U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Reportability of Operating Event
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