Minor violation noted at Savannah River Site's MOX facility

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s most recent round of inspections at the U.S. Department of Energy’s mixed oxide fuel facility at Savannah River Site yielded one minor notice of violation in which inadequate written instructions resulted in improper installation of storage tanks.

The violation, which has already been corrected, was identified during inspections that covered the period from July 1 to Sept. 30, the report said, and was categorized as a “severity level IV,” the least serious on the NRC scale.

“Three examples were identified for failure to provide work instructions that were appropriate to the nature and circumstances of the work being performed,” the report said. “Failure to provide appropriate work instructions resulted in the improper installation of tanks and structural support steel in the (Aqueous Polishing Area).”

Federal inspectors concluded the other programs at the site – including testing, mechanical and electrical work, adherence to policies and other construction – were “performed in a safe and quality-related manner” with no additional violations or safety issues identified.

The $4.8 billion MOX facility, scheduled to open in 2016, is designed to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium by using small amounts to make fuel for commercial reactors.