Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Davis Besse Hole

Most people will read the title of this post and think of the corrosive hole in the Davis Besse reactor vessel head discovered in 2002.  But the post actually refers to the seven year hole in regulatory space into which the plant and its organization fell as a result of the reactor vessel head incident.  Several items in our safety culture news website box cite the NRC announcement this past week that the plant was returning to normal regulatory status. 

Since 2002 Davis Besse has become synonymous with the issue of safety culture in the nuclear industry.  As with many safety and regulatory issues, there are many fundamentally important reasons to comply with the NRC’s criteria and requirements.  But the potential regulatory consequences of not meeting those criteria also merit some consideration.  Two years shutdown, five years of escalated NRC oversight, civil penalties, prosecutions of individuals . . . . Davis Besse was the TMI of nuclear safety culture.

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