Entergy faces $140,000 fine after operators accessed internet

11 January 2012

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a $140,000 civil penalty against Entergy Operations, Inc. at the River Bend Station, for control room operators accessing the internet without authorization and failure by the utility to take timely corrective actions once the issue was identified.

River Bend, a 989 MWe boiling water reactor, is located 24 miles northwest of Baton Rouge in Louisiana.

Between January and April 2010, nine operators deliberately violated procedures and accessed the internet from the plant’s control room while on duty, NRC said in a statement. Three of the nine did so with such frequency and duration that they are being issued severity level III enforcement violations. The remaining six operators will receive severity level IV violations. Severity level I has the greatest significance and level IV the lowest.

The River Bend plant will receive a severity level III violation and a fine double the base civil penalty of $70,000.

“NRC relies on a good faith effort to comply with regulatory requirements. This action reflects the significance of the violation due to the number of people involved and the willful nature of their actions,” said Region IV Administrator Elmo E. Collins. “While the licensee has since taken steps to correct the problem and ensure it doesn’t happen again, they did not promptly address the larger safety culture issue.”

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