United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-96-530 & EA-96-531 - Quad Cities 1 & 2 (Commonwealth Edison Co.)

June 24, 1997

EAs 96-530 & 96-531


Commonwealth Edison Company
ATTN: Mr. E. Kraft
Site Vice President
Quad Cities Station
22710 206th Avenue North
Cordova, Illinois 61242


SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY - $50,000 

          NRC Routine Inspection Report 50-254/365/96017(DRP) and NRC Special 

          Inspection Report 50-254/265/96019(DRP)) 

Dear Mr. Kraft:

This refers to the two inspections conducted from October 27 through December 6, 1996, at the Quad Cities Nuclear Power Station. One of the issues reviewed during the routine resident inspection (Report 50-254/365/96017(DRP)) was the potential inoperability of the control room emergency ventilation system. Special inspection (Report 50-254/365/96019(DRP)) evaluated the reactor building interior and external damage caused by high winds. The results of the inspections were discussed with your staff on November 26 and December 6, 1996. The inspection reports were issued on February 4, 1997. A predecisional enforcement conference to discuss the issues was held on February 27, 1997.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that your staff provided during 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). The circumstances surrounding each violation are described in detail in the subject inspection report.

On May 10, 1996, corrugated steel siding on the interior and exterior of the upper portion of the reactor building sustained wind damage. Your staff's initial evaluation concluded that the interior siding was required for the integrity of secondary containment, and the function of the exterior sidings was cosmetic. Based on this evaluation, your staff repaired the interior siding and elected to delay repairs to the exterior siding. The plant on-site review committee concurred with this course-of-action.

An NRC inspection team concluded that the reactor building interior and exterior siding are an integral part of the secondary containment and both are required to contain radiological releases in the event of a design basis accident. This conclusion was supported in several sections of the Quad Cities Updated Safety Analysis Report (USAR) and eventually acknowledged by your staff. Each section of the interior siding was attached with explosive bolts that fail at a predetermined differential pressure of 7 inches water-gauge across the panels. This design feature protects the reactor building superstructure during a design basis accident. During the inspection, the team determined that many of the explosive bolts had been damaged at some time before the May 10, 1996, storm. The team reached this conclusion because the remains of damaged bolts had been painted over. As a result, the differential pressure that would cause the intact explosive bolts to fail was sufficiently below the design differential pressure specified for the structure. In addition, the team found two 1½ inch air line pipes rigidly attached to the interior siding. Subsequent review determined that the piping was installed without a modification package or an evaluation to analyze whether the installation affected the interior siding.

The findings discussed above indicated that your staff did not fully understand the functional design of the interior and exterior reactor building siding. In addition, they failed to translate the design into surveillance tests to ensure the structure remained operable.

Part I of the Notice includes three violations pertaining to your staff's failure to maintain the integrity of the reactor building interior and exterior siding. The first violation involves the failure of your design engineering group to adequately translate the design of the reactor building interior siding into procedures and instructions. Specifically, the installation of piping on the interior siding of the reactor building was done without the benefit of a design modification and was never adequately analyzed to determine if the modification affected the design function of the internal siding. The second violation involves the failure to develop appropriate surveillance procedures to periodically inspect reactor building interior siding blow-out panels and associated "explosive" bolts. The third violation involves the failure to adequately evaluate and correct degraded exterior reactor building siding.

These violations are significant because your staff did not fully understand the functional design of the interior and exterior reactor building siding. In addition, your staff failed to translate the design into surveillance tests to ensure the structure remained operable. Therefore, these violations are classified in the aggregate in accordance with the "General Statements 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 the Severity Level III problem. Because your facility has been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last 2 years 1 , 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.

Identification credit was not warranted because site managers and the on-site review committee reviewed and approved the inadequate safety evaluation that permitted the delayed replacement of the external reactor building siding. The functional requirements of the internal and external reactor building siding were not realized until the NRC inspection team specifically questioned the USAR description of the reactor building siding. In addition, it was the team's inspection of the internal siding that identified the unauthorized and unanalyzed installation of the air lines and the damaged explosive bolts.

