United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-020 - Harris 1 (Carolina Power and Light Company)

March 26, 1998

EA 98-020

Carolina Power and Light Company
ATTN: Mr. W. R. Robinson
Vice President - Harris Plant
Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant
P. O. Box 165, Mail Code: Zone 1
New Hill, NC 27562-0165

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY - $55,000 AND EXERCISE OF DISCRETION
(NRC SPECIAL INSPECTION REPORT NO. 50-400/98-02)

Dear Mr. Robinson:

This refers to the inspection conducted on December 8-12, 1997, at the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant. The inspection included a review of the access authorization program at the Harris plant. The results of the inspection were discussed with members of your staff at the exit conducted on January 21, 1998, and formally transmitted to you by letter dated January 23, 1998. An open, predecisional enforcement conference was conducted in the Region II office on February 26, 1998, with you and members of your staff to discuss the apparent violations, the root causes, and corrective actions to preclude recurrence. A list of conference attendees, copies of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) slides, and Carolina Power and Light Company's (CP&L) presentation materials are enclosed.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information you provided during the conference, the NRC has determined that violations of NRC requirements occurred. The violations are cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation, and the circumstances surrounding them are described in detail in the subject inspection report. Violation I involves two examples where individuals were inappropriately granted unescorted access to the protected and vital areas of the plant because pertinent information was not properly reviewed and evaluated in accordance with 10 CFR 73.56(b)(3), License Condition Amendment No. 75, and plant procedures. Specifically, the first example involves your lack of adequate review and evaluation of pertinent information on a Personnel History Questionnaire (PHQ) related to illegal use or possession of a controlled substance, which allowed an individual to be inappropriately granted unescorted access to the protected and vital areas from April 5 to May 15, 1997. Had a thorough review of the PHQ been conducted, the individual would not have been granted unescorted access because your procedures delineate that information related to illegal use or possession of a controlled substance is sufficient to disqualify an individual for unescorted access. This example was identified on June 24, 1997, well after the individual was favorably terminated, when you received the results of a Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal background history check. The second example involves the inappropriate granting of unescorted access to three contractors after a psychological assessment determined that unescorted access for these individuals should be held in abeyance pending further evaluation. You subsequently determined that one of these three individuals, who was granted unescorted access to the protected and vital areas from April 8 to May 13, 1997, should not have been granted unescorted access. The two other individuals were later determined to satisfy criteria for granting unescorted access to protected and vital areas. This second example also was identified well after the individuals were favorably terminated, through a routine review of access authorization files. At the conference, you identified the root causes of the violation to be personnel errors and inattention to detail. A contributing cause was a failure to establish and utilize adequate performance indicators to assess organizational performance following previous access authorization events in 1996. As discussed at the predecisional enforcement conference, the NRC also considers a contributing cause of these access authorization issues to be a lack of effective management of changes in the security access program.

Although your subsequent review of plant access, security records, and work history of the individuals involved did not find adverse consequences, this violation represents a significant regulatory concern. Your inability to control access authorization through established systems or procedures could compromise overall plant security. Had your staff conducted a thorough review and evaluation of pertinent information, individuals would not have been granted unescorted access to protected and vital areas, or additional evaluation would have been warranted prior to granting unescorted access. The manner in which your access authorization program was implemented is contrary to the objectives and requirements in 10 CFR 73.56 of providing high assurance that unescorted access be granted only to individuals who are reliable and trustworthy. Therefore, this violation has been classified in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, as a Severity Level III violation.

In accordance with the Enforcement Policy, a base civil penalty in the amount of $55,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. 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 in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. The NRC determined that credit was warranted for Identification because you identified the first access authorization example through a procedurally required criminal history record check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Independent of this issue, you identified the second example regarding the psychological evaluations through your normal review process of access authorization records. Your corrective actions were both prompt and comprehensive, and included: (1) suspension of the subject individuals' eligibility for future access; (2) an immediate second review of background files and review of psychological and PHQ data for temporary clearances; (3) enhancements of the psychologists' review form and the PHQ form; (4) a procedurally required second review of access authorization files prior to granting access; (5) strengthening the performance of the individuals in the access authorization program; (6) discussions of lessons learned with the security staff; and (7) development of a means to monitor personnel performance. Thus, based on the above, the NRC has concluded that credit is warranted for Identification and Corrective Action.

Normally, a civil penalty would not be considered for a violation categorized at Severity Level III when the licensee has been given credit for Identification and Corrective Action. However, this violation is similar to earlier violations identified in NRC Inspection Report Nos. 50-325,324/97-01, 50-400/97-02, and 50-261/97-02, and dispositioned as escalated enforcement (EA 97-056, 97-057, 97-058, issued April 24, 1997). The previous enforcement actions were associated with multiple failures to implement various aspects of your corporate access authorization programs at the Harris and Brunswick plants. As you reiterated at the predecisional enforcement conference, the access authorization program for the Harris, Brunswick, and Robinson facilities is a corporate managed and implemented program. Violations A.1 and A.4 of EA 97-056, 97-057, 97-058 were issued because your corporate access authorization program did not adequately review and evaluate all pertinent information developed as part of the decision to grant, deny, revoke, or continue an unescorted access authorization in accordance with 10 CFR 73.56(b)(3). These violations also resulted in individuals being inappropriately granted unescorted access to protected and vital areas. Based on the similarity of the issues documented in Inspection Report No. 50-400/98-02 and discussed at the predecisional enforcement conference with those violations issued as part of EA 97-056, 97-057, 97-058, the NRC has determined that the exercise of discretion is appropriate in accordance with Section VII.A.1 of the Enforcement Policy. Therefore, to emphasize the importance of precluding similar violations associated with the access authorization program, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, and the Deputy Executive Director for Regulatory Effectiveness, to issue the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the base amount of $55,000 for the Severity Level III violation.

