United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-208 - Catawba 1 & 2 (Duke Energy Corporation)

June 11, 1998

EA 98-208

Duke Energy Corporation
ATTN: Mr. G. R. Peterson
Site Vice President
Catawba Nuclear Station
4800 Concord Road
York, South Carolina 29745

SUBJECT: SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION
(NRC INTEGRATED INSPECTION REPORT 50-413/98-03 AND 50-414/98-03)

Dear Mr. Peterson:

This refers to the inspection conducted on February 22, 1998, through April 11, 1998, at your Catawba Nuclear Station. The inspection included a review of surveillance testing of the Unit 2 auxiliary building filtered exhaust (VA) system. The results of the inspection were discussed with members of your staff at the exit meeting conducted on April 21, 1998, and formally transmitted to you by letter dated April 30, 1998. An open, predecisional enforcement conference was conducted in the Region II office on May 14, 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) slides, and presentation material provided by Duke Energy Corporation (DEC) 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 regulatory 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.

The violations involve: (1) failure to implement the seven-day restoration actions of TS 3.7.7 following a failure to satisfy Technical Specification (TS) surveillance requirement 4.7.7.b.3 for the Unit 2 "A" train VA system; (2) failure to take prompt corrective action in accordance with 10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, associated with a low flow condition on the Unit 2 "A" train VA system; (3) failure to follow procedures for system operability determinations following surveillance testing of the Unit 2 A-train VA system; (4) failure to verify, as required by procedure, that all activities described by Minor Modification CNCE-7901 had been implemented in the field before closing the modification; and (5) failure to ensure that adequate prerequisites for surveillance testing of the VA system were established as required by 10 CFR 50, Appendix B, Criterion XI.

The violations can be attributed to the following root causes. DEC failed to thoroughly examine potential degradation of the VA system when a low flow condition was identified on the "A" train of the VA system in February 1998. In March 1998, during a required surveillance test of the VA system, the "A" train failed to meet the TS acceptance criteria; however, established procedures for determining TS operability were not followed. When the failure to meet the TS acceptance criteria was identified and discussed with DEC management, DEC management failed to promptly declare the system inoperable. In addition, inadequacies in the surveillance procedure description of the required initial test conditions contributed to engineering decisions which delayed restoration of the system to an operable status. DEC management and staff determined that the system was operable because they believed the initial test conditions were inadequate, but did not promptly identify that appropriate initial test conditions were not specified in the surveillance test.

Although the actual safety consequence associated with these violations was minimal, the failure of management to ensure adherence to TS requirements for operability and testing of equipment is a significant regulatory concern. In particular, the NRC is concerned that management decisions with regard to the operability of the VA system were non-conservative and resulted in failure to meet the TS restoration requirements. The failure of multiple barriers involving TS adherence, surveillance testing procedures, administrative procedures, and management oversight is a significant regulatory concern. Therefore, these violations have been classified 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 not been the subject of escalated enforcement action within the last two years or two inspections, the NRC considered whether credit was warranted for Corrective Action in accordance with the civil penalty assessment process described in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy. Your corrective actions were prompt and comprehensive and included the return of the VA system to operable status; the establishment of a surveillance test working group; review and revision, as needed, of heating/ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) procedures; clarification of management expectations regarding TS requirements; review of other HVAC modifications for closeout issues and expansion to this review to modifications other than HVAC modifications; and reinforcement of modification requirements with engineering personnel. Based on these actions, the NRC concluded that credit is warranted for Corrective Action.

Therefore, to encourage prompt and comprehensive correction of violations and in recognition of the absence of previous escalated enforcement, 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, as discussed at the conference, NRC Integrated Inspection Report 50-413,414/98-03 also identified an apparent violation for failure to update the Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR) following 1996 modifications to the VA system. This modification changed routine operation of the VA system from the alignment described in the FSAR, i.e., flow bypassing the HEPA and carbon filters, to operation in the filtered mode. As described in the Notice, this violation has been characterized at Severity Level IV.

