Tag Archives: regulation

Vermont Yankee taking cues from Matt Groenig

This falls under the, “I shit you not” category. Help!

Yankee worker suspended after failing alcohol test

By BOB AUDETTE, Reformer Staff

Thursday, March 6 [2008]

BRATTLEBORO — A Vermont Yankee employee tested positive for alcohol after a fellow employee raised concerns about her fitness for duty. The employee, who had a blood alcohol content exceeding the threshold imposed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of .04 percent, was suspended for two weeks following the test on Jan. 29.

A spokesman for Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant said the name and job title of the person who failed the test, and whether she had returned to work, was not available to the public.

“All who work in this industry are bound by fitness-for-duty programs,” said Rob Williams. “Confidentiality of the program is a key federal requirement which rightly protects people’s privacy.”

The employee will be required to participate in follow-up testing, he said.

“The program also makes available counseling and referral services,” said Williams.

Entergy, which owns and operates the nuclear power plant in Vernon, is required by the NRC “to provide reasonable assurance” that plant personnel can perform their tasks “in a reliable manner,” that they are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether legal or illegal, and are notmentally or physically impaired from any cause that may adversely affect their ability to perform their duties, according to the NRC Web site. “All plants are required to have a behavioral observation component for their fitness-for-duty programs,” said Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC. “In this case, it was behavioral observation that led to the testing of the worker, showing the program is doing what it should be.”

According to NRC regulations, if an individual has a blood alcohol content of .04 or greater, he or she is to be removed from his or her posts and referred to a plant operator’s employee assistance program.

It’s not limited to .04 percent though, said Sheehan. A company such as Entergy could institute an even lower threshold.

“Entergy abides by the .04 level,” said Williams.

“If this is a first-time offender, chances are good she will be able to take part in the company’s EAP, get the proper treatment and be restored to her duties,” said Sheehan.

A control room operator tested positive July 2007 for marijuana during a random fitness-for-duty test at Vermont Yankee. The 22-year employee of the plant claimed he had mistakenly eaten marijuana-laced brownies at a July 4 party.

The employee was removed from his duties and assigned to the plant’s training program and enrolled in Entergy’s EAP.

Advertisements