In the Matter of Mr. Thomas B. Saunders, 57778-57781 [2019-23411]

Download as PDF 57778 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 208 / Monday, October 28, 2019 / Notices In accordance with the NRC’s regulations in part 51 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ‘‘Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions,’’ that implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the NRC staff has prepared a draft EA documenting its new review of the environmental impacts of continued operation for another 40 years. Based on the environmental review, the NRC has made a preliminary determination that the proposed action will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment, and that a FONSI is therefore appropriate. By this notice, the NRC is requesting public comment on the draft FONSI and supporting draft EA. III. Summary of Draft Environmental Assessment The draft EA is publicly available in ADAMS (ADAMS Accession No. ML19228A278), or at this link: https:// www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1922/ ML19228a278.pdf. A summary description of the proposed action and expected environmental impacts is provided below. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Description of the Proposed Action The proposed Federal action is approval of WEC’s license renewal request, which if granted would allow WEC to continue fabricating lowenriched uranium fuel assemblies at the CFFF and continue to be a source of nuclear fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. The proposed action analyzed in the draft EA is a renewed license term of 40 years, which is the term WEC has requested. Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action In the draft EA, the NRC staff assessed the potential environmental impacts from the proposed license renewal associated with the following resource areas: land use; geology and soils; water resources; ecological resources; cultural resources; air quality; socioeconomics; environmental justice; noise and aesthetics; public and occupational health; transportation; and waste management. The NRC staff also considered the cumulative impacts from past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions when combined with the proposed action. The NRC staff determined that continued CFFF operations would not result in significant environmental impacts. The WEC is not proposing changes in authorized operations or activities. Past and current activities at VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 Oct 25, 2019 Jkt 250001 CFFF have resulted in soil, surface water, and groundwater contamination from radiological and nonradiological contaminants onsite. The WEC has proposed changes to its NRC-required environmental monitoring program, because of the contamination, that would be implemented during the period of the renewed license. The WEC will also implement actions related to the investigation and remediation of contamination and response to future releases under a Consent Agreement with South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action As one alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered denial of WEC’s license renewal request (i.e., the ‘‘no-action’’ alternative), where NRC would not approve the license renewal. The CFFF would continue to operate under its current license until it expires in 2027. The NRC staff previously evaluated the environmental impacts of WEC operating until 2027 when it approved WEC’s license renewal in 2007. The NRC staff concluded in the 2007 EA that the continued operation of the CFFF would not result in significant impact to the environment (ADAMS Accession No. ML070510647). As another alternative, the NRC considered approval of WEC’s renewal request, but for a duration of less than 40 years. The WEC would continue operating for a period of less than 40 years, resulting in potential impacts that would be similar to those of the proposed action. The impacts from decommissioning would be similar but occur earlier. IV. Draft FONSI In accordance with NEPA and 10 CFR part 51, the NRC staff has conducted an environmental review of WEC’s request to renew its NRC license SNM–1107 to allow WEC to continue its fuel fabrication operations at the CFFF. Based on its environmental review of the proposed action, as documented in the draft EA, the NRC staff preliminarily determined that granting the requested license renewal would not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Therefore, the NRC staff makes its preliminary determination, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.31, that the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) is not required for the proposed action and a draft FONSI is appropriate. The draft FONSI and supporting draft EA are a preliminary analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed action and its alternatives. Based on PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 comments received on the draft FONSI and draft EA, the staff may publish a final FONSI and final EA, or instead may find that preparation of an EIS is warranted should significant impacts resulting from the proposed action be identified. Should an EIS be warranted, a Notice of Intent to prepare the EIS will be published in the Federal Register. Pursuant to 10 CFR 51.33(a), the NRC staff is making the draft FONSI and draft EA available for public review and comment. V. Meeting Information The NRC is announcing that staff will hold a public comment meeting and open house to accept comments on the draft EA. The public meeting will be held on Thursday, November 14, 2019, at the Medallion Conference Center located at 7309 Garners Ferry Road in Columbia, South Carolina. The open house will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting will run from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Persons interested in attending this meeting should check the NRC’s Public Meeting Schedule web page at https:// www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg for additional information. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of October, 2019. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. John R. Tappert, Director, Division of Rulemaking, Environmental, and Financial Support, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards. [FR Doc. 2019–23419 Filed 10–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. IA–19–027; NRC–2019–0205] In the Matter of Mr. Thomas B. Saunders Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Confirmatory Order; issuance. