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Boozy Nuclear Power Plant Operator Busted

The reactor control room of a nuclear power plant isn't the best place to be under the influence.

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By Will Godfrey

09/26/12

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An operator in the reactor control room of a nuclear power plant in a small American town has been caught working under the influence of booze—and his name isn't Homer Simpson. A random urine test conducted on July 14 at Exelon Nuclear's facility in Limerick Township, PA found that Roger T. Devlin had alcohol in his system, and he hasn't challenged the result, reports the Pottsdown Mercury. Devlin's control room operator license has been terminated; the use of a urine test rather than a breathalyzer means that while alcohol was detected, his level of drunkenness isn't known. Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which carries out both random and targeted drug and alcohol testing of employees, writes in an email to The Mercury that Devlin "was never the sole control room operator on duty; all activities the individual was involved with that day were reviewed and no errors identified; and action was taken against the individual, including prompt removal from operator duties." Sheehan states that Devlin's drinking "occurred off-site," and that he was issued with a Severity Level III violation—meaning one that “resulted in or could have resulted in moderate safety or security consequences.”

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