NRC, Southern Co. Settle Investigation into Radiation Exam Cheating at Farley Nuclear Plant

Southern Co. and federal regulators have reached an agreement to resolve allegations that an employee helped other workers cheat on exams at the Farley nuclear plant in Alabama.

Farley nuclear plant. Source: NRCThrough a form of third-party mediation known as the alternative dispute resolution process, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the plant settled apparent violations that date back to 2010 and 2011. In a release Tuesday, the NRC said a Farley security officer helped other security officers during radiation worker training exams or took the test for them.

Southern avoided a civil fine by opting for the mediation process and agreeing to take a number of steps to enhance safety and integrity across its nuclear fleet. They include an evaluation of the company's testing, fleet-wide warnings about willful misconduct, and a fleet-wide stand-down to address the issues raised by the investigation. The company also agreed to evaluate its remedial actions annually until 2015.

Southern operates two Westinghouse reactors at Farley that generate 1,776 megawatts. Both units are in the licensee response column of the NRC's action matrix – a designation for plants that are not undergoing supplemental inspections from the NRC for safety problems.

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