Lusby, MD – Exelon Generation, the owners and operators of Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby, hosted a “community information night” at the bayside plant Tuesday, Aug. 19.

Perhaps overshadowed lately by the rancor generated from the plan by Dominion to convert their nearby liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant into an export facility, Calvert Cliffs, which has been in operation since the late 1970s, has maintained its routine pace. The Aug. 19 event gave invitees a chance to meet the plant employees involved with training operators, human resources, radiation protection, maintenance and security. A representative from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was also on hand to answer questions.

Earlier this month the NRC notified Calvert Cliff’s Site Vice President George Gellrich that a recent “miscalculation” classified as “low to moderate” could prompt the commission to increase its scrutiny of the plant.

“The issue involves the Unit 2 main steam line radiation monitors, which measure the radioactivity in the main steam system at the exit of the steam generators in order to detect a primary-to-secondary leak, i.e., steam generator tube leakage. The old instruments read in rad per hour,” stated NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan. “The new instruments read in uCi/cc (microcuries per cubic centimeter). They are also different types of detectors. So when converting from the old Emergency Action Levels (in rad/hr) to the new EALs (in uCI/cc), the company introduced an error and did not identify it until four months after it approved and implemented the incorrect EAL value. The bottom line was that the calculated EALs for the new instruments were a factor of 100 too low, which could have led to a situation where a General Emergency was declared when an Alert was warranted for that EAL.”

Calvert Cliffs Plant Manager Mark D. Flaherty confirmed that Exelon was working through the process and would subsequently respond to the commission’s findings and implement “the appropriate regulatory process.” Flaherty said the process could take from two to six months to complete.

There are two resident NRC inspectors on-site full time at Calvert Cliffs. Rodney Clagg was recently named the senior resident inspector at the local plant. The on-site personnel from the commission issue inspection reports on a quarterly basis.

Each employee manning the various information displays stressed that “safety” is the plant’s top priority. The risk of radiation exposure requires the donning of special clothes. As low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) engineer Crystal L. Couey carefully explained the steps for outfitting individuals who intended to breech areas of the plant where exposure to significant levels of radiation is possible. The outfit—hooded jump suit, gloves, foot coverings, hard hat, safety glasses plus radiation protection devices—is worn routinely. Couey said hundreds of workers are outfitted during outages at the plant. The anti-contamination clothes are all disposable.

Nuclear Security Officer James Furrow was unable to tell The Bay Net the size of the security detail. He did state that he and many of his fellow security officers—about 70 percent—have prior experience in the Armed Forces. Furrow, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said the plant’s detail works closely and trains with personnel from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office and Maryland State Police. Deputies from the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office have also trained with the Calvert Cliffs security officers. Drills are done quarterly and the “Force-on-Force” training program is conducted every three years.

For more information about the NRC visit www.nrc.gov

For more information about Exelon Corporation visit www.exeloncorp.com

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com