United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-264 - Byron 1 & 2 (Commonwealth Edison Company)

October 3, 1997

EA 97-264

Mr. K. Graesser
Site Vice President
Byron Station
Commonwealth Edison Company
4450 N. German Church Road
Byron, IL 61010

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY - $55,000
(NRC Special Inspection Report No. 50-454/97009; 50-455/97009)

Dear Mr. Graesser:

This refers to the special inspection conducted from May 27 through June 5, 1997, at the Byron Unit 1 and Unit 2 reactor facilities. An exit meeting was conducted on June 5, 1997, and the inspection report was issued on July 25, 1997. A predecisional enforcement conference was conducted on September 11, 1997, to discuss the inspection issues related to strict compliance with Technical Specifications (TS) for the Centrifugal Charging (CV) system and containment isolation valves and issues related to Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) written procedures.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report.

Section I.A.1 of the Notice addresses two examples of failing to strictly comply with TS surveillance test requirement 4.5.2.b(1) which requires the ECCS pump casings and discharge piping high points outside of containment be vented at least once every 31 days. In the first example, on February 16, 1996, a Braidwood Station system engineer discovered that the CV pump casing and high point vents were not being vented every 31 days as required. The decision to not strictly comply with the TS was partially based by the Byron Station staff on the fact that the CV pump casings did not have vents. A subsequent operability assessment (96-007) determined that the intent of the TS was being met based on factors such as the pressure in the piping and the CV system design and piping configuration. However, this operability assessment failed to recognize that TS requirements were not being strictly met and that a TS change was needed. The failure to recognize that the TS requirements were not being strictly met and to seek a TS change was identified by the NRC.

The second example addresses the failure to include a high point vent valve (1RH027) in residual heat removal (RH) system surveillance test procedure 1/2 BOS 5.2.b-1. This procedure is used to meet the requirements of TS surveillance test 4.5.2.b(1). The failure to include this valve in the surveillance test procedure was identified by the NRC.

The potential safety consequence of this violation was low. Venting of the ECCS is required to ensure that no air is entrained in the ECCS that could result in water hammer or air binding that could prevent proper pump/system performance. Due to the pressure in the CV system piping and the system configuration, this was not likely to occur. In the RH system, high points that were adjacent to 1RH027 were vented on a quarterly basis. In addition, the ultrasonic testing, performed by the Byron Station staff, of selected CV high points and the venting of 1RH027 found no entrained air.

Section I.A.2 of the Notice addresses two examples of failing to comply with TS Table 4.3-2, Functional Unit 3.a.(2), which requires that Containment Isolation Phase A Isolation automatic actuation logic and actuation relays receive a slave relay test on a quarterly basis. The slave relay test shall include a continuity check, as a minimum, of associated testable actuation devices. In the first example, the continuity check for the slave relay contacts that actuate the CV letdown orifice isolation valves had not been performed since April 29, 1991. In the second example, the continuity check for the slave relay contacts that actuate the CV letdown isolation valves had not been performed since June 13, 1991. Prior to these time frames, actual stroking of the valves was performed, which provided the continuity check.

On September 25, 1990, Westinghouse Corporation notified Byron Station that stroking the CV letdown line valves, 1/2CV8152 and 1/2CV8160, which was done when performing the quarterly slave relay containment isolation tests, could result in thermal transients on the CV piping and nozzles and a high fatigue usage factor. To minimize this effect, Westinghouse recommended a visual verification and/or electrical continuity test of the slave relay contact actuation instead of stroking the valve. Although not specifically identified by Westinghouse, Byron Station determined that the letdown orifice isolation valve (1/2CV8149A/B/C) slave relay test should also be changed in the same manner for thermal transient concerns. To accomplish the test without stroking the valves, jumpers were installed across the letdown valve contacts and fuses were pulled on the letdown orifice isolation valves to prevent valve actuation when performing the TS required quarterly surveillance test. Verification of the slave relay contact actuation was not performed as part of this new testing methodology.

