United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-05-134 - Hatch 1 & 2 (Southern Nuclear Operating Company)

September 19, 2005

EA-05-134

Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.
ATTN: Mr. H. L. Sumner
Vice President - Hatch Project
P. O. Box 1295
Birmingham, AL 35201-1295

SUBJECT:    FINAL SIGNIFICANCE DETERMINATION FOR A WHITE FINDING (HATCH NUCLEAR PLANT INSPECTION REPORT NO. 05000321/200500009, 05000366/200500009)

Dear Mr. Sumner:

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) final significance determination for a finding involving the removal of the Technical Support Center (TSC) from service on April 25, 2005, to perform ventilation system modifications. The finding was documented in NRC Integrated Inspection Report No. 05000321/2005003 and 05000366/2005003, issued on July 8, 2005, and was assessed under the significance determination process as a preliminary White issue (i.e., an issue of low to moderate safety significance which may require additional NRC inspection). The cover letter to the inspection report informed Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., (SNC) of the NRC’s preliminary conclusion and provided SNC an opportunity to request a regulatory conference on this matter.

At SNC’s request, an open regulatory conference was conducted on August 16, 2005, to discuss SNC’s position on this issue. The enclosures to this letter include the list of attendees at the regulatory conference and material presented by SNC and NRC.

During the conference, SNC provided details related to its pre-modification activities, and its assessment of the significance of the issue. SNC stated that comprehensive preparations were planned and taken before commencement of modification activities such that key emergency response organization members would have been able to perform their tasks without compensatory measures from the main control room (MCR). SNC advised that the MCR would be used as the alternate location for TSC functions as this location was approved for use in the Emergency Plan, was evaluated by SNC as capable of being used successfully to execute TSC functions to support emergency response, and was reaffirmed in SNC’s planning process prior to beginning the modification. Prior to taking the TSC out of service, SNC also reviewed procedures that governed the execution of TSC responsibilities and made procedural changes as necessary. Based on the foregoing, SNC concluded that the planning standard function was maintained and, correspondingly, that the finding was of very low safety significance (Green). SNC did not contest the NRC determination that the finding represented a violation of 10 CFR 50.54(q) and 10 CFR 50.47(b)(8). In addition, SNC provided details of its corrective actions in response to the finding.

After considering the information developed during the inspection and the information SNC provided at the conference, the NRC has concluded that the final inspection finding is appropriately characterized as White in the emergency preparedness cornerstone. In summary, the NRC concluded that the removal of the TSC from service for more than 7 days represented the loss of a planning standard function as described in NRC Inspection Manual Chapter 0609, Appendix B, Emergency Preparedness Significance Determination Process. Although the use of the MCR as an alternate TSC location during planned TSC outages is permitted by the Emergency Plan, the NRC considers this to be a temporary measure while repair activities proceed with high priority. Further, the Emergency Plan specifies that using the MCR as an alternate TSC is permitted only if the TSC becomes “uninhabitable during an emergency.” In this case, the TSC did not become uninhabitable during an emergency, and SNC’s original TSC outage schedule of approximately 5 weeks was not commensurate with the intent to proceed with high priority.

You have 10 calendar days from the date of this letter to appeal the staff’s determination of significance for the identified finding. Such appeals will be considered to have merit only if they meet the criteria given in NRC Inspection Manual Chapter 0609, Attachment 2.

The NRC also determined that a violation of 10 CFR 50.54(q) and 10 CFR 50.47(b)(8) occurred because facilities and equipment to support the emergency response were not provided and maintained. The violation is set forth in the enclosed Notice of Violation.

