United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-336 & 98-344 - Indian Point 3 (New York Power Authority)

August 19, 1998

EA 98-336
EA 98-344

Mr. Robert J. Barrett
Site Executive Officer
New York Power Authority
Indian Point 3 Nuclear Power Plant
Post Office Box 215
Buchanan, NY 10511

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY - $55,000
(NRC Inspection Report No. 50-286/98-05)

Dear Mr. Barrett:

This refers to the special inspection conducted from May 28, 1998 through June 12, 1998, at the Indian Point 3 Power Plant, the results of which were discussed with you at an exit meeting on June 19, 1998. During the inspection, apparent violations of NRC requirements were identified associated with the loss of normal power to a 480 volt bus on May 28, 1998. The inspection report was sent to you on June 30, 1998. A predecisional enforcement conference (conference) was held on July 24, 1998, with you and members of your staff to discuss the apparent violations identified during the inspection, their causes, and your corrective actions.

Based on the information developed during the inspection and the information that you provided during the conference, the NRC has concluded that two violations occurred. The most significant violation involved the failure, following a design modification in October 1997, to have adequate design measures to ensure that the emergency diesel generator (EDG) auxiliaries would perform within the design basis. That violation is described in Section I of the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The NRC is particularly concerned that personnel responsible for the modification did not provide adequate design reviews.

The specific design change in October 1997 realigned the essential power supplies to the EDG auxiliary support systems for two of the EDGs. The support systems include EDG room ventilation, the fuel oil transfer pump, and the crankcase exhaust blower. In designing the power supply modification, your staff failed to recognize a pre-existing undervoltage trip function that was installed in the spare breaker compartments that were used to supply electrical power to the new motor control centers (MCCs) that supply the EDG auxiliaries.

Subsequently, when normal power was lost to a 480 volt bus on May 28, 1998, although