During the predecisional enforcement conference, you indicated that the March 23, 1998, date used in the second paragraph on page 14 of Inspection Report 50-413,414/98-03 was in error. You clarified that the correct date when DEC engineering personnel began to question the basis of the conclusion that the VA system was inoperable was March 24, 1998. The NRC accepts this clarification, and this letter serves to correct the record in this regard.

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. 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, its enclosures, and any response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR). To the extent possible, your response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction.

If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Loren Plisco, Director, Division of Reactor Projects, at (404) 562-4501.

Sincerely,
ORIGINAL SIGNED BY JRJ
Luis A. Reyes
Regional Administrator

Docket Nos. 50-413, 50-414
License Nos. NPF-35, NPF-52

Enclosures: 1. Notice of Violation
2. List of Conference Attendees
3. NRC Presentation Material
4. DEC Presentation Material

cc w/encls:




NOTICE OF VIOLATION
Duke Energy Corporation
Catawba Nuclear Station
Docket Nos. 50-413, 50-414
License Nos. NPF-35, NPF-52
EA 98-208

During an NRC inspection conducted on February 22, 1998, through April 11, 1998, 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. Technical Specification 3.7.7, Auxiliary Building Filtered Exhaust System, requires that two trains of the Auxiliary Building Filtered Exhaust (VA) system shall be operable during Modes 1-4. With one train of the VA system inoperable, the inoperable train shall be restored to operable status within 7 days or the reactor shall be placed in at least hot standby within the next 6 hours and in cold shutdown within the following 30 hours.

Technical Specification Surveillance Requirement 4.7.7.b.3 states that each train of the VA system shall be demonstrated operable by verifying a system flow rate of 30,000 cubic feet per minute (cfm) +/- 10% during system operation when tested in accordance with ANSI N510-1980.

Contrary to the above, on March 16, 1998, the Unit 2 A-train VA system was inoperable in that the system flow rate was 26,129 cfm during surveillance testing in accordance with ANSI N510-1980; however, the licensee failed to implement the seven-day restoration actions of Technical Specification 3.7.7 until March 25, 1998. As a result, Unit 2 remained in Mode 1 with the A-train VA system inoperable for nine days. (01013)

B. 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, as implemented by Duke Power Company Topical Quality Assurance Program (Duke-1-A), requires, in part, that measures be established to ensure that conditions adverse to quality, such as failures and nonconformances, are promptly identified and corrected.

Technical Specification Surveillance Requirements 4.7.7.b.3, 4.7.7.e, and 4.7.7.f address system testing requirements in accordance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard N510-1980, Testing of Nuclear Air Cleaning Systems.

ANSI N510-1980, Testing of Nuclear Air Cleaning Systems, states that testing of the air cleaning system is an integral part of the licensee's Quality Assurance Program, and that surveillance tests are used to monitor the condition of associated systems. The ANSI standard also provides that an airflow capacity test acceptance criterion shall be within +/- 10% of system design flow.

Contrary to the above, on February 9, 1998, during surveillance testing of the Unit 2 B-train VA system, the licensee identified a low airflow condition associated with the Unit 2 A-train VA system, but failed to promptly correct the low flow condition. Consequently, on March 16, 1998, the Unit 2 A-train VA system failed to meet an airflow acceptance criterion of 30,000 cubic feet er minute (cfm) +/- 10% during an 18-month surveillance test required by TS 4.7.7. (01023)

C. Technical Specification 6.8.1.a requires that written procedures be established, implemented and maintained covering the activities recommended in Appendix A of Regulatory Guide 1.33, Revision 2. As referenced, this includes administrative and surveillance procedures.

Nuclear System Directive (NSD) 203, Operability, Revision 10, Appendix A. 203, Operability Policy for Previously Identified Items, defines the licensee's policy governing failed TS surveillance tests as follows: "Upon initial discovery of a failed surveillance, the affected system, subsystem, train, component or device shall be declared inoperable and the applicable TS action statement entered."

