Posted: November 9, 2016
Control room operators at Millstone Units 2 and 3 – the ultimate guardians of the nuclear reactors’ safety – routinely and consistently failed to review applicable standing orders between March and July of this year, according to an NRC inspection report released on November 4.
The control room operators’ failure exposed both Units 2 and 3 to potentially serious conditions, according to the NRC.
The report states:
“Specifically, the operators did not review TS [Technical Specification] amendments, emergency action level classifications, emergency operating procedures and plant computer issues impacting the plant prior to taking watch.
“Without reviewing the standing orders to understand the information contained within, operators could potentially take improper actions to control the plant during evolutions and abnormal conditions.”
The NRC report noted that Dominion management observations in the two control rooms and management review of monthly standing order audits “could have discovered the deviation from standards and expectations.”
The report states that Dominion documented that 10 senior reactor operators, 7 reactor operators and 20 plant equipment operators “stood watch without performing a review of all applicable standing orders for up to 4 months from March to July 2016.”
Nevertheless, despite its discovery of the serious serial safety lapse, the NRC merely cited Dominion for its safety violations but took no further enforcement action.
In the same report, the NRC cited Dominion for removing a nuclear safety-related system (the Acoustic Valve Monitoring System – AVMS) from within the scope of the plant’s maintenance rule program at Unit 2.
The NRC report states:
“ . . . Dominion’s removal of AVMS from maintenance rule performance and condition monitoring and the failures observed have resulted in the complete loss of availability and reliability of each channel of AVMS such that they cannot perform their intended function.”
Further, the report states that Dominion’s violation of the federal safety regulation at issue could potentially upset plant stability and “challenge critical safety functions during shutdowns as well as power operations.”
The NRC inspection report also documented the inoperability of a radiation monitor on July 18 and a series of degraded or “nonconforming” conditions.
The full report is available here:
Millstone Power Station – Integrated Inspection Report 05000336/2016003 and 05000423/2016003 (ADAMS Accession No. ML16312A014)