The potential safety consequence of this violation is low. Other contacts on the relay were verified to be operable by observing the actuation of other equipment and the valves were actually stroked using these contacts approximately every 18 months (every refueling outage) to satisfy other TS surveillance test requirements. In addition, had these valves failed to close during an accident, the emergency operating procedure would have instructed the operators to close the valves manually, which could be done without reliance on these contacts.

While the potential safety consequences of these violations is low, the regulatory significance is high. In the case of the CV system venting, the Byron Station's staff continued to operate outside of TS requirements even after discovering that the TS were not being strictly complied with and did not seek a TS change from the NRC in order to comply. NRC involvement was necessary in order to ensure that strict compliance with the TS requirements and the necessary TS changes were made. The failure to request the necessary TS changes denied the NRC the opportunity to determine whether safety issues were involved. In the case of the failure to perform the required continuity checks on Containment Isolation Phase A Isolation relays, Byron Station's staff believed that the intent of the TS requirements were being met. Again, they did not realize the importance of strictly complying with TS requirements.

Based on the foregoing, these violations have been classified in the aggregate in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600 as a Severity Level III problem. In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount 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 years1, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy.

Identification credit was not warranted because the Byron Station staff had an opportunity to correct the violation in February 1996 when the TS noncompliance was identified for the CV pump venting. The NRC identified the continued violation of the TS surveillance testing requirements during the 1997 inspection. In addition, it was the NRC that identified the failure to perform the venting of the Unit 1 RHR heat exchanger high point vent valve. The NRC recognizes that the Byron Station staff identified the failure to perform quarterly continuity tests for the slave relay contacts. However, this occurred after the NRC identified the ECCS TS issues.

Corrective Action credit was warranted based on the corrective actions implemented and discussed at the enforcement conference. The corrective actions included: (1) ultrasonic testing inspection of vulnerable areas in the CV system; (2) review of selected TS surveillance tests to verify strict compliance; (3) submittal of appropriate license amendment requests; (4) revision of affected procedures; (5) distribution of a Station Manager letter which stress's strict compliance with TS requirements; (6) revision of Unit 1 monthly surveillance test procedure to incorporate the 1RH027 vent valve; (7) review of ECCS isometric drawings to verify all high point vent valves are included in the surveillance test procedures; (8) review of all slave relay surveillance test procedures (to be completed by November 7, 1997); and (9) evaluation of a slave relay test modification (to be completed by December 5, 1997).

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of strict compliance with Technical Specifications, 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 amount of $55,000 for the Severity Level III problem.

The violation described in Section II of the Notice discusses one Severity Level IV violation that was not assessed a civil penalty. This violation addresses a failure to provide adequate instructions to ensure the safety injection (SI) pump casings were vented. Specifically, procedure 1/2BOS 5.2.b-1 provided no specific direction to the operator as to what valves were to be open to vent the SI pumps. Since operators routinely had to perform additional steps not included in the procedure in order to vent the SI system, numerous opportunities existed for the inadequate procedure to be identified. 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(s), and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).

    Sincerely,

    A. Bill Beach
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-454 & 50-455
License No. NPF-37 & NPF-66

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed
Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/encl:
R. J. Manning, Executive
Vice President, Generation
M. Wallace, Senior Vice
President, Corporate Services
H. G. Stanley, Vice President
PWR Operations
Liaison Officer, NOC-BOD
D. A. Sager, Vice President,
Generation Support
D. Farrar, Nuclear Regulatory
Services Manager
I. Johnson, Licensing
Operations Manager
Document Control Desk-Licensing
K. Kofron, Station Manager
D. Brindle, Regulatory Assurance
Supervisor
Richard Hubbard
Nathan Schloss, Economist
Office of the Attorney General
State Liaison Officer
State Liaison Officer, Wisconsin
Chairman, Illinois Commerce
Commission


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTIES

Commonwealth Edison Company   Docket Numbers 50-454; 50-455
Bryon Generating Station, Units 1 & 2   License Numbers NPF-37, NPF-66
    EA 97-264

During an NRC inspection conducted on May 27 through June 5, 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:

I. Violations Assessed a Civil Penalty

A. Compliance with Technical Specifications

1. Technical Specification 3.5.2 requires that two independent Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) subsystems be operable with the units in Modes 1, 2, and 3 with each subsystem comprised of: a) one operable centrifugal charging pump; b) one operable safety injection pump; c) one operable Residual Heat Removal (RHR) heat exchanger; d) one operable RHR pump; and e) an operable flow path capable of taking suction from the refueling water storage tank on a safety injection signal and automatic opening of the containment sump suction valves.