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a Confirmatory Order to Mr. Thomas B. Saunders, a former executive of Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC). This action is based on an investigation conducted by the NRC Office of Investigations (OI), that concluded Mr. Saunders had a mechanical planner removed from the Vogtle Units 3 and 4 construction site and that Mr. Saunders was aware at that time that the mechanical planner had engaged in protected activity by raising numerous safety-related welding and module fit-up concerns, constituting an apparent violation of NRC regulations. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 208 / Monday, October 28, 2019 / Notices An Alternative Dispute Resolution mediation session was held on August 15, 2019, during which Mr. Saunders and the NRC reached a preliminary agreement. Subsequently, Mr. Saunders consented to the specific actions listed in Section V of the Confirmatory Order and the NRC agrees to not pursue any further enforcement action in connection with this apparent violation. The Confirmatory Order became effective upon issuance. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. George A. Wilson, Director, Office of Enforcement. The Confirmatory Order containing the agreements made between Mr. Saunders and the NRC was issued on October 21, 2019. Confirmatory Order Effective Upon Issuance DATES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2019–0205 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this document using any of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov/ and search for Docket ID NRC–2019–0205. Address questions about NRC docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges; telephone: 301–287–9127; email: Jennifer.Borges@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclyavailable documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ adams.html. To begin the search, select ‘‘Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.’’ For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301– 415–4737, or by email to pdr.resource@ nrc.gov. The Confirmatory Order is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML19269C005. • NRC’s PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC’s PDR, Room O1–F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. ADDRESSES: John Harrison, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001; telephone: 301–287–9452, email: john.harrison@ nrc.gov. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The text of the Confirmatory Order is attached. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of October 2019. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 Oct 25, 2019 Jkt 250001 Attachment—Confirmatory Order Prohibiting Involvement in NRCLicensed Activities United States of America Nuclear Regulatory Commission In the Matter of Mr. Thomas B. Saunders. IA–19–027 I Mr. Thomas B. Saunders held the position of Contracts and Procurement Director for Construction at Southern Nuclear Operating Company’s (SNC’s) Vogtle Electric Generation Plant (Vogtle), Units 3 and 4. SNC is the holder of Combined License Nos. NPF– 91 (Vogtle Unit 3) and NPF–92 (Vogtle Unit 4) issued by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 52, on February 10, 2012. This Confirmatory Order (CO) is the result of an agreement reached during an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediation session conducted on August 15, 2019 in Rockville, Maryland. II On November 20, 2018, the NRC Office of Investigations (OI), issued a report (2–2017–032) related to SNC, Vogtle Units 3 and 4, currently under construction. Based on the evidence developed during its investigation, the NRC identified an apparent violation of 10 CFR part 52.5, ‘‘Employee Protection,’’ and determined that the apparent violation of 10 CFR 52.5 was willful. A mechanical planner at Vogtle was first employed by Black Diamond Services, a contractor for Chicago Bridge and Iron. During this first period of employment, which spanned part of 2014 and 2015, the employee raised numerous safety-related welding and module fit-up concerns. The individual returned to Vogtle on July 11, 2017. On July 13, 2017, Mr. Saunders had an SNC official remove the mechanical planner from the site, an apparent violation of 10 CFR 52.5, ‘‘Employee protection.’’ At the time he had the mechanical planner removed, Mr. Saunders was aware that the mechanical planner had engaged in protected activity by raising numerous safety-related welding and module fitup concerns. The mechanical planner was terminated from employment on July 14, 2017. PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 57779 By letter dated June 12, 2019, the NRC notified Mr. Saunders of the results of the investigation with an opportunity to: (1) Attend a predecisional enforcement conference or (2) to participate in an ADR mediation session in an effort to resolve this this concern. In response to the NRC’s offer, Mr. Saunders requested the use of ADR. On August 15, 2019, the NRC and Mr. Saunders participated in an ADR session mediated by a professional mediator, arranged through Cornell University’s Institute on Conflict Resolution. The ADR process is one in which a neutral mediator, with no decision-making authority, assists the parties in reaching an agreement on resolving any differences regarding the dispute. This CO is issued pursuant to the agreement reached during the August 15, 2019, ADR mediation session. III During the ADR session, Mr. Saunders and the NRC reached a preliminary settlement agreement. The elements of the agreement include the following: 1. Mr. Saunders acknowledges that a violation of 10 CFR 52.5 (Employee Protection) occurred. 2. Within 120 days from the issuance of the CO, Mr. Saunders will present as an individual or participate in a panel discussion, as applicable, lessons learned regarding the importance of employee protection (to include contractors), why it is necessary to ensure proper follow-up in response, and proper follow-up when evaluating any potentially adverse personnel decisions. Mr. Saunders will submit the presentation materials to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for comment and approval prior to making these presentations. Specifically, Mr. Saunders will present at: a. Southern Nuclear’s new employee orientation training on Employee Protection based on Mr. Saunders’ personal case study and will honestly answer questions about what he failed to do (follow STAR, seek advice from management, consult with HR, and engage with the consolidated concerns department). b. One corporate and one site level leadership meeting at Southern Nuclear on Employee Protection, based on Mr. Saunders’ personal case study, and will honestly answer questions about what he failed to do (follow STAR, seek advice from management, consult with HR, and engage with the consolidated concerns department). In the event that Southern does not agree to have Mr. Saunders make these E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1 57780 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 208 / Monday, October 28, 2019 / Notices presentations, he will inform the Director, Office of Enforcement. 