Corrective Action credit was warranted based on the corrective actions implemented and discussed at the enforcement conference. Several of the corrective actions included: (1) the repair of all damaged bolts, (2) painting working labels on all blow-out panels to prevent unauthorized modifications, (3) routine inspections of the bolts and blow-out panels, (4) training to personnel on the importance of the blow-out panels and bolts, (5) training engineering supervisors on design basis requirements, (6) communicating the lessons learned to other Commonwealth Edison stations, (7) training the plant on-site review committee members on design basis requirements, and (8) revising operability determination procedures clarifying the process for evaluating reduced design margins.

Therefore, to emphasize the need to understand the functional design of a safety-related system and the significance of your staff's limited questioning attitude when high winds damaged the reactor building siding, 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 problem.

Part II of the Notice includes two Severity Level IV violations pertaining to the inoperability of the control room emergency ventilation system. The inoperability was the result of your staff's failure to translate the control room design specification into surveillance tests to ensure the continued operability of the control room emergency ventilation system. The severity level of each violation was based on your analysis (which was confirmed by the NRC) that the projected dose to the control room staff, during an accident and based on the "as found" configuration, would never have exceeded the 10 CFR 20, "Standards for Protection Against Radiation," allowable dose limit. These violations were identified as the result of discussions between the Dresden and Quad Cities staffs when the Dresden staff identified testing problems with their control room ventilation. The communication between the two sites and the reviews by the Dresden site staff is commendable. However, the Quad Cities staff should have identified the testing deficiencies during their review of the system configurations before implementing restructured technical specifications. It is the NRC's expectation that your staff will communicate the lessons learned from these violations to the other Commonwealth Edison nuclear power plants so that similar problems can be avoided when implementing restructured technical specifications.

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(s), and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).


                            Sincerely, 



                            Original Signed By

                            A. Bill Beach

                            Regional Administrator 

Docket Nos. 50-254; 50-265
License Nos. DPR-29; DPR-30

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed
Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/encl:
T. J. Maiman, Senior Vice President, Nuclear Operations Division
D. A. Sager, Vice President, Generation Support
H. W. Keiser, Chief Nuclear, Operating Officer
L. W. Pearce, Station Manager
C. C. Peterson, Regulatory Affairs, Manager
I. Johnson, Acting Nuclear Regulatory Services Manager
Richard Hubbard
Nathan Schloss, Economist
Office of the Attorney General
State Liaison Officer
Chairman, Illinois Commerce Commission
J. R. Bull, Vice President, General & Transmission, MidAmerican Energy Company
Document Control Desk-Licensing


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Commonwealth Edison Company                        Docket Nos. 50-254; 50-265

Quad Cities Station, Units 1 and 2                 License Nos. DPR-29; DPR-30

                                                   EAs 96-530 & 96-531

During two NRC inspections conducted from October 27 through December 6, 1996, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the NRC 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. Violations Assessed a Civil Penalty

A. 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion III, "Design Control" requires, in part, that measures be established to assure that the design basis of structures, systems, and components are correctly translated into specifications, drawings, procedures, and instructions.

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XI, "Test Control" requires, in part, that a test program be established to assure that all testing required to demonstrate that structures will perform satisfactorily in service is identified and performed in accordance with written test procedures that incorporate the requirements and acceptance limits contained in applicable design documents.

Section 3.3.1.1.1, "Wind and Tornado Loadings-Reactor Building" of the Updated Safety Analysis Report (USAR) stated, in part, that the reactor building, including the steel superstructure, formed the secondary containment.

Section 6.0.1.1, "Secondary System-Containment Systems" of the USAR stated, in part, the secondary containment system limited the release of radioactive materials to the environment.

Section 6.2.3.1.E, "Secondary Containment-Design Basis" of the USAR stated, in part, the reactor building was designed to contain a positive pressure of 7 inches water-gauge without structural failure and without pressure relief.

1. Contrary to the above, as of October 4, 1996, measures established to ensure that the design basis of the reactor building (including interior siding blow-out panels that are part of the secondary containment boundary) was correctly translated into specifications, drawings, procedures, and instructions were inadequate. Specifically, on October 4, 1996, the inspectors identified rigid pipe supports installed on the reactor building siding blow-out panels without the appropriate analysis, procedures, or instructions that documented the pipe supports' effect on the secondary containment's design ability to relieve pressure beyond a positive pressure of 7 inches water-gauge.

