Whistleblowers Question Accuracy of NRC Reports
July 29, 2011 - Comments Off
In an article published by ProPublica on July 27, 2011, whistleblower George Mulley claimed a recent report by the Nuclear Regulatory Comission (NRC) was purposefully misleading, and that it attempted to conceal problems with NRC oversight. Mulley, a former senior level investigator at the NRC, was tasked with investigating a burst pipe at Byron nuclear plant in Illinois in 2007. After months of investigating, the initial report, written by Mulley, included findings that NRC inspectors failed to “conduct any documented inspection activity of essential service water piping” despite ample opportunity and “drops in safety margin that should have been a red flag.” The report also found that inspectors had “provided little meaningful regulatory oversight of corrosion of piping in the Byron essential service water system, one of Byron’s most significant risk systems.” Nearly a year after submitting the report, the Inspector General’s Office issued a revised version. Rather than recognize the failure of the NRC policy, the new report blamed Byron’s owner for NRC shortcomings. The report stated, “the licensee’s failure to analyze a problem correctly resulted in the resident inspector’s lack of awareness of a significant problem.” Mulley told ProPublica that the report, which would normally be provided to the public and Congress, was classified and not published.
Another former employee verified Mulley’s concerns and said NRC’s unwillingness to hold themselves accountable is more expansive than the Byron report. The employee told ProPublica that “the office has become reluctant to probe anything that could become controversial or raise difficult questions for the NRC.” For example, both Mulley and the other employee, stated that the NRC had abandoned an investigation, and decided to forego a report, regarding concerns that the NRC was “relying on outdated methods to predict damage from an aircraft crashing into a plant.”
Read the full article here.