CT Nuke, Feds Settle over Violations

Monday, August 31, 2015 @ 06:08 PM gHale

Dominion Resources reached a settlement over violations at Connecticut’s Millstone Unit 2 nuclear reactor found in an inspection report issued in April.

As part of the settlement, the company is “implementing a broad range of corrective actions … to prevent recurrences,” said officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

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The actions will also answer questions raised by the agency about the extent of changes to reactor safety systems.

The most serious of the violations included one considered for “escalated enforcement” by the NRC.

The NRC characterized it as a “willful violation” that involved changes made without a licensing approval to the plant’s Updates Final Safety Analysis Report that removed information about the use of a specific type of safety pump in response to a hypothetical accident.

The pump is part of the plant’s emergency cooling system.

Another violation the NRC termed “non-willful,” but also considered for escalated enforcement, was for failure to provide complete and accurate information to the NRC about the changes.

A third apparent violation pertained to Dominion’s failure to obtain a license amendment before making changes to the spent fuel pool heat-load analysis.

Ken Holt, spokesman for Millstone, said Dominion did not agree with the NRC about the “willful violation.”

“The NRC’s characterization of ‘willful’ is one on which we could not find consensus, and on which we agreed to disagree,” he said. “The agreement we reached should provide the necessary clarity to put the focus on avoiding the situation from happening in the future.”

The settlement Thursday came as a result of the the NRC’s Alternative Dispute Resolution process.

Scott Morris, director of the division of inspection and regional support at the NRC, said the alternative dispute process yielded “meaningful corrective actions that are designed to prevent these kinds of issues from occurring in the future, at Millstone and at other U.S. nuclear power plants.”

“The lessons learned will be shared at the site, throughout the Dominion nuclear plant fleet and throughout the industry,” he said.

Holt said the process enabled Dominion and the NRC to “discuss our technical differences and reach a mutual agreement.”

He said Dominion will fully comply with the required corrective actions, which include:
• Make changes to plant procedures regarding the operation and testing of charging pumps, and evaluate the use of the pumps.
• Communicate throughout the company about the importance of providing complete and accurate information to the NRC.
• Submit a license amendment request to the NRC addressing the use of charging pumps and seek approval of the spent fuel pool heat-load analysis.
• Complete an assessment of the program that allows plant owners to make changes at their facilities without prior NRC approval provided certain criteria end up met. The assessment would cover how the program ended up used and any corrective actions needed.
• Make a presentation at a nuclear industry forum to talk about the events that lead to the agreement.