To purchase tickets for the TMI Survivors' Dinner, please call TMI Alert at 717-233-7897.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: II-16-032 August 1, 2016


NRC Sends Augmented Inspection Team to Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel Plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today is sending an Augmented Inspection Team to the Westinghouse nuclear fuel fabrication plant in Columbia, S.C., to assess the unexpected accumulation of an excessive amount of uranium-bearing material in a plant component.

An Augmented Inspection Team, or an AIT, is formed to review the circumstances surrounding significant events at NRC-licensed facilities. The six-member NRC inspection team includes fuel facility inspectors and a manager from the agency’s Region II office in Atlanta as well as specialists from NRC Headquarters in Rockville, Md.

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Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120


Neil Shader, DEP

DEP Lists Susquehanna River as Impaired for Multiple Uses, Develops New Analytic Methods for Semiannual Impaired Waterways Report

Harrisburg, PA - A new report from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) lists four miles of the Susquehanna River as impaired for recreation. The recreation impairment listing joins an impairment for fish consumption for the Susquehanna River, though the listings are not related to smallmouth bass populations in the river. The report also sets forth a groundbreaking protocol to scientifically assess a large river system.

“DEP has dramatically increased the monitoring efforts of the Susquehanna River, and is developing analytic protocols that set the bar for scientific study of large river systems,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “DEP carefully considered the scientific data in preparing this report, and the additional impaired listings in 2014 and 2016 of the Susquehanna River to the impaired waterways list is the recognition of that increased monitoring.”

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No. I-16-025 July 29, 2016
Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330 Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331


NRC Proposes $7,000 Fine Against New Jersey Company for Violations at San Francisco Shipyard

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has cited Tetra Tech EC, Inc., for an apparent violation of NRC requirements that occurred at the U.S. Navy’s Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard site in California.
The agency has proposed a $7,000 fine.

Hunter’s Point is being remediated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, with Environmental Protection Agency oversight. Tetra Tech was contracted by the Department of the Navy to assist with the regulatory free-release and closure of the radiologically-impacted buildings and sites at the shipyard, under the Navy’s Base Realignment and Closure mandate. The NRC has jurisdiction over the northeast portion of the shipyard. NRC oversight involves ensuring that contractors with NRC service provider licenses, such as Tetra Tech, are conducting remediation activities safely. NRC is not overseeing the decommissioning of the site.

The Navy identified discrepancies in the soil sample survey data and Tetra Tech conducted an investigation to identify the inaccurate records. After the company reported the discrepancies to the NRC, an NRC investigation was conducted, which determined that two Tetra Tech workers, who worked within NRC jurisdiction, deliberately falsified soil samples on a number of occasions in late 2011 through the summer of 2012. When tasked with obtaining soil samples to ascertain the amount of residual radioactivity in certain locations within Parcel C, the workers instead obtained soil samples from other areas that were suspected to be less contaminated and then created documents indicating the work had been done as expected. The company has since taken actions to prevent recurrence.

Tetra Tech has been issued a notice of violation for failing to make surveys within Parcel C that were reasonable to evaluate concentrations of residual radioactivity in the soil.

“Although the NRC investigation did not find information to suggest buildings, land or materials were inappropriately released for unrestricted use, the failure to perform reasonable surveys is a significant concern because that potential did exist,” said Region I Administrator Dan Dorman.

Tetra Tech is not required to respond to the notice of violation because the company has already provided information on the reason for the violation and the actions taken to prevent recurrence. The company has 30 days to pay the proposed civil penalty or to request in writing that all or part of it be withdrawn.

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No. I-16-024 July 28, 2016
Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330 Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

NRC Proposes $7,000 Fine for Georgia Firm for Violations Involving Radiography Work‌

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing a $7,000 civil penalty for a Georgia-based company for failing to comply with agency requirements while performing industrial radiography work at a job site in Virginia.

On Oct. 20, 2015, a radiographer for Applied Technical Services (ATS) Inc., of Marietta, Ga., was using radiography equipment to check on a pipe weld at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Langley Research Center when the NRC conducted an unannounced safety inspection and identified several concerns. Issues found during that inspection also triggered an investigation by the NRC’s Office of Investigation.

