United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-087 - Kewaunee (Wisconsin Public Service Corp.)

July 11, 1997

EA 97-087

Mr. M. L. Marchi
Manager, Nuclear Business Group
Wisconsin Public Service Corporation
Post Office Box 19002
Green Bay, WI 54307-9002

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTY - $50,000 
          (NRC Inspection Report 50-305/97002(DRS))

Dear Mr. Marchi:

This refers to the inspection conducted on January 6 through January 31, 1997, at the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant facility. This inspection included a review of the residual heat removal and auxiliary feedwater systems' operational performance. The results of this inspection were discussed with Kewaunee management in an exit meeting on January 31, 1997, and several concerns from this meeting were subsequently docketed by Kewaunee in Licensee Event Report 97-001-00, dated March 3, 1997. The written results of this inspection were provided to you on March 28, 1997. A predecisional enforcement conference was conducted on April 17, 1997.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information 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 and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Three violations were identified in which Kewaunee failed to meet the criteria established in 10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XI, "Test Control." Specifically, Kewaunee failed to maintain the acceptance criteria for both the residual heat removal and the auxiliary feedwater flow tests consistent with plant accident analyses assumptions, and failed to use an adequate methodology to calculate instrument accuracy for inservice testing measurements. Contributing causes were low priority given to the surveillance program and reliance upon preoperations and inservice test data to determine the adequacy of equipment performance, rather than determining what was really required to demonstrate acceptable performance. In addition, Kewaunee's corrective action process missed prior opportunities to identify these violations.

The test procedures did not incorporate controls to assure that the tests correctly and accurately reflected the residual heat removal and auxiliary feedwater pumps' performance, and did not incorporate the applicable design limits. Since the test control criterion was not maintained in these situations, it was possible that the systems described above would become degraded, and the limits established in the accident analyses and technical specification bases would have been exceeded. Once these limits were exceeded, the plant would be operating outside of its analyzed condition, resulting in a situation of higher safety significance. Tests which were performed on these systems determined that no limits were exceeded, hence, the plant was operating within analyzed conditions. The residual heat removal system and the auxiliary feedwater system are systems designed to prevent or mitigate a serious safety event. The test process for these systems was degraded to the extent that a detailed evaluation was required to determine system operability. 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 or $55,000 is considered for Severity Level III problems occurring prior to or after November 12, 1996, respectively. Because the majority of the noncompliance period occurred prior to November 12, 1996, a base civil penalty of $50,000 was considered for this case. 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.

The NRC determined that credit was not warranted for Identification since Kewaunee missed several opportunities to identify these issues. On October 31, 1995, Kewaunee discovered a discrepancy in the inservice testing acceptance criteria for the "B" safety injection pump. If the corrective actions recommended for this discrepancy would have been completed, it is likely that the station would have identified that the test acceptance criteria were outside of the plant accident analyses. However, Kewaunee did not thoroughly address this discrepancy, and these violations remained unidentified until the January 1997 NRC inspection. Additionally, Kewaunee twice had the opportunity to identify the inservice testing instrument accuracy deficiency. Specifically, on December 2, 1993, during an internal inspection, Kewaunee identified that instrumentation used to obtain inservice testing process measurements was not meeting the two percent accuracy requirements, and on July 24, 1996, Kewaunee initiated the corrective action process to determine if inservice testing instrumentation met the two percent accuracy requirement. However, during the corrective action process the significance of this problem was not recognized, and no action was taken to correct the discrepancies until after the January 1997 NRC inspection.

The NRC determined that credit was warranted for Corrective Action. Although the initial assessment process failed to identify these specific problems, corrective actions taken following identification were comprehensive. Specifically, to improve the inservice testing program, Kewaunee provided additional training, updated the testing program documentation, and committed to update all inservice testing surveillance procedures and licensing bases. A performance based audit was planned to be performed by inservice testing personnel from other facilities. Kewaunee initiated a long term improvement plan to ensure appropriate resources remain available for the inservice testing program. To ensure that other actions were not missed during the weakened phase of the corrective action process, an unresolved work item backlog review was performed to ensure that all operability concerns and outstanding corrective actions were addressed.

Overall, these problems raised concerns about the rigor of engineering efforts with maintaining the design basis performance of safety-related pumps through an effective surveillance program. Additional concern was generated because corrective actions for prior identification of these issues were not timely. The failure of the test controls to incorporate test criteria necessary to assure verification that pumps could meet design requirements for flow output and the failure to incorporate code requirements for test instrument accuracy were violations of regulatory requirements.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of system operability, and of prompt identification of violations, and in recognition of your previous escalated enforcement action, 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.

