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Kenai company cited for radiation exposure violations

Posted: April 29, 2014 - 10:15pm  |  Updated: April 29, 2014 - 10:23pm
Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion   The Acuren USA Kenai facility located in the Kenai Peninsula economic development district building sat nearly empty Tuesday April 2, 2014 in Kenai, Alaska.  The facility had to suspend weld-testing operations after the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission found violations of radiation emissions standards that could have exposed the public to excessive amounts of radiation.
Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion The Acuren USA Kenai facility located in the Kenai Peninsula economic development district building sat nearly empty Tuesday April 2, 2014 in Kenai, Alaska. The facility had to suspend weld-testing operations after the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission found violations of radiation emissions standards that could have exposed the public to excessive amounts of radiation.

The Kenai branch of Acuren USA has suspended operations after the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission found high radiation readings during a surprise inspection in early April.

The company is licensed to use radioactive materials when inspecting pipe welds. According to a confirmatory action letter issued by the regulatory commission to the company, inspectors walking around Acuren’s facility at 14896 Kenai Spur Highway found high readings in areas where the public could be exposed to high radiation levels.

According to a media release issued by the regulatory commission, there were no boundaries or controls in place to keep people out of the area during radiography operations and initial dose estimates suggested that anyone standing near the building could have been exposed to radiation in excess of the regulatory commission’s annual limit.

The company, which specializes in inspections and materials and reliability engineering, is located in Kenai’s Economic Development District, or EDD building, where several other companies also operate.

Inspectors were also concerned that anyone who worked in the nearby offices, could have been exposed to excessive radiation according to the regulatory commission letter.

The company agreed to suspend its radiography operations at the Kenai facility until the regulatory commission approves it for further use, to develop a series of planned actions to keep the public from being exposed to excessively high doses of radiation and provide the regulatory commission with information to determine if the public was exposed to the radiation during its past activities.

According to Acuren’s website it has 80 locations in North America and employees more than 3,500 people.

The building was largely empty Tuesday afternoon, though at least one man was inside. A sign on the door listed several emergency contacts and radiation safety emergency contacts.

No one at the facility was willing to comment and calls to the company’s Anchorage office were forwarded to a national communications person who did not return calls for comment as of press time Tuesday.

Acuren has a history of violations according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission documentation, including a 2007 citation for failing to inspect a Virginia facility for “compliance with dose limits to individual members of the public” and 2010 inspections in Michigan, Wyoming and Texas which found apparent violations of security requirements which may have culminated in a radiography device and radioactive material in a pickup truck being stolen near Austin, Texas.

Acuren has four offices in Alaska including locations in Fairbanks, Prudhoe Bay and Anchorage.

The regulatory commission will conduct a follow-up inspection, according to a media release.

Rashah McChesney can be reached at

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Obfuscate 04/30/14 - 07:20 pm

An artfully crafted story with just the right angle needed to craft as much drama as possible.

Norseman 04/30/14 - 07:38 pm
How long have they been at

How long have they been at that location?

Suss 04/30/14 - 09:23 pm
Serious Radiation

There are many people in and around this site. I hope all have been contacted about the overexposure to the radioactive releases. This is not to be ignored. Monitoring the health of those exposed should begin now and continue forward.

Get the truth out now and deal with the health consequences as required.

In a word, this is CRIMINAL.

A coverup or worse(obfuscate) will only cause greater pains and penalties.

Please continue to follow up with this story and please find out the number of people that could be affected.

Where else has Acuren USA had there place of operations in the Kenai area? The sad part is the ownership of this building is a well meaning nonprofit.

