Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No. I-16-014 May 13, 2016
NRC Proposes $7,000 Civil Penalty for Violation at West Virginia Manufacturing Facility
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is proposing a $7,000 fine for an
Atlanta-based company for a violation of agency requirements. The
violation involves maintenance inappropriately done on a fixed nuclear
gauge at the firm’s manufacturing facility in Fairmont, W.V.
on the results of an NRC inspection and investigation carried out at
Novelis Corp.’s Fairmont plant, the agency is also issuing a Severity
Level III violation to the company.
Novelis performs aluminum
sheet and light-gauge fin/foil cold rolling activities at the facility.
The company held an NRC license for the possession and use of fixed
nuclear gauges at this location. The gauges are used to measure the
thickness of the sheet metal products.
The NRC inspection and
investigation completed on Jan. 21, 2016, determined that on Sept. 12
and 13, 2014, there was a violation involving the deliberate actions of
plant employees. Specifically, an engineering reliability and automation
engineer directed an electrical technician to repair nuclear gauge
components related to the radiological safety of the device even though
Novelis’ NRC license prohibits such activities.
found that the plant employees involved understood the work they were
undertaking was not permitted, but they proceeded with the repairs
nonetheless in order to minimize the economic impact on the facility
from the inoperable gauge,” Acting NRC Region I Administrator
Lew said. “These activities could have resulted in unnecessary
radiological exposure and possibly physical harm. This enforcement
action serves as an important reminder of the need for gauge owners and
users to adhere to license conditions meant to ensure the proper
handling of nuclear materials.”
In a March 8, 2016, letter,
Novelis acknowledged the violation occurred, but it disagreed that the
employees acted deliberately. After reviewing the information, the NRC
staff concluded that the enforcement action was still appropriate. Based
on the apparent economic incentive for the violation, the NRC used
discretion to double the fine from base amount of $3,500.
has notified the NRC of prompt and comprehensive corrective and
preventive actions in response to the issue, including the termination
of its NRC license, which occurred on Jan. 12, 2016.
The NRC is also
issuing a Severity Level III violation to the engineering reliability
and automation engineer who authorized the technician to work on the
The company is required to respond to the violation and proposed civil penalty within 30 days.