An additional issue discussed in Inspection Report No. 50-400/98-02 as EEI 50-400/98-02-01, and at the predecisional enforcement conference, concerns the granting of unescorted access to 14 individuals prior to the review/adjudication of all pertinent information listed on the PHQ. Your review determined that the file containing various access authorization material for these individuals was missing certain information. This missing information was required to be reviewed prior to granting unescorted access in accordance with your procedures. Nonetheless, the 14 individuals were inappropriately granted unescorted access; however, your subsequent reviews determined that the missing information would not have precluded the granting of unescorted access to protected and vital areas. For this reason, the NRC has determined that this violation of plant procedures is less significant. Although you identified and corrected this issue, the NRC has determined that this violation should be classified at Severity Level IV, because it also is similar to Violation A.1 and A.4 of EA 97-056, 97-057, and 97-058.

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 enclosures, and your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR).

Sincerely,

orignial signed by J. R. Johnson
for L. A. Reyes

Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket Nos. 50-400
License Nos. DPR-63

Enclosures:
1. Notice of Violation
2. List of Attendees
3. NRC Slides
4. Licensee Material

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

J. W. Donahue
Director of Site Operations
Carolina Power & Light Company
Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant
P. O. Box 165, MC: Zone 1
New Hill, NC 27562-0165

Bo Clark
Plant General Manager - Harris Plant
Carolina Power & Light Company
Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant
P. O. Box 165
New Hill, NC 27562-0165

Chris A. VanDenburgh, Manager
Regulatory Affairs
Carolina Power & Light Company
Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant
P. O. Box 165, Mail Zone 1
New Hill, NC 27562-0165

Johnny H. Eads, Supervisor
Licensing/Regulatory Programs
Carolina Power & Light Company
Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant
P. O. Box 165, Mail Zone 1
New Hill, NC 27562-0165

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

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

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

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

Chairman of the North Carolina
Utilities Commission
P. O. Box 29510
Raleigh, NC 27626-0510

Robert P. Gruber
Executive Director
Public Staff NCUC
P. O. Box 29520
Raleigh, NC 27626

Stewart Adcock, Chairman
Board of County Commissioners
of Wake County
P. O. Box 550
Raleigh, NC 27602

Margaret Bryant Pollard, Chairman
Board of County Commissioners
of Chatham County
P. O. Box 87
Pittsboro, NC 27312


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

Carolina Power & Light Company
Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant
Docket No. 50-400
License No. DPR-63
EA 98-020

During an NRC inspection conducted on December 8-12, 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:

I. Violation Assessed a Civil Penalty

10 CFR 73.56(b) requires the licensee to establish and maintain an Access Authorization Program granting individuals unescorted access to protected and vital areas with the objective of providing high assurance that individuals granted unescorted access are trustworthy and reliable, and do not constitute an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of the public including a potential to commit radiological sabotage.

10 CFR 73.56(b)(3) requires that the licensee base its decision to grant, deny, revoke, or continue an unescorted access authorization on review and evaluation of all pertinent information developed.

License Condition Amendment No. 75, requires the licensee to fully implement and maintain in effect all provisions of the Commission-approved Physical Security Plan.

Nuclear Worker Screening Program for Unescorted Access, SEC-NGGC-2101, Paragraph 9.8, Revision 6, dated February 28, 1997, implements part of the security plan for access authorization. It states, "When considering unescorted access, the Company shall examine information obtained as a result of the background investigation and psychological evaluation process." The following conditions are sufficient to disqualify the individual from unescorted access:

- Illegal use or possession of a controlled substance

- A psychological evaluation which indicates that the person is a risk in terms of trustworthiness or reliability

Contrary to the above, the licensee did not follow procedure SEC-NGGC-2101 in the two examples below:

a. On March 31, 1997, disqualifying information associated with illegal use or possession of a controlled substance on a Personnel History Questionnaire was not properly reviewed and evaluated. As a result, an individual was inappropriately granted unescorted access to the protected and vital areas from April 5 through May 15, 1997.

b. On March 31, 1997, results of a psychological evaluation determined that unescorted access for three individuals should be held in abeyance, pending further review. However, one individual, not able to satisfy the psychological criteria, was granted unescorted access to the protected and vital areas from April 8 through May 13, 1997. The other two individuals, subsequently determined to satisfy psychological criteria, also were granted unescorted access prior to additional psychological evaluation. (01013)

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

II. Violation Not Assessed a Civil Penalty

10 CFR 73.56(b) requires the licensee to establish and maintain an Access Authorization Program granting individuals unescorted access to protected and vital areas with the objective of providing high assurance that individuals granted unescorted access are trustworthy and reliable, and do not constitute an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of the public including a potential to commit radiological sabotage.

10 CFR 73.56(b)(3) requires that the licensee base its decision to grant, deny, revoke, or continue an unescorted access authorization on review and evaluation of all pertinent information developed.

License Condition Amendment No. 75, requires the licensee to fully implement and maintain in effect all provisions of the Commission-approved Physical Security Plan.

Nuclear Worker Screening Program for Unescorted Access, SEC-NGGC-2101, Paragraph 9.8.1, Revision 6, dated February 28, 1997, requires the licensee to review pertinent background investigation and psychological information prior to granting unescorted access.

Contrary to the above, on during March and April 1997, the licensee failed to follow procedure SEC-NGGC-2101 in that 14 individuals were granted unescorted access prior to review/adjudication of all pertinent information listed on the PHQ. (02014)

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

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

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: 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.

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 26th day of March 1998

1. A Severity Level III problem was issued on April 24, 1997, associated with multiple failures to implement various aspects of the Access Authorization and Fitness for Duty programs (EA 97-056, 97-057, 97-058).

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012