DOE Cites Kaiser-Hill Co. for Nuclear Safety Rule Violations

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a preliminary notice of violation (PNOV) with a proposed penalty of $522,500 to the Kaiser-Hill Co. LLC, the managing contractor for the process of decommissioning the department's Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site.

The PNOV was issued for violations of DOE nuclear safety rules and procedures associated with several events and for the failure of Kaiser-Hill to operate within the safety limits and controls approved by DOE. The events included a May 2003 fire in a glovebox undergoing decommissioning, a March 2003 ventilation airflow reversal that spread radioactive material throughout several rooms, and a March 2003 radioactive contamination spread from an inadequately secured containment sleeve. Several workers received radioactive doses that were below the federal limits. There was no release of radioactive material outside of the facilities.

The DOE investigation identified deficiencies with radiological controls, procedural compliance, training of the workers and failure to implement effective corrective actions to address previous similar issues.

To emphasize the importance of comply with safety requirements, DOE is proposing to assess Kaiser-Hill a civil penalty in the amount of $522,500. Partial mitigation of the civil penalty was applied to only one violation due to the contractor's comprehensive and timely corrective actions. Mitigation was not applied for the remainder of the civil penalty due to the contractor's ineffective/incomplete identification of the issues, failure to report problems to DOE or ineffective corrective actions.

The Price-Anderson Amendments Act of 1988 authorized DOE to undertake enforcement actions against contractors for violation of its nuclear safety requirements. The enforcement program is designed to promote proactive efforts by contractors to correct procedural violations so that more serious events are prevented.

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