The University Record, September 21, 1992

U fined for Phoenix incident

The University has been fined $1,250 by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for an incident that occurred at the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Project research nuclear reactor June 8.

In the incident, reactor operators removed a fuel element while the reactor core was running at low power, causing the reactor to shut down. A team of NRC inspectors concluded that the incident posed no threat to the safety or health of reactor staff or others, but indicated that procedures were not followed properly and communication among staff was inadequate.

Phoenix Project Director Ronald F. Fleming “regrets that the University has to pay the $1,250 fine, but we agree that it is appropriate. It is an indicator of the rigor with which safe reactor operation is expected and enforced.”

Fleming notes that the Project staff “has taken corrective actions to guard against any repetition of the event and in general to assure the safe and proper operation of our facility.”

Details on these actions were included in a 30-page report sent to the NRC.