United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-490 - Robinson 2 (Carolina Power & Light Co.)

December 12, 1997

EA 97-490

Carolina Power & Light Company
ATTN: Mr. J. S. Keenan
Vice President
H. B. Robinson Steam Electric Plant
Unit 2 3581 West Entrance Road
Hartsville, South Carolina 29550

SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL
          PENALTY - $55,000 
          (NRC INTEGRATED INSPECTION REPORT 50-261/97-10)

Dear Mr. Keenan:

This refers to the inspection conducted on August 31 - October 11, 1997, at H. B. Robinson Unit 2. The purpose of the inspection was to review an August 1997 event during which the "B" emergency diesel generator (EDG) output breaker control switch was identified by the NRC resident inspector to be in the partial "pull-out" position rather than the "neutral" position. An exit interview was conducted on October 24, 1997, and the results of the inspection were sent to you by letter dated November 7, 1997. An open, predecisional enforcement conference was conducted in the Region II office on November 25, 1997, with you and 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 Carolina Power & Light Company's (CP&L) presentation materials are enclosed. A videotape which CP&L used during its presentation is available for viewing at NRC's Region II office.

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. Two violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice), and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report.

Violation A involved the failure to promptly identify and correct a mispositioned EDG output breaker control switch. The mispositioned switch caused the "B" EDG to be inoperable for an indeterminate period. Although auxiliary operator tours included local verification of portions of the EDG panels housing the switch, the tour procedure did not specifically require verification of the switch position. The violation appears to have been caused by the lack of effective physical and/or administrative configuration control measures to prevent the switch mispositioning or alert personnel earlier to the mispositioning.

Violation B involved the failure to take adequate corrective action to preclude repetition of configuration control errors affecting the EDG local control panels. In November 1993, an event similar to the August 1997 EDG switch mispositioning event occurred. A Severity Level III problem (Enforcement Action (EA) 93-298) was issued on March 14, 1994, identifying two violations. One of these violations was cited against 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion II, for the failure to provide controls over activities affecting the EDGs to an extent consistent with their importance to safety. Specifically, the violation cited a failure to assure control of the position of the automatic voltage regulator adjustment potentiometers for the "A" and "B" EDGs. Violation B cited in the enclosed Notice, was originally proposed in our letter of November 7, 1997, as an apparent violation of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion II. The violation has been recharacterized as a failure to take adequate corrective action to preclude repetition of the previous 1994 Criterion II violation.

Although the mispositioning event had no actual safety consequences, the potential safety consequences of the event were high. With the switch mispositioned, an undervoltage condition on the E-2 Emergency Bus concurrent with an EDG start would have caused the EDG output breaker to close and immediately reopen. As a result, the "B" EDG would have been incapable of automatically energizing the E-2 Emergency Bus for a significant period of time. The regulatory significance is also high because the 1993 event should have alerted you to the need to place more comprehensive configuration controls on components that are not alarmed when they are out of the safeguards position. Moreover, the importance of these controls should have been recognized given the absence of automatic alarms to alert operators to situations which could remain undetected until the EDG was called on to mitigate an accident. CP&L's April 13, 1994 response to EA 93-298, stated that other equipment with no automatic indication of equipment misalignment had been added to Operator logs for routine checks. However, this critical switch was not included in the operators' periodic logs and no other positive administrative controls, such as those afforded by specific operator status checks or physical barriers to switch movement were provided. Therefore, the violations 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. The NRC determined that credit was not warranted for Identification because, as discussed above, the mispositioned switch was identified by the NRC and prior opportunities to identify the violations existed. Your corrective actions included: (1) the placement of temporary caution tags on both switches; (2) the installation of protective covers on both EDG generator control panels; (3) revision of operating lineup, operator rounds, and testing procedures to include verifications of proper equipment positions, both periodically and after manipulation during the quarterly EDG test; and (4) verification of the positions of other switches and evaluation of the need for protective covers and/or similar configuration controls for other switches. Based on the above, the NRC determined that credit was warranted for the factor of Corrective Action.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of prompt identification of conditions adverse to quality and the need for configuration control of equipment important to safety, and in recognition of your previous escalated enforcement actions, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Office of Enforcement, to issue the enclosed Notice in the base amount of $55,000 for the 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. In your response, you should document the specific actions taken and any additional actions you plan to prevent recurrence of the violations. After reviewing your response to this Notice, including your proposed corrective actions and the results of future inspections, the NRC will determine whether further NRC enforcement action is necessary to ensure compliance with NRC regulatory requirements.