2. Contrary to the above, as of June 9, 1996, the licensee failed to establish a test program for periodic inspection of the reactor building interior siding blow-out panels to ensure that they would perform their pressure-relieving safety function. Specifically, on June 9, 1996, the licensee found that specially notched "explosive" bolts on the reactor building blow-out panels were damaged. The damaged bolts existed for an extended period of time without being identified or corrected. The damaged bolts would have permitted the blow-out panels to relieve at a differential pressure less than the design-basis value of 7 inches water-gauge during certain postulated high-energy line breaks, resulting in the secondary containment system not limiting the release of radioactive material to the environment.

B. 10 CFR 50.59(a)(1), "Changes, Test, and Experiments" requires, in part, that a licensee may make changes to the facility as described in the safety analysis report, without prior Commission approval, unless the proposed change involves a change in the technical specifications or an unreviewed safety question.

10 CFR 50.59(a)(2) defines, in part, that a proposed change shall be deemed to involve an unreviewed safety question if a possibility for an accident or malfunction of a different type than any evaluated previously in the safety analysis report may be created.

Section 3.3.2.2.2, "Wind and Tornado Loadings-Pressure Drop Effects" of the USAR stated, in part, the side of the reactor building was designed to remain intact up to a wind velocity of 170 mph or 75 lbs/sq ft except for special sections. The special sections are designed to blow off at a pressure of 70 lbs/sq ft.

Section 6.2.3.1.E, "Secondary Containment-Design Basis" of the USAR stated, in part, the reactor building was designed to contain a positive pressure of 7 inches water-gauge without structural failure and without pressure relief.

Contrary to the above, the licensee's safety evaluation (USAR update Tracking No. 97-3, performed in mid-May of 1996) improperly concluded that a change to the facility did not involve an unreviewed safety question. The change involved removal of the reactor building exterior siding which decreased the reactor building's ability to remain intact with high winds and decreased its ability to contain a positive pressure, thereby creating the possibility for an accident or malfunction of a type not previously evaluated in the USAR.

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

II. Violations Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

A. Technical Specification 3.8.D requires operability of the control room emergency ventilation system while the plant is in Modes 1, 2, or 3.

Section 6.4.4.1, "Control Room-Radiation Protection" of the USAR stated a positive pressure of  1/8 inch water gauge is maintained between the control room emergency zone and adjacent areas.

Contrary to the above, between September 24, 1996 (the date that Technical Specification 3.8.D. was implemented), and November 3, 1996, while both Units 1 and 2 were in Mode 1, the control room emergency filtration system was inoperable because the required  1/8 inch water gauge positive pressure between the control room and adjacent areas -- as stated in section 6.4.4.1 of the USAR -- did not exist.

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

B. 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XI, "Test Control" requires, in part, that a test program be established to assure that all testing required to demonstrate that structures, systems, and components will perform satisfactorily in service is identified and performed in accordance with written test procedures which incorporate the requirements and acceptance limits contained in applicable design documents.

Section 6.4.4.1, "Control Room-Radiation Protection" of the USAR stated a positive pressure of  1/8 inch water gauge is maintained between the control room emergency zone and adjacent areas.

Contrary to the above, since the control room ventilation was modified in 1985, the test program of the control room emergency ventilation system failed to verify that the control room emergency ventilation system could maintain the  1/8 inch positive pressure that was specified in section 6.4.4.1 of the USAR.

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Commonwealth Edison Company 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 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 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 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 answers 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 penalty should not be imposed. In addition to protesting the civil penalty, in whole or in part, such answers 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 234© 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: Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region III and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the Quad Cities 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. 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 24th day of June 1997


1. A Severity Level III violation and $50,000 civil penalty was issued on June 13, 1996, for failure to implement corrective action to restore design margins to the structural steel for the low pressure coolant injection corner rooms (EA 96-114). A Severity Level III violation and $50,000 civil penalty was issued on January 2, 1996, for failure to promptly correct the potential for 480 VAC motor control centers to trip on a current overload (EA 95-241).

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