United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-370 - Peach Bottom 2 & 3 (PECO Nuclear)

January 30, 1997

EA 96-370

Mr. D. M. Smith, President
PECO Nuclear
Nuclear Group Headquarters
Correspondence Control Desk
Post Office Box 195
Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087-0195

          (NRC Inspection Reports No. 50-277/96-07 and 50-278/96-07)

Dear Mr. Smith:

This letter refers to the NRC inspection conducted at the Peach Bottom Nuclear Power Plant between August 5-9, 1996, for which the exit meeting was held on August 9, 1996. The inspection report was sent to you on October 9, 1996. Based on the inspection, an apparent violation of NRC requirements was identified. On November 15, 1996, a predecisional enforcement conference was conducted with you and members of your staff to discuss the apparent violations identified during the inspection, their causes, and your corrective actions.

Based on our review of the inspection findings, and information provided during the conference, one violation is being cited and is described in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice). The violation involves the failure to establish, for several structures, systems, and components (SSC), adequate performance criteria to monitor the effectiveness of preventive maintenance, as required by 10 CFR 50.65(a)(2). For those criteria that were established, several were found that you had not justified as adequate for monitoring of SSCs in accordance with the Maintenance Rule. Specifically, although you had indicated that you would follow Regulatory Guide 1.160 and the guidance in NUMARC 93-01, entitled, "Industry Guideline for Monitoring the Effectiveness of Maintenance of Nuclear Power Plants," as the method by which PECO Nuclear demonstrates the effectiveness of preventive maintenance, you did not implement that guidance in the selection of performance criteria for certain classes of systems, nor did you justify an alternate approach. For example, at the time the inspection was performed, you did not have availability criteria for numerous systems, such as the reactor protection system, and did not use the appropriate criteria of unplanned capability loss factor for some systems. The details of the violation are described in the enclosed Notice.

Since this violation involved multiple examples of failures to establish, or adequately establish, performance criteria pursuant to 50.65(a)(2), and these failures indicate a programmatic failure to implement a key aspect of the Maintenance Rule, the violation has been categorized at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600.

These findings demonstrated that management had not taken effective action to assure adequate implementation of new requirements at the facility. Additionally, the inspection team found weaknesses in nearly all parts of your Maintenance Rule implementation program.

The Commission determined that a Maintenance Rule was necessary to assure licensees continuously monitor the effectiveness of maintenance to minimize the likelihood of failure of safety-significant equipment that could initiate or adversely affect a transient or accident. Even though the final rule was issued in July 1991, it did not become effective until July 1996. Within this five year period, the Commission provided the staff and the industry the first two years to develop implementation and inspection guidance and the remaining three years for licensees to implement the requirements such that by July 10, 1996, all requirements would be satisfied.

During the five years of guidance development and implementation, the staff and the industry worked in concert to assure licensees had developed good guidance and clearly understood the manner in which NRC would inspect implementation, once the rule became effective. This was accomplished through multiple public workshops and a pilot inspection program. Results from these activities were documented and shared with the industry.

Although the NRC has previously assessed overall maintenance performance at Peach Bottom to be excellent, and the material condition of the systems examined was generally very good, your actions taken to implement the Maintenance Rule were weak, in that the Rule was not fully integrated into the existing maintenance program at Peach Bottom. For example, while system managers frequently possessed thorough knowledge of their systems and performed very good management of their systems' material conditions, the performance criteria that were established by your staff, in accordance with the Rule, were not always fully understood by the system managers. As discussed above, there was a general problem of not fully documenting a justification when Maintenance Rule methods and processes did not follow the guidance in Regulatory Guide 1.160 and NUMARC 93-01. At the conference, you acknowledged program deficiencies and noted that implementation of the Maintenance Rule program did not meet your expectations.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $50,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Your facility has been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two years, (namely, a Severity Level III violation without a civil penalty was issued on January 13, 1995, for violations of 10 CFR Part 26 (EA 94-254). Therefore, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action, in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process in Section V1.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Credit is not warranted for Identification because the violations were identified by the NRC. Credit is warranted for Corrective Actions because your corrective actions, once the violations were identified by the NRC, were considered prompt and comprehensive. These actions, which were discussed during your presentation at the conference, include, but are not limited to (1) revision of your governing document for the Maintenance Rule to reflect the guidance in NUMARC 93-01; (2) revision and validation of the Maintenance Rule program, including revision of performance criteria, and additional review and documentation of the bases for Rule compliance; (3) transfer of program ownership from the maintenance program core team to the system managers, and reinforcing expectations that the system managers own the Rule and the core team acts as a consultant to the system managers; (4) consideration of integration of existing programs for trending declining equipment performance (such as the Performance Enhancement Program and the Equipment Performance and Material Condition Focus List) into the Maintenance Rule; (5) plans to perform an independent assessment of the program by April 1997; and (6) plans to benchmark the program by June 1997, against plants recognized by the NRC as having good programs.

Therefore, to encourage appropriate implementation of the Maintenance Rule, a civil penalty in the amount of $50,000 would normally be issued for this violation. However, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, and the Deputy Executive Director for Nuclear Reactor Regulation, Regional Operations, and Research, to exercise enforcement discretion and not propose a civil penalty for this violation because of the overall excellent material condition of the plant and because Peach Bottom has a very good performance record in the maintenance area. For example, during the last SALP issued on December 5, 1995, you received a Category 1 rating in the maintenance area, and the letter transmitting the SALP report noted that site management's aggressive attention to maintenance and surveillance activities continued and contributed to excellent performance. That letter also noted strengths in the planning and execution of corrective maintenance, equipment outages, and on-line maintenance. In addition, the NRC has observed good results in region-based and resident inspections, including limited and well-managed maintenance backlogs, and few examples of performance-based maintenance problems. Therefore, by exercising discretion and not proposing a civil penalty in this case, the NRC is balancing your programmatic failure to comply with the Maintenance Rule with your strong overall performance in the maintenance area.

