Power Tools for Technical Communication:
Memo Formatting (Print)


In this lab, you work on unformatted text to create a memorandum:
  1. Copy the text below this box, and paste it into your preferred word-processing software.
  2. Study the unformatted text carefully, rearrange the paragraphs as necessary, revise the writing, add headings, and reformat text as numbered or bulleted lists as necessary.
  3. Using the memo format, address this communication to the Joan Wainstin, Investigations Director, Kansas Bureau of Radiation Control. Use your name and the current date. For your title, use KBRC Investigative Staff Member.
  4. Put your name, Memo Format (Print), and the date on this document, and print it out for your instructor.


Investigation Findings:

Violation of License Condition 26: The Enchanted Rock Polytechnic University professors did not follow the licensee's internal procedures that involved sending shipments of radioactive material through their own radiation safety office.

No other violations were identified. The shipment sent to the Reserves Administration Medical Center in Ronde Rocq. Kansas was transferred as agreed and the receiver was authorized to receive it.

Subject of Visit: Investigation of complaint alleging Enchanted Rock Polytechnic University transferred radioactive biological tissue samples to the Reserves Administration Medical Center (RAMC), in Ronde Rocq. Kansas without obtaining a copy of the RAMC NRC license or authorization from RAMC. (The samples were from animals exposed in the Chernobyl environment and might contain approximately 11,000 Becquerels/gram of tissue. The two isotopes likely sequestered in these tissues were cesium-137 and strontium-90.)

Summary of Visit: I met with the new radiation safety officer (RSO), Earl Shallotte, and Elisabeth Simters (his assistant who was an employee during the time of the incident) and we discussed the incident. After reviewing the information that was presented and discussed at Enchanted Rock Polytechnic University, I conclude that:

Enchanted Rock Polytechnic University (ERP) has obtained a copy of the Ronde Rocq RAMC's U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission license. It is attached to this investigation report. Item G of the RAMC's license verifies that the facility is authorized to receive the type, form, and quantity of radioactive material transferred, if the samples do not contain alpha emitters. Similar samples that were previously analyzed did not contain alpha emitters.

Dr. Huempnel, at the Ronde Rocq RAMC knew the shipment was coming, was aware of its contents, and had agreed to the shipment. See the chronology of events sheet submitted by the RAMC RSO that states that the RSO knew the samples were coming before the samples arrived; the date on sheet was 9-30-99.

The ERP professors thought the radioactive material being shipped was an exempt quantity. Therefore the ERP professors did not make the proper notifications to their RSO up front as should have been done. The ERP professors sent the material to the attention of the Ronde Rocq RAMC's professor, Dr. Huempnel. Dr. Huempnel gave the package to the RAMC RSO for appropriate "logging in". The RAMC RSO apparently believes the RAMC is not authorized for possession of the material because he apparently thinks it could contain alpha emitters. Apparently, the RAMC RSO contacted the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concerning the need for requesting an amendment to the license to allow for possession. The NRC has not yet made a decision as to whether an amendment is needed. Other similar samples analyzed did not show alpha emitters; therefore the ERP professors do not feel that these will either. The professors cannot say for absolutely sure because these ARE field samples that need laboratory radiological analyses to find out what is really there. A radiation survey of the samples performed at ERP did not detect any alpha emissions.

As Enchanted Rock Polytechnic University reviewed the incident, two things emerged as problematic:

First, the ERP professors did not follow the university's internal procedure that involved going through their own RSO to make ALL transfers of radioactive material to other facilities. As a corrective action, the professors were admonished to follow procedures and they were sent to a "remediation" radiation safety class that included instruction on the licensee's policies and procedures. This was documented in a logbook and a copy is attached to this report.

Secondly, the ERP RSO was concerned that the ERP radiation safety office did not verify the appropriate packaging of the material. The package did arrive intact. Since it was sent refrigerated, it required some integrity of packaging. Most likely it met the type A status, (being a strong, tight package) but maybe not on the labeling.

ERP recently followed up with the Ronde Rocq RAMC concerning the current status of the samples. ERP received a statement indicating the samples are in storage. The package is in locked storage in Dr. Huempnel's laboratory and has not been opened. A copy of the statement indicating the status is attached to this report.


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