IE Circular No. 78-01, Loss of Well Logging Source
April 5, 1978
MEMORANDUM FOR: B. H. Grier, Director, Region I
J. P. O'Reilly, Director, Region II
J. G. Keppler, Director, Region III
Glen L. Madsen, Acting Director, Region IV
R. H. Engelken, Director, Region V
FROM: L. B, Higginbotham, Assistant Director, Division of
Fuel Facilities and Material Safety Inspection, IE
SUBJECT: IE CIRCULAR 78-01, LOSS OF WELL LOGGING SOURCE
The subject document is transmitted for issuance on April 14, 1978. The
Circular should be issued to all Well Logging Licensees. Also enclosed is a
draft copy of the transmittal letter and removable labels of the well
logging licensees in your Region.
L. B. Higginbotham, Assistant Director
Division of Fuel Facilities and
Materials Safety Inspection
Office of Inspection and Enforcement
1. Draft Transmittal Letter
2. Circular No. 78-01
3. Addressee labels (Removable)
CONTACT: E. D. Flack, IE
Transmittal letter for Circular 78-01, to each Well Logging Licensee.
The enclosed Circular 78-01, is forwarded to you for information. If there
are any questions related to your understanding of the suggested actions,
please contact this office.
IE Circular 78-01
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
WASHINGTON, D. C. 20555
April 5, 1978
IE Circular No. 78-01
LOSS OF WELL LOGGING SOURCE
On January 31, 1978, a 2.8 curie americium-beryllium well logging source was
discovered missing from its shielded storage container on a well logging
company's truck. Initially it could not be determined whether the source had
been stolen or lost. Assuming it had been lost during transport, an
extensive search was initiated. On February 8, 1978, the source in its
holder was found about 110 miles from the licensee's facilities by a highway
construction worker about 15 feet from highway I-77 near Canton, Ohio.
It is believed that the locking mechanism on the shielded storage container
was not properly locked, and the source (in its holder) worked its way out
of the storage container and fell to the road through an opening in the
truck compartment. Also, the storage container itself was insecurely mounted
to the truck.
Four persons, including the construction worker who found it, are known to
have handled the source. The estimated maximum individual radiation dose was
4.5 rem to extremities and 90 millirem whole body. The dose to these
individuals could have been much larger since the source holder was not
marked or labeled with the radiation caution symbol or with any warning
sign. Fortunately, because of extensive press and television coverage of the
incident, the source holder was quickly recognized and no significant doses
State and Federal agencies and the licensee expended approximately 230 total
man-days of effort in the search for the source, during the period January
31 to February 8, 1978.
It is recommended that the following actions be considered by all well
1. Review the design of the locking mechanism on storage containers to
assure that they are adequate to preclude inadvertent opening.
2. Examine the method used to secure storage containers to transporting
vehicles to assure that road vibrations will not cause the storage
containers to work loose.
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IE Circular No. 78-01 April 5, 1978
3. Review the procedures for storing and securing sources in storage
containers and take action to assure that procedures are implemented.
4. Assure that periodic checks are made to verify the proper storage and
security of sources when they are not in use, particularly at the
beginning and end of trips when sources are being transported.
5. For source holders not presently marked, examine the feasibility of
tagging or marking the source holders with the radiation caution symbol
and the instruction: "Danger - Radioactive Material - Do Not Handle -
Notify Civil Authorities If Found".
6. Inform employees involved in the use and transport of well logging
sources of the contents of this Circular and recommended actions.
No written response to this Circular is required. If you require additional
information regarding this matter, contact the Director of the appropriate
NRC Regional Office.
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