NRC Proposes $17,500 Fine to Puerto Rico Firm for Apparent Violation Involving Nuclear Gauge
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a $17,500 civil penalty against a Toa Alta, Puerto Rico, firm for failing to dispose of or transfer a portable nuclear gauge and complete decommissioning of its site within the required time period.
Almonte Geo Services Group was licensed by the NRC to own and possess portable gauges containing small amounts of radioactive material. The gauges are used for such purposes as measuring the density of soil at construction sites.
In September 2015, the NRC issued an order revoking the company’s license for failing to pay fees it owed to the agency. Under the order, Almonte was required to dispose of or transfer its nuclear gauges to another authorized party within 60 days. The company eventually transferred two of its gauges and began decommissioning activities, but retained one other gauge.
The NRC issued a notice of violation in February and informed Almonte that the agency would consider a imposing a fine if the company did not take action to dispose of the remaining gauge.
“The NRC’s primary interest is in ensuring such gauges are licensed, used and stored properly, and that they do not fall into the wrong hands, possibly harming those not familiar with the radioactive contents,” NRC Region I Administrator Raymond Lorson said.
While the company is no longer licensed to possess or use this gauge, the NRC has verified that the gauge is being properly secured at Almonte’s facility to prevent unauthorized access or removal.