United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-094 - Crystal River 3 (Florida Power Corp.)

June 6, 1997

EA 97-094

Florida Power Corporation
Crystal River Energy Complex
Mr. Roy A. Anderson (SA2A)
Sr. VP, Nuclear Operations
ATTN: Mgr., Nuclear Licensing
15760 West Power Line Street
Crystal River, Florida 34428-6708

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND EXERCISE OF ENFORCEMENT DISCRETION
          (NRC SPECIAL INSPECTION REPORT NO. 50-302/97-04)

Dear Mr. Anderson:

This letter refers to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) inspection conducted during the period January 27 through March 21, 1997, at Crystal River Unit 3. The purpose of the inspection was to review Florida Power Corporation's (FPC) program for reporting certain conditions and problems to the NRC. The results of the inspection were discussed with members of your staff at exit meetings conducted on January 31, February 27, and March 21, 1997, and were formally transmitted to you by letter dated April 11, 1997. That letter also provided you the opportunity to respond to the apparent violations in writing or request a predecisional enforcement conference. Subsequently, you declined a conference, and by letter dated May 15, 1997, you submitted additional information to us regarding the apparent violations, the root causes, and your corrective actions to preclude recurrence, as requested in our April 11, 1997 letter. We have reviewed the inspection results and the additional information you provided and have concluded that sufficient information is available to determine the appropriate enforcement action in this matter.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that was provided in your May 15, 1997 letter, 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 them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Three of the violations involved failures to report significant conditions to the NRC in the time frames required by NRC regulations. The fourth violation involved a failure to follow required plant procedures for ensuring timely evaluation of a potentially reportable event. In your letter dated May 15, 1997, you stated that the root causes of the violations included the lack of ownership of the reportability process, lack of a formal process for resolution of open issues which potentially required reportability determinations, lack of adequate checks to ensure prompt reportability determinations, lack of knowledge of reportability requirements, poor past reporting practices, and ineffective corrective actions for previous reporting deficiencies.

As discussed in Section IV.D of the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, the NRC expects licensees to provide timely reports of safety significant issues. In this case, significant conditions that were determined to be unanalyzed or outside the design basis of the plant were not reported in a timely manner. The NRC issued escalated enforcement actions on February 28, 1997 (EA 97-012), and March 12, 1997 (EAs 96-365, 96-465 and -527), which included violations related to the safeguard system vulnerability and the emergency feedwater system capability, respectively. The root causes of many of the deficiencies in your reporting process, such as the lack of management guidance with regard to ownership of plant programs, the lack of knowledge of regulatory requirements and ineffective corrective actions are similar to the engineering program deficiencies that resulted in the shutdown of Crystal River Unit 3 in September 1996. The NRC considers the deficiencies in your reporting process to be a significant regulatory concern because the deficiencies could have resulted in the failure to recognize the potential impact on public health and safety of significant adverse conditions discovered at the facility. Therefore, these violations have been categorized in the aggregate in accordance with the Enforcement Policy as a Severity Level III problem.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty would normally be considered for a Severity Level III problem. However, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to exercise enforcement discretion in accordance with Section VII.B.(6) of the Enforcement Policy and not propose a civil penalty in this case. The NRC has concluded that discretion is appropriate in that: (1) the Crystal River facility is shutdown for an extended period of time due to engineering performance issues (ref. EAs 96-365, -465, and -527), which contributed to the reporting deficiencies identified in the violations described in the enclosed Notice; (2) the NRC issued a $500,000 civil penalty on July 10, 1996 (EA 95-126) which included sanctions for engineering violations; (3) the NRC issued a $50,000 civil penalty on March 28, 1997 (EA 97-012) that included a sanction for a security violation related to the current reporting issue; and (4) FPC's decision to restart the Crystal River facility requires NRC concurrence in accordance with a Confirmatory Action Letter issued on March 4, 1997.

Although the NRC is exercising discretion to not propose a civil penalty in this case, the corrective actions proposed in your May 15, 1997 letter to ensure that other significant issues have been promptly reported to the NRC were narrowly defined. Limiting your Extent of Condition review to precursor cards marked with a note to perform an evaluation may preclude identification of other reporting deficiencies. The NRC expects that your currently ongoing design basis system reviews should uncover additional issues that have not been previously reported. While correction of deficiencies in your reporting program is related to issues required for facility restart, you need to assure that your reporting program has been sufficiently corrected to capture these additional issues. Therefore, you are required to respond to this letter and address how you will ensure that your Extent of Condition review and other actions are sufficient to ensure adequacy of your reporting program. The NRC will consider your response, in part, to determine whether further enforcement action is necessary to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violations, the date when full compliance will be achieved, and corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violations and prevent recurrence other than the narrow focus of your Extent of Condition reviews are adequately addressed on the docket in your letter to the NRC dated May 15, 1997.

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). To the extent possible, your response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction.

