Vincent Farnsworth 6:31 p.m., Dec. 4
A Nuclear Regulatory Commission report issued February 9 but receiving little public attention since calls to light five safety incidents at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station during an inspection completed December 31, 2011.
Two of the violations were identified and reported by the plant’s operator, Southern California Edison, three more were self-revealing during inspections. None of the problems were considered significant with regard to overall plant safety, and were treated by the Commission as “non-cited violations.”
One of the “very low safety significance” violations concerned an incident last August where a diver was dismantling part of a steam generator on the plant’s Unit 3 reactor in highly radioactive water. Usually, the diver would have a personal radiation alarm as well as remote monitoring equipment to ensure exposure to radiation was limited to a preset maximum dosage.
On August 25, 2011, however, the remote monitoring device malfunctioned and the project supervisor chose to continue work, relying on mathematical calculations to determine the safe exposure time. The diver, however, ended up working in a different position than assumed in the calculations, resulting in exposure to 60.6% more radiation than planned. The worker’s personal alarm did sound, but due to the seal on his wetsuit it was inaudible.
Other violations noted did not appear to place the public or any employees of the plant at risk.
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