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Event Notification Report for March 19, 2009

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Operations Center

Event Reports For
03/18/2009 - 03/19/2009

** EVENT NUMBERS **


44900

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General Information or Other Event Number: 44900
Rep Org: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Licensee: DR. PEPPER
Region: 4
City: IRVING State: TX
County:
License #: G01697
Agreement: Y
Docket:
NRC Notified By: RAY JISHA
HQ OPS Officer: DAN LIVERMORE
Notification Date: 03/12/2009
Notification Time: 15:04 [ET]
Event Date: 03/06/2009
Event Time: [CDT]
Last Update Date: 03/18/2009
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
AGREEMENT STATE
Person (Organization):
THOMAS FARNHOLTZ (R4)
JOHN RAMSEY (OIP)
ANDREW MAUER (FSME)
ILTAB EMAIL (ILTA)

This material event contains a "Less than Cat 3" level of radioactive material.

Event Text

AGREEMENT STATE REPORT - TWO SOURCES DISPOSED AS SCRAP

"On February 20, 2009 during an internal audit/inspection, it was discovered that two Filtec Model FT 50 level detection devices each with 100 mCi of Am-241 were missing [and] apparently moved off the facility as scrap metal. Notification to state offices were through inappropriate channels and thus Incident Investigation staff were not informed of [the event] until March 12, 2009. A preliminary investigation has determined that the metal scrap along with these devices was subsequently shipped to a mill in India and [has] probably been melted. Specific details of the shipping, route and mode of transport, vendors as well actual location in India are being gathered. The serial numbers are 112733/5393 and 116813/2555."

Texas Incident # I-8618

* * * UPDATE ON 03/13/2009 AT 1400 FROM RAY JISHA TO DAN LIVERMORE * * *

Report received via e-mail:

"The gauges were accidentally removed from the plant and placed into a metal scrap dumpster and picked up from our property by MC3 International Scrap Salvage on December 8, 2008.

"MC3 International Scrap Salvage delivered the mixed shear cut metal to Lone Star Fox Export Metals on December 8, 2008. Lone Star Fox Export shipped the mixed cut metal to India before or around December 13, 2008. The licensee provided a list of 10 containers.

"The mixed metal was sent to Nhava Sheva, India. The licensee does not have any information on the mill in India. They do not have any information on products that may have been produced from the scrap.

"The state is in the process of contacting the scrap metal dealers. Additional information will follow as it is obtained."

Notified R4DO (Farnholtz), FSME EO (McIntosh), OIP (Ramsey), and ILTAB (via email).

* * * UPDATE ON 03/18/2009 AT 1253 FROM RAY JISHA TO VINCE KLCO * * *

Report received via e-mail:

"On Monday, March 16, 2009 [State of Texas] staff proceeded to Dr. Pepper Bottling Company (DP) in Irving, TX, General License Acknowledgement (GLA) G01697. This was in response to a report that two gauges were removed from the facility, potentially sheared at a local area scrap yard, and then shipped to India as feed for a steel mill. Upon arrival [state personnel] interviewed the Manager of Environmental Health and Safety and the Maintenance Manager in order to investigate the details of the two missing fixed fill level gauges (Industrial Dynamics, FT-50 containing 100 mCi, Am-241 each). The current contact person listed on the permit, was out of town at the time of this investigation.

"This gauge is a stainless steel box with overall head dimensions of 17 inches high, 4 inches wide and 19 inches long. These particular models have a manual shutter that was assumed to have been closed when the device was taken off-line. The Industrial Dynamics Source model 06110 is a matrix Americium 241 oxide and ceramic powder fired into a cavity 2 inches wide, 2 inches high and 1 3/8 inches deep. There is a 0.005 inch thick radiation window and when the shutter is closed, the radioactive material is covered on all sides by at least 0.5 inch of stainless steel.

"Apparently, the gauges were taken out of service some years back and stored in a used or discarded equipment area. Then on Monday December 8, 2008, the gauges, along with other scrap metal, were removed by a single contractor.

"Those materials were taken to Lone Star Fox Export Metals for processing and packaging and it was assumed that the gauges would have been shipped in one of ten containers.

"The mixed shear cut metal was reportedly sent to Nhava Sheva, India as feed for a steel mill on or about Saturday, December 13, 2008 via Port of Entry (POE) Los Angeles/Long Beach. Research from US Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) found evidence that seven of the ten containers were reportedly shipped from this POE on December 27, 2008 and arrived in India on February 12, 2009.

"As confidence is high that the gauges were taken to Lone Star Metals and bulk material is sheared at the yard, arrangements were made to survey the property of 2019 Ruder Lane, Dallas, TX. Staff utilized an E-600 meter with probe optimized for Am-241 (PG-2), a Thermo Interceptor and Ludlum 14C with a 44-3 probe. All instruments should be capable of detecting the single 100mCi, Am-241 source at three feet even when housed in the device. Specific surfaces surveyed in the yard included where material is off loaded, likely places where the gauges may have been sheared, tracks on large equipment, where scrap was pushed into a pile and the container loading areas. Then a random [based] walk through of the area was conducted but all surveys did not detect any radiation above background. [It was noted] that the entire yard was covered in one or more inches of mud from recent rains and dust reduction measures.

"Additional information is being acquired from several sources and the [State of Texas] is considering the utility of other methods and means of surveying."

Notified R4DO (Hay), FSME EO (Camper), OIP (Ramsey), and ILTAB (via email).


THIS MATERIAL EVENT CONTAINS A "LESS THAN CAT 3" LEVEL OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL

Sources that are "Less than IAEA Category 3 sources," are either sources that are very unlikely to cause permanent injury to individuals or contain a very small amount of radioactive material that would not cause any permanent injury. Some of these sources, such as moisture density gauges or thickness gauges that are Category 4, the amount of unshielded radioactive material, if not safely managed or securely protected, could possibly - although it is unlikely - temporarily injure someone who handled it or were otherwise in contact with it, or who were close to it for a period of many weeks.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012