United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-367 - Perry 1 (Centerior Service Company)

November 6, 1996

EA 96-367

Mr. Lew W. Myers
Vice President - Nuclear
Centerior Service Company
P. O. Box 97, A200
Perry, OH 44081

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION 
          (NRC SPECIAL INSPECTION REPORT NO. 50-440/96008(DRS)) 

Dear Mr. Myers:

This refers to the inspection conducted on August 26 through September 11, 1996, at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant. The inspection included a review of the circumstances surrounding the loss of both trains of the Emergency Closed Cooling (ECC) system in 1993, and the loss of both trains of Control Room Emergency Recirculation due to low ECC temperature in 1994. The report documenting the inspection was sent by letter dated September 17, 1996, and a predecisional enforcement conference was conducted on October 11, 1996. These events were reported to the NRC in Licensee Event Reports dated January 24 and October 28, 1994.

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 (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding the violations are described in detail in the subject inspection report.

In July 1993, during performance of a heat exchanger performance test on ECC Train A, the surge tank overflowed. Subsequent review determined that ECC/Nuclear Closed Cooling butterfly isolation motor-operated valve (MOV) 0P42-F295A was leaking in excess of 250 gallons per minute (gpm) because the valve was stroking past its full closed position as a result of mispositioned limit switches and mechanical stops. The limit switches and mechanical stops were subsequently re-adjusted and the valve was satisfactorily tested.

The valve limit switches and mechanical stops had been previously adjusted on March 19, 1993; therefore, the valve was unable to perform its isolation function from March 19 to July 2, 1993. ECC Train A was inoperable because in the event of a loss of offsite power/loss of coolant accident (LOOP/LOCA) with a single active failure of the Division 2 emergency diesel generator, it would have lost inventory at a rate such that, within one minute of receipt of the surge tank low level alarm, the Train A pump would begin to cavitate. The plant was in Operational Conditions 1, 2, or 3 from June 2 to July 2, 1993. Additionally, during this period both trains of ECC were inoperable for approximately 45 hours while the Division 2 emergency diesel generator was out of service.

The root causes of the event were personnel error and weak procedural direction for setting MOV limit switches and mechanical stops in 1993 and the failure to classify valves OP42-F295A/B as ASME Section XI Category A valves for which seat leakage is limited to a specific maximum amount.

The violations in Section I of the Notice represent a significant failure to comply with the action statement for a Technical Specification Limiting Condition for Operation and 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 been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the previous two years1 prior to your identification of the violations in December 1993, 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 warranted for your architect/engineer's identification that both trains of ECC had been inoperable in December 1993.

Credit was warranted for your corrective actions for the violations in Section I of the Notice. These included re-adjusting the limit switches and mechanical stops on valve OP42-F295A and conducting post-maintenance testing to verify the valve would function as required; initiating an engineering evaluation to determine if the potential for an incorrectly set butterfly valve limit switch or mechanical stop on other systems could cause a similar problem; revising the Limitorque Limit/Torque Switch adjustment procedure to require a post-maintenance leakage test on butterfly MOVs which have an established seat leakage limit and clarify instructions for setting limit switches and checking mechanical stop nut settings; and providing training to maintenance and system engineering personnel on this event and the necessity of verifying proper butterfly valve closure. Although the NRC identified during the 1996 inspection that valves OP42-F295A/B and OP42-F325A/B were not properly classified as Category "A" in the in-service testing program, the valves had been tested within the frequency specified for Category "A" valves as a result of Generic Letter 89-10 and preventive maintenance activities. This failure to classify the valves as Category "A" had been previously identified by your staff in January 1994 but no action was taken. The failure to take corrective action for this isolated deficiency is cited in Section II of the Notice. The in-service testing program was subsequently revised to properly classify these valves.

Therefore, to encourage prompt identification and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty.

Section II of the Notice describes two violations involving failure to (1) take adequate corrective actions to prevent ECC system temperature from decreasing below 55o F, and to (2) classify certain valves as Category "A" in the in-service testing program. Each of these violations has been categorized at Severity Level IV in accordance with the Enforcement Policy.

