IBEW, NRC talk labor issues at Dresden nuclear power plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said June 11 that a dispute between an Exelon affiliate and Local 15 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) over policy at the Dresden nuclear plant should be adequately resolved by bargaining that’s getting underway between the company and the union.

Local 15 had filed charges with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as an outgrowth of changes that Exelon Generation had made to the “behavioral observation program” at the nuclear plant in Illinois.

After the union filed charged with the NLRB, Exelon ultimately agreed to negotiate with Local 15 over terms of the employee program – and NRC believes that move should also resolve a related case that Local 15 brought before the commission.

“The actions to be taken in furtherance of the settlement of Local 15’s NLRB claim appear to address the concerns raised by Local 15 in its Contentions 1 and 2,” the NRC said in a 7-page order. “At bottom, it appears that Local 15 has achieved the outcome it desired–rescission of Revision 10 of the Behavioral Observation Program procedure and the opportunity to negotiate with Exelon revised language concerning the types of obligations to be imposed on Exelon employees under the program.”

As a result, the NRC directed the litigants to provide either a joint stipulation that Local 15’s appeal should be dismissed; or written briefs on the question of whether the union local’s appeal should be dismissed as moot. The NRC gave the parties 15 days to file.

Local 15 of the IBEW, which is an AFL-CIO union, had said that actions taken by Exelon imposed obligations on off-duty Exelon employees “without justification.”

Local 15 had earlier asserted that policy changes at Dresden impose on Exelon employees behavioral observation and reporting requirements “that are vague, over-broad and not carefully tailored . . . and improperly delegates to Exelon the discretion to interpret and implement NRC standards for behavioral observation.”

During the pendency of the union local’s appeal, Exelon informed the NRC staff that the company had entered into a settlement agreement over the unfair labor practice charge before the NLRB.

The Dresden station includes two boiling water reactors (BWR) units with total net generation of 1,750 MW. In 2014 the Dresden station had net generation of 15.1 million MWh, according to an Exelon website.

In October 2004, NRC renewed the operating licenses for both units for an additional 20 years, extending them to 2030 and 2031.

The NRC case involved Docket Nos. 50-237-EA and 50-249-EA.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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