United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-02-099 - Framatome ANP, Inc.

August 28, 2002

EA-02-099

Mr. Robert E. Link, Site Manager
Framatome ANP, Inc.
2101 Horn Rapids Road
Richland, Washington 99352

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY -$15,000 (NRC REACTIVE TEAM INSPECTION REPORT 70-1257/02-03)

Dear Mr. Link:

This refers to the reactive team inspection conducted April 15-18, 2002, at the Framatome ANP, Inc. facility in Richland, Washington. The inspection was conducted in response to a loss of criticality safety controls which occurred April 2-3, 2002. Specifically, operators filled a 45-gallon drum with fissile material before recognizing that the drum did not contain a neutron-absorbing "spider" assembly, one of two primary controls relied on to prevent the inadvertent criticality of fissile material. Framatome reported this event to the NRC within 24 hours of its occurrence, as required by NRC Bulletin 91-01. On June 5, 2002, the NRC conducted a final inspection exit interview by telephone and informed Framatome that the NRC was considering escalated enforcement action for apparent violations associated with the event. On June 13, 2002, the NRC described the results of its inspection in Inspection Report 70-1257/02-03.

On July 26, 2002, Framatome representatives attended a predecisional enforcement conference in the NRC's Region IV office to discuss the apparent violations, their causes, and corrective actions. Framatome did not dispute any of the apparent violations, described a broad range of corrective actions, and agreed with the NRC's perspective that Framatome's initial corrective actions for this event were narrowly focused and likely would have remained so had the NRC's inspection team not prompted the consideration of additional causes and corrective actions. A summary of the information Framatome provided at the conference was issued on August 12, 2002.

Framatome's short-term corrective actions included reviewing the event with operations personnel and emphasizing procedural compliance, inspecting all 45-gallon drums to verify the presence of the spider assembly, improving standard operating procedures as well as the process for revising them, implementing additional controls over damaged drums removed from service, verifying all passive and active criticality controls, reviewing and validating the training and qualification of operations personnel, and conducting human performance workshops for all production employees.

Following the NRC's team inspection, Framatome decided to utilize an independent team to review the event and evaluate the need for additional corrective actions. At the conference, Framatome described the results of the team's evaluation of the adequacy of root cause evaluations, worker training and qualifications, management and supervisory accountability, procedural work-arounds, nuclear criticality safety requirements flow-down, and the adequacy of the configuration management process. As a result of this assessment, Framatome made commitments to address the findings in each of the areas examined by the assessment team. In a letter dated August 6, 2002, Framatome submitted estimated completion and implementation dates for these commitments.

Based on the information developed during the inspection, and the information provided during and following the conference, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice). The circumstances surrounding them were described in detail in the subject inspection report. In brief, the violations involved the following: 1) the failure to maintain double contingency control for criticality safety during an operation involving special nuclear material; 2) the failure to follow procedures during the same operation and the failure of management to fulfill its responsibility to assure compliance with procedures; 3) the failure to maintain configuration control of equipment used in processing special nuclear material; 4) the failure of a criticality safety analysis and criticality safety specification to identify the criticality safety controls necessary to assure criticality safety; and 5) the failure to include criticality safety control barriers for a process in the applicable procedure.

As stated in the NRC's inspection report, the event did not result in actual safety consequences. Nonetheless, the event involved bypassing one of two primary criticality controls by using a drum that did not have a neutron-absorbing assembly, and degrading the second primary control by not visually inspecting the interior of the drum to assure no moderator was present before fissile material was added to it. This created a potential for an inadvertent criticality, although the introduction of moderator in sufficient quantity to cause a criticality was very unlikely. The NRC's Enforcement Policy classifies a failure to maintain all but one criticality control at Severity Level III. In that the violations discussed above directly or indirectly contributed to the occurrence of this event, the violations are being treated collectively as a Severity Level III problem, in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $15,000 is considered for a Severity Level III problem. Because your facility has been the subject of escalated enforcement action within the last 2 years,(1) the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Framatome personnel discovered and reported the event. Therefore, Framatome is deserving of identification credit. As discussed above, Framatome's initial root cause analysis and corrective actions were narrowly focused and likely would have remained so had NRC's inspection team not uncovered broader issues that warranted management attention. Thus, despite the fact that Framatome has since conducted a comprehensive assessment and is committed to taking broad corrective actions, the need for NRC intervention in this matter is cause to deny Framatome corrective action credit for the purpose of assessing a civil penalty (see Section VI.C.2.c of Enforcement Policy). This results in the assessment of a civil penalty at the base value.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of maintaining criticality controls, and the importance of thorough root cause analysis and corrective actions, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to issue the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) in the base amount of $15,000 for the Severity Level III problem described above. In addition, issuance of this Notice constitutes escalated enforcement action, that may subject you to increased NRC inspection.

