United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-104 - Millstone 1 , 2, 3 (Northeast Nuclear Energy Company)

June 11, 1997

EA 97-104

Mr. Bruce D. Kenyon
President and Chief Executive Officer
Northeast Nuclear Energy Company
Post Office Box 128
Waterford, Connecticut  06385-0128

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTY - $55,000
          (NRC Inspection Reports No. 50-245/97-03; 50-336/97-03; 50-423/97-03)

Dear Mr. Kenyon:

This letter refers to the NRC security inspection conducted at the Millstone facilities on February 3-7, 1997. During the inspection, three apparent violations of NRC requirements were identified, as noted in the inspection report sent to you on March 26, 1997. On April 7, 1997, a predecisional enforcement conference was conducted with Mr. Frank Rothen and other 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, two violations are being cited and are described in Section I of the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice). The violations involve (1) multiple examples of the failure to control Safeguards Information (SGI) at your facility; and (2) multiple examples of failure to control vehicles in the protected area (keys were left in the ignition in unlocked/unattended vehicles).

Although these violations were identified by your staff, the NRC is particularly concerned with the frequency with which these two violations have occurred, as well as the fact that the violations are repetitive of violations previously cited by the NRC based on inspections conducted in October 1994 and May 1996, respectively. For example, since February 1995 until the time of the February 1997 inspection, your staff identified 37 incidents where keys were found in unattended vehicles in the protected area, contrary to your security plan that requires vehicles to be immobilized with keys controlled (ignition locked) when not in use. In addition, since May 1996, your staff identified seven incidents where material containing Safeguards Information was not controlled. Although these findings clearly indicated an adverse performance trend regarding adherence to security requirements, your management and staff were not effective in ensuring that prompt and aggressive corrective actions were taken to correct these problems. After each occurrence, corrective actions taken appeared to focus solely on the specific occurrence, rather than the broader problem indicated by the number of incidents which have occurred.

These violations represent a significant lack of attention to security responsibilities by not only your security staff and supervision, but also, and more importantly, by those site employees and contractor employees who did not follow security requirements. At the enforcement conference, your staff acknowledged that site personnel did not consistently assume appropriate individual responsibility of security requirements, and that corrective actions for previous occurrences of the same violations have been ineffective. Given the repetitive and continuing nature of these two violations, they represent a significant regulatory concern with respect to degradation of the security program at the facility. Therefore, the violations have been categorized 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 base civil penalty in the amount of $55,000 is considered for a Severity Level III problem or violation. Base civil penalties for Severity Level III problems were increased from $50,000 to $55,000 effective November 12, 1996 (61CFR 53553, October 11, 1996). The higher base penalty is warranted in this case since a substantial number of the noncompliances occurred after November 12, 1996. Your facilities have been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last 2 years, for example, a $100,000 civil penalty was issued on June 4, 1996, for a Severity Level III violation involving the discrimination against an individual who engaged in protected activities (Reference: EA 96-059). Given this enforcement history, in accordance with Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy, 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. Credit is warranted for Identification because the violations involving control of safeguards information and control of vehicles were identified by your staff. The NRC also considered your corrective actions as described at the enforcement conference. These actions included, but were not limited to: (1) clearly defining expectations at the officer level regarding control of vehicles and communicating those expectations to the entire Millstone site; (2) denial of unescorted access to individuals who violate security requirements, with the requirement that prior to reinstatement, the violator's supervisor must certify that the offender understands the rules and will comply in the future; (3) posting of signs in vehicles indicating that if an individual leaves keys unattended in an unlocked vehicle, the individual will lose unescorted access; (4) incorporation of vehicle control into plant access training; (5) publishing and discussing expectations for control of SGI at shift briefings; and (6) reduction in SGI repositories not located in security spaces with the assignment of a responsible custodian for each repository. Although these actions appear comprehensive, the NRC concluded credit is not warranted for Corrective Action because the corrective actions taken for the violations involving control of safeguards information and control of vehicles were not prompt. In addition, corrective actions taken for earlier occurrences were not fully effective as demonstrated by the fact that multiple, subsequent violations continued to recur over an extended period of time.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of both adherence to security plan requirements and prompt and effective correction of violations, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to propose a civil penalty of $55,000 for this Severity Level III problem.

In addition to the Severity Level III problem, Section II of the Notice describes the failure to perform a hand search of an individual granted access to the protected area after the individual caused an alarm while being checked with a hand held metal detector. This violation has been classified at Severity Level IV, in accordance with the Enforcement Policy.

