United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-02-145 - BWX Technologies, Inc.

August 13, 2002

EA-02-145

BWX Technologies, Inc
ATTN: Mr. W. D. Nash, Vice President
and General Manager
Nuclear Products Division
P. O. Box 785
Lynchburg, VA 24505-0785

Dear Mr. Nash:

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC INSPECTION REPORT 70-27/2001-09 AND U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS CASE NUMBER 2-2002-002)

Dear Mr. Nash:

This refers to an investigation conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Investigations (OI) on February 12 and 13, 2002, at the Nuclear Products Division Facility located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The purpose of the investigation was to review the circumstances surrounding an apparent violation based on the failure of a maintenance worker to follow a plant procedure, which resulted in the worker receiving an unnecessary radiation dose. The inspection report addressing this issue was transmitted to you by letter dated January 18, 2002. The results of the investigation, including one apparent violation that was considered for escalated enforcement, were discussed with you and transmitted to you on July 9, 2002. The letter transmitting the findings also provided you the opportunity to either respond to the apparent violation in writing or request a predecisional enforcement conference. The NRC confirmed your desire not to attend a predecisional enforcement conference, and by letter dated July 16, 2002, you provided BWX Technologies' (BWXT) response to the apparent violation and addressed the causes and corrective actions to prevent recurrence. We have reviewed your response and conclude that sufficient information is available to determine the appropriate enforcement action in this matter.

Based on the information developed during the investigation and inspection, the NRC has determined that a violation occurred. The violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report. In summary, the NRC concluded that a maintenance worker deliberately failed to follow a plant procedure regarding the use of respiratory protection while performing a maintenance activity. As a result, the worker received an unnecessary radiation dose of approximately equivalent to 420 Derived Air Concentration-hours (DAC-hours). Although this exposure to airborne radioactive materials is less than the annual limit on intake for internal whole body radiation exposure of 2000 DAC-hours, the NRC considers this exposure level coupled with the deliberate nature of the incident to be significant. Accordingly, the NRC concluded that this violation should be characterized at Severity Level III, in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600. BWXT's response of July 16, 2002, requested the NRC to consider disposition of the violation as a non-cited violation since they had taken all reasonable actions to assure safety and compliance and to address the deliberate actions of its employee. BWXT correctly referenced Enforcement Policy guidance which provides that, under certain conditions, willful violations may be characterized at Severity Level IV, and dispositioned as non-cited violations. However, the NRC re-considered the information provided by BWXT, and concluded that the violation should be characterized at Severity Level III. Application of the Enforcement Policy requires the exercise of judgement in determining the severity of willful violations. In this case, the NRC considered the deliberate aspects of the violation, together with the unnecessary exposure, to be significant and commensurate with a Severity Level III violation.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $3,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because the violation was willful, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for the factors of Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process described in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Regarding the factor of identification, the NRC concluded that BWXT identified the issue and promptly notified the NRC regarding the circumstances. As such, credit was warranted for the factor of Identification. BWXT's corrective actions included the removal of the worker from the area pending an investigation and determination of actual exposure, the immediate suspension of certain plant activities while the Radiation Protection and Operations group reviewed the radiation work permit (RWP) to ensure that it sufficiently protected other operators, management review of the incident followed by a re-emphasis to the BWXT staff that the requirements of RWPs, procedures, and postings must be followed at all times, and disciplinary action against the individual involved in the incident. Based on the above, the NRC concluded that BWXT's corrective actions were prompt and comprehensive, and credit was warranted for the factor of Corrective Action.

Therefore, to encourage identification and prompt and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized to propose that no civil penalty be assessed in this case. However, similar violations in the future could result in further escalated enforcement action. Issuance of this Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action, that may subject you to increased inspection effort.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance was achieved is adequately addressed on the docket in NRC Inspection Report No. 70-27/2001-09, your response of July 16, 2002, and in this letter. Therefore, you are not required to respond to this letter unless the description herein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you choose to provide additional information, you should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosures, and your response (should you chose to provide one) 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.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact Douglas M. Collins, Director, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, at 404-562-4700.

    Sincerely,
  /RA/
    Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 70-27
License No. SNM-42

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/encl:
Carl R. Yates
Licensing Officer
BWX Technologies
P. O. Box 785
Lynchburg, VA 24505-0785

Leslie P. Foldesi, Director
Bureau of Radiological Health
Division of Health Hazards Control
Department of Health
1500 East Main Street, Room 240
Richmond, VA 23219


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

BWX Technologies, Inc.
Lynchburg, VA
  Docket No. 70-27
License No. SNM-42
EA-02-145

During an investigation conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Office of Investigations (OI) on February 12 and 13, 2002, and an NRC inspection completed on January 18, 2002, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violation is listed below:

Safety Condition S-1 of NRC license SNM-42 authorizes use of nuclear materials in accordance with Chapters 1-8 of the license application submitted July 14, 1995, and supplements thereto. Section 2.7 of the license application states that activities at the site involving licensee material shall be conducted in accordance with written and approved procedures.
BWXT Operating Procedure OP-0061234 and Radiation Work Permit (RWP) 01-273 require the use of respiratory protection while performing certain types of maintenance.
Contrary to the above, on December 7, 2001, a BWXT maintenance mechanic in the Uranium Processing Services area failed to use respiratory protection while performing activities under the RWP that required the wearing of such protection, and received approximately 420 Derived Air Concentration-Hours during his work shift.

This is a Severity Level III Violation (Supplement VI).

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance was achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in NRC Inspection Report No. 70-27/2001-09, your response of July 16, 2002, and in this letter. However, you are required to submit a written statement or explanation pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201 if the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you choose to respond, clearly mark your response as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation," and send it to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, DC 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region II within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice.

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 any 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.

In accordance with 10 CFR 19.11, you may be required to post this Notice within two working days.

Dated this 13th day of August 2002

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