You are required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice when preparing your response. The NRC will use your response, in part, to determine whether further enforcement action is necessary to ensure compliance with 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, 

                            /s/ W. L. Axelson (for)

                            A. Bill Beach
                            Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-440
License No. NPF-58

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/encl:
J. P. Stetz, Senior Vice
President, Nuclear
L. W. Worley, Director, Nuclear
Services Department
J. D. Kloosterman, Manager,
Regulatory Affairs
W. R. Kanda, Director, Perry Nuclear
Assurance Department
N. L. Bonner, Director, Perry
Nuclear Engineering Dept.
H. Ray Caldwell, General
Superintendent Nuclear Operations
R. D. Brandt, General Manager Operations
Terry J. Lodge, Esq.
State Liaison Officer, State of Ohio
Robert E. Owen, Ohio
Department of Health
C. A. Glazer, State of Ohio,
Public Utilities Commission


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
Centerior Service Company                                   Docket No. 50-440
Perry Nuclear Power Plant                                   License No. NPF-58
                                                            EA 96-367 

During an NRC inspection conducted on August 26 through September 11, 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:

I. Technical Specification 3.7.1.2 requires, for Operational Conditions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, the emergency closed cooling (ECC) loop(s) shall be operable which are associated with systems or components which are required to be operable. With an ECC loop(s) inoperable which is associated with system(s) or component(s) required to be operable, declare the associated system(s) or component(s) inoperable and take the action required by the applicable specification(s).

A. Contrary to the above, from March 19 to July 2, 1993, while the plant was in Operational Conditions 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, ECC Train A was inoperable and its associated systems or components were not declared inoperable, and action was not taken for its associated systems or components as required by the applicable specifications. (01013)

B. Contrary to the above, from 3:13 a.m. on June 14, 1993, until 11:05 p.m. on June 15, 1993, a period of about 45 hours, while the plant was in Operational Conditions 1, 2, or 3, both trains of ECC were inoperable and their associated systems or components were not declared inoperable, and action was not taken for their associated systems or components as required by the applicable specifications. (01023)

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

II. 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.

A. Contrary to the above, as of September 11, 1996, the licensee had failed to promptly correct a significant condition adverse to quality as demonstrated by the following:

  1. In February 1986, a control complex chiller tripped on low refrigerant temperature due to low lake water temperatures (Emergency Closed Cooling water to the chiller must be greater than 55o F to meet chiller design requirements). As corrective action for this condition the licensee initiated Design Change Package (DCP) 86-0224 to alleviate the problem; however, the design change only considered ECC accident heat loads and did not consider minimum loads when Emergency Service Water was less than 55o F.

  2. In February 1994, with ESW "A" and ECC "A" running and supplying a minimal heat load, ECC "A" temperature was observed to be below 55o F.

  3. DCP 94-0027 was implemented in Spring 1996 to maintain ECC temperature above 55o F with low lake water temperature and low heat load conditions and the post-modification test did not confirm the adequacy of the design. Subsequently, on March 7, 1996, ESW "A" and ECC "A" were in operation with no heat load, and ECC "A" temperature decreased from 64o F to 56o F before ESW "A" was secured to prevent ECC "A" from decreasing below 55o F. (02014)

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

B. Contrary to the above, as of August 26, 1996, the licensee had not corrected a significant condition adverse to quality. Specifically, the licensee had previously identified on January 20, 1994, that valves OP42-F295A/B and OP42-F325A/B were not classified as Category "A" in accordance with American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Section XI, 1983, Article IWV-2000, and no corrective action was taken until this condition was identified by the NRC during a 1996 inspection. (02024)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Centerior Service Company is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region III, 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). This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation" and should include for each violation: (1) the reason for the violation, or, if contested, the basis for disputing the violation, (2) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (3) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further violations, and (4) the date when full compliance will be achieved. Your response may reference or include previous docketed correspondence, if the correspondence adequately addresses the required response. 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. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the response time.

Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, this response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

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. If personal privacy or proprietary information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, then please provide a bracketed copy of your response that identifies the information that should be protected and a redacted copy of your response that deletes such information. If you request withholding of such material, you must specifically identify the portions of your response that you seek to have withheld and provide in detail the bases for your claim of withholding (e.g., explain why the disclosure of information will create an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy or provide the information required by 10 CFR 2.790(b) to support a request for withholding confidential commercial or financial information). If safeguards information is necessary to provide an acceptable response, please provide the level of protection described in 10 CFR 73.21.

Dated at Lisle, Illinois
this 6th day of November 1996


1. A Severity Level III violation for failure to take corrective action (identified in June 1993) was issued on August 31, 1993 (EA 93-176).

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