Contractors in Monticello, the report says, didn’t follow testing protocol on casks holding nuclear waste. 

Federal investigators have accused two former contract employees for Xcel Energy Inc. of willfully violating procedures and falsifying reports about safety-related tests of casks filled with high-level nuclear waste stored at the Monticello, Minn., nuclear power plant.

 The findings released Monday by investigators for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) also allege that Xcel officials did not monitor the work of the contract employees as they placed dye on welds to look for cracks in late 2013. The improper testing was discovered by an NRC inspector who checked videos of the work.
 After the problem was discovered, Xcel said, the casks were rechecked before most of them were placed in a concrete bunker outside the reactor building. They could remain on the site for years because no permanent national storage site has been built for such waste.

Both of the unnamed technicians were testing for cracks on welds sealing the lids on six casks that had been filled with highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods. Test procedures called for placing dye on the welds for 10 to 15 minutes and then looking for cracks.

But the resident NRC inspector, and later other investigators, discovered from videos that the workers waited for far less time, as little as 23 seconds. Yet both workers falsified forms, reporting they waited 10 minutes, the investigative findings said.
The technicians said they hadn’t read the rules or gotten bad information from a supervisor. One worker told investigators that “he was rushing himself because he had heard contractor management complain about employees working too slowly.” The NRC said the technicians’ supervisor “apparently was not routinely on site and did not review the videotapes.”

By Star Tribune – JULY 27, 2015 — 9:20PM  – Read Story –