NRC launches special inspection of Lynchburg facility

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has launched a special inspection at the BWX Technologies fuel facility in Lynchburg, Virginia, due to a discovery that workers may have exceeded controls for criticality safety regarding a production line glovebox.

Workers use this glovebox to handle radioactive materials remotely, and strict regulations govern how much radioactive material or other important materials are allowed inside a glovebox. To prevent a criticality, which can happen when too much uranium accumulates in a enough of a quantity and shape to start a chain reaction, these regulations and controls are important.

No safety-related consequences or criticalities occurred at the BWX Technologies fuel facility, but there may have been a potential lapse in the controls according to the NRC, which is what prompted officials to shut the specific process down. It still remains shut down as of Sept. 25.

“BWXT identified this issue and took immediate corrective actions,” NRC Region II Deputy Administrator Len Wert said. “However, a special inspection is appropriate to ensure we fully understand what happened and the possible implications.”

A report that will document the findings will issued within 30 days of the inspection being completed. A fuel facility inspector also is en route.

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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