You are not required to respond to this letter unless the description herein does not accurately reflect your position or if you choose to provide additional information. For administrative purposes, this letter is issued as a separate NRC Inspection Report, No. 05000321/200500009, 05000366/200500009, and the above violation is identified as VIO 0500321,366/200500009-01, Failure to Maintain Facilities and Equipment to Support Emergency Response. Accordingly, Apparent Violation 05000321,366/2005003-01, is closed.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.390 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosures, and your response (should you choose to provide one) will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the NRC’s document system (ADAMS) which is accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To the extent possible, any response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, classified, or safeguards information so that it can be made available to the Public without redaction. The NRC also includes significant enforcement actions on its Web site at www.nrc.gov; select What We Do, Enforcement, then Significant Enforcement Actions.


Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Mr. Malcolm Widmann, Chief, Branch 2, Division of Reactor Projects, at (404)562-4550.

 

Sincerely,

/RA/

William D. Travers
Regional Administrator

Docket Nos. 50-321 and 50-366
License Nos. DPR-57 and NPF-5

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation
2. List of Attendees
3. Material presented by SNC
4. Material presented by NRC

cc w/encls:

J. T. Gasser
Executive Vice President
Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.
Electronic Mail Distribution

Reece McAlister
Executive Secretary
Georgia Public Service Commission
244 Washington Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30334
George R. Frederick
General Manager, Plant Hatch
Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.
Electronic Mail Distribution

 
Raymond D. Baker
Manager Licensing - Hatch
Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.
Electronic Mail Distribution

 
Arthur H. Domby, Esq.
Troutman Sanders
Electronic Mail Distribution

 
Laurence Bergen
Oglethorpe Power Corporation
Electronic Mail Distribution

 
Director
Department of Natural Resources
205 Butler Street, SE, Suite 1252
Atlanta, GA 30334

 
Manager, Radioactive Materials Program
Department of Natural Resources
Electronic Mail Distribution

 
Chairman
Appling County Board of Commissioners
69 Tippins Street., Suite 201
Baxley, GA 31513

 
Resident Manager
Oglethorpe Power Corporation
Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant
Electronic Mail Distribution

 
Senior Engineer - Power Supply
Municipal Electric Authority
of Georgia
Electronic Mail Distribution
 
   


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Southern Nuclear Operating Company
Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant
Units 1 and 2
Docket Nos. 50-321 and 50-366
License Nos. DPR-57 and NPF-5
EA-05-134

During an NRC inspection completed on June 30, 2005, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the NRC Enforcement Policy, the violation is listed below:

10 CFR 50.54(q) requires, in part, that a licensee authorized to operate a nuclear power reactor shall follow and maintain in effect emergency plans which meet the standards in Section 50.47(b). 10 CFR 50.54(q) also states that a licensee may make changes to these plans without Commission approval only if the changes do not decrease the effectiveness of the plans and the plans, if changed, continue to meet the standards of Section 50.47(b).

10 CFR 50.47(b)(8) requires that adequate emergency facilities and equipment to support the emergency response be provided and maintained. Section H of Revision 18 of the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant Emergency Plan, which implements the requirements of 10 CFR 50.47(b)(8), states that in the event that the Technical Support Center (TSC) becomes "uninhabitable during an emergency," the control room will serve as an alternate TSC location.

Contrary to the above, between April 25 and May 4, 2005, the licensee failed to maintain in effect a provision of its emergency plan in that adequate emergency facilities and equipment to support the emergency response were not provided. In this case, the licensee failed to follow and maintain in effect its emergency plan when the TSC was removed from service during this period to allow for modification activities. The removal of the TSC for the modification did not represent a condition in which the TSC was uninhabitable during an emergency.

This violation is associated with a White Significance Determination Process finding for Units 1 and 2 in the emergency preparedness cornerstone.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance was achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in the information provided by SNC at the conference (Enclosure 3). However, you are required to submit a written statement or explanation pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201 if the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you choose to respond, clearly mark your response as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation - EA-05-134," and send it to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, DC 20555, with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region II, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice).

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, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

If you choose to respond, your response will be made available electronically for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room or from the 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. 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 2.390(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.

In accordance with 10 CFR 19.11, you may be required to post this Notice within 2 working days.

Dated this 19th day of September 2005

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