Based on the results of both the inspection and investigation, the NRC has identified three violations of NRC regulations: 1) a failure to post conspicuous radiation or high radiation signs to establish a clear boundary in an area where industrial radiography was being performed; 2) a failure to conduct a radiological survey of the camera guide tube after taking a pipe weld image; and 3) a failure to comply with a condition of the company’s nuclear materials license from the State of Georgia that requires continuous direct visual surveillance of the radiography work to guard against unauthorized entries into the radiation area.

ATS is a consulting engineering firm that holds nuclear materials licenses from both the NRC and Georgia. Georgia, as an NRC Agreement State, issued the company a license allowing it to perform radiography work within its borders and in other Agreement States. When the firm is working at federal facilities, such as the NASA site, it falls under the jurisdiction of the NRC.

The NRC is also issuing a Severity Level III Notice of Violation to the radiographer for deliberately failing to post warnings in the area where the industrial radiography was being performed.

“Contrary to NRC regulations, radiography work was being performed in this case without the proper precautions in places. These steps are required for the protection of both the public and those performing the activities,” NRC Region I Administrator Dan Dorman said. “While no one was harmed by this breach of requirements, the lack of adherence to these important requirements is unacceptable.”

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No. I-16-023 July 27, 2016
Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330 Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

Missing Portable Nuclear Gauge Recovered in Connecticut
A Connecticut company has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that a portable nuclear gauge reported stolen early Tuesday has been recovered. The gauge, which was located by police Tuesday afternoon at a pawn shop in Bridgeport, Conn., was not damaged.

An inspector from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection traveled to the shop Tuesday to inspect the gauge. Once the inspector confirmed the device was undamaged, it was returned to its owner.

The NRC is following up on the event. This includes an NRC inspection being conducted today at the offices of HAKS Material Testing Group in Bridgeport.

On Tuesday morning, HAKS Material Testing Group reported to the NRC that the gauge was stolen from a technician’s vehicle while it was parked in Bridgeport. The vehicle’s trunk was broken into, chains securing the gauge in place were cut and it was removed.

The gauge is used for such industrial purposes as measuring the density of soil at construction sites. It contains small amounts of radioactive material that is shielded within the device when it is not in use.

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No. I-16-022 July 26, 2016
Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330 Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

Nuclear Gauge Reported Stolen in Connecticut; Recovery is Sought‌
A Connecticut company has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that a portable moisture-density gauge containing sealed sources of radioactive material has been stolen.

HAKS Material Testing Group, of Bridgeport, Conn., reported that the device was stolen early on Tuesday, July 26, from a technician’s vehicle while it was parked in Bridgeport. The vehicle’s trunk was broken into, chains securing the gauge in place were cut and it was removed.

The device contains small amounts of cesium-137 and americium-241. The gauge is used to make measurements by projecting the radiation from the two radioactive sources into the ground and then displaying the reflected radiation on a dial on its top.

The gauge, which is stored in a robust transportation case, consists of a shielding container with a plunger-type handle protruding from the top. The handle is used to extend and then retract the radioactive sources from the shielded position. When not in use, the handle is normally locked, with the sources in the retracted, safely shielded position. The rectangular base of the gauge is yellow.

As long as the sources are in the shielded position, the gauge would present no hazard to the public. However, any attempt to tamper with the radioactive sources in the device could subject the person to radiation exposure. Handling of the unshielded sources outside their container would carry a risk of potentially dangerous radiation exposure.

Anyone seeing the gauge should leave it alone and report its location to the NRC’s Operations Center at (301) 816-5100. The center is staffed 24 hours a day and accepts collect calls. An NRC inspector will be sent to the company’s offices to gather more information on the loss of the gauge.

Law-enforcement authorities are investigating the theft. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has been notified about the loss of the gauge.

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New GIS Application and Tutorial to Help Users Find Information

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today released an updated version of a GIS application that allows users to learn information and download reports about oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania. DEP also released a new video tutorial that explains how to use the PA Oil and Gas Well Mapping application and what information is available to retrieve. The video is available on DEP’s YouTube Channel.

“This updated Oil and Gas Well Mapping application puts information about both conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells at your fingertips,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “Making such data available and easy to use promotes transparency and allows the public to generate the information they want on demand.”

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
*Press Release Issued Friday*
No: IV-16-016 July 8, 2016
CONTACT: Victor Dricks, 817-200-1128

NRC Issues $7,000 Civil Penalty to Acuren USA
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a $7,000 civil penalty to Acuren USA for violations of NRC regulations related to its industrial radiographic operations at a facility in Kenai, Alaska. The company is licensed to use radioactive materials in devices for making images of pipe welds.

