United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-111; EA-94-067- Trojan Nuclear (Portland General Electric Co.)

June 6, 1996

EA 96-111
EA 94-067


Mr. Stephen M. Quennoz, Acting Vice
President and Chief Nuclear Officer
Portland General Electric Company
Trojan Nuclear Plant
71760 Columbia River Highway
Rainier, Oregon 97048


SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL 
         PENALTY - $50,000
         (NRC INVESTIGATION CASE NOS. 5-91-012 & 5-91-013)

Dear Mr. Quennoz:

This is in reference to Portland General Electric's (PGE) May 6, 1996 response to the NRC's April 5, 1996, letter which identified two examples of an apparent violation of 10 CFR 50.9. As described in more detail in the NRC's April 5 letter, the apparent violations involved: 1) the falsification of Operability Determination Notice (ODN) 90-64, Revisions 0 and 1, and Justifications for Continued Operation (JCOs) dated July 11 and October 3, 1990; and 2) the submission to the NRC of inaccurate and incomplete information in Licensee Event Report (LER) 91-11, Revisions 0 and 1, dated June 10, 1991, and October 28, 1991, respectively. The NRC's April 5 letter stated that the NRC was considering escalated enforcement action for these apparent violations and requested a written response from PGE prior to an enforcement decision being made.<1>

PGE's May 6, 1996, response acknowledged that PGE failed to meet the requirements of 10 CFR 50.9, Completeness and Accuracy of Information, in both instances. PGE identified these two violations and contracted with Stier, Anderson & Malone (SAM) to investigate both issues. In its May 6, 1996 letter, PGE stated that the individuals who were the primary focus of the SAM investigations were no longer employed by PGE; and that PGE's corrective actions taken in response to the SAM investigations provide reasonable assurance that PGE is currently in compliance with 10 CFR 50.9.

PGE's stated corrective actions included: contracting with SAM to investigate the concerns; suspending the individual involved in the first apparent violation and reviewing a sample of his work; replacing the affected equipment, i.e., Raychem splices and electrical penetration assembly (EPA) seals; counseling of the individuals involved as to both violations; removing the signature authority of an involved manager as to certain documents, resulting in increased oversight of the manager; revising LER 91-011 by submitting Revision 2 to correct deficiencies identified by SAM in Revisions 0 and 1; and training of Trojan managers and supervisors on the NRC's Deliberate Misconduct Rule and incorporating this training into General Employee Training and retraining programs. PGE also cited steps being taken to avoid further violations, including additional training in the requirements of 10 CFR 50.9 and responsibilities relative to assuring the completeness and accuracy of information provided to the NRC.

The NRC's April 5 letter also requested PGE's view with respect to whether the violations were committed willfully. Regarding the first apparent violation, PGE's May 6 response stated that PGE accepted SAM's conclusion that the individual involved in preparing the ODNs and JCOs knew when he formulated the analysis in the ODNs and JCOs that it contained inaccurate and misleading information. The NRC's Office of Investigations reached this same conclusion (Investigation Report No. 5-91-012), as we stated in our April 5 letter. Regarding the second apparent violation, PGE's May 6 response stated that because the two involved individuals are no longer PGE employees and had not been available to meet with management, it had not drawn final conclusions about the conduct of the individuals involved in submitting the inaccurate LER to the NRC.

Based on the NRC's review of all available information, including the results of its own investigation of the first matter, the NRC has determined that violations of 10 CFR 50.9 did occur in both instances. The violations are described in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty. The NRC recognizes that these violations were discovered largely as the result of efforts undertaken by current Trojan management and do not reflect the performance of current management. The NRC also notes that these violations occurred in 1990 and 1991, prior to a decision to shut down and decommission the Trojan facility. Nonetheless, these violations are significant today and warrant appropriate dispositioning because: 1) the information involved was important at the time with respect to the safety and continued operation of the facility; 2) the 1990 violation involving inaccurate ODNs and JCOs resulted from apparent willfulness; 3) the violations are the result of significant management failures to address the underlying technical issues as well as to establish an appropriate climate for being candid with the NRC with regard to these issues; and 4) the licensee, during the decommissioning process, will be submitting information to the NRC that must be complete and accurate.

Thus, each of the violations in the enclosure has been classified at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600. As stated in the Enforcement Policy, published June 30, 1995, a civil penalty (with a base value of $50,000) is considered for a Severity Level III violation and is normally based on the NRC's determination of whether credit is warranted for Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.B.2. In the case of the earlier violation, that involving the 1990 ODNs and JCOs, the NRC is not assessing a civil penalty because the violation occurred more than five years ago and therefore exceeds the statute of limitations for considering civil penalties.

