United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-099 - Waterford 3 (Entergy Operations, Inc.)

May 9, 1997

EA 97-099

Charles M. Dugger, Vice President
Operations - Waterford
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box B
Killona, Louisiana 70066

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTY  -$55,000 (NRC INSPECTION REPORT 50-382/97-03)

Dear Mr. Dugger:

This refers to the predecisional enforcement conference conducted in Arlington, Texas on April 8, 1997. The conference was conducted to discuss several apparent violations related to the design, testing and operation of the Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 3 (Waterford-3) containment cooling system. The inspection ended February 28, 1997, and was documented in a report issued on March 7, 1997.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that Entergy Operations, Inc. (Entergy) representatives presented 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. The circumstances surrounding the violations were described in detail in the subject inspection report.

The violations involve a failure to assure that component cooling water flow rates through containment fan coolers (CFCs) met Technical Specification (TS) requirements (1325 gallons per minute) and design assumptions. The CFCs and the containment spray system function to reduce containment temperature and pressure in the event of a loss-of-coolant or main steam line break accident. In addition, Entergy failed to take prompt corrective action following CFC testing in August 1996 to either restore flows to design basis values (1350 gallons per minute through each CFC) or to modify the design basis documents to justify reduced flows.

At the conference, Entergy did not disagree with the violations, but stated: 1) that there was no safety significance to the violations and that this had been established as early as October 1995 when an operability evaluation supported reduced CFC flows; 2) that CFC flows, although less than assumed in design documents and less than required in the Waterford-3 TS, were always adequate to maintain containment peak pressure within design values, i.e., less than 44 psig(1); and 3) that corrective action was in progress to modify design documents and Waterford-3's TS to reflect the engineering conclusion that lower flows were acceptable. We note that a revised TS was submitted to the NRC on April 11, 1997.

Additional corrective actions cited at the conference included cleaning dry cooling tower tubes to increase component cooling water flow rates; performing special tests to establish post-accident flows; conducting additional design basis training for operations, maintenance, licensing and engineering personnel; and reexamining certain procedures to assure necessary design basis information was incorporated.

The NRC acknowledges Entergy's position that the actual safety significance of the violations is low. However, we note that such a conclusion was reached only after extensive engineering analysis to justify reduced CFC flows and to show that peak containment pressure would not have been exceeded in the event of an accident. In addition, Entergy missed a substantial opportunity to identify these problems in October 1995, when CFC flow balance testing was conducted. Entergy did not recognize at that time that flow rates to the CFCs were not sufficient to meet TS surveillance acceptance requirements. This resulted in operation of the facility for 10 months in noncompliance with TS acceptance values for CFC flows. Therefore, the violations are considered in the aggregate as a Severity Level III problem in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty with a base value of $55,000(2) is considered for a Severity Level III problem. Because your facility has been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last 2 years,(3) 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. Although Entergy's self-assessment identified in August 1996 the potential discrepancy between test results and TS-required CFC flows, Entergy did not conclude that TS requirements had not been met (the concept of "identification" includes recognition of the problem requiring corrective action). This, coupled with the significant missed opportunity in October 1995 to make this discovery, is the basis for NRC's decision not to give Entergy credit for identification. With respect to corrective actions, we believe that actions to resolve these problems were delayed by Entergy's failure to recognize the TS noncompliance. However, from February 1997, when Entergy was put on notice of NRC's conclusion regarding the intent of the CFC TS surveillance requirement, we consider Entergy's corrective actions to be sufficiently prompt and comprehensive to warrant credit.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of assuring that Waterford-3 is operated in accordance with TS requirements, and the importance of assuring that design assumptions are accurate and reflected in the operation of the facility, 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 $55,000.

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. 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, 


                            Ellis W. Merschoff
                            Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-382
License No. NPF-38

Enclosure:
Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/Enclosure:
Executive Vice President and
Chief Operating Officer
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box 31995
Jackson, Mississippi 39286-1995

Vice President, Operations Support
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box 31995
Jackson, Mississippi 39286-1995

Wise, Carter, Child & Caraway
P.O. Box 651
Jackson, Mississippi 39205

General Manager, Plant Operations
Waterford 3 SES
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box B
Killona, Louisiana 70066

Manager - Licensing Manager
Waterford 3 SES
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box B
Killona, Louisiana 70066

Chairman
Louisiana Public Service Commission
One American Place, Suite 1630
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70825-1697

Director Nuclear Safety &
Regulatory Affairs
Waterford 3 SES
Entergy Operations, Inc.
P.O. Box B
Killona, Louisiana 70066

William H. Spell, Administrator
Louisiana Radiation Protection Division
P.O. Box 82135
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70884-2135

Parish President
St. Charles Parish
P.O. Box 302
Hahnville, Louisiana 70057

Mr. William A. Cross
Bethesda Licensing Office
3 Metro Center
Suite 610
Bethesda, Maryland 20814

Winston & Strawn
1400 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005-3502


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY


Entergy Operations, Inc.                       Docket No.50-382
Waterford-3 Steam Electric Station             License No.NPF-38
                                               EA 97-099

During an NRC inspection completed February 28, 1997, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 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:

A. The limiting condition for operation for Technical Specification 3.6.2.2, "Containment Cooling System," requires, in part, that two independent groups of containment cooling fans shall be operable, with one fan system to each group in Modes 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Technical Specification 4.6.2.2.b.2 requires that each group of containment cooling fans shall be demonstrated operable at least once per 18 months by verifying a cooling water flow rate of greater than or equal to 1325 gpm to each cooler.

