Alcohol, drugs, and broken nuke equipment

A broken cooling water pump at Fermi 2 yesterday plus 60% lost safety data today. Airflow and quality problems at Kewaunee and Three Mile Island. Drugs at Saint Lucie in Florida and alcohol at Nine Mile Point 1 in New York and at Braidwood in Illinois. And four workers injured at Callaway in Missouri. Apparently nuke employees can get terminated for off-site recreational drug use, but not for fires or broken equipment.

We’ve already seen the event about fire at Plant Vogtle. Here are more events in the NRC Current Event Notification Report for April 4, 2013 and also today, April 5, 2013,

  • a ventilation problem at Three Mile Island 1 in Pennsylvania (yes, that Three Mile Island),
  • an iodine noble gas monitor out of service at Kewaunee in Wisconsin (the nuke Dominion already decided to shut down),
  • at Saint Lucie in Florida,
    A licensed employee was arrested for possession of a controlled substance while off-duty. The employee’s access to the plant has been terminated.
  • at Nine Mile Point 1 in New York,
    A licensed employee supervisor had a confirmed positive for alcohol during a random fitness-for-duty test. The employee’s unescorted access to the plant has been terminated.
  • at Braidwood in Illinois,
    During remodeling of a bathroom on the third floor of the Administrative Building which is located inside the Protective Area, workers discovered two very old containers of blackberry brandy after removing the ceiling tiles. This item will be entered into the licensee corrective actions program for follow up.
  • at Fermi 2 in Minnesota,
    At 1053 [EDT] on April 3, 2013, during the performance of a surveillance test on the Division 2 Emergency Equipment Cooling Water (EECW) system the EECW system was declared inoperable due to the Division 2 EECW makeup pump failing to start during the surveillance. The EECW system cools various safety related components, including the High Pressure Coolant Injection (HPCI) room cooler.
    And today more Fermi 2 equipment broke:


    “At 0406 [EDT] on April 4, 2013, the Fermi 2 Integrated Plant Computer System (IPCS) failed. This resulted in a loss of approximately 60 percent of data on the Safety Parameters Display System (SPDS).

    “While IPCS and SPDS are not fully functional, the Emergency Plan can still be implemented if a plant emergency does occur, as assessment capabilities are available under alternate means.

    What are these “alternate means”? The report doesn’t say.
  • Today at Callaway in Missouri,

    At 1707 CDT on 4/2/13 an arc flash occurred at the ‘B’ safeguards transformer (XMDV24) in the plant switchyard at Callaway. At the time of the flash, ground straps were being placed on the ‘B’ safeguards transformer which had been removed from service for maintenance. The event resulted in a loss of power to areas/buildings outside the power block. There was no impact to equipment and systems in the plant.

    Well that’s good. But wait:

    “Four workers were injured or affected by the flash. The extent of the electrical-related injuries has not been determined. However, based on reports from the scene, all of the workers were conscious and walked away from the scene. One person was transported by helicopter and two by ambulance to a local hospital. The fourth person experienced only a minor injury.

    “The hazard has been isolated and investigation of the cause is in progress.

So apparently nuke employees can get terminated for off-site recreational drug use, but not for letting fires break out, or cooling water pumps break, or losing 60% of safety data. And alcohol onsite can go unnoticed for a long time.