United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-255 - Waterford 3 (Entergy Operations, Inc.)

December 26, 1996

EA 96-255

Michael B. Sellman, Vice President
Operations - Waterford
Entergy Operations, Inc.
Post Office Box B
Killona, Louisiana 70066

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTY - $50,000
          (NRC Inspection Report Nos. 50-382/96-09 and /96-20) 

Dear Mr. Sellman:

This refers to the predecisional enforcement conference conducted on November 20, 1996, with you and members of your staff in the NRC Region IV office in Arlington, Texas. The conference was held to discuss the circumstances surrounding three apparent violations discussed in the subject inspection reports. These apparent violations were identified to your staff during a telephonic exit meeting on October 9, 1996. The inspection reports were issued on July 24, 1996 (96-09) and October 24, 1996 (96-20).

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

Violation I in the attached Notice involves the actual design configuration of the containment vacuum relief (CVR) system being different from that described in the Waterford 3 Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR). The required written safety evaluation to substantiate that the change did not involve an unreviewed safety question was never performed. Specifically, the CVR instrument lines did not terminate at a location within the controlled ventilation area system (CVAS) (or within any other filtration system) as described in the response to FSAR Question 480.36. As a result of the erroneous information, valves CVR 302A(B) and 402A(B) were inadequately tested to ensure they fulfilled the containment isolation function in accordance with General Design Criterion 56.

When appropriately tested in July 1996, valves CVR 302A(B) and CVR 402A(B) failed to close. Thus, containment isolation would not have been adequate in the event of a design basis event. Due to its design, the failure of CVR 402A(B) had the potential to result in both control room dose limits and offsite dose limits being exceeded during a design basis loss-of-coolant accident. Therefore, this violation is classified in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, as a Severity Level III violation.

Violation II.A in the Notice, involves a failure to promptly evaluate and correct known discrepancies in the IST program. The circumstances surrounding this violation involved known discrepancies between an Inservice Testing (IST) Design Basis Document (DBD-024), issued in March 1994, and the IST plan in existence at the time. In May 1994, Entergy formed an IST Plan Task Force to resolve these discrepancies and to determine if the IST plan met all ASME Code requirements. In November 1994, the task force issued its final report stating that the addition of the 39 valves to the IST plan would be "enhancements" and that the company was in compliance with applicable requirements without the addition of these 39 additional valves. This determination was incorrect and the valves were not added to the IST plan. It was not until about December 1995, that this condition adverse to quality was identified, when Waterford 3 personnel began identifying that these valves should be included in the IST program and began developing a schedule for reviewing the discrepancies.

At the pre-decisional enforcement conference, Entergy personnel stated that the root causes for this violation involved: (1) the inappropriate assigning of responsibility for the IST program to the shift technical advisors (STA), (2) the perception that management was not receptive to additional testing, (3) inadequate and ineffective corrective action tracking, (4) inadequate coordination between the IST bases document and the IST plan, (5) inadequate guidance concerning how long DBD open items may remain open, and (6) the failure to enter in the corrective action program the subsequent items identified in an earlier review. At the conference, your staff stated that there was no safety significance associated with the identified plan discrepancies, and that the violation should be classified at Severity Level IV. We agree that, except for the CVR 402A(B) valves discussed in Violation I, the consequences of this violation, with the valves in their as-found condition, would have been minimal. However, these IST issues involve known discrepancies in the IST program that were not addressed in a timely manner and, as a result, a large number of valves were not being tested to assure they would perform their safety function. Therefore, this violation has been categorized in accordance with the Enforcement Policy at Severity Level III.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty 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 years1, 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. In reviewing the Identification factor for Violation I, NRC noted an important missed opportunity to earlier identification of the violation. This occurred during the review of Condition Report CR-96-0272, initiated March 1, 1996, involving the operability of certain valves, including CVR-302A(B). Also, during several discussions with NRC inspectors through July 20, your staff continued to depend on the erroneous information in the FSAR and stated the intent to remove the valves from the inservice test (IST) program. Although we recognize that your staff ultimately identified the FSAR discrepancy associated with the CVR 302A(B) and 402A(B) valves, NRC has determined that it was unlikely that your staff would have identified this violation absent NRC's involvement. Therefore, the NRC has determined that credit for the Identification factor is not warranted for Violation I. As to Violation II, the NRC has determined that credit for the Identification factor is warranted because Entergy identified the problem.

