Information Notice No. 83-81: Entry into High Radiation Areas from Areas Which Are Not Under Direct Surveillance

                                                            SSINS No.: 6835 
                                                            IN 83-81 

                                UNITED STATES
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555
                              DECEMBER 7, 1983

Information Notice No. 83-81:   ENTRY INTO HIGH RADIATION AREAS FROM 
                                   AREAS WHICH ARE NOT UNDER DIRECT 


All licensees authorized to use portable radiography devices in radiography 


This information notice is provided as a notification of a potentially 
significant problem pertaining to entry into high radiation areas from 
outside the area under direct surveillance. 

Description of Circumstances: 

During a recent routine radiographic operation on a pipeline in Alaska, an 
incident occurred which could have resulted in a significant exposure to a 
member of the public. The work involved the radiographic examination of 
welds on a 24-inch-diameter pipeline. While the exposures were being made, a 
welder was crawling through the pipe near the section being radiographed. 
The welder had entered the pipe on a crawler some 300 feet from the 
radiographic operation and was to perform "backweld" repairs from within the 
pipeline. His presence in the pipe was unknown and undetected by the 
radiography crew. 

Radiographers or their assistants are required by 10 CFR 34.41 to maintain 
direct surveillance of radiographic operations to protect against 
unauthorized entry into a high radiation area except when the high radiation
area is equipped with a control device or an alarm system or where the high 
radiation area is locked to protect against entry. During this operation, 
the radiography crew was employing direct visual surveillance from their 
positions external to the pipe. The high radiation area inside the pipe was 
not under surveillance nor was access to it controlled by the radiography 


It is expected that recipients will review the information for applicability
to their operations and consider actions, if appropriate, to preclude a 
similar problem from occurring. 


                                                      IN 83-81
                                                      December 7, 1983 
                                                      Page 2 of 2 

We suggest that radiography crews be aware that high radiation areas are not
always within vision. While access to these areas may normally be considered
unlikely, it remains the responsibility of the licensee to control access 
when radiographic operations are in progress. 

No written response to this information notice is required. If you have any 
questions regarding this matter, please contact the Regional Administrator 
of the appropriate NRC regional office, or this office. 

                              James G. Partlow, Acting Director 
                              Division of Quality Assurance, Safeguards 
                                and Inspection Programs, IE 

Technical Contact:  J. R. Metzger, IE
                    (301) 492-4947

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