EXELON'S DRESDEN NUCLEAR POWER STATION, UNITS 2 AND 3 - CONFIRMATORY ORDER - SRO Aberrant Behavior

by Bob Meyer

SVP, M. J. Pacilio, Exelon was informed today of the NRC's acceptance of a successful Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) session. The NRC sent a letter to Exelon on July 3, 2013 which provided Exelon's Staff with the results of an investigation conducted by the NRC’s Office of Investigations (OI) to review if a senior reactor operator, an equipment operator, or any other personnel at the Dresden Nuclear Power Station knew that a former senior reactor operator planned to commit a crime and failed to report that senior reactor operator for aberrant behavior. The NRC identified an apparent violation, with several examples, of 10 CFR 73.56(a)(2), 73.56(f)(1) and 73.56(f)(3).

Read this to the end. It involved plans to rob an armored car, obtaining a getaway car and body armor.

Other acts of crimes are that may fall under this category are illegal organizational activities for instance, knowledge of activities involving other know conspirators to commit crimes. This includes activities as illegal drugs, illegal gambling, illegal funds contributions, bribery. Violations of the Interstate Commerce Act can include restrictive hiring agreements between companies. Recently a Senior VP was indicted for funding Pakastan interests. If you have unescorted access and hold a position from a senior manager to the floor sweepers, the laws apply to everyone and your not immune. If you have knowledge and or you are part of the crime and if is not reported, you may be subject to justice department prosecution and/or sanctions. This is the lesson learned.

My advice is never be the most senior person with a secret.

When you tell your supervisor, manager or VP immediately you are doing the required actions. This is a clear example when this premise was not followed.

10 CFR 73.56(f)(1) requires that licensee and applicant access authorization programs must include a behavioral observation program that is designed to detect behaviors or activities that may constitute an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of the public and common defense and security, including a potential threat to commit radiological sabotage. Licensees, applicants and contractors or vendors must ensure that the individuals specified in paragraph (b)(1) and, if applicable, (b)(2) of this section are subject to behavioral observation.

10 CFR 73.56(f)(3) states, in part, that individuals who are subject to an access authorization program under this section shall at a minimum, report any concerns arising from behavioral observation, including, but not limited to, concerns related to any questionable behavior patterns or activities of others to the reviewing official, his or her supervisor, or other management personnel designated in their site procedures and that the recipient of the report shall, if other than the reviewing official, promptly convey the report to the reviewing official, who shall reassess the reported individual’s unescorted access or unescorted access authorization status.

Exelon Staff agreed to an NRC issued Confirmatory Order (CO) in settlement of a disputed claim in order to avoid further action by the NRC. Exelon Staff agreed to sign “Consent and Hearing Waiver Form” dated October 4, 2013, which authorized the NRC to issue the CO.

Here is the story.

On June 6, 2012, OI initiated an investigation to determine if an SRO, an Equipment Operator (EO), or any other personnel at the Dresden Station knew that a SRO planned to commit an off-site crime and failed to report that SRO for aberrant behavior.

The investigation was completed on March 29, 2013, and was documented in OI Report No. 3-2012-020. At the time of this investigation, both the SROs, who plotted the off-site crime and the EO whom they were trying to recruit, had their site access revoked and all three employees were subsequently terminated by the licensee. Based on the evidence developed during its investigation, the NRC identified an apparent violation of NRC requirements in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 73, Sections 56(a)(2), 56(f)(1) and 56(f)(3) with multiple examples in that:

1. An EO, who had unescorted access to the Dresden Station, failed to report concerns to a supervisor regarding an observed change in behavior of two individuals who had unescorted access to the Dresden Station when the other individuals attempted to recruit him in their plans to commit a violent crime off-site.

2. A SRO, who had unescorted access to the Dresden Station, failed to report concerns to a supervisor regarding an observed change in behavior of another individual who had unescorted access to the Dresden Station when the other individual attempted to recruit him in his plans to commit a violent crime off-site.

3. A SRO, who had unescorted access to the Dresden Station, failed to report concerns to a supervisor regarding an observed change in behavior of another individual who had unescorted access to the Dresden Station when the other individual went along with his plans to commit a violent crime off-site.

4. An SRO, with unescorted access to the Dresden Station, failed to promptly contact a reviewing official upon learning of questionable behavior when the SRO was informed by two reactor operators about the questionable behavior of an EO.

On September 18, 2013, Exelon and the NRC met in an ADR session mediated by a professional mediator, arranged through Cornell University's Institute on Conflict Resolution. ADR is a process in which a neutral mediator with no decision-making authority assists the parties in reaching an agreement on resolving any differences regarding the dispute. This confirmatory order is issued pursuant to the agreement reached during the ADR process.

In response to the NRC's offer, Exelon requested use of the NRC ADR process to resolve differences it had with the NRC. During that ADR session, a preliminary settlement agreement was reached. The elements of the agreement consisted of the following:

A. The licensee stated that it has completed the following actions, which are hereby acknowledged in the Confirmatory Order:

● Revised Exelon procedure SY-AA-103-513, “Behavioral Observation Program” to indicate that the behavioral observation program includes an expectation to report offsite illegal activity;

● Conducted an Exelon-wide briefing of the issue and the expectation to report unusual behavior observed either on or offsite;

● Trained Dresden Station personnel of the changes to the procedure and the expectations for reporting aberrant offsite activities; and

● Verified that Dresden Station personnel understood the procedural requirements
and guidance.

In addition, the licensee stated that the general employee training program, which is used at Exelon and at other reactor utilities, was revised to include guidance on reporting offsite aberrant activities.

Any person adversely affected by this Confirmatory Order, other than Exelon may request a hearing within 30 days of the date of this Order. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the time to request a hearing. A request for extension of time must be made in writing to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, and include a statement of good cause for the extension.

FACTUAL SUMMARY OF NRC INVESTIGATION

On June 6, 2012, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office of Investigations (OI), Region III Field Office, initiated an investigation to determine if a Senior Reactor Operator (SRO), an Equipment Operator (EO), and/or any other personnel at the Dresden Nuclear Power Station (Dresden Station) knew that a former SRO planned to commit a crime and willfully failed to report that SRO for aberrant behavior. The investigation was completed on March 29, 2013, and was documented in OI Report No. 3-2012-020.
During the investigation, it was determined that an EO knew that two former SROs planned to commit a crime and deliberately failed to report that information for approximately a year to a year and half, contrary to site procedures. Following the May 9, 2012 arrest of one of the former SROs, the EO related to numerous individuals onsite, to the police, to the licensee’s investigators, and to the NRC investigator, a generally consistent story about being approached to participate in committing a violent crime by two former SROs at the Dresden Station. The EO related having between two to three conversations with the two former SROs that included discussions of the planned criminal activities, including preliminary planning and actions. Although the EO expressed that he was disinterested in the plan and did not think that the former SROs were serious, the EO was aware that one of the former SROs had taken several steps towards enacting his plan, including plans to map out armored car routes, plans to obtain a getaway vehicle, and obtaining body armor. Further, the EO’s reported responses to the SROs provided evidence that he thought that the SROs were potentially serious about committing the planned crimes.

The EO acknowledged that he did not report what he knew to anyone during the time period that preceded the arrest of one of the former SROs. The EO further acknowledged receiving training on reporting creditable threats to the plant or the health and safety of the public.

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