In the case of the second violation, that involving LER 91-011, Revisions 0 and 1, the NRC acknowledges that PGE would deserve credit under both the identification and corrective action factors, for reasons previously discussed. Notwithstanding consideration of these factors, the NRC notes that the circumstances surrounding this violation involved significant management failures, including improper operational safety decisionmaking by senior PGE management and the plant review board, and failures to adequately address problems with the EPA seals in 1987-1990. Also, in that timeframe, PGE management failed in its responsibilities by providing the NRC with information in a manner that discouraged NRC's regulatory scrutiny (for example, the misinforming of the NRC about Trojan's official determination of the root cause of a 1987 EPA seal failure (LER 87-11)). The resulting pattern of misinforming the NRC culminated in the inaccurate, incomplete and misleading information in LER 91-11, revisions 0 and 1. Based on these significant management failures, the NRC has determined that the circumstances surrounding this violation warrant the exercise of discretion under Section VII.A.1 of the Enforcement Policy.

Therefore, to emphasize the significance of the management failures that led to this violation, and the importance of effective management processes to assure that information provided to the NRC is complete and accurate in all material respects, 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 of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) in the amount of $50,000 for this Severity Level III problem. The NRC notes that if it were not for the fact that Trojan has a new management team, that the plant has permanently ceased operations, and the current management keeps the NRC staff informed of onsite activities, the NRC would have considered a civil penalty up to the statutory limit of $100,000.

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. As indicated in the Notice, you may reference previous correspondence to avoid duplication. 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 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. 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).

                                    Sincerely, 

                                    org signed by 
                                    L. J. Callan
                                    Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-344
License No. NPF-1

Enclosure:
Notice of Violation Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/Enclosure:
Portland General Electric Company
Trojan Nuclear Plant
ATTN: Harold K. Chernoff, Manager Licensing
Compliance and Commitment Management
71760 Columbia River Highway
Rainier, Oregon 97048

Board of County Commissioners
ATTN: Michael J. Sykes
Board of County Commissioners
Columbia County
St. Helens, Oregon 97501

Oregon Department of Energy
ATTN: David Stewart-Smith
625 Marion Street NE
Salem, Oregon 97310

Mr. Lloyd K. Marbet
19142 S.E. Bakers Ferry Road
Boring, Oregon 97009

Do It Yourself Committee
ATTN: Jerry Wilson
570 N.E. 53rd
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124

Northwest Environment Advocates
ATTN: Eugene Roselie
133 S.W. 2nd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204

Oregon Radiation Control Program


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Portland General Electric Company                         Docket No. 50-344
Trojan Nuclear Plant                                      License No. NPF-1
                                                          Eas 94-067 and 96-111

During an NRC investigation conducted September 11, 1991 through March 11, 1994, and the NRC's review of Portland General Electric Company's investigative report submitted by its contractor to the NRC on February 15, 1996, violations of NRC requirements were 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 violations and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

I. Violation Assessed a Civil Penalty

10 CFR 50.9(a) requires, in part, that information provided to the Commission by a licensee be complete and accurate in all material respects.
A. Contrary to the above, the licensee did not provide to the Commission information that was complete and accurate in all material respects. Specifically, on June 10, 1991, the licensee submitted LER 91-11 which was incomplete and inaccurate in that the LER did not describe: the electrical function of the electrical penetration assembly seals; the information from the vendor regarding the life of the seals; and the licensee's inadequate responses to previous seal issues. This information was material because the correct information would likely have resulted in substantial further inquiry by the NRC. (01013)
B. Contrary to the above, on October 28, 1991, the licensee submitted LER 91-11, Revision 1, which was incomplete and inaccurate in a material respect in that the LER did not describe: the function of the inboard seal, the vendor information related to the reduced life of the seals, and the correct statement regarding the licensee's official cause of the 1987 seal failure. This information was material because the correct information would likely have resulted in substantial further inquiry by the NRC. (01023)

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

II. Violation Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

10 CFR 50.9(a) requires, in part, that information provided to the Commission by a licensee be complete and accurate in all material respects.
Contrary to the above, the licensee did not provide to the Commission information that was complete and accurate in all material respects. Specifically, ODN 90-64, Revisions 0 and 1, dated May 11, 1990 and July 4, 1990, and the JCOs dated July 11 and October 3, 1990, incorrectly stated that test parameters from another licensee's tests fully enveloped PGE's equipment qualification parameters; that the test environment conditions include direct chemical spray exposures; that another licensee's test parameters enveloped PGE's plant specific peak in-containment temperature of 303·F; and that a failure during another licensee's test was attributed to a particular cause. This information is material because NRC staff members relied on the false statements in allowing Trojan to restart and continue operation. (02013)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Portland General Electric 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 the cumulative amount of the civil penalties if more than one civil penalty is proposed, 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: Mr. 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, ATTN: Enforcement Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011.

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. 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 at Arlington, Texas,
this 6th day of June 1996

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