United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Morning Report for December 20, 2000

                       Headquarters Daily Report

                         DECEMBER 20, 2000

                    REPORT             NEGATIVE            NO INPUT
                    ATTACHED           INPUT RECEIVED      RECEIVED

HEADQUARTERS                           X
REGION I                               X
REGION II           X
REGION III                             X
REGION IV                              X

Licensee/Facility:                     Notification:

Agreement State                        MR Number: 2-00-0026
Gts Duratek                            Date: 12/20/00
License No: R-79171



On December 19, 2000, the State of Tennessee Division of Radiological
Health notified the NRC of a contamination event at the GTS Duratek
facility located in Memphis, Tennessee. GTS Duratek is licensed by the
State of Tennessee to process radioactive waste and decontaminate
equipment. At about 4:00 p.m. on December 18, 2000, the licensee
experienced a component failure in the fire sprinkler system installed in
the Large Component Facility (LCF). The LCF was being used to
decontaminate steam generators removed from the Maine Yankee nuclear
power plant. The failure resulted in sprinkler system water draining into
the LCF.

Runoff water from the sprinkler system became contaminated with cobalt 60
(Co-60) and spread throughout the LCF and outside of the building and
onto the ground. A storm drain located outside of the building was
reported covered by licensee personnel before runoff water reached the
drain. All of the affected areas were within the licensee's existing
restricted area.

The licensee performed surveys of the areas outside of the building and
identified radiation levels that were slighted above background radiation
levels. Analysis of soil samples measured 8.6 - 16 picocuries of Co-60
per gram of soil (pCi/gm). The surface soil unrestricted release
screening value for Co-60 specified by NRC in a Federal Register Notice
dated December 7, 1999 is 3.8 pCi/gm. Analysis of water samples collected
from the storm drain found a maximum concentration of 3.7 X10-8
picocuries of Co-60 per milliliter of water (pCi/ml). The maximum
allowable liquid effluent concentration for release to an unrestricted
area for Co-60 specified in 10 CFR 20, Appendix B, Table 2, Column 2 is
3 pCi/ml. The licensee is decontaminating the LCF and will remediate the
soil when the ground thaws.

The State of Tennessee was informed of this event by the licensee and
conducted a reactive inspection on December 19, 2000. Region II received
initial notification of this occurrence by telephone from the
Headquarters Operations Officer on December 19, 2000, at 2:00 p.m. The
information presented herein has been discussed with the State of
Tennessee, and is current as of 1:00 p.m. on December 20, 2000.

Contact:  John Pelchat               (404)562-4729
          Jay Henson                 (404)562-4731
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012