July 27, 2006 - MARKEY BLASTS PALTRY FINE OF SEABROOK NUCLEAR FACILITY

Washington, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s fine on the Seabrook Nuclear reactor in New Hampshire:

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s paltry fine is a weak slap on the wrist that fails to appropriately penalize Florida Power and Light for its recent security violations at the Seabrook nuclear power plant.   More than a year ago, I raised concerns about reports that the perimeter intrusion detection system at Seabrook was inoperable.  The NRC took six months to confirm the validity of the issues I raised, but did so only in a classified document that I cannot release.  Then they took another six months to finally issue a fine, and it's only $65,000.  That's chump change for a company as large as Florida Power and Light.  While I cannot discuss the details of the Commission’s findings, I can say that based on what I have learned -- a much larger fine would have been warranted in this case.  Florida Power and Light and other nuclear reactor operators around the country need to get a strong message that there is a tough federal watchdog in place that expects nuclear power plants to be properly protected.  We know that nuclear power plants are near the very top of Al Qaeda's target list, and small fines like the one levied by the NRC today send exactly the wrong signal to the nuclear industry.”

Below is the release from the NRC:

U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

Office of Public Affairs, Region I
475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Pa.
www.nrc.gov
No. I-06-043        

July 27, 2006
Contact - Diane Screnci, 610/337-5330
              Neil Sheehan, 610/337-5331
Email: opa1@nrc.gov

NRC PROPOSES $65,000 FINE FOR VIOLATION AT SEABROOK STATION

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed to fine FPL Energy Seabrook, LLC, $65,000 for a violation related to security requirements at Seabrook Station in Seabrook, N.H.  The issues were corrected immediately and the plant remains secure.  

In Spring 2005, the NRC dispatched a special inspection team to Seabrook after a routine security inspection found issues at the site in May.  This enforcement action stems from those inspections and additional NRC follow-up.  Immediately upon identification of the issues, FPL took actions to address them.  NRC inspectors have reviewed the company's corrective actions and found them to be in compliance with NRC security requirements.

The NRC has cited the company for the failure to maintain complete and accurate records of test results and proposed a $65,000 fine.  A second violation that occurred, in part due to inadequate management oversight, has been characterized by the NRC's Reactor Oversight Process as of low-to-moderate security significance.  There was no additional fine associated with this violation.   

NRC Region I Administrator Samuel J. Collins said, "The action was necessary to emphasize the importance of oversight and corporate support of the installation and testing of equipment, as well as maintaining complete and accurate records of such testing."

The company has 30 days from receipt of the Notice of Violation to either pay the civil penalty or to protest it, in whole or in part.

The NRC routinely conducts inspections of security at the nation's nuclear power plants. The details of those inspections are not publicly available because certain security information could be useful to an adversary.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein
202.225.2836