Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Fluor-B&W Portsmouth is investigating claims that employees altered documents to cover up problems with radiation detection equipment being used at the uranium enrichment plant in Piketon.
The Dayton Daily News first reported employees and subcontract personnel were believed to have altered records that would have revealed problems with hand-held radiation detection devices.
“It became clear that some of our radiation monitoring equipment was left in service even though it had failed some daily source checks,” Fluor-B&W spokesman Jeff Wagner told the Daily Times on Saturday. “An employee concern was raised about this — which is great, I mean that’s exactly what we want if employees see something that they don’t think is right, we want them to stop and raise that to our attention. So as we started looking into this it became clear that some folks went back into these logs, which had been filed away in records, and they changed them.”
The issue was discovered in April, and Fluor-B&W and the Department of Energy Inspector General each opened an investigation which uncovered 25 altered reports.
“We’ve identified 25 descrete data points after reviewing thousands of monitoring logs and millions of data points in our efforts to confirm that no contaminated materials have left the site,” Wagner said.
In a company memo sent May 22 to all employees, Fluor-B&W Site Project Director Dennis Carr said the number of incidents was limited and primarily associated with the Model 2360 Ludlum Alpha-Beta probes. He said the company has also tracked usage of that equipment on those days “to ensure there was no potential for contaminated objects to have been improperly released from our radiological areas.”
Carr said it was not clear, but the company does believe the records were altered in an attempt to avoid detection of the issue.
“Intentional alteration of federal records is not only a breach of company’s ethics policy and a level 1 violation of our disciplinary policy, but could carry with it serious legal and/or contractual consequences for the involved individuals and the company,” Carr said.
Now begins a process of picking up and moving forward, he said.
“To date we have verified that all instrumentation currently in use on the Project is procedurally compliant and have invoked a series of added controls to ensure deployed instrumentation is ready for Project use. Additionally we have re-qualified all radiation protection personnel in the appropriate process for performing and recording daily source checks,” Carr said.
He said the appropriate employee actions were taken earlier in the week, and the company will, in the near future, be announcing new leadership and reorganization for the Radiation Protection Program.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter at @PDTWriter.