United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-97-617 - Oyster Creek (GPU Nuclear, Inc.)

February 8, 1998

EA No. 97-617

Mr. Michael B. Roche
Vice President and Director
GPU Nuclear Incorporated
Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station
P.O. Box 388
Forked River, New Jersey 08731

SUBJECT: NRC INTEGRATED INSPECTION REPORT NO. 50-219/97-10 AND NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Dear Mr. Roche:

On December 28, 1997, the NRC completed an integrated inspection at your Oyster Creek reactor facility. The enclosed report presents the results of that inspection, as well as a radiological effluent inspection and follow-up for the period October 20 - 24, 1997.

During the inspection period covered by this report, your conduct of activities at the Oyster Creek facility was generally characterized by safety-conscious operations, sound engineering and maintenance practices, and careful radiological work controls. However, based on the information developed during the inspection, and the information that you provided in your response to our March 4, 1997, Confirmatory Action Letter 1-97-008, the NRC has determined that seven 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 inspection report.

The most significant of these violations involved failures to perform safety evaluations prior to downgrading the quality classifications of plant components and systems that were described in the Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR). Three examples in which safety evaluations were not performed are cited in Section A of the enclosed Notice. These examples were identified at Oyster Creek after programmatic weaknesses in the equipment downgrading process, which was common to both Oyster Creek and Three Mile Island, were identified at Three Mile Island.

On May 22, 1997, a predecisional enforcement conference was conducted with GPUN staff to discuss the violations identified at Three Mile Island, their causes, and corrective actions. These programmatic issues were initially identified by the NRC, and a $210,000 civil penalty was issued to GPUN on October 8, 1997, for, in part, the equipment classification problems at Three Mile Island. Since issues common to Three Mile Island and Oyster Creek, such as corporate procedures, were already addressed as part of that civil penalty, the enclosed Notice only includes those violations specific to Oyster Creek. In a telephone conversation between you and Mr. Peter W. Eselgroth, of my staff on January 16, 1998, Mr. Eselgroth indicated that the NRC did not consider a predecisional enforcement conference necessary in order for the NRC to make an enforcement decision. You stated that you also did not consider such a conference to be necessary.

Poor implementation of the process for classifying components resulted in a number of nuclear safety related components being downgraded to a lower non-safety related classification without an appropriate safety evaluation or other supporting engineering documentation. Consequently, some components were inappropriately downgraded and others had the potential to be inappropriately downgraded. Components that were improperly downgraded were not subjected to the quality assurance program requirements necessary to assure system operability. The failure of your program for classifying components to assure that appropriate quality standards were maintained could have resulted in the failure of multiple safety-related components. Therefore, these violations are classified in the aggregate in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure 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 $50,000 is considered for a Severity Level III problem that occurred prior to November 12, 1996. Because your facility has been the subject of escalated enforcement action within the last 2 years,1 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 was warranted for identification because your staff identified the violations at Oyster Creek in response to the problems that were identified at Three Mile Island. Credit was also warranted for corrective actions because your actions were considered both prompt and comprehensive. Those actions included: (1) completing safety evaluations for the downgraded equipment and restoring the inappropriately downgraded components to the original quality classification when needed; and (2) addressing the procedural and programmatic issues for the common GPU process by modifying procedures and providing training after the issues were identified at Three Mile Island.

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. Because your prompt efforts properly evaluated this issue for root cause, and appropriate short and long term corrective measures have been developed and initiated, you are not required to respond to this violation unless the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you choose to provide additional information, you should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice.

Regarding the other violations, the NRC identified a violation related to equipment operators performing surveillance procedure steps out of sequence. This violation is cited in Section B of the enclosed Notice. Because your efforts in response to this violation were timely, identified the root cause, and addressed appropriate corrective actions, you are not required to respond to this violation unless the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you choose to provide additional information, you should follow the instructions specified in the enclosed Notice.

The remaining three violations, as identified below, are cited in the Sections C, D, and E of the enclosed Notice. One of the violations involved the failure to properly implement technical specification requirements as related to the allowed number and configuration of inoperable local power range detectors during detector calibration activities. Two additional violations, identified by the NRC, involved failures to properly establish and implement adequate radiation monitoring system calibration and ventilation system oversight procedures. Please note that you are required to respond to this letter for these three violations 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 and its enclosures will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).

We appreciate your cooperation.

Sincerely,



Hubert J. Miller
Regional Administrator

Docket/License: 50-219/DPR-16 72-1004

Enclosures:
Notice of Violation
NRC Inspection Report No. 50-219/97-10

cc w/encl:
G. Busch, Manager, Nuclear Safety & Licensing
M. Laggart, Manager, Licensing & Vendor Audits
State of New Jersey


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

GPU Nuclear Incorporated
Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station
Docket No. 50-219
License No. DPR-16
EA No. 97-617

During NRC inspections conducted between October 20, 1997, and December 28, 1997, for which exit meetings were held on October 24, 1997, and January 8, 1998, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violations are listed below:

