Event Reports: Problems with Fitness for Duty program and an inoperable safety system

A couple of items from this week’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Event Notification Reports page:

1. NRC regulations require both random and for-cause testing of nuclear workers for drugs and alcohol. As part of the program, some samples are submitted to one testing lab, which then sends the sample to other labs as a quality control test. This week, a sample from the Calloway nuclear power plant was identified by the ProTox laboratory as being negative and dilute, that is, no drugs or alcohol were detected, but analysis indicated that the sample had been diluted. This is usually an indication that the tested employee had tampered with the sample by adding water.

ProTox then submitted the same sample to three additional laboratories, Toxicology, Quest and CRL. All three labs reported that the sample was negative for drugs or alcohol, but none indicated that the sample was negative and dilute. The NRC now thinks that the error was made by ProTox, since the remaining three did not detect dilution. The investigation continues….

2. Speaking of running water, early yesterday morning, operators at the Millstone nuclear power plant notified the NRC that the Unit 2 High Pressure Core Spray (HPCS) system was inoperable. The reactor had been in a Technical Specification-required shutdown after an electrical problem in the diesel generator that powers the HPCS. Strangely enough, the fact that the HPCS was declared inoperable allowed the reactor to be removed from the Tech Specification shutdown, since the diesel was no longer required to power a system that had been declared inoperable. Consequently, the plant is operating at 100 per cent power, even though the HPCS is out of service. NRC regulations refer to the inoperability of the HPCS as a an ‘event or condition that at the time of discovery could have prevented theĀ  fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems that are needed to (m)itigate the consequences of an accident.’


About Robert Singleton

By day, I work for a call center. In my spare time, I try to save my hometown (and planet) from a nearly constant onslaught of greedheads, lunatics and land developers. I live in a fictional town called Austin, Texas, where I go to way too many meetings.
This entry was posted in Event Reports, Fitness for Duty, Millstone, Nuclear Regulatory Commission and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s