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,



                            William D. Travers, Director
                            Special Projects Office
                            Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation 

Docket Nos. 50-245, 50-336, 50-423
License Nos. DPR-21, DPR-65, NPF-49

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/encl:
N. Carns, Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer
P. Loftus, Director - Regulatory Affairs for Millstone Station
M. Brothers, Vice President - Millstone, Unit 3
J. McElwain, Unit 1 Recovery Officer
M. Bowling, Jr., Unit 2 Recovery Officer
D. Goebel, Vice President, Nuclear Oversight
J. Thayer, Recovery Officer, Nuclear Engineering and Support
P. Hinnenkamp, Director, Unit Operations
F. Rothen, Vice President, Work Services
J. Stankiewicz, Training Recovery Manager
R. Johannes, Director - Nuclear Training
L. Cuoco, Esquire
J. Egan, Esquire
V. Juliano, Waterford Library
Department of Public Utility Control
S. Comley, We The People
State of Connecticut SLO Designee
D. Katz, Citizens Awareness Network (CAN)
R. Bassilakis, CAN
J. Block, Attorney, CAN
S. Luxton, Citizens Regulatory Commission (CRC)
Representative T. Concannon
E. Woollacott, Co-Chairman, NEAC


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Northeast Nuclear Energy Company                        Docket Nos. 50-245; 50-336; 50-423
Millstone Nuclear Power Plant                           License Nos. DPR-21; DPR-65; NPF-49
                                                        EA 97-104

During an NRC inspection conducted between February 3-7, 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:

I. Violations Assessed a Civil Penalty

A. 10 CFR 73.21(d) requires, in part, that while in use, matter containing Safeguards Information shall be under the control of an authorized individual, and while unattended, Safeguards Information shall be stored in a locked security storage container."

Contrary to the above, between May 1996 and January 1997, the licensee identified seven incidents where items containing Safeguards Information had not been under the control of an authorized individual and not locked in a security storage container. Four of the incidents occurred after November 12, 1996 (December 24, 1996 and February 3, February 15, and March 22, 1997), indicating that corrective actions for earlier occurrences were not effective.

B. License Condition 2.C.4 of License Number DPR-21, License Condition 2.C.4 of License Number DPR-65, and License Condition 2.E of License Number NPF-49 for the Millstone Units 1, 2 and 3, respectively, require, in part, that the licensee fully implement and maintain in effect all provisions of the physical security, guard training and qualification, and safeguards contingency plans approved by the Commission and all amendments and revisions to such plans made pursuant to the authority of 10 CFR 50.90 and 10 CFR 50.54(p).

The Millstone Nuclear Power Station Physical Security Plan, dated June 4, 1996, Revision 25, Section 6.5.8, provides controls for designated licensee vehicles inside the protected area, and states, in part, that "Designated licensee vehicles are immobilized (example: ignition locked) when not in use and the keys controlled."

Contrary to the above, from February 1995 to February 1997, the licensee identified 37 incidents where designated vehicles in the protected area were not immobilized and keys were not controlled for vehicles that were not in use. Specifically, in these cases, the keys were left unattended in unlocked, unattended vehicles.

At least five of these incidents occurred after November 12, 1996 (December 7(2), December 8, 1996 and January 13 and April 2, 1997) indicating that corrective actions for earlier incidents were not effective.

These violations are classified in the aggregate as a Severity Level III problem (Supplement III).
Civil Penalty - $55,000.

II. Violations Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

A. The Millstone Nuclear Power Station Physical Security Plan dated June 4, 1996, Revision 25, Section 6.4.1.4, states, in part, that "All personnel entering the protected area...are searched...for firearms, explosives and incendiary devices prior to entry. ... If the individual fails that (metal detector) search they will be subject to a "Hands-On" search."

Contrary to the above, on February 3, 1997, NRC inspectors observed a security officer performing searches with a hand-held metal detector to meet the above requirements, and when the hand-held metal detector alarmed, the security officer allowed the individual to access the protected area, without having performed a "hands-on" search to identify the cause of the alarm.

This is a Severity Level IV Violation (Supplement III).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Northeast Nuclear Energy Company (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 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 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 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 234(c) 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 Director, Special Projects Office, NRR, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 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 Rockville, Maryland
this 11th day of June 1997

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012