3. Within one year of the issuance of the CO, Mr. Saunders will make presentations at five industry forums, including the following: • ANS (American Nuclear Society) • INPO (Institute of Nuclear Power Operations) • NAYGN (North American Young Generation in Nuclear) • WIN (Women in Nuclear) Mr. Saunders will select a fifth industry forum, and will notify the Director, Office of Enforcement, for review and approval of the forum. Mr. Saunders will submit the presentation materials to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for comment and approval prior to making these presentations. Mr. Saunders will also submit an article for publication to an industry forum. Prior to submission to the industry forum, Mr. Saunders will submit the article to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for review and approval. 4. If asked by the NRC, Mr. Saunders will present at the annual Regulatory Information Conferences Mr. Saunders’ personal case study, and honestly answer their questions about what he failed to do (follow STAR, seek advice from management, consult with HR, and engage with the consolidated concerns department) which is the subject of this agreement. The NRC agrees to not pursue any further enforcement action in connection with the NRC’s June 12, 2019 letter to Mr. Thomas B. Saunders. On October 1, 2019, Mr. Saunders consented to issuing this CO with his commitments, as described in Section V below. Mr. Saunders further agreed that this CO is to be effective upon issuance, the agreement memorialized in this CO settles the matter between the parties, and that he has waived his right to a hearing. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES IV I find that Mr. Saunders’ commitments as set forth in Section V below, are acceptable and necessary and conclude that with these commitments the public health and safety are reasonably assured. In view of the foregoing, I have determined that public health and safety require that Mr. Saunders’ commitments be confirmed by this CO. Based on the above and Mr. Saunders’ consent, this CO is effective upon issuance. V Accordingly, pursuant to sections 103, 161b, 161i, 182 and 186 of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 Oct 25, 2019 Jkt 250001 Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and the Commission’s regulations in 10 CFR 2.202, and 10 CFR part 52, it is hereby ordered, effective upon the date of issuance, that: 1. Within 120 days from the issuance of the CO, Mr. Saunders will present as an individual or participate in a panel discussion, as applicable, lessons learned regarding the importance of employee protection (to include contractors), why it is necessary to ensure proper follow-up in response, and proper follow-up when evaluating any potentially adverse personnel decisions. Mr. Saunders will submit the presentation materials to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for comment and approval 14 days prior to making these presentations. Specifically, Mr. Saunders will present at: a. Southern Nuclear’s new employee orientation training on Employee Protection, based on Mr. Saunders’ personal case study, and will honestly answer questions about what he failed to do (follow the STAR protocol, i.e., Stop, Think, Act, Review; seek advice from management; consult with the applicable human resources organization (HR); and engage with the consolidated concerns department). b. One corporate and one site level leadership meeting at Southern Nuclear on Employee Protection, based on Mr. Saunders’ personal case study, and will honestly answer questions about what he failed to do (follow STAR, seek advice from management, consult with HR, and engage with the consolidated concerns department). In the event that Southern does not agree to have Mr. Saunders make these presentations, he will inform the Director, Office of Enforcement. 2. Within one year of the issuance of the CO, Mr. Saunders will make presentations at five industry forums, including the following: • ANS (American Nuclear Society) • INPO (Institute of Nuclear Power Operations) • NAYGN (North American Young Generation in Nuclear) • WIN (Women in Nuclear) Mr. Saunders will select a fifth industry forum, and will notify the Director, Office of Enforcement, for review and approval of the forum. If any of the forums listed above do not allow Mr. Saunders to present, Mr. Saunders will notify the Director, Office of Enforcement with a proposed substitute. Mr. Saunders will submit the presentation materials to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for comment and approval 14 days prior to making these presentations. PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3. Mr. Saunders will also submit an article for publication to an industry forum. 14 days prior to submission for publication, Mr. Saunders will submit the article to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for review and approval. 4. If asked by the NRC, Mr. Saunders will present at one of the annual Regulatory Information Conferences Mr. Saunders’ personal case study, and honestly answer questions about what he failed to do (follow STAR, seek advice from management, consult with HR, and engage with the consolidated concerns department) which is the subject of this agreement. The Director, Office of Enforcement, or designee, may, in writing, relax or rescind any of the above conditions upon demonstration by Mr. Saunders of good cause. VI In accordance with 10 CFR 2.202 and 10 CFR 2.309, any person adversely affected by this CO, other than Mr. Saunders, may request a hearing within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of issuance of this CO. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the time to request a hearing. A request for extension of time must be made in writing to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, and include a statement of good cause for the extension. All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a request for hearing or petition to intervene (hereinafter ‘‘petition’’), and documents filed by interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with the NRC’s E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007, as amended at 77 FR 46562, August 3, 2012). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve all adjudicatory documents over the internet, or in some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in accordance with the procedures described below. To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 10 days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the Office of the Secretary by email at hearing.docket@nrc.gov, or by telephone at 301–415–1677, to (1) request a digital identification (ID) certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or representative) to digitally sign E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 208 / Monday, October 28, 2019 / Notices submissions and access the E-Filing system for any proceeding in which it is participating; and (2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a petition or other adjudicatory document (even in instances in which the participant, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding if the Secretary has not already established an electronic docket. Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on the NRC’s public website at http:// www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/ getting-started.html. Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant can then submit adjudicatory documents. Submissions must be in Portable Document Format (PDF). Additional guidance on PDF submissions is available on the NRC’s public website at http://www.nrc.gov/ site-help/electronic-sub-ref-mat.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the document is submitted through the NRC’s E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the EFiling system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access to the document to the NRC’s Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the document on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before adjudicatory documents are filed so that they can obtain access to the documents via the E-Filing system. A person filing electronically using the NRC’s adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC’s Electronic Filing Help Desk through the ‘‘Contact Us’’ link located on the NRC’s Public website at http:// www.nrc.gov/site-help/esubmittals.html, by email to MSHD.Resource@nrc.gov, or by a tollfree call at 1–866–672–7640. The NRC Electronic Filing Help Desk is available between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 Oct 25, 2019 Jkt 250001 Participants who believe that they have good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing stating why there is good cause for not filing electronically and requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing adjudicatory documents in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the provider of the service. A presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists. Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in the NRC’s electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at https:// adams.nrc.gov/ehd, unless excluded pursuant to an Order of the Commission or the presiding officer. If you do not have an NRC-issued digital ID certificate as described above, click ‘‘Cancel’’ when the link requests certificates and you will be automatically directed to the NRC’s electronic hearing dockets where you will be able to access any publicly available documents in a particular hearing docket. Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, or personal phone numbers in their filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of such information. For example, in some instances, individuals provide home addresses in order to demonstrate proximity to a facility or site. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submission. PO 00000 Frm 00094 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 57781 The Commission will issue a notice or order granting or denying a hearing request or intervention petition, designating the issues for any hearing that will be held and designating the Presiding Officer. A notice granting a hearing will be published in the Federal Register and served on the parties to the hearing. If a person (other than Mr. Saunders) requests a hearing, that person shall set forth with particularity the manner in which his interest is adversely affected by this CO and shall address the criteria set forth in 10 CFR 2.309(d) and (f). If a hearing is requested by a person whose interest is adversely affected, the Commission will issue an order designating the time and place of any hearings. If a hearing is held, the issue to be considered at such hearing shall be whether this CO should be sustained. In the absence of any request for hearing, or written approval of an extension of time in which to request a hearing, the provisions specified in Section V above shall be final 30 days from the date of this CO without further order or proceedings. If an extension of time for requesting a hearing has been approved, the provisions specified in Section V shall be final when the extension expires if a hearing request has not been received. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Dated this 21st day of October, 2019. George A. Wilson, Director, Office of Enforcement, Nuclear Regulatory Commission. [FR Doc. 2019–23411 Filed 10–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–443; NRC–2019–0207] NextEra Energy Seabrook, LLC; Seabrook Station, Unit No. 1 Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: License amendment application; opportunity to comment, request a hearing, and petition for leave to intervene. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of an amendment to Renewed Facility Operating License No. NPF–86, issued to NextEra Energy Seabrook, LLC, et al. (NextEra), for operation of the Seabrook Station, Unit No. 1 (Seabrook). The amendment would extend the allowed outage time for one alternating current (AC) vital panel not energized from its associated inverter from 24 SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 208 (Monday, October 28, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 57778-57781]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-23411]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. IA-19-027; NRC-2019-0205]


