United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-01-154 - Cooper (Nebraska Public Power District)

August 13, 2001

EA-01-154

J. H. Swailes, Vice President of Nuclear Energy
Nebraska Public Power District
P.O. Box 98
Brownville, Nebraska 68321

SUBJECT: FINAL SIGNIFICANCE DETERMINATION FOR A WHITE FINDING AND NOTICE OF VIOLATION (NRC Inspection Report No. 50-298/01-04) (Cooper Nuclear Station)

Dear Mr. Swailes:

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with the final results of our significance determination of the preliminary White finding identified in the subject inspection report. The inspection finding was assessed using the significance determination process and was preliminarily characterized as White (i.e., an issue with low to moderate increased importance to safety, which may require additional NRC inspections). This White finding involves the failure to implement effective corrective actions to prevent recurrence of a risk-significant performance weakness identified during the August 29, 2000, biennial exercise. Specifically, during the biennial exercise, the dose assessment staff failed to recognize that the reactor core was simulated to be in a degraded condition; therefore, they underestimated the projected doses to the general public located in the plume exposure pathway. This error resulted in non-conservative protective action recommendations for offsite populations. The corrective actions were not effective because they were narrowly focused, concentrating on procedural inconsistencies, and did not sufficiently recognize the need for additional personnel training. As a result, the performance weakness was repeated during an April 11, 2001, drill.

In a telephone conversation with Mr. David P. Loveless, of NRC, Region IV, on July 19, 2001, Mr. M. Boyce of your staff indicated that the Nebraska Public Power District did not contest the characterization of the risk significance of this finding and that you declined your opportunity to discuss this issue in a Regulatory Conference.

After considering the information developed during the inspection, the NRC has concluded that the inspection finding is appropriately characterized as White (i.e., an issue with low to moderate increased importance to safety, which may require additional NRC inspections).

You have 10 business days from the date of this letter to appeal the staff's determination of significance for the identified White finding. Such appeals will be considered to have merit if they meet the criteria given in NRC Inspection Manual Chapter 0609, Supplement 3.

The NRC has also determined that the failure to take effective corrective actions to prevent the recurrence of a risk-significant performance weakness is a violation of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix E, Paragraph IV.F.2.g, as cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice). The circumstances surrounding the violation are described in detail in the subject inspection report. In accordance with the NRC Enforcement Policy, NUREG-1600, the Notice of Violation is considered escalated enforcement action because it is associated with a White finding.

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.

Because plant performance for this issue has been determined to be in the degraded cornerstone column, we will use the NRC Action Matrix to determine the most appropriate NRC response for this event. We will notify you, by separate correspondence, of that determination.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter and its enclosures will be 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,

/RA/

Ellis W. Merschoff
Regional Administrator

Docket No.: 50-298
License No.: DPR-46

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/enclosure:

G. R. Horn, Senior Vice President
of Energy Supply
Nebraska Public Power District
1414 15th Street
Columbus, Nebraska 68601

John R. McPhail, General Counsel
Nebraska Public Power District
P.O. Box 499
Columbus, Nebraska 68602-0499

D. F. Kunsemiller, Risk and
Regulatory Affairs Manager
Nebraska Public Power District
P.O. Box 98
Brownville, Nebraska 68321

Dr. William D. Leech
Manager - Nuclear
MidAmerican Energy
907 Walnut Street
P.O. Box 657
Des Moines, Iowa 50303-0657

Ron Stoddard
Lincoln Electric System
1040 O Street
P.O. Box 80869
Lincoln, Nebraska 68501-0869

Michael J. Linder, Director
Nebraska Department of Environmental
Quality
P.O. Box 98922
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-8922

Chairman
Nemaha County Board of Commissioners
Nemaha County Courthouse
1824 N Street
Auburn, Nebraska 68305

Sue Semerena, Section Administrator
Nebraska Health and Human Services System
Division of Public Health Assurance
Consumer Services Section
301 Centennial Mall, South
P.O. Box 95007
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5007

Ronald A. Kucera, Deputy Director
for Public Policy
Department of Natural Resources
205 Jefferson Street
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Jerry Uhlmann, Director
State Emergency Management Agency
P.O. Box 116
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Vick L. Cooper, Chief
Radiation Control Program, RCP
Kansas Department of Health
and Environment
Bureau of Air and Radiation
Forbes Field Building 283
Topeka, Kansas 66620


ENCLOSURE

NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Nebraska Public Power District
Cooper Nuclear Station
Docket No. 50-298
License No. DPR-46
EA-01-154

During an NRC inspection conducted on April 9 - June 27, 2001, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violation is listed below:

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix E, IV.F.2.g., requires that all training, including exercises, shall provide for formal critiques in order to identify weak or deficient areas that need correction. Any weaknesses or deficiencies that are identified shall be corrected.
Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to correct a risk-significant performance weakness that was identified following the August 29, 2000, biennial exercise (the exercise did provide for a formal critique). Specifically, corrective actions implemented to prevent recurrence of a dose assessment performance weakness identified following the biennial exercise were not adequate in that they were narrowly focused. Corrective actions for the performance weakness concentrated on procedural inconsistencies and did not sufficiently recognize the need for additional personnel training. As a result, the performance weakness was repeated during an April 11, 2001, drill.
This violation is associated with a White significance determination process finding.

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Nebraska Public Power District is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, DC 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region IV, and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the facility that is the subject of this Notice of Violation (Notice), within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice. This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation" and should include: (1) the reason for the violation, or, if contested, the basis for disputing the violation or severity level, (2) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (3) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further violations, and (4) the date when full compliance will be achieved. Your response may reference or include previously 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. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the response time.

If you contest this enforcement action, you should also provide a copy of your response, with the basis for your denial, to the Director, Office of Enforcement, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

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 13th day of August 2001

 

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