Automated Packaging Systems Inc. (APS), a Keyser, WV-based firm is facing a $8,500 fine for a violation related to the loss of a gauge containing a radioactive source, federal regulators said.

The firm’s violation of Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requirements was identified in a July 16 inspection report, NRC officials said.

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In November 2016, a fixed gauge holding an americium-241 sealed source was removed from service at one of the company’s manufacturing plants in Keyser. The gauge was used to measure product thickness. At some point during the following year, it is believed the device was inadvertently disposed of as scrap metal.

On May 1, 2017, the company submitted to the NRC an annual registration for its general use licensed devices, however, APS failed to conduct an inventory of those devices. In March 2018, APS recognized the gauge was missing.

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Given the circumstances, the NRC does not believe the gauge poses a threat to public health and safety. However, the improper disposal of the device created the possibility that members of the public, including workers at the scrap yard, could receive a small non-harmful amount of radiation exposure.

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