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An outside review of the safety culture at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant near South Haven, MI, shows employees don’t believe management is open to suggestions for improvement or makes the right decisions.

“There is a lack in the belief that Palisades management really wants problems or concerns reported or that the issues will be addressed,” the report’s executive summary said.

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The report recommends a clarification of expectations and standards and an improvement in communications at the plant.

The report comes after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in March listed the plant as one of the four lowest-rated power plants in the nation. The facility is also under scrutiny from a U.S. congressman for a leak in a water tank that forced the plant to shut down for almost a month. The NRC’s Office of Investigation, which handles matters of NRC rules and criminal law, is looking into that water tank leak.

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The NRC is reviewing the assessment, said Viktoria Mitlyng of the Office of Public Affairs.

The safety assessment by Conger & Elsea Inc. took place in January and February and given to Entergy Nuclear Operations, the owner of Palisades, in April.

Entergy had already started to address safety issues at the plant in the fall of 2011, the company said.

“Many of the actions needed to address the nuclear safety culture assessment were already under way,” said Anthony Vitale, site vice president of Entergy. The plant will take care of any other issues raised in the independent report and not already addressed, he said. Managers and staff are meeting in small groups to get more feedback and move forward.

The Conger & Elsea report cited “widespread perception of fear and punishment” in the facility in Covert Township. Accountability was lacking and work standards were inconsistent.

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