The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday that there were no safety concerns connected with the incidents, but they have proposed a civil penalty of $145,000 against Southern Nuclear Operating Company for procedural violations that occurred at Plant Vogtle during a three-month period in 2016.
The violations, which involved the plant's two operating units, 1 and 2, came to light during an NRC inspection of the plant, which took place from August to October 2016 at the plant that is located near Waynesboro, Ga., about 26 miles south of Augusta.
Two additional units are under construction, but these were not involved in this situation.
"An NRC investigation, completed August 2017, found that on multiple occasions during the three-month period, at least 13 system operators failed to complete their rounds as required by plant procedures, but entered data into an electronic log indicating they had completed equipment status checks and area inspections," the NRC said in a statement.Southern Nuclear is a division of Southern Company, which co-owns the plant through its subsidiary Georgia Power. The other partner owners include Oglerhorpe Power Corp., the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAD) and Dalton Utilities.
The plant operator has already undertaken several corrective actions, the NRC said, including training for employees, changes in the inspection procedures and disciplinary measures for some staff.
In a letter to the plant's owners, the NRC stated, “outside rounds are conducted for a variety of reasons, including the early identification, trending, and correction of degraded, abnormal, or undesirable plant conditions. In this case, however, this vital function was intentionally precluded by the deliberate misconduct.”
The company has 30 days to respond to the proposed fine. They can either pay the fine or petition to have it changed, the regulator said.
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