2020 Reactor Actions

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Armed Forces Radiobiological Research Institute (EA-20-056)

On November 19, 2020, the NRC issued a Confirmatory Order (CO) to Armed Forces Radiobiological Research Institute (AFRRI) memorializing commitments reached during an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mediation session held on September 18, 2020.  The commitments were made as part of the settlement agreement between AFRRI and the NRC based on evidence gathered during an investigation in which the NRC had identified an apparent violation of 10 CFR 50.7, “Employee protection,” at the AFRRI Bethesda, MD facility.  The apparent violation involved the discrimination (2-day suspension) against an AFRRI employee for engaging in protected activities.  As a result of the CO, AFRRI committed to a number of corrective actions, including enhancements to its safety culture program, establishment of a Safety Conscious Work Environment program, as well as, independent third-party support.  In consideration of the corrective actions and commitments outlined in the CO, the NRC will not cite the apparent violation and will not issue an associated civil penalty.  

Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (EA-20-054)

On November 17, 2020, the NRC issued a Confirmatory Order (CO) to Arizona Public Service Company (APS) memorializing commitments reached during an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mediation session held on September 16, 2020.  The ADR session was associated with apparent violations that involved APS Company’s failure to (1) perform a written evaluation for a change to the NAC MAGNASTOR® dry cask storage system and obtain a license amendment for a change in methodology for performing tip-over calculations; and (2) adequately analyze the consequences of a hypothetical MANGASTOR CC5 spent fuel cask tip-over accident on the independent spent fuel storage installation pad.  As a result of the confirmatory order, the NRC will not cite the apparent violations. As a result of the CO, the NRC will not cite the apparent violations.

Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit-1 (EA 19-092)

On November 6, 2020, the NRC issued a Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (CP) in the amount of $903,471 to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for multiple violations of NRC requirements. The first violation, a Severity Level (SL) III violation of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion V, involved the failure to follow procedures. Specifically, main control room (MCR) staff failed to ensure shift operations were conducted in a safe and conservative manner; did not stop when unsure and proceed in a deliberate and controlled manner; did not validate available information; allowed production to override safety; and proceeded in the face of uncertainty. The second violation was an SL II violation of 10 CFR 50.9(a) with a proposed CP of $303,471. Specifically, a TVA employee failed to provide complete and accurate information during an interview with the NRC Office of Investigations regarding the startup on November 11, 2015. The third violation was an SL III violation of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion V with a proposed CP of $300,000. Specifically, a TVA operations procedure supervisor and engineer/procedure writer changed a step in the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit-1 startup procedure by using an improper change process. This change altered the technical intent of the procedure and allowed the startup to continue without first achieving a specific reactor temperature. Finally, an SL III Problem was issued to TVA for violations of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVII and 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion V, with a proposed CP of $300,000. Specifically, during a November 11, 2015 startup, with only excess letdown available for pressurizer level control, pressurizer level rose uncontrollably until MCR operators placed another system in service to abate the pressurizer water level rise. However, the operators failed to follow approved plant procedures and failed to make control room log entries to accurately depict the event and associated equipment manipulations.

Entergy Operations, Inc. (EA-20-018)

On September 23, 2020, the NRC issued a Notice of Violation to Entergy Operations, Inc. (Licensee), Arkansas Nuclear One, for a Severity Level III violation. The violation involved the deliberate failure of several contractor employee supervisors to notify the licensee's security organization upon discovering prohibited items in the protected area (PA). Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 73.55(a)(3), states, in part, that the licensee is responsible for maintaining the onsite physical protection program in accordance with Commission regulations through the implementation of written security implementing procedures. Licensees' procedures require, in part, that all plant personnel report to security prohibited items found in their area of work or suspected on the person of any individual in the protected area. Specifically, on or about October 10, 2018, the licensee failed to maintain the onsite physical protection program in accordance with Commission's regulations through the implementation of written security implementing procedures when four contractor employee supervisors deliberately chose not to inform security of the discovery of prohibited items (i.e., unauthorized ammunition) in the PA.

Tennessee Valley Authority (EA-20-006 and EA-20-007)

On August 24, 2020, the NRC issued a Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the amount of $606,942 to the Tennessee Valley Authority for a Severity Level I problem, with two violations, and a Severity Level II problem, with two violations, involving failure to implement 10 CFR 50.7, "Employee Protection."