Technical Specification Surveillance 4.5.2.b(1) requires that each ECCS subsystem be demonstrated operable at least once per 31 days by venting the ECCS pump casings and discharge piping high points outside of containment.

Contrary to the above:

a. Since commercial operation began in 1985 and 1986, respectively for Unit 1 and Unit 2, and continuing until May 1997, the ECCS subsystem consisting of a Centrifugal Charging (CV) system had not been demonstrated operable at least once per 31 days by venting the pump casing and the CV high points outside containment when the units were in Modes 1, 2, and 3.

b. A Unit 1 high point vent, 1RH027, on the discharge piping of the RHR heat exchanger outside of containment was not vented at least once per 31 days when the units were in Modes 1, 2, and 3, to demonstrate operability from 1985 through June 2, 1997. (01013)

2. Technical Specification 3.3.2 requires that the Engineered Safety Features Actuation System (ESFAS) instrumentation channels and interlocks shown in Table 3.3-3 shall be operable with their trip setpoints set consistent with the values shown in the trip setpoint column of Table 3.3-4.

Technical Specification Surveillance 4.3.2.1 requires that each ESFAS instrumentation channel and interlock and the automatic actuation logic and relays be demonstrated operable by the performance of the ESFAS instrumentation surveillance requirements specified in Table 4.3-2.

Technical Specification Table 4.3-2, Functional Unit 3.a.(2), "Containment Isolation, Phase A Isolation" requires that automatic actuation logic and actuation relays receive a slave relay test on a quarterly basis.

Technical Specification Definition 1.31 states, in part, that a slave relay test shall include a continuity check, as a minimum, of associated testable actuation devices.

Contrary to the above:

a. As of May 27, 1997, the continuity test for the slave relay contacts that actuate the CV letdown orifice isolation valves 1CV8149A/B/C and 2CV8149A/B/C, (Containment Phase A Isolation Valves) was not performed on a quarterly basis since April 29,1991.
b. As of May 27, 1997, the continuity test for the slave relay contacts that actuate the CV letdown isolation valves 1CV8152, 1CV8160, 2CV8152, and 2CV8160, (Containment Phase A Isolation Valves) was not performed on a quarterly basis since June 13, 1991. (01023)
These violations represent a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I) - $55,000
II. Violations Not Assessed a Civil Penalty
A. Written Procedures

1. 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion V, "Instructions, Procedures, and Drawings, "requires, in part, that activities affecting quality be prescribed by documented procedures of a type appropriate to the circumstances and shall be accomplished in accordance with these procedures. The procedures shall include appropriate quantitative or qualitative acceptance criteria for determining that important activities have been satisfactorily accomplished.

Contrary to the above as of June 2, 1997, procedures 1BOS 5.2.b-1, "Unit 1 ECCS Venting and Valve Alignment Monthly Surveillance," Revision 5 and 2BOS 5.2.b-1, "Unit 2 ECCS Venting and Valve Alignment Monthly Surveillance," Revision 4, failed to have appropriate steps specified to vent the safety injection pumps. (02014)

This is a Severity Level IV violation (Supplement I).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Commonwealth Edison 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 violations 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 Regional Administrator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region III.

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, IL
this 3rd day of October 1997


1. A Notice of Violation for a Severity Level III problem was issued on December 11, 1995 (EA 95-197) and a $100,000 proposed civil penalty and a Notice of Violation was issued on February 27, 1997 (EA 97-508) for Severity Level III problems.

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