Safety Allegations

Safety Allegations Charts

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San Onofre consistently has the highest number of safety and discrimination allegations (complaints) compared to all other U.S. nuclear power plants, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) data.  Safety allegations are complaints of unresolved safety problems at the nuclear facility.  Employees and contractors report these to the NRC when nuclear facilities ignore or refuses to resolve safety problems in a manner that protects public safety.

Discrimination allegations are complaints from employees, contractors, or subcontractors of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination for raising NRC-related safety or regulatory concerns.

Poor safety culture is a key factor in all major worldwide nuclear disasters, including the on-going nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan which began March 11th, 2011.

A May 15, 2012 workplace culture report found that workplace culture problems at Southern California Edison created a climate of distrust.

Many employees don’t trust their managers and leadership to be honest, accountable or provide leadership. They don’t trust in the systems arranged for their benefit to help them, and instead expect negative consequences for utilizing them. They don’t trust in policies, practices, information or communication.

Lack of trust often leads to feelings of hopelessness. Employees eventually surrender, going through the motions at work, without engagement or motivation. They protect themselves by avoiding any circumstances that might require them to trust, and productivity and creativity are impeded.

Edison’s response to the IT workplace culture problems is to layoff hundreds of IT employees by misusing the H-1B visa program.  The Senate Judiciary Committee recently held a hearing into abuses of the H-1B skilled guest worker visa program by Edison and others. Edison fired well trained current workers and replaced them with less experienced workers from India at significantly lower pay. They even forced them to train the new workers and sign agreements to silence them. Edison hired Infosys, based in Bangalore, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in Mumbai. They are two of the largest users of H-1B visas.

Disney planned to do the same as Edison.  However, after public outcry, Disney announced in June 2015 it was rescinding the layoffs and cancelling plans to outsource those jobs. Since Edison is basically a monopoly, they can ignore such public outcry.

The NRC minimizes significance of safety and security problems by using “non-cited violations.  Non-cited violations do not require verification the problem has been fixed.

For example, the NRC gave San Onofre a non-cited violation to fix a fire hazard — incorrectly sized circuit breakers and poor quality fire barrier material.  These circuits will not trip if the electrical cables overheat. This electrical system supports the charging pumps. According to the NRC, the charging pumps provide borated water makeup to the reactor cooling system, reactivity control, chemistry control and a number of other functions. The charging pumps are critical to the safe shutdown of the nuclear reactor.

The electrical engineer who reported this problem has not received a response from either the NRC or Southern California Edison (SCE) as to whether this fire hazard has been fixed and if it has been fixed correctly. The problem was reported in 2006 to the NRC.  The NRC did not take action against SCE until August 2011.

See information on this and other existing fire hazards at San Onofre in this 5/14/2012 CBS report and video “Previously Classified Documents Unveil Potential Fire Dangers At San Onofre.  Would you believe San Onofre’s current method of dealing with inferior electrical systems is to have employees watch the cables to see if they catch fire?  Yes, it’s true.  And the NRC approved this plan for San Onofre as well as other nuclear reactors around the country.  The job is so boring, employees have forged “fire watch” reports for years. CBS report by investigative reporter Randy Paige.

NRC Reports

Whistleblowers speak out

“…if the fuel is not considered damaged/failed, it is not placed in a damaged fuel can in the dry storage container prior to being stored in the ISFSI. The real issue is that fuel is experiencing additional damage/degradation while in spent fuel pool storage and potentially in dry cask storage. I do not believe that this has been seen previously…The purpose of the damaged fuel cans in the dry storage containers is to prevent the migration of fuel within the dry storage container during a transportation accident such that a criticality accident cannot occur.”

C. Canning Damaged Fuel (NRC ISG-1 Rev.2 ML071420268)

Spent fuel that has been classified as damaged for storage must be placed in a can designed for damaged fuel, or in an acceptable alternative. The purpose of a can designed for damaged fuel is to (1) confine gross fuel particles, debris, or damaged assemblies to a known volume within the cask; (2) to demonstrate that compliance with the criticality, shielding, thermal, and structural requirements are met; and (3) permit normal handling and retrieval from the cask. The can designed for damaged fuel may need to contain neutron-absorbing materials, if results of the criticality safety analysis depend on the neutron absorber to meet the requirements of
10 CFR 72.124(a).

“If the workers at the power plant are afraid to tell the truth, that jeopardizes the health and safety of the public,” Chambers said.


Humboldt Bay Whistleblowers

14 Responses to Safety Allegations

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  11. F. Williamson says:

    Mrs. Chambers —

    ** B L E S S .. Y O U !! **

    You expressed it all so very well. I’ve been trying to tell people for years, but I was classified as one of those ‘disgruntled employees’ and no one cared or listened.

    Your husband may remember me. I was one of the Computer Operators for the plants’ computers before they decided they didn’t need us anymore. I was the one who shut down the primary computer and put the control room on COLSS backup because I smelled something burning. Turned out later it was a good thing I did. A circuit board was indeed starting to overheat and would have caught on fire. Had I not shut down the PMS, we would have lost the whole computer. It would have taken 100’s of thousands of dollars and over a year to replace the entire PMS computer verses the few hundred to replace just the failed circuit board and a week waiting to get the board.

    They farmed us out to clerical after they had to take six months to train others on how to perform our tasks. It was humerous, because the genius thought we were operating PC desktops and just pressed Control/Alt/Delete to restart the plants computers. They wanted to just yank us, but someone found out some of the work we performed were NRC mandated. So it took them a lot longer than they thought.

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