United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-251 - Fort Calhoun (Omaha Public Power District)

July 30, 1997

EA 97-251

S. K. Gambhir, Division Manager
Production Engineering
Omaha Public Power District
Fort Calhoun Station FC-2-4 Adm.
P.O. Box 399
Hwy. 75 - North of Fort Calhoun
Fort Calhoun, Nebraska 68023-0399

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTY - $55,000 
          (NRC INSPECTION REPORT 50-285/97-06)

Dear Mr. Gambhir:

This is in reference to the predecisional enforcement conference conducted on July 14, 1997, in the NRC's Arlington, Texas office with representatives of Omaha Public Power District (OPPD). The conference involved a discussion of apparent violations of fire protection requirements identified during an inspection at Fort Calhoun Station that was completed on May 2, 1997. These apparent violations were discussed in NRC Inspection Report 50-285/97-06 issued June 27, 1997.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and our review of the information that you 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. The circumstances surrounding them were described in detail in the subject inspection report.

At the conference, OPPD admitted all but one of the apparent violations. OPPD contested the apparent violation involving the adequacy of a fire barrier between fire areas 6 and 20, arguing that the NRC had accepted OPPD's resolution of this issue in 1980. OPPD further stated that a calculation shows that the barrier that was installed would meet Appendix R requirements. Documentation provided by OPPD to support its first argument indicates that the adequacy of this fire barrier, which was to consist of a water curtain sprinkler system, was specifically raised by the NRC, including the issue of whether draft stops had been installed around each floor opening protected by a water curtain. OPPD also provided copies of documentation indicating that the NRC issued an SER in November 1980 which accepted OPPD's resolution after this issue had been raised. Although details of the resolution of this issue were lacking from this correspondence, the NRC has decided that further pursuit of this issue is not warranted, particularly since OPPD has brought the water curtain into conformance with the NRC's view of the applicable requirements.

The violations that are cited involve: (1) a failure to protect an emergency diesel generator speed sensing circuit from the effects of a control room or cable spreading room fire, an issue which OPPD identified in response to other NRC findings during this inspection; (2) a failure to have in place a procedure providing operators sufficient guidance for a cable spreading room fire; (3) a failure to equip reactor coolant pumps with adequate lube oil collection systems; (4) a failure to declare the fire suppression water system inoperable and post firewatch personnel during system flushing operations; and 5) a failure to assure that fire brigade personnel received classroom training in fire brigade equipment every two years.

Although Fort Calhoun Station was not challenged by a fire, these violations collectively indicate a substantial failure to fully understand and implement all requirements of Appendix R and the plant's fire protection program. In addition, at least one of the violations (Violation A) had the potential, in the event of a fire, to damage equipment relied upon to achieve and maintain safe shutdown of the facility. Therefore, these violations have been classified 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.

At the conference, OPPD discussed corrective actions it was taking to address these violations, including: (1) actions to correct the individual violations; (2) enhanced audits of the fire protection program; (3) conduct of a fire protection self-assessment (already complete); and (4) conduct of a safety system functional inspection of the fire protection program, currently scheduled for October 1997.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a civil penalty with a base value of $55,000 is considered for a Severity Level III problem. 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. In that all but one of these violations were identified by the NRC during its inspection, and that the remaining violation was identified by OPPD in response to NRC's inspection findings and would not likely have been identified otherwise, the NRC has determined that credit for identification is not warranted. However, based on the corrective actions taken and planned by OPPD, the NRC has determined that credit for corrective action is warranted. This assessment results in a civil penalty at the base value of $55,000.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of maintaining all fire protection program requirements at Fort Calhoun, 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. 50-285
License No. DPR-40

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/Enclosure:
James W. Tills, Manager
Nuclear Licensing
Omaha Public Power District
Fort Calhoun Station FC-2-4 Adm.
P.O. Box 399
Hwy. 75 - North of Fort Calhoun
Fort Calhoun, Nebraska 68023-0399

James W. Chase, Manager
Fort Calhoun Station, P.O. Box 399
Fort Calhoun, Nebraska 68023

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

Chairman
Washington County Board of Supervisors
Blair, Nebraska 68008

Cheryl Rogers, LLRW Program Manager
Environmental Protection Section
Nebraska Department of Health
301 Centennial Mall, South
P.O. Box 95007
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5007


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY
Omaha Public Power District                                Docket No. 50-285
Fort Calhoun Station                                       License No. DPR-40
                                                           EA 97-251

During an NRC inspection completed May 2, 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. 10 CFR 50.48.b requires that all nuclear power plants licensed to operate prior to January 1, 1979, satisfy the requirements of sections III.G, III.J, and III.O of Appendix R to 10 CFR Part 50.

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix R, Section III.G.1.a requires that one train of systems necessary to achieve and maintain hot shutdown conditions from either the control room or emergency control station be free of fire damage.

