United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-01-268 - Drilling Measurements, Inc.

January 31, 2002

EA-01-268

Bill Cobb, Vice President
Drilling Measurements, Inc.
118 Thruway
Broussard, Louisiana 70518

SUBJECT:   NRC INSPECTION REPORT 150-00017/01-08 AND NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Dear Mr. Cobb:

This refers to the inspection conducted on September 21, 2001, on an offshore oil/gas marine platform in offshore waters, an area of exclusive Federal jurisdiction in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Texas. The inspection was an examination of activities conducted under a general license, pursuant to 10 CFR 150.20, as they relate to radiation safety and to compliance with the Commission's rules and regulations and the conditions of your Agreement State license. Within these areas, the inspection consisted of selected examination of procedures and representative records, observations of activities, and interviews with personnel. A final telephonic exit meeting was conducted with you and members of your staff on December 21, 2001. The enclosed report presents the results of this inspection.

During the telephonic exit briefing on December 21, 2001, you were informed that the NRC was considering escalated enforcement action for an apparent violation involving a failure to secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed materials that were stored in an unrestricted area. Two additional violations were discussed and involved the failure to: (1) file an NRC Form-241 revision listing a new location as a proposed location of use/storage, and (2) maintain a copy of Operating and Emergency (O&E) procedures at each temporary jobsite. Additionally, you were informed that NRC believed it had sufficient information regarding the apparent violation and your corrective actions to make an enforcement decision without the need for a predecisional enforcement conference. You indicated that Drilling Measurements, Inc. did not believe that a predecisional enforcement conference was needed.

Therefore, based on the information developed during the inspection, the NRC has determined that three violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are described in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice), and involve your failure to: (1) secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed materials that were stored in unrestricted areas, (2) file an NRC Form-241 revision listing a new location as a proposed location of use/storage, and (3) maintain a copy of Operating and Emergency procedures at each temporary jobsite. The violation involving your failure to secure licensed materials is of particular concern. The lack of security of licensed material can result in the loss of control of curie quantities of americium-241(Am-241), potentially resulting in significant health and safety consequences. Therefore, this violation has been categorized in accordance with the General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, dated May 1, 2000, at Severity Level III. The remaining violations are classified at Severity Level IV.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty with a base value of $3,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has not been the subject of escalated enforcement action, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Based on Drilling Measurements, Inc. (DMI)'s prompt actions to address the violations, the NRC has determined that your corrective actions warrant credit. DMI's immediate corrective actions included the securing of the well logging source on the offshore platform.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement action, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty. In addition, issuance of this Severity Level III violation constitutes escalated enforcement action, that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

You are required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice when preparing your response. The NRC will use your response, in part, to determine whether further enforcement action is necessary to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosures, and your response will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the Publicly Available Records (PARS) component of NRC's document system (ADAMS). ADAMS is accessible from the NRC Web site at the Public NRC Library . To the extent possible, your response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be made available to the Public without redaction.

Sincerely,

/TPGwynn for/

Ellis W. Merschoff
Regional Administrator

Docket No.: 150-00017
License No.: 10 CFR 150.20

Enclosure:  Notice of Violation

cc w/Enclosure :  Louisiana Radiation Control Program Director


ENCLOSURE 1

NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Drilling Measurements, Inc.
Broussard, Louisiana
Docket No. 150-00017
General License, 10 CFR 150.20
EA-01-268

During an NRC inspection conducted on September 21, 2001, three violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

A.  

10 CFR 20.1801 requires that the licensee secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed materials that are stored in controlled or unrestricted areas. 10 CFR 20.1802 requires that the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material that is in a controlled or unrestricted area and that is not in storage. As defined in 10 CFR 20.1003, controlled area means an area, outside of a restricted area but inside the site boundary, access to which can be limited by the licensee for any reason; and unrestricted area means an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.

Contrary to the above, on September 21, 2001, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to a wire basket (overpack container) containing a 5-curie americium-241 (Am-241) sealed source (used for neutron well logging) located on the main deck of a platform, which is an unrestricted area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material. Specifically, the wire basket containing the sealed source had the means to lock the basket's swinging lid, but neither the basket lid was locked, nor was a locking device readily available. Additionally, the inspector observed that the wire basket had not been secured to an integral part of the platform deck to prevent the wire basket from being removed by unauthorized individuals, and to prevent the possible loss of the wire basket containing the source overboard the platform during a high-water storm. Moreover, the basket was located in an unrestricted area on the main deck of the platform, in an area routinely occupied by platform personnel.

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement IV).

B.  

10 CFR 150.20(a) provides, in part, that any person who holds a specific license from an Agreement State is granted an NRC general license to conduct the same activity in offshore waters, provided that the provisions of 10 CFR 150.20(b) have been met. 10 CFR 150.20 (b)(2) requires, in part, that an Agreement State licensee shall file an amended NRC Form-241 or letter and the appropriate fee with the Regional Administrator to request approval for changes in work locations, radioactive material, or work activities different from the information contained on the initial NRC Form-241.

Contrary to the above, on September 21, 2001, the inspector determined that the licensee's Am-241 neutron source had been stored on an oil/gas operator's work-boat that was assigned to this platform (the neutron source was stored on the field work-boat, because there was not sufficient storage space on the oil/gas platform) and the work-boat was not attached to a platform. The work-boat remained in the immediate area in support of platform operations. Furthermore, the work-boat constituted an additional use/storage location for licensed materials, requiring that the work-boat be included in a Form-241 revision to the original NRC Form 241.

This is a Severity Level IV violation (Supplement VI).

C.  

10 CFR 39.75(a) requires, in part, that each licensee conducting operations at a temporary jobsite shall maintain documents and records at the temporary jobsite until the well logging operation is completed, including a copy of the licensee's operating and emergency (O&E) procedures required by 10 CFR 39.63.

Contrary to the above, on September 21, 2001, licensee personnel did not possess a copy of its O&E procedures onboard an oil/gas platform, a temporary jobsite where licensed materials were used.

This is a Severity Level IV violation (Supplement VI).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Drilling Measurements, Inc., is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, DC 20555, with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region IV, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice). This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation" and should include for each violation: (1) the reason for the violation, or, if contested, the basis for disputing the violation or severity level, (2) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (3) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further violations, and (4) the date when full compliance will be achieved. Your response may reference or include previous docketed correspondence, if the correspondence adequately addresses the required response. If an adequate reply is not received within the time specified in this Notice, an order or a Demand for Information may be issued as to why the license should not be modified, suspended, or revoked, or why such other action as may be proper should not be taken. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the response time.

If you contest this enforcement action, you should also provide a copy of your response, with the basis for your denial, to the Director, Office of Enforcement, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

Because your response will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the Publicly Available Records (PARS) component of NRC's document system (ADAMS), to the extent possible, it should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be made available to the public without redaction. ADAMS is accessible from the NRC Web site at the Public NRC Library . If personal privacy or proprietary information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, then please provide a bracketed copy of your response that identifies the information that should be protected and a redacted copy of your response that deletes such information. If you request withholding of such material, you must specifically identify the portions of your response that you seek to have withheld and provide in detail the bases for your claim of withholding (e.g., explain why the disclosure of information will create an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy or provide the information required by 10 CFR 2.790(b) to support a request for withholding confidential commercial or financial information). If safeguards information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, please provide the level of protection described in 10 CFR 73.21.

Dated this 31st day of January 2002

 

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