United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment


NRC Seal NRC NEWS

U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION I

475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Pa. 19406

CONTACT: Diane Screnci (610)337-5330/ e-mail: dps@nrc.gov
Neil A. Sheehan (610)337-5331/e-mail: nas@nrc.gov

I-97-19

March 5, 1997

NRC SENDS LETTER TO NORTHEAST UTILITIES CONFIRMING ACTIONS

DESIGNED TO IMPROVE HADDAM NECK PLANT'S RADIOLOGICAL CONTROLS

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a letter confirming that Northeast Utilities has agreed it will take several steps aimed at improving the radiological controls program at its Haddam Neck nuclear power plant.

The commitments, documented in a confirmatory action letter sent Tuesday, March 4, and agreed to by the company, were prompted by several recent problems indicating continuing weakness in the management and control of radiological work at the permanently shutdown Haddam, Conn., facility.

The most recent incident occurred on February 26, when an equipment vendor in New York State reported radioactive contamination had been detected on material released on February 19 from Haddam Neck. A survey team from Haddam Neck was dispatched to the vendor's facility and confirmed that minor levels of fixed and loose contamination, exceeding the plant's criteria for the release of radioactive material, were present on the equipment. An NRC inspector was also sent to the vendor's site to confirm the facility was not contaminated.

Previous problems at the plant cited in the NRC's letter include an incident last November in which a plant maintenance supervisor and a manager for a refueling contractor received an unplanned radioactive exposure while performing activities in the fuel transfer canal. The letter also cites long-standing discrepancies in the calibration of several radiation monitors used to keep track of and control radiological effluent releases to the environment. The latter problem was discovered during an NRC inspection begun on Feb. 3.

The confirmatory action letter, signed by NRC Region I Administrator Hubert J. Miller, specifies that Haddam Neck will:

Identify in writing, by Friday (March 7), specific compensatory measures that will be put in place to assure sufficient management, control and oversight of ongoing or planned activities that require radiological controls.

By March 31, engage the services of an independent assessor to review the quality and performance of the plant's radiological control programs and their implementation.

By May 30, based on input from the independent assessment, 1.) identify problems, determine root causes and develop broad-based and specific corrective actions; 2.) identify performance measures that may be used to determine the effectiveness of radiological control programs; and 3.) submit a plan and schedule to the regional administrator for the implementation of improvements in the programs.

The letter also provides that, before the company eliminates any interim compensatory measures, plant officials must meet with the regional administrator to describe program implementation and performance improvements achieved or planned.

The issuance of the confirmatory action letter does not preclude issuance of an order formalizing the commitments or requiring other actions. In addition, it does not preclude the NRC from taking enforcement action for violations of NRC requirements that have prompted the issuance of the letter. Failure to take the actions addressed in the letter may result in enforcement action.

#


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012