In the Matter of Mr. Thomas B. Saunders

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Confirmatory Order; issuance.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a 
Confirmatory Order to Mr. Thomas B. Saunders, a former executive of 
Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC). This action is based on an 
investigation conducted by the NRC Office of Investigations (OI), that 
concluded Mr. Saunders had a mechanical planner removed from the Vogtle 
Units 3 and 4 construction site and that Mr. Saunders was aware at that 
time that the mechanical planner had engaged in protected activity by 
raising numerous safety-related welding and module fit-up concerns, 
constituting an apparent violation of NRC regulations.

[[Page 57779]]

An Alternative Dispute Resolution mediation session was held on August 
15, 2019, during which Mr. Saunders and the NRC reached a preliminary 
agreement. Subsequently, Mr. Saunders consented to the specific actions 
listed in Section V of the Confirmatory Order and the NRC agrees to not 
pursue any further enforcement action in connection with this apparent 
violation. The Confirmatory Order became effective upon issuance.

DATES: The Confirmatory Order containing the agreements made between 
Mr. Saunders and the NRC was issued on October 21, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2019-0205 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may obtain publicly-available information related to this document 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov/ and search for Docket ID NRC-2019-0205. Address 
questions about NRC docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges; 
telephone: 301-287-9127; email: [email protected]. For technical 
questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section of this document.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select ``Begin Web-based ADAMS 
Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public 
Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or 
by email to [email protected]. The Confirmatory Order is available 
in ADAMS under Accession No. ML19269C005.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Harrison, Office of Enforcement, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; 
telephone: 301-287-9452, email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the Confirmatory Order is 
attached.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of October 2019.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
George A. Wilson,
Director, Office of Enforcement.

Attachment--Confirmatory Order Prohibiting Involvement in NRC-Licensed 
Activities

United States of America

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    In the Matter of Mr. Thomas B. Saunders.
IA-19-027

Confirmatory Order Effective Upon Issuance

I

    Mr. Thomas B. Saunders held the position of Contracts and 
Procurement Director for Construction at Southern Nuclear Operating 
Company's (SNC's) Vogtle Electric Generation Plant (Vogtle), Units 3 
and 4. SNC is the holder of Combined License Nos. NPF-91 (Vogtle Unit 
3) and NPF-92 (Vogtle Unit 4) issued by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC), pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR) Part 52, on February 10, 2012.
    This Confirmatory Order (CO) is the result of an agreement reached 
during an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediation session 
conducted on August 15, 2019 in Rockville, Maryland.

