United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-115- Dresden 2 & 3 (Commonwealth Edison Company)

June 13, 1996

EA 96-115

Mr. Thomas J. Maiman
Senior Vice President,
Nuclear Operations Division
Commonwealth Edison Company
Executive Towers West III
1400 Opus Place, Suite 300
Downers Grove, IL 60515

SUBJECT: DRESDEN STATION - UNITS 2 AND 3
         NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL 
         PENALTY -$50,000
         (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NOS. 50-237/96005(DRS); 50-249/96005(DRS))

Dear Mr. Maiman:

This refers to the inspection conducted on February 14 through April 1, 1996, at the Dresden Station. The purpose of the inspection was to review the circumstances surrounding the failure to ensure corrective actions to restore design margins to the structural steel for the low pressure coolant injection (LPCI) corner rooms. Commonwealth Edison personnel were aware of the design deficiency for over five years without effective resolution. The report documenting the inspection was sent by letter dated April 11, 1996, and a pre-decisional enforcement conference was conducted on May 1, 1996.

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

Design organization interface weaknesses in the 1980s allowed modifications to corner room piping supports without evaluating the impact on structural steel loading. Structural steel stress design margins were not met for seismic loading conditions. The affected steel performed an important safety function, namely to support low pressure emergency core cooling system (ECCS) piping and heat exchangers.

We are concerned that the engineering decision process failed to ensure timely action to restore design margins. Commonwealth Edison was aware of the design deficiency since 1991. Subsequent to a January 1994 operability evaluation of this issue for both units, the Dresden engineering organization missed several opportunities to ensure more timely resolution of the deficiency. As a result, a refuel outage was conducted on Unit 3 in 1994 without addressing the structural steel design deficiency. In late 1994, corrective action was further postponed due to other emerging issues. The proposed structural steel modifications were presented for review and approval in late 1995, but the engineering process and management oversight were insufficient to adequately identify the importance of returning the required design margin to the structural steel. Consequently, the modifications were further deferred until after the in-process Unit 2 refuel outage. The Unit 2 modifications were completed during the refuel outage subsequent to the NRC raising questions concerning the significance of the issue and timeliness of corrective actions. Unit 3 will remain uncorrected until the next refuel outage.

There were a number of root causes for the violations. Some of these included inadequate turnovers between the multiple cognizant engineers as engineering functions were decentralized, and ineffective interfaces with the multiple architect engineering firms on-site. Because the technical knowledge on-site was not sufficient to recognize complex problems, input from contractors was not always evaluated or challenged. More significantly and recently, insufficient engineering and management emphasis on maintaining Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR) design margins resulted in a failure to recognize the full safety significance of the deficiency during the decision process and resulted in its untimely resolution.

The failure to promptly correct this design deficiency in the installed structural steel is a significant regulatory concern. Therefore, the violation in Section I of the Notice 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 been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last 2 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. Credit was not warranted for identification because the NRC identified the violation. Credit was warranted for your comprehensive corrective actions. Your short term actions included reviewing deficiency backlogs for other UFSAR nonconformances and operability concerns, defining an effective engineering management process, and conducting nonconforming condition process awareness training for engineering managers. Your long term actions will include performing modification design control assessments involving one or two systems, implementing engineering management performance meetings, and conducting nonconforming condition awareness training for all sites.

Therefore, to emphasize the need to identify significant deficiencies requiring prompt corrective actions, and thereafter, take such actions, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to issue the enclosed Notice in the base amount of $50,000 for the Severity Level III violation.

Section II of the enclosed Notice describes one violation not assessed a civil penalty involving the failure to report a condition outside the design basis of the plant.

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. In addition to responding to the specific violations, please address the design control deficiencies that resulted in the structural steel design deficiency. 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 Nos. 50-237; 50-249
License Nos. DPR-19; DPR-25

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and
Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Commonwealth Edison Company                        Docket Nos. 50-237; 50-249
Dresden Station, Units 2 and 3                     License Nos. DPR-19; DPR-25
                                                   EA 96-115

During an NRC inspection conducted on February 14 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 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 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. The identification of the significant condition adverse to quality, the cause of the condition, and the corrective action taken shall be documented and reported to the appropriate levels of management.
Contrary to the above, from 1991 until March 1996, the licensee failed to promptly identify and correct known deficiencies in the Units 2 and 3 structural steel located in the low pressure coolant injection (LPCI) corner rooms. Certain beams and connections exceeded the allowable stresses for Class I building type structures specified in Dresden Updated Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR) Table 3.8-11, a significant condition adverse to quality. In 1991, the licensee's architect engineer identified that some of the structural steel connections in the LPCI corner rooms appeared to be above FSAR limits because the original 1966 design analysis had never been updated to include as-built piping loads. The structural steel deficiencies were not appropriately identified and tracked until the licensee committed to modify the Unit 3 structural steel during the next refuel outage (D3R14) in a letter to the NRC dated March 4, 1996. The Unit 2 structural steel modifications were completed during refuel outage D2R14 which was ongoing in March 1996. (01013)

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

II. Violation not Assessed a Civil Penalty

10 CFR 50.73(a)(2)(ii)(B), requires that the licensee submit a Licensee Event Report within 30 days after discovery of any event or condition that resulted in a condition that was outside the design basis of the plant.

Contrary to the above, as of April 1, 1996, the licensee failed to submit a Licensee Event Report within 30 days after discovery on January 6, 1994, that the structural steel in the Unit 2 and 3 LPCI corner rooms was outside the design basis of the plant. (02014)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Commonwealth 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 13th day of June 1996

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