Last updated: September 26. 2013 11:43PM - 3528 Views
By - smocarsky@civitasmedia.com

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HARRISBURG — Three contractors violated radiation protection requirements at the nuclear power plant near Berwick in 2011 and 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on Thursday.

An NRC investigation involved a contract roofer who, on Oct. 11, 2011, “willfully, and with careless disregard,” failed to contact the Health Physics Department at PPL’s Susquehanna Steam Electric Station after setting off a radiation detection monitor when exiting the plant’s Protected Area.

The violation was identified by an NRC resident inspector assigned to the Salem Township plant.

Although the violation was minor, given that the contractor cleared a subsequent monitor and the matter did not result in the spread of contamination, because it was willful, the significance was increased to Severity Level IV, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said.

The plant received a notice of violation.

A second NRC investigation identified a contract carpenter who, on March 30, 2012, deliberately moved a “High Radiation Area” posting while trying to make room for a scaffold. The violation was minor because the high radiation area was actually overhead and no actual entry into the area occurred.

A third NRC investigation involved contract employees who violated the plant’s radiologically controlled area egress requirements.

On April 6, 2011, a contract insulator who had received an alarm on a personal contamination monitor appropriately tried to re-monitor himself but deliberately leaned his head out of the monitor to avoid a second alarm.

Then, on April 7, 2011, a contract electrician used an inoperable portal monitor while exiting the RCA. Although the monitor was not marked as being out of service, the contractor noticed that no lights were on and that he could not hear it working. However, rather than investigate if it was operating properly, he used it anyway, the NRC said.

None of the latter three incidents resulted in the spread of contamination. But because the actions were willful or deliberate, their significance was increased to Severity Level IV.

And given that the violations were identified by PPL, did not involve a licensee official, were not repetitive and were placed in the plant’s Corrective Action Program, they are being treated as non-cited violations.

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