United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-329 - River Bend 1 (Entergy Operations, Inc.)

November 7, 1996

EA 96-329

John R. McGaha, Vice President - Operations
River Bend Station
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box 220
St. Francisville, Louisiana 70775

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION
          (NRC Inspection Report No. 50-458/96-26)

Dear Mr. McGaha:

This refers to an inspection conducted on July 29 through August 27, 1996, at the River Bend Station (RBS) reactor facility. This special inspection included a review of the failure to perform or to properly complete surveillance testing on several safety-related components. The results of the inspection were discussed with your staff on September 6, 1996, and the subject inspection report was issued on September 10, 1996. The cover letter to the inspection report noted that the apparent violations identified in the report were being considered for escalated enforcement but that it was not necessary to conduct a predecisional enforcement conference in order for the NRC to make an enforcement decision. As such, we gave you the opportunity to either request a predecisional enforcement conference or respond to the apparent violations in writing. You did not request a conference but, instead, responded to the apparent violations by letter dated October 10, 1996.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided in your October 10 response, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violations involve the failure to perform surveillance testing in accordance with the requirements specified in the Technical Specifications. The six violations involve the failure to perform or adequately perform surveillance testing on the following equipment: (1) the Division I battery, (2) the Division III battery, (3) the drywell airlock, (4) the drywell combination equipment hatch/personnel door, (5) the prefilters for the standby gas treatment, control room fresh air, and fuel building ventilation systems, and (6) a primary containment penetration isolation valve.

As noted in your October 10 letter, prior to the identification of these violations, RBS identified surveillance program weaknesses, and a corrective action plan and improvement initiatives were underway. In July 1996, after issues were identified related to the Division I station service battery performance discharge data, RBS initiated a Significant Event Response Team (SERT) and developed corrective actions based on the SERT's findings. When your staff reviewed other surveillance activities for similar problems, RBS found the remainder of the surveillance discrepancies.

Your October 10 letter stated that you believe there is adequate justification for imposition of one Severity Level IV violation based on several factors regarding the circumstances of the violations (e.g., self-identified, comprehensive corrective actions, lack of actual safety significance, and others). While we generally agree with the circumstances as you characterized, they do not provide a basis for NRC to conclude that the circumstances amounted to Severity Level IV violations. The NRC's concern is that these issues collectively represent a breakdown in your surveillance testing program and, as such, represent a significant regulatory concern. Therefore, these violations are classified in the aggregate in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, as a Severity Level III problem.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $50,000 is considered for a Severity Level III problem. 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. Based on the various corrective actions taken by RBS staff, the NRC determined that corrective action credit is warranted. RBS took prompt corrective actions for each of the violations, including procedure revisions, discussions with personnel regarding personal accountability, enhanced training, and an additional staff engineer to provide oversight of the surveillance testing program. In addition, corrective action credit was warranted because of the comprehensive nature of the corrective actions addressing the programmatic issues. Specific corrective actions to address the program concerns included followup by Quality Assurance, additional training on technical specification bases, departmental "all-hands" meetings, comparison of the RBS program with other sites, surveillance program self-assessment, evaluations of procedure verification and validation, and focusing additional management observations on the performance of surveillance tests.

Therefore, to encourage prompt identification and comprehensive correction of violations, and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement action, I have been authorized not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty.

The NRC has also concluded that information regarding the reasons for the violations, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violations and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance will be achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in the subject NRC inspection report, LER 96-014-00 dated August 9, 1996, and your October 10 response. Therefore, you are not required to respond to this letter unless the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you choose to provide additional information, you should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosure, and your October 10 response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room.

                            Sincerely, 

                                /s/

                            L. J. Callan
                            Regional Administrator 

Docket No. 50-458
License No. NPF-47

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

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

General Manager
Plant Operations
River Bend Station
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box 220
St. Francisville, Louisiana 70775

Director - Nuclear Safety
River Bend Station
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box 220
St. Francisville, Louisiana 70775

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

Mark J. Wetterhahn, Esq.
Winston & Strawn
1401 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005-3502

Manager - Licensing
River Bend Station
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box 220
St. Francisville, Louisiana 70775

The Honorable Richard P. Ieyoub
Attorney General
P.O. Box 94095
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9095

H. Anne Plettinger
3456 Villa Rose Drive
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806

President of West Feliciana
Police Jury
P.O. Box 1921
St. Francisville, Louisiana 70775

Larry G. Johnson, Director
Systems Engineering
Cajun Electric Power Coop. Inc.
10719 Airline Highway
P.O. Box 15540
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70895

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


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
Entergy Operations, Inc.                                       Docket No. 50-458
River Bend Station                                             License No. NPF-47
                                                               EA 96-329

During an NRC inspection conducted on July 29 through August 27, 1996, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

Technical Specification Surveillance Requirement 3.0.1 states, in part, that Surveillance Requirements shall be met during the MODES or other specified conditions in the Applicability for individual Limiting Conditions for Operation, unless otherwise stated in the Surveillance Requirement.

