United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

ACCESSION #: 9509260253

                                                  SENTINEL

                                                  Amersham Corporation
                                                  40 North Avenue
                                                  Burlington, MA 01803
                                                  tel (617) 272-2000
                                                  tel (800) 225-1383
                                                  fax (617) 273-2216

8 August 1995

Document Control Desk
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission                Amersham
Washington, DC 20555                              QSA

Dear Sir or Madam:

Amersham is reporting a potential Part 21 defect in accordance with 10
CFR 21.21  This interim report concerns a model 899 drive cable connector
that pulled off the drive cable.

The potential defect is related to the model 899 drive cable connector
pulling off the drive cable during radiographic operations at a Dayton
X-Ray facility.  The drive cable was used with a Gamma Century exposure
device and a model 899 style source assembly.  The device had been in use
and upon retracting the source into the device on the last exposure the
drive cable connector became detached from the drive cable.  No source
retrieval was performed since the disconnect occurred after returning the
source to the fully shielded position.  The customer states that there
were no unusual occurrences with this equipment.

The drive cable (but not the male connector) was returned to Amersham for
evaluation.  A preliminary review of the equipment was made on 19 Dec
1994 on the cable without the rest of the equipment involved.  Attempts
were made to try and obtain the rest of the involved equipment for full
evaluation.  These attempts were unsuccessfull and it was determined on
10 July 95 to try and perform the Part 21 evaluation based on the drive
cable component alone.  Since that time, preliminary investigation into
this issue has included:

1.   An examination of the drive cable which showed no obvious signs of
     damage, however, since the male connector was not available for
     review failure due to connector damage cannot be completely ruled
     out.  The drive cable sleeve attached to the end of the drive cable
     showed evidence that the connector had been swaged onto the drive
     cable.

2.   The drive cable did not show any signs of excessive age and had been
     fabricated at the Amersham facility in Burlington, MA.  The exact
     age of the drive cable could not be determined based on our review,
     however, it was manufactured under our QA program and successfully
     passed a 125 pound pull test upon completion of the swage.

3.   We did not receive the male connector, exposure device, source
     assembly, control housings or guide tubes used in conjunction with
     this event, so no determinations as to their impact and\or effect
     relating to this failure could be made.

4.   Some additional testing has been done regarding hypothetical
     fabrication scenarios, but no conclusive results have surfaced as to
     the cause of this drive cable connector failure.

We are reviewing all similar drive cable occurrences to determine if any
related information is applicable to the potential causes for this
occurrence.  Also we are performing some additional testing of connector
swages using worst case tolerances and undergoing potential field related
use with Century type equipment to determine what if any impact these
results might have related to this occurrence.  Until this testing is
complete we cannot make a full Part 21 determination.

We expect to have those results by the end of November 95, I will update
you on the evaluation's completion shortly thereafter.  Please contact me
if you require any additional information.

Sincerely,

Cathleen Roughan
Regulatory Affairs Manager

cc:  Mr. Francis Costello
     U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
     Region I
     475 Allendale Road
     King of Prussia, PA 19406

     Mr. Steve Baggett
     Sealed Source Safety Section
     Source Containment and Devices Branch
     Division of Industrial and Medical Safety, NMSS
     U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
     1 White Flint North

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