United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-366 - Haddam Neck Plant (Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company)

October 9, 1997

EA 97-366

Mr. Ted C. Feigenbaum
Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer
c/o R. A. Mellor, Director
Site Operations and Decommissioning
Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company
362 Injun Hollow Road
East Hampton, CT 06424-3099

SUBJECT:  NRC INTEGRATED INSPECTION REPORT 50-213/97-03, NOTICE OF
          VIOLATION, AND EXERCISE OF ENFORCEMENT DISCRETION

Dear Mr. Feigenbaum:

The enclosed report documents the results of an NRC inspection completed on July 7, 1997 at Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company, and the results of the teleconference and final exit summary between Mr. Russell Mellor of your staff and Messrs. Richard Conte and William Raymond of the NRC staff on August 5, 1997. During the period covered by this inspection, the Haddam Neck staff continued to maintain safe storage of the spent nuclear fuel as actions were taken to address degraded conditions in the spent fuel pool cooling system. In general, plant engineering provided timely and effective support to shutdown operations during the period to address several issues important to fuel pool cooling and for transitioning to the decommissioning mode.

At the final exit meeting, your organization was given a choice to discuss certain significant violations identified in this inspection at an enforcement conference. The NRC Staff did not believe an enforcement conference was necessary for the NRC to make an enforcement decision on these issues. It is our understanding from Mr. Mellor that your organization opted not to have the conference. In summary, these violations were:

1. Failure to take timely corrective action from August 1996 to March 1997 on the potential for water hammer on the service water supply to the spent fuel pool system.

2. Failure to take timely and adequate corrective actions on similar events in November 1996 and May 1997 involving repetitive procedural nonadherences for operating the turning gear on the emergency diesel generators.

3. Inadequate safety evaluation in June 1996 in which a dedicated operator was used to compensate for feedwater regulating valves that could not perform their intended design function under certain circumstances.

In the engineering area, the first violation dealt with the discovery of an old plant design discrepancy in the service water system creating the potential for postulated water hammer, which could have affected the operability of the cooling water supply to the spent fuel pool system following certain design basis events. This discrepancy existed since 1975 and might have resulted in degraded operation of the spent fuel pool cooling pumps until corrected by a design change in March 1997. However, your staff failed to take timely corrective actions to address the operability and reportability aspects of this matter when the technical issue was first identified in August 1996. This is a significant violation of 10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI.

In the maintenance area, the second violation of NRC corrective action requirements was the failure to take timely and adequate actions to address a personnel error and procedure nonadherence that resulted in the operation of the emergency diesel generator with jacking tools installed in May 1997 (repetition of an event in November 1996). The error in operation resulted in some minor damage to the engine. The failure to take adequate corrective actions from a November 1996 event did not prevent, in a timely, manner the May 1997 event and the failure is also a significant violation of 10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI.

The first two violations have been categorized in the aggregate as a Severity Level III problem in accordance the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600. A civil penalty is normally considered for a Severity Level III problem. However, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement and the Deputy Executive Director for Regulatory Effectiveness, the NRC has decided not to propose a civil penalty in this case. This decision, pursuant to Section VII.B.6 of the Enforcement Policy, is based on the NRC having already issued a significant enforcement action ($650,000 civil penalty) on May 12, 1997, in part for the inadequacies in your corrective action program that contributed to these and other violations. In other words, the above violations are additional examples of the performance problems addressed in the May 1997 enforcement action. However, you should be aware that future violations associated with shutdown operations and processes may result in the assessment of additional civil penalties.

While these violations are additional examples of the problem addressed in our May 12, 1997 action, namely, the failure to aggressively pursue problems and to identify and correct root causes, these recent findings provide additional insights into the nature and scope of the broad performance problems that existed at Haddam Neck. In particular, these deficiencies highlight the potential vulnerability associated with staff turnover during transition to the decommissioning phase, as well as the significant challenge that comprehensive correction of personnel errors presents. We acknowledge it will take some time to fully correct the fundamental performance problems associated with your corrective action programs; however, we also note the need for additional action to improve in these areas and avert a significant impact on future decommissioning activities. Accordingly, for the above two violations, you are required to respond to this letter and in your response, you should follow the instructions in the enclosed Notice. We also request that your response provide completed or planned corrective actions along with schedules to address: 1) specific actions to reduce human performance errors/problems before and during the course of decommissioning activities; and, 2) the adequacy of staff turnover controls to assure conditions adverse to safety and quality are not inadvertently dropped or not acted upon. The NRC staff will use your response and the success of actions to correct conditions adverse to quality to determine whether further enforcement action is necessary to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