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Entity Details
Entity Type:Nonprofit Corporation
Entity #:52031D
Status:Good Standing
AK Formed Date:7/19/1993
Home State:ALASKA
Next Biennial Report Due:7/2/2015
Entity Mailing Address:14896 KENAI SPUR HWY, SUITE 103A, KENAI, AK 99611
Entity Physical Address:14896 KENAI SPUR HWY STE 103A, KENAI, AK 99611
Registered Agent
Agent Name:John Torgerson
Registered Mailing Address:14896 Kenai Spur Hwy STE 103A, KENAI, AK 99611
Registered Physical Address:14896 Kenai Spur Hwy STE 103A, KENAI, AK 99611
Show Former
AK Entity# Name Titles Percent Owned
Brendyn Shiflea Treasurer
Bryan Zak Secretary
Cheryle James Vice President
Diana Spann Treasurer
Fred Esposito Director
Hal Smalley Director
Jason Feeken Director
Jesse Clutts Director
Kristine Holdridge President
Linda Murphy Director
Mark Dixson Director
Mike Dye Director
Rick Koch Director
Ristine Casagrande Director
Tim Dillon Director

Filed Documents
Date Filed Type Filing Certificate
7/19/1993 Creation Filing
7/19/1993 Biennial Report
8/23/1995 Biennial Report Click to View
8/2/1999 Biennial Report Click to View
7/16/2001 Biennial Report Click to View
2/5/2002 Agent Change Click to View
6/11/2003 Biennial Report Click to View
6/25/2004 Change of Officials Click to View
6/25/2004 Agent Change Click to View
6/13/2005 Biennial Report Click to View
1/25/2008 Biennial Report Click to View
7/20/2009 Biennial Report Click to View
7/27/2009 Agent Change Click to View
6/6/2011 Biennial Report Click to View
4/30/2013 Biennial Report Click to View
Search and Database Download Information

Media Critic
Media Critic 05/01/14 - 06:04 am
An artfully crafted story missing the details. Again.

"found high readings" How high? If the question was asked and not answered, say so. If it wasn't, doesn't it seem like an obvious question to ask? A chest X-ray has high readings. Hiroshima had high readings. Big difference.

"several other companies" Any reason not to name them? How many people work in the building? Visit the building?

Finally, how about a tax break? Has Mike Chenault been notified? This company sounds like it needs a break.

Suss 05/01/14 - 07:31 am
200 millirems per hour

KSRM reports

Lara Uselding with the NRC spoke with us about the inspection.

Uselding: “The inspectors arrived on site and observed that their survey meter went off scale, meaning that it was reading about 200 millirems per hour with no boundaries or physical controls established. Obviously the inspectors were surprised and had to back away about 40 ft before that survey meter was reading lower. They then learned that operators had been conducting radiography operations inside the building, about six, two minute radiography sessions.”

Acute Radiation Exposure

Effects of Large, Whole-Body Radiation Doses

Effect Dose (rems)
No observable effect
Slight blood changes
Significant reduction in blood platelets and
white blood cells (temporary)
Severe blood damage, nausea, hair loss,
hemorrhage, death in many cases
Death in less than two months for over 80%

Norseman 05/01/14 - 08:09 am
why on earth would the

why on earth would the economic developement center think that this type of business was a good idea in a multi business incubator model?

Now someone should post the facts on how long they have been in this site, and how many other small business ventures shared space with them, and get the word out to all employees who may have been exposed?

Who do we contact if we have been involved in some capacity at this site??

akal 05/01/14 - 10:57 am

A good friend of mine worked for Varion, he was sent to 3 mile island plant to replace rad.detectors, he died a few yrs. later of Lymphoma. this kind of thing is real bad news.

Obfuscate 05/02/14 - 01:00 pm
continue the drama

Suss - are you sure you are not adding to the fear mongering? The NRC said the public could have been exposed to 200 millirems and you post the effects of exposure at a thousand time stronger?

Suss 05/02/14 - 04:19 pm
New Math 200 X 6 = 1.2 Rems

Each test was reading 200 millirems, from outside the building. Readings inside and closer would vary. An admission of six tests, radioactive releases were done on that day alone. How many times, how many days and how many people? The unstated concern is the exposure to this radiation is CUMULATIVE.

1200 millirems, times 1.2 minutes = one day of your life. Death from radiation exposure is unpleasant. So add up the number of exposures and you see where the exceeding of the annual limit of 100 millirems to radiation exposure was the focus of the NRC report.

Would you want your wife, daughter, mother or any family member getting unknowningly dosed with radiation at these levels?

