Fukushima and the Pacific Rim ecology
2012-12-07 "Company owner pleads guilty to false statements regarding Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station repair work; Peach Bottom never installed the equipment that was meant for another plant"
by SEAN ADKINS from "Daily Record" newspaper [http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_22140853/company-owner-pleads-guilty-false-statements-regarding-peach]:
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Peach Bottom Township. (FILE)
York, PA -
The owner of a company that repairs and provides equipment for nuclear power plants has pleaded guilty to federal charges of making false statements after the company shipped a steam leak detection monitor to Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station.
The monitor Pentas Controls shipped to Peach Bottom belonged to another power plant, according to court documents.
In 2010, Kevin A. Doyle, owner of Pentas Controls in Arizona, directed one of his employees to switch a broken display on a Peach Bottom monitor with a working unit from the Brunswick Nuclear plant in North Carolina, said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Before the monitor left Arizona for Peach Bottom, a Pentas Controls employee filed down the serial number on the substitute display to conceal its identity -- an NRC violation, according to a commission investigation and U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo in Arizona.
Efforts to reach Doyle on Thursday were unsuccessful.
On March 15, 2011, Doyle made false statements to federal officials by repeatedly denying that the un-repairable Peach Bottom display had been substituted with a working unit from the Brunswick Nuclear Plant, Leonardo's office said in news release.
Sheehan said it was a matter of timing that led to Doyle's decision to swap the monitors.
Pentas was required to return the monitor that it received for Peach Bottom back to the plant in a specific period of time, Sheehan said.
The repair company determined that the monitor had been damaged beyond repair by a lightning strike. At that point, Pentas sought to make its deadline with Peach Bottom and shipped the Brunswick monitor to Peach Bottom, Sheehan said.
Peach Bottom officials never installed the Brunswick monitor, a safety-related piece of equipment, Sheehan said.
They earmarked the monitor as a spare and stored the unit in a warehouse, said Lacey Dean, a spokeswoman for the power station.
"While this isolated issue did not present a safety risk to our plant or our workers at any time, Exelon worked closely with federal investigators and performed a comprehensive equipment review to confirm that no additional concerns related to equipment serviced by Pentas Controls exist at any of Exelon's ten nuclear stations," she said.
The NRC's investigation found that Doyle's conduct created a culture which encouraged other workers to provide inaccurate and incomplete information to federal officials, according to court documents.
In addition, the commission's investigation said a worker believed he had been fired for raising concerns about the replacement of the Peach Bottom monitor, according to court documents.
After the NRC completed its investigation, it informed the U.S. Department of Justice of the results.
Doyle will be sentenced on Feb. 11, 2013. A conviction for false statements carries a maximum penalty of 5 years, a $250,000 fine or both, Leonardo's office said in news release.