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Offline HousePuke

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Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« on: Sep 24, 2008, 10:17 »
A couple of questions for those of you in the commercial Nuke power plant world:  What counts as a PCE at your site?  Do you allow workers to changes scrubs, clean their shoes or any other such actions before attempting clear the monitors?  Do you count contaminations on modesties?

Just curious because it appears we are not all playing from the same sheet of music if you know what I mean.

TIA for your responses.
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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #1 on: Sep 24, 2008, 11:18 »
A couple of questions for those of you in the commercial Nuke power plant world:  What counts as a PCE at your site?  Do you allow workers to changes scrubs, clean their shoes or any other such actions before attempting clear the monitors?  Do you count contaminations on modesties?

Just curious because it appears we are not all playing from the same sheet of music if you know what I mean.

TIA for your responses.
Modesties count as PCEs.
Workers should not be changing modesties prior to monitoring. After a PCM alarm, check with a frisker to determine contamination level and location. This is the point where it is determined if it is a PCE. >100 ccpm w/hp-210 probe (frisker) is a documented (counts towards goals) PCE.
This is all per INPO guidelines, and what most RP procedures specify.

What sheet of music is your site playing??
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Offline HousePuke

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #2 on: Sep 24, 2008, 12:22 »
Pretty much what you describe.  I've been getting some feedback from our contractors and shared services folks that some places are "managing" their indicator to meet the goal.
Irish diplomacy is the ability to tell a man to go to hell such that he looks forward to making the trip.

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Offline Laundry Man

Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #3 on: Sep 24, 2008, 01:34 »
Pretty much what you describe.  I've been getting some feedback from our contractors and shared services folks that some places are "managing" their indicator to meet the goal.

I can't believe that would ever happen ;).  The EXELON sites I worked all seemed to do things a little different even though all had the same procedure.
LM

workinman

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #4 on: Sep 24, 2008, 01:56 »
Oh what a beautiful world it would be if we all played by the same rules!  Then you wouldn't end up with some ridiculously low number (that becomes the industry standard) from those plant that manage their indicator!

Offline retired nuke

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #5 on: Sep 24, 2008, 02:15 »
Pretty much what you describe.  I've been getting some feedback from our contractors and shared services folks that some places are "managing" their indicator to meet the goal.

Many contracts have deliverables about personal contaminations - if they go over, they lose out on bonuses. Same as management.....
It's nice to have goals, but we should at least follow our own rules to reach them.
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Melrose

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #6 on: Sep 24, 2008, 02:35 »
This horse has been beaten so bad, I'm gonna bring the smell back.  I hate the idea that modesties count in the PCE tally.

If you let a worker in the area wearing modesty, booties and gloves, THEN, the modesty clothing is acting as protective clothing, 'PCs'.
Let the guy change his modesty clothing, he removes his yellows...... 

If you let the workers climb into the overhead, handle contaminated items and work in CAs, all in modesties, then beat him down when he comes out crapped up, it doesn't send a good message.   Throw the disposables away, or wear PCs where PCs should be worn.

Simply, stop beating yourself to death, do what it takes to contain the contam, get back to basics regarding GTE and radworker practices.


Offline Already Gone

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #7 on: Sep 24, 2008, 04:57 »
Yes, this is the typical nuke methodology.  Make the tail wag the dog.

The concept is simple, but we geniuses can't help but to make it as complicated as possible.

The only reason in the world why you would need to track PCE's is to learn how and why they occur so that you can prevent them.  PERIOD.

Do we do that?  No.  We count them, track them, analyze them, and do anything except use this information to help us improve our methods.

If you are counting PCE's as though the number itself was indicative of anything, and hammering people or companies based on this alone, you might as well be that guy with OCD who counts parking meters or pickets in a fence.  Instead of worrying about how to get that number down, you need to look at what the number is telling you.

PCE's can tell you lots of things.  They can indicate that your survey frequency is inadequate, or your maintenance program, or your protective clothing requirements, or maybe that your workers aren''t getting the right training, ...etc.
Should you count PCE's on modesty garments?  Well, is there something they can tell you that you would not otherwise know?  I would want to know as much as possible, but putting too much emphasis on the number of PCE's leads us to try to ignore some of them.
 
