United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-326 - Brucker Engineering, Ltd.

July 20, 1998

EA No. 98-326

Mr. Leo Turek
Vice President-Engineering
Brucker Engineering, Ltd.
7565 Ravensridge Drive
St. Louis, MO 63119

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC Inspection Report 030-34708/98001(DNMS)

Dear Mr. Turek:

This refers to the inspection conducted on June 2 and 3, 1998, at Brucker Engineering, Ltd. (Brucker) in St. Louis, Missouri. The purpose of the inspection was to review an event involving the reported loss of a moisture/density gauge containing licensed material. During the inspection an apparent violation of NRC requirements was identified. A predecisional enforcement conference was held on July 1, 1998, at the Brucker office to discuss the apparent violation, its cause and corrective actions. A summary of this conference will be sent to you by separate correspondence.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the conference, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements occurred. The violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report.

The violation involved the failure to control licensed material in an unrestricted area. Specifically, a moisture/density gauge containing 11 millicuries of cesium-137 and 44 millicuries of americium-241 was unaccounted for between May 29 and June 3, 1998, because the operator could not find his vehicle. The device was subsequently found locked in the trunk of the gauge operator's vehicle. The root cause of this event was the operator's failure to return the device to its designated storage location at the end of the work shift as required. Incumbent upon each licensee is the responsibility to exercise the necessary controls over licensed material, especially material that is routinely used in the public domain, such as portable gauging devices. Such control is necessary to ensure that only trained, knowledgeable, and responsible personnel have access to the devices. We are concerned that adequate control was not exercised. Our concern is exacerbated by the fact that Brucker had been licensed for only six weeks prior to the May 29, 1998, incident and all Brucker workers should have just received instruction and training on the handling of portable gauges. Therefore, the violation is classified in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure 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 $2,750 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions, 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 both prompt and comprehensive and, therefore, credit for corrective action is warranted. These actions included: (a) the temporary suspension of the operator involved and he has been prohibited from using the device for at least one year; (b) all gauge operators were informed of the event; (c) all staff were reinstructed in the security and control requirements; (d) implementation of a disciplinary procedure as of July 6, 1998; and (e) the conduct of monthly audits of operators field performance.

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.

During the predecisional conference, an example of failure of an operator to maintain constant surveillance of a gauge at a jobsite identified in Section 3.0 of the NRC inspection report was discussed. Your staff contended that the example was not valid because: (a) visual surveillance was maintained at all times, (b) the device was in a physically safe location, (c) the distance was at least 10 feet closer than discussed during the inspection, (d) and only authorized workers were at the Olivette location and there was no public access. After further review of this matter, we have decided not to include the example described in Section 3.0 of the inspection report in the Notice of Violation.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation and the corrective actions taken and/or planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence have been adequately addressed in the Inspection Report 030-34708/98001(DNMS) and during the July 1, 1998, predecisional enforcement conference. 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,
 
original signed by
 
Carl J. Paperiello
Acting Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-34708
License No. 24-32076-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Brucker Engineering, Ltd.
St. Louis, Missouri
  Docket No. 030-34708
License No. 24-32076-01
EA 98-326

During an NRC inspection conducted on June 2 and 3, 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 violation is listed below:

  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.

Condition 21.A. of License No. 24-32076-01 requires that the licensee conduct its program in accordance with statements, representations and procedures contained in an application dated March 28, 1998.

Item 10 of the referenced application, titled "Radiation Safety Program - Operating & Emergency Procedures," requires the licensee to implement and maintain operating and emergency procedures in accordance with Appendix H of NUREG-1556, Vol. 1, dated May 1997. Appendix H requires gauges to be returned to their proper storage location at the licensee's St. Louis, Missouri, office at the end of the work shift.

Contrary to the above, on May 29, 1998, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to a Humboldt Scientific, Inc., Model 5001 portable gauge containing 11 millicuries of cesium-137 and 44 millicuries of americium-241, as sealed sources, located in the trunk of a licensee employee's vehicle, an unrestricted area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material. The operator did not return the gauge to the proper storage location at the end of the work shift on May 29, 1998, and the gauge was subsequently unaccounted for until June 3, 1998.

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

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence and the date when full compliance will be achieved was adequately addressed in Inspection Report 030-34708/98001(DNMS) and during the July 1, 1998, predecisional enforcement conference. 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 III, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Illinois 60532, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this 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, D.C. 20555-0001.

If you choose to respond your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR). Therefore, 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. Under the authority of Section 182 of Act 42 U.S.C. 2232, any response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

Dated at Lisle, Illinois
this 20th day of July 1998

 

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012