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Violation notice is sent to LANL

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By The Staff

The National Nuclear Security Administration is taking a long, hard look at problems at Los Alamos National Laboratory, according to a letter from Frank Klotz to the lab dated Aug. 25.
According to the letter, that was addressed to LANL director Charlie McMillian, the NNSA “considers the programmatic deficiencies in the LANS nuclear criticality safety program to be of high safety significance.” LANS is the contractor that manages the lab.
Along with the letter to LANL, Klotz, who heads the NNSA, said LANL is receiving a Preliminary Notice of Violation (PNOV), which cited one severity level one violation and five severity level two violations. The violations come with a proposed base civil penalty, before mitigation, of $560,000.
According to the PNOV, the Department of Energy conducted an investigation into deficiencies at the Plutonium Facility (PF-4) at Technical Area 55. Safety violations were first identified 10 years ago — prior to the award of the management contract to LANS — and continued as late as 2013.
Among the violations cited included LANS’ failure to “develop adequate procedures and properly implement procedures,” train personnel properly and identify deficiencies that needed to be corrected at the facility.
According to the PNOV, LANS has 30 days to respond. Should LANS contest any of the findings, its reply must state arguments that support a denial of the alleged violations and “discuss the relevant authorities that support the position asserted, including rulings, regulations, interpretations and previous decisions issued by DOE.”