United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-99-206 - Cooperheat-MQS Inspection, Inc.

April 27, 2000

EA 99-206

Joseph Milliron, President
International Industry Services, Inc.
Cooperheat-MQS
5858 Westheimer
Suite 625
Houston, TX 77507

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC SPECIAL INSPECTION REPORTS 030-04041/99002(DNMS) AND 030-35118/99001(DNMS), AND INVESTIGATION REPORT 3-1999-030)

Dear Mr. Milliron:

This refers to the special inspections conducted on June 21-22, and November 1, 1999, at your Berlin, Connecticut, Field Station and to the NRC Office of Investigations (OI) Report 3-1999-030. The June 1999 inspection (030-04041/99002(DNMS)) reviewed the circumstances surrounding the inadvertent handling of an unshielded iridium-192 radiography source reported in your May 14, 1999, letter to the NRC. Subsequent to this inspection, OI performed an investigation regarding whether a licensee individual deliberately provided false statements to the NRC regarding wearing dosimetry during the event. Based on this investigation, OI did not substantiate that the individual provided false statements to the NRC. A copy of the OI Report Synopsis is enclosed for your information (Enclosure 3). The November 1999 inspection (030-35118/99001(DNMS)) reviewed your corrective actions involving the event. The inspection findings and areas examined during the November 1999 inspection are described in the enclosed report (Enclosure 2). During an April 6, 2000, telephone conversation between Mr. Peter R. Buchler of your staff and Mr. Roy J. Caniano of my staff, Cooperheat-MQS declined a predecisional enforcement conference and declined to provide additional written correspondence.

Based on the information developed during the June 1999 inspection and the information provided in your May 14, 1999 letter, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements occurred. The violation involved the failure to make surveys to evaluate the extent of radiation levels and the potential radiological hazards present during a radiography source change. Specifically, a licensee individual failed to perform surveys of a radiographic exposure device when the source was exchanged and when another exposure device was placed into storage. The violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) (Enclosure 1) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the June 1999 inspection report.

The NRC considers the failure to perform surveys of radiographic exposure devices any time the source is exchanged and whenever a device is place in storage a significant safety concern. Conducting an adequate survey of the radiographic exposure device to evaluate the potential radiation hazard is important to protect workers from inadvertent and potentially significant radiation exposures. Therefore, 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. The NRC acknowledges Cooperheat-MQS's actions in response to this incident and subsequent corrective actions, including: 1) a prompt investigation of the incident to assess radiation exposures; 2) prompt disciplinary action against the involved individual; 3) revising the source change procedure; and 4) informing employees of the incident.

Therefore, to encourage prompt identification 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.

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 addressed on the docket in Inspection Report 030-35118/99001(DNMS) and your May 14, 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, of 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 and its enclosures will be placed in the NRC Public NRC Library link at the NRC homepage, http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html.

Sincerely,

  /RA/

  J. E. Dyer
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-35118
License No. 12-00622-08

Enclosure:  Notice of Violation


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Cooperheat-MQS
Houston, Texas
      Docket No. 030-35118
License No. 12-00622-08
EA 99-206

During an NRC inspection conducted on June 21-22, 1999, 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 20.1501 requires that each licensee make or cause to be made surveys that may be necessary for the licensee to comply with the regulations in Part 20 and that are reasonable under the circumstance to evaluate the extent of radiation levels, concentrations or quantities of radioactive materials, and the potential radiological hazards that could be present.

Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.1003, survey means an evaluation of the radiological conditions and potential hazards incident to the production, use, transfer, release, disposal, or presence of radioactive material or other sources of radiation.

10 CFR 20.1201, requires, in part, that the licensee control the occupational dose to individual adults to an annual limit of five rems total effective dose equivalent and an annual limit of 50 rems shallow dose equivalent to the skin and extremities.

10 CFR 34.49(c) requires that the licensee conduct a survey of the radiographic exposure device with a calibrated radiation survey instrument any time the source is exchanged and whenever a radiographic exposure device is placed in a storage area (as defined in Section 34.3), to ensure that the sealed source is in its shielded position.

Contrary to the above, on April 20, 1999, the licensee did not make surveys to assure compliance with the occupational radiation exposure limits to individual adults. Specifically, a licensee individual did not survey a radiographic exposure device before the source was changed or survey a second device when it was placed into storage.

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 is already adequately addressed on the docket in Inspection Report 030-5118/99-001(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, 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 NRC Library (PERR) link at the NRC homepage, http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. 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 PERR without redaction.

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

Dated this 27th day of April 2000

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