United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 85-29: Use of Unqualified Sources in Well Logging Applications

                                                         SSINS No.:  6835
                                                            IN 85-29 

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

                               April 12, 1985 

Information Notice No. 85-29:  USE OF UNQUALIFIED SOURCES IN WELL LOGGING
                                  APPLICATIONS 

Addressees: 

All well logging source licensees authorized to do well logging, using 
sealed sources. 

Purpose: 

This information notice is provided to alert recipients of a potential 
safety hazard that can arise by using a neutron source for well logging that 
has not been properly tested for extreme temperature and pressure under the 
provisions of ANSI Standard A 542. 

It is expected that licensees will review this notice for applicability to 
their well logging activities, if appropriate, to preclude the potential of 
a neutron source rupturing under extreme pressure and temperature. However, 
suggestions contained in this information notice do not constitute NRC 
requirements; therefore, no specific action or written response is required.

Description of Circumstances: 

Recently, a licensee was found to be using a Parkwell Laboratories, 
Incorporated, Model No. PL-AmBe neutron source containing up to 10 curies of 
americium-241 for well logging operations. One other well logging licensee 
possessed the same model source but was not utilizing it. The same problem 
may exist for other well logging licensees, since the manufacturer indicated 
that there could be as many as 200 sources in use with the same model 
number. 

The NRC registry of sealed sources and devices (Registration No. NR532 S 101
U) indicates that the Parkwell source has only been approved for general 
neutron source applications and has not been tested in accordance with ANSI 
standards for sources to be used in well logging operations. The registry 
shows that a prototype source has been tested up to 5000 pounds per square 
inch (psi) and 500 degrees centigrade (C); however, ANSI Standard A 542
and the proposed April 30, 1984, NRC rule (16 CFR Part 39) indicate testing 
standards to 24,600 psi and 600C for 1 hour and to a thermal shock test
with a temperature drop from 60C to 20C within 15 seconds for 
sources to be used in well logging operations. 



8504090419 
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                                                           IN 85-29 
                                                           April 12, 1985 
                                                           Page 2 of 2 

The NRC is closely reviewing this matter during inspections and licensing 
actions because of the potential for sources to rupture under severe envir-
onmental conditions encountered in well logging operations. 

No specific action or written response is required by this information 
notice. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the 
Regional Administrator of the appropriate NRC regional office or this 
office. 



                                   James G. Partlow, Director 
                                   Division of Inspection Programs 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Technical Contact:   J. R. Metzger, IE 
                     (301) 492-4947 

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices 
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2013