Nuke Contractor Fined after Explosion

Friday, May 20, 2016 @ 04:05 PM gHale


A contractor is facing a $60,000 fine after an electrical explosion at an Idaho nuclear plant last year, federal officials said.

Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) will pay $60,000 and complete a number of safety assessments following the April 23, 2015 incident.

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Three Battelle workers were performing regular maintenance on a circuit breaker at the Idaho National Laboratory when they triggered an arc flash, according to Department of Energy (DoE) documents. It knocked the workers to the ground, but they were uninjured, the documents said.

In a letter addressed to lab Director Mark Peters, the Department of Energy said the explosion was preventable.

The event “revealed deficiencies in BEA’s hazard identification and assessment procedure, electrical safety program, protective equipment selection process, hazard prevention and abatement procedure, and safety training program,” the letter said.

Power workers have made changes to improve safety, said Ed Anderson, the Idaho National Laboratory’s chief operating officer for facilities and site services. He said they have compared training at the lab to other commercial utility workers and electric employees at other national labs.

The three workers involved in the accident, who officials did not identify, still work at the Idaho National Laboratory, Anderson said.