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).


                            Hubert J. Miller
                            Regional Administrator

Docket Nos. 50-272, 50-311, 50-354
License Nos. DPR-70, DPR-75, NPF-57

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/encl:
G. Hunger, Jr., Chairman, Nuclear Review Board and Director, Licensing
T. Mitchell, Vice President, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station
G. Rainey, Senior Vice President, Nuclear Operations
D. Fetters, Vice President, Nuclear Station Support
T. Niessen, Director, Nuclear Quality Assurance
C. Schaefer, External Operations - Delmarva Power & Light Co.
G. Edwards, Plant Manager, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station
G. Lengyel, Manager, Experience Assessment
J. Durham, Sr., Senior Vice President and General Counsel
P. MacFarland Goelz, Manager, Joint Generation, Atlantic Electric
B. Gorman, Manager, External Affairs
R. McLean, Power Plant Siting, Nuclear Evaluations
J. Vannoy, Acting Secretary of Harford County Council
R. Ochs, Maryland Safe Energy Coalition
J. Walter, Chief Engineer, Public Service Commission of Maryland
L. Jacobson, Peach Bottom Alliance
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
State of Maryland
TMI - Alert (TMIA)

PECO Nuclear                                          Docket Nos. 50-277 and 50-278
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station                     License Nos.  DPR-44 and DPR-56
Units 2 & 3                                           EA 96-370

During an NRC inspection conducted between August 5-9, 1996, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the particular violation is set forth below:

10 CFR 50.65(a)(1) requires, in part, that the holders of an operating license shall monitor the performance or condition of structures, systems, or components, against licensee-established goals, in a manner sufficient to provide reasonable assurance that such structures, systems, and components, within the scope of the rule, are capable of fulfilling their intended functions. When the performance or condition of a structure, system, or component does not meet established goals, appropriate corrective action shall be taken. 10 CFR 50.65(a)(2) requires, in part, that monitoring as specified in paragraph (a)(1) is not required where it has been demonstrated that the performance or condition of a structure, system, or component is being effectively controlled through the performance of appropriate preventive maintenance, such that the structure, system, or component remains capable of performing its intended function.

Regulatory Guide 1.160, "Monitoring the Effectiveness of Maintenance at Nuclear Power Plants," Revision 1, endorses NUMARC 93-01, "Industry Guidelines for Monitoring the Effectiveness of Maintenance at Nuclear Power Plants," as an acceptable method for implementing the requirements of 10 CFR 10.65. Regulatory Guide 1.160 states that the methods described in the guide will be used in the evaluation of the effectiveness of maintenance activities of licensees who are required to comply with 10 CFR 50.65 unless a licensee has proposed an acceptable alternative method for compliance.

NUMARC 93-01, Section 9.3.2, states, in part, that performance criteria for risk significant structures, systems, and components should be established to assure that reliability and availability assumptions used in the plant-specific probabilistic risk assessment, individual plant examination, or other risk determining analysis are maintained or adjusted when necessary. Standby systems are to be treated similarly. NUMARC 93-01 also indicates that non-risk-significant operating systems are monitored using appropriate plant-level performance criteria.

Contrary to the above, on August 9, 1996, PECO Nuclear was not adequately monitoring the performance or condition of numerous systems and components against established goals, nor had PECO Nuclear demonstrated the effectiveness of preventive maintenance on these systems and components. The affected systems included the reactor protection system, emergency ventilation systems for the diesel generator building and the control room, the reactor recirculation system, the electrohydraulic control system, the feedwater system, the turbine bypass valves and the main steam safety relief valves (MSRVs). The monitoring of the effectiveness of preventive maintenance had not been adequately demonstrated in that the selected system performance criteria were not demonstrated to be fully effective because the licensee did not always follow the guidance of Regulatory Guide 1.160/NUMARC 93-01 and did not adequately justify those criteria selected that deviated from Regulatory Guide/NUMARC for all SSCs in the Maintenance Rule scope, as evidenced by the following examples:

  • Safety Grade Instrument Gas (SGIG), the Control Rod Drive (CRD) standby pump, the Reactor Protection System (RPS), Control Room Emergency Ventilation (CREV), and the Emergency Diesel Generator (EDG) building ventilation, are risk-significant standby systems, which had train level performance criteria that did not include an unavailability criterion.

  • Reactor Recirculation, EHC, and Feedwater are nonrisk-significant systems with performance criteria established at the plant level. However, the performance criteria did not include unplanned capability loss factor, which was needed to measure functional performance.

  • Adequate performance criteria for the EHC, turbine bypass valves, and MSRV systems were not implemented to effectively monitor an important Maintenance Rule function (reactor pressure control) of these systems. These systems were only monitored using the plant level criteria of unplanned shutdowns.

  • The MSRV system is a risk-significant standby system, which was only monitored at the plant level using unplanned shutdowns. (01013)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, PECO Nuclear 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 I, 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 King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
this 3rd day of January 1997

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