Tuesday, September 27, 2022

NRC fines former nuclear plant owner for second security lapse

LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ ( Associated Press) — The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has fined the owners of a former New Jersey nuclear power plant for safety violations for the second time in as many months.

The agency said Wednesday it fined Florida-based Holtec Decommissioning International Jupiter $50,000 for a safety violation at the former Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in the Forked River section of Lacey Township.

The plant was one of the oldest in the US when it closed in 2018.

The fine included an employee of the company working as an armorer at the plant.

In an investigation concluded in March 2021, the NRC determined Armor “deliberately failed to properly conduct the required annual material-condition inspections of the response unit rifles, and falsified relevant records.”

The plant has several strong bunkers from where armed security personnel can fight the attackers.

The NRC said the violation was the work of “now a former security superintendent”.

The fines are separate from the $150,000 fine NRC imposed on Holtec in December for separate security-related violations, which neither NRC nor the company will elaborate on, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

Asked for comment Wednesday by the Associated Press, Holtec issued the same statement he issued in December for the previous fine.

“Protecting the safety and security of the public is Holtec International’s number one priority at all of our facilities,” both statements said. “We have taken steps to address concerns and overall safety performance at Oyster Creek and share those learnings with our fleet to prevent recurrences.

“NRC has determined that the overall safety program at the plant remains in effect,” it read. “We take these issues very seriously and review and act on findings of violations of the NRC.”

Company spokesman Joe Delmar said Holtec could not comment further on its statement.

Corrective actions approved by Holtec include making the Director of Corporate Security an independent position; the use of outside experts to conduct an independent assessment of safety at Oyster Creek and other Halltec-owned decommissioning nuclear power plants; and implementation of training and communication related to the issue, the NRC said.

Jeff Teitel, the retired president of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, blamed the agency for failing to impose more severe fines.

“NRC is really ‘no real result’,” he said. “NRC is supposed to be a cop on the beat, and when you catch someone violating it can have disastrous consequences and you let them go with a slap on the wrist, it sends the message that you are breaking the rules. can continue to break. With impunity.”


Follow Wayne Perry on Twitter https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC,


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