Emergency Radiation Procedures
These emergency instructions apply whenever a nuclear gauge is involved in an event that might cause damage to the source or its shielding or prevent the return of the source to the shielded position (e.g. when the gauge is struck by a piece of equipment, is contained in a vehicle involved in an accident, or involved in a fire).
Gauge User or Operator
Immediately cordon off the area around the gauge (approximately 15 foot radius) and prevent unauthorized personnel from entering the area to minimize personnel exposure. The gauge operator should stand by outside the cordoned area and maintain constant surveillance of the gauge until emergency response personnel arrive.
Detain any equipment or vehicle involved in the accident and the operator until it is determined that no contamination is present. Gauge users and other potentially contaminated personnel should not leave the scene until they have been checked for contamination by emergency response personnel.
Notify appropriate emergency response personnel (e.g. the licensee’s Radiation Safety Officer, NRC or State officials) as soon as possible.
RSO and Licensee Management
Evaluate the condition of the gauge. Determine if the source(s) are present and if they are in the shielded position (if applicable). If the source(s) are out of the gauge they must be located immediately.
Arrange for a radiation survey to be conducted as soon as possible by a knowledgeable person using appropriate radiation detection instrumentation. This person could be a licensee employee or a consultant competent in the use of radiation survey meters. The Troxler gauge operation manual contains a radiation profile chart which gives the normal radiation levels near the gauge. The radiation survey readings can be compared to the radiation profile for the gauge contained in the gauge operation manual to determine if the readings are normal.
Make necessary notifications to local authorities as well as the NRC as required. Even if not required to do so, you may report any incident to the NRC by calling NRC’s Emergency Operations Center at 1.301.816.5100, which is staffed 24 hours a day and accepts collect calls. NRC or Agreement State notification is required when gauges containing licensed material are lost or stolen, when gauges are damaged or involved in incidents that result in doses in excess of 10 CFR 20.2203 limits, and when it becomes apparent that attempts to recover a source stuck below the surface will be unsuccessful. NRC reporting requirements and time frames are found in 10 CFR 20.2201-2203.
Returning Damaged Gauges to Troxler
When it is necessary to return a gauge that has been damaged to Troxler for repair or disposal, the following procedure must be followed.
Conduct a standard wipe test of the gauge to verify the sources are not leaking and provide the test results to Troxler.
Send photographs showing the damage, especially damage affecting the shielding of the radioactive sources, to the attention of the Troxler RSO. If the damage is extensive or the gauge cannot be shipped in the original shipping case, Troxler will provide assistance or directions for packaging and shipment.
Upon review of the leak test results and photographs by the Troxler RSO, a Returned Goods Authorization (RGA) number will be issued for return of the gauge to Troxler.