NRC Proposes $3,500 Fine Against Delaware Firm for Loss of Radioactive Seeds

No: I-18-023 December 4, 2018
Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330

Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

NRC Proposes $3,500 Fine Against Delaware Firm
for Loss of 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.

On May 30, 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, Del. 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 picked up by a recycling company.

Christiana Care asked the recycling firm if the boxes holding the materials could be retrieved
but was told that was not possible. 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 apparent 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.

In light of the low radiation levels associated with the materials involved, no adverse health
impacts on workers or members of the public are anticipated because of the incident.

The company will have 30 days to pay the fine or to appeal the decision.