United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment



NRC Seal NRC NEWS

U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION III

801 Warrenville Road, Lisle IL 60532

CONTACT:    Jan Strasma (630) 829-9663/e-mail: rjs2@nrc.gov
Angela Greenman Phone: (630) 829-9662/e-mail: opa3@nrc.gov

RIII-97-97

November 14, 1997

NRC TO HOLD PREDECISIONAL ENFORCEMENT CONFERENCE

WITH B.P. CHEMICALS, LIMA, OHIO, ON APPARENT VIOLATIONS

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will meet

November 19 with representatives of B.P. Chemicals, Lima, Ohio, for a predecisional enforcement conference on apparent violations of NRC requirements for decommissioning activities at its chemical production facility.

The meeting will start at 9:30 a.m. in the Third Floor Conference Room of the NRC Region III Office, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Illinois. It is open to public observation. NRC officials will be available at its conclusion to answer questions from the news media and other interested observers.

The discussion will focus on B.P. Chemicals' apparent failure to oversee decommissioning activities adequately to assure compliance with federal regulations.

From 1964 to 1971 the company used depleted uranium as catalyst material for chemical production. Some of the resulting contaminated waste was placed into settling ponds and other localized places on site. Remediation of the facility began in 1991. Final decommissioning activities now under way include permanent on-site disposal of the low level contaminated sludge and soil in specially designed cells.

Violations to be discussed at the enforcement conference were found by NRC inspectors in September and October. These include having inspections done by contractors instead of by company personnel; inadequate oversight by company engineers; lack of the required daily log information and signatures; failure to collect and analyze certain required duplicate samples; failure to keep a set of project records off site; and failure to follow a specified contractor's laboratory procedures.

In response to NRC's inspection findings, B. P. Chemicals stopped decommissioning work and implemented immediate corrective measures. After reviewing the company's actions, NRC authorized the company to resume decommissioning.

The decision to hold an enforcement conference does not mean the NRC has determined that a violation has occurred or that enforcement action will be taken. Rather, the purpose is to discuss apparent violations, their causes and safety significance; to provide the licensee an opportunity to point out any errors that may have been made in the NRC inspection report; and to enable the company to outline its proposed corrective actions.

No decision on the apparent violations or any contemplated enforcement action, such as a fine, will be made at this conference. Those decisions will be made by senior NRC officials at a later date.

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