Report to Congress on Abnormal Occurrences – Fiscal Year 2012 (NUREG-0090, Volume 35)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: May 2013
Date Published: May 2013

Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Section 208 of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, as amended (Public Law 93-438), defines an "abnormal occurrence" (AO) as an unscheduled incident or event that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) determines to be significant from the standpoint of public health or safety. The Federal Reports Elimination and Sunset Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-66) requires that the NRC report AOs to Congress annually.

This report describes four events involving NRC licensees that the NRC identified as AOs during fiscal year (FY) 2012 based on the criteria defined in Appendix A, "Abnormal Occurrence Criteria and Guidelines for Other Events of Interest." The first event at an NRC-licensed facility was an occurrence of high safety significance at a commercial nuclear power plant. The other three events occurred at NRC-licensed medical institutions and are medical events, as defined in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 35, "Medical Use of Byproduct Material."

In addition, this report describes 18 events that Agreement States identified as AOs during FY 2012, based on the criteria in Appendix A to this report. Agreement States are those States that have entered into formal agreements with the NRC, pursuant to Section 274 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (AEA) (Public Law 83-703), to regulate certain quantities of radioactive material within their borders. Currently, there are 37 Agreement States. The first Agreement State licensee event involved radiation exposure to an embryo/fetus and the second event involved an exposure to a radiographer. The other 16 Agreement State licensee events were medical events, as defined in 10 CFR Part 35. Two of the 16 Agreement State licensee medical events involved multiple medical events at the same treatment facility; however, one event report is provided for each of these two events.

Appendix A to this report presents the NRC's criteria for selecting AOs, as well as the guidelines for selecting "other events of interest." Appendix B, "Updates of Previously Reported Abnormal Occurrences," provides updated information for three events reported in the FY 2011 "Report to Congress on Abnormal Occurrences." The update involves a radiation exposure event at Caribbean Inspection & NDT Services, Inc., in Port Lavaca, Texas; a commercial nuclear power plant event at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Unit 1, in Athens, Alabama; and a medical event at Lovelace Medical Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During FY 2012, the NRC identified eight additional items as meeting the guidelines for inclusion in Appendix C, "Other Events of Interest." Five of these events occurred at nuclear power plants, one event involved a medical treatment device, one event involved a lost well logging source, and the last event involved a fuel cycle facility. Appendix D, "Glossary," presents definitions of terms used throughout this report. Appendix E, "Conversion Table," presents conversions commonly used when calculating doses.

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