United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Escalated Enforcement Actions Issued to Fuel Cycle Facilites - G

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NRC Action Number(s) and
Facility Name
Action Type
(Severity) &
Civil Penalty
(if any)
Date
Issued
Description
EA-10-096
GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas
NOV
(SL III)
12/16/2010 On December 16, 2010, the NRC issued a Notice of Violation to GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas for two Severity Level III violations involving the failure to implement Special Nuclear License SNM-960, Condition S-9 and 10 CFR 20.1501. Specifically, on February 16, 2010, one worker identified contamination on his wrist at 240-260 corrected counts per minute, but failed to log the personnel contamination as required by licensee procedure; and on February 16, 2010, the licensee did not make or cause to be made surveys that were reasonable under the circumstances to evaluate the concentrations or quantities of radioactive material.
EA-12-013
Global Nuclear Fuel - Americas, LLC
NOV
(SL III)
04/23/2012 On April 23, 2012, a Notice of Violation was issued to Global Nuclear Fuels – Americas, LLC for a Severity Level III violation involving a significant delay in the Criticality Warning System (CWS) activation process which resulted in the failure of the CWS to be able to initiate an immediate evacuation of the facility, had an evacuation been required while special nuclear material operations were being conducted, as required by Safety Condition S-1 of its license. Specifically, between May 3 and July 17, 2011, the CWS exhibited a three minute delay before the alarm horns would sound. No actual consequences resulted from this violation because there were no incidents requiring an evacuation during this time period.
EA-11-095
Global Nuclear Fuel - Americas, LLC
NOVCP
(SL III)

$17,500

11/14/2011 On November 14, 2011, the NRC issued a Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the amount of $17,500 to Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas, LLC for a Severity Level (SL) III problem involving the failure to maintain the double contingency principle as it was compromised during the operation of the sinter test grinder and the risk of a high consequence event (criticality accident) increased. The NRC determined that five violations of NRC requirements directly related to the root causes that allowed the event occurred. Specifically, (1) on March 1, 2011, the licensee failed to ensure that a process design incorporated sufficient margins of safety to require at least two unlikely, independent, and concurrent changes in process conditions before a criticality accident was possible; (2) on March 1, 2011, the licensee failed to apply sufficient controls to the extent needed to reduce the likelihood of occurrence of a criticality, high consequence event, in the sinter test grinder HEPA filter enclosure so that, upon implementation of such controls, the event was highly unlikely; (3) on February 4, 2009, the licensee failed to verify as part of the change process that the controls selected and installed for the sinter test grinder HEPA enclosure would limit the UO2 holdup to less than 25 kgs by controlling a differential pressure across the ventilation housing to 4-inches of water or less; (4) on February 18, 2009, the licensee failed to conduct a criticality safety analysis (CSA) on the Sinter Test Grinder; and (5) on August 1, 2010, and January 23, 2011, the licensee failed to notify HVAC and the area manager and request a clean out of the effected Sinter Test Grinder Primary HEPA Filter housing transition when the survey results for the transition exceeded the action limit of 0.5 mr/hr above background.
EA-09-268
Global Nuclear Fuel - Americas, LLC
NOV
(SL III)
06/09/2010 On June 9, 2010, a Notice of Violation and Exercise of Enforcement Discretion (Notice) was issued to Global Nuclear Fuels – Americas, LLC (GNF-A). This action was based on a Severity Level III problem involving three violations of regulatory requirements. Specifically, the licensee failed to (1) identify credible accident scenarios as required by the license; (2) characterize criticality accident scenarios in the integrated safety analysis (ISA) as high consequence events as required by the license; and (3) designate engineered or administrative controls as items relied on for safety (IROFS) when necessary to comply with the performance requirements of 10 CFR 70.61(b) – (d), as required by 10 CFR 70.61(e). Because, in part, the NRC staff and the licensee did not share a common understanding of GNF-A's application of its ISA methodology to scenario evaluation and IROFS identification during the ISA summary review and related inspection activities, the NRC concluded that enforcement discretion to forego proposing a civil penalty was appropriate in this case. No actual consequences resulted from these violations because there were no incidents and no existing safety controls were identified as degraded.
EA-08-187
Global Nuclear Fuel - Americas, LLC
NOVCP
(SL III)

$16,250
8/13/2008 On August 13, 2008, a Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the amount of $16,250 was issued for a Severity Level (SL) III violation for circumstances surrounding an incorrect emergency action level declaration. The incorrect emergency action level declaration stemmed from an event that occurred on January 29-30, 2008, also categorized as SL III (EA-08-123), involving introduction of moisture into the Dry Conversion Process Line-2 cooling hopper containing uranium dioxide powder. At the time of this event, GNF-A instruments indicated that the cooling hopper contained uranium dioxide above the safe critical mass limit indicating a potential for criticality existed from an unsafe mass, while the system was undergoing maintenance testing. It was later determined that the cooling hopper contained a safe mass of uranium dioxide and the moisture in the powder was within normal limits. GNF-A initially declared the event as an "Off-Normal Condition" and later upgraded the event to an "Alert", without obtaining any new information. NRC concluded that GNF-A failed to follow its own procedure. GNF-A implemented immediate and long-term corrective actions to prevent this type of event from repeating. In this case, no actual consequences resulted because an inadvertent criticality accident did not occur.
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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, December 01, 2014