So, it really doesn't matter if your plant and the next one are "playing by the same rules".  What matters is that you get a grip on the cause of the events.  If you do that, the numbers will take care of themselves.
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Offline nowhereman

Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #8 on: Sep 24, 2008, 06:40 »
With some plants "managing their indicators", is really Orwellian doublespeak for blaming the  Exit RCT for the contamination events until the numbers start to dwindle....if we only had telepathic powers to help us figure out what the house supervision "really"  wants
« Last Edit: Sep 24, 2008, 06:44 by nowhereman »

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #9 on: Sep 24, 2008, 07:57 »
Hey, we just had two workers come out of containment and they were doing a safety (?) walkdown and we need a complete survey of everywhere in containment. 
 
Has anyone ever heard this line before?

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #10 on: Sep 24, 2008, 09:05 »
I believe that the reasoning from INPO is that the modesty clothing was considered personal clothing at most sites - you could wear it home.

Troy is right - we should be using PCEs as a learning / training tool, not as a stick. But as usual, once the bosses latch on to something they can count....that's as far as they go.

I gave up explaining the better way when my head started to bleed on the brick wall, now I just try to follow the latest wind, and hope it isn't stinky.... ;)
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Offline dinutt

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #11 on: Sep 25, 2008, 12:22 »
Pretty much what Housedad says is what the the norm is at our site  INPO  guidelines and our RP procedures which drives us into a flow chart the how to for action levels and notifications etc.it works .need bigger print to read(haha) :D

Offline snowman

Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #12 on: Sep 25, 2008, 10:36 »
Do you allow workers to changes scrubs, clean their shoes or any other such actions before attempting clear the monitors?  Do you count contaminations on modesties?

In outside type work we prefer workers to clean their shoes before stepping into monitors. Boot scubbers are sometimes stationed near the PCM's on muddy days. The detectors get trashed if they don't.

Any article of clothing is "supposed" to be treated as an event. Unless it's an HP (just kidding).

Offline cairnit

Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #13 on: Sep 25, 2008, 07:39 »
Some of the plants that I have worked at in the past considered a PCE >100ccpm on your personal clothing or skin.......they didn't really count it as a PCE if it was on company furnished modesty garments.

Some of these plants you were not allowed to wear scrubs in and out of the plant, they furnished their own scrubs in dress-out and some of these plants also recognized scrubs as PC's and it was on the RWP whether you needed log sleeve scrubs when entering the area.

One plant had the scrubs issued to us in the morning and turned them in in the afternoon, if we got them contaminated we received a chit slip from RP and turned that in so that the scrubs were accounted for. At the end of the outage, if you had any scrubs under your name not counted as turned in then the cost of the scrubs would be deducted from your final check. They kept the accounting by scanning your badge and bar coding the various styles/sizes of scrub tops and bottoms so it was all electronic.

Since the scrubs are PC's then anything on them were not counted as a PCE and as long as you passed the PCM with them on you could wear them all night at the plant but they didn't get worn off-site.

withroaj

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #14 on: Sep 25, 2008, 08:23 »
When you talk about "goals," does that mean that low-level contamination on people doesn't instantly result in a call to the head honcho?  As an ELT I just can't imagine that approach to nukeeler work (it sounds like it might function too smoothly).

EDIT:  Changed to acknowledge that no person is low-level.  We are all worth 1.0 human beings.
« Last Edit: Sep 25, 2008, 10:11 by withroaj »

vikingfan

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #15 on: Sep 25, 2008, 09:52 »
When you talk about "goals," does that mean that low-level personnel contamination doesn't instantly result in a call to headquarters?  As an ELT I just can't imagine that approach to nukeeler work (it sounds like it might function too smoothly).

what do you mean by  low level personnel huh ??? and also a call to headquarters ? ok back on track i have seen some plants only count pce's if its skin contamination, while others count it if its on your mod's undergarments... thank goodness for disposable orex scrubs :)

Offline Already Gone

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #16 on: Sep 25, 2008, 10:42 »
When you talk about "goals," does that mean that low-level contamination on people doesn't instantly result in a call to the head honcho?  As an ELT I just can't imagine that approach to nukeeler work (it sounds like it might function too smoothly).

