United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-474 - Surry 1 & 2 (Virginia Electric & Power Co.)

December 24, 1997

EA 97-474

Virginia Electric and Power Company
ATTN: Mr. J. P. O'Hanlon
Senior Vice President-Nuclear
Innsbrook Technical Center
5000 Dominion Boulevard
Glen Allen, Virginia 23060

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION 
          (NRC INTEGRATED INSPECTION REPORT 50-280/97-09,50-281/97-09)

Dear Mr. O'Hanlon:

This refers to an inspection conducted during the period of August 24 through October 4, 1997, at your Surry facility. The inspection included a review of Virginia Electric and Power Company's (VEPCO) compliance with the requirements of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix R regarding electrical isolation and protection and circuit breaker coordination provided for the vital electrical bus panels in the event of a control room fire. The results of the inspection were sent to you by letter dated October 30, 1997. An open, predecisional enforcement conference was conducted in the Region II office on December 4, 1997, with members of your staff, to discuss the violations, the root causes, and your corrective actions to preclude recurrence. A list of conference attendees and copies of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) and VEPCO's presentation materials are enclosed.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that was 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 the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Violation A involves the failure to meet the requirements of 10 CFR 50, Appendix R, Section III.G, for vital bus isolation. Specifically, inadequate means were available for isolating 120 volt alternating current (VAC) power panels for both Units 1 and 2 in the control room complex from their respective, uninterruptable power supply (UPS) panels. As a result, an electrical fault involving the vital buses could trip the breaker or fuse to the affected UPS panel resulting in the loss of power to indications on the Appendix R remote shutdown panel and to Appendix R communications equipment. Violation B involves the failure to take adequate corrective action for this issue in a timely manner. In 1992, the licensee initially identified the failure to meet Appendix R design requirements due to the vital bus isolation issue; however, adequate compensatory measures were not implemented until 1997 and appropriate modifications to achieve compliance were not completed.

As discussed at the conference, the root cause of Violations A and B appeared to be the lack of understanding of Appendix R licensing and design bases with respect to the implementation of compensatory measures. As a result of the failure of VEPCO's engineering staff to identify the vital bus isolation issue as being outside the Surry Unit 1 and Unit 2 design bases, the issue received inappropriate prioritization, and fully effective corrective actions were delayed.

The NRC recognizes that the probability of an Appendix R fire affecting the vital bus panels is low due to the continuously manned Control Room, the fire protection features associated with construction of the Control Room, and the installed fire detection and suppression components provided for the area. However, the potential safety consequences of such a fire resulting in the inability to isolate the vital 120 VAC bus panels are high and could result in loss of power to the Unit 1 and Unit 2 remote shutdown panels and the loss of emergency communications equipment. In such an event, power to the vital buses could not be restored until the fault conditions were identified, corrected, and any open fuses replaced.

After initial identification of the issue in 1992, VEPCO considered the continuously manned Control Room to be an adequate compensatory measure for the design deficiency. In 1993, procedures were revised to address the isolation issue requiring disconnection of cabling in the event of a fire. In March and June 1997, further evaluations by VEPCO resulted in recognition of the Appendix R compliance issues, and improved compensatory measures were implemented by August 1997 and formally approved by the NRC by letter dated September 25, 1997. The NRC considers the failure to have adequate bus isolation or adequate compensatory fire protection measures in place for an extended period of time to be a significant regulatory concern. In the event of an Appendix R fire, these deficiencies could have significantly impacted your ability to achieve and maintain hot shutdown of both Surry Unit 1 and Unit 2. Additionally, the NRC is concerned that flaws in your initial engineering characterization of the regulatory and design basis significance of this issue adversely affected subsequent decision-making and delayed timely resolution of the issue. Therefore, Violations A and B have been categorized 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 two years,(1) the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Identification and Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process described in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. NRC determined that credit was warranted for Identification because your staff identified the issues requiring corrective action. With regard to the factor of Corrective Action, at the conference your staff stated that upon recognition of the significance of the issue, corrective actions were initiated which included: (1) development of a Justification for Continued Operation and expansion of compensatory measures; (2) implementation of a corrective modification on Unit 2 in October 1997 with planned implementation for Unit 1 in October 1998; (3) completion of a root cause investigation; (4) assessment of existing non-standard compensatory measures and revision of administrative procedures to address such measures; (5) performance of a review of selected design changes to verify that Appendix R requirements remain in effect; (6) planned multi-utility assessment of the Appendix R program; and (7) implementation of improvements to the corrective action program including the prioritization of Deficiency Reports by multi-disciplined teams. Based on these facts, the NRC concluded that credit was warranted for the factor of Corrective Action.

Therefore, to encourage prompt identification and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, not to propose a civil penalty in this case. However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty.

