BGE fined $55,000 for violations at Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant Safety procedures failed to protect employees

September 04, 1998|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,SUN STAFF

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposed yesterday a $55,000 civil fine against Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. for safety violations last spring at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby.

The violations stem from two incidents April 9 in which procedures for protecting employees from radiation exposure failed. No one was injured, and BGE and federal officials say corrective measures have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence.

However, the action follows separate penalties imposed against the company last year as a result of a series of 1997 safety violations.

The most recent violations are of "significant concern" when considered with the problems in 1997, NRC wrote in a letter to BGE, notifying the company of the new penalty.

A BGE official said the company will not appeal the penalty.

"We plan to pay the whole fine," said Karl Neddenien, BGE spokesman. "We have spent a great deal of time and effort and resources correcting the conditions that allowed this violation to occur."

Those changes, which number in the dozens, include more involvement by managers and workers in radiation safety activities, and making radiation safety procedures easier to understand and use, he said.

Since the two April 9 incidents, BGE has improved radiological controls at the plant, according to the company and federal officials.

The first incident that day involved at least six workers who entered a reactor cavity without wearing required radiation monitors, according to the NRC. Some of them continued into a high-radiation area.

Later, another worker entered the same area wearing a radiation monitor with an incorrectly set alarm. Although alarms sounded on three of five monitors, the worker was permitted to continue working in the area.

The employee in the second incident received an "unplanned" radiation exposure that did not exceed safety limits, according to the NRC.

In April last year, Calvert Cliffs failed to use proper radiological controls during diving operations in a spent fuel pool, an error regulators described as "serious."

BGE was fined $176,000 for the violations.

Pub Date: 9/04/98

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