United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-565 - International Radiography and Inspection Services, Inc.

May 4, 1999

EAs 98-565 & 99-090

Mr. Kevin Wieland, Vice President
International Radiography and
Inspection Services, Inc.
1115 W. 41st St.
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74107


SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED
                     IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTIES - $17,600
                     (NRC Inspection Report No. 030-33943/98-02 and
                     Investigation Report No. 4-1998-053)

Dear Mr. Wieland:

This is in reference to the predecisional enforcement conference conducted on March 18, 1999, in NRC's Region IV office in Arlington, Texas. The purpose of the conference was to discuss several apparent violations of NRC requirements, most of which were related to a November 7, 1998 incident. The incident resulted in an assistant radiographer employed by International Radiography and Inspection Services, Inc. (IRIS) receiving a radiation exposure in excess of NRC limits. IRIS notified the NRC of the incident by telephone on November 9, 1999, and submitted a written report on December 7, 1998. The NRC completed its inspection and investigation activities on February 19, 1999, at which time the apparent violations were discussed with you by telephone. The apparent violations also were described in the referenced inspection report, issued on March 3, 1999.

At the conference, IRIS admitted each of the apparent violations, stated that the actions taken by the involved IRIS personnel were contrary to their training and IRIS expectations, and described several enhancements being made to the company's training and audit programs to guard against similar misconduct in the future. On March 22, 1999, IRIS transmitted to the NRC's Region IV office by facsimile a document describing all of its corrective actions in more detail.

Based on the information developed by the NRC during its inspection and investigation, and after consideration of the information that you provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that numerous violations of NRC requirements occurred, as described in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalties. The circumstances surrounding these violations were described in detail in the subject inspection report. In brief, the violations include failing to limit an occupational exposure to NRC limits, failing to have a radiation survey instrument and to conduct radiation surveys at a job site where radiography was being conducted, failing to utilize personnel radiation monitoring equipment, failing to stop radiography and contact the radiation safety officer when the incident occurred, and failing to complete and maintain required records.

The NRC also has determined, on the basis of its investigation and after considering information provided by IRIS and the involved employees, that a number of these violations were committed deliberately by IRIS employees. Of those violations described above, the violations that were committed deliberately include failure to have a radiation survey instrument and conduct radiation surveys, failure to utilize personnel radiation monitoring equipment as required, and failure to stop work and contact the radiation safety officer after the incident. In addition, the NRC concluded that the involved employees deliberately provided IRIS with false information immediately following the incident. Based on these deliberate violations, enforcement action is also being taken against each of the involved employees. The NRC is providing IRIS copies of the individual enforcement actions separately. IRIS, however, remains responsible for the actions of its employees, as would any NRC license holder.

Any single violation that results in a radiation overexposure is considered serious, as is any single failure to follow basic radiation safety requirements during radiography operations. In this instance, several radiation safety requirements were deliberately violated, resulting in an overexposure and the potential for a far more serious radiation overexposure. Had any one of several requirements been followed, the overexposure incident would not have occurred. Thus, this incident reflects a total disregard for the radiation safety requirements associated with performing industrial radiography by the involved individuals. Accordingly, the violations have been grouped into two Severity Level II problems in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600. The first group includes all violations of requirements leading up to and including the overexposure incident. The second group includes those violations occurring after the exposure incident.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty in the base amount of $8,800 is considered for a Severity Level II problem. In considering the enforcement action in this case, the NRC recognizes IRIS's efforts in investigating this incident and identifying the violations, including the identification of the attempt by the involved employees to cover up the true nature of the incident. Further, the NRC recognizes IRIS's prompt and aggressive corrective actions following the incident. IRIS's investigative efforts contributed to a better understanding of the event and the failures associated with it.

However, given the egregiousness and deliberate nature of the violations in this case, I am issuing the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalties (Notice) in the amount of $17,600 (i.e., base civil penalties for each of the Severity Level II problems in the enclosed Notice). These civil penalties are being assessed in accordance with Section VII.A.1 of the Enforcement Policy to emphasize the significance of the total disregard for safety in this case by the involved individuals and the importance of assuring that IRIS employees adhere to all radiation safety requirements in the future. Had it not been for IRIS' actions in identifying and correcting these violations, the civil penalties would have been higher.

