[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 33 (Friday, February 20, 2009)]
[Pages 7930-7932]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-3627]



[IA-08-022; NRC-2009-0067]

In the Matter of Dhiraj Soni; Order Prohibiting Involvement in 
NRC-Licensed Activities


    Dhiraj Soni is the former Vice President of Eastern Testing and 
Inspection, Inc. (ETI) (Licensee) in Thorofare, New Jersey. ETI holds 
License No. 29-09814-01 issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
(NRC or Commission) pursuant to 10 CFR part 30 in 1964. The license 
authorizes possession and use of sealed radioactive sources for use in 
radiographic exposure devices and in portable gauge devices, and 
possession and use of radioactive material for shielding for 
radiographic and source changer equipment in accordance with the 
conditions specified therein.


    An investigation of licensed activities was conducted by the NRC 
Office of Investigations (OI) at the Licensee's facility in Thorofare, 
New Jersey. The OI investigation was completed on October 26, 2007. The 
investigation was conducted, in part, to determine whether ETI 
deliberately provided the NRC inaccurate information related to 
compliance with an NRC Order issued to ETI (ETI Order) and contrary to 
10 CFR 30.9, ``Completeness and accuracy of information.'' Based on 
information from the investigation, inspection, and after review of a 
written response from Dhiraj Soni, the NRC concluded that Dhiraj Soni 
was in violation of 10 CFR 30.10, ``Deliberate misconduct,'' by 
deliberately causing ETI to be in violation of 10 CFR 30.9 when he 
provided inaccurate information to the company that was, in turn, 
provided to the NRC on behalf of ETI to demonstrate actions toward 
compliance with the ETI Order. The NRC also concluded that Dhiraj Soni 
was in violation of 10 CFR 30.10 by deliberately providing inaccurate 
information in verbal statements made to an NRC inspector on September 
20, 2006.
    During the investigation, Dhiraj Soni gave inconsistent statements 
in his sworn testimony regarding his actions at issue. Further, the 
sworn testimony of law enforcement officers and an NRC inspector 
contradict the exculpatory testimony and statements of Dhiraj Soni. Due 
to Dhiraj Soni's inconsistent statements and the consistent statements 
of law enforcement officers and the NRC inspector, the NRC does

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not credit Dhiraj Soni's statements as an accurate portrayal of the 
events at issue.


    Based on the above, the NRC concluded that Dhiraj Soni, a Licensee 
official, specifically the Vice President of the Licensee at the time 
of the violations, engaged in deliberate misconduct that caused the 
Licensee, ETI, to be in violation of 10 CFR 30.9, ``Completeness and 
accuracy of information'' in two separate communications to the NRC 
regarding its actions toward compliance with the ETI Order. As such, 
Dhiraj Soni was in violation of 10 CFR 30.10, ``Deliberate 
misconduct,'' which states, in part, that any Licensee or employee of a 
Licensee may not engage in deliberate misconduct that causes a Licensee 
to be in violation of any rule, regulation, or order issued by the 
Commission. Dhiraj Soni also engaged in deliberate misconduct in 
violation of 10 CFR 30.10 by deliberately providing inaccurate 
information in verbal statements made to an NRC inspector on September 
20, 2006.
    The NRC must be able to rely on the Licensee and its employees to 
comply with NRC requirements, including the requirement to provide 
complete and accurate information at all times. Dhiraj Soni's action in 
causing the Licensee to violate 10 CFR 30.9, and in his violation of 10 
CFR 30.10, raises serious doubt as to whether he can be relied upon to 
comply with NRC requirements.
    Consequently, I lack the requisite reasonable assurance that 
licensed activities can be conducted in compliance with the 
Commission's requirements and that the public health, safety, and 
interest of the public will be protected if Dhiraj Soni were permitted 
at this time to be involved in NRC-licensed activities. Therefore, the 
public health, safety and interest require that Dhiraj Soni be 
prohibited from any involvement in NRC-licensed activities for a period 
of one year from the effective date of this Order.


    Accordingly, pursuant to sections 81, 161b, 161i, 182 and 186 of 
the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and the Commission's 
regulations in 10 CFR 2.202, 10 CFR 30.10, and 10 CFR 150.20, it is 
hereby ordered that:
    1. Dhiraj Soni is prohibited for one year from the date of the 
effectiveness of this Order from engaging in NRC-licensed activities. 
NRC-licensed activities are those activities that are conducted 
pursuant to a specific or general license issued by the NRC, including, 
but not limited to, those activities of Agreement State licensees 
conducted pursuant to the authority granted by 10 CFR 150.20.
    2. If Dhiraj Soni is currently involved with another entity 
involved in NRC-licensed activities, he must immediately cease those 
activities, and inform the NRC of the name, address and telephone 
number of that entity, and provide a copy of this Order to the entity.
    The Director, OE, may, in writing, relax or rescind any of the 
above conditions upon demonstration by Dhiraj Soni of good cause.


