United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 88-18: Malfunction of Lockbox on Radiography Device

                                  UNITED STATES
                          NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                             WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                                 April 25, 1988



All NRC licensees authorized to manufacture, distribute, and/or operate radio-
graphic exposure devices. 


This notice is to advise licensees about a radiography incident that could 
have resulted in a significant radiation exposure to workers or members of the 
public.  It is expected that licensees review this information for 
applicability to their program, distribute the notice to responsible radiation 
safety staff, and consider actions, if appropriate, to prevent a similar 
situation from occurring.  However, suggestions contained in this notice do 
not constitute new NRC requirements, and no written response is required. 

Description of Circumstances: 

The State of Louisiana has reported the failure of a lockbox on a Gamma 
Century SA radiography camera at an offshore Texas job site.  The work 
involved radiographic examination of welds on an oil and gas production 
platform.  After one exposure, when the radiographer cranked the source back 
into the camera, the fixed insert, spring, and movable insert, along with the 
source assembly, came partially out of the lockbox.  This left a partially 
unshielded radiography source, which is hazardous and could cause a serious 
radiation injury in a matter of seconds.  The radiographer was able to secure 
the area and return the insert and source to the device without any 
overexposure.  The lockbox was secured with tape and the camera returned to 
the manufacturer. 

When the device was examined by the manufacturer, two of the roll pins that 
hold the fixed insert in the lockbox were missing.  The third roll pin had 
partially come out, thus allowing the insert and the source assembly to come 
out of the lockbox.  Since two of the pins were missing, it is believed that 
the other pin could have worked free due to the pivot action that might occur 
when cranking the source assembly in and out of the device.  No explanation is 
offered for why two of the roll pins were missing. 

Item number 2 of the attached diagram (Figure 1) shows the location of the 
bottom roll pin.  The two other roll pins, one on each side, were located at a 
45� angle from the bottom pin.  The missing pins may have been identified and 
replaced, if this item had been added to the daily equipment checks. 

.                                                            IN 88-18 
                                                            April 25, 1988 
                                                            Page 2 of 2 


Section 34.28 of 10 CFR Part 34 requires daily radiographic equipment checks 
for defects.  Licensees should verify that they have appropriate programs in 
place to promptly identify equipment problems and correct them immediately. 
Also note that potential generic defects must be reported to the NRC in ac-
cordance with 10 CFR Part 21.  Licensees may also wish to review their 
emergency procedures to assure that their radiographers will respond properly 
and safely in any event such as the one described involving an unshielded 

No written response is required by this information notice.  If you have any 
questions regarding this matter, please contact the person listed below or the 
appropriate NRC regional office. 

                              Richard E. Cunningham, Director 
                              Division of Industrial and 
                                Medical Nuclear Safety 
                              Office of Nuclear Material Safety
                                and Safeguards

Technical Contacts:  Steven L. Baggett, NMSS
                     (301) 492-0613

                     R. J. Doda, Region IV 
                     (303) 236-2805

1.  Diagram of Affected Lockbox
2.  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices 
.                                                            Attachment 2
                                                            IN 88-18 
                                                            April 25, 1988 
                                                            Page 1 of 1

                             LIST OF RECENTLY ISSUED
                            NRC INFORMATION NOTICES 
Information                                  Date of 
Notice No._____Subject_______________________Issuance_______Issued to________

88-17          Summary of Responses to NRC   4/22/88        All holders of OLs
               Bulletin 87-01, "Thinning of                 or CPs for nuclear
               Pipe Walls in Nuclear Power                  power reactors. 

88-16          Identifying Waste Generators  4/22/88        Radioactive waste 
               in Shipments of Low-Level                    collection and 
               Waste to Land Disposal                       service company 
               Facilities                                   licensees handling
                                                            prepackaged waste, 
                                                            and licensees 
                                                            low-level waste 

88-15          Availability of U.S. Food     4/18/88        Medical, Academic,
               and Drug Administration                      and Commercial 
               (FDA)-Approved Potassium                     licensees who 
               Iodide for Use in Emergencies                possess 
               Involving Radioactive Iodine                 radioactive 

88-14          Potential Problems with       4/18/88        All holders of OLs
               Electrical Relays                            or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors. 

88-13          Water Hammer and Possible     4/18/88        All holders of OLs
               Piping Damage Caused by                      or CPs for nuclear
               Misapplication of Kerotest                   power reactors. 
               Packless Metal Diaphragm 
               Globe Valves 

88-12          Overgreasing of Electric      4/12/88        All holders of OLs
               Motor Bearings                               or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors. 

88-11          Potential Loss of Motor       4/7/88         All holders of OLs
               Control Center and/or                        or CPs for nuclear
               Switchboard Function Due                     power reactors. 
               to Faulty Tie Bolts 

88-10          Materials Licensees:  Lack    3/28/88        All NRC licensees 
               of Management Controls Over                  authorized to use 
               Licensed Programs                            byproduct 
OL = Operating License
CP = Construction Permit 
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