United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-179 - Calvert Cliffs 1 & 2 (Baltimore Gas & Electric Company)

July 25, 1996

EA 96-179

Mr. Charles H. Cruse
Vice President - Nuclear Energy
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company
Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant
1650 Calvert Cliffs Parkway
Lusby, Maryland 20657-4702

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL 
          PENALTY - $50,000
          (NRC Inspection Report Nos. 50-317/96-05 and 50-318/96-05)

Dear Mr. Cruse:

This letter refers to the NRC inspection conducted from May 8 through 10, 1996, at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. The findings of the inspection were discussed with your staff during an exit meeting on May 10, 1996, as well as during follow-up discussions with your licensing staff on May 24 and 30, 1996. The inspection was conducted, in part, to review calculations and test results used to evaluate the acceptability of emergency ventilation provided for the emergency switchgear rooms on the 27 foot and 45 foot elevations in the event of a fire. During the inspection, apparent violations of NRC requirements were identified, and were described in the NRC inspection report transmitted with our letter dated June 13, 1996. On June 27, 1996, a predecisional enforcement conference was conducted with you and members of your staff to discuss the violations, their causes, and your corrective actions.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information you provided during the enforcement conference, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty, and the circumstances surrounding the violations are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The first violation involves the failure to implement, prior to an NRC Electrical Distribution System Functional Inspection (EDSFI) in 1992, a fire protection plan which described the means to limit fire damage to the safe shutdown equipment in the 27 foot elevation Emergency Switchgear Room (ESR) should a severe fire occur in the 45 foot ESR. Specifically, because the ventilation system for the switchgear rooms uses common ducting and fire dampers, a severe fire in the 45 foot ESR would disable the ventilation system for the 27 foot ESR. As a result, safe shutdown equipment in the 27 foot ESR would then be subjected to temperatures which would exceed those temperatures for which the equipment was designed.

The second violation involves the failure to adequately verify the corrective actions taken when this lack of protection for the safe shutdown equipment in the 27 foot elevation Emergency Switchgear Room was brought to the attention of Baltimore Gas & Electric Company (BG&E) by the NRC in April 1992. Although the NRC EDSFI raised this issue as an unresolved item in 1992, the corrective actions taken by your staff were not verified by detailed analysis or test until May 1996. More specifically, subsequent to the EDSFI inspection, you concluded that a total flow of 10,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm) was needed to cool the emergency switchgear rooms adequately. In order to provide this amount, you staged a portable fan in the area and developed and implemented procedural guidance to place a fan in the ESR rollup door with the steel rollup door lowered to the top of the fan housing, and the personnel door blocked open. However, you did not verify that this configuration would provide the 10,000 cfm air flow rate that was credited in your calculation. When questioned by NRC inspectors in March 1996, you performed a test which indicated a flow rate of only 5,155 cfm.

At the predecisional enforcement conference, you indicated that no safety issue exists because one fan subsequently was determined to be adequate for safe shutdown, even though you have added, since the recent inspection, a second fan to provide additional flow. Nonetheless, the violations represent a significant regulatory concern in that they demonstrate that the level of knowledge by engineers and supervisors on 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix R issues was poor, and they neither adequately challenged assumptions in calculations nor verified them through testing. In addition, management's attention was insufficient to address these issues in a timely manner. As such, the violations represent a breakdown in the control of licensed activities that collectively represent a potentially significant lack of attention toward licensed responsibilities which resulted in your failure, for an extended period, to demonstrate that the safe shutdown equipment criteria had been met. Therefore, the two violations have been categorized in the aggregate at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600.

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 Calvert Cliffs has been the subject of an escalated enforcement action within the last two years (namely, issuance of a Severity Level III violation and $50,000 civil penalty on January 2, 1996, for violations associated with deficiencies in the access authorization program; Reference, EA 95-170), 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 for Identification is not warranted because the violations were identified by the NRC. Credit for Corrective Action is warranted because once the violations were identified by the NRC in May 1996, your actions were considered both prompt and comprehensive. These actions, which were noted in your presentation at the predecisional enforcement conference, included, but were not limited to: (1) completion of an accelerated Appendix R overview evaluation on June 14, 1996, in which a contractor was retained to verify Appendix R support calculations, recommend a methodology for Appendix R equipment selection, review Appendix R Information Notices for applicability to Calvert Cliffs, and evaluate the feasibility of manual action by operators; (2) plans to perform an accelerated Appendix R Self-Assessment by November 1996 for the purpose of conducting a more comprehensive review of the program; (3) plans to develop and conduct Appendix R training for engineering support personnel by December 1996; and (4) review of the overall culture at Calvert Cliffs that allowed these conditions to persist.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of prompt identification of violations such that timely and comprehensive corrective action can be taken of violations when they exist, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to issue the enclosed Notice and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the base amount of $50,000 for the Severity Level III problem.

