Global Nuclear Fined for Uranium in Air Filters

Thursday, November 17, 2011 @ 04:11 PM gHale

Enough uranium accumulated in air filters at a North Carolina nuclear fuel plant earlier this year there was a criticality risk, said Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials.

While no one suffered injuries, regulators fined the company $17,500 penalty for the incident Tuesday, a fine Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas has said it will accept.

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The consortium formed by General Electric, Hitachi and Toshiba reported March 2 it discovered an excessive amount of uranium oxide in filter housing.

“There was no actual criticality, though the quantity of material could have posed a criticality threat if other safety features had not been in place,” the NRC said. Had criticality occurred, the NRC noted, it would not have threatened public health but would create a serious risk for workers.

GNF said the company has acted to correct the problem.

“GNF presented its progress of its corrective actions to the NRC at a public meeting at the end of September and has cooperated fully with the agency. GNF will not contest the civil penalty.”