II

    On November 20, 2018, the NRC Office of Investigations (OI), issued 
a report (2-2017-032) related to SNC, Vogtle Units 3 and 4, currently 
under construction. Based on the evidence developed during its 
investigation, the NRC identified an apparent violation of 10 CFR part 
52.5, ``Employee Protection,'' and determined that the apparent 
violation of 10 CFR 52.5 was willful. A mechanical planner at Vogtle 
was first employed by Black Diamond Services, a contractor for Chicago 
Bridge and Iron. During this first period of employment, which spanned 
part of 2014 and 2015, the employee raised numerous safety-related 
welding and module fit-up concerns.
    The individual returned to Vogtle on July 11, 2017. On July 13, 
2017, Mr. Saunders had an SNC official remove the mechanical planner 
from the site, an apparent violation of 10 CFR 52.5, ``Employee 
protection.'' At the time he had the mechanical planner removed, Mr. 
Saunders was aware that the mechanical planner had engaged in protected 
activity by raising numerous safety-related welding and module fit-up 
concerns. The mechanical planner was terminated from employment on July 
14, 2017.
    By letter dated June 12, 2019, the NRC notified Mr. Saunders of the 
results of the investigation with an opportunity to: (1) Attend a 
predecisional enforcement conference or (2) to participate in an ADR 
mediation session in an effort to resolve this this concern.
    In response to the NRC's offer, Mr. Saunders requested the use of 
ADR. On August 15, 2019, the NRC and Mr. Saunders participated in an 
ADR session mediated by a professional mediator, arranged through 
Cornell University's Institute on Conflict Resolution. The ADR process 
is one in which a neutral mediator, with no decision-making authority, 
assists the parties in reaching an agreement on resolving any 
differences regarding the dispute. This CO is issued pursuant to the 
agreement reached during the August 15, 2019, ADR mediation session.

III

    During the ADR session, Mr. Saunders and the NRC reached a 
preliminary settlement agreement. The elements of the agreement include 
the following:
    1. Mr. Saunders acknowledges that a violation of 10 CFR 52.5 
(Employee Protection) occurred.
    2. Within 120 days from the issuance of the CO, Mr. Saunders will 
present as an individual or participate in a panel discussion, as 
applicable, lessons learned regarding the importance of employee 
protection (to include contractors), why it is necessary to ensure 
proper follow-up in response, and proper follow-up when evaluating any 
potentially adverse personnel decisions. Mr. Saunders will submit the 
presentation materials to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for 
comment and approval prior to making these presentations. Specifically, 
Mr. Saunders will present at:
    a. Southern Nuclear's new employee orientation training on Employee 
Protection based on Mr. Saunders' personal case study and will honestly 
answer questions about what he failed to do (follow STAR, seek advice 
from management, consult with HR, and engage with the consolidated 
concerns department).
    b. One corporate and one site level leadership meeting at Southern 
Nuclear on Employee Protection, based on Mr. Saunders' personal case 
study, and will honestly answer questions about what he failed to do 
(follow STAR, seek advice from management, consult with HR, and engage 
with the consolidated concerns department).
    In the event that Southern does not agree to have Mr. Saunders make 
these

[[Page 57780]]

presentations, he will inform the Director, Office of Enforcement.
    3. Within one year of the issuance of the CO, Mr. Saunders will 
make presentations at five industry forums, including the following:

 ANS (American Nuclear Society)
 INPO (Institute of Nuclear Power Operations)
 NAYGN (North American Young Generation in Nuclear)
 WIN (Women in Nuclear)

    Mr. Saunders will select a fifth industry forum, and will notify 
the Director, Office of Enforcement, for review and approval of the 
forum. Mr. Saunders will submit the presentation materials to the 
Director, Office of Enforcement, for comment and approval prior to 
making these presentations.
    Mr. Saunders will also submit an article for publication to an 
industry forum. Prior to submission to the industry forum, Mr. Saunders 
will submit the article to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for 
review and approval.
    4. If asked by the NRC, Mr. Saunders will present at the annual 
Regulatory Information Conferences Mr. Saunders' personal case study, 
and honestly answer their questions about what he failed to do (follow 
STAR, seek advice from management, consult with HR, and engage with the 
consolidated concerns department) which is the subject of this 
agreement.
    The NRC agrees to not pursue any further enforcement action in 
connection with the NRC's June 12, 2019 letter to Mr. Thomas B. 
Saunders.
    On October 1, 2019, Mr. Saunders consented to issuing this CO with 
his commitments, as described in Section V below. Mr. Saunders further 
agreed that this CO is to be effective upon issuance, the agreement 
memorialized in this CO settles the matter between the parties, and 
that he has waived his right to a hearing.