A. Surveillance Requirement 3.8.4.8 requires the licensee to verify that battery capacity is ³ 80% of the manufacturer's rating when subjected to a performance discharge test. The FREQUENCY of this test is 60 months AND 18 months, when the battery shows degradation or has reached 85% of expected life.

Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to perform Surveillance Requirement 3.8.4.8 within the 18-month required frequency, the appropriate frequency since the battery had shown degradation. (01013)

B. Surveillance Requirement 3.8.4.7 requires the licensee to verify that battery capacity is adequate to supply, and maintain in OPERABLE status, the required emergency loads for the design duty cycle when subjected to a battery service test. The FREQUENCY of this test is 18 months.

Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to perform Surveillance Requirement 3.8.4.7 within the 18-month required frequency. (01023)

C. Surveillance Requirement 3.6.5.2.5 requires the licensee to verify, from an initial pressure of 75 psig, that the drywell air lock seal pneumatic system pressure does not decay at a rate equivalent to > 0.67 psig for a period of 24 hours. The FREQUENCY of this test is 18 months.

Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to perform Surveillance Requirement 3.6.5.2.5 because a satisfactory test of the drywell air lock seal system was not performed within the required 18-month frequency. (01033)

D. Surveillance Requirement 3.6.5.1.2 requires the licensee to verify, from an initial pressure of 75 psig, that the personnel door inflatable seal pneumatic system pressure does not decay at a rate equivalent to ³ 0.67 psig for a period of 24 hours. The FREQUENCY of this test is 18 months.

Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to perform Surveillance Requirement 3.6.5.1.2 because a satisfactory test of the personnel door inflatable seal pneumatic system was not performed within the required 18-month frequency. (01043)

E. Surveillance Requirement 3.7.2.2 requires the licensee to perform required CRFA [control room fresh air] filter testing in accordance with Ventilation Filter Testing Program. Surveillance Requirement 3.6.4.3.2 requires the licensee to perform required SGT [standby gas treatment] filter testing in accordance with Ventilation Filter Testing Program. Surveillance Requirement 3.6.4.6.2 requires the licensee to perform required fuel building ventilation charcoal filtration filter testing in accordance with Ventilation Filter Testing Program.

The Ventilation Filter Testing Program, Section 5.5.7.d of the Technical Specification requires the licensee to demonstrate for each of the ESF [engineered safeguards features] systems that the pressure drop across the prefilters is less than the value specified below.

Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to perform Surveillance Requirements 3.7.2.2, 3.6.4.3.2, and 3.6.4.6.2 because testing of the system prefilters was not performed. (01053)

F. Surveillance Requirement 3.6.1.1.1 requires the licensee to perform required leakage rate testing in accordance with the Primary Containment Leakage Rate Testing Program. The FREQUENCY of this test is in accordance with the Containment Leakage Rate Testing Program.

The Primary Containment Leakage Rate Program, as provided in Procedure ADM-0050, Revision 4, states, in part, that if the leakage for Valve 1SWP-MOV503A is less than 1200 scfm for two consecutive tests, then the valve can be tested every 5 years vice every 2 years.

Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to perform Surveillance Requirement 3.6.1.1.1 because the as-found leakage for Valve 1SWP-MOV503A was not measured during the last test performance and the licensee incorrectly assumed that the valve had passed the leakage criteria, and as a result, the test at the 2 year interval was not performed. (01063)

These violations represent a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I).

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reasons for the violations, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violations and prevent recurrence and the date when full compliance will be achieved is already adequately addressed on the docket in NRC Inspection Report 50-458/96-26, LER 96-014-00 dated August 9, 1996, and Entergy's October 10, 1996, "Response to Apparent Violations." However, Entergy Operations, Inc. (Licensee), is required to submit a written statement or explanation pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201 if the description therein does not accurately reflect its corrective actions or its position. In that case, or if the Licensee chooses to respond, clearly mark the response as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation," and send it to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, 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, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice).

Dated at Arlington, Texas
this 7th day of November 1996

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