You are required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice when preparing your response. The NRC will use your response, in part, to determine whether further enforcement action is necessary to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosure, and your response will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the Publicly Available Records (PARS) component of NRC's document system (ADAMS). ADAMS is accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html (the Public NRC Library).

Sincerely,

/Thomas P. Gwynn Acting for/

Ellis W. Merschoff
Regional Administrator

Docket No.: 70-1257
License No.: SNM-1227

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty
2. NUREG/BR-0254 Payment Methods (Licensee only)

cc w/Enclosure 1 only:

John Matheson, Sr. V.P.
Framatome Cogema Fuels
P.O. Box 11646
Lynchburg, Virginia 24506-1646

Doug Adkisson
Richland Operations Manager
Framatome ANP, Inc.
2101 Horn Rapids Road
Richland, Washington 99352

Robert S. Freeman, Manager
Environmental, Health, Safety & Licensing
Framatome ANP, Inc.
2101 Horn Rapids Road
Richland, Washington 99352

Loren J. Maas, Manager
Licensing and Compliance
Framatome ANP, Inc.
2101 Horn Rapids Road
Richland, Washington 99352

Calvin D. Manning, Manager,
Nuclear Criticality Safety
Framatome ANP, Inc.
2101 Horn Rapids Road
Richland, Washington 99352

Washington Radiation Control Program Director


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Framatome ANP, Inc.
Richland, Washington
Docket No. 70-1257
License No. SNM-1227
EA-02-099

During an NRC inspection completed June 5, 2002, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the NRC proposes to impose a civil penalty pursuant to Section 234 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (Act), 42 U.S.C. 2282, and 10 CFR 2.205. The particular violations and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

A.   License Safety Condition S-1 authorizes the use of licensed material in accordance with the statements, representations, and conditions of Part 1 of the licensee's application dated October 28, 1996 and the supplements to the license.

Part 1 of the licensee's application, License Conditions, Chapter 4, Nuclear Criticality Safety, states, in part, that nuclear criticality safety shall be assured through both administrative and technical practices, and that it is the policy that the double contingency principle will be the basis for design and operation of processes using special nuclear materials. Where practicable, all process designs will incorporate sufficient factors of safety to require at least two unlikely, independent, and concurrent changes in process conditions before a criticality accident is possible. In those instances where at least two independent controls are utilized to prevent changes in one control type parameter, sufficient redundancy and diversity of controls will be utilized.

Contrary to this requirement, on the shift beginning at 11:30 p.m. on April 2, 2002, the double contingency principle was not maintained in that one double contingency control, a neutron-absorbing assembly required to be used in 45-gallon drums, was not used for an operation which involved the filling of a 45-gallon drum with more than 250 kg. of 2.7% enriched uranium dioxide (UO2) powder, a quantity that is sufficient, when optimally moderated, to cause a nuclear criticality.

B.   License Safety Condition S-1, authorizes the use of licensed material in accordance with the statements, representations, and conditions of Part 1 of the licensee's application dated October 28, 1996 and the supplements to the license.

Part 1 of the licensee's application, License Conditions, Chapter 2, Organization and Administration, Section 2.5, Configuration Control and Maintenance/Calibration of Safety-Related Equipment, states, in part, that Framatome ANP conducts a configuration control program to assure complete and proper reviews are undertaken prior to and after changes to equipment used to handle licensed material, and that the program is implemented via the Engineering Change Notice (ECN) procedure.

EMF-30, Safety Manual, Section 3.6, Configuration Control, requires that all changes in equipment involving fissile materials be reviewed and approved prior to installation. When the change can impact criticality safety, inspection and acceptance by the Criticality Safety Component is required prior to introduction of fissile material. Control of this process is to be exercised through the Engineering Change Notice (ECN) system.

Contrary to this requirement, on or before April 2, 2002, the licensee modified a piece of equipment used to handle licensed material (a 45-gallon uranium oxide drum) by removing a passive engineered criticality safety control, a neutron-absorbing "spider" assembly, and allowed the component to be returned to service without review and approval, and without utilizing the Engineering Change Notice system. This drum was subsequently filled with more than 250 kg. of 2.7% enriched uranium dioxide (UO2) powder, a quantity that is sufficient, when optimally moderated, to cause a nuclear criticality.