IV

    I find that Mr. Saunders' commitments as set forth in Section V 
below, are acceptable and necessary and conclude that with these 
commitments the public health and safety are reasonably assured. In 
view of the foregoing, I have determined that public health and safety 
require that Mr. Saunders' commitments be confirmed by this CO. Based 
on the above and Mr. Saunders' consent, this CO is effective upon 
issuance.

V

    Accordingly, pursuant to sections 103, 161b, 161i, 182 and 186 of 
the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and the Commission's 
regulations in 10 CFR 2.202, and 10 CFR part 52, it is hereby ordered, 
effective upon the date of issuance, that:
    1. Within 120 days from the issuance of the CO, Mr. Saunders will 
present as an individual or participate in a panel discussion, as 
applicable, lessons learned regarding the importance of employee 
protection (to include contractors), why it is necessary to ensure 
proper follow-up in response, and proper follow-up when evaluating any 
potentially adverse personnel decisions. Mr. Saunders will submit the 
presentation materials to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for 
comment and approval 14 days prior to making these presentations. 
Specifically, Mr. Saunders will present at:
    a. Southern Nuclear's new employee orientation training on Employee 
Protection, based on Mr. Saunders' personal case study, and will 
honestly answer questions about what he failed to do (follow the STAR 
protocol, i.e., Stop, Think, Act, Review; seek advice from management; 
consult with the applicable human resources organization (HR); and 
engage with the consolidated concerns department).
    b. One corporate and one site level leadership meeting at Southern 
Nuclear on Employee Protection, based on Mr. Saunders' personal case 
study, and will honestly answer questions about what he failed to do 
(follow STAR, seek advice from management, consult with HR, and engage 
with the consolidated concerns department).
    In the event that Southern does not agree to have Mr. Saunders make 
these presentations, he will inform the Director, Office of 
Enforcement.
    2. Within one year of the issuance of the CO, Mr. Saunders will 
make presentations at five industry forums, including the following:

 ANS (American Nuclear Society)
 INPO (Institute of Nuclear Power Operations)
 NAYGN (North American Young Generation in Nuclear)
 WIN (Women in Nuclear)

    Mr. Saunders will select a fifth industry forum, and will notify 
the Director, Office of Enforcement, for review and approval of the 
forum. If any of the forums listed above do not allow Mr. Saunders to 
present, Mr. Saunders will notify the Director, Office of Enforcement 
with a proposed substitute. Mr. Saunders will submit the presentation 
materials to the Director, Office of Enforcement, for comment and 
approval 14 days prior to making these presentations.
    3. Mr. Saunders will also submit an article for publication to an 
industry forum. 14 days prior to submission for publication, Mr. 
Saunders will submit the article to the Director, Office of 
Enforcement, for review and approval.
    4. If asked by the NRC, Mr. Saunders will present at one of the 
annual Regulatory Information Conferences Mr. Saunders' personal case 
study, and honestly answer questions about what he failed to do (follow 
STAR, seek advice from management, consult with HR, and engage with the 
consolidated concerns department) which is the subject of this 
agreement.
    The Director, Office of Enforcement, or designee, may, in writing, 
relax or rescind any of the above conditions upon demonstration by Mr. 
Saunders of good cause.

