DOE PRESS RELEASE

December 22, 1997
For more information, contact Jayne Brady, 202-586-5806

 

ENERGY DEPARTMENT CITES ASSOCIATED UNIVERSITIES FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS

The Department of Energy has cited Associated Universities Inc., the outgoing operator of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, for several significant regulatory violations of nuclear safety rules that occurred in June 1997. While actual consequences of the violations were not serious, the department found they reflect a trend of non-compliance with regulatory and Brookhaven procedural requirements.

Violations include:

These incidents were publicly reported when they occurred. Today's action is a result of an investigation by the Energy Department Office of Enforcement and Investigations. A civil penalty in the amount of $142,500 would normally have been issued for the four severity level II violations. However, there is no fine associated with the Preliminary Notice of Violation because the Price-Anderson Amendments Act specifically exempts Associated Universities Inc., and several other not-for-profit organizations from civil penalties. The Department of Energy issued the violation to assure that the problems are properly identified and corrected. AUI is required to respond to the preliminary notice of violation to document actions taken or planned to prevent recurrence of problems. The Price-Anderson Act directed the department to develop and enforce nuclear rules with its contractors. Since the program began in January 1996, the department has issued 19 Notices of Violation and nine civil penalties totaling $415,000. Additional information is available via the Internet at http://tis-hq.eh.doe.gov/.