Nuclear Health and Safety:

Savannah River's Unusual Occurrence Reporting Program Has Been Ineffective

RCED-90-53: Published: Dec 20, 1989. Publicly Released: Feb 20, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) Unusual Occurrence Reporting (UOR) program at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

GAO found that Savannah River Site personnel reported to DOE headquarters only 39 percent of significant reactor-related events under UOR requirements, because: (1) DOE oversight of contractor activities was inadequate; (2) DOE had not developed written procedures for evaluating the contractor's internal reporting system to ensure its compatibility with UOR requirements; (3) contractor personnel did not report under UOR events which they personally judged to be insignificant or of no interest to other DOE sites; and (4) the UOR implementation plan lacked specific guidelines for UOR determinations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Directive Implementation Instruction (DII) 5000.3, Occurrence Reporting and Processing of Operations Information, was issued by the DOE Savannah River Office on December 28, 1990. This document requires that DOE representatives be involved in the review of occurrence reports prepared by contractors.

    Recommendation: To better ensure the reporting of all significant events to DOE headquarters under the DOE UOR program, the Secretary of Energy should require the Savannah River Operations Office to establish formal written procedures for: (1) reviewing and analyzing the contractor's internal reports; and (2) evaluating the contractor's internal reporting system to ensure that it is compatible with the objectives of the DOE UOR program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The existing SR Order (SR 5000.3) was not revised due to cancellation of DOE Order 5000.3 by issue of new DOE 5000.3A. A new SR document, Occurrence Reporting and Processing of Operations Information, DII 5000.3, was released on December 28, 1990. This document implements the requirements of DOE Order 5000.3A.

    Recommendation: To better ensure the reporting of all significant events to DOE headquarters under the DOE UOR program, the Secretary of Energy should revise the DOE UOR order to more clearly specify which reactor-related events should be reported to DOE headquarters as UOR.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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