NRC Issues Notice of Violation to Minnesota Company

On February 14, 2017, NRC announced that the agency has issued an Order barring a radiographer from participating in NRC-licensed activities for one year.  The enforcement action against Curtis Thompson is based on his deliberate actions in performing radiographic operations without another qualified individual present while at a temporary jobsite in Gary, Indiana.  The NRC issued the enforcement action after finding that Thompson alone willfully used a camera with radioactive material on numerous metal welds while working for a client.  During the NRC investigation, Thompson admitted to violating NRC requirements in order to complete the work.

The NRC also issued a Severity Level III Notice of Violation to American Engineering Testing Inc., Thompson’s former employer.  The company is located in St. Paul, Minnesota and is licensed by the NRC to use radioactive materials.  Implementation of agency regulations ensures the safety of its workers and the public.  Thompson’s actions resulted in the company violating NRC requirements.  “This enforcement action against Thompson and the violation to the company underscore that willful violations of safety requirements will not be tolerated,” said NRC Region III Administrator Cynthia Pederson.  The company independently identified this issue, informed the NRC of the situation and took corrective actions.  As a result, the NRC will not issue a civil penalty to American Engineering Testing Inc.

The NRC’s Order directs Thompson to cease all activities involving NRC-licensed activities for one year and he must notify the NRC for the following one-year probation period if he becomes involved in NRC-licensed activities.  A second qualified accompanying individual is required to prevent unauthorized entry into a restricted area where radiographic operations are being performed and to provide assistance when needed.  The NRC’s order and notice of violation are available on the agency’s website at www.nrc.gov.

For additional information, please contact Viktoria Mitlyng at (630) 829-9662 or Prema Chandrathil at (630) 829-9663.

Midwest Compact Commission to Hold Annual Meeting

On June 28, 2016, the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission (MCC) will hold its annual meeting.  The meeting—which will be held by teleconference call—will begin at 10:00 a.m. CDT (11:00 a.m. for Indiana and Ohio).

Draft Agenda

The following items are on the draft agenda for the meeting:

  • call to order and roll call
  • review of the minutes of the June 9, 2015 meeting
  • review of the financial report.
  • Chair’s report: 2017 LLW Forum meeting and MCC website
  • consultant agreements

–     legal counsel proposal

–     accounting/audit proposal

  • adoption of 2016-17 budget
  • election of Chair and Vice-Chair
  • other business
  • adjournment
  • special guest: Cecelia Snyder, LLW Forum consultant, who will explain how to use the MCC website and the LLW Forum Drop Box

Meeting Sites

The public is encouraged to attend the MCC meeting.  The sites are as follows:

  • Indiana:  Conference Room A, 11th floor, Government Center North, 100 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis—for information about the site and handicap access, call (317) 234-0338
  • Iowa:  Fifth Floor East Conference Room, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wallace State Office Building, 502 East 9th Street, Des Moines—for information about the site and handicap access, call Iowa DNR Customer Service at (515) 725-8200
  • Minnesota:  Conference Room 2-1, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul; 55155—for information about the site and handicap access, call (651) 757-2138; for directions, see map at www.pca.state.mn.us
  • Missouri:  Tavern Cave Conference Room, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Fourth Floor Central, Lewis and Clark State Office Building, 1101 Riverside Drive, Jefferson City—for information about the site and handicap access, call Kay Craig at (573) 751-3195
  • Ohio:  Ohio Department of Health, 246 N. High Street, Columbus—for information about the site and handicap access, call (614) 644-2727
  • Wisconsin:  Room B157, Division of Public Health, 1 W. Wilson Street, Madison—for information about the site and handicap access, call Susan Hagstrom at (608) 267-4793

For additional information, please contact Stanley York, Chair of the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission, at (608) 267-4793 or at stanyork080@gmail.com or visit their web site at www.midwestcompact.org.

Public Meeting Held re Performance of Monticello Nuclear Power Plant

On May 26, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a public meeting to discuss the agency’s annual review of safety performance of the Monticello nuclear power plant.  Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota operates the plant.  It is located in Monticello, Minnesota—approximately 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

The NRC’s performance action matrix reflects overall plant performance and agency response.  There are five columns in the matrix with Column 1 requiring a baseline level of inspection.  A move up to another column results in an increased level of NRC oversight and inspections.  Performance indicators are statistical measurements of plant and equipment performance.

Overall, the Monticello facility operated safely last year.  All performance indicators were “green” or low safety significance.  A security finding was issued at the end of 2014.  This finding, in addition to a previously identified yellow finding, would have resulted in a move to Column 4 and a significant increase in inspection.  However, the NRC determined the plant’s performance did not warrant this move and issued a deviation memo to the plant that placed it in Column 2.

The deviation memo noted that human performance issues continued to occur and needed to be addressed.  As a result, the plant committed to perform an independent safety culture assessment with a focus on human performance.  The deviation will remain open until the NRC completes its assessment of the plant’s safety culture evaluation.

The plant moved to Column 1 by the end of 2015.  While the details on the security finding are not publically available, the plant corrected the issue and the NRC conducted a follow-up inspection to verify the plant’s actions.

Monticello will also continue to receive the detailed routine inspections conducted at all nuclear power plants.  Routine inspections are performed by two NRC Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant and by inspection specialists from the Region III Office in Lisle and the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.

For additional information, please contact Viktoria Mitlyng at (630) 829-9662 or at Prema Chandrathil at (630) 829-9663.

Open House Held re Performance of Prairie Island Nuclear Plant

On May 18, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held an open house in Red Wing, Minnesota to discuss the agency’s annual assessment of safety performance for Prairie Island.  Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota operates the two-unit plant.  It is located in Welch, Minnesota—approximately 28 miles southeast of Minneapolis.

The NRC determined that the Prairie Island facility operated safely in 2015.  All performance indicators and inspection findings for Unit 1 were green or low safety significance and the unit remained in Column 1 of the action matrix throughout the year.  Unit 2, which was in Column 1 for the first three quarters of 2015, moved to Column 2 during the last quarter due to one white performance indicator of low to moderate significance in the area of unplanned scrams.  This performance indicator tracks the number of times the plant shut down unexpectedly during a specific period when the plant was operating at full power.

The NRC uses color-coded inspection findings and performance indicators to assess nuclear plant performance.  The colors start with green and then increase to white, yellow, or red, reflecting the safety significance of the issues involved.  Performance indicators are statistical measurements of plant and equipment performance.  The NRC’s action matrix reflects overall plant performance and agency response.  There are five columns in the matrix with Column 1 requiring a baseline level of inspections.  A move to the other columns results in an increased level of NRC oversight and inspections.

The NRC will conduct a supplemental inspection at Unit 2 to determine if the plant had understood the cause of the white performance indicator and taken sufficient corrective actions to prevent recurrence.  Unit 1 will continue to receive the NRC’s normal level of oversight during 2016.

Inspections are performed by two NRC Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant, inspection specialists from the Region III Office, and specialists from the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  Among the areas of performance to be inspected this year by NRC inspectors are radiological safety, spent fuel storage, and the plant’s ability to identify and resolve problems.

For additional information, please contact Viktoria Mitlyng at (630) 829-9662 or Prema Chandrathil at (630) 829-9663.