United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 86-31, Supplement 1: Unauthorized Transfer and Loss of Control of Industrial Nuclear Gauges

                                                 SSINS No 6835
                                                 IN 86-31 Supplement 1

                                 UNITED STATES
                         NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                            WASHINGTON, DC 20555

                                 July 14, 1986

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LOSS OF CONTROL OF
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              INDUSTRIAL NUCLEAR


All NRC general licensees that possess and use industrial nuclear gauges


This supplement provides additional information and alerts recipients of a
potentially significant problem involving nuclear gauges It is expected
that recipients will review the information for applicability to their
facilities and consider actions, if appropriate, to preclude a similar
problem from occurring at their facilities Primarily this concerns
authorized transfer of nuclear gauges and notification to the NRC when a
general licensee transfers a gauge to another person However, suggestions
contained in this information notice do not constitute NRC requirements;
therefore, no specific action or written response is required

Description of Circumstances:

It was determined during recent NRC inspections that some licensees
authorized to use industrial nuclear gauges containing sealed radioactive
sources were discontinuing operations without taking adequate provisions
for transfer of the gauges The licensees also had failed to notify the
NRC of their intent to discontinue operations, thus denying the NRC the
opportunity of inspecting the closeout procedures

A recent inspection at one licensee's facility demonstrated how the
failure to properly transfer and to properly notify the NRC resulted in
the loss of control of a nuclear gauge that contained a significant
quantity of cobalt-60 The plant and all its equipment, including the
gauge, was sold in 1981 to a non licensee Some time later, the non
licensee ceased operations and sold the plant and equipment to a salvage
company In late 1984, employees of the salvage company, unaware that the
gauge contained a radioactive source, used a cutting torch on the gauge in
an attempt to salvage some of the metal on the device  Fortunately, the
sealed source itself was not damaged However, the shutter mechanism was
damaged such that radiation levels at the open port of the gauge caused an
employee to receive a significant radiation exposure

                                                 IN 86-31, Supplement 1
                                                 July 14, 1986
                                                 Page 2 of 2


Licensees possessing and using industrial nuclear gauges under the
provision of 10 CFR 31 should be aware of their responsibilities as
specified in 10 CFR 315 (c)(6), (8), (9), and (10) These provisions of
the regulation prohibit abandonment of a gauge containing byproduct
material, specify authorized persons to whom a gauge may be transferred,
and require a report to the Director, Office of Nuclear Material Safety
and Safeguards, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555
for all transfer of gauges except for the purpose of obtaining a

No specific action or written response is required by this information
notice If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the
Regional Administrator of the appropriate NRC regional office or this

James G Partlow, Director 
Division of Inspection Programs
Office of Inspection and Enforcement

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

Attachment: List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices

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