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Might this help solve the mystery of issues with rebar and concrete not at required specifications at nuclear power stations under construction in the US, France and Finland? Drunk workers? Or otherwise “under the influence”? And, thus unable to follow instructions?
Vogtle Nuclear Reactor
(See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_alcohol_consumption)

On Wednesday, Oct. 29th, at 9.05 in the morning, a worker at the Vogtle nuclear power units, which are under construction, was tested “For cause”, meaning that the worker was probably very drunk, if it was noticeable: “A contractor employee had a confirmed positive for alcohol during a for-cause fitness-for-duty test.http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/en.html

(2) For cause. In response to an individual’s observed behavior or physical condition indicating possible substance abuse or after receiving credible information that an individual is engaging in substance abuse, as defined in § 26.5;http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part026/full-text.html#part026-0005 (emphasis added)

Someone can have the following problems before being visibly drunk, which would not be good for either construction or operation of nuclear power plants: Shortened attention span; Impaired judgment; Impaired fine muscle coordination. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-term_effects_of_alcohol

Do workers show up under the influence at operating nuclear power stations? Yes! Fairewinds did an analysis which found that from 2008 to 2013 “reported Fitness For Duty violations in the United States have more than doubled, led by alcohol related events which have nearly quadrupled during the same time period.” Some are actually caught off-site by law enforcement. http://www.fairewinds.org/fitness-for-duty-event-reports/ (See more information at bottom of this post and at link.)

The construction problems have been serious enough that the regulators – generally in bed with the nuclear industry – have been forced to stop work on new nuclear construction sites – at least those in the US, France and Finland.

Not following specifications can lead to failures in quality which could impact the safety of these nuclear power stations, which must withstand severe pressure during both normal operations and accidents, and which face accelerated degradation of materials due to neutron bombardment, and which need to withstand earthquakes, direct attacks (think of the mystery drones at French Nuclear Reactors this week), etc. Think of those who cook with a recipe and those cooking without. Without following the recipe it’s the “luck of the draw”. There’s no room for “luck of the draw” for nuclear reactors.

Plus the new reactors under construction seem to be drawing a bad hand by not following specifications. Those who have taken cooking classes may recall having to throw away the food quickly, while the teacher wasn’t looking, of the smart alec know-it-alls who thought they knew everything about cooking and didn’t follow the instructions. But, this is construction of nuclear reactors, folks!

In the three countries the “regulators” appear to have allowed bandaid approaches of various kinds. For the new Vogtle construction they appear to have increased concrete strength to try to compensate for the improperly done rebar:
One key requirement from these chapters of ACI 349 is that the embedment of the reinforcing bars must be sufficient to fully develop the yield strength of the reinforcement bar at the inside face of the associated wall. Following an inspection and extended discussion, the detailing of the bottom side layers of the basemat longitudinal reinforcement has been determined to not satisfy the ACI 349 requirements for embedment using the specified compressive strength for the concrete included in the certified design.” Also, they allowed variation with who knows what impact, due to subsidence – sinking at the site. http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1221/ML12215A085.pdf

Those who don’t have their heads in radioactive sand understand all too well the dangerous repercussions of nuclear disasters, which the nuclear industry calls “incidents”.

The construction of the first nuclear power stations actually included some so shoddily constructed that they never went online but became other types of power generating stations. This comes as no surprise to those who’ve heard stories of students with no construction experience getting paid $25 an hour to build a US nuclear power station, at a time when minimum wage was closer to $2. The only miracle is that there have not been more major accidents.

Vogtle are the reactors that the US government recently gave a huge loan to – Moniz, head of the DOE, went in person to sign the paperwork:
On March 12, 2013 construction on unit 3 officially began with the pour of the basemat concrete for the nuclear island. This operation was complete on March 14. During the weekend of June 1–2, 2013, assembly of the containment vessel began with the bottom head of the vessel being lifted into place on the nuclear island. By June 2013, construction schedule had slipped by at least 14 months. On November 21, 2013, the basemat pour for Unit 4 was completed./
In February 2014, NRC approved $6.5 billion in lending for Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power and Oglethorpe Power Corp without asking for a credit subsidy fee. This, concomitant with record low interest rates and Southern Co. officials repeatedly saying they could fund the building project without government-backed lending”, has caused debate. In a similar case Constellation Energy was asked to pay a credit subsidy fee of hundreds of millions of dollars when it applied to build a nuclear plant in Maryland. The company refused and ultimately cancelled the project.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogtle_Electric_Generating_Plant (Emphasis our own; references at link.)

