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University charged for nuclear security violations

By Austen Hufford, Online Editor
Published January 11, 2014

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Friday a proposed $3,500 fine against the University’s Radiation Safety Service for “security-related violations” discovered during a routine inspection.

The security violation occurred on the Ann Arbor campus and the University “took immediate corrective actions” after it was informed of the violation.

The NRC found two safety violations and one security violation during its June 2013 inspection and subsequent interviews, according to the inspection report sent to the University and obtained by The Michigan Daily. All of the violations are classified as Severity Level IV, the lowest level violation for those that are “more than minor concern.”

In the inspection report released to the public, information about the violation that resulted in the fine was withheld for security reasons.

One of the safety violations concerned a 2012 incident in which cadmium-109 was used on two human research subjects without the proper licensing. The report said while the University took “corrective action” at the time, not enough was done subsequently to “prevent recurrence.”

The other safety violation said the University did not properly notify the NRC after it stopped using its license at the Murchie Science Building on the Flint campus. The report said this violation occurred because of a “misinterpretation” of the statute.

The RSS is part of the University’s Occupational Safety and Environmental Health office and is charged with providing training, guidance and technical support regarding radiological material at the University, according to its website.

The University was sent the inspection report on Oct. 4 and appears to have responded on Nov. 8.

According to a “conversation record” made by the NRC, Dennis Palmieri, a senior OSEH representative, told the NRC that the University “does not dispute any of the violations referenced in the subject letter,” referring to the University’s response sent in November.