- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

KENAI, Alaska (AP) - The Kenai branch of a company authorized to use radiation to inspect pipe welds has suspended operations following a surprise federal review.

Inspectors from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission found high radiation readings at the facilities of Acuren USA in early April, the Peninsula Clarion (http://bit.ly/1iINOyc) reported.

Inspectors at the facility in Kenai’s Economic Development District found high readings in areas accessible to the public, according to a confirmatory action letter.

The commission in an announcement said Acuren had no controls in place to keep people out of the area during radiography operations. Initial dose estimates suggested that people standing near the building could have been exposed to radiation exceeding the commission’s annual limit.

Inspectors expressed concern that people in nearby offices could have been exposed to excessive radiation, according to the commission letter.

The company agreed to suspend radiography operations until receiving approval from the commission. The company also agreed to take steps to keep the public from exposure to high doses of radiation and to provide the regulatory commission with information to determine if the public had been exposed.

The company did not respond to questions Tuesday.

Acuren has 80 North America locations and employs more than 3,500, according to its website.

The commission plans a follow-up inspection.

Acuren has other Alaska offices in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Prudhoe Bay.

___

Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com