The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s most recent round of inspections at the U.S. Department of Energy’s mixed oxide fuel facility yielded one minor violation, according to a copy of the report made public last week.
Inspectors, whose 47-page report covered reviews at the construction site from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, said the violation occurred on or before Oct. 22, when plant officials failed to realize they had not met quality control inspection requirements. Specifically, the report said, there was a failure to inspect the internal portion of two welds on stainless steel duct work that later were found to have “rejectable features.”
The violation was assigned a priority level of IV – the least serious on the agency’s scale – and has been addressed by Shaw AREVA MOX Services, which is building the $6.8 billion project.
Audits of other programs, including construction activity, record-keeping, quality control, procurement and all other facets of the project were all found to be adequate, with no “findings of significance” reported.
The MOX facility, scheduled to open at Savannah River Site in 2016, is designed to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium by using small amounts to make fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.