Tuesday, April 8, 2008

NRC to Discuss Annual Assessment for Limerick Nuclear Plant

NRC to Discuss Annual Assessment for Limerick Nuclear Plant

KING OF PRUSSIA -- The results of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s annual safety performance assessment for the Limerick nuclear power plant will be discussed at a public meeting on Thursday, April 10. The session is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Limerick Energy Information Center, 218 Longview Road, Royersford. Limerick is a twin-reactor plant located in Limerick Township (Montgomery County), Pa., and operated by Exelon Generation Co., LLC.

Prior to the conclusion of the meeting, NRC staff will be available to answer questions from the public on the plant’s performance, as well as the agency’s oversight of the facility.

More information at link:



The following commentary is from Donna Cuthbert, Vice President of ACE, The Alliance For A Clean Environment. I urge everyone who is concerned about the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant and the impact on our communities to attend this meeting.




Each year NRC holds a public relations session to praise the performance of Limerick Nuclear Power Plant, regardless of the problems and violations.

ACE officers attended meetings for the past several years prepared with detailed information on serious issues and many important questions. NRC repeatedly gave us nothing but spin, refused to answer certain questions, and even refused to accept our written reports and questions at that meeting. Instead, we were told they had to be sent to King of Prussia. In some cases, our concerns were never addressed. In other cases, responses were sent months later.

There are several issues ACE plans to ask questions about this year.

For example: One such concern we plan to follow up on at this meeting is security - Limerick Nuclear Power Plant is clearly a high risk terrorist target.

We are deeply concerned about sleeping guard incidents which highlight NRC’s lax oversight.

It is difficult to believe NRC’s on-site inspectors didn’t know and/or didn’t find it their responsibility to be concerned with what was going on related to Limerick guards last year when I brought it up at NRC's April meeting.

· If not for whistle blower video obtained by CBS News, showing security officers sleeping on the job at Peach Bottom, NRC would have failed to take reports of sleeping guards seriously. Even after that, NRC failed to take action related to Limerick.

· 3/1/07 in the Mercury Sound Off someone expressed anger about what was going on behind the walls of Limerick Nuclear Plant, saying the NO DATING policy among employees needs to be enforced. At NRC’s April, 2007 meeting, ACE concerns about sleeping and inattentive guards at Limerick were basically dismissed.

· We hope on-site NRC employees at Limerick will pay closer attention and take guard activities more seriously in the future. Clearly, oversight is NRC’s responsibility. In an 11/07 NRC response letter from Richard Barkley to a 10/08 e-mail about my serious security concerns at Limerick, NRC stated, “Our regulatory responsibilities are directed toward the qualification and performance of the guard force members, and we hold NRC licensee’s [Exelon] accountable for their performance.”

Ø We urge NRC on-site employees to make oversight of Exelon’s security workers a top priority, including the number of hours worked.

Ø In the 11/07 letter Mr. Barkely mentioned, “new [NRC] requirements to further limit the number of hours that can be worked by security officers.” Have NRC’s new requirements been completed? If so, what are the new requirements? How does NRC plan to insure that Exelon follows them? What will the penalty be for violations?

Exelon finally fired Wackenhut, the security company at Limerick. The only problem is, Exelon saw to it that the whistle blower was also terminated. Without his video the guards at Limerick would likely still be sleeping and otherwise distracted.

· We hope under the management of Exelon, guards who protect this high level terrorist target will no longer be overworked and underpaid. We believe most guards working for Wackenhut at Limerick did their best to protect the public and hope Exelon will take advantage of a trained security workforce by retaining most of them.

· We hope in the future, Exelon will reward whistle blowers instead of terminating them.

ACE has several other concerns just as important which we plan to try to get addressed at this meeting.

While there is little notice and timing of the meeting is inconvenient, it is important for citizens who can attend to come and express their concerns at this meeting. It is the only public forum all year where you can ask Exelon and NRC what is going on after their PR session. While you only get spin, ACE takes a video the entire proceeding. NRC and Exelon can be held accountable in the court of public opinion in the future.

Donna Cuthbert
ACE Vice President

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