United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Reportability of Operating Event

HPPOS-222 PDR-9111220117

Title: Reportability of Operating Event

See the memorandum from C. E. Rossi to R. L. Spessard dated

June 1, 1988. Precautionary evacuation and manning of the

Technical Support Center (TSC) are not reportable under 10

CFR Sections 50.72 (b) (1) (vi) and 50.72 (b) (2) (vi).

However, a press release of an operating event requires

prompt notification to the NRC under 50.72 (b) (vi).

On March 23, 1988, with Susquehanna Unit 2 in Operational

Condition 5 (Refueling Outage with the core defueled), the

fuel pool cooling filter / demineralizer was inadvertently

backflushed while shutting down the fuel pool cooling

system. As a result, radioactive resin was flushed into

the fuel pool letdown line that runs through the reactor

building to the condensate storage tank. Increased

radiation levels throughout the reactor building along the

letdown lines and in the condensate storage tank were

detected. Because of the potential overexposure of

personnel working inside the reactor building to these

elevated radiation levels, all work inside the reactor

building was stopped and all personnel were evacuated from

the reactor building. No radioactive material was released

from the plant and no plant personnel were overexposed to

radiation levels inside the reactor building.

In an enclosed memorandum dated May 3, 1988, the Office for

Analysis and Evaluation of Operational Data recommended

that NRR take some "appropriate follow-up action." This

memorandum states that the event was reportable under the

two provisions of 10 CFR 50.72 listed below.

50.72 (b) (1) (vi) - "Any event that ... significantly

hampers site personnel in the performance of duties

necessary for the safe operation of the nuclear power


50.72 (b) (2) (vi) - "Any event ... related to the health

and safety of the public or onsite personnel ... for which

a news release is planned or notification to other

government agencies has been or will be made."

It is NRR's understanding that the reactor building

evacuation and manning of the TSC were pre-cautionary

measures taken by the licensee in response to the unknown

cause of the increased radiation levels in the reactor

building. This conservative response was commended by the

region as "prompt and effective" with "very good control"

being maintained. The actual radiological consequences of

this event amounted to some localized hotspots on the

letdown lines that did not interfere with free transit of

the reactor building, or affect the operation of any safety

system. Therefore, NRR does not agree that this event was

reportable under 50.72 (b) (1) (vi), since it did not

significantly hamper the performance of duties necessary

for safe plant operation.

On March 24, 1988, the licensee made a press release

regarding the event. They were required, therefore, to make

a prompt notification to the NRC pursuant to 10 CFR 50.72

(b) (2) (vi) and their administrative procedure AD-QA-425.

In the Inspection Report No. 50-388/88-06 (issued May 4,

1988), the region cited the licensee for failure to

promptly notify the NRC following the press release. The

Region characterized this violation as a severity level IV.

Since the Region has taken appropriate action, NRR plans no

further action on this event.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 50.72

Subject codes: 2.2

Applicability: Reactors

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012