United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-095 - Fermi 2 (Detroit Edison Company)

May 21, 1996

EA 96-095

Mr. D. R. Gipson
Senior Vice President
Nuclear Generation
The Detroit Edison Company
6400 North Dixie Highway
Newport, Michigan 48166

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL 
         PENALTY -$50,000 
         (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NO. 50-341/96002) 

Dear Mr. Gipson:

This refers to the routine inspection conducted on January 9 through March 19, 1996, at the Fermi 2 facility. A portion of the inspection documented the circumstances surrounding the icing of two Diesel Generator Service Water (DGSW) pumps. The report documenting the inspection was sent by letter dated April 4, 1996, and an open predecisional enforcement conference was conducted on April 15, 1996.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that was provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements occurred. A violation of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix A, General Design Criterion 2 was initially proposed in the inspection report and was discussed during the conference; however, after further consideration we believe the violation is more appropriately characterized as a failure to promptly identify and correct a significant condition adverse to quality in accordance with 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI. This violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report.

During surveillance testing on February 5, 1996, at 2:31 p.m., DGSW pump C (service water pump for Emergency Diesel Generator (EDG) 12) failed to develop normal discharge pressure, flow and motor current. EDG 12 was subsequently declared inoperable<1>. During the investigation of the DGSW pump C failure, your staff focused narrowly on determining the cause of the pump failure, and failed to recognize the potential for a common mode failure of the remaining Ultimate Heat Sink service water pumps. By 8:36 p.m. on February 5, there was sufficient evidence of icing to warrant testing the Division 2 pumps after (1) the Plant Manager and NRC Senior Resident Inspector had observed icicles hanging from the DGSW pump C minimum flow valve, and (2) pressurization of DGSW pump C with air allowed it to run normally. Testing of the Division 2 pumps was not initiated until EDG 12 was restored to operable status, after approximately 29 hours had elapsed. When DGSW pump B (Division 2) was tested at 7:26 p.m. on February 6, it operated erratically for approximately 90 seconds and the outside ambient temperature was substantially higher than the previous day when DGSW pump C failed. Your investigation team concluded that the cause of the pump failure was a buildup of ice around the pump shaft and spider bearing.

The failure to promptly identify and correct a potential for common failure of the Ultimate Heat Sink service water pumps is significant due to the potential loss of the cooling water source for all four emergency diesel generators, the residual heat removal system, and the emergency equipment cooling water system. These systems are essential for mitigating the consequences of an accident and safe shutdown of the facility. Moreover, several significant weaknesses were highlighted by this event. First, a nonconservative operating philosophy resulted in an assumption the cause could not affect other pumps rather than prompt action to check for a common mode failure when operators and management were initially confronted with the potential for icing. Your staff narrowly focused on items which supported a view that the DGSW pump C problem was isolated (e.g., similar problems had not previously occurred, and DGSW pump A had operated normally an hour earlier during surveillance testing) rather than taking aggressive action to assure other equipment was not similarly affected. Second, station management oversight of the situation was not effective. Management failed to assure that the root cause evaluation and corrective actions adequately addressed the potential for common mode failure. Weaknesses in corrective action were previously evident in the February 1995 event involving both divisions of reactor instrumentation being monitored simultaneously with unexpectedly intrusive data acquisition equipment (EA 95-050), and the October 1995 event involving failure to promptly recognize that a safety related battery was rendered inoperable during charger maintenance.

In light of the above, this violation is of significant regulatory concern and has been categorized in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, at Severity Level III.

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 not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last 2 years, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Credit is warranted for corrective action that included the monitoring of air space temperature, requiring the reading of lessons learned and how to recognize potential common cause failure modes, evaluating design changes to the RHR complex and evaluating similar safety related and non-safety related equipment configurations. Although the NRC recognizes that application of the civil penalty assessment process would not result in a civil penalty in this case, the NRC is exercising discretion in accordance with Section VII.A.1 of the Enforcement Policy and is proposing a civil penalty of $50,000. Discretion is being exercised because the nonconservative operating philosophy exhibited during the event resulted in increased duration of the problem and associated risks; and because the failure to promptly address a common cause failure mode for the Ultimate Heat Sink service water pumps represents particularly poor licensee performance.

Therefore, to emphasize the need for a conservative operating philosophy when confronted with anomalous conditions, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, and the Deputy Executive Director for Nuclear Reactor Regulation, Regional Operations, and Research, to issue the enclosed Notice in the base amount of $50,000 for the Severity Level III violation.

You are required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice when preparing your 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 enclosure, and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR). To the extent possible, your response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction.

                                         Sincerely, 




                                         Hubert J. Miller
                                         Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-341
License No. NPF-43

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and
Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/encl:
N. Peterson, Supervisor, Compliance
P. A. Marquardt, Corporate Legal Department
James R. Padgett, Michigan Public Service Commission
Michigan Department of Public Health
Monroe County, Emergency Management Division


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Detroit Edison Company                                             Docket No.  50-341
Fermi 2                                                            License No.  NPF-43
                                                                   EA 96-095

During an NRC inspection conducted on January 9 through March 19, 1996, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 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 violation and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, "Corrective Action," requires, in part, that measures be established to assure that conditions adverse to quality are promptly identified and corrected. In the case of significant conditions adverse to quality, the measures shall assure that the cause of the condition is determined and corrective action taken to preclude repetition.
Contrary to the above, from approximately 8:36 p.m. on February 5, 1996, until 7:26 p.m. on February 6, 1996, the licensee failed to promptly take action to identify and correct a potential common failure of the Ultimate Heat Sink service water pumps, a significant condition adverse to quality. Specifically, on February 5, 1996, at 2:31 p.m., Diesel Generator Service Water (DGSW) pump C failed to develop normal discharge pressure, flow and motor current. By 8:36 p.m. on February 5, there was sufficient evidence of icing to warrant testing the Division 2 pumps after (1) the Plant Manager and NRC Senior Resident Inspector had observed icicles hanging from the DGSW pump C minimum flow valve, and (2) pressurization of DGSW pump C with air allowed it to run normally. However, testing of the Division 2 Ultimate Heat Sink service water pumps was not initiated until 7:26 p.m. on February 6, 1996. (01013)

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement I).
Civil Penalty - $50,000.

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Detroit Edison Company (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.

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

Within the same time as provided for the response required above under 10 CFR 2.201, the Licensee may pay the civil penalty by letter addressed to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with a check, draft, money order, or electronic transfer payable to the Treasurer of the United States in the amount of the civil penalty proposed above, 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 violation 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.B.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, letter with payment of civil penalty, and Answer to a Notice of Violation) should be addressed to: James Lieberman, 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 III, and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the facility that is the subject of this Notice.

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 Lisle, Illinois
this 21st day of May 1996

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