                             Sincerely,

                             Original signed by

                             Luis Reyes
                             Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-302
License No. DPR-72

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/encl:
John P. Cowan, Vice President
Nuclear Production (NA2E)
Florida Power Corporation
Crystal River Energy Complex
15760 West Power Line Street
Crystal River, FL 34428-6708

B. J. Hickle, Director
Nuclear Plant Operations (NA2C)
Florida Power Corporation
Crystal River Energy Complex
15760 West Power Line Street
Crystal River, FL 34428-6708

Robert E. Grazio, Director (SA2A)
Director, Nuclear Regulatory Affairs
Florida Power Corporation
Crystal River Energy Complex
15760 West Power Line Street
Crystal River, FL 34428-6708

James S. Baumstark (SA2C)
Director, Quality Programs
Florida Power Corporation
Crystal River Energy Complex
15760 West Power Line Street
Crystal River, FL 34428-6708

R. Alexander Glenn
Corporate Counsel
Florida Power Corporation
MAC - A5A
P. O. Box 14042
St. Petersburg, FL 33733-4042

Attorney General
Department of Legal Affairs
The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32304

Bill Passetti
Office of Radiation Control
Department of Health and
Rehabilitative Services
1317 Winewood Boulevard
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0700

Joe Myers, Director
Division of Emergency Preparedness
Department of Community Affairs
2740 Centerview Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2100

Chairman
Board of County Commissioners
Citrus County
110 N. Apopka Avenue
Inverness, FL 34450-4245

Robert B. Borsum
Framatome Technologies
1700 Rockville Pike, Suite 525
Rockville, MD 20852-1631


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
Crystal River Nuclear Plant                           License No. DPR-72
Unit 3                                                Docket No.  50-302
                                                      EA 97-094          

During a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) inspection conducted during the period January 27 through March 21, 1997, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

A. 10 CFR 50.72 (b)(1) requires, in part, that the licensee notify the NRC as soon as practical and in all cases within one hour of the occurrence of any condition during operation that results in the nuclear power plant being in a condition outside the design basis of the plant.

10 CFR 50.73 requires, in part, that the licensee submit a Licensee Event Report, within 30 days after the discovery of the condition, regardless of the plant mode or power level, any condition that resulted in the nuclear power plant being in an unanalyzed condition that significantly compromised plant safety or being in a condition outside the design basis of the plant.

1. Contrary to 10 CFR 50.72 (b)(1) and 50.73, the licensee failed to report to the NRC, within one hour of the occurrence of the condition and within 30 days after the discovery, a condition that the licensee determined was outside the design basis of the plant. In December 1995 (while the plant was operating), a licensee engineer identified that a manual transfer switch, which provides safety-related power to Engineered Safeguards (ES) status lights from two different vital buses, was incorrectly installed as non-safety-related. The licensee made a 10 CFR 50.72 report of this condition on June 13, 1996 and made a 10 CFR 50.73 report on July 15, 1996. (01013)

2. Contrary to 10 CFR 50.73, the licensee failed to report to the NRC, within 30 days after discovery, an unanalyzed condition that significantly compromised plant safety. The condition was inadequate net positive suction head for the turbine-driven emergency feedwater pump which could have rendered the emergency feedwater system incapable of fulfilling its intended safety and accident mitigation functions. The condition was identified in April 1996 (while the plant was shut down) and had not been reported to the NRC as of January 27, 1997. After NRC identification of this issue, the licensee reported it on February 27, 1997 in Licensee Event Report No. 97-001. (01023)

B. 10 CFR 73.71(b)(1) requires licensees to report to the NRC, within one hour, any discovered vulnerability in a safeguard system that could allow unauthorized or undetected access to a protected area.

Contrary to the above, on January 30, 1997, the licensee failed to report to the NRC a vulnerability in a safeguard system, the protected area boundary, within one hour. Specifically, on January 30, 1997, at 6:45 p.m., the licensee identified a breach in the protected area boundary located at a main condenser circulating waterbox that could allow unauthorized or undetected access to the protected area. At approximately 10:30 p.m. on January 30, 1997, the licensee determined that the breach was in excess of the allowable Security Plan breach size and therefore the breach was a reportable vulnerability. The licensee failed to meet the one hour reporting requirement in that the licensee did not report the breach to the NRC until 1:18 a.m. on January 31, 1997. (01033)

C. Technical Specification (TS) 5.6.1.1, Procedures, requires that written procedures be established, implemented, and maintained for the activities recommended in Appendix A of Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.33, Quality Assurance Program Requirements, Revision 2, February 1978. Appendix A of RG 1.33 includes administrative procedures required for review of significant safety issues.

Compliance Procedure (CP) 111, Processing of Precursor Cards for Corrective Action Program, Revision 55, Section 3.2.1.2, requires, in part, that the originator of a precursor card (PC) must hand carry it to the Shift Manager for immediate evaluation if it is believed or suspected that the event or condition involves a reportable or safety issue.

Contrary to the above, on January 31, 1997, the licensee failed to ensure that the originator of PC No. 97-055 hand carried the PC to the Shift Manager for immediate evaluation. PC No. 97-055 documented a situation where components were potentially outside their design basis and was annotated by the originator as potentially reportable due to the suspected design basis problem. The PC was sent to the Shift Manager for review via the normal licensee mail system and was received on February 6, 1997. (01043)

These violations represent a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, the Florida Power Corporation (Licensee) is required to submit a supplemental 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 II, and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the Crystal River facility, 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 Notice of Violation" and should include the specific information requested in the cover letter to this Notice. Your response may reference or include previously 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 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.

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 Atlanta, Georgia
this 6th day of June 1997

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