United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-294 - Indian Point 3 (New York Power Authority)

August 19, 1997

EA 97-294

Mr. Robert J. Barrett
Site Executive Officer
New York Power Authority
Indian Point 3 Nuclear Power Plant
Post Office Box 215
Buchanan, New York 10511

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTY - $55,000
          (NRC Inspection Report No. 50-286/97-80)

Dear Mr. Barrett:

This letter refers to the NRC engineering team inspection conducted at the Indian Point 3 facility between April 7 and May 1, 1997, the results of which were discussed with you at exit meetings on May 1, 1997, and June 10, 1997. During the inspection, one apparent violation of NRC requirements was identified. The inspection report was sent to you on June 19, 1997. On July 30, 1997, a predecisional enforcement conference was conducted with Mr. J. Knubel, Chief Nuclear Officer, yourself, and members of your staff to discuss the apparent violation identified during the inspection, its causes, and your corrective actions.

Based on our review of the inspection findings, and information provided during the conference, one violation of NRC requirements is being cited and is described in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice). The violation involves three examples where design basis information was not correctly translated into Emergency Operating Procedures (EOPs). The examples include: (1) no technical basis for operating with the component cooling water (CCW) heat exchanger service water outlet valves throttled during sump recirculation when the heat exchanger is placed in service following a postulated accident; (2) no instructions for throttling the recirculation pump discharge valve to prevent pump runout under certain conditions; and (3) inadequate instructions for isolating nonsafety-related CCW loads.

In the first case, the EOP for transferring to cold leg recirculation did not require operators to properly re-position the CCW heater exchanger service water outlet valves prior to entering the recirculation phase of a postulated design basis accident. These valves are normally throttled to maintain acceptable CCW temperatures. Either the EOP should have required that the valves be re-positioned (to their analyzed position), or an analysis should have been performed to demonstrate that the CCW system would perform its intended safety function during the initial transition to recirculation with the valves in their normally throttled position. The CCW system functions to remove decay heat from the reactor core and provides cooling to other safety-related emergency core cooling equipment. Poor communications between site and corporate organizations, as well as inadequate engineering involvement in procedure changes, contributed to this deficiency in that important design information regarding the function of the service water system was not properly translated into the EOPs.

In another case, the EOP for transferring to cold leg recirculation, directed the operator to adjust total recirculation flow to less than 6000 gpm to satisfy the net positive suction head requirements, with both recirculation pumps running. However, no guidance was provided in that EOP to reduce flow to less than 3000 gpm in the event that only one recirculation pump was operating, so as to prevent runout in a single pump configuration. While a step to throttle pump flow during these conditions had previously been included in that EOP, that step was inadvertently omitted during a procedure revision which was approved in September 1996, and the elimination of that step was not documented in the change history form. Inattention to detail, a lack of a questioning attitude, and no written standard regarding the use of the history forms, contributed to this violation.

In the third case, the EOP directed the operator to isolate CCW flow to the non-regenerative heat exchanger by closing an air-operated outlet temperature control valve (TCV) to prevent diversion of CCW flow to other safety-related components. The EOP further instructed that if the TCV cannot be closed, the operators were to isolate CCW flow to the non-regenerative heat exchanger by closing manual isolation valves in accordance with the system operating procedure. However, this EOP was deficient since the instrument air system supplying air to the TCV is nonsafety-related, and therefore, cannot be relied upon to function. Therefore, credit could not be taken for the availability of this air supply. Without a reliable source of air supply, the TCV can fail to its open position after being successfully closed early in the event, resulting in diversion of CCW flow from safety-related components during the recirculation phase of the accident. A previous revision of this procedure correctly directed the closure of a manual valve to isolate the non-regenerative heat exchanger; however, a 1995 procedure revision inappropriately incorporated a vendor recommendation to first attempt to close the TCV, and close the manual isolation valve as a contingency. Contributing to this deficiency was your acceptance of the recommendation without an adequate review.