Inspectors walking around the outside of the facility during an unannounced inspection on April 10, 2014, observed high readings on their radiation survey meters in an area without boundaries or physical controls to prevent entry by the public during radiography operations.

An initial dose estimate performed by the inspectors indicated that had a member of the public been standing next to the building during the time the radiography operations were conducted on that day, they could have been exposed to radiation in excess of NRC annual limits (100 millirem). In addition, the inspectors were concerned that over the course of a year, members of the public employed in a nearby office had the potential to receive a dose in excess of NRC annual limits. The NRC determined that no members of the public had received radiation exposures as a result of the company’s failure to establish required controls. The company has taken numerous corrective actions designed to ensure safe operations at the Kenai facility.

NRC staff met with company officials May 12 to discuss results of the NRC inspection before determining that seven violations of NRC regulations had occurred, including two that were willful. The violations were identified in an NRC inspection report issued March 24.

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Lancaster, PA –  Members of the Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), along with legislators, local, state and federal environmental officials, today toured eight innovative projects in Lancaster to learn how the city has addressed environmental challenges such as stormwater management through the use of green infrastructure.

Green infrastructure uses natural materials such as soil and plants to help increase the amount of water that’s absorbed when it rains. It is particularly beneficial in cities or towns that often have more impervious surfaces and fewer natural areas.

“Managing stormwater is one of the biggest environmental challenges our cities and towns face today,” DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “Finding new and innovative ways to reduce water runoff will improve our local water quality as well as help us meet our goals for reducing pollution to the Chesapeake Bay.”

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Attached are pages from the Susquehanna Unit 2 technical specifications, two of the single-line electrical drawings, and Chapter 13 of the FSAR. I could not find drawing E-9 Sheet 71 which has the breakers within Motor Control Center 2B246. But drawing E-9 Sheet 20 is attached which shows the breakers for MCC 1B246. Assuming that Unit 1 is configured similar to Unit 2 in this regard, the components in that MCC should be identical or close. The event notification stated that the fault on MCC 2B246 disabled a drywell unit cooler, causing drywell pressure to increase. MCC 1B246 powers drywell unit coolers on Unit 1.

The attached pages address some of the questions posed:

1) Shift Technical Advisors are required to be on-shift to provide advise to the operators. I worked several years as an STA at Browns Ferry and the STAs at Grand Gulf reported to me when I was the Reactor Engineering Supervisor. The STAs worked 24/7, but they did not have to be in the control room at all times. Basically, STAs have to be summonable by the operators. That's typically defined as being available within 10 minutes of being called. The STAs don't have to be in the control room. But the STAs are not supposed to become "hands on." They are supposed to remain detached so as to be free to look around, gather dots, and connect them. If the STA was out in the plant trying to restore power or take steps to cope with the loss of power, the STA erred by straying from assigned responsibilities.

2) The tech specs say that the drywell pressure causes an automatic trip when pressure rises to 1.88 psig or less. The event report says that operators manually tripped the reactor as pressure neared 1.3 psig on the rise. I suspect that this is not the signal that any one bypassed because it's wicked hard to bypass this one.

3) The event report states that operators turned HPCI off after it had automatically initiated. The TMI operators turned off an automatically stated makeup system, which contributed much to that meltdown. NRC may be irked with the haste at which HPCI was turned off, but turning if off would be standard BWR procedure for such a situation.

4) Bad deed to avoid increased NRC oversight doesn't make sense. The unplanned scrams performance indicator shows some margin for another scram or two:

The NRC recently sent a Chilled Work Environment letter to TVA due to about half the operators feeling that management would retaliate against them for raising safety concerns. Seems that in November 2015, TVA sanctioned several operators. TVA contends that the sanctions were for misdeeds occurring about five weeks earlier. The operators contend the sanctions were in response to concerns the operators raised a day or two before the sanctions were levied. Since the NRC issued its CWE letter in March 2016 after asking around, it seems that NRC believed the operators' story instead of managements.


I relay this history because it may apply to the morale of the work force at Susquehanna. If the work force believes that the 10 terminations were for the wrong reason, it won't matter if they were for the right reason.


Besides 10 seems like way too many managers to mess up a single event. With 10 people you can play 5 on 5 basketball. It typically only takes 1 to 3 managers to mess up an event. They may have been wanting to trim 10 positions and found 7-9 draftees to complement the 1-3 volunteers.


Dave Lochbaum
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