The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is facing a civil penalty of $7,250 for violations associated with staffing and training requirements at its research reactor facility in Denver, said officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The violations stem from two separate NRC investigations. One determined a USGS reactor supervisor deliberately falsified documentation showing reactor operators had completed required training, when in fact the training never took place. The supervisor then presented the false documentation to an NRC inspector.
The second investigation determined the same supervisor violated staffing requirements by performing certain reactor tests without a second qualified person present, as required by NRC regulations.
The civil penalty was proposed in relation to the falsified documentation, reflecting the NRC’s concern that licensees provide complete and accurate information, the agency said in its letter to USGS notifying it of the penalty.
The USGS implemented corrective actions, including new training procedures that require employees to sign a record indicating their presence at training sessions, re-assigning the reactor supervisor and revoking his access to the reactor facility, and pausing reactor operations to allow for an assessment of the violations and the operational culture of the reactor organization.
The USGS can dispute the violation and penalty, or could agree to third-party mediation through the NRC’s alternative dispute program.
In a separate action, the NRC issued a Notice of Violation to the reactor supervisor for his deliberate falsification of operator training records.