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 addition, issuance of this Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

Finally, we note that two of the apparent violations noted in our inspection report dated March 3, 1999 -- involving failing to secure a source in its shielded position each time the source is returned to that position and failing to check the functionality of an alarm ratemeter -- were withdrawn.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosure, and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room.


  Sincerely,

  Malcolm R. Knapp
Deputy Executive Director
   for Regulatory Effectiveness

Docket No. 030-33943
License No. 35-30246-01

Enclosure:
Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalties

cc:
American Society of Nondestructive Testing, Inc.
ATTN: Technical Services Manager
1711 Arlingate Lane
P.O. Box 28518
Columbus, Ohio 43228-0518


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTIES

International Radiography and Inspection Services, Inc.
Tulsa, Oklahoma
  Docket No. 030-33943
License No. 35-30246-01
EA 98-565

During an NRC inspection and investigation completed February 19, 1999, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the NRC proposes to impose civil penalties pursuant to Section 234 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (Act), 42 U.S.C. 2282, and 10 CFR 2.205. The particular violations and associated civil penalties are set forth below:

Violations Occurring Prior to and Including Overexposure Incident

A. 10 CFR 20.1201(a)(1)(i) requires, with exceptions not applicable here, that a licensee control the occupational dose to individual adults to an annual dose limit of 5 rems total effective dose equivalent.

10 CFR 20.1201(a)(2)(ii) requires, with exceptions not applicable here, that a licensee control the occupational dose to any extremity of individual adults to an annual dose limit of 50 rems shallow dose equivalent.

Contrary to the above, the licensee did not limit the annual occupational dose to a radiographer's assistant to 5 rems total effective dose equivalent. Specifically, as of November 7, 1998, a radiographer's assistant received a deep dose equivalent of approximately 10.8 rems. In addition, the licensee did not limit the annual occupational radiation exposure to a radiographer's assistant's right hand to 50 rems. Specifically, on November 7, 1998, a radiographer's assistant received a shallow dose equivalent to the right hand of approximately 164 rems. (01012)

B. 10 CFR 34.25(a) requires, in part, that the licensee keep sufficient calibrated and operable radiation survey instruments at each location where radioactive material is present.

10 CFR 34.49(b) requires, in part, that the licensee conduct a survey of the radiographic exposure device and the guide tube after each exposure when approaching the device or guide tube.

Contrary to the above, on November 7, 1998, no radiation survey instruments were at a temporary job site at which radiographic operations were being conducted. As a consequence, licensee personnel failed to conduct a survey of the radiographic exposure device and the guide tube after each exposure when approaching the device or guide tube. (01022)

C. 10 CFR 34.47(a) requires, in part, that the licensee may not permit any individual to act as a radiographer or a radiographer's assistant unless, at all times during radiographic operations, each individual wears, on the trunk of the body, a combination of direct reading dosimeter, an operating alarm ratemeter, and either a film badge or TLD.

Contrary to the above, on November 7, 1998, an individual acting as a licensee radiographer failed to wear a direct reading dosimeter, an alarm ratemeter and a TLD while conducting radiographic operations. Additionally, on November 7, 1998, an individual acting as a radiographer's assistant failed to wear an alarm ratemeter while conducting radiographic operations. (01032)

D. 10 CFR 34.47(a)(1) requires, in part, that pocket dosimeters must be recharged at the start of each shift.

Contrary to the above, on November 7, 1998, neither a licensee radiographer nor a radiographer's assistant recharged their pocket dosimeter at the start of the shift. (01052)

E. 10 CFR 34.71(a) requires, in part, that each licensee maintain utilization logs showing specified information for each sealed source.

Contrary to the above, on November 7, 1998, a licensee radiographer started to complete a utilization log but did not finish thereby failing to include required information. Additionally, the log that was started was lost at some time during the work shift. (01062)

These violations represent a Severity Level II problem (Supplements IV and VI).
Civil Penalty - $8,800

Violations Occurring After Overexposure Incident

F. 10 CFR 34.47(d) requires, in part, that if an individual's pocket dosimeter is found to be off-scale and the possibility of radiation exposure cannot be ruled out as the cause, the individual may not resume work associated with licensed material until a determination of the individual's radiation exposure has been made.

