United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Reportability of Operating Event

HPPOS-222 PDR-9111220117

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 plant."

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 Tuesday, June 30, 2015