area signs be posted at intervals as necessary to be readily seen, that restricted areas at temporary job sites be visually controlled by radiography personnel, and that the restricted area be surveyed during radiographic operations and the restricted area boundaries adjusted as necessary.

Contrary to the above, on April 1, 1998, at a temporary job site located at RAFB, an area of exclusive Federal jurisdiction within an Agreement State:

1. Radiation area signs were not posted at all accessible entrances to the restricted area nor were radiation area signs posted at intervals as necessary to be readily seen. Specifically, one side of the restricted area at the temporary job site was not posted with radiation area signs. In addition, a gap in the boundary of the licensee's restricted area, that could serve as an accessible entrance was not posted.

2. Radiography personnel failed to visually control all portions of a restricted area at the temporary job site. Specifically, radiography personnel stood together during radiography operations and from their location, approximately one fourth of the restricted area was blocked from visual surveillance by two semi-trailers located within the restricted area.

3. Radiography personnel failed to survey, and adjust as necessary, the boundaries of the restricted area during three radiographic exposures at the temporary job site. (02014)

This is a Severity Level IV violation (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 your letter dated May 15, 1998. However, you are required to submit a written statement or explanation pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201 if the description for the violations 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 a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region II, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation.

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.

Because your response, if you choose to submit 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). If safeguards information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, please provide the level of protection described in 10 CFR 73.21.

Dated at Atlanta, Georgia
this 16th day of June 1998

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012