Nuclear Plant Workers Cite Lack Of Precautions Around Virus

AP
May 04, 2020 - 11:14 am
Millstone Nuclear Power Plant

Aaron Kupec/WTIC Radio file photo

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Workers at Connecticut's only nuclear power plant worry
that managers are not taking enough precautions against the coronavirus after
750 temporary employees were brought in to help refuel one of the two active
reactors.
 Ten employees at the Millstone Power Station in Waterford have tested positive
for the virus, and the arrival of the temporary workers alarms some of the
permanent employees, The Day newspaper reported Sunday.
 ``Speaking specifically for the guard force, there's a lot of frustration,
there's a lot of concern, and I would say there's anger,'' said Millstone
security officer Jim Foley.
 Foley, vice president of the local chapter of the United Government Security
Officers of America, said security personnel have had to fight for personal
protective equipment and for partitions at access points to separate staff from
security.
 Foley also has filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration saying Millstone staff are using ineffective cleaning materials
and citing a lack of cleaning and sanitizing. Cleaning activity was not
scheduled during three weekends in April, he said.
 Officials at Millstone, owned by Dominion Energy, have not heard internal
criticism about the plant's virus precautions, Millstone spokesman Kenneth Holt
said.
 ``We've actually gotten a lot of compliments from employees on the steps we've
taken,`` he said. ``We've stepped up communications with employees to let them
know what's going on.''
 Millstone recently increased cleaning staff on the weekends, Holt said, and
there is regular disinfecting at the plant.
 Responding to the complaint about ineffective cleaning materials, Holt said
staff members early in the pandemic went to a Home Depot and got a bottle of
disinfectant that wasn't approved by the federal government as effective against
the coronavirus. An approved disinfectant was brought in the next day, he said.
 The deaths of nearly 2,500 Connecticut residents have been linked to COVID-19,
the disease caused by the virus. More than 29,000 state residents have tested
positive. As of Sunday, hospitalizations had declined for 11 consecutive days,
to over 1,480.
 For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as
fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older
adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe
illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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