United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-507 - XRI Testing

February 25, 1999

EA 98-507

Mr. Kirk Thams
General Manager and
  Radiation Safety Officer
XRI Testing
Division of X-Ray Industries, Inc.
1961 Thunderbird
Troy, MI 48084

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION
(NRC Inspection Report 030-04837/98001(DNMS) and
NRC Office of Investigations Report 3-1998-035)

Dear Mr. Thams:

This refers to the NRC inspection and the investigation conducted by the Office of Investigations (OI) between August 24 and October 8, 1998. The purpose of the inspection was to review the circumstances surrounding a reported event at a temporary jobsite in Mishawaka, Indiana, on August 21, 1998. Apparent violations were identified and discussed in the subject inspection report sent to you on September 17, 1998. The OI investigation was conducted to determine if an XRI Testing (XRI) employee deliberately failed to wear an alarming ratemeter during radiographic operations. A copy of the OI report synopsis was sent to you by our letter dated November 19, 1998. In that letter, potential enforcement action was discussed and you were provided with an opportunity to discuss this case and the apparent violations at a predecisional enforcement conference. As XRI's representative, you elected to decline a conference.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the OI investigation, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report.

A violation is cited involving the failure of a radiographer to wear an alarming ratemeter at a temporary jobsite. On August 21, 1998, an XRI radiographer, who was working alone at the time, forgot that the source (92 curies of iridium-192) was exposed, entered the area of operations and manipulated the collimator which resulted in a significant radiation exposure to his hand. This event could have been averted had this individual been wearing an alarming ratemeter. Calculations performed by XRI personnel and the NRC determined that his extremity (hand) exposure was approximately 20 rems shallow-dose equivalent which did not exceed the limit of 50 rems shallow dose equivalent. That notwithstanding, the violation had significant potential to result in a far more serious radiation exposure. This matter is further exacerbated by the OI investigation finding that the XRI radiographer deliberately violated an NRC requirement to wear an alarming ratemeter.

Despite the radiographer's deliberate failure to routinely wear an alarming ratemeter, XRI has a responsibility to ensure that its employees perform radiographic operations in accordance with license requirements.

A second violation involves the failure to have two qualified individuals present during radiographic operations. On August 21, 1998, one of the two qualified radiographers at the Mishawaka, Indiana, temporary jobsite left the facility prior to the event to look for his missing film badge while radiographic operations were in progress. Although XRI has routinely assigned two individuals to all temporary jobsites, it failed to recognize the difference between XRI's policy and NRC's requirement that the second individual actually observe radiographic operations.

In addition, the radiographer who deliberately failed to wear his alarming ratemeter also failed to maintain continuous direct visual surveillance of the operation to protect against unauthorized entry into a high radiation area and failed to conduct a radiation survey of the radiographic exposure device or the guide tube during the radiographic operation as required by NRC regulations.

Because of the willful nature of the XRI Testing radiographer's failure to wear an alarming ratemeter, as well as other violations which occurred during the radiographic operations on August 21, 1998, these violations are of very significant regulatory concern and have been classified in the aggregate in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, Rev. 1, as a Severity Level II problem.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $8,800 is considered for a Severity Level II problem. Because the problem involved willfulness, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Credit was determined to be warranted for Identification because XRI identified the issues and the root causes. In addition, credit for Corrective Action is warranted based on the promptness and comprehensiveness of the actions taken. The corrective actions taken included: (1) the radiographer in question was immediately suspended following the incident and subsequently terminated; (2) all radiography personnel were informed of the Mishawaka incident; (3) all radiography personnel were re-instructed in the requirements and use of all personnel monitoring equipment; (4) XRI Testing revised its "two-man rule" for jobsite activities; and (5) XRI Testing had made a decision to no longer perform work at temporary jobsites outside of the confines of its facilities.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement action, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, issuance of this Severity Level II problem constitutes escalated enforcement action that may subject you to increased inspection effort. In addition, similar violations in the future could result in a civil penalty or order modifying your license.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the problem, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the problem and prevent recurrence and the date when full compliance was achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report 030-04837/98001(DNMS) and in our letter dated November 19, 1998. 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 send one, will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room.

  Sincerely,

  Original Signed By

  James E. Dyer
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-04837
License No. 21-05472-01

Enclosure:   Notice of Violation



NOTICE OF VIOLATION


XRI Testing
Troy, Michigan
  Docket No. 030-04837
License No. 21-05472-01
EA 98-507

 

During an NRC inspection and OI investigation conducted between August 24 and October 8, 1998, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, Rev. 1, the violations are listed below:

I. Violation Associated with Dosimetry

10 CFR 34.47(a) requires, in part, that the licensee may not permit any individual to act as a radiographer unless, at all times during radiographic operations, each individual wears an operating alarm ratemeter and either a film badge or a thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD).

Contrary to the above, on August 21, 1998, an individual permitted to act as an XRI Testing radiographer did not wear an operating alarm ratemeter during radiographic operations at temporary jobsites. In addition, on August 21, 1998, another individual acting as an XRI Testing radiographer conducted radiographic operations without a film badge or TLD at the same temporary jobsite located in Mishawaka, Indiana.

II. Violation Associated with the Two-Man Rule

10 CFR 34.41(a) requires that whenever radiography is performed at a location other than a permanent radiographic installation, e.g., a temporary jobsite, the radiographer must be accompanied by at least one other qualified radiographer or radiographer's assistant. The additional qualified individual shall observe the operations and be capable of providing immediate assistance to prevent unauthorized entry. Radiography may not be performed if only one qualified individual is present.

Contrary to the above, on August 21, 1998, radiography was performed at a temporary jobsite located in Mishawaka, Indiana, a location other than a permanent radiographic installation, with only one qualified individual present.

III. Violation Associated with Surveillance

10 CFR 34.51 requires, in part, the radiographer, or other qualified individual, to maintain continuous direct visual surveillance of the operation to protect against unauthorized entry into a high radiation area during each radiographic operation that is not conducted at a permanent radiographic installation where all entryways are locked and the requirements of 10 CFR 34.33 are met.

Contrary to the above, on August 21, 1998, a licensee radiographer, during the time he was alone at the temporary jobsite, did not maintain continuous direct visual surveillance of radiographic operations.

IV. Violation Associated with Radiation Surveys

10 CFR 34.49(b) requires, in part, that the radiographer conduct a survey of the radiographic exposure device and the guide tube after each exposure when approaching the device or the guide tube. The survey must determine that the sealed source has returned to its shielded position.

Contrary to the above, on August 21, 1998, a licensee radiographer, during the time that he was performing radiographic operations, did not conduct a survey of the device or the guide tube prior to manipulating the collimator, which resulted in a significant radiation exposure to his hand.

These violations represent a Severity Level II problem (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 was achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report 030-04837/98001(DNMS). 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 III, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, IL 60532 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, any 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.

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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