Paducah censured after employee evades monitor

19 August 2011

The United States Enrichment Corp.’s Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant has agreed to a series of corrective actions after an operator deliberately violated radiation protection procedures.

On March 17, 2010, an operator was involved in a routine activity involving changing cylinders in the enrichment cascade building and became contaminated. The operator then deliberately failed to properly use the radiation monitor, bypassing it when leaving the contamination control zone and spreading contamination to an adjacent area.

The incident was quickly identified and investigated by USEC-Paducah management. No workers received any significant radiation exposure. The operator involved was disciplined and is no longer employed by USEC-Paducah.

The company started an Alternative Dispute Resolution process with the NRC, and reached a settlement.

The corrective actions agreed to by USEC include multiple staff briefings by management, procedural reviews and revisions, retraining and communication of lessons learned to staff. Additionally, USEC committed to enhancing new employee orientation and employee training to ensure staff clearly understands the consequences of deliberate non-compliance with procedures. USEC will also expand an ongoing Safety Conscious Work Environment assessment to include the safety culture components of decision making and work practices.

As part of the agreement, the NRC will not issue a Notice of Violation in the matter and will not propose a civil penalty.

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