United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-201 - Fermi 2 (Detroit Edison Company)

September 23, 1997

EA 97-201

Mr. D. R. Gipson
Senior Vice President
Nuclear Generation
The Detroit Edison Company
6400 North Dixie Highway
Newport, MI 48166

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTY - $50,000 
          (NRC Inspection Reports 50-341/97002 and  50-341/97003)

Dear Mr. Gipson:

The NRC conducted two inspections at the Enrico Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant from February 1, 1997 through June 26, 1997. These inspections reviewed several matters, including 480 volt motor control centers fused disconnect switch maintenance, corrective actions associated with motor operated valve shaft set screws, and primary containment oxygen monitor calibrations. Exit meetings for these inspections were conducted on March 19, March 27, May 9, and June 26, 1997. The reports of these inspections were sent to you by letters dated June 2 and July 1, 1997. A predecisional enforcement conference was held in the Region III office on August 6, 1997. Subsequent to the predecisional enforcement conference, the NRC elected to address the issues relating to the primary containment oxygen monitor calibration by subsequent correspondence.

Based on the information developed during the inspections and the information your staff provided during the predecisional enforcement conference, the NRC has determined that significant violations of NRC requirements occurred. These violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding the violations are described in the subject inspection report.

The violation in Section I of the Notice involves inadequate lubrication of motor control center (MCC) switches. The site engineering and maintenance staffs did not specify the preventive maintenance lubrication frequency or address the vendor's recommendation for twice-a-year visual inspection and operation of MCC components. This led to unexpected operation (opening) of four safety related fused disconnect switches and seven non-safety related fused disconnect switches since 1993. These failures are related to previous NRC violations cited in NRC Inspection Reports 50-341/94012 and 50-341/95003 for use of unapproved lubricants on these switches by Fermi maintenance personnel. Maintenance personnel immediately discontinued the use of unapproved lubricants. However, since there was no approved lubricant, no lubrication was being performed on these switches for about 18 months. Several additional MCC switch lubrication problems concerning drying of the lubricant and lack of periodic switch movement occurred in early 1997. The potential safety consequence and the regulatory significance of the MCC switch issue are high because of a potential common mode failure under seismic event conditions. Both industry information and previous NRC violations should have triggered broad corrective actions to identify, correct, and prevent potential MCC switch failures. The failure of your staff to implement corrective actions for these longstanding equipment problems resulted in a violation of 10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, "Corrective Actions." This violation is classified in accordance with NUREG-1600 as a Severity Level III violation.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $50,000 is considered for Severity Level III violations occurring before November 12, 1996. Since most of the noncompliance period occurred before November 12, 1996, a base civil penalty of $50,000 was considered for this case. Because Fermi has been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two years1 , 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. Although a specific failure was identified during a surveillance activity, the subsequent analysis did not identify the root cause and missed the opportunity to identify the potential for common mode failures. In addition, extensive NRC involvement was required to ensure that your staff understood the safety significance of this issue and the need to implement effective corrective action. Corrective Action credit was warranted based on the corrective actions (implemented and proposed) that were discussed at the enforcement conference. The corrective actions included (1) a substantial effort in cleaning, lubricating, and cycling of approximately 1000 fused disconnect switches connected to safety-related and balance of plant loads prior to start-up from the forced outage; (2) documenting MCC fused disconnect problems; (3) training personnel on proper latching indications prior to start-up from the forced outage; (4) evaluating replacement of MCC equipment; (5) evaluating the mixing of lubricants found compatible with each other and MCC components; and (6) enhancing the preventive maintenance program.

Therefore, to emphasize the need to identify the root cause of safety significant problems, 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 violation.

The violation described in Section II of the Notice discussed one Severity Level IV violation that was not assessed a civil penalty. This violation addresses a High Pressure Coolant Injection valve motor pinion gear set screw failure that occurred during a routine surveillance. Similar to the disconnect switch failures described above, this failure occurred due to the lack of a systematic program for correcting known generic deficiencies. Although Fermi had implemented some corrective actions on this valve, these corrective actions were not effective in preventing the set screw failure. This violation is classified in accordance with the Enforcement Policy as a Severity Level IV violation.

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.

                             Sincerely, 


                             A.  Bill Beach
                             Regional Administrator 

Docket No. 50-341
License No. NPF-43

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed
Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/encl:
N. Peterson, Supervisor of Compliance
P. A. Marquardt, Corporate
Legal Department
James R. Padgett, Michigan Public Service Commission
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Monroe County, Emergency Management Division


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Detroit Edison Company                                     Docket
Number 50-341
Fermi 2                                                    License
Number NPF- 43
                                                           EA 97-201

During two NRC inspections conducted from February 1 through June 26, 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:

A. Violation Assessed a Civil Penalty

10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, "Corrective Actions," requires, in part, that measures be established to assure that conditions adverse to quality are promptly corrected, and in the case of significant conditions adverse to quality, that measures be established to assure that the cause of the condition is determined and corrective actions taken to preclude recurrence.

Contrary to the above, on October 26, 1995, a Motor Control Center (MCC) fuse disconnect switch installed in a safety system failed to remain closed, a significant condition adverse to quality. The licensee failed to promptly determine the cause of the condition and take corrective actions to preclude recurrence. As a result, several MCC fused disconnect switches failed to remain closed in March and April 1997. (01013)

This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement I) - $50,000

B. Violation Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, "Corrective Actions," requires, in part, that measures be established to assure that conditions adverse to quality are promptly corrected, and in the case of significant conditions adverse to quality, that measures be established to assure that the cause of the condition is determined and corrective actions taken to preclude recurrence.

Contrary to the above, as of February 18, 1997, corrective actions for a significant condition adverse to quality, a motor pinion gear malfunction on High Pressure Coolant Injection Valve E4150-F006 were not adequate to preclude recurrence. Specifically, in 1989, Limitorque issued Maintenance Update 89-01 informing the licensee that motor pinion gears could rotate on the valve shaft and cause valve failure if not properly secured and recommending corrective actions for Limitorque motor operated valve operators. One of the recommended corrective actions was to drill the shaft and seating the setscrew into the hole. The licensee's corrective actions were inadequate in that the setscrew for valve E4150-F006 was not seated into a drilled hole, and valve E4150-F006 failed to perform during the conduct of a surveillance test on February 16, 1997, due to its motor pinion gear rotating on the shaft. (02013)

This is a Severity Level IV Violation (Supplement I)

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Detroit Edison Company (the 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(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: 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 Fermi 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 23rd day of September 1997


1. EA 96-095 was issued on May 21, 1996, for inadequate corrective actions for issues related to Diesel Generator Service Water Pump icing.

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