These three examples represent a significant regulatory concern because they are indicative of inadequate controls to properly incorporate design basis information into the EOPs. Apparently, your process did not require sufficient reviews of EOPs by engineering staff. Furthermore, all three of these examples were identified by the NRC, raising significant questions regarding the adequacy of your self assessments of EOPs. As such, these violations represent a breakdown in control of licensed activities, and raise questions both of the adequacy of your EOPs, as well as the effectiveness of the EOP reviews. Therefore, the violation has been categorized at Severity Level III 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. Your facilities have been the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the last 2 years1. Therefore, 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 not warranted for Identification since all three examples of the violation were identified by the NRC. The NRC also considered your corrective actions, as described at the enforcement conference. These actions included, but were not limited to, (1) revision to the affected EOPs; (2) plans to perform a broad review of procedures, including a review by design engineering; (3) plans to review all EOPs, to determine if applicable design information has been incorporated; (4) plans to change the relevant administrative procedure to ensure an engineering review of proposed EOP revisions prior to implementation to ensure that the revisions do not result in the omission of pertinent procedural steps; and (5) training of engineers performing EOP reviews, as well as development of a program to qualify individuals performing EOP reviews.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of appropriately factoring design information into your EOPs, as well as critically self assessing all aspects of your program to ensure such deficiencies, when they exist, are promptly identified and corrected by your staff, rather than by the NRC, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to propose civil penalty of $55,000 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.

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,


                             Hubert J. Miller
                             Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-286
License No. DPR-64

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty

cc w/encl:
C. Rappleyea, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
R. Schoenberger, President and Chief Operating Officer
J. Knubel, Chief Nuclear Officer and Senior Vice President
H. Salmon, Jr., Vice President of Nuclear Operations
W. Josiger, Vice President - Engineering and Project Management
J. Kelly, Director - Regulatory Affairs and Special Projects
T. Dougherty, Director - Nuclear Engineering
R. Deasy, Vice President - Appraisal and Compliance Services
R. Patch, Director - Quality Assurance
G. Goldstein, Assistant General Counsel
C. Faison, Director, Nuclear Licensing, NYPA
K. Peters, Licensing Manager
A. Donahue, Mayor, Village of Buchanan
C. Jackson, Nuclear Safety and Licensing Manager (Con Ed)
C. Donaldson, Esquire, Assistant Attorney General, New York Department of Law
Chairman, Standing Committee on Energy, NYS Assembly
Chairman, Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, NYS Assembly
T. Morra, Executive Chair, Four County Nuclear Safety Committee
Chairman, Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions
The Honorable Sandra Galef, NYS Assembly
P. Eddy, Director, Electric Division, Department of Public Service, State of New York
G. Goering, Consultant, New York Power Authority
J. Gagliardo, Consultant, New York Power Authority
E. Beckjord, Consultant, New York Power Authority
F. William Valentino, President, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
J. Spath, Program Director, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

New York Power Authority               Docket No.50-286
Indian Point Unit 3                    License No. DPR-64
                                       EA 97-294

During an NRC inspection conducted between April 7 and May 1, 1997, for which exit meetings were held on May 1, 1997, and June 10, 1997, a violation of NRC requirements was 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 violation and associated civil penalty are set forth below:

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion III, requires that measures shall be established to assure that applicable regulatory requirements and the design basis, are correctly translated into specifications, drawings, procedures, and instructions.

Contrary to the above, prior to May 20, 1997, measures were not established to assure that applicable regulatory requirements and the design basis, were correctly translated into Emergency Operating Procedures (EOPs), as evidenced by the following examples:

1. Design basis information for the component cooling water heat exchangers' service water outlet valve position was not correctly translated into EOP ES 1.3, Revision 10, Transfer to Cold Leg Recirculation. The EOP did not provide instruction for operators to re-position these valves (from their normally throttled position) at the beginning of the recirculation phase of a postulated design basis accident. Under certain conditions, failure to re-position the valves, may have caused the loss of function of the component cooling water and other supported systems.

2. Design basis information for protection of the recirculation pumps from runout was not correctly translated into EOP ES-1.3, Revision 10, Step 18(b). The EOP did not provide appropriate instructions to reduce flow to less than 3000 gpm to assure that net positive suction head requirements are satisfied when only one recirculation pump is operating.

3. Design basis information for isolating nonsafety-related equipment was not correctly translated into EOP ES-1.3, Revision 10, Step 60(a), which directed operators to isolate component cooling water flow to the non-regenerative heat exchanger using air-operated temperature control valve AC-TCV-130. This procedure step was inadequate because valve AC-TCV-130 could fail open, due to a non safety-related source of supply air, and divert cooling water flow from other safety-related components. (01013)

This violation is classified at Severity Level III. (Supplement I).
Civil Penalty - $55,000.

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, New York Power Authority (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 King of Prussia, PA
this 19th day of August 1997


1. A Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the amount of $50,000 was issued to New York Power Authority on January 2, 1996, for the Indian Point 3 facility exiting the cold shutdown facility with the control switches for the recirculation and containment spray pumps in the trip pullout condition.

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