United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-354 - Brunswick 1 & 2 (Carolina Power & Light Company)

November 19, 1996

EA 96-354

Carolina Power & Light Company
ATTN: Mr. W. R. Campbell
Vice President
Brunswick Steam Electric Plant
Post Office Box 10429
Southport, North Carolina 28461

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTIES - $150,000 
          (NRC Inspection Report Nos. 50-325/96-14 AND 50-324/96-14)

Dear Mr. Campbell:

This refers to the inspection conducted between June 24 and September 17, 1996, at the Brunswick facility. The inspection included a review of your environmental qualification (EQ) program in accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR 50.49. You were informed of the results of our inspection on September 17, 1996, and the inspection report was sent to you by letter dated October 4, 1996. An open predecisional enforcement conference was conducted in the Region II office on October 21, 1996, with you and members of your staff to discuss the apparent violations, the root causes, and your corrective actions to preclude recurrence. A letter summarizing the conference was sent to you on November 1, 1996.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information you 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 Penalties (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report.

Violation A in the enclosed Notice, involves your failure to implement the EQ program in accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR 50.49. Specifically, numerous deficiencies were identified, some having existed since the EQ program was initially implemented. They involved failures to (1) incorporate appropriate equipment in the EQ program, (2) maintain documentation of qualification for safety-related equipment, and (3) maintain EQ equipment lists and files accurately. These deficiencies are significant in that, collectively, they represent a programmatic breakdown in the implementation of your EQ program. The root causes of Violation A were a lack of management oversight of the program, inadequate turnover of the EQ program implementation from contractors to licensee engineers, and the lack of EQ expertise in your program implementation and oversight.

Violation B in the enclosed Notice, involves significant failures to implement your corrective action program with regard to EQ deficiencies over a long period of time. EQ nonconformances identified as early as 1991 were not properly corrected, and EQ deficiencies identified in contractor and self-initiated audits as early as 1994 were closed without adequate resolution, were not placed in appropriate corrective action tracking programs, or remained open with no review of their impact on the EQ program. The root causes of this violation included informal followup of issues, inadequate management review of resolution, and paper-to-paper closure of issues without ensuring that identified basic program deficiencies were corrected.

At the predecisional enforcement conference you indicated that no equipment operability issues had been identified during your review of the EQ program deficiencies. That fact notwithstanding, Violation A is of significant regulatory concern because the plant operated for a number of years without your staff ensuring the environmental qualification of key pieces of equipment such that there would be assurance that the equipment would operate if called upon to function. Therefore, Violation A is classified in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, as a Severity Level III violation.

In addition to these EQ program deficiencies, the NRC is particularly concerned with your historically poor performance in implementing corrective actions for EQ program weaknesses, as cited in Violation B. Although you expended considerable effort for internal and contract assessment of your EQ program, you failed to follow through to ensure correction of the identified deficiencies in that program. It is significant that many deficiencies were not entered into corrective action programs and remained uncorrected for a number of years; however, it is more significant that: (1) items were closed without proper assurance that the deficiencies were corrected, and (2) management failed to comprehend the full scope of problems that existed and failed to provide necessary direction and focus for the corrective action efforts. Therefore, Violation B also is classified as a Severity Level III violation, in accordance with the Enforcement Policy.

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 two years1, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process described in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. With regard to Violation A, the NRC concluded that it is not warranted to give credit for Identification because the breakdown in the EQ program was identified by the NRC. With regard to consideration for Corrective Action, your corrective actions included: (1) reviews of program deficiencies by a relatively large team of licensee and contract employees with expertise in EQ; (2) revision of the EQ master list and identification of appropriate performance specifications and environmental conditions; (3) review of testing parameters; (4) staffing and training initiatives; and (5) establishing program audits. Based on the above, the NRC determined that credit was warranted for Corrective Action, resulting in a base civil penalty of $50,000 being proposed for Violation A.

