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Exeter man under influence on job at Limerick nuclear plant, officials say

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 26 2012 04:37:02 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 26 2012 04:48:52 PM CDT

A nuclear power plant operator has been pulled off the job after he was found under the influence of alcohol, said officials.

LIMERICK TWP., Pa. -

A nuclear power plant operator has been pulled off the job after he was found under the influence of alcohol, said officials.

The Exelon Nuclear Limerick Generating Station in Limerick, Montgomery Co., generates enough power to light up two million homes throughout the area.

Company officials confirmed Tuesday that an employee was working in the reactor control room under the influence of alcohol on July 14.

The reported findings have many residents who live near the facility shocked.

"Not good, not good at all," said Evelyn Gephart, who's lived in the area since before the plant was built.

"Nobody should be under the influence of alcohol on the job, nobody," said Jeannine Poet, who lives feet from the plant.

The operator, Rodger Devlin, has been removed from duty and cited. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has since revoked his operator license and issued a "Severity Level III Violation" on September 20.

"Should he choose to attempt to be a control operator again at a nuclear plant, he would have to provide us with a written response to this notice," said Diane Screnci, spokeswoman for the NRC.

Screnci stated Devlin did not consume the alcohol on site, but it was found after a random breathalyzer test as part of the NRC's "fitness for duty" requirement. Devlin was reportedly not at the controls on July 14, and the public's safety was never compromised.

Some residents who have a birds eye view of the power plant still fear what could have happened.

"If he were to do something wrong, something could have gone wrong at the power plant and it could have been a big problem," said Anthony Carfagno.

"It's dangerous for us, and it's dangerous for the other people working there," said Terry Kilian.

NRC officials said Devlin has not challenged the findings.

"We believe the process worked the way it should. It's important that people on site be fit, and if they are under the influence of alcohol, that they be identified and that is what occurred here," said Screnci.

69 News attempted to contact Devlin at his home in Exeter Twp., Berks Co., for his side of the story, but he was not available for comment.