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-97-99

November 18, 1997

NRC STAFF PROPOSES $16,000 FINE AGAINST U.S. ARMY

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has proposed a $16,000 fine against the U.S. Army for radiation safety program violations at several military installations in the United States.

The Army is licensed by the NRC to use radioactive material -- tritium, americium-241, and nickel-63 -- at its military installations. The radioactive materials are used in such applications as self-luminous fire control devices (weapons sights), chemical agent detectors, and chemical agent monitors.

The Army's radiation safety program for these devices is managed by the Armament and Chemical Acquisition and Logistics Activity located at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

NRC inspections between December of last year and March identified numerous violations at the Army's Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Anniston Army Depot, Alabama; Fort Devens, Massachusetts; and Rhode Island National Guard facilities. The violations included failing to: conduct requisite annual inspections, notify the NRC of radiological incidents, perform required tests, adequately secure material in storage, and provide appropriate training.

As a result of these inspection findings, NRC in March issued a confirmatory order documenting the Army's commitments to correct program deficiencies. Many of the apparent violations cited in this enforcement action also were found in NRC inspections conducted in 1992, 1993, and 1995.

"The violations impact nearly every aspect of your radiation protection program," said NRC Regional Administrator A. Bill Beach in notifying the Army of the fine. "The repetitive nature of the violations and your relatively poor past performance demonstrate continued severe programmatic deficiencies and the lack of management oversight."

As a result of NRC's inspections, the Army conducted an audit and restructured its radiation safety program. The Army also improved its procedures and training activities.

The Army has until December 12 to pay the fine or to protest it. If the fine is protested and subsequently imposed by the NRC staff, the Army may request a hearing.

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