PPL improves communication channels at nuclear plant
SALEM TWP., Mar 03, 2009 (The Citizens' Voice - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Citing an "erosion of workforce trust" at PPL Corp.'s nuclear power plant, which had more workers' complaints than any other plant in the nation last year, the company announced several changes to improve communication between workers and management Monday.
In letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the company said several decisions affecting compensation and work schedules "were implemented with a less than effective" management process in early 2008. Those decisions "adversely affected the workplace perception of the leadership team."
Read the letter
Employee complaints about perceived inadequacies at the plant rose from 13 in 2007 to 33 in 2008, according to NRC reports. No other plant in the nation had more than 19 complaints in 2008.
In January, the NRC reported it was concerned that a decline in consciousness of safety issues at the plant could have a "chilling effect" that might make workers reluctant to raise safety concerns with management. The agency ordered PPL to draft a plan to address its concerns.
PPL's response, released Monday, includes some new measures and others that were implemented before January. They include more consistent time-off and overtime policies, the creation of an ombudsman position to resolve disputes, new mechanisms for communication between management and the work force, and an overhaul of discipline procedures.
The changes do not include changes in management personnel, according to Joseph J. Scopelliti, manager for community relations at the plant.
PPL's letter emphasized that last year the company celebrated 25 years of "safe and reliable operation" of the older of the two reactors at the site. PPL is seeking NRC approval for a third reactor to be built near the existing plant, but has not decided if it will go ahead with construction if its proposal is approved.
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