While details are scant, it is safe to say that anything that warrants this big of a fine has got to be major. Are there implications for Indian Point? Time may or may not tell.
NRC proposes $150K penalty for Holtec after Oyster Creek inspection
CAMDEN – A federal regulator has proposed a $150,000 civil penalty for a unit of Holtec International that’s decommissioning the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is citing Holtec Decommissioning International LLC, for apparent security-related violations at the Ocean County complex, the agency said Wednesday.
“Because of the sensitive nature of these violations, the NRC will not publicly provide
specifics,” the agency said in announcing its proposed fine.
The NRC said Holtec “has taken steps to address the concerns and overall security performance at the site.”
The agency said “the overall security program at the non-operational
plant remains effective”
Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey.
In a statement, Holtec said it has shared “learnings” from the NRC’s action “with our fleet to avoid a reoccurrence.”
“We take these issues very seriously and reviewed and acted on the NRC’s violation findings,” the company said.
“Protecting the security and safety of the public is the number one priority of Holtec International at all our facilities,” it added,
A Holtec critic said the NRC’s action supports concerns over the firm’s decommissioning ventures.
“This must have been a serious security failure, for NRC to take the very rare action of levying a $150,000 fine,” said Kevin Kamps at Beyond Nuclear, a Maryland-based group that opposes atomic power and weapons.
“It is very disturbing that a rogue corporate operator like Holtec is screwing up on security,” he added in a statement.
Janet Tauro, NJ board chair for Clean Water Action, noted more than 1 million pounds of radioactive waste remains at Oyster Creek “and security should never be an issue.”
“For the safety of the 650,000 permanent residents in Ocean County and all in the tri-state area, security at Oyster Creek must be flawless,” she said.
Holtec has 30 days to pay the fine, contest the notice of violation or request an alternative resolution, the NRC said.
The NRC said it alerted Holtec to the apparent violations on July 28, following a “discretionary inspection” between May 17 and July 15.
It said Holtec “requested and took part in a closed pre-decisional enforcement conference … during which the company provided additional information to the NRC.”
The Lacey Township power plant ceased operations in September 2018.
The NRC transferred its license in July 2019 to Holtec, which owns the facility and is carrying out its decommissioning.
Holtec also has obtained licenses for nuclear plants to be decommissioned in Massachusetts and New York State.
The Camden firm received tentative approval from the NRC earlier this month to acquire the license of the Palisades nuclear plant in Covert, Michigan, which it plans to decommission.
The NRC also supported a license transfer for a second Michigan site, the Big Rock Point facility. The Hayes Township plant has already been decommissioned, with only a fuel storage facility remaining, according to the agency.
The company also is seeking NRC approval to operate a nuclear-waste storage facility in a remote area of southeastern New Mexico.
By Jim Walsh