The third violation concerned the conduct of an inadequate safety evaluation for the period of plant operations from June 14 to July 22, 1996. During that period you used a dedicated operator to compensate for feedwater regulating valves that could not perform their intended design function under certain circumstances. This change was considered a change to facility as described in the updated Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR); and was considered an unreviewed safety question because it involved a malfunction of equipment important to safety of a different type than had been previously analyzed. Specifically, the dedicated operator could have failed to perform the required actions within the required time. Your safety evaluation did not adequately address operator acts of omission or commission. Accordingly, since you did not obtain review and approval from NRC, this change was a significant violation of 10 CFR 50.59. In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, violations of 10 CFR 50.59 that result in unreviewed safety questions are classified as Severity Level III violations and, as such, are subject to civil penalties. However, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, the NRC has decided not to issue a Notice of Violation or propose a civil penalty for this case. This decision, which is consistent with the provisions of Section VII.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy, is appropriate because the violation was based on events prior to the plant shutdown, and we have already taken a significant enforcement action on May 12, 1997, for the technical and safety review program inadequacies that led to this and other violations.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter and its enclosures will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR). To the extent possible, your response should not include and personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction.

The responses directed by this letter and the enclosed Notice are not subject to the clearance procedures of the Office of Management and Budget as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, Pub. L. No. 96.511.

                             Sincerely,


                             Hubert J. Miller
                             Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-213
License No. DPR-61

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation
2. NRC Inspection Report No. 50-213/97-03

cc w/encl:
B. Kenyon, President and Chief Executive Officer
D. Goebel Vice President - Nuclear Oversight
F. Rothen, Vice President - Nuclear Work Services
J. Thayer, Recovery Officer, Nuclear Engineering and Support
L. Cuoco, Senior Nuclear Counsel
G. van Noordennen, Manager, Nuclear Licensing
R. Johannes, Director - Nuclear Training
J. Smith, Manager, Operator Training
W. Meinert, Nuclear Engineer
R. Bassilakis, Citizens Awareness Network
J. Block, Attorney for CAN
J. Brooks, CT Attorney General Office
M. DeBold, Town of Haddam
State of Connecticut SLO


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company                   Docket No.  50-213
Haddam Neck Plant                                          License No. DPR-61
                                                           EA 97-366

During NRC inspections conducted on April 8 - August 5, 1997, violations of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," (60 FR 34381; June 30, 1995) the violations are listed below.

10 CFR 50 Appendix B, Criterion XVI, "Corrective Actions," requires that measures be established to assure that conditions adverse to quality are promptly identified and corrected. In the case of significant conditions adverse to quality, the measures shall assure that the cause of the condition is determined and corrective action taken to preclude repetition.
1. Contrary to the above, from August 14, 1996 to March 11, 1997, the licensee did not assure that a significant condition adverse to quality was promptly corrected. Specifically, the licensee was notified by a consulting engineering firm report TM-1788a dated August 14, 1996 that potential water hammer in the SW cooling lines to the SFP system could occur following a loss of normal power event, and that the operability of the SW supply lines, and thus the SFP cooling system, could not be assured contrary to Technical Specification 3.9.15. Licensee actions to address this issue were neither timely or effective until March 11, 1997, when a design change was developed to correct the design discrepancy and the matter was reported to the NRC. (01013)

2. Contrary to the above, as of May 21, 1997 the licensee did not assure that the cause of a significant condition adverse to quality was determined and that corrective actions precluded repetition. Specifically, on November 27, 1996, an operator failed to follow procedure PMP 9.1-31 which resulted in the operation of emergency diesel EG-2B with the jacking tool installed but no engine damage resulted. The licensee response to this significant condition adverse to quality was neither timely nor thorough to resolve the cause and preclude repetition (personnel errors and/or procedure noncompliance). On May 21, 1997, an operator again failed to follow procedure PMP 9.1-31, which resulted in the operation of emergency diesel EG-2A with the jacking tool installed and damage to the engine. (01023)

These violations have been categorized in the aggregate as a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company is hereby required to submit a written statement or explanation to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region I, and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the facility that is the subject of this Notice, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice). This reply should be clearly marked as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation" and should include for each violation: (1) the reason for the violation, or, if contested, the basis for disputing the violation, (2) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (3) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further violations, and (4) the date when full compliance will be achieved. Your response may reference or include previous docketed correspondence, if the correspondence adequately addresses the required response. If an adequate reply is not received within the time specified in this Notice, an order or a Demand for Information may be issued to show cause why the license should not be modified, suspended, or revoked, or why such other action as may be proper should not be taken. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the response time.

Dated at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
this 9th day of October 1997.

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