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Fri March 7, 2014
Nuclear regulators flag concerns over safety culture among security officers at Palisades
This story was corrected to reflect how many security officers talked to the NRC.
Nuclear regulators have been interviewing certain Palisades employees as part of ongoing oversight to see if safety culture has improved at the nuclear plant near South Haven. That's after a third-party report found “examples of a lack of accountability at all levels at the Plant were evident.”
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the safety culture has improved in some areas of the plant.
But in interviews with the NRC, 29 of Palisades' security officers say they’re not comfortable raising safety concerns because they fear retaliation from their supervisors. Palisades won't say how many security officers there are total, for safety reasons.
“Even though it’s something that’s taken really seriously by the commission it is not a (regulatory) violation,” NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng said. That means regulators can’t take any enforcement actions against Palisades.
Mitlyng says the main concern is that a poor safety culture could lead to actual performance problems.
Plant spokeswoman Lindsay Rose says management is aware of the concerns and has a plan in place to address them. The plant will have to report to the NRC how the plan is working within a few months.