It’s not often that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Event Notification report has a unifying theme, but today’s page has five incidents, all involving sealed-sources containing radioactive material.
1. Terracon Inc. of Colorado Springs reported that a Troxler moisture-density gauge had been run over by a skid-steer at a construction site. The gauge has been returned to the manufacturer for leak testing. The Event Report did not indicate what radioactive material the gauge contained, but it’s probably similar to the Troxler gauge in the following report.
2. Western Technologies Inc. of Phoenix reported that a Troxler gauge had been run over at a construction site. Unlike the previous incident, the Western Technologies device was in operation at the time of the accident. This device contained 10 m/Ci of cesium and 40 m/Ci of americium and beryllium. The damaged gauge will be returned to Troxler for repairs.
3. Mistras Group Inc. of Salt Lake City reported that a radiographic source failed to retract. Mistras’ Radiation Safety Officer was able to disassemble the locking mechanism and get the source to retract. The company says that there were no overexposures as a result of the incident.
4. Western Technolgies reported a second incident, this one of particular interest to states like mine that have a low-level radioactive waste disposal site, and thus lots of shipments of radioactive waste. Western Techologies said that a truck transporting a gamma camera used for industrial radiography had been in a roll-over accident. The camera, containing 100 ci of iridium-192, was not damaged in the accident. The camera was leak tested, but the results were not reported in the Event Notification.
5. And finally, Henkel Aerospace of Bay Point, California, reported that one of its generally licensed fixed gauges had been found at a recycling center The device contained 150 m/Ci of americium. The gauge was leaked tested and returned to the manufacturer.
Henkle’s corrective action following the incident is what reminded me of the Simpsons. Henkle pledged to watch its two remaining sources. Sounds like watching the two sources to make sure that nobody recycles them may be the least-skilled job that one could get at Henkle. It’s kind of like the job on the Simpsons at Moe’s Tavern that Smithers considers taking after Mr. Burns fires him — distracting Barney Gumble so that the midnight beer delivery can be made.
As Homer says to Smithers: “You can give up on yourself, and take the Barney-guarding job like so many have contemplated in our darkest moments….”