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. If redactions are required, a proprietary version containing brackets placed around the proprietary, privacy, and/or safeguards information should be submitted. In addition, a non-proprietary version with the information in the brackets redacted should be submitted to be placed in the PDR.

The responses directed by this letter and the enclosed Notice are not subject to the clearance procedures of the Office of Management and Budget as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, Pub. L. No. 96.511.

                                  Sincerely,

                                  ORIGINAL SIGNED BY:
                                  William F. Kane

                                  Thomas T. Martin
                                  Regional Administrator

Docket Nos. 50-317 and 50-318
License Nos. DPR-53 and DPR-69

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed
Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/encl:
T. Camilleri, Director, Nuclear Regulatory Matters (CCNPP)
R. McLean, Administrator, Nuclear Evaluations
J. Walter, Engineering Division, Public Service Commission of Maryland
K. Burger, Esquire, Maryland People's Counsel
R. Ochs, Maryland Safe Energy Coalition
State of Maryland (2)


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company                               Docket Nos.  50-317, 50-318
Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant                               License Nos. DPR-53, DPR-69
                                                                 EA 96-179

During an NRC inspection conducted on May 8-10, 1996, the results of which were communicated to the licensee during an exit meeting on May 10, 1996 and in follow-up discussions on May 24 and 30, 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:

A. 10 CFR 50.48(a) requires, in part, that each operating nuclear power plant have a fire protection plan that describes the means to limit fire damage to structures, systems, or components important to safety so that the capability to safely shut down the plant is ensured.

Contrary to the above, prior to an NRC EDSFI inspection in March-April 1992, the Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E) Company fire protection plan was inadequate in that it did not include the means to limit fire damage to the safe shutdown equipment in the 27 foot elevation Emergency Switchgear Room (ESR) should a severe fire occur in the 45 foot ESR. Specifically, because the ventilation system for the switchgear rooms uses common ducting and fire dampers, a severe fire in the 45 foot ESR would disable the ventilation system for the 27 foot ESR. As a result, safe shutdown equipment in the 27 foot ESR would then be subjected to temperatures which would exceed those temperatures for which the safe shutdown equipment was designed. (01013)

B. License Condition 2.C.3 for Unit 1 (and License Condition 2.C.4 for Unit 2) requires that BG&E maintain the administrative controls (quality assurance program) identified in Section 6 of the NRC's Fire Protection Safety Evaluation Report (SER) dated September 14, 1979. Section 6 of that SER, Administrative Controls, states that the quality assurance program will be submitted at a later date. The Quality Assurance Program subsequently was submitted with BG&E's letter, dated December 31, 1979, which states that BG&E has implemented a program which meets the NRC's guidelines with specific exceptions. The NRC's guidelines were contained in Branch Technical Position (BTP) APCSB 9.5-1, Appendix A. BTP APCSB 9.5-1, Appendix A requires, in part, that conditions adverse to fire protection, such as failures, malfunctions, deficiencies, deviations, defective components, uncontrolled combustible material and non-conformances are promptly identified, reported, and corrected.

Contrary to the above, from April 3, 1992 until June 1996, conditions adverse to fire protection were not promptly corrected when the lack of protection for the safe shutdown equipment in the 27 foot elevation ESR noted in Violation A above was brought to the attention of BG&E on April 3, 1992, via an NRC EDSFI inspection. Corrective actions which were taken were based on engineering judgement. Specifically, a 10,300 cfm fan was purchased to provide an estimated flow of 8,000 cfm in the 27 foot and 45 foot ESRs. When subsequent calculations determined that 10,000 cfm was needed for adequate cooling, it was assumed that the 10,300 cfm fan would provide the 10,000 cfm cooling. These corrective actions were not verified by detailed analysis or test until May 1996, and were, in fact, inadequate to satisfactorily resolve the condition, until June 1996, at which time the required and calculated cooling flow provided by the emergency fans was determined and verified. (01023)

These two violations are classified in the aggregate as a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I).
Civil Penalty - $50,000.

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Baltimore Gas and 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: 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 I 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 King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
this 25th day of July 1996

 

 

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012