United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Bulletin 80-22: Automation Industries, Model 200-520-008 Sealed-Source Connectors

                                                            SSINS No: 6820 
                                                            Accession No.: 
                                                            8006190050 
                                                            IEB 80-22 

                               UNITED STATES 
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555
                                     
                             September 11, 1980

IE Bulletin No. 80-22:   AUTOMATION INDUSTRIES, MODEL 200-520-008 
                         SEALED-SOURCE CONNECTORS 

Description of Circumstances: 

An accident recently occurred in the State of California (an Agreement 
State) that resulted in several serious overexposures (see enclosed Circular 
79-16). The accident involved the use of an Automation Industries (AI) Model
200-520-008 source pigtail to drive cable connection. The connector is 
identified by the manufacturer as its "quick disconnect" type of connector 
and is used with several models of cobalt-60 and iridium-192 source 
assemblies distributed by the manufacturer. The connection is a simple hook 
and eye connection (see Fig. 1) that will permit separation of the eye from 
the hook when they are oriented at right angles to each other without any 
further positive action. As a result of the design, a disconnection may 
occur any time the source assembly is cranked out of the exposure device 
without the guide tube being attached. Since the Automation Industries Model
200-520-008 sealed-source assembly is authorized to contain up to 120 curies
of iridium-192, a source disconnection creates a potential for a serious 
exposure. 

A disconnect is very unlikely to occur if proper procedures are followed by 
users of Automation Industries sealed sources containing the "quick 
disconnect". However, due to the large number of overexposures that occur in
the radiography industry due to the failure to follow proper procedures, the
NRC has determined that continued use of the Automation Industries "quick 
disconnect" connector with its Model 200-520-008 sealed-source assembly or 
other assemblies can constitute a hazard to the public health, safety or 
interest. 

As a result, the NRC has ordered Automation Industries to discontinue 
distribution of the AI Model 200-520-008 sealed-source assembly or any other
sealed-source assembly that uses the "quick disconnect" type of connector. 
Additionally, the NRC will not accept new applications for authorization to 
use the AI Model 200-520-008 or other sealed-source assemblies using the 
"quick disconnect". In effect, this will remove such iridium-192 source and 
pigtail assemblies from service as licensees exchange their diminished 
activity sources. Special arrangements should be made for removing from 
service, those connectors that are attached to longer lived sources such as 
cobalt-60. 

The removal from service of the "quick disconnect" type of connector will 
require that those drive cables having the matching open hook connector be 
modified. 

Actions To Be Taken by Licensees 

To assure the safe operation of radiography equipment in which the AI "quick
disconnect" connector is used, all licensees authorized to use byproduct 
materials under 10 CFR Part 34 shall perform the following: 
.

                                                           IEB 80-22 
                                                           September 11,1980
                                                           Page 2 of 2 

(1)  Determine the number of AI Model 200-520-008 and other assemblies in 
     your inventory that have the "quick disconnect" connector and establish
     a disposal schedule. Your schedule for iridium-192 sources should be no
     longer than your usual exchange schedule for diminished activity 
     sources. Your exchange schedule for connector modification for 
     cobalt-60 sources should be accomplished as soon as is conveniently 
     possible. However, you should complete your disposal or modification by 
     September 1, 1981. 

(2)  In the interim, a warning mark or tag should be placed on each 
     radiographic device in which AI "quick disconnect" type assemblies are 
     being used. 

(3)  This matter should be reviewed with all radiographers. They should be 
     cautioned of the disconnect possibility and be informed of the method 
     used to identify equipment as marked in accordance with Item (2) above.

(4)  Review and modify operating, maintenance, inspection and handling 
     procedures as appropriate to preclude this type of accidental 
     disconnect. 

     NOTE:     You may want to contact the manufacturer for assistance in 
               determining appropriate procedural changes or fixes to 
               preclude a disconnect. 

(5)  Discuss with the radiographers the importance of making adequate 
     surveys and the need for following procedures. 

A report of your actions for each of the above numbered items shall be 
submitted to the director of the appropriate regional office within 30 days 
from the date of this Bulletin. A copy of the report shall also be sent to 
the Director, Division of Fuel Facility and Materials Safety Inspection, 
Office of Inspection and Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, D.C. 20555. 

Approved by GAO, B180225 (ROO72); approval expired July 31, 1980. 
(Application for renewal pending before GAO). Approval was given under a 
blanket clearance specifically for identified generic problems. 

Enclosures: 
1.   IE Circular No. 79-16 
2.   Figure 1
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