In evaluating the Corrective Action factor, the NRC has determined that credit is warranted for both Violation I and II because the corrective actions to these violations were sufficiently prompt and comprehensive. Corrective actions for Violation I included: (1) promptly replacing and retesting failed valves, (2) performing a root cause analysis, (3) isolating and administratively controlling the non-essential lines until a plant modification and license amendment could be implemented, (4) promptly submitting a license amendment request, (5) reviewing other containment penetrations for similar problems, and (6) implementing a FSAR fidelity assessment. The corrective action for Violation II included: (1) developing a schedule to resolve the discrepancies between the IST plan and the DBD, (2) testing the valves which had not been previously tested or which had been inadequately tested, (3) controlling changes to the IST plan with the DBD by procedure, and (4) comprehensively reviewing the ASME valves and current IST plan to facilitate development of a second 120-month interval plan.

At the predecisional enforcement conference, your staff asserted that the NRC should exercise discretion for Violation I because it was an old design issue. After careful consideration, we have determined that, because of the NRC's involvement in the identification of the violation, this problem was not identified by a voluntary initiative on Entergy's part (Entergy was moving to remove the CVR 302A(B) valves from the IST program until NRC's questioning, and most likely would not have identified the same problem with CVR 402A(B)). As such, the exercise of discretion is not warranted in this case.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of ensuring that the plant is operated in accordance with its FSAR and the importance of prompt identification of non-conforming conditions, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to issue the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) in the base amount of $50,000 for the Severity Level III violation discussed in Section I of the Notice. In addition to encourage your efforts to identify and correct problems and noncompliances, I have also been authorized to issue a Severity Level III violation without a civil penalty, for the Severity Level III violation described in Section II.A of the Notice. However, significant violations of this nature could, in the future, result in a civil penalty.

The third violation, discussed in Section II.B of the Notice, involved a failure to fully close a containment spray valve. Entergy personnel identified this condition in November 1995, promptly corrected it, and performed an operability determination of the Containment Spray System. During discussions concerning IST issues in March 1996, design engineering personnel realized that the earlier operability evaluation did not consider backleakage to the refueling water storage pool. This realization demonstrated a good questioning attitude by plant staff. Using very conservative calculations, Entergy postulated the consequences of the condition to be that Control Room thyroid dose limits would be exceeded. However, a more realistic analysis, including a review of the plant's routine monitoring program, showed that Control Room thyroid dose problems would have been identified before dose limits would have been exceeded. Given the circumstances of the violation, the NRC determined that this violation is appropriately classified at Severity Level IV.

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, 



                            L. J. Callan
                            Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-382
License No. NPF-38

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and
Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc (w/enclosure):
Executive Vice President and
Chief Operating Officer
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box 31995
Jackson, Mississippi 39286-1995

Vice President, Operations Support
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box 31995
Jackson, Mississippi 39286-1995

Wise, Carter, Child & Caraway
P.O. Box 651
Jackson, Mississippi 39205

General Manager, Plant Operations
Waterford 3 SES
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box B
Killona, Louisiana 70066

Manager - Licensing Manager
Waterford 3 SES
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box B
Killona, Louisiana 70066

Chairman
Louisiana Public Service Commission
One American Place, Suite 1630
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70825-1697

Director Nuclear Safety
Waterford 3 SES
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box B
Killona, Louisiana 70066

William H. Spell, Administrator Louisiana Radiation Protection Division
P.O. Box 82135
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70884-2135