Because the NRC identified the violation associated with the corrective action problem cited in Violation B, credit for Identification was not considered appropriate. With regard to consideration for Corrective Action for Violation B, you now require initiation of condition reports for audit findings, formal tracking of followup actions, and documented dispositions of deficiencies. You also now require approval of significant condition reports by a higher level of management. Therefore, the NRC determined that credit was warranted for Corrective Action for Violation B, which would normally result in a civil penalty being assessed at the base amount of $50,000 for this violation. However, the NRC is concerned that the historical implementation of your corrective action program was deficient in several key areas. Since 1991, conditions adverse to quality in your EQ program: (1) were poorly tracked, (2) were closed without properly being dispositioned, (3) received inadequate management attention, and (4) were not assessed as indicators of overall weaknesses in the corrective action program. Accordingly, in order to stress the significance of the NRC's concern associated with the past breakdown in the implementation of your corrective action program, I have decided to exercise enforcement discretion, in accordance with Section VII.A of the Enforcement Policy, and escalate the civil penalty for Violation B to twice the base amount for this Severity Level III violation. The civil penalty for Violation B is $100,000.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of management oversight of the implementation of EQ requirements and the need for prompt identification and comprehensive correction of conditions adverse to quality; and in consideration of your previous escalated enforcement actions, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to issue the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalties (Notice) for the two Severity Level III violations at the base amount of $50,000 for Violation A and twice the base amount, or $100,000, for Violation B. The total civil penalties proposed for this action is $150,000.

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. After reviewing your response to this Notice, including your proposed corrective actions and the results of future inspections, the NRC will determine whether 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).

 
                            Sincerely,

                            Original Signed by
                            L. A. Reyes

                            Stewart D. Ebneter
                            Regional Administrator

Docket Nos. 50-325, 50-324
License Nos. DPR-71, DPR-62

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed
Imposition of Civil Penalties

cc w/encl:
W. Levis, Director
Site Operations
Brunswick Steam Electric Plant
P. O. Box 10429
Southport, NC 28461

R. P. Lopriore
Plant Manager
Brunswick Steam Electric Plant
Carolina Power & Light Company
P. O. Box 10429
Southport, NC 28461

J. Cowan, Vice President
Operations & Environmental
Support MS OHS7
Carolina Power & Light Company
P. O. Box 1551
Raleigh, NC 27602

Gerald D. Hicks
Manager - Regulatory Affairs
Carolina Power & Light Company
P. O. Box 10429
Southport, NC 28461

W. D. Johnson, Vice President
and Senior Counsel
Carolina Power & Light Company
P. O. Box 1551
Raleigh, NC 27602

Dayne H. Brown, Director
Division of Radiation Protection
N. C. Department of Environmental
Health & Natural Resources
P. O. Box 27687
Raleigh, NC 27611-7687

Karen E. Long
Assistant Attorney General
State of North Carolina
P. O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602

Robert P. Gruber
Executive Director
Public Staff - NCUC
P. O. Box 29520
Raleigh, NC 27626-0520

Public Service Commission
State of South Carolina
P. O. Box 11649
Columbia, SC 29211

Jerry W. Jones, Chairman
Brunswick County Board of
Commissioners
P. O. Box 249
Bolvia, NC 28422

Dan E. Summers
Emergency Management Coordinator
New Hanover County Department of
Emergency Management
P. O. Box 1525
Wilmington, NC 28402

William H. Crowe, Mayor
City of Southport
201 East Moore Street
Southport, NC 28461


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTIES
Carolina Power and Light Company                        Docket Nos. 50-325, 50-324
Brunswick Nuclear Plant                                 License Nos. DPR-71, DPR-62 
                                                        EA 96-354

As a result of an NRC inspection completed on September 17, 1996, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions", NUREG-1600, the NRC proposes to impose civil penalties 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 penalties are set forth below:

A. 10 CFR 50.49 (d) requires, in part, the licensee to prepare a list of electric equipment important to safety covered by 10 CFR 50.49 (b), and include information concerning performance specifications, electrical characteristics and environmental conditions for this electric equipment in a qualification file; and, keep the list and information in the file current and retain the file in auditable form for the entire period during which the covered item is installed in the plant or is stored for future use.

10 CFR 50.49 (f) requires, in part, that each item of electric equipment important to safety be qualified by testing of, or experience with, identical or similar equipment, and that such qualification shall include a supporting analysis to show that the equipment to be qualified is acceptable.

10 CFR 50.49 (j) requires, in part, a record of the qualification in auditable form to permit verification that each item is qualified and meets its specified performance requirements under predicted environmental conditions.

10 CFR 50.49 (k) states that electric equipment important to safety which was previously required to be qualified in accordance with NRC's "Guidelines for Evaluating Environmental Qualification of Class 1E Electrical Equipment in Operating Reactors," November 1979 (Division of Operating Reactors (DOR) Guidelines), need not be requalified to 10 CFR 50.49. However, DOR Guidelines require that the radiation service condition include the sum of the gamma and beta doses unless it can be shown by assuming a conservative unshielded surface beta dose of 2.0 X 10E8 RADS and considering shielding factors, that the beta dose to radiation sensitive equipment internals would be less than or equal to 10 percent of the total gamma dose to which an item of equipment has been qualified. The DOR Guidelines further require that qualification records be complete and auditable for qualification to be considered valid.