VI

    In accordance with 10 CFR 2.202 and 10 CFR 2.309, any person 
adversely affected by this CO, other than Mr. Saunders, may request a 
hearing within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of issuance of 
this CO. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to 
extending the time to request a hearing. A request for extension of 
time must be made in writing to the Director, Office of Enforcement, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, and include a 
statement of good cause for the extension.
    All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a 
request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or 
other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a 
request for hearing or petition to intervene (hereinafter 
``petition''), and documents filed by interested governmental entities 
participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with 
the NRC's E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007, as amended at 77 
FR 46562, August 3, 2012). The E-Filing process requires participants 
to submit and serve all adjudicatory documents over the internet, or in 
some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may 
not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption 
in accordance with the procedures described below.
    To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 10 
days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the 
Office of the Secretary by email at [email protected], or by 
telephone at 301-415-1677, to (1) request a digital identification (ID) 
certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or 
representative) to digitally sign

[[Page 57781]]

submissions and access the E-Filing system for any proceeding in which 
it is participating; and (2) advise the Secretary that the participant 
will be submitting a petition or other adjudicatory document (even in 
instances in which the participant, or its counsel or representative, 
already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this 
information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the 
hearing in this proceeding if the Secretary has not already established 
an electronic docket.
    Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is 
available on the NRC's public website at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/getting-started.html. Once a participant has obtained a 
digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant 
can then submit adjudicatory documents. Submissions must be in Portable 
Document Format (PDF). Additional guidance on PDF submissions is 
available on the NRC's public website at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/electronic-sub-ref-mat.html. A filing is considered complete at the 
time the document is submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be 
timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system 
no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of 
a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends 
the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The 
E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access 
to the document to the NRC's Office of the General Counsel and any 
others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to 
participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the 
document on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and 
other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for 
and receive a digital ID certificate before adjudicatory documents are 
filed so that they can obtain access to the documents via the E-Filing 
system.
    A person filing electronically using the NRC's adjudicatory E-
Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC's Electronic 
Filing Help Desk through the ``Contact Us'' link located on the NRC's 
Public website at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by 
email to [email protected], or by a toll-free call at 1-866-672-
7640. The NRC Electronic Filing Help Desk is available between 9 a.m. 
and 6 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government 
holidays.
    Participants who believe that they have good cause for not 
submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in 
accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing 
stating why there is good cause for not filing electronically and 
requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper 
format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail 
addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: 
Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or 
expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and 
Adjudications Staff. Participants filing adjudicatory documents in this 
manner are responsible for serving the document on all other 
participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of 
the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or 
expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the 
provider of the service. A presiding officer, having granted an 
exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or 
party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines 
that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no 
longer exists.
    Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in the 
NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at 
https://adams.nrc.gov/ehd, unless excluded pursuant to an Order of the 
Commission or the presiding officer. If you do not have an NRC-issued 
digital ID certificate as described above, click ``Cancel'' when the 
link requests certificates and you will be automatically directed to 
the NRC's electronic hearing dockets where you will be able to access 
any publicly available documents in a particular hearing docket. 
Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, 
such as social security numbers, home addresses, or personal phone 
numbers in their filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law 
requires submission of such information. For example, in some 
instances, individuals provide home addresses in order to demonstrate 
proximity to a facility or site. With respect to copyrighted works, 
except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory 
filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, participants are 
requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submission.
    The Commission will issue a notice or order granting or denying a 
hearing request or intervention petition, designating the issues for 
any hearing that will be held and designating the Presiding Officer. A 
notice granting a hearing will be published in the Federal Register and 
served on the parties to the hearing.
    If a person (other than Mr. Saunders) requests a hearing, that 
person shall set forth with particularity the manner in which his 
interest is adversely affected by this CO and shall address the 
criteria set forth in 10 CFR 2.309(d) and (f).
    If a hearing is requested by a person whose interest is adversely 
affected, the Commission will issue an order designating the time and 
place of any hearings. If a hearing is held, the issue to be considered 
at such hearing shall be whether this CO should be sustained.
    In the absence of any request for hearing, or written approval of 
an extension of time in which to request a hearing, the provisions 
specified in Section V above shall be final 30 days from the date of 
this CO without further order or proceedings. If an extension of time 
for requesting a hearing has been approved, the provisions specified in 
Section V shall be final when the extension expires if a hearing 
request has not been received.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    Dated this 21st day of October, 2019.

George A. Wilson,

Director, Office of Enforcement, Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

[FR Doc. 2019-23411 Filed 10-25-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 7590-01-P