United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-290 - Prairie 1 & 2 (Northern States Power Company)

October 16, 1997

EA 97-290

Mr. M. D. Wadley
Vice President, Nuclear Generation
Northern States Power Company
414 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55401

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY - $50,000 
(NRC Inspection Report 50-282/306-97008(DRS))
 

Dear Mr. Wadley:

This refers to the System Operational Performance inspection conducted from April 14 to June 13, 1997, at your Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant. The inspection team assessed the auxiliary feedwater (AFW) system operational performance during a detailed review of the design, maintenance, operation, and surveillance testing of the AFW system. The report was issued by letter dated July 16, 1997, and a predecisional enforcement conference was held in the Region III office on August 8, 1997.

Based on the information developed during this inspection and the information that your staff provided during the predecisional enforcement conference, the NRC has determined that four violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding each violation are described in the subject inspection report. The violations concern Prairie Island staff's failure to implement a test program that ensured that the AFW system would meet its design expectations inservice and failure to understand and maintain aspects of the AFW system design. Further, these or similar issues were known to the Prairie Island staff but not adequately corrected.

The first issue concerned the Prairie Island staff's failure to establish an Inservice Test (IST) procedure acceptance criteria that would ensure the AFW system met certain design basis requirements. The site engineering staff developed the acceptance criteria for the AFW IST procedure using Section XI of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers code. However, the engineering staff never compared the acceptance criteria with the design requirements for the AFW system. As a result, the IST procedure would permit an AFW pump to be considered operable even though it had degraded below minimum design requirements. Although the potential existed for the operability of the AFW system to be compromised, members of the engineering staff confirmed that none of the AFW pumps had degraded below minimum system design requirements. In addition, your engineering staff identified, in 1991, a similar failure to establish IST procedure acceptance criteria for the safety injection pump design basis requirements. The engineering staff did not take prompt corrective action and identify that this problem also existed in the AFW system testing program. In our view, if your staff had implemented broader corrective action, it is likely this violation would not have occurred.

The second issue concerned the Prairie Island staff's failure to analyze a discrepancy between the Updated Safety Analysis Report (USAR) and anticipated AFW flows. The Prairie Island engineering staff failed to maintain the USAR when discrepancies in the published flow requirements for the AFW system were identified during a 1992 AFW design basis reconstitution effort. Although your engineering staff recognized that the USAR value was incorrect, your staff failed to resolve the discrepancy or update the USAR. These violations collectively represented a failure to maintain the design basis for the AFW system and assure the system would perform satisfactory in service, and have been classified in the aggregate in accordance with the NUREG-1600, "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), as a Severity Level III problem.

Individually and collectively the safety significance of the violations was low since the AFW system always met the design basis requirements. However, the regulatory significance was high because: (1) your existing administrative processes and barriers failed to ensure that IST acceptance criteria considered the design basis requirements; (2) the engineering staff failed to appreciate the need to maintain the fidelity of the USAR; and (3) the engineering staff failed to implement timely and comprehensive corrective actions when they identified test program deficiencies and AFW flow discrepancies.

According to the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty for $50,000 is considered for a Severity Level III problem 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 your facility has been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last two years,1 the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action according to the civil penalty assessment process in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Identification credit was not warranted because these violations were identified by the NRC or plant staff identified the problem but failed to recognize the significance until prompted by the NRC. However, Corrective Action credit was warranted based on the corrective actions that have been implemented or were proposed at the enforcement conference. Several of your corrective actions included: (1) a verification of the correct flow rate to the intact steam generator and a resultant revision to the USAR; (2) a review of the design change program and a review of sample calculations for accuracy; (3) a revision to the acceptance criteria for the AFW pumps and training to the technical staff on the need to maintain the design basis; (4) an evaluation of the Section XI program and the acceptance criteria to ensure that the design basis is not compromised; (5) a review of the outstanding corrective action items for regulatory significance and prioritization; and (6) a bench marking of the condition reporting system with industry standards.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of an IST program that ensures the design basis of plant systems is not compromised, the need to perform timely evaluations when USAR discrepancies are identified, and the need to maintain the fidelity of the USAR, 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 in the base amount of $50,000 for this Severity Level III problem.

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. According to 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, 


                            A.  Bill Beach
                            Regional Administrator 

Docket Nos. 50-282 and 50-306
License Nos. DPR-42 and DPR-60

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/encl:
Plant Manager, Prairie Island
State Liaison Officer, State of Minnesota
State Liaison Officer, State of Wisconsin
Tribal Council
Prairie Island Dakota Community


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

 
Northern States Power Company                     DocketNos. 50-282 and 50-306

Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant           Licenses No. DPR-42 and DPR-60

                                                  EA 97-290

During an NRC inspection from April 14 to June 13, 1997, four 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:

1. 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XI, "Test Control," requires, in part, that a test program shall be established to assure that all testing required to demonstrate that systems will perform satisfactorily in service is identified and performed in accordance with written test procedures which incorporate the requirements and acceptance limits contained in applicable design documents.