    In accordance with 10 CFR 2.202, Dhiraj Soni must submit an answer 
to this Order within 20 days of its issuance. If security-related 
information is included in the response, please mark the entire 
response, ``Security-Related Information--Withhold Under 10 CFR 
2.390.'' If the response does not contain any sensitive, security-
related information, the NRC will make the response publicly available. 
Further, to the extent possible, any response provided should not 
include any personal privacy or proprietary information. In addition, 
Dhiraj Soni and any other person adversely affected by this Order may 
request a hearing on this Order within 20 days of its issuance. Where 
good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the time 
to answer or request a hearing. A request for extension of time must be 
directed to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, and include a statement of good cause for the 
    The answer shall be in writing and under oath and affirmation. The 
answer may consent to this Order. Unless the answer consents to this 
Order, the answer shall specifically admit or deny each allegation or 
charge made in this Order and shall set for the matters of fact and law 
on which Dhiraj Soni or other person adversely affected relies on the 
reasons as to why the Order should not have been issued. Any answer to 
this Order shall be submitted to the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Attn: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff, Washington, DC 
20555-0001. Copies shall also be sent to: Director, Office of 
Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001; the Assistant General Counsel for Materials Litigation and 
Enforcement at the same address; Region Administrator, NRC Region I, 
475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406-1415. A copy of the 
answer shall be provided to Dhiraj Soni, if the answer is by a person 
other than Dhiraj Soni.
    If a hearing request is submitted, the NRC will make the request 
publicly available. Therefore, the request should not include any 
security-related, personal, proprietary, or other sensitive information 
in the hearing request, or, in the alternative, provide a redacted copy 
of the hearing request that does not include such information. A copy 
of the hearing request shall be provided to Dhiraj Soni by the 
requester, if the request is made by a person other than Dhiraj Soni.
    A request for a hearing must be filed in accordance with the NRC E-
Filing rule, which the NRC promulgated in August, 2007, 72 FR 49,139 
(Aug. 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit 
and serve documents over the internet or, in some cases, to mail copies 
on electronic optical storage media. Participants may not submit paper 
copies of their filings unless they seek a waiver in accordance with 
the procedures described below.
    To comply with the procedural requirements associated with E-
Filing, at least five (5) days prior to the filing deadline the 
requestor must contact the Office of the Secretary by e-mail at 
[email protected], or by calling (301) 415-1677, to request (1) a 
digital ID certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or 
representative) to digitally sign documents and access the E-Submittal 
server for any NRC proceeding in which it is participating; and/or (2) 
creation of an electronic docket for the proceeding (even in instances 
when the requestor (or its counsel or representative) already holds an 
NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Each requestor will need to 
download the Workplace Forms ViewerTM to access the 
Electronic Information Exchange (EIE), a component of the E-Filing 
system. The Workplace Forms ViewerTM is free and is 
available at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/install-viewer.html. Information about applying for a digital ID certificate 
also is available on NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/apply-certificates.html.
    Once a requestor has obtained a digital ID certificate, had a 
docket created, and downloaded the EIE viewer, it can then submit a 
request for a hearing through EIE. Submissions should be in Portable 
Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance available on the 
NRC public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. 
A filing is considered complete at the time the filer submits its 
document through EIE. To be timely, electronic filings must be 
submitted to the EIE system no later than 11:59 p.m.

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Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E-
Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an e-
mail notice confirming receipt of the document. The EIE system also 
distributes an e-mail notice that provides access to the document to 
the NRC Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised 
the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the 
proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the document on those 
participants separately. Therefore, any others who wish to participate 
in the proceeding (or their counsel or representative) must apply for 
and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request is filed 
so that they may obtain access to the document via the E-Filing system.
    A person filing electronically may seek assistance through the 
``Contact Us'' link located on the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html or by calling the NRC technical help line, 
which is available between 8:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., Eastern Time, 
Monday through Friday. The help line number is (800) 397-4209 or 
locally, (301) 415-4737.
    Participants who believe that they have good cause for not 
submitting documents electronically must file a motion, in accordance 
with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing requesting 
authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such 
filings must be submitted by (1) first class mail addressed to the 
Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemaking and 
Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited 
delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One 
White Flint North, 11555 Rockville, Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, 
Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a 
document in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all 
other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail 
as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or 
expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the 
provider of the service.
    Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in 
NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at 
http://ehd.nrc.gov/EHD_Proceeding/home.asp, unless excluded pursuant 
to an order of the Commission, an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, or 
a Presiding Officer. Participants are requested not to include personal 
privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, 
or home phone numbers in their filings. With respect to copyrighted 
works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the 
adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, 
Participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in 
their works.
    If a person other than the Dhiraj Soni requests a hearing, that 
person shall set forth with particularity the manner in which his 
interest is adversely affected by this Order and shall address the 
criteria set forth in 10 CFR 2.309(d) and (f).
    If a hearing is requested by Dhiraj Soni or a person whose interest 
is adversely affected, the Commission will issue an Order designating 
the time and place of any hearings. If a hearing is held, the issue to 
be considered at such hearing shall be whether this Order should be 
    Pursuant to 10 CFR 2.202(c)(2)(i), Dhiraj Soni, or any other person 
adversely affected by this Order, may, in addition to demanding a 
hearing, at the time the answer is filed or sooner, move the presiding 
officer to set aside the immediate effectiveness of the Order on the 
ground that the Order, including the need for immediate effectiveness, 
is not based on adequate evidence but on mere suspicion, unfounded 
allegations, or error. The motion must state with particularity the 
reasons why the order is not based on adequate evidence and must be 
accompanied by affidavits or other evidence relied on.
    In the absence of any request for hearing, or written approval of 
an extension of time in which to request a hearing, the provisions 
specified in Section IV above shall be final 20 days from the date of 
this Order without further order or proceedings. If an extension of 
time for requesting a hearing has been approved, the provisions 
specified in Section IV shall be final when the extension expires if a 
hearing request has not been received. An answer or a request for 
hearing shall not stay the immediate effectiveness of this order.

    Dated this 10th day of February 2009.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Cynthia A. Carpenter,
Director, Office of Enforcement.
[FR Doc. E9-3627 Filed 2-19-09; 8:45 am]