*The reduction in life expectancy from a dose of 1 mrem is about 1.2 minutes. This is equivalent to the reduction in life expectancy from crossing the street three times, taking three puffs on a cigarette, or consuming 10 extra calories (for a person who is overweight).
Multiply by 1200 for that one day!

More math, how many days of their life does the radiation
exposure add up to, let alone change or take that life.

Health effects

Ionizing radiation has deterministic and stochastic effects on human health. The deterministic effects that can lead to acute radiation syndrome only occur in the case of high doses (> ~10 rad or > 0.1 Gy) and high dose rates (> ~10 rad/h or > 0.1 Gy/h). A model of deterministic risk would require different weighting factors (not yet established) than are used in the calculation of equivalent and effective dose. To avoid confusion, deterministic effects are normally compared to absorbed dose in units of rad, not rem.

Stochastic effects are those that occur randomly, such as radiation-induced cancer. The consensus of the nuclear industry, nuclear regulators, and governments, is that the incidence of cancers due to ionizing radiation can be modeled as increasing linearly with effective dose at a rate of 0.055% per rem. (5.5%/Sv)[2] Individual studies, alternate models, and earlier versions of the industry consensus have produced other risk estimates scattered around this consensus model. There is general agreement that the risk is much higher for infants and fetuses than adults, higher for the middle-aged than for seniors, and higher for women than for men, though there is no quantitative consensus about this.[7][8] There is much less data, and much more controversy, regarding the possibility of cardiac and teratogenic effects, and the modelling of internal dose.[9]

The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommends limiting artificial irradiation of the public to an average of 100 mrem (1 mSv) of effective dose per year, not including medical and occupational exposures.[2] For comparison, radiation levels inside the US United States Capitol are 85 mrem/yr (0.85 mSv/yr), close to the regulatory limit, because of the uranium content of the granite structure.[10] According to the ICRP model, someone who spent 20 years inside the capitol building would have an extra one in a thousand chance of getting cancer, over and above any other existing risk. (20 yr × 85 mrem/yr × 0.001 rem/mrem × 0.055%/rem = ~0.1%) That "existing risk" is much higher; an average person would have a one in ten chance of getting cancer during this same 20 year period, even without any exposure to artificial radiation.

Norseman 05/02/14 - 05:09 pm
I want to know how long they

I want to know how long they have been in business at that site? What other business were close by that may have had their employees exposed? Where are these answers?

Suss 05/03/14 - 07:11 am
NRC continues to investigate

KSRM reported that a team was to be sent to Alaska to follow up investigating Acuren after their April 10 visit that found the violations.

Uselding: “But again the NRC’s concern that had somebody been there they may have been exposed to lower to the annual limit in just a couple of minutes.”

The NRC is sending a team to do a follow-up investigation of Acuren’s Kenai location. They will address occupants in other parts of the building, assess Acuren’s response to the incident, and create a chronology to see if anyone may have been exposed.

Uselding said Acuren has recently been associated with other incidents.

Norseman 05/03/14 - 02:12 pm
Thank you Suss for the info.

Thank you Suss for the info. If I am not mistaken, there have been at least a dozen small businesses that started out at that site working thru the Economic development district. Every person who has at one time been involved in any way with that area, should be a top priority to be notified.

Wasn't that blueberry plant out there? There was also a couple of other startup businesses too. Looks like the risk to innocent people being exposed has occurred and now they should all be notified.

Those that want less government oversight can now see how totally ridiculous that is. Can you imagine how many other innocent people will die of contamination if there was NO government involvement? The idea that businesses will self regulate safety is pure BS.

Suss 05/03/14 - 03:11 pm
Acuren and the NRC

Acuren has a history with the NRC. There needs to be some serious focus on what are important health questions to the workers and the public.


Region: 4
License #: 42-32443-01
Agreement: N
HQ OPS Officer: JOHN KNOKE Notification Date: 06/20/2012
Notification Time: 18:15 [ET]
Event Date: 05/20/2012
Event Time: [YDT]
Last Update Date: 06/20/2012
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
20.2202(a)(1) - PERS OVEREXPOSURE/TEDE >= 25 REM
Person (Organization):
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