United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-99-194 - Professional Service Industries, Inc.

October 22, 1999

EA 99-194

W. Howell Barnum
Chief Operations Officer
Professional Service Industries, Inc.
510 East 22nd Street
Lombard, IL 60148

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY-$8,800 - (NRC Office of Investigations Report No. 4-1999-016)

Dear Mr. Barnum:

This refers to the closed, transcribed predecisional enforcement conference conducted on August 24, 1999, in the NRC Region III Office in Lisle, Illinois. The conference was conducted to discuss apparent violations related to a September 15, 1998, incident in Pocatello, Idaho involving Professional Service Industries, Inc. (PSI) radiography personnel. The apparent violations related to this incident, and the results of an investigation conducted by the NRC's Office of Investigations (OI) to determine whether the violations were willful, were provided in a letter issued to you on August 5, 1999.

Based on the information developed during the investigation and the information provided by your staff during the conference, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty. The circumstances surrounding the violations were described in detail in the incident review summary in a letter dated August 5, 1999. The violations involved failures to: (1) conduct radiography with at least two qualified individuals to observe operations; (2) supervise a radiographer's assistant while performing radiographic operations; and (3) maintain control and constant surveillance of licensed material that was in an unrestricted area.

On April 6, 1999, an investigation was initiated by OI to determine if PSI employees, deliberately violated NRC regulations which may have resulted in possible overexposures at a jobsite in Pocatello, Idaho. The PSI employees, a radiographer and a radiographer's assistant, conducted radiographic operations at a plant in Idaho during the evening of September 14 and early morning of September 15, 1998. After the last shot, two plant employees breached the boundary set by the PSI workers. The plant employees became concerned that they had received radiation exposures; however, it was determined that the source had been returned to its shielded position and locked prior to the plant employees entry into the barricaded area. Therefore, the individuals did not receive a radiation exposure. During the OI interviews, both PSI individuals acknowledged receiving radiation safety training which included the two-person rule, surveillance procedures during and after radiographic operations, and the conditions under which a radiographer's assistant could conduct radiographic operations. Based on all of the available evidence, the NRC, in conjunction with OI, concludes that the individuals deliberately violated NRC requirements during and after the third and fourth radiographic shots because they knew or should have known that those actions were violations of NRC requirements. The NRC is particularly concerned about the violations involving the deliberate failure to supervise the assistant radiographer and to follow the two-person rule. It is essential that the NRC be able to maintain the highest trust and confidence that licensees and their employees will act with integrity and abide by requirements designed to protect the health and safety of the public. Therefore, the violations in Section I of the Notice are classified in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, Revision 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. In accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy, the NRC considered whether credit for Identification and Corrective Action was warranted. After reviewing the circumstances, the NRC concluded that credit for Identification is not warranted because NRC staff identified the violations. Corrective actions presented at the conference were comprehensive and included: (1) suspension of the assistant radiographer pending retraining; (2) refresher training for all radiographers and assistants in the PSI Salt Lake City office; (3) a complete corporate level review and investigation of the circumstances surrounding the violations; (4) issuance of memorandums to all staff regarding allowed activities for each certification level and clarifications of the two-man rule; (5) implementation of a new internal incident investigation guide; and (6) creation of an assistant radiographer refresher exam. Based on these and other actions planned, NRC has determined that Corrective Action credit is warranted.

Therefore, to emphasize the significance of deliberate violations of safety requirements and the importance of prompt identification of violations, I am issuing the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) in the base amount of $8,800 for the Severity Level II problem in Section I of the Notice. In addition, please note that issuance of this Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

The violation in Section II of the Notice involves a failure to secure and limit access to licensed material in an unrestricted area and is categorized as a Severity Level IV violation in accordance with the Enforcement Policy.

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 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,

  Carl J. Paperiello
Deputy Executive Director
   for Materials, Research and State Programs

Docket No. 030-33792
License No. 12-16941-03

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

 
Professional Service
   Industries, Inc.
Lombard, Illinois
  Docket No. 030-33792
License No. 12-16941-03
EA 99-194

During an NRC inspection and investigation completed on June 22, 1999, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, Revision 1, the NRC proposes to impose a civil penalty 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 penalty are set forth below:

I.   Violations Assessed a Civil Penalty

  A. 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 September 15, 1998, radiography was performed at a temporary job site at Eaton Metal Products, Pocatello, Idaho, a location other than a permanent radiographic installation, with only one qualified individual present during the third and fourth shots. (01012)

  B. 10 CFR 34.46 requires that whenever a radiographer's assistant uses radiographic exposure devices, associated equipment or sealed sources or conducts radiation surveys required by section 34.49(b) to determine that the sealed source has returned to the shielded position after an exposure, the assistant shall be under the personal supervision of a radiographer. The personal supervision must include: (a) the radiographer's physical presence at the site where the sealed sources are being used, (b) the availability of the radiographer to give immediate assistance if required, and (c) the radiographer's direct observation of the assistant's performance of the operations referred to in this section.

Contrary to the above, on September 15, 1998, the licensee's radiographer's assistant operated a radiographic exposure device and conducted radiation surveys without the personal supervision of the licensee's radiographer at Eaton Metal Products, Pocatello, Idaho, following the fourth shot. Specifically, the licensee's radiographer was not available to give immediate assistance if required and did not directly observe the assistant's performance of operations referred to in this section following the fourth shot. (01022)

These violations represent a Severity Level II Problem (Supplement VI).

Civil Penalty - $8,800

II.   Violation Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

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 shall control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material that is in a controlled or 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 September 15, 1998, the license did not secure from unauthorized removal or access a locked Amersham Model 680 radiographic exposure device that contained a sealed source of about 60 curies of cobalt-60 that was located in a large bay area at Eaton Metal Products, Pocatello, Idaho, an unrestricted area. Nor did the licensee maintain constant surveillance of this material to prevent access by unauthorized personnel. This area was an unrestricted area in that two (2) members of the general public were able to cross the radiation area boundary unchallenged. (01014)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Professional Service Industries, 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 Penalty (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 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 penalty 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 penalty will be issued. Should the Licensee elect to file an answer in accordance with 10 CFR 2.205 protesting the civil penalty, in whole or in part, such answer should be clearly marked as an "Answer to a Notice of Violation" and may: (1) deny the violations 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 penalty should not be imposed. In addition to protesting the civil penalty, in whole or in part, such answer may request remission or mitigation of the penalty.

In requesting mitigation of the proposed penalty, 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 penalty.

Upon failure to pay any civil penalty 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 penalty, 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 penalty, and Answer to a Notice of Violation) should be addressed to: Mr. R. W. Borchardt, Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852-2738, with a copy to the Regional Administrator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region III, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Illinois 60532-4351.

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).

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

Dated this 22nd day of October 1999

 

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