The North County Times also ran a piece today on the worker who tumbled into the reactor pool while attempting to retrieve a flashlight. The Times article ran a paragraph that minimized the danger to the employee:
Workers already had removed the highly radioactive uranium fuel that normally sits at the bottom of the pool, officials said.
That was followed by a paragraph quoting NRC spokesman Victor Dricks, who seems to have a talent for making a bad situation worse:
Without the fuel present, the most likely source of deadly radiation would be stray fuel particles that could have been floating in the water, said Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Victor Dricks.
Southern California Edison has a plan to prevent falling workers. They plan to tie them down:
Southern California Edison spokesman Gil Alexander … said Edison will revisit its procedures for working around the reactor pool and may require that workers tie off with ropes to a surrounding structure as a way of preventing another incident.
The North County Times noticed something that I had questions about, too: Why didn’t the incident appear on the NRC Event Reports page? The answer:
Edison officials called the NRC to tell them about the fall, Dricks said, but the incident did not appear on a regular list of incident notifications that all nuclear operators must make to the NRC.
Dricks said it was not technically a reportable incident under federal rules. The incident would have been reportable if the worker had received a radiation dose greater than 5,000 millirem, he said.