DOE Fines Contractor for Nuclear Safety Violations

DOE proposed $1,045,000 in penalities against Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, operator of its Y-12 site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for multiple violations of nuclear safety.

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The Department of Energy (DOE) cited Lockheed Martin Energy Systems (LMES), operator of its Y-12 site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for multiple violations of nuclear safety requirements.

The proposed civil penalty of $1,045,000 would be the largest since the department''s Nuclear Safety Enforcement Program began in 1994 under the requirements of the Price-Anderson Amendments Act.

DOE''s investigation was initiated in January 2000 and determined that violations took place in the following areas:

  • The Dec. 8, 1999, explosion of sodium potassium liquid metal in the Alpha 5 facility that resulted in injury to 11 workers. Violations involved the contractor''s failure to identify and mitigate the explosive hazards associated with this material, despite a number of opportunities to do so.
  • Violations of criticality safety requirements and work process controls which resulted in DOE-ordered operational stand down on Nov. 5, 1999.
  • Significant deficiencies in the design, procurement and fabrication of the Hydrogen Fluoride Supply System, a critical system required for resumption of enriched uranium operators.
  • Numerous examples of violations occurring during the period July 1998 to December 1999 involving failure to adhere to Operational Safety Requirements.

Corrective actions have been taken by LMES in recent months, including replacement of some senior managers and a restructuring designed to make nuclear safety quality assurance more integrated into facility activities.

Other commitments made by LMES include effective management involvement and thorough monitoring of the effectiveness of these corrective actions.

A copy of the violation is available on the Internet at www.eh.doe.gov/enforce.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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