C.   License Safety Condition S-1, authorizes the use of licensed material in accordance with the statements, representations, and conditions of Part 1 of the licensee's application dated October 28, 1996 and the supplements to the license.

Part 1 of the licensee's application, License Conditions, Chapter 2, Organization and Administration, Section 2.4, Operating Procedures, Standards and Guides, states, in part, that Framatome ANP conducts its business in accordance with a system of Standard Operating Procedures, Company Standards, and Policy Guides, and that plant and functional managers are responsible for assuring compliance with all pertinent procedures, standards, and guides.

Standard operating procedure EMF-22, EMF-P66,927, Revision 25, Dry Powder Blending, Handling and Labeling of Poisoned 45-Gallon Drums and Safe Batch Containers, Section 6.1, Set-up, step 7, requires, in part, a visual inspection to assure the drum is free of moderation and that no powder is coated on the boron spider inserts.

Contrary to this requirement, on the shift beginning at 11:30 p.m. on April 2, 2002, licensee operations personnel, while implementing EMF-22, EMF-P66,927 to fill a 45 gallon drum with uranium oxide powder, failed to perform the visual inspection specified in step 7 of the procedure. In addition, the licensee's plant and functional managers did not fulfill their responsibility to assure compliance with the procedure.

D.   License Safety Condition S-1, authorizes the use of licensed material in accordance with the statements, representations, and conditions of Part 1 of the licensee's application dated October 28, 1996 and the supplements to the license.

Part 1 of the licensee's application, License Conditions, Chapter 4, Nuclear Criticality Safety, section 4.1.1, Criticality Safety Standards, states, in part, that the licensee shall establish and maintain a system of written Criticality Safety Standards for processes, equipment and facilities involving special nuclear material. Chapter 4 also describes the establishment of Criticality Safety Analyses (CSAs) and Criticality Safety Specifications (CSSs) and requires that the CSSs and/or Criticality Safety Limit Cards form the basis for written operating procedures which all persons conducting or supervising operations shall be required to be familiar with during operations.

EMF-30, Safety Manual, Chapter 3, Nuclear Criticality Safety Standards, Section 3.1, Criticality Safety Analyses, states, in part, that CSAs provide the technical basis for limits and controls to assure criticality safety. Section 4.5, CSA Documentation, states, in part, that all limits and controls needed to assure criticality safety shall be clearly specified in the CSAs.

Contrary to this requirement, on April 2-3, 2002, CSA GEN4.0, 45 Gallon Drums- Loading, Transport, Storage, Lube Addition, Tumbling, dated February 11, 1987, its Addendum 1 dated March 4, 1993, and CSS P67,241, Rev. 9, 45-Gallon Powder Drums with Neutron Absorbing Inserts, which were in effect, failed to specify the controls necessary to protect against a criticality. Specifically, the CSA and CSS failed to identify specifically the nuclear criticality safety controls for precluding the use of 45-gallon drums without installed neutron-absorbing boron spiders (double contingency principle).

E.   License Safety Condition S-1, authorizes the use of licensed material in accordance with the statements, representations, and conditions of Part 1 of the licensee's application dated October 28, 1996 and the supplements to the license.

Part 1 of the licensee's application, License Conditions, Chapter 4, Nuclear Criticality Safety, states, in part, that Criticality Safety Standards shall be established and maintained for processes, equipment and facilities involving special nuclear material. Chapter 4 also describes the establishment of Criticality Safety Analyses (CSAs) and Criticality Safety Specifications (CSSs) and requires that the CSSs and/or Criticality Safety Limit Cards form the basis for written standard operating procedures which all persons conducting or supervising operations shall be required to be familiar with during operations. Section 4.1.4.1 states, in part, that Criticality Safety Limit Cards contain a concise statement of CSS or CSA limits applicable to an operation or area.

CSA GEN 4.0, Addendum 1, Section II, item 1 under "Controls:" requires that safe batch containers loaded into poisoned 45-gallon drums in the Line 2 Utility Hood shall be visually inspected and appear to be dry and free of moderated materials, and that only buckets with moisture results of less than 1.0 wt.% moisture and free from any visual indication of moderated materials may be dumped into the poisoned 45-gallon drums.