Specifically, on March 9, 2018, the Tennessee Valley Authority discriminated against a former Sequoyah employee for engaging in protected activity. The former Sequoyah employee engaged in protected activity by raising concerns regarding a chilled work environment, filing complaints with the Employee Concerns Program, and raising concerns regarding the response to two non-cited violations. After becoming aware of this protected activity, the former Director of Corporate Nuclear Licensing filed a formal complaint against the former employee. The filing of a formal complaint triggered an investigation by the Tennessee Valley Authority's Office of the General Counsel. This action was based, at least in part, on the former employee engaging in protected activity. On May 25, 2018, following the investigation, the former employee was placed on paid administrative leave until the former employee resigned in August 2018. This action was based, at least in part, on the former employee engaging in protected activity.

In addition, on March 9, 2018, the Tennessee Valley Authority discriminated against a former corporate employee for engaging in protected activity. The former corporate employee engaged in protected activity by raising concerns of a chilled work environment. After becoming aware of the protected activity, the former Director of Corporate Nuclear Licensing filed a formal complaint against the former employee. The filing of a formal complaint triggered an investigation by the Tennessee Valley Authority's Office of the General Counsel. This action was based, at least in part, on the former employee engaging in a protected activity. On January 14, 2019, following the investigation, the former Vice President of Regulatory Affairs played a significant role in the decision-making process to place the former employee on paid administrative leave and terminate the former employee. These actions were based, at least in part, on the former employee engaging in protected activity.

Virginia Electric and Power Company (EA-20-057)

On July 30, 2020, the NRC issued a Notice of Violation to Virginia Electric and Power Company (Licensee), associated with a White Significance Determination Process finding. The white finding, an issue of low to moderate safety significance, involved the failure of the Surry Power Station Unit 2 turbine-driven auxiliary feedwater (TDAFW) pump discharge check valve during surveillance testing. Specifically, from November 23, 2005, to November 20, 2019, the licensee did not analyze common failure or maintenance patterns to determine their significance and to identify potential failure mechanisms of the valve when establishing its check valve condition monitoring program in accordance with the 2004 ASME Code for Operation and Maintenance of Nuclear Power Plants, Mandatory Appendix II, as required by 10 CFR Part 50.55a(f)(4). As a result, all three Unit 2 auxiliary feedwater pumps were declared inoperable, and the safety function was considered lost until the TDAFW line was isolated.

Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (EA-19-112)

On March 31, 2020, the NRC issued a Notice of Violation to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (SNC) for a violation of a Technical Specification surveillance requirement at Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, associated with a White significance determination process finding. Specifically, Southern failed to adequately perform periodic channel calibrations for post-accident monitoring equipment since initial startup of Vogtle Units 1 and 2.

Reed College (EA-19-071)

On March 16, 2020, the NRC issued a Confirmatory Order (CO) to Reed College, Reed Research Reactor (Reed or licensee) to formalize commitments made as a result of an alternative dispute resolution mediation session held on January 23, 2020. The commitments were made as part of a settlement agreement between Reed and the NRC based on evidence gathered during an investigation in which the NRC had identified multiple apparent violations. The violations involved the licensee’s failure to provide information to the Commission that is complete and accurate in all material respects, in accordance with 10 CFR Section 50.9(a), "Completeness and accuracy of information," and failure to follow Renewed Operating License R-112, License Condition 2.C.(3). In response to the apparent violations, the licensee agreed to complete additional corrective actions and enhancements, as fully discussed in the CO. In consideration of the corrective actions and commitments outlined in the CO, the NRC agreed not to pursue any further enforcement action (including issuance of a civil penalty) relating to the apparent violation.

H.B. Robinson Steam Electric Plant (EA-19-025)

On March 11, 2020, the NRC issued a Confirmatory Order (CO) to Duke Energy Progress, LLC (Duke Energy) memorializing commitments reached during an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mediation session held on December 16, 2019. The ADR session was associated with an apparent violation due to the willful failure of non-licensed operators to conduct procedurally required fire watches and operator rounds. As a result of the CO, the NRC will not cite the apparent violations and will not issue an associated civil penalty.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, April 22, 2021