Contrary to the above, from October 31, 1995, to August 23, 1996, the licensee operated the facility without assuring that two independent groups of containment cooling fans were operable. Specifically, in October 1995, the licensee performed a flow balance test which showed that the flow achieved through each containment cooling fan was less than required by Technical Specification 4.6.2.2.b.2 (i.e., less than 1325 gpm for each cooler). On August 23, 1996, special flow balance testing demonstrated that at least one fan cooler in each train was capable of achieving the TS acceptance criteria flow. (01013)

B. Criterion III of Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 50 states, in part, that measures shall be established to assure that applicable regulatory requirements and the design basis as defined in 10 CFR 50.2 are correctly translated into specifications, drawings, procedures, and instructions.

Table 6.2-21 of the Waterford-3 Updated Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR) specified that the component cooling water accident flow rate through each containment cooling fan was 1350 gpm.(4) The UFSAR, on page 6.2-11, specified that the main steamline break analysis assumed three containment cooling fans operated.

Contrary to the above, for the dates specified below, the licensee's measures to assure that the design basis for the containment cooling system was correctly translated into specifications, drawings, procedures, and instructions, were inadequate. Specifically:

1. From initial licensing on March 16, 1985, until February 11, 1997, the equipment manufacturer's specified maximum expected clean-tube cooling water flow (1350 gpm) was used as the minimum accident flow assumed in the loss-of-coolant and main steamline break accident analyses, an unrealistic and unachievable design assumption because it left no margin for fouling or other degradation.

2. From January 2, 1991, until February 11, 1997, the main steamline break analysis of record assumed three containment cooling fans would be in operation following a main steamline break, an assumption that was in conflict with, and nonconservative with respect to, Technical Specification 3.6.2.2, which required only two containment cooling fans to be operable.

3. From initial licensing on March 16, 1985, until February 11, 1997, Technical Specification 4.6.2.2.b.2, which requires that each group of containment cooling fans shall be demonstrated operable at least once per 18 months by verifying a cooling water flow rate of greater than or equal to 1325 gpm to each cooler, conflicted with the design basis value assumed in the UFSAR of 1350 gpm to each cooler. (01023)

C. Criterion XI of Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 50 requires, in part, that all testing required to demonstrate that systems will perform satisfactorily in service is performed in accordance with written test procedures which incorporate the requirements contained in applicable design documents.

Technical Specification 4.6.2.2.b.2 requires that each group of containment cooling fans shall be demonstrated operable at least once per 18 months by verifying a cooling water flow rate of greater than or equal to 1325 gpm to each cooler.

Procedure OP-903-029, "Safety Injection Actuation Signal Test," Revision 6, implemented Technical Specification 4.6.2.2.b.2 by requiring that the cooling water flow rates be verified to be greater than or equal to 1325 gpm to each containment cooling fan following a safety injection actuation signal.

Contrary to the above, as of February 28, 1997 (the end of the inspection), Procedure OP-903-029 was not adequate to demonstrate that the containment cooling system will perform satisfactorily in service because Procedure OP-903-029 failed to establish test conditions that were representative of accident conditions to ensure that accident flow rates could be achieved. (01033)

D. Criterion XVI of Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 50 requires, in part, that measures be established to assure that conditions adverse to quality be promptly identified and corrected.

Contrary to the above, from August 23, 1996, until February 11, 1997, a condition adverse to quality in the containment cooling system was identified and was not promptly corrected. Specifically, testing conducted on August 23, 1996, demonstrated the inability to attain design basis component cooling water flow (1350 gpm) through three of the four containment fan coolers under accident conditions; however, the licensee did not restore the required flows to design basis values or change the design basis until February 11, 1997. (01043)

These violations represent a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I).
Civil Penalty - $55,000

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Entergy Operations, Inc. (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 violation(s) 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 IV, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington, Texas 76011, 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 Arlington, Texas,
this 9th day of May 1997


1. On April 15, 1997, Entergy reported to the NRC the discovery of a problem with the containment spray system which, when coupled with inadequate containment fan cooler flows, had the potential under certain post-accident circumstances to cause containment peak pressure to reach 44.05 psig. The problem with the containment spray system will be dispositioned separately.

2. The Enforcement Policy was revised in October 1996, such that for violations occurring or continuing after November 12,1996, the base value was increased to $55,000. Since some of the violations that comprise this Severity Level III problem continued after November 12, 1996, the increased base value is being used.

3. Two escalated actions have been issued in the last two years involving Waterford-3. A $50,000 civil penalty (EA 96-255)was issued December 26, 1996, for violations involving the inservice test program, and a $50,000 civil penalty (EA 96-025) was issued March 28, 1996, for violations involving the auxiliary component cooling water system.

4. On February 11, 1997, the licensee changed the design basis regarding CCW flow through the CFCs from 1350 to 1100gpm via the 10 CFR 50.59 process.

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