CSS P67,241, Rev. 9, 45-Gallon Powder Drums with Neutron Absorbing Inserts, Section III.B.3.b. specifies that only safe batch containers confirmed to contain< 1.0 wt% moisture by laboratory analysis or in-line moisture monitoring and free from any visual indication of moderated materials may be dumped into the poisoned 45-gallon powder drums.

Contrary to this requirement, on April 2-3, 2002, the requirements of the CSA and CSS for moisture analysis and visual inspections were not included in Standard Operating Procedure EMF 22, EMF-P66,927, Rev. 25, Dry Powder Blending, Handling and Labeling of Poisoned 45-Gallon Drums and Safe Batch Containers. Specifically, 1) the procedure did not require visual inspection of the safe batch buckets before dumping into the 45-gallon drums, and 2) the procedure stated that for processing scrap shipments, a Shipping Manifest can be used for moisture verification (moderator control for criticality safety), i.e. another facility's analysis, which was not analyzed and provided for in the CSA and CSS.

These violations represent a Severity Level III problem (Supplement VI).
Civil Penalty - $15,000

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Framatome ANP, Inc. (Licensee) is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, within 30 days of the date of this Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice). This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation" and should include for each alleged violation: (1) admission or denial of the alleged violation, (2) the reasons for the violation if admitted, and if denied, the reasons why, (3) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (4) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further violations, and (5) the date when full compliance will be achieved. Your response may reference or include previous docketed correspondence, if the correspondence adequately addresses the required response. If an adequate reply is not received within the time specified in this Notice, an order or a Demand for Information may be issued as to why the license should not be modified, suspended, or revoked or why such other action as may be proper should not be taken. Consideration may be given to extending the response time for good cause shown.

Within the same time as provided for the response required above under 10 CFR 2.201, the Licensee may pay the civil penalty proposed above or the cumulative amount of the civil penalties if more than one civil penalty is proposed, in accordance with NUREG/BR-0254 and by submitting to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a statement indicating when and by what method payment was made, or may protest imposition of the civil penalty in whole or in part, by a written answer addressed to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Should the Licensee fail to answer within the time specified, an order imposing the civil penalty will be issued. Should the Licensee elect to file an answer in accordance with 10 CFR 2.205 protesting the civil penalty, in whole or in part, such answer should be clearly marked as an "Answer to a Notice of Violation" and may: (1) deny the violations listed in this Notice, in whole or in part, (2) demonstrate extenuating circumstances, (3) show error in this Notice, or (4) show other reasons why the penalty should not be imposed. In addition to protesting the civil penalty in whole or in part, such answer may request remission or mitigation of the penalty.

In requesting mitigation of the proposed penalty, the factors addressed in Section VI.C.2 of the Enforcement Policy should be addressed. Any written answer in accordance with 10 CFR 2.205 should be set forth separately from the statement or explanation in reply pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201, but may incorporate parts of the 10 CFR 2.201 reply by specific reference (e.g., citing page and paragraph numbers) to avoid repetition. The attention of the Licensee is directed to the other provisions of 10 CFR 2.205, regarding the procedure for imposing a civil penalty.

Upon failure to pay any civil penalty due which subsequently has been determined in accordance with the applicable provisions of 10 CFR 2.205, this matter may be referred to the Attorney General, and the penalty, unless compromised, remitted, or mitigated, may be collected by civil action pursuant to Section 234c of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2282c.

The response noted above (Reply to Notice of Violation, statement as to payment of civil penalty, and Answer to a Notice of Violation) should be addressed to: Frank Congel, Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852-2738, with a copy to the Regional Administrator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011.

Because your response will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the Publicly Available Records (PARS) component of NRC's document system (ADAMS), to the extent possible, it should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be made available to the public without redaction. ADAMS is accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html (the Public NRC Library). If personal privacy or proprietary information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, then please provide a bracketed copy of your response that identifies the information that should be protected and a redacted copy of your response that deletes such information. If you request withholding of such material, you must specifically identify the portions of your response that you seek to have withheld and provide in detail the bases for your claim of withholding (e.g., explain why the disclosure of information will create an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy or provide the information required by 10 CFR 2.790(b) to support a request for withholding confidential commercial or financial information). If safeguards information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, please provide the level of protection described in 10 CFR 73.21.

Dated this 28th day of August 2002


1. A Notice of Violation for a Severity Level III problem (EA-99-154) was issued on June 5, 2001 for: (1) shipping licensed material in unapproved packages, (2) exporting licensed material that did not meet required packaging requirements, (3) certifying in shipping papers that an export shipment complied with applicable shipping requirements, and (4) failing to maintain approved operating procedures.

 

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