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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 481. Virginia Radiation Protection Regulations

12VAC5-481-3370. Notification of incidents, abandonment, and lost sources.

Article 7

A. Notification of incidents and sources lost in other than downhole logging operations shall be made in accordance with appropriate provisions of Part IV (12VAC5-481-600 et seq.) of this chapter.

B. Whenever a sealed source or device containing radioactive material is lodged downhole, the licensee shall:

1. Monitor at the surface for the presence of radioactive contamination with a radiation survey instrument or logging tool during logging tool recovery operations; and

2. Notify the agency immediately by telephone and subsequently, within 30 days, by confirmatory letter if the licensee knows or has reason to believe that a sealed source has been ruptured. This letter shall identify the well or other location, describe the magnitude and extent of the escape of radioactive material, assess the consequences of the rupture, and explain efforts planned or being taken to mitigate these consequences.

C. When it becomes apparent that efforts to recover the radioactive source will not be successful, the licensee shall:

1. Advise the well-operator of the regulations of the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy; Division of Gas and Oil, regarding abandonment and an appropriate method of abandonment, that shall include:

a. The immobilization and sealing in place of the radioactive source with a cement plug,

b. The setting of a whipstock or other deflection device, and

c. The mounting of a permanent identification plaque at the surface of the well, containing the appropriate information required by subsection D of this section;

2. Notify the agency by telephone, giving the circumstances of the loss, and request approval of the proposed abandonment procedures; and

3. File a written report with the agency within 30 days of the abandonment. The licensee shall send a copy of the report to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy; Division of Gas and Oil. The report shall contain the following information:

a. Date of occurrence;

b. A description of the well logging source involved, including the radionuclide and its quantity, chemical, and physical form;

c. Surface location and identification of the well;

d. Results of efforts to immobilize and seal the source in place;

e. A brief description of the attempted recovery effort;

f. Depth of the source;

g. Depth of the top of the cement plug;

h. Depth of the well;

i. Any other information, such as a warning statement, contained on the permanent identification plaque; and

j. The names of state agencies receiving a copy of this report.

D. Whenever a sealed source containing radioactive material is abandoned downhole, the licensee shall provide a permanent plaque for posting the well or well-bore. This plaque shall:

1. Be constructed of long-lasting material, such as stainless steel or monel; and

2. Contain the following information engraved on its face:

a. The word "CAUTION";

b. The radiation symbol without the conventional color requirement;

c. The date of abandonment;

d. The name of the well operator or well owner;

e. The well name and well identification number(s) or other designation;

f. The sealed source(s) by radionuclide and activity;

g. The source depth and the depth to the top of the plug; and

h. An appropriate warning, depending on the specific circumstances of each abandonment.

E. The licensee shall immediately notify the agency by telephone and subsequently by confirming letter if the licensee knows or has reason to believe that radioactive material has been lost in or to an underground potable aquifer. Such notice shall designate the well location and shall describe the magnitude and extent of loss of radioactive material, assess the consequences of such loss, and explain efforts planned or being taken to mitigate these consequences.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006.

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