Date sent:      	Mon, 01 Feb 1999 09:55:34 -0500
From:           	OPALIST  
Subject:        	pr 99-15  MILLSTONE

  C  O  R  R  E C T E D      


------------------- PR9915.TXT follows -------------------
           United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
                          Office of Public Affairs
                       Washington, DC 20555
               Phone 301-415-8200  Fax 301-415-2234

No. 99-15                                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                     (Thursday, January 28, 1999)


Chairman Shirley Ann Jackson of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission today
named an administrative law judge, Acting Chief Judge Paul Bollwerk of the
Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, to head an independent review of
the dismissal by Northeast Utilities in 1996 of  employees of the
Millstone nuclear power plants in Waterford, Conn.

After looking into complaints, the NRC's Office of Inspector General raised a
number of questions about how the NRC handled concerns that two or more of
those workers may have been let go because they raised safety concerns.
The IG report concluded that the NRC staff at first found that such
discrimination probably had occurred, but then reversed itself.

In early January, Chairman Jackson directed the staff to conduct an internal
review to address several of the issues raised in the Inspector General's
report. That response is being released today.

By instituting an independent review, the Commission will be provided a second
perspective on the dismissals, on how the matter was investigated, and on
the decision not to take enforcement action against Northeast Utilities
and one of its senior executives.

Judge Bollwerk reports administratively to the Chairman of the NRC, but like the
Inspector General, he is entirely independent of the rest of the NRC
staff.  He is to be assisted in his review due to be completed by March 12
by experts drawn both from inside and outside the NRC.  None will have had
prior involvement in the Millstone cases under scrutiny, nor do they
report to NRC managers previously involved in reviewing the cases.

The independent inquiry is to assess the merits of the cases addressed in the
Inspector General's report, along with a separate, but similar case at
Millstone.  It is also to formulate lessons learned from the NRC staff's
handling of the cases and offer recommendations for improving
investigative and enforcement procedures.

After studying the conclusions and recommendations both of the Bollwerk review
and of the NRC staff's internal report, Chairman Jackson will then
determine how broad-based a set of adjustments may be warranted in the
agency's investigation and enforcement functions.  If that course is
pursued, the Commission will decide whether to seek the views of outside
experts and other federal agencies in that effort.


          EDITORS:  The text of the NRC staff's response to the Inspector
          General's report has been posted on the agency's Internet web
          page at: