United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-080 & EA-96-100 - McGuire 1 & 2 (Duke Power Company)

May 9, 1996

EA 96-080 and 96-100

Duke Power Company
ATTN: Mr. T. C. McMeekin
Vice President
McGuire Site
12700 Hagers Ferry Road
Huntersville, NC 28078-8985

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION
         (NRC Inspection Report Nos. 50-369, 370/96-02)

Dear Mr. McMeekin:

This refers to an inspection conducted by the NRC on March 11 through April 1, 1996, at the McGuire facility. This inspection included a review of the circumstances and conditions that resulted in Unit 2 Refueling Water Storage Tank (RWST) level instrumentation becoming inoperable during cold weather, as well as an evaluation of the failure of a Unit 2 Emergency Diesel Generator (EDG) to start. The results of this inspection were sent to you by letter dated April 4, 1996. A closed, predecisional enforcement conference was conducted in the Region II office on April 15, 1996, to discuss the apparent violations, the root causes, and your corrective actions to preclude recurrence. A list of conference attendees, NRC slides, and a copy of your presentation materials are enclosed.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report.

Violation A involves the failure to provide adequate procedural guidance to assure that the Unit 2 RWST level transmitters would not freeze and become inoperable during cold weather. Specifically, plant procedures did not require monitoring to ensure that thermostat controls for the strip heaters were properly set. As a result, during testing activities in February 1996 one RWST level transmitter was discovered to be frozen and inoperable. A second transmitter was then declared inoperable, although this inoperability was not conclusively verified prior to taking immediate corrective action to apply heat. Level transmitters for the RWST could similarly have been inoperable during periods when ambient temperatures were below freezing. With two of three channels inoperable, the function of the transmitters to provide a low level signal for the automatic swapover of the Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) pumps to the containment sump, and the actuation of alarms to alert operators to manually initiated reactor coolant recirculation, would not have occurred. During certain accident scenarios, this could have resulted in the possible failure or degradation of several ECCS pumps, potentially increasing the severity of the accident. Therefore, this violation has been categorized in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, as a Severity Level III violation.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $50,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because your facility has been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two 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.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Because you identified the violation during an operability verification of the level transmitters, the NRC determined that credit for the factor of Identification was appropriate.

Regarding corrective actions, your immediate measures included restoration of the operability of the affected instruments, and verification of the operability of the remaining RWST level instrumentation for both McGuire units. Additional actions included the establishment of a task force to review your freeze protection program in depth, and the implementation of procedural revisions and plant modifications to prevent recurrence. Based on these facts, the NRC determined that credit was warranted for the factor of Corrective Action, resulting in no civil penalty for Violation A.

Violation B in the enclosed Notice involves EDG inoperability in excess of Technical Specification requirements. At least four failures of EDGs to start due to false low lube oil pressure indication occurred at McGuire between 1981 and 1996. Your failure to correct this long-term deficiency resulted in the valid failure of EDG 2B to start during testing on February 6, 1996. Your subsequent evaluation determined that marginal design coupled with ambient temperatures below 71 degrees F would have rendered the EDG inoperable for periods in excess of 72 hours on at least two previous occasions. During these periods of inoperability, the action requirement of Technical Specification 3.8.1.1 for an inoperable diesel was not met.

The safety consequence of the inoperability of the 2B EDG was reduced because at least one EDG was functional at all times, the 2B EDG could have been restarted if it failed on low lube oil pressure, and the diesels were not called upon to function in an emergency situation during the periods of inoperability. However, the inoperability of an EDG beyond the times allowed by the TS limiting conditions for operation represents an increased safety risk relative to the single failure assumed in the accident analysis. Therefore, this Violation B has been categorized in accordance with the Enforcement Policy as a Severity Level III violation.

For Violation B, the NRC concluded that credit was warranted for Identification because the issue was identified through your investigation of the failure of the EDG to start during surveillance testing. The NRC further determined that credit was warranted for Corrective Action, based on immediate implementation of compensatory measures to monitor EDG room and lube oil temperatures to ensure EDG operability, and plans to correct the design deficiency through equipment modifications. Based on these considerations, the NRC has determined that a civil penalty would not be assessed for Violation B.

Therefore, to encourage prompt identification and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Office of Enforcement, not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty.

You are required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice when preparing you response. In your response, you should document the specific actions taken and any additional actions you plan to prevent recurrence. After reviewing your response to this Notice, including your proposed corrective actions and the results of future inspections, the NRC will determine whether further NRC enforcement action is necessary to ensure compliance with NRC regulatory requirements.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosures, and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR). To the extent possible, your response should not included any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction.

                                     Sincerely,

                                     Original Signed by
                                     Stewart D. Ebneter

                                     Stewart D. Ebneter
                                     Regional Administrator

Docket Nos. 50-369, 50-370
License Nos. NPF-9, NPF-17

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation
2. List of Attendees
3. NRC Slides
4. Licensee Presentation Material

cc w/encls:
James Snyder
Regulatory Compliance
Duke Power Company
12700 Hagers Ferry Road
Huntersville, NC 28078-8985

G. A. Copp
Licensing - EC05O

P. O. Box 1006
Charlotte, NC 28201-1006

Paul R. Newton
Legal Department (PB05E)
Duke Power Company
422 South Church Street
Charlotte, NC 28242-0001

Mr. Robert P. Gruber
Executive Director
Public Staff - NCUC
P. O. Box 29520
Raleigh, NC 27626-0520

J. Michael McGarry, III, Esq.
Winston and Strawn
1400 L Street, NW
Washington, D. C. 20005

Dayne H. Brown, Director
Division of Radiation Protection
N. C. Department of Environment,
Health & Natural Resources
P. O. Box 27687
Raleigh, NC 27611-7687

County Manager of Mecklenburg County
720 East Fourth Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

Peter R. Harden IV
Account Sales Manager
Power Systems Field Sales
Westinghouse Electric Corporation
P. O. Box 7288
Charlotte, NC 28241

Dr. John M. Barry, Director
Mecklenburg County Department
of Environmental Protection
700 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28203

Karen E. Long
Assistant Attorney General
N. C. Department of Justice
P. O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
Duke Power Company                                                Docket Nos. 50-369, 50-370
McGuire Units 1 and 2                                             License Nos. NPF-9, NPF-17
                                                                  EA 96-080 and 96-100

During an NRC Inspection conducted on March 11 through April 1, 1996, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

A. Technical Specification 6.8.1 requires that written procedures be established, implemented, and maintained covering the activities in the applicable procedures recommended in Appendix A of Regulatory Guide 1.33, Revision 2, February 1978.
Contrary to the above, prior to February 1996 the licensee failed to provide procedures for the monitoring of freeze protection equipment and systems with sufficient guidance to assure that the Unit 2 refueling water storage tank level transmitters would not freeze and render the automatic swapover feature for the storage tank to the containment emergency core cooling system sump inoperable. Appendix A includes procedures for the operation of safety related systems such as those needed for emergency core cooling.

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement I).

B. Technical Specification 3.8.1.1 requires that two separate and independent emergency diesel generators be operable in Modes 1, 2, 3, and 4 and if one of the diesel generators becomes inoperable it must be restored to operable status within 72 hours.
Contrary to the above, on at least two occasions between December 1995 and March 1996, with Unit 2 operating in Mode 1, the emergency diesel generator became inoperable due to a design weakness combined with low ambient temperature and was not restored to operable status within 72 hours.

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement I).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Duke Power Company is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region II, and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the facility that is the subject of this Notice, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice). This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation" and should include for each violation: (1) the reason for the violation, or, if contested, the basis for disputing the violation, (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 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. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the response time.

Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, this response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

Because your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR), to the extent possible, it should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction. However, if you find it necessary to include such information, you should clearly indicate the specific information that you desire not to be placed in the PDR, and provide the legal basis to support your request for withholding the information from the public.

Dated at Atlanta, Georgia
this 9th day of May 1996


1. Two Severity Level (SL) III violations with a $75,000 civil penalty were issued on March 16, 1994, concerning control of safeguards material (EA 93-311). A $100,000 civil penalty was issued on May 16, 1994, involving a loss of offsite power event (EA 94-038). An SL III violation was issued on August 22, 1995, concerning inadequate design control of emergency diesel generator turbochargers (EA 95-156).

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