NRC faults Vermont Yankee for `deliberate' misstatement : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

NRC faults Vermont Yankee for `deliberate' misstatement The Associated Press 9/20/00 12:25 PM

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found that Vermont Yankee violated its license when a plant manager "deliberately" gave false information to a contractor during a 1998 refueling.

The notice of violation came after a confidential 20-month investigation into the problem, which occurred during the aging reactor's 1998 outage. That outage ran into several problems, doubling the length of the shutdown.

Tuesday's was the second NRC violation involving the work on valves at the plant during the 1998 refueling, according to Richard Barkley, senior project engineer for Vermont Yankee at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

At the heart of the issue is whether a work order was changed to allow the contractor to work unsupervised on a reactor core isolation cooling valve.

Barkley said that the safety of the plant wasn't seriously affected by the violation, but that the erroneous information given was a "violation of trust" between the NRC and Vermont Yankee staff.

In a letter dated Sept. 18, Hubert J. Miller, regional administrator for the NRC, rejected Yankee's contention that the action wasn't deliberate.

Robert O. Williams, Vermont Yankee spokesman, said the violation was a result of "insufficient oversight" of the contractors at the plant. He noted that Yankee personnel not only reported the problem but promptly corrected it.

Vermont Yankee did not receive the usual $55,000 fine for the violation, Barkley said, because it reported the problem to the NRC and took corrective action.

The NRC notified the state of the problem last month, more than a year after it launched the investigation involving the maintenance supervisor, who was supposed to be overseeing work on the valve.

Vermont Nuclear Engineer William Sherman said he didn't believe the violation at Vermont Yankee was deliberate in nature, despite the finding by the NRC. He said he believed the problem was a result of "miscommunication."

"The state is concerned anytime the word 'deliberate' is used in connection with Vermont Yankee," Sherman said.

Vermont Yankee denied there was any deliberate act on the part of the maintenance supervisor, according to documents in the case.

-- Martin Thompson (, September 20, 2000

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