A. 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion III (Design Control), requires, in part, that measures shall be established to assure that applicable regulatory requirements and the design bases, as defined in §50.2 and as specified in the license application, for those structures, systems, and components to which this appendix applies, are correctly translated into specifications, drawings, procedures, and instructions. These measures shall include provisions to assure that appropriate quality standards are specified and included in design documents and that deviations from such standards are controlled.
Contrary to the above, between March 25, 1991, and March 17, 1994, the licensee failed to assure that deviations from appropriate quality standards were controlled in that they downgraded the quality classification of a number of systems and components described in the Updated Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR) without performing associated evaluations for deviating from the existing quality classification. Examples, each of which constitutes a separate violation, are as follows:
1. The quality control list (QCL) for main steam line flow transmitters FT-ID0033A and FT-ID0033B, main steam line pressure transmitters PT-ID0046A, PT-ID0046B, and reactor vessel narrow range dome pressure transmitter PT-ID0045 was revised on March 23, 1992, to downgrade the components from a nuclear safety related (NSR) to a non-NSR classification without performing a safety evaluation. These transmitters are part of the reactor coolant pressure boundary as described in UFSAR Section 5.1 and Table 5.1-2.
2. The QCL for the five 4160 Vac breakers for the recirculation pumps was revised on March 17, 1994, to downgrade the components from NSR to a non-NSR classification without performing a safety evaluation. The five recirculation pumps are required to automatically trip upon Isolation Condenser system initiation as described in UFSAR Section 6.3.1.1.
3. The QCL for the motors for the emergency diesel generator (EDG) lube oil circulating pumps (P-39-3 & P-39-4) and AC turbo lube oil pumps (P-39-23 & P-39-25) each was revised on March 25, 1991, to downgrade the components from a NSR to a non-NSR classification without performing a safety evaluation.
The UFSAR (Section 9.5.7) states that lube oil is warmed in the lube oil cooler and circulated through the engine by a circulating oil pump, and that an AC turbocharger oil pump circulates warm oil to turbocharger bearings when the diesel is not running.

These violations represent a Severity Level III Problem (Supplement I).

B. Technical Specification 6.8.1 requires that written procedures shall be established, implemented and maintained covering the activities recommended in Appendix 'A' of Regulatory Guide 1.33. Regulatory Guide 1.33, Appendix 'A' recommends administrative procedures for procedure adherence. Administrative Procedure 107, Revision 49, Procedure Control, Step 4.2 requires personnel to follow approved procedures as written.
Contrary to the above, personnel did not follow approved procedures as written as evidenced by the following examples:
1. On November 15, 1997, operators conducted procedure 614.4.001, Revision 27, Fuel Pool Cooling Pump In-Service Test, and failed to follow the test sequence specified in procedure step 6.4. Specifically, with the 'A' pump initially in service, operators performed section 6.8.6 prior to performing section 6.5, as required by the procedure.
2. On November 20, 1997, operators conducted procedure 607.4.004, Revision 33, Containment Spray and Emergency Service Water System 1 Pump Operability and In-Service Test, and prematurely isolated the 'A' emergency service water pump discharge pressure gauge. Specifically, operators shut V-3-157 after performing step 6.32 vice in step 6.60 as required by the procedure.

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

C. Technical Specification 3.1.B.3 requires that except during the performance of Technical Specification required LPRM/APRM (local power range monitor/average power range monitor) surveillance testing, reactor power shall be reduced below the 80% rod line or the corresponding RPS (reactor protection system) trip system shall be placed in the tripped condition whenever all three of the following conditions exist:
1. Reactor power is greater than 35%
-and-
2. More than one LPRM detector is bypassed or failed in the A level or the B level assigned to a single APRM channel
-and-
3. The diagonally opposite quadrant contains a single APRM channel with more than one bypassed or failed LPRM detector on the same axial level as the bypassed or failed detectors specified in (2) above
Contrary to the above, on February 21, 1995, the licensee placed the unit in a lineup in which the above three conditions existed simultaneously, to perform a test not required by Technical Specifications, and did not reduce reactor power below the 80% rod line or place the corresponding RPS trip system in the tripped condition. Specifically, with reactor power at 100% and B level LPRMs 04-25 and 20-25 (associated with APRM channel 7) in the bypassed condition, the licensee removed APRM channel 5 (located in the diagonally opposite quadrant) to perform non-Technical Specification required testing.

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

D. Technical Specification 6.8.1 requires that written procedures shall be established, implemented and maintained covering the activities recommended in Appendix 'A' of Regulatory Guide 1.33. Regulatory Guide 1.33, Appendix 'A' recommends procedures for the control of radioactivity, including procedures involving radiation monitoring systems (RMS).
Contrary to the above, as of October 24, 1997, the licensee had failed to establish and implement adequate RMS calibration procedures as evidenced by: (1) no documentation or poor documentation of the electronic calibration data, (2) inadequate testing to determine optimum operating high voltage, (3) incorrect performance of the secondary calibration, and (4) no determinations of conversion factors and linearity for the intended monitoring ranges.

This is a Severity Level IV Violation (Supplement IV).

E. Technical Specification 6.8.1 requires that written procedures shall be established, implemented and maintained covering the activities recommended in Appendix 'A' of Regulatory Guide 1.33. Regulatory Guide 1.33, Appendix 'A' recommends procedures for the control of radioactivity, including procedures directed to performance verification of ventilation systems.
Contrary to the above as of October 24, 1997, the licensee failed to establish and implement procedures to verify that the design basis relative to air balance affecting the Auxiliary Offgas Building (AOG) building, New Radioactive Waste (NRW) building, and turbine building area ventilation systems, was maintained within the specifications as described by the Updated Final Safety Analysis Report.

This is a Severity Level IV Violation (Supplement IV).

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, GPU Nuclear Incorporated 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 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 violations C, D, and E: (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.

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 8th day of February, 1998.


1. A Severity Level III Notice of Violation with no civil penalty was issued on November 17, 1997 (EA 97-421) for violations related to design control.

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