Contrary to the above, as of June 14, 1996, environmental qualification requirements were not met, as evidenced by the following examples:

  1. The licensee failed to: (1) include the R.G. Laurence solenoid valves in the post-accident sampling system (PASS) and residual heat removal system of Units 1 and 2, identified by plant tag numbers 1(2)-RXS-SV-4180, 4181, 4193, 4194, and 1(2)-E11-SV-F079A, F079B, F080A, and F080B on the list of electric equipment important to safety required to be qualified under 10 CFR 50.49, (2) test or demonstrate that the subject Laurence solenoid valves were identical or similar to an appropriately tested configuration, and (3) document the qualification of the subject Laurence solenoid valves in the auditable form.

  2. The licensee failed to: (1) include the Target Rock solenoid valves in the PASS of Units 1 and 2, identified by plant tag numbers 1(2)-RXS-SV-4182, 4183, 4184, 4185 and 4192, on the list of electric equipment important to safety required to be qualified under 10 CFR 50.49, (2) provide an analysis demonstrating that the subject Target Rock solenoid valves were acceptable, and (3) document qualification of the subject Target Rock solenoid valves in an auditable form.

  3. The licensee failed to: (1) include Target Rock open and close limit switches for PASS Valves 1(2)-RXS-SV-4182, 4183, 4184, and 4185, on the list of electric equipment important to safety required to be qualified under 10 CFR 50.49, (2) provide an analysis demonstrating that the subject Target Rock limit switches were acceptable, and (3) document qualification of the subject Target Rock limit switches in an auditable form.

  4. The licensee failed to maintain the Environmental Qualification (EQ) equipment list and EQ files current and in an auditable form, in that: (1) the EQ equipment list was not being maintained current as demonstrated by hundreds of items identified on the list as environmentally qualified without a reference to a qualification data package (QDP), the document utilized to establish environmental qualification; (2) several QDPs had been in revision for over two years; (3) several QDPs had never been issued, (4) Enertech/Herion solenoid Valve 2-B32-SV-F019 was installed and declared operational without a QDP being issued and placed in the EQ File; (5) the QDPs did not include the latest Reactor Building environmental profiles which are required to establish predicted environmental condition; (6) Hydrogen Water Chemistry modifications changed the radiation profiles and they had not been addressed in the EQ files; and (7) Beta radiation effects were not addressed in the EQ files.

  5. The licensee failed to provide documentation in an auditable form to verify qualification of the safety-related Motor Control Centers 1(2)XA, 1(2)XB, 1(2)XC, 1(2)XD, 1(2)XE, 1(2)XF, 1(2)XH, 1(2)XM, 1(2)XA-2, 1(2)XB-2, 1(2)XDA, and 1(2)XDB which are located in the Reactor Building in that the heat transfer analysis included in the file to demonstrate qualification was not based on the most severe design basis accident conditions that had been postulated based on the licensee's Reactor Building Environmental Report, Revision 4.

  6. The licensee failed to: (1) include the following equipment important to safety on the EQ equipment list required to be qualified to 10 CFR 50.49: 120/208 AC distribution panels such as but not limited to Panels 1(2)A-RX, 1(2)B-RX, 1(2)C-RX, 1(2)D-RX, and 1(2)AB-RX; Potentiometers 1-1XE-EBO-POT, 1-1XF-EE2-POT, 2-2XE-EBO-POT, and 2-2XF-EE2-POT; various types of fuses identified as FRN-R, FNA, NOS, RES, NON, and SC; and thread sealants, (2) test or demonstrate that the equipment listed in (1) above, was similar to a tested configuration, and (3) document qualification of the equipment listed in (1) above, in an auditable form.

  7. The licensee failed to maintain the EQ equipment list current by deleting the 300 EQ components listed in CP&L Great Idea numbers NED-326 and NED-327 without adequate justification and management review. Specifically, subsequent review of these EQ data changes in 1995 and 1996 disclosed that more than 50 of the 300 components had been downgraded, i.e., removed from the licensee's EQ Program, incorrectly. (01013)

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

B. 10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, requires that measures shall be established to assure that conditions adverse to quality, such as failures, malfunctions, deficiencies, deviations, defective material and equipment, and nonconformances are promptly identified and corrected.

10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion V, requires that activities affecting quality be prescribed by documented instructions or procedures, and shall be accomplished in accordance with these instructions or procedures.

Carolina Power and Light Company Plant Program Procedure PLP-4, Corrective Action Management, implements the requirements of 10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, at the Brunswick Nuclear Plant.

