United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-475 - Tulsa Gamma Ray, Inc.

February 25, 1999

EA 98-475

Peter Moss, President
Tulsa Gamma Ray, Inc.
1127 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74101


SUBJECT: SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION
(NRC INSPECTION REPORT 030-12319/98-01)

Dear Mr. Moss:

This refers to your letter dated January 28, 1999, in response to an apparent violation identified in the subject inspection report dated January 5, 1999. The inspection was conducted at your Tulsa, Oklahoma facility on September 4 through December 14, 1998, in response to Tulsa Gamma Ray's (TGR) notification of two radiation exposures in excess of NRC limits. The first involved a 30-day written report dated August 14, 1998, in accordance with 10 CFR 20.2203, regarding a radiographer who had received a total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) of 2.95 rem in June 1998, which resulted in a total TEDE of 5.64 rem for calendar year 1998. The second involved telephone notification on September 2, 1998 that a radiographer's assistant film badge had received 7.56 rems for July 1998. An exit briefing was conducted by telephone on December 14, 1998, and Inspection Report 030-12319/98-01 was issued on January 5, 1999.

During the exit briefing, we informed TGR of our conclusion that the 7.56 rem reported dose to the radiographer's assistant did not represent the dose received by him (we concluded he was not wearing his film badge when the badge was exposed). Also, we informed TGR that the NRC considered the 2.95 rem received by the radiographer to be a valid exposure and, as a result, we were considering escalated enforcement action for an apparent violation of 10 CFR 20.1201. Prior to making a final enforcement decision, we provided TGR with the opportunity to either request a predecisional enforcement conference or respond to the apparent violation in writing. TGR elected to respond to the apparent violation by letter dated January 28, 1999 from Mr. Daniel E. Potter.

In its January 28, 1999 letter, TGR disputed the apparent violation. TGR's position was that the radiation dose received on film badge #170 was not an occupational dose (that the individual was not wearing the badge when it was exposed). The bases for the conclusion were as follows: the radiographer's dosimeter never went off scale and his alarm rate meter did not sound excessively; other radiographers that worked with him did not have excessive exposures; detection equipment was examined and functioned normally; there have been questionable film badge results with variations as much as 30%; and while noting that film badges were uncontrolled, TGR raised the possibility that someone may have overexposed the badge.

Before concluding that an individual did not receive the dose reported from his film badge, a licensee must show that the badge was exposed at a time when the individual was not wearing the badge or that the badge was not processed correctly by the film badge vendor. We acknowledge that TGR's initial investigation (documented in the inspection report) was reasonable and that it could not determine the cause for the high radiation dose. Further, we acknowledge that, as a result of further investigation, TGR's position is that the individual did not receive an overexposure. However, after reviewing the information TGR provided, the NRC does not find a sufficient basis to conclude that the badge was exposed when the individual was not wearing it or that the film badge vendor did not properly process the badge. Therefore, the NRC accepts the badge results of 2.95 rem as a valid indication of the exposure to the individual during the monitoring period in question. As a result, the individual's exposure for calendar year 1998 was 5.64 rem, which constitutes a violation of 10 CFR 20.1201 in that TGR did not limit the individual's dose to 5 rem during calendar year 1998. This violation has been categorized in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600 at Severity Level III.

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 your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two 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. TGR's corrective actions included conducting an investigation, removing the radiographer from work involving further radiation exposures, developing administrative actions when an employee's annual dose exceeds certain predetermined values, revising procedures for issuing and receiving film badges, and requiring closer observations of employee dose reports to better control annual exposures. As a result, the NRC has concluded that TGR 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.

TGR's January 28, 1999 letter stated that TGR intended to request that the film badge processer correct the dose to reflect 211 mrem, not 2950 mrem for the exposure period in question. Given the NRC's decision in this matter, modification of the individual's dose would be inappropriate. TGR should take appropriate actions to ensure that the dose records for the individual reflect the 2950 mrem dose for this monitoring period.

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 was achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in the subject inspection report and in TGR's January 28, 1999, letter. 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, if you choose to respond, will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room.


Sincerely,

\ORIGINAL SIGNED BY Ellis W. Merschoff\

Ellis W. Merschoff
Regional Administrator


Docket No. 030-12319
License No. 35-17178-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc (w/encl):
Oklahoma Radiation Control Program Director


ENCLOSURE

NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Tulsa Gamma Ray, Inc.
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Docket No. 030-12319
License No. 35-17178-01
EA 98-475


During an NRC inspection conducted on September 4 through December 14, 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 20.1201(a)(1)(i) requires, with exceptions not applicable here, that the licensee control the occupational dose to individual adults to an annual dose limit of 5 rems total effective dose equivalent.

Contrary to the above, the licensee did not limit the annual occupational dose to an adult industrial radiographer to 5 rems, total effective dose equivalent. Specifically, the adult radiographer received 5.64 rems total effective dose equivalent for calendar year 1998. (01013)

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

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 was achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report No. 030-12319/98-01, and the Licensee's letter dated January 28, 1999. 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, DC 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011, 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, with the basis for your denial, 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.

If you choose to respond, your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR). Therefore, to the extent possible, the response 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).

In accordance with 10 CFR 19.11, you may be required to post this Notice within two working days.

Dated this 25th day of February 1999

 

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