Information Notice No. 95-44: Ensuring Compatible Use Of Drive Cables Incorporating Industrial Nuclear Company Ball-Type Male Connectors

                                 UNITED STATES
                         NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                         WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555-0001

                              September 26, 1995

                               BALL-TYPE MALE CONNECTORS


All Radiography Licensees.


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this information
notice to alert addressees to two source disconnects involving Industrial
Nuclear Company (INC) ball-type drive cable connectors.  It is expected that
recipients will review the information for applicability to their facilities
and consider actions, as appropriate, to avoid similar problems.  However,
suggestions contained in this information notice are not new NRC requirements;
therefore, no specific action nor written response is required.

Description of Circumstances

An NRC licensee reported that while performing radiographic operations on
August 25, 1995, and August 27, 1995, it experienced two source disconnects. 
The licensee was using a Gulf Nuclear Model 20V radiographic camera, an INC
Model 22 radiographic source assembly, and drive cables incorporating INC
connectors.  Both disconnects occurred as a result of a catastrophic failure
of the neck of the male connector on the drive cable.  This resulted in the
source assembly becoming separated from the drive cable and not being able to
be retracted into the camera.  

The drive cable involved in the first disconnect had been in use for only a
short time (2 to 4 weeks).  After the disconnect, the drive cable was replaced
with a new, unused drive cable that subsequently failed after being in use for
approximately 2 days.  Both drive cables incorporated INC ball-type connectors
and were received by the licensee at the same time.  The source was not new
and had previously been used with no reported disconnects.


On August 29, 1995, an inspector from the California Radiation Control Program
met with INC, at its facility, to investigate the cause of the incident.  INC
indicated that the cause of the disconnects was the use of a drive cable
connector that was not compatible with the exposure device.  

9509260149.                                                            IN 95-44
                                                            September 26, 1995
                                                            Page 2 of 2

INC distributes two styles of ball-type connectors.  The only difference
between the connectors is the length of the sleeve that is swaged onto the
control cable.  The length of the sleeve (dimension X in the diagram below) is
either 0.462 in. (1.17 cm) or 0.570 in. (1.45 cm).  The connector with a
0.462-in. (1.17-cm)-long sleeve is designed for use with older devices that
have an "S-tube" with tight-bend radii, such as Gulf Nuclear and Gamma
Industry devices.  The connector with a 0.570-in. (1.45-cm) sleeve is designed
for use with devices that have a shallow "S-tube," such as the INC Model
IR-100 and Amersham 660 series devices.

The licensee involved in the incident described above was using a connector
with a 0.570-in. (1.45-cm)-long sleeve in a device that has an "S-tube" with
tight-bend radii.  The tight bends in the "S-tube" caused the connector to
experience severe stresses, leading to the failure of the connector.

NRC is issuing this information notice to alert licensees that when using
drive cables incorporating INC ball-type connectors, they should ensure that
the connector is compatible with the exposure device they are using.  It is
expected that recipients will review the information for applicability to
their facilities and consider actions, as appropriate, to avoid problems and
ensure consistency with applicable requirements.  However, no specific action
nor written response is required from recipients of this notice.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the technical
contact listed below, or the appropriate regional office.

                                /s/'d by DA Cool

                                Donald A. Cool, Director
                                Division of Industrial and 
                                  Medical Nuclear Safety
                                Office of Nuclear Material Safety
                                  and Safeguards

Technical contact:  John W. Lubinski, NMSS
                    (301) 415-7868

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