NRC Event Notification

Power Reactor Event Number: 50574
Facility: VOGTLE
Region: 2 State: GA
Unit: [3] [4] [ ]
RX Type: [3] W-AP1000,[4] W-AP1000
HQ OPS Officer: JEFF ROTTON Notification Date: 10/29/2014
Notification Time: 14:08 [ET]
Event Date: 10/29/2014
Event Time: 09:05 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 10/29/2014
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
Person (Organization):

Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode
3 N N 0 Under Construction 0 Under Construction
4 N N 0 Under Construction 0 Under Construction

Event Text
A contractor employee had a confirmed positive for alcohol during a for-cause fitness-for-duty test. The contractor employee’s unescorted access to the plant has been terminated.

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/en.html#top

Symptoms according to Blood Alcohol Content

We have emphasized with bold those things which would have a bad impact of nuclear construction or safety of operating reactors.
(BAC = 0.03% to 0.12%)
Overall improvement in mood and possible euphoria
Increased self-confidence
Increased sociability

Decreased Anxiety
Shortened attention span
Flushed appearance
Impaired judgment
Impaired fine muscle coordination

(BAC = 0.09% to 0.25%)
Impaired memory and comprehension
Delayed reactions
Ataxia; balance difficulty; unbalanced walk
Blurred vision; other senses may be impaired

(BAC = 0.18% to 0.30%)
Profound confusion
Impaired senses

Increased ataxia; impaired speech; staggering
Dizziness often associated with nausea (“the spins”)
Vomiting (emesis)

(BAC = 0.25% to 0.40%)
Severe ataxia
Lapses in and out of consciousness
Anterograde amnesia

Vomiting (death may occur due to inhalation of vomit (pulmonary aspiration) while unconscious)
Respiratory depression (potentially life-threatening)
Decreased heart rate (usually results in coldness and/or numbness of the limbs)
Urinary incontinence

(BAC = 0.35% to 0.80%)
Unconsciousness (coma)
Depressed reflexes (i.e., pupils do not respond appropriately to changes in light)
Marked and life-threatening respiratory depression
Markedly decreased heart rate
Most deaths from alcohol poisoning are caused by dosage levels in this range.

Study of Workers at Operating Reactors

Fitness for Duty: Operating Under the Influence
September 19th, 2013
” (includes video) http://www.fairewinds.org/analysis-fitness-duty-events-nuclear-power-plants-united-states-2008-2013/
Fitness for Duty Event Reports (2008 – 2013)
Beginning in 1989, United States Nuclear Power Plants (NPP) licensees have been required to implement a Fitness For Duty program that satisfies safety requirements created in the Federal Code of Regulations 10 CFR Part 26. This Fitness For Duty Policy codified in federal statute was created in order to ensure that individuals granted access to nuclear power plants are trustworthy, reliable, not under the influence of any substance, whether legal or illegal, and not mentally or physically impaired. Accordingly, an individual deemed fit for duty by the nuclear licensee is believed to be capable of competently performing his or her duties and believed to be trustworthy and reliable as demonstrated by abstaining from any substance abuse.

Fitness For Duty tests are administered by the licensee either randomly, in a lottery-style system where the winners get to report to the medical office for testing, or for-cause, which are administrated when supervisors note aberrant behaviors and then also order follow-up testing to ensure compliance with the federal Fitness For Duty (FFD) statutory requirements. Possible aberrant behaviors discovered and examined by supervisors include a wide range of actions from staggering or making simple mistakes (such as turning the wrong switch) to acting belligerently or out of character, among a multitude of overall deviations from normal employee behavior for that individual.

Fairewinds analysis of the last five years of reported Fitness for Duty events shows 173 Fitness for Duty event reports filed between 2008 and September 2013:

During the past five years, reported Fitness For Duty violations in the United States have more than doubled, led by alcohol related events which have nearly quadrupled during the same time period.

Most Fitness For Duty events are not reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission through the event notification system

The majority of Fitness For Duty violations occur in the southeast portion of the United States.

There is a large discrepancy between the causes of Fitness For Duty events between licensee employees and temporary contract workers at nuclear power plants across the United States.

Recent trends indicate that licensee’s Fitness For Duty program is not completely effective, as a significant fraction of violations are caught offsite by national, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

5-year trends indicate that Fitness For Duty programs are deficient, as the data demonstrates that workers including licensed reactor operators are increasingly impaired by drug and alcohol dependencies, and a significant number of violations are caught offsite by national, state, and local law enforcement agencies.http://www.fairewinds.org/fitness-for-duty-event-reports/ Fairewinds CC-BY-SA (Emphasis our own)