Nuke Plant Security Falsifies Records

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 10:07 AM gHale


Two security officials stationed at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station falsified security post inspection documents, federal investigators found.

In response, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a Severity Level IV violation to Exelon Nuclear regarding the security post checks and falsified records, said Neil Sheehan, a commission spokesman.

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Severity Level IV violations are infractions of “very” low safety significance, he said.

As part of an internal investigation, plant officials took disciplinary actions against both security officials, according to an NRC inspection report.

“They were removed from duty immediately,” said Lacey Dean, a spokeswoman for the plant. “They no longer work at Peach Bottom. We don’t tolerate shortcuts here at Peach Bottom. This was just an isolated incident. We have very strict security standards here.”

On Jan. 16 and 25, 2011, a plant security lead supervisor drove to a security post, called the officer assigned to the post and then, with the officer’s consent, forged the officer’s signature on a post inspection form, according to the report.

In turn, on both dates, the officer forged the supervisor’s signature on the post’s activity log, indicating the supervisor had conducted a physical inspection rather than a checkup via a phone call.

Exelon regulations require lead supervisors to periodically visit each post to ensure an officer is attentive and that the stations are free from distractions, according to the inspection report.

During each visit, the supervisor observes an officer for signs of fatigue and inattentiveness.

Supervisors must fill out a form documenting the completion of each inspection and, in turn, the officer must sign the form acknowledging the inspection.

Exelon discovered the violation and notified the NRC, Dean said.

The lead supervisor and the officer created inaccurate records the post inspection forms when both agreed that the lead supervisor would indicate that he had performed all of the actions required for a post inspection when he, in fact, had not, and would forge the signature of the officer that he was supposed to be inspecting, according to report.

The commission deemed the violation to be of “very” low safety significance since other plant security supervisors had physically inspected the post on those same days before and after the lead supervisor in question failed to do so, according to the report.

In addition, the officer did pick up the telephone when called by the lead supervisor.

In response, Exelon has trained its security department on the signing of logs.

“As part of our internal investigation, we interviewed more than 100 employees,” Dean said. “Those interviews ensured that they knew the plant’s standards and expectations.”

The NRC will follow up in future inspections to ensure the issues have been addressed, Sheehan said.



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