Updated Safety Analysis Report (USAR) at Section 11.9.3.a, "Loss of Main Feedwater Transients" documented that during a loss of offsite power transient a single Auxiliary Feedwater (AFW) pump will provide sufficient flow to prevent water relief from the pressurizer relief valves. USAR Table 11.9-2, "Summary of Assumptions used in the AFW System Design Verification Analysis," stated that the minimum required AFW flow during a loss of offsite power transient was 200 gallons per minute to a steam generator.

Contrary to the above, since at least May 31, 1991, and continuing until April 24, 1997, the test program failed to assure that written test procedures incorporated the 200 gallons per minute acceptance limits contained in Section 11.9.3.a of the USAR; the applicable design documents. Specifically, the acceptance criteria for the Unit 1 and Unit 2 monthly and refueling outage AFW surveillance tests listed below would have permitted the AFW pumps to degrade below (and remain operable) the minimum flow -- 200 gallons per minute -- to a steam generator during a loss of offsite power transient. (01013)

SP 1103, "11 Turbine-Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Once Every Refueling Outage Test;"
SP 1101, "12 Motor-Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Once Every Refueling Outage Test;"
SP 2101, "21 Motor-Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Once Every Refueling Outage Test;"
SP 2103, "22 Turbine-Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Once Every Refueling Outage Test,"
SP 1102, "11 Turbine-Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Monthly Test,"
SP 1100, "12 Motor-Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Monthly Test,"
SP 2100, "21 Motor-Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Monthly Test,"
SP 2102, "22 Turbine-Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Monthly Test."

2. 10 CFR 50.71(e), "Maintenance of Records, Making of Reports," requires, in part, that each license periodically update the final safety analysis report (FSAR) [now know as the USAR at Prairie Island] to assure that the information included in the FSAR contains the latest material developed.

10CFR50.71(e)(4) requires, in part, that revisions be filed such that the intervals between successive updates to the USAR do not exceed 24 months. It further states that the revisions must reflect all changes up to a maximum of 6 months prior to the date of filing.

The applicable section of the FSAR, now titled the Updated Safety Analysis Report (USAR), is Section 11.9.3, "Performance Analysis - Condensate, Feedwater, and Auxiliary Feedwater Systems"

Contrary to the above, as of May 16, 1997, the licensee had not assured that the information included in the FSAR contained the latest material developed and had not updated the FSAR periodically, as required in 10 CFR 50.71. Specifically, in October 1992, the licensee identified that the 400 gpm Auxiliary Feedwater Pump (AFW) flow rate specified in USAR Section 11.9.3 under the Main Feedwater Line Rupture accident scenario disagreed with actual Auxiliary Feedwater pump performance capabilities of approximately 200 gpm with only one pump available. Since October 1992, three opportunities to update this section of the USAR were available, yet the revisions of September 1993, June 1994 and December 1995, did not contain the latest material developed or reflect all changes prior to the date of the filing. (01023)

3. 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, "Corrective Action," requires, in part, that conditions adverse to quality are promptly identified and corrected; and in the case of significant conditions adverse to quality, the cause of the condition shall be documented, appropriately reported to levels of management, and corrective action taken to preclude repetition.

A. Contrary to the above, as of May 16, 1997, the licensee had not resolved a significant condition adverse to quality that was identified on March 6, 1991, and documented on the assessment of Operating Experience Document NSD-TB-80-11, "High Head Safety Injection". Specifically, the assessment documented that design requirements -- such as flow -- had not been adequately considered when the safety injection pump surveillance procedures acceptance criteria were determined and there was a need to ensure that design requirements were correctly incorporated for other pumps' surveillance test acceptance criteria. Corrective action was not taken for the Auxiliary Feedwater, Residual Heat Removal, and Containment Spray Pumps. This was demonstrated when the NRC inspectors determined that the Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Surveillance tests' acceptance criteria would have allowed an AFW pump to be considered operable even if the pump parameters were below the minimum design requirements. (01033)

B. Contrary to the above, as of May 16, 1997, the licensee had not resolved a condition adverse to quality that was identified on November 18, 1992, and documented on Configuration Management Follow-On Item FOI 40781, "Basis For AFWP Requirements After Line Break". Specifically, FOI 40781 documented a deviation from the updated final safety analysis (USAR) in that the AFW pumps were not in conformance with the 400 gpm flow rate for a main feedwater pipe rupture accident scenario as specified in section 11.9.3 of the USAR with only one pump available. The licensee failed to promptly correct the deviation by demonstrating that the AFW pump capacity of approximately 200 gpm with only one pump available would be sufficient during a main feedwater pipe rupture. (01043)

This is a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I)
Civil Penalty $50,000

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Northern States Power Company 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 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 civil 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 civil 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, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852-2738, with a copy to the Regional Administrator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region III and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant 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 16th day of October 1997


1.EA 97-073 issued a Severity Level III violation with no civil penalty on April 30, 1997 for the failure to comply with heavy loads requirements during the movement of a heavy load over a fully fueled reactor vessel. EA 96-402 issued a Severity Level III violation with a $50,000 civil penalty on January 23, 1997, for an unreviewed safety question that was created by the licensee when they took credit for the non-seismic intake canal and operator actions following an earthquake.

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