EDIT:  Changed to acknowledge that no person is low-level.  We are all worth 1.0 human beings.

Oh grasshopper, we have so much to teach you.  Smoothly?  I laugh out loud at such silliness.

There are throngs and hordes of people in yeller suits who all break for coffee and lunch at about the same time.  They don't get monitored for contamination in the same building where they were working.  (even though they are "supposed" to frisk their hands and feet as soon as they leave the contaminated area.)

Not everyone who comes out contaminated was working in a posted contamination area.

Who is this "head honcho" of whom you speak?  The site VP, plant manager, shift manager, shift outage manager, maintenance manager, rad protection manager, project manager, ... et al. don't have the time to drop everything when some pipefitter gets some crud on his boot because he lost his balance for a second on the step-off-pad.  Maybe the Rad Pro supervisor for that person's work area is called.  But that is just to alert him to survey the guys walk path to see what he tracked or what he stepped in.  Even that won't happen unless it is a relatively high level of counts, or a trend emerges.  If that happens, they will go out and look for the source of contamination and isolate it.

Unless there is a lot of contamination, or a hot particle (you are gonna LOVE those) or a trend among one work group, or something like that, the contamination will be removed, documented, and filed away until someone reviews the log later.  There won't be a lot of follow-up investigation.  It will be chalked up to sloppy worker practice or stray contamination in a clean area or basically considered an isolated incident.
« Last Edit: Sep 25, 2008, 10:44 by BeerCourt »
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withroaj

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #17 on: Sep 26, 2008, 07:01 »
By the head honcho I mean the way it happens in NNPP work.  You know, even fluctuations that may cross 100 counts requiring a written statement all the way to Washington?  Seems like big kids' plants run pretty smoothly if low levels get resolved locally.

Offline retired nuke

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #18 on: Sep 26, 2008, 07:04 »
When you talk about "goals," does that mean that low-level contamination on people doesn't instantly result in a call to the head honcho?  As an ELT I just can't imagine that approach to nukeeler work (it sounds like it might function too smoothly).

EDIT:  Changed to acknowledge that no person is low-level.  We are all worth 1.0 human beings.

That's what is so fun about a Navy nuke's first outage.... ;)
People get conaminated, and the job doesn't stop.
1000 cpm personal contamination isn't a freak out point. Just contaminated.
When you are using a dose rate meter on people, it's time to ask how long they may have been contaminated - skin dose is important.
You count smears on a dose rate meter after the frisker maxes out...and everyone understands the level.
There is not much response to a spill, unless it's really nasty (like dose rate from it) - just post and call the deconners.
The first time you arrive late when a crew is opening a system, and they went ahead and cleaned the internals with a flap wheel. Now everybody gets to shower together... :-\

At our plant, the RP supv is notified of PCE, and the word gets up to the "war room" but unless we are above the curve on the goal graph, it doesn't get much attention. Usually, when things are going bad, it's usually a shift or two before attention gets on it, and by then we are so far behind that draconian knee jerking comes out of the war room.... :(
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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #19 on: Sep 26, 2008, 08:44 »
Personnel contamination's shouldn't even be documented unless they reach a certain skin exposure value (value is debatable) or specific alpha emitting isotopes are present.

The actual risk to human health associated with the vast majority of personnel contamination events is negligible, yet the paper gets in the way, doesn't it?  The typical response is grossly disproportionate to the risk.  We were all inculcated into a nuclear world run amuck with disproportionate responses.

Anyone that has had an opportunity to experience the post-Chernobyl world anyplace in the vicinity of Chernobyl has a totally different attitude about contamination.  Is their attitude the "right" attitude?  By no means.  The truth is someplace in the middle.  Our disproportionate response speaks to a world where additional layers of defense are not also recognized as additional layers of complexity.  Disproportionate responses should be sacrificed on the altar of simplicity, particularly in this instance.