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, 


                             A. Bill Beach
                             Regional Administrator 

Docket No. 50-305
License No. DPR-43

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

c w/encl:
C. R. Steinhardt, Senior
Vice President, Nuclear Power
C. A. Schrock, Manager,
Kewaunee Plant
Virgil Kanable, Chief
Boiler Section


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Wisconsin Public Service Corporation        Docket No.50-305
Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant                License No. DPR-43
                                            EA 97-087 

During an NRC inspection conducted on January 6 through January 31, 1997, 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:

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XI "Test Control," requires, in part, that a test program shall be established to assure that all testing required to demonstrate that systems 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.

Technical Specification 4.2.a.2 required inservice testing (IST) of ASME Code Class 1, 2, and 3 pumps and valves in accordance with Section XI of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Code and applicable Addenda as required by 10 CFR 50.55a(f). 10 CFR 50.55a and the licensee's IST plan specified Section XI, addenda through 1988 and editions through 1989, and referenced ASME 1988.

a. Contrary to the above, from the origination of the inservice test program until January 1997, acceptance criteria in the following RHR pump surveillance test procedures were not within the pump performance requirements of the plant accident analysis:

1. SP 34-099, Revision AL, "RHR Pump and Valve Test - IST;"

2. SP 34-285, Revision E, "RHR Pumps Full Flow Test - IST."

Specifically, the surveillance acceptance criteria for the "B" RHR pump would have permitted pump degradation to as low as 1,330 gpm injection to the reactor at 35 psig. However, the accident analysis required an injection flow rate of approximately 1,400 gpm into the reactor at 35 psig as specified in the Westinghouse Electric Corporation letter to the licensee (WPS-97-502), dated January 22, 1997.

b. Contrary to the above, from the origination of the inservice test program until January 1997, acceptance criteria for AFW pump surveillance test procedures; SP 05B-283, Revision H, Motor Driven AFW Pumps Full Flow Test - IST, and SP 05B-284, Revision H, Turbine Driven AFW Pumps Full Flow Test - IST, were not within the acceptance limits of plant accident analyses. Specifically, USAR Section 6.6.2 described the flow capability of each AFW pump as providing 200 gpm to the steam generators. This value was used in the latest accident analyses. The IST surveillance acceptance criteria, with the code allowed 10% degradation of the "B" AFW pump, would have allowed flow to degrade to approximately 163 gpm to the steam generators.

c. Contrary to the above, from the origination of the inservice test program until January 1997, the methodology used to calculate instrument accuracy for inservice test measurements was inadequate to meet the 2% accuracy required by the ASME Code ASME/ANSI OMa-1988, "Operation and Maintenance of Nuclear Power Plants," Part 6, Section 4.6, "Instrumentation." This inadequacy existed in the following procedures:

1. SP 34-099, "RHR Pump and Valve Test - IST," Revision AL;

2. SP 34-285, "RHR Pumps Full Flow Test - IST," Revision E;

3. SP 05B-283, "Motor Driven AFW Pumps Full Flow Test - IST," Revision H;

4. SP 05B-284, "Turbine Driven AFW Pump Full Flow Test - IST," Revision H;

5. SP 05B-215, "Aux Feedwater to Steam Generator 1A Flow Loop Calibration," Revision L;

6. SP 05B-216, "Aux Feedwater to Steam Generator 1B Flow Loop Calibration," Revision K;

7. ICP 03-19, "CD - IST Condensate System Pressure Indicators Calibration," Revision ORIG;

8. ICP 34-07, "RHR - Pumps 1A/1B Suction & Discharge Pressure Indicators Calibration," Revision G;

9. ICP 34-08, "RHR - Pumps 1A/1B Flow Loops 23109 & 23110 Calibration," Revision C; and

10. ICP 05B-02, "AFW - Aux FW Pump 1A Discharge Pressure Loop Calibration," Revision I.

Specifically, the instrumentation +/- 2% instrument accuracy requirements were not met for the following IST process measurements:

RHR Differential (Discharge minus Suction) Pressure 2.12%

AFW Differential (Discharge minus Suction) Pressure 2.29%

AFW Flow Measurement 2.13%

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (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 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 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 the cumulative amount of the civil penalties if more than one civil penalty is proposed, 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 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 penalty should not be imposed. In addition to protesting the civil penalty in whole or in part, such answer 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 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 III, and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the facility that is the subject of this Notice.

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 11th day of July 1997


1. A Severity Level III violation was issued on February 2, 1996 (EA 95-267).

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