Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Public Affairs -- Region I
475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia PA 19401
Telephone: 610/337-5330
Diane Screnci (e-mail: | Neil A. Sheehan (e-mail:


December 18, 1997


Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff and GPU Nuclear Corp. officials will meet on Monday, December 22, to discuss apparent violations of agency requirements at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant involving personnel errors and equipment maintenance. The facility, which is owned and operated by GPU, is located in Middletown, Pa. The predecisional enforcement conference is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in the Public Meeting Room at the NRC Region 1 office in King of Prussia, Pa. It will be open to the public for observation.

Specifically, the issues to be discussed include:

A licensed senior reactor operator directing that a reactor coolant system fill flowpath be used to increase the fill rate, even though this was not allowed by the governing procedure. The move resulted in an uncontrolled spill of water from the control rod drive mechanism vents.

Due to a wiring error and a failure to conduct a post-maintenance test, the pressurizer power-operated relief valve was left inoperable from the time of a refueling and maintenance outage that ended in October 1995 until the most recent such outage, which began this September.

During steam generator tube inspections, contract personnel left a high-radiation area entrance unlocked.

Following work in the plant's fuel transfer canal, which is used to move fuel between the spent fuel pool and the reactor, a worker was contaminated by a radioactive particle. This apparently was caused by a failure to conduct detailed radiation surveys and to take actions to control the spread of radioactive particles.

The decision to hold a predecisional enforcement conference does not mean that the NRC has determined a violation has occurred or that enforcement action will be taken. Rather, the purpose is to discuss apparent violations, their causes and safety significance; to provide the licensee with an opportunity to point out any errors that may have been made in the NRC inspection report; and to enable the licensee to outline its proposed corrective action.

No decision on the apparent violations will be made at this conference. That decision will be made by NRC officials at a later time.