Contrary to this requirement, as of May 2, 1997, the B diesel generator engine control circuitry was not protected from the effects of a control room fire. A control room or cable spreading room fire could damage the control circuits and render the diesel inoperable. This diesel is required to achieve safe shutdown conditions in the event of a control room or cable spreading room fire requiring alternate shutdown.

B. 10 CFR 50.48.b requires that all nuclear power plants licensed to operate prior to January 1, 1979, satisfy the requirements of sections III.G, III.J, and III.O of Appendix R to 10 CFR Part 50.

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix R, Section III.G.3 requires alternate shutdown capability be provided where the protection of systems whose function is required for hot shutdown does not satisfy the requirements of G.2.

Section G.2 specifies barrier separation requirements for redundant safe shutdown trains in a fire area. The separation of safe shutdown trains in the cable spreading room requirement of Section G.2 was not provided at Fort Calhoun Station.

Appendix R, Section III.L.3 states that procedures shall be in effect to implement this alternate shutdown capability.

Contrary to this requirement, as of April 16, 1997, a procedure directing the station operators to perform the alternative shutdown procedure for a cable spreading room fire did not direct the operators to implement alternate shutdown for such fires.

C. 10 CFR 50.48.b requires that all nuclear power plants licensed to operate prior to January 1, 1979, satisfy the requirements of sections III.G, III.J, and III.O of Appendix R to 10 CFR Part 50.

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix R, Section III.O requires reactor coolant pump motors to be equipped with a lube oil collection system capable of collecting lube oil from all potential pressurized and unpressurized leakage sources.

Contrary to this requirement, as of April 21, 1997, an oil collection system was not provided for the upper oil reservoir level transmitter, three resistance temperature detectors on each upper oil reservoir, three drain ports for the shaft air seal, and the lower reservoir resistance temperature detector and level transmitter on reactor coolant pump motors A, C, & D. In addition, reactor coolant pump motor B had no collection system provided for the lower bearing reservoir resistance temperature detector and level instrumentation. Furthermore, on April 29, 1997, the high pressure collection system for pump motors A, C, and D had damaged seals which prevented the collection of all the oil from a high pressure leak.

D. License Condition 3.F of Facility Operating License DPR-40, for Fort Calhoun Station, Unit 1, states that the Omaha Public Power District shall implement and maintain in effect all provisions of the approved fire protection program as described in the Updated Safety Analysis Report for the facility and as approved in Safety Evaluation Reports dated February 14, and August 23, 1978, November 17, 1980, April 8 and August 12, 1982, July 3 and November 5, 1985, July 1, 1986, December 20, 1988, November 14, 1990, March 17, 1993, and January 14, 1994.

License Condition 3.F requires that all provisions of the approved fire protection program as described in the Updated Safety Analysis Report for the facility be maintained and implemented.

Table 11.2 of the Updated Safety Analysis Report stated that the fire suppression water system shall be operable, except during system testing, jockey pump maintenance, or training. Table 11.2 also stated that a continuous firewatch be established for the diesel generator rooms, the compressor room and in the corridor between Fire Areas 6 and 20 when the fire suppression water system was inoperable.

Contrary to this requirement, on November 10, 1996, and on February 10, 1997, the licensee performed flushing operations which rendered the fire suppression water system inoperable without declaring the system inoperable or stationing the required firewatch personnel.

E. License Condition 3.F of Facility Operating License DPR-40, for Fort Calhoun Station, Unit 1, states that the Omaha Public Power District shall implement and maintain in effect all provisions of the approved fire protection program as described in the Updated Safety Analysis Report for the facility and as approved in Safety Evaluation Reports dated February 14, and August 23, 1978, November 17, 1980, April 8 and August 12, 1982, July 3 and November 5, 1985, July 1, 1986, December 20, 1988, November 14, 1990, March 17, 1993, and January 14, 1994.

License Condition 3.F requires that all provisions of the approved fire protection program as described in the August 23, 1978, Updated Safety Evaluation Report be implemented.

Section 3.5 of the August 23, 1978, Updated Safety Evaluation Report required that fire brigade classroom training be repeated every two years.

Contrary to this requirement, on April 16, 1997, classroom session 1064-03, "Fire Brigade Equipment," was not provided to qualified fire brigade members since the April through June 1994 training cycle, a period of time greater than two years.

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Omaha Public Power District 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, [delete the first part of the sentence for cases where the 10 CFR 2.201 response has been waived] (T)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 Fort Calhoun Station 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 Arlington, Texas
this 30th day of July 1997


1. On July 31, 1996, the NRC issued a Severity Level III violation to OPPD (EA 96-204) for violations which resulted in disabling the automatic operation of the low temperature, over-pressure function of the pressurizer power-operated relief valves.

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