Sunday, January 10, 2016

Targeted Safety Culture Assessment at Columbia Generating Station

Columbia Generating Station
The Columbia Generating Station (CGS) got into trouble with the NRC when two members of the security department were found to have been willfully inattentive to their duties on multiple occasions over three years (2012-2014).  What they were doing was not disclosed because it was a security-related matter.  The situation was summarized in a recent newspaper article* and the relevant NRC documents** provide some additional details.

Energy Northwest (CGS’s owner) opted for the NRC’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process.  The agreed-upon corrective actions and penances are typical for ADR settlements: conduct a common cause evaluation, install new cameras and increase supervision if the cameras aren’t working, revise and present training, prepare a statement on willful misconduct’s consequences and have personnel sign it, prepare a "lessons learned" presentation for plant personnel and an industry gathering (aka public atonement), revise procedures and conduct a targeted nuclear safety culture (SC) assessment of the security organization at CGS.  Oh, and pay a $35K fine.

Our Perspective

The security SC assessment caught our eye because it is being conducted by a law firm, not a culture assessment specialist.  Maybe that’s because the subject is security-related, therefore sensitive, and this approach will ensure the report will never be made public.  It also ensures that the report will focus on the previously identified “bad apples” (who no longer work at the plant) and the agreed-upon ADR actions; the assessment will not raise any awkward management or systemic issues.


*  A. Cary, “Energy Northwest pays fine over Richland nuclear security,” Tri-City Herald (Jan. 5, 2015.)

**  A. Vegel (NRC) to M. Reddermann (Energy NW), Columbia Generating Station – NRC Security Inspection Report 05000397/2015405 and NRC Investigation Report No. 4-2014-009 (June 25, 2015).  ADAMS ML15176A599.  M. Dapas (NRC) to M. Reddermann (Energy NW), Confirmatory Order - NRC Security Inspection Report 05000397/2015407 AND NRC Investigation Report 4-2014-009 Columbia Generating Station (Sept. 28, 2015).  ADAMS ML15271A078.

1 comment:

  1. • Character

    An inescapable fact is that the character of an industry is largely a reflection of the character of its regulators, and, of course, vice versa . Competence, integrity, compliance, and transparency or their lack seldom exist on only one side of an industry-regulatory interface .

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