NRC hands out orders in wake of capture of fugitive reactor operators

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On Monday, October 28th, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a confirmatory order to Exelon Generation Company, who manages the Dresden nuclear power plant in Illinois, in response to their investigation of the Michael Buhrman and Landon Brittain case.

The NRC also acted because Dresden personnel knew about Buhrman’s plan to commit an offsite crime, but failed to report the situation to plant management, as required by the regulatory agency.

“We expect nuclear workers to be trustworthy and feel responsible for plant safety. This includes alerting management should they encounter questionable behavior in other workers. Plants must have effective programs and training to make sure employees adhere to these standards,” said NRC Region III Administrator Cynthia D. Pederson.

The Alternative Dispute Resolution process requires a mediator to intercede between the NRC and the licensee.

Exelon agreed to resolve issues at its nuclear power plants including: enhancing the behavioral observation program procedure at all Exelon nuclear plants; providing training to company staff on the revision; evaluating the effectiveness of the training; and developing a presentation of the facts and lessons learned from this incident to be presented at industry forums.

As a result of the investigation, the NRC additionally determined that Buhrman and Brittain could not be relied upon to adhere to the NRC requirements.  The regulatory agency gave orders which prohibit either of them from participating in NRC-licensed activities.   The orders state, “This action is necessary to provide the NRC with reasonable assurance that the protection of public health and safety will not be compromised by your involvement in NRC-licensed activities.”

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