United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NRC Opts Not to Cite Envirocare over Special Nuclear Materials Issue



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U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION IV

611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington TX 76011

CONTACT:    Breck Henderson (817) 860-8128/e-mail: bwh@nrc.gov

RIV: 98-39

October 20, 1998

NRC OPTS NOT TO CITE ENVIROCARE OVER SPECIAL NUCLEAR MATERIALS ISSUE

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has opted to issue neither a civil penalty nor a Notice of Violation to Envirocare of Utah for its possession of "special nuclear material" in excess of allowed quantities.

The decision was made in recognition of the State of Utah's action fining the company $80,000 for the same underlying problem and of the extensive corrective actions taken by the company.

Special nuclear material consists of certain isotopes of uranium and plutonium. At the Envirocare site at Clive, Utah, this material was not a safety concern because it is dispersed through large quantities of dirt and other waste, precluding the possibility of an unintended nuclear reaction.

The problem involving special nuclear material at Envirocare first came to the attention of the NRC during an inspection conducted by the Utah Radiation Control Program in May 1997. NRC subsequently conducted an inspection and investigation of this issue which concluded earlier this year. Envirocare initiated several actions to bring facility operations into compliance during the state's and the NRC's reviews. In May of this year, Envirocare agreed to make additional changes in its operations to prevent possession of special nuclear material in excess of maximum limits.

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