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Higher than expected radiation levels in a work area at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in North Perry, OH, forced workers out and a special inspection by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Akron, OH-based First Energy’s subsidiary FENOC Nuclear Operating Co. operates the plant.

It seemed to start with the removal of a source range monitor from the reactor core on April 22, as the plant shut down for a refueling outage.

A source range monitor measures nuclear reactions during start up, low power operations and shutdown conditions. While performing the activities to remove the monitor, workers at the plant identified an increase in radiation levels in their work area.

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Four workers stopped and immediately left the containment area when they identified the higher than expected levels. The licensee does not believe the workers received radiation in excess of NRC limits.

The plant is in a safe condition and there has been no impact to workers at the plant or members of the public from this issue.

The special inspection team will review the circumstances surrounding the higher than expected radiation levels in the work area.

The team will gather data to establish a sequence of events, review the utility’s work planning and engineering actions, determine if there were human performance factors that may have contributed to the event and evaluate the actual radiological consequences, including exposure to the workers.

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