Results Of Review
Will Be Discussed
March 2 In Erwin
BY BILL JONES
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Monday that it has scheduled a public meeting in Erwin on Tuesday, March 2, to discuss the results of an "Augmented Inspection Team Review" of an October incident at Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc.
The meeting is to begin at 6 p.m. in the Erwin Town Hall at 211 N. Main Ave. in Erwin, according to an NRC news release.
The meeting is open to the public and the NRC staff will be available to answer questions before and after the meeting.
A press release said, "On Oct. 13, 2009, during work on a Department of Energy project process line, a chemical reaction occurred during the dissolution of scrap material, resulting in unexpected levels of heat and the release of nitrogen compound gas fumes within the facility.
"The NRC dispatched a 'Special Inspection Team' to the facility to investigate the incident and within days, escalated the effort by adding additional inspectors to form an 'Augmented Inspection Team'.
An Augment Inspection Team (AIT) is the second highest level of NRC inspection response, according to the release.
In January, NFS agreed to a number of commitments, including suspending operation of all process lines at the facility, the release noted.
The commitments were spelled out in a confirmatory action letter issued to NFS on Jan. 7, according to the release.
The NFS commitments, according to the NRC, include:
* Obtaining independent reviews of restart actions as well as company event investigation processes;
* Changing the way the company handles materials based on lessons learned from the Oct. 13 event;
* Making permanent improvements in the methods for identifying, documenting, evaluating and communicating all changes at the facility;
* Re-evaluating certain accident scenarios to ensure the appropriate level of safety; and
* Changing the NFS management structure to ensure separation between production goals and safety priorities.
NRC Region II Administrator Luis Reyes, wrote in the January letter to NFS, "This letter clearly lays out the NRC's expectations for both short and long-term actions that NFS will take to address the concerns our inspectors have identified.
"We believe suspending operations is appropriate given the current situation, and the lines will not restart until NFS meets its commitments."
The NRC staff will schedule additional public meetings in Erwin to discuss the commitments in the letter and overall facility performance," an NRC press release said.