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P.M. BRIEFING : Operators Accused of Sleeping

December 11, 1990|From Times Wire Services

BUCHANAN, N.Y. — Two nuclear power plant operators may not have been asleep, but they were working with their heads back and eyes closed during a surprise inspection, a federal agency said.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that it is proposing a $50,000 fine against the New York Power Authority, the plant's owner.

The Power Authority said it will contest the fine. It maintains that the two operators were attentive during an inspection on Sept. 14 at the Indian Point 3 power plant in Buchanan, 35 miles north of Manhattan.

But the regulatory commission said an inspector who visited the plant in September found the two operators sitting with heads tilted back and eyes closed, one with his feet on a desk.

Both operators denied they were inattentive, and the Power Authority's executive vice president of nuclear generation, John C. Brons, said that control room records showed that the two had performed documented activities within a few minutes of the time the alleged inattention occurred.

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