The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will meet with representatives of Law Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.'s Dorado, Puerto Rico, Office in Atlanta on Thursday, January 18, to discuss the company's apparent violations of NRC requirements.
The meeting, scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (EST), will be held in the NRC offices located on the 24th floor of the Sam Nunn Federal Center, 61 Forsyth Street, SW. It will be open to observation by interested members of the public and news media representatives. NRC officials will be available at its conclusion to answer questions.
In late November, the company notified the NRC that the radiation safety officer and another employee were changing radioactive sources on a radiography camera when they discovered the Iridium-192 source was not in its proper location during the exchange. Radiography is a process that uses radioactive materials to produce x-ray-like images of structures, pipes, welds and other objects to see if they may contain flaws. Based on an NRC-observed re-enactment of the event, the two individuals involved were not exposed to radiation above NRC limits, although the company's original notification indicated they may have been. The NRC sent a special inspection team to Puerto Rico and identified five apparent violations of requirements including (1) failure to perform adequate radiological surveys; (2) failure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for use of the exchanger; (3) failure to respond properly to an alarming detection device; (4) failure to adequately train workers in the use of the device; and (5) failure to perform pre-use operational checks of the device.
The decision to hold a pre-decisional enforcement conference does not mean that the NRC has determined that violations have occurred or that enforcement action will be taken. The purpose of the meeting is to obtain information to determine whether violations occurred, information to determine the significance of any violations, information on the identification of violations and information related to corrective actions taken or planned.
No decision on any apparent violations will be made at this conference. Those decisions will be made by senior NRC officials at a later time.