NRC Proposes $3,500 Fine for Missing Radioactive Seeds

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a $3,500 civil penalty to a Delaware medical firm for failing to properly secure licensed nuclear material, according to a report issued on Tuesday.

In May, a physicist for Christiana Care Health Services discovered that 50 iodine-125 seeds were missing from a lab at the firm’s offices in Newark, Delaware. The seeds are implanted into patients for the treatment of different types of cancer. Reviews performed by the company determined that seeds were on trays in the lab and inadvertently removed on March 16 for recycling. It is believed the trays were later retrieved up by a recycling company.

Christiana Care asked the recycling firm if the boxes holding the materials could be retrieved. The company was advised it was not possible; therefore, the seeds were not recovered.

The NRC performed inspections at Christiana Care offices in response to the event. During these reviews, the agency identified one violation:  the company’s failure to properly control and maintain surveillance of licensed nuclear material that was in a controlled or unrestricted area that was not in storage.

No adverse health impacts on workers or members of the public are anticipated due to the incident.

Christiana Care has 30 days to pay the fine or appeal the decision.


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