Congressman Ed Markey—the top ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Environment Committee—is releasing new complaints from new complainers surrounding the NRC’s handling of two major problems at Ft. Calhoun, one before the Flood of 2011 and one during it.
In a letter to NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, Markey notes that NRC managers tried to water down the investigation of a June, 2011 fire at Ft. Calhoun.
Markey also adds some specifics to earlier complaints made against Troy Pruett the Deputy Division Director, Division of Reactor Projects for the NRC.
Last month Pruett was broadly accused of downplaying safety problems at Ft. Calhoun. Now Markey is going even further apparently implying that if Pruett had had his way, Ft. Calhoun may not have been prepared to fight off the Missouri River when it reached record flood levels last year.
According to Markey’s letter Pruett was knee-deep in both the flood and fire concerns:
When Region IV staffers recommended in a written report that NRC assemble an “Augmented Inspection Team” (the second most aggressive means of investigating safety problems) to inspect the 2011 fire at the Fort Calhoun Station…management altered the report to instead recommend a less-intense, paperwork-focused “Special Inspection Team” without the concurrence of the NRC staff who had recommended the more aggressive approach. As has been well-documented, NRC eventually did issue the most serious “red” finding for this incident; however, the individual who reported the inspection dispute to my office also attested to Mr. Pruett’s efforts to prevent that finding from being issued for ‘political’ reasons.
A second example of a safety-related concern that Mr. Pruett allegedly attempted to improperly influence occurred in 2009/2010, when an NRC staff member recommended the issuance of a “yellow safety finding at the Fort Calhoun Station due to inadequate flood protection measures. Mr. Pruett attempted to argue that “flood findings can’t be yellow” and assigned a new NRC analyst to perform an in depth independent review of the analysis. That NRC analyst concurred with the first “yellow” finding, and as a result, the nuclear plant was prepared for the 2011 floods that impacted it. It allegedly took more than a year for the NRC to take the appropriate action against the licensee because of Mr. Pruett’s efforts to delay and weaken the response.
While Markey’s complaints center on the NRC’s Region IV, which is responsible for Ft. Calhoun, the congressman says the investigation should not stop there but include “the agency and its Advisory Committees.”
Reported by Joe Jordan, email@example.com
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