Caught: Surfing Net while Controlling Nuke

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 @ 03:01 PM gHale


Surfing the Net can be a fun leisure time activity, but not when you are controlling a nuclear reactor. As far as that goes, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) agrees.

That is why they want to fine Entergy after an investigation found reactor operators were surfing the Net in the control room at its River Bend nuclear plant just north of Baton Rogue, LA.

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NRC proposed a $140,000 civil penalty related to a period in 2010 when nine operators violated plant procedures requiring them to “remain attentive and focused on their work.”

Between January and April, they frequently accessed the Internet from the control room while on duty, visiting sports, news, fishing and retirement account sites.

Six operators will receive severity level IV violations from the agency. Three others and the plant itself will get level III violations. The most severe violations are Level I violations and the least severe violations are Level IV violations, according to the NRC.

“This action reflects the significance of the violation due to the number of people involved and the willful nature of their actions,” said Region IV administrator Elmo E. Collins. “While the licensee has since taken steps to correct the problem and ensure it doesn’t happen again, they did not promptly address the larger safety culture issue.”

River Bend uses a single 989 megawatt General Electric type 6 boiling water reactor, the NRC said.



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