In addition, Violation C in the enclosed Notice has been categorized as a Severity Level IV violation for the failure to report conditions properly that resulted in the plant being outside of its design basis to the NRC. At the conference, your staff stated that a one-hour report was not required because at the time of discovery of the condition, VEPCO had implemented compensatory measures approved by NRC and was within its design basis. Compensatory measures are only an interim step to either restoring operability or justifying continued operations until final corrective actions are completed to bring the plant back within its design basis. Although the NRC approved the compensatory measures developed to address the out of design basis condition, the measures themselves did not bring the plant back within its design basis. Therefore, a one-hour report was required at the time of discovery. The significance of the violation was mitigated by the fact that NRC was fully cognizant of the issue and the compensatory measures in place.

Additionally, the apparent violation regarding the failure to provide adequate breaker coordination for vital bus branch circuits and associated vital bus main panel breakers has been recharacterized as a deviation. Specifically, VEPCO failed to meet commitments to replace main circuit breakers in each vital bus panel with non-automatic molded case switches to ensure adequate breaker coordination in the event of a design basis fire.

You are required to respond to this letter and should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notices 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 enclosures, and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).

If you have any questions regarding this letter, contact Mr. George A. Belisle, Chief, Special Inspection Branch at (404) 562-4621.

                                   Sincerely, 


                                   Luis A. Reyes
                                   Regional Administrator

Docket Nos: 50-280, 50-281
License Nos: DPR-32, DPR-37

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation
2. Notice of Deviation
3. List of Predecisional Enforcement
Conference Attendees
4. VEPCO Presentation Materials
5. NRC Presentation Materials

cc w/encls:
J. H. McCarthy, Manager
Nuclear Licensing & Operations Support
Virginia Electric & Power Company
Innsbrook Technical Center
5000 Dominion Boulevard
Glen Allen, VA 23060

David A. Christian, Manager
Surry Power Station
Virginia Electric & Power Company
5570 Hog Island Road
Surry, VA 23883

W. R. Matthews, Manager
North Anna Power Station
P. O. Box 402
Mineral, VA 23117

Chairman
Surry County Board of Supervisors
P. O. Box 130
Dendron, VA 23839

Dr. W. T. Lough
Virginia State Corporation Commission
Division of Energy Regulation
P. O. Box 1197
Richmond, VA 23209

Michael W. Maupin
Hunton and Williams
Riverfront Plaza, East Tower
951 E. Byrd Street
Richmond, VA 23219

State Health Commissioner
Office of the Commissioner
Virginia Department of Health
P. O. Box 2448
Richmond, VA 23218

Attorney General
Supreme Court Building
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Virginia Electric and Power Company       Docket Nos. 50-280 and 50-281
Surry Power Station                       License Nos. DPR-32 and DPR-37
                                          EA 97-474

During an NRC inspection conducted on August 24 through October 4, 1997, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

A. 10 CFR 50.48 states, in part, that each operating nuclear plant licensed to operate prior to January 1, 1979, shall satisfy the requirements of 10 CFR 50, Appendix R, Section III.G. Both Surry units were licensed prior to January 1, 1979.

10 CFR 50, Appendix R, Section III.G.1.(a) requires fire protection features to be provided for structures, systems and components important to safe shutdown to limit fire damage such that one train of systems necessary to achieve and maintain hot shutdown conditions from either the control room or emergency control station(s) is free from fire damage.

10 CFR 50, Appendix R, Section III.G.2 requires the protection of one redundant shutdown train from fire damage which could result in hot shorts, open circuits or shorts to ground during an Appendix R type fire.

Contrary to the above, from July 1988 for Unit 1 and September 1989 for Unit 2 until August 29, 1997, the licensee failed to provide adequate fire protection features for structures, systems and components important to safe shutdown in that adequate means were not available to isolate the circuits from 120 volt alternating current power panels VB1-I and VB 1-III and panels VB 2-I and VB 2-III, located in the respective Unit 1 and 2 computer rooms in the control room complex, from the uninterruptable power supply (UPS) panels. Electrical faults from a 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix R, fire in the control room complex could cause the loss of power from UPS panels 1A-1, 1A-2, 2A-1 and 2A-1. These UPS panels provide power to the Appendix R remote shutdown panels, located in each unit's emergency switchgear room and in the cable spreading room; and, supply power to the Appendix R communication equipment located adjacent to the auxiliary shutdown panels in each emergency switchgear room. The Appendix R panels contained the instrumentation required for performing a plant shutdown from outside the main control room and included instrumentation for steam generator level, reactor coolant system pressure and temperature, and pressurizer level. (01013)

B. Surry Operating License Section 2.I for Units 1 and 2 provides that the licensee is required to implement and maintain the administrative controls identified in Section 6 of the Fire Protection Safety Evaluation.