Parish President
St. Charles Parish
P.O. Box 302
Hahnville, Louisiana 70057

Mr. William A. Cross
Bethesda Licensing Office
3 Metro Center
Suite 610
Bethesda, Maryland 20814

Winston & Strawn
1400 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005-3502


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Entergy Operations, Inc.                                      Docket No. 50-382
Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 3                      License No. NPF-38
                                                              EA 96-255

During NRC inspections conducted on June 3 through October 9, 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 50.59(a)(1) allows, in part, the holder of a license to make changes to the facility as described in the safety analysis report unless the proposed change involves an unreviewed safety question.

10 CFR 50.59(b)(1) requires, in part, that the licensee maintain records of changes in the facility, to the extent that these changes constitute changes in the facility as described in the safety analysis report. The records must include written safety evaluations which provide the bases for the determinations that the changes do not involve unreviewed safety questions.

Amendment 28 to the Waterford 3 Final Safety Analysis Report dated July 1982, states that the containment vacuum relief instrumentation lines through Containment Penetrations 53 and 65 form a closed system outside of containment, are seismically qualified, and terminate in an area exhausted through filters of the Controlled Ventilation Area System. Type C leak tests are, therefore, not required or performed on those lines.

Contrary to the above, from the beginning of commercial operations in 1985 until July 1996, the actual design configuration of the Containment Vacuum Relief System was different from that described in Amendment 28 to the Waterford 3 Final Safety Analysis Report, and the licensee did not perform the required written safety evaluation to provide the bases for a determination that the deviation from the Final Safety Analysis Report did not involve an unreviewed safety question. Specifically, it was identified that the containment vacuum relief instrument lines terminated at a location which was not within the Controlled Ventilation Area System or any other filtration system for post-accident operation. Further, the containment vacuum relief monitoring lines did not meet the design criteria for a closed system outside of containment, and they were not seismically qualified. (01013)

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

II. Violations Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

A. Criterion XVI of Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 50 requires establishment of measures to assure that conditions adverse to quality, such as deficiencies, deviations, and nonconformances, are promptly identified and corrected.

Contrary to the above, since commercial operations began in 1985 until testing was performed during January through July 1996, the licensee's established measures did not assure prompt identification and correction of conditions adverse to quality, as described below:

  1. After identification of discrepancies in March 1994, the licensee failed to test 13 ASME Code safety-related valves subject to testing in the inservice test plan to assess operational readiness as required by 10 CFR 50.55a.

  2. After identification of discrepancies in March 1994, the licensee failed to perform all ASME Code required tests on 23 ASME Code safety-related valves that were in the inservice test plan (i.e., the valves had either not been tested or exercised to verify their ability to fulfill all identified safety functions or, in the case of Category A valves, had not been leak tested). (02013)

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

B. Technical Specification 6.8.1.a requires, in part, that written procedures be implemented for those activities referenced in Appendix A, "Quality Assurance Program Requirements," of Regulatory Guide 1.33, Revision 2, February 1978. Section 8 of Appendix A requires that the licensee have surveillance procedures.

Surveillance Procedure OP-903-035, "Containment Spray Pump Operability Check," Revision 8, Step 7.1.23, requires Valve CS-118A, "Shutdown Cooling Heat Exchanger A Outlet Isolation to Refueling Water Storage Tank," to be closed and locked following completion of the Train A containment spray pump operability check.

Contrary to the above, licensee personnel failed to fully close Valve CS-118A in accordance with Step 7.1.23 in Procedure OP-903-035, following the September 19, 1995, containment spray pump operability check, until discovery on November 11, 1995. (03014)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Entergy Operations, Inc. (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(s) 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 IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011, 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 Arlington, Texas,
this 26th day of December 1996


1. EA 96-025 issued on March 25, 1996, involved a $50,000 civil penalty for a failure to implement effective actions to preclude repetition of a significant condition adverse to quality.

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