Nuclear System Directive (NSD) 203, Operability, Revision 10, Section 203.9.1, General Requirements, states that notification to Operations (Operations Shift Manager) shall be accomplished by completion of Appendix E, Operability Notification Form, as described by this directive.

Surveillance procedure PT/0/A/4450/01C, Auxiliary Building Filtered Exhaust Filter Train Performance Test, approved May 5, 1986, Step 12.2.1.4.2, applies to surveillance tests of the auxiliary building filtered exhaust (VA) system whereby acceptance criteria have not been met and states, "Notify the Shift Supervisor, Performance Engineer and the Licensing Engineer, and have the system (equipment) declared inoperable in accordance with its LCO in Tech. Specs."

Contrary to the above, administrative and surveillance procedures were not implemented as evidenced by the following examples:

1. On March 16, 1998, the Unit 2 A-train VA system was not declared inoperable following a surveillance test during which system performance failed to meet TS surveillance acceptance criteria; and
2. On March 16, 1998, a formal, documented operability notification was not provided to the Operations Shift Manager following the March 16, 1998, VA system surveillance test failure. (01033)

D. Technical Specification 6.8.1.a requires that written procedures be established, implemented and maintained covering the activities recommended in Appendix A of Regulatory Guide 1.33, Revision 2. As referenced, this includes general procedures for the control of modification work.

Catawba Nuclear Station Modification Manual, Revision 15, Section 5.6.2, states, that prior to returning the Minor Modification (MM) Work Orders to the Operational Control Group for Return-To-Service, the Implementation Accountable or MM Originator shall verify that all activities as described by the MM have been implemented in the field or a Variation Notice written to revise the MM's scope accordingly.

Contrary to the above, the licensee failed to verify that all activities described by Minor Modification CNCE-7901 (Resolution of System VA Filtered Exhaust Low Air Flow Concerns) had been implemented in the field before closing the modification on December 23, 1996. As a result, three flow straighteners in the Unit 2 A-train auxiliary building filtered exhaust (VA) system that should have been removed by CNCE-7901 were left installed until removed on March 25, 1998. (01043)

E. 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XI, Test Control, as implemented by Duke Power Company Topical Quality Assurance Program (Duke-1-A), states that a test program shall be established to ensure that all testing required to demonstrate that structures, systems and components will perform satisfactorily in service. Test procedures shall include provisions for assuring, in part, that all prerequisites for the given test have been met.

As referenced in Technical Specification 4.7.7, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard N510-1980, Section 4.2, Test Procedures, states that test procedures shall identify, among other things, the arrangement or clearances that have to be made prior to the test and the prerequisites that have to be met.

Contrary to the above, surveillance test procedure PT/0/A/4450/01C, Auxiliary Building Filtered Exhaust Filter Train Performance Test, approved May 5, 1986, did not establish a prerequisite controlling system configuration (pertaining to the status or position of various interfacing systems and components) for performance of the test. As a result, a consistent, repeatable test methodology had not been established to ensure that system performance trends were reliable indicators of flow degradation. (01053)

These violations represent a Severity Level III problem (Supplement I).
F. 10 CFR Part 50.71(e) states that each person licensed to operate a nuclear power reactor shall periodically update the Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR) to ensure that the information included in the FSAR contains the latest material developed. The updated FSAR shall be revised to include the effects of, in part, all changes made in the facility as described in the FSAR.

Contrary to the above, as of April 9, 1998, the licensee failed to ensure that changes made during 1996 modifications CNCE-61117 and CNCE-61118 to the auxiliary building filtered exhaust (VA) system to routinely operate the VA system in the filtered mode were reflected in revisions to the applicable sections (7.6.12.1 and 7.3.1.1.1) of the updated FSAR. (02014)

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

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, Duke Energy Corporation (Licensee) 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 Catawba, 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 or severity level, (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 previously 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 20555-0001.

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, Georgia
this 11th day of June 1998

 

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012