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NRC fines VA $39K over radiation violations in prostate cancer programs

Philadelphia Inquirer, August 24, 2010

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday levied a $39,000 fine against the Department of Veterans Affairs for radiation safety violations at prostate cancer programs in 12 VA hospitals nationwide. The penalty followed a $227,500 fine in March against the veterans agency for failures in the prostate brachytherapy program at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, where dozens of veterans got incorrect doses of radiation over six years. Those mistakes prompted investigations at other VA hospitals of brachytherapy, which involves using radiation to kill tumor cells. The NRC said it was particularly concerned that even after the Philadelphia hospital's problems were discovered, the VA missed similar issues at other hospitals. Still, the nuclear agency declined to take the most severe action against the VA: removing the VA oversight of radiation safety at all its hospitals.