EA-96-468 - H. C. Nutting Company

January 9, 1997

EA 96-468

Jack Scott
President and CEO
H. C. Nutting Company
4120 Airport Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45226

(NRC Inspection Report No. 030-17304/96001(DNMS))

Dear Mr. Scott:

This refers to the inspection conducted on November 6 and 7, 1996, at the H. C. Nutting Company's facility in Columbus, Ohio. The purpose of the inspection was to review two incidents which occurred in 1996. The first incident occurred on August 7, 1996, when a vehicle containing a moisture density gauge was stolen. The vehicle with the gauge intact was recovered two days later. The second incident occurred on October 15, 1996, when a moisture density gauge was damaged by a road grader. A copy of the inspection report was sent to you on November 26, 1996, and a predecisional enforcement conference was held in the Region III office on December 9, 1996.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided during the conference and in your letter dated December 5, 1996, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements 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. The violation is associated with the October 15, 1996 incident. There were no identified violations associated with the August 7, 1996 incident.

Failure to maintain constant surveillance of licensed material in an unrestricted area resulted in damage to a moisture/density gauge which contained one 8 millicurie (300 MBq) cesium-137 and one 40 millicurie (1480 MBq) americium-241 source. The root cause of the incident appears to be poor judgement on the part of the device operator. A contributing factor to the event was that supervisory personnel had no knowledge that this individual, a new user, was proficient in handling licensed material. For example, no audit of his performance had been conducted. While this was not a failure in the implementation of H. C. Nutting's license requirements, it is a good practice to confirm through a field audit that personnel are capable of handling radioactive material in accordance with license procedures. Incumbent upon each NRC licensee is the responsibility to protect the public health and safety by ensuring that all NRC requirements are met, and in particular, that NRC-licensed material is controlled so that it is not damaged and does not potentially become a hazard to the public. Therefore, this violation is categorized at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $2,500 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has been the subject of escalated enforcement action regarding this same issue within the last two inspections 1, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. The NRC has determined that credit was warranted for both Identification and Corrective Action. The event and the violation were identified by the licensee on October 15, 1996. The licensee voluntarily reported the event to NRC. The licensee's response to the event, which included securing the area, contacting the Radiation Safety Officer, and performing a leak test, was prompt and appropriate. Corrective actions were discussed during the predecisional enforcement conference which was held on December 9, 1996. The H. C. Nutting Company Radiation Safety Officer and the Vice President of Field/Laboratory Services, described the following corrective actions that have been taken or planned as a result of the event: (a) all H.C. Nutting facilities were apprised of the October 15, 1996 event within two days; (b) new gauge users will receive eight (8) hours of radiation safety instruction and a minimum of five (5) days of on-the-job training; (c) new operators will be audited within two weeks of working alone; (d) performance audits of all individual operators will be conducted at least once every three months; and (e) a disciplinary system has been built into the audit function. Actions b,c,d, and e are also discussed in a licensee letter to the NRC dated December 5, 1996. Therefore, to encourage prompt identification and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized, 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 enclosure, and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room.


Original signed by
W. L. Axelson for

A. B. Beach
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 030-17304
License No. 34-18882-01

Enclosure: Notice of Violation


H. C. Nutting Company
Cincinnati, Ohio
Docket No. 030-17304
License No. 34-18882-01
EA 96-468

During an NRC inspection conducted on November 6 and 7, 1996, 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:

10 CFR 20.1801 requires, in part, that the licensee secure from unauthorized removal or access licensed materials that are stored in an unrestricted area. 10 CFR 20.1802 requires, in part, that the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of licensed material that is in an unrestricted area and that is not in storage. As defined in 10 CFR 20.1003, unrestricted area means an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.

Contrary to the above, on October 15, 1996, the licensee did not secure from unauthorized removal or limit access to a moisture/density gauge containing NRC-licensed material (8 millicuries (300 MBq) of cesium-137 and 40 millicuries (1480 MBq) of americium-241) at a construction site in Garfield Heights, Ohio, an unrestricted area, nor did the licensee control and maintain constant surveillance of this licensed material. (03013)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, H. C. Nutting Company is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555, with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region III, 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, (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.

Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, this response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

Because your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR), to the extent possible, it should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction. 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 at Lisle, Illinois
this 9th day of January 1997

1 A Severity Level III violation with a $250 civil penalty was issued on January 19, 1994 (EA 93-308) for a similar violation and event regarding control of licensed materials which occurred June 7, 1991.

To top of page

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, March 09, 2021