WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today notified Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC (BEA) that it will fine the company $123,750 for violations of the Department's nuclear safety requirements. BEA is the DOE Idaho Operations Office prime contractor for the operation of the Neutron Radiography (NRAD) reactor. The Neutron Radiography Reactor is used to non-destructively examine irradiated materials; the imaging technique utilizes thermal neutrons and is used for quality control purposes in industries which require precision machining.
The Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV) issued today cited a series of violations that occurred on August 20, 2006 during the restart and subsequent automatic unplanned shutdown of the NRAD reactor. Violations include failures to adhere to technical safety requirements and reactor operating instructions, inadequacies in the reactor operating instructions, failure to correct known problems with a reactor component, and failure to adequately conduct management assessments in reactor operations.
The proposed civil penalty of $123,750 is based on the significance of the violations yet reflects substantial mitigation granted by DOE for BEA's identification of the issues and corrective actions they have taken to prevent recurrence of the identified deficiencies. While the deficiencies in NRAD reactor operations did not compromise reactor safety systems, they did represent a significant departure from what the Department expects in the operation of its reactors. BEA will have 30 days to respond with any objections to the notice.
The Price-Anderson Amendments Act of 1988 authorizes the Energy Department to undertake regulatory actions against contractors for violations of its nuclear safety requirements. The enforcement program encourages departmental contractors to identify and correct nuclear safety deficiencies at an early stage, before they contribute to or result in more serious events.
Additional details on this and other enforcement actions are available at the Office of Enforcement.
Jonathan Shradar, (202) 586-4940