Washington, D.C.–The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing an $8,500 civil penalty to Automated Packaging Systems Inc., a Keyser, W.Va., firm, for a violation related to the loss of a gauge containing a radioactive source.
The firm’s violation of Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements was identified in a July 16 inspection report.
In November 2016, a fixed gauge holding an americium-241 sealed source was removed from service at one of the company’s manufacturing plants in Keyser. The gauge was used to measure product thickness. At some point during the following year, it is believed that the device was inadvertently disposed of as scrap metal.
On May 1, 2017, the company submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission an annual registration for its general use licensed devices, however, APS failed to conduct an inventory of those devices. In March 2018, APS recognized that the gauge was missing.
Given the circumstances, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not believe the gauge poses a threat to public health and safety. However, the improper disposal of the device created the possibility that members of the public, including workers at the scrap yard, could receive a small non-harmful amount of radiation exposure.
APS has not contested the violation and informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it does not intend to provide a response. It has 30 days to pay the fine or dispute all or part of it.