Contrary to the above, as of the dates indicated, the licensee failed to assure that conditions adverse to quality were promptly identified and corrected and failed to follow Procedure PLP-4 as described in the examples below:

  1. CP&L Procedure PLP-4, Revisions 4 through 17, dated December 26, 1990 through May 31, 1996, requires managers to assure that assigned corrective actions are implemented.

    a. Corrective actions associated with Adverse Condition Report (ACR) 91-181 which was identified in April 1991 regarding maintenance of the EQ program required by 10 CFR 50.49 were not implemented as of June 14, 1996.

    b. Corrective actions identified on ACR number N93-0101 which was identified in August 1993 and subsequently reissued as ACR number 94-00980 in June 1994 regarding associated circuits were not implemented as of June 14, 1996.

  2. Paragraph 6.0 of CP&L Procedure PLP-4, Revision 14, dated March 24, 1995, requires individuals identifying a condition to consult with their supervisors and initiate a Condition Report (CR). A condition is defined in paragraph 4.5 of PLP-4 as an adverse condition or a condition not meeting expectations.

    Condition Reports (CRs) were not initiated to document and correct the following conditions not meeting expectations:

    a. The finding that EQ related QDPs had not been updated to account for the impact of hydrogen water chemistry increased radiation levels on EQ equipment, as documented in Engineering Service Request (ESR) 9400752, dated May 11, 1995.

    b. The finding that QDPs potentially impacted by engineering changes may require revision, as documented in ESR 9400742, dated May 11, 1995.

    c. The finding that procedures covering application of thread sealants for EQ equipment required revision and that unqualified thread sealants may have been used in EQ equipment applications, as documented in ESR 9400743, dated March 29, 1995.

  3. Paragraphs 4.2 of CP&L Procedure PLP 4, Revision 15, dated June 7, 1995, requires managers and personnel to ensure CRs are initiated when they become aware of adverse conditions.

    Managers in the Design Control Group in the Brunswick Engineering Site Support Organization did not ensure that CRs were initiated to document and correct numerous deficiencies in the Brunswick EQ program which were documented in an unpublished, undated document, titled EQ Self-Assessment, when it was discussed with them in November 1995 through January 1996. The individual who identified the conditions also failed to initiate a CR.

  4. Paragraph 6.0 of CP&L Procedure PLP-4, Revisions 14 through 17, dated March 24, 1995 through May 31, 1996, requires managers to ensure that assigned corrective actions are effective and are implemented.

    Corrective actions to resolve discrepancies in the EDBS safety classification for EQ equipment documented on CR 95-00513, dated February 22, 1995, were not effective and were not properly implemented as of June 14, 1996.

  5. Paragraph 4.2 of CP&L Procedure PLP-4, Revisions 17 and 18, dated May 13, 1996 and August 7, 1996, requires managers to assure CRs are initiated for adverse conditions and events.

    a. On August 22, 1996, the NRC identified that a CR had not been initiated to document the fact that Control Room personnel on duty at 3:00 P. M. on July 18, 1996 had not been informed regarding compensatory measures for potential failure of valves on the Post Accident Sampling System.

    b. On August 6, 1996, the NRC identified that a CR had not been initiated to document that the Target Rock open and close limit switches for the PASS valves 1(2)-RXS-SV-4182, 4183, 4184, and 4185 were not EQ qualified. (02013)

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement I).
Civil Penalty - $100,000.

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Carolina Power and Light 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 Penalties (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 to 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 penalties 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 penalties 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 penalties will be issued. Should the Licensee elect to file an answer in accordance with 10 CFR 2.205 protesting the civil penalties, in whole or in part, such answer should be clearly marked as an "Answer to a Notice of Violation" and may: (1) deny the violations 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 penalties should not be imposed. In addition to protesting the civil penalties in whole or in part, such answer may request remission or mitigation of the penalties.

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 penalties.

Upon failure to pay any civil penalties due which subsequently have been determined in accordance with the applicable provisions of 10 CFR 2.205, this matter may be referred to the Attorney General, and the penalties, 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 II and to the Resident Inspector at the Brunswick facility.

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 Atlanta, Georgia
this 19th day of November 1996


1. A Severity Level III violation was issued on July 12, 1996, (EA 96-181) related to design control measures for service water system modifications. A Severity Level III violation was issued on April 4, 1996. (EA 96-054) for failure to meet fitness-for-duty requirements. A Severity Level III violation was issued on November 20, 1995. (EA 95-228) related to suitability of materials used in valves in the residual heat removal system. A Severity Level III problem was issued on September 8, 1995. (EA 95-166) related to design control, modification and testing of the high pressure injection system and reactor core isolation cooling system.

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