News Release USDL: 96-312
Friday, August 2, 1996
Contact: Stephen Gaskill, OSHA (202) 219-6091
Sue Gagner, NRC (301) 415-8200
NRC And OSHA Agree On Worker Protection Plans For
Sites In Ohio And Kentucky
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of
Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have
agreed on a coordinated worker protection plan at two gaseous diffusion
plants near Piketon, Ohio and Paducah, Ky.
"This agreement breaks new ground for OSHA. In our first
cooperative agreement with the NRC, our agencies are able to
ensure worker protection at these two plants, and provide complete
coverage of both radiological and conventional hazards to workers,"
said Joseph A. Dear, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational
Safety and Health.
The U.S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC) Privatization Act requires
the two agencies to enter an agreement to govern their jurisdiction
over job safety issues. USEC operates the plants under a lease from
the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the owner and former operator.
The plants use a gaseous diffusion process to treat material that can be
used as nuclear fuel in civilian nuclear power plants.
The Energy Policy Act of 1992, which established USEC, also required
the NRC to set up a process for certifying that the enrichment plants are
operated in a way that ensures protection of public health and safety.
The act also made the operator of the plants subject to the Occupational
Safety and Health Act, which OSHA administers.
NRC is currently reviewing USEC's applications for certification.
DOE will continue to regulate the plants until NRC assumes
jurisdiction following a planned 120-day transition period after
NRC's initial certification.
Under the NRC-OSHA agreement, the NRC will apply its standards
to working conditions involving radiological hazards, while OSHA
will apply its standards to conditions involving non-radiological
hazards. Both agencies will apply their standards to conditions
involving a combination of hazards (for example, if there are both
radioactive materials and other hazardous chemicals in the same
work area or if the same chemical poses both radiological and
The agreement specifies how NRC and OSHA will coordinate
their efforts -- in areas such as inspections, issuing citations,
enforcement and response to worker safety or health complaints --
to avoid duplication of efforts and eliminate gaps in coverage.
If NRC or OSHA identifies a conflict between the two agencies'
requirements, or if USEC perceives a conflict, both agencies will
work together to resolve the issue promptly.
The agreement was signed by Dear for OSHA and by James M.
Taylor, Executive Director for Operations of the NRC.