Contrary to the above, on November 7, 1998, after a licensee radiographer's assistant's pocket dosimeter was found to be off-scale and a radiation exposure could not be ruled out, the radiographer's assistant resumed work associated with licensed material prior to a determination of the radiographer's assistant's radiation exposure had been made. (02012)

G. Condition 19 of License 35-30246-01 requires, in part, the licensee to conduct its program in accordance with the statements, representations, and procedures contained in a telefacsimile dated February 16, 1998. Item 3.1.2.1 of the International Radiography and Inspection Services, Inc. (IRIS) Radiation Safety Manual, which was submitted as part of the telefacsimile dated February 16, 1998, requires, in part, that IRIS personnel immediately contact the RSO after a pocket dosimeter is found to be off-scale.

Contrary to the above, on November 7, 1998, IRIS personnel failed to immediately contact the RSO after a radiographer's assistant's pocket dosimeter was found to be off scale. (02022)

H. 10 CFR 34.25(a) requires, in part, that the licensee keep sufficient calibrated and operable radiation survey instruments at each location where radioactive material is present.

10 CFR 34.49(b) requires, in part, that the licensee conduct a survey of the radiographic exposure device and the guide tube after each exposure when approaching the device or guide tube.

Contrary to the above, on November 7, 1998, after a radiographer's assistant's pocket dosimeter was found to be off-scale, IRIS personnel continued to conduct radiography operations with no radiation survey instruments present and without conducting a survey of the radiographic exposure device and the guide tube after each exposure when approaching the device or guide tube. (02032)

These violations represent a Severity Level II problem (Supplement VI).
Civil Penalty - $8,800

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, International Radiography and Inspection Services, Inc. (Licensee) is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, within 30 days of the date of this Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalties (Notice). This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation" and should include for each alleged violation: (1) admission or denial of the alleged violation, (2) the reasons for the violation if admitted, and if denied, the reasons why, (3) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (4) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further violations, and (5) the date when full compliance will be achieved. 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. Consideration may be given to extending the response time for good cause shown. Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, this response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

Within the same time as provided for the response required above under 10 CFR 2.201, the Licensee may pay the civil penalty proposed above or the cumulative amount of the civil penalties if more than one civil penalty is proposed, in accordance with NUREG/BR-0254 and by submitting to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, a statement indicating when and by what method payment was made, or may protest imposition of the civil penalties in whole or in part, by a written answer addressed to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Should the Licensee fail to answer within the time specified, an order imposing the civil penalties will be issued. Should the Licensee elect to file an answer in accordance with 10 CFR 2.205 protesting the civil penalties, in whole or in part, such answer should be clearly marked as an "Answer to a Notice of Violation" and may: (1) deny the violation(s) listed in this Notice, in whole or in part, (2) demonstrate extenuating circumstances, (3) show error in this Notice, or (4) show other reasons why the penalties should not be imposed. In addition to protesting the civil penalties, in whole or in part, such answer may request remission or mitigation of the penalties.

In requesting mitigation of the proposed penalties, the factors addressed in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy should be addressed. Any written answer in accordance with 10 CFR 2.205 should be set forth separately from the statement or explanation in reply pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201, but may incorporate parts of the 10 CFR 2.201 reply by specific reference (e.g., citing page and paragraph numbers) to avoid repetition. The attention of the Licensee is directed to the other provisions of 10 CFR 2.205, regarding the procedure for imposing a civil penalties.

Upon failure to pay any civil penalties due which subsequently has been determined in accordance with the applicable provisions of 10 CFR 2.205, this matter may be referred to the Attorney General, and the penalties, unless compromised, remitted, or mitigated, may be collected by civil action pursuant to Section 234(c) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2282c.

The response noted above (Reply to Notice of Violation, statement as to payment of civil penalties, and Answer to a Notice of Violation) should be addressed to: James Lieberman, Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852-2738, with a copy to Ellis W. Merschoff, Regional Administrator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011.

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.

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

Dated this 4th day of May 1999

 

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012