NRC to review safety violations at Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant

June 16, 1998|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,SUN STAFF

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will review Thursday apparent safety violations that occurred April 9 at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant.

No one was injured, although one person working in a high-radiation area received an "unplanned" exposure to radiation, a level the NRC says did not exceed safety limits.

According to the agency, at least six workers entered a reactor cavity that day without wearing radiation monitors, as required. Four of those workers then entered a high-radiation area.

Later that day, another worker entered the same area. Although that worker wore radiation monitors, the alarms on them had been set incorrectly. The worker was permitted to continue working in the area after three of the five monitors sounded alarms.

According to the NRC, plant officials failed to properly determine the allowable time for staying in a high-radiation area, provide radiation monitors to workers, properly set alarms on the monitors, record radiation monitor data, instruct the worker to leave the high-radiation area when alarms sounded, and properly monitor radiation dose and dose rate.

A public meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday at the NRC Region I office in King of Prussia, Pa., to review the findings and hear a response from Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., which operates the plant. A decision on possible citations and fines is not expected for 30 to 60 days.

BGE spokesman Karl Neddenien acknowledged yesterday errors in supervision at the plant and said steps have been taken to prevent subsequent violations.

"We took this as a very serious breach of rules," he said.

Neddenien said the company has made numerous improvements, which include stepped up involvement of supervisors and radiation safety managers in educating employees, observing the work and debriefing workers after a job is finished.

Pub Date: 6/16/98

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