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.

                                   Sincerely, 

                                   Original Signed by 
                                   L. R. Plisco   
                              
                                   Luis A. Reyes
                                   Regional Administrator

Docket Nos. 50-261
License Nos. DPR-23

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty
2. NRC Presentation Materials
3. CP&L Presentation Materials
4. List of Attendees

cc w/encls:
Dale E. Young
Director, Site Operations
Carolina Power & Light Company
H. B. Robinson Steam Electric Plant
3581 West Entrance Road
Hartsville, SC 29550

J. W. Moyer
Plant General Manager
Carolina Power & Light Company
H. B. Robinson Steam Electric Plant
3581 West Entrance Road
Hartsville, SC 29550

D. B. Alexander, Manager
Performance Evaluation and
Regulatory Affairs OHS7
Carolina Power & Light Company
412 S. Wilmington Street
Raleigh, NC 27601

H. K. Chernoff, Supervisor
Licensing/Regulatory Programs
Carolina Power & Light Company
H. B. Robinson Steam Electric Plant
3581 West Entrance Road
Hartsville, SC 29550

T. M. Wilkerson, Manager
Regulatory Affairs
Carolina Power & Light Company
H. B. Robinson Steam Electric Plant
3581 West Entrance Road
Hartsville, SC 29550

Chief
Bureau of Radiological Health
Dept. of Health and Environmental
Control
2600 Bull Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Director
Division of Radiation Protection
N. C. Department of Environment,
Health & Natural Resources
3825 Barrett Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609-7721

W. D. Johnson, Vice President
and Senior Counsel
Carolina Power & Light Co.
P. O. Box 1551
Raleigh, NC 27602

Assistant Attorney General
State of North Carolina
P. O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602

Executive Director
Public Staff - NCUC
P. O. Box 29520
Raleigh, NC 27626-0520

Public Service Commission
State of South Carolina
P. O. Box 11649
Columbia, SC 29211

Hartsville Memorial Library
147 W. College Avenue
Hartsville, SC 29550


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Carolina Power & Light Company                  Docket Nos.50-261
Robinson Unit 2                                 License Nos.DPR-23
                                                EA 97-490

During an NRC inspection conducted from August 31 through October 11, 1997, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures 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:

10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, "Corrective Action," requires, in part, that measures shall be established to assure that conditions adverse to quality, such as failures, malfunctions, deficiencies, deviations, defective material and equipment, and nonconformances 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.
A. Contrary to the above, as of August 20, 1997, the licensee failed to establish measures to assure that conditions adverse to quality were promptly identified and corrected. Specifically, the licensee failed to identify that the "B" Emergency Diesel Generator (EDG) output breaker control switch was mispositioned; and, therefore, failed to correct the switch position error resulting in the inoperability of the EDG. (01013)
B. Contrary to the above, as of August 20, 1997, the licensee failed to take adequate corrective action to preclude repetition of a Severity Level III violation issued in March 14, 1994 (EA 93-298) involving position control errors affecting the EDG local control panels. Specifically, the licensee did not take comprehensive corrective action in that they failed to include the EDG output breaker control switches in Auxiliary Operator logs to be checked on rounds or take other measures to control activities affecting the EDG local control panels. (01023)

These violations represent a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I). Civil Penalty - $55,000.

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Carolina Power & Light 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 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.

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: Mr. James Lieberman, 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 II and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the Robinson 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 Atlanta, Georgia
this 12th day of December 1997


1. A Severity Level III violation was issued on May 16, 1996, for failure to control safeguards information properly (EA 96-120).

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