The Surry Fire Protection Program is described in the Surry Appendix R Report. Chapter 12, Section C of the Surry Appendix R Report describes the Quality Assurance program that is applicable to the fire protection program. Section C.8 states that measures established to ensure that conditions adverse to fire protection, such as failures, malfunctions, deficiencies, deviations, defective components, uncontrolled combustible materials and noncomformances, are promptly identified, reported and corrected.

Contrary to the above, as of August 29, 1997, the licensee failed to identify fully and correct a noncompliance with Appendix R requirements for the control room associated with a vital bus isolation issue discovered by the licensee in 1992. Specifically, because the licensee failed to recognize the significance of the issue and the fact that the plant was outside the design basis, adequate corrective actions and compensatory measures were not implemented until 1997. (01023)

These violations constitute a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I).

C. 10 CFR 50.72(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires the licensee to notify the NRC of identified plant conditions that are outside the design basis of the plant. The notification is to be made as soon as practical but within one hour of the occurrence.

Contrary to the above, on September 30, 1997, the licensee failed to notify the NRC, within one hour of the occurrence, of conditions outside the design basis of the plant. Specifically, on this date, the licensee determined that Surry Units 1 and 2 had been outside its Appendix R design basis due to a 120 VAC vital bus isolation issue. Although the licensee concluded that the outside of design basis condition was a past condition, the Units were in fact still outside the design basis and a one-hour report was required. (02014)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Virginia Electric and 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 II, and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the Surry facility, 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 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. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the response time.

If you contest this enforcement action, you should also provide a copy of your response to the Director, Office of Enforcement, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-001.

Under the authority of Section 182 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 2232, this response shall be submitted under oath or affirmation.

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 Atlanta, GA
this 24th day of December 1997


NOTICE OF DEVIATION

Virginia Electric and Power Company                 Docket Nos. 50-280 and 50-281
Surry Power Station                                 License Nos. DPR-32 and DPR-37
                                                    EA 97-474

During an NRC inspection conducted on August 24 through October 4, 1997, a deviation of your Updated Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR) was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the deviation is listed below:

UFSAR Section 9.10.1 states that the station's fire protection program satisfies the regulatory criteria set forth in General Design Criterion 3, in 10 CFR 50 Appendix R (Sections III.G, III.J, III.L and III.O), and in Appendix A to Branch Technical Position APCSB 9.5-1 dated August 23, 1976. Compliance with these criteria is contained in the 10 CFR 50 Appendix R Report, Surry Power Station Units 1 and 2.

The 10 CFR 50 Appendix R Report, Surry Power Station, Units 1 and 2, Revision 11, Chapter 9, Electrical Distribution System Coordination Study, Section 9.1, states that coordination of circuit protective devices to prevent unnecessary outages of power supplies needed for safe shutdown is required to conform to the requirements of Appendix R. The Appendix R Report states that components involved in critical circuits were investigated and data gathered to facilitate verification of the capability of the interrupting devices to operate selectively and to continue to supply power to all critical circuits not affected by the postulated fire. Section 9.2 of Chapter 9 concluded that miscoordination existed on the 120 volt alternating current (VAC) bus system due to the maximum half cycle instantaneous current supplied by the bypass transformers. The Appendix R report states that, to assure coordination, the Square D 100 ampere (amp) trip main circuit breakers in each vital bus panel will be replaced with non-automatic molded case switches.

Contrary to the above, the 100 amp breakers were not replaced with non-automatic switches as committed to in the Appendix R Report to ensure compliance with UFSAR Section 9.10.1. This resulted in inadequate breaker coordination between the vital bus branch circuits and vital bus main panel breaker for the vital bus panels supplying circuits installed in the Units 1 and 2 emergency switchgear rooms and the Turbine Building. Each of these panels supply Appendix R and safe shutdown related components.

Please provide to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555, with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region II, and a copy to the NRC Resident at Surry, in writing within 30 days of the date of this Notice, (1) the reason for the deviation, or if contested, the basis for disputing the deviation, (2) the corrective steps that have been taken and the results achieved, (3) the corrective steps that will be taken to avoid further deviations, and (4) the date when your corrective action will be completed. Where good cause is shown, consideration will be given to extending the response time.

Dated at Atlanta, Georgia
this 24th day of December 1997


1. On August 29, 1997, a Severity Level III problem with a base civil penalty was issued related to maintenance rule implementation (EA 97-055). On August 16, 1996, a Severity Level III problem was issued related to the operability of containment hydrogen analyzers (EA 96-231). On November 22, 1995, a Severity Level III problem was issued related to multiple violations associated with the September 1995 unplanned reduction in reactor vessel water level (EA 95-223).

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