United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment



NRC Seal NRC NEWS

U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION III

801 Warrenville Road, Lisle IL 60532

CONTACT:    Jan Strasma (630) 829-9663/e-mail: rjs2@nrc.gov
Angela Dauginas (630) 829-9662/e-mail: opa3@nrc.gov

NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT: RIII-97-60

June 19, 1997

NRC STAFF PROPOSES $50,000 FINE AGAINST COMMONWEALTH EDISON CO.

FOR VIOLATIONS OF NRC REQUIREMENTS AT ZION STATION

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has proposed a $50,000 fine against Commonwealth Edison Company for violations associated with the Zion Nuclear Power Station's transportation program for radioactive materials. The facility is at Zion, Illinois.

An NRC inspection at the plant in December and January found four violations in the utility's radiation protection and transportation programs.

NRC inspectors noted that two of the seven workers involved in the shipping of radioactive materials were not adequately trained in the Department of Transportation (DOT) and NRC requirements and other applicable plant procedures. While the individuals did attend training, it didn't cover all of the necessary procedures nor did they pass the course's final examination.

Additionally, NRC inspectors discovered that some April 1996 DOT regulatory revisions were not incorporated into the station's shipping procedures, thereby rendering portions of the procedures inadequate.

The utility was also cited for shipping radioactively contaminated equipment in December of last year to the utility's Byron Nuclear Power Station with radiation dose rates that slightly exceeded the federal radiation limits for that type of shipment.

Further, NRC inspectors found instances in which radiation protection procedures were not being implemented, including the required yearly sampling of water treatment resin samples. In January, plant staff also removed a potentially contaminated rod from a radiologically controlled area without surveying it first for contamination.

In a letter to the utility, NRC's Regional Administrator, A. Bill Beach said:

"While individually each of these issues would not constitute a matter of high safety significance, collectively, these issues are significant because they indicate inadquate implementation and a lack of oversight of the program. We are particularly concerned that problems were identified in virtually every phase of the program. "

Subsequent to NRC's January inspection, Commonwealth Edison suspended all shipments of radioactive material, provided additional training to staff, and revised the program's procedures.

The utility has until July 17 to pay the fine or to protest it. If the fine is protested and subsequently imposed by the NRC staff, the licensee may request a hearing.

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