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About 300 workers at Norfolk Naval Shipyard removed from nuclear work as training investigated

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Posted at 3:26 PM, Oct 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-01 15:26:29-04

Portsmouth, Va. – About 300 workers at Norfolk Navy Shipyard have been restricted from nuclear work as the shipyard investigates its continuing nuclear training program.

The shipyard was recently notified via an anonymous letter that some nuclear workers were given credit for attending continuing training when they did not actually attend, according to a statement from Jeff Cunningham, the shipyard’s Public Affairs Officer.

The shipyard has temporarily reassigned eight employees responsible for administering the continuing training program as it investigates.

The 300 workers who had their duties restricted represent about 6% of the shipyard’s nuclear workforce.  The continuing training program discrepancies in no way represent a failure on the part of workers to demonstrate qualification and competence in performing their duties, the statement said.

The continuing training is designed to reinforce knowledge learned during initial nuclear qualification and requalification. Actual qualification is an independent process from the continuing training program.

The statement said leadership from the Navy’s other public shipyards and the Naval Sea Systems Command are performing independent reviews and have verified that the nuclear worker qualification program does not exhibit the same kinds of problems found in the continuing training program. The statement also said the reviews have not revealed any problems impacting the safety of workers, the public, or the environment.