Offline Laundry Man

Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #20 on: Sep 26, 2008, 09:10 »
Yes they need to be documented!  Litigation is the reason why.  Ten years down the road XYZ worker gets cancer and he/she worked an outage at ABC Nuclear Plant and he/she remembers setting of that monitor thing.  The nice RP cleaned me up and off he/she went.  Do you think any jury in the world would not take into account that no documentation exists?  That is the reality of life.  Ever spent weeks trying to find records 20 years old to provide to the company lawyer defending against such case?  Not always easy.
LM

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #21 on: Sep 26, 2008, 09:28 »
Personnel contamination's shouldn't even be documented unless they reach a certain skin exposure value (value is debatable) or specific alpha emitting isotopes are present.

The actual risk to human health associated with the vast majority of personnel contamination events is negligible, yet the paper gets in the way, doesn't it?  The typical response is grossly disproportionate to the risk.  We were all inculcated into a nuclear world run amuck with disproportionate responses.

Anyone that has had an opportunity to experience the post-Chernobyl world anyplace in the vicinity of Chernobyl has a totally different attitude about contamination.  Is their attitude the "right" attitude?  By no means.  The truth is someplace in the middle.  Our disproportionate response speaks to a world where additional layers of defense are not also recognized as additional layers of complexity.  Disproportionate responses should be sacrificed on the altar of simplicity, particularly in this instance.

I couldn't agree more - in '95 when we were all switching to the "risk-based" limits of Dose Equivalence, there was a move afoot that looked at total risk from all sources.  It was then that we started allowing entries into Heat Stress areas in modesties and shoecovers and gloves because the risk from heat stress was greater than the risk from low level contamination.  We were looking for a way to quantify the risk from contamination so that it could be easily compared to all other risks.  

I recommended using the model of internal contamination - 2 DAC-hrs/day was where we were required to start documenting internal dose; so any skin contamination that created a skin dose equalling or exceeding 5 mrem would require tracking.  Depending on your isotopic mix, that could be as little as 70,000 dpm-hr or as much as 180,000 dpm-hr (based on VARSKIN studies I read at the time).  

This recommendation was never given full consideration, but we were looser than we are now (we had the ability to "plan contaminations" under conditions that created other industrial hazards or higher external doses). We ditched that philosophy in one fell swoop in 2003.  I asked our RPM why, he said "INPO" and he acted as if there had never been any attempt to balance the risk with the consequences.  So here we are.

Offline Already Gone

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #22 on: Sep 26, 2008, 10:27 »
There's your answer.
INPO = an organization made up of nuclear utility employees who are so good at their jobs the company saw fit to let them go give advice to their competitors for two years.
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Offline SloGlo

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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #23 on: Sep 26, 2008, 08:20 »
There's your answer.
INPO = an organization made up of nuclear utility employees who are so good at their jobs the company saw fit to let them go give advice to their competitors for two years.

aye luv it when da truth hits da phan!  itz bin awile since eye wuz atta plant... eyem reeding dat  yinz are back two da auld weighs of deeling with contaminashun?  dat risk assissment is out da win dough?  back two 100cpm/hp probe starts da problim? 

don't make me come bak inn two da plants..... ;)
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Re: Personnel Contamination Events (PCE's)
« Reply #24 on: Sep 27, 2008, 08:07 »
I'm only going to expound on one part of this argument since the majority of it falls into the realm of doing business as per any given plant's interpretation of INPO's "guidelines".

Changing scrubs before monitoring ... Bad idea. Why? Because if Joe Six-Pack has been wandering around the can with a hot partical on his scrubs for two hours, and he removes said scrubs prior to monitoring, we have not been allowed to track/assign the associated skin dose for that exposure. I can remember a decon tech back in the 80's who came walking out of containment after removing his PC's and all the friskers started pegging out. He had a 3R/hr hot partical on the back of his scrubs. Now ... Granted that is an extrem case, but had the partical been of a much lower activity, he would have gone under the proverbial radar and changed his scrubs before getting t the PCM by today's way of doing business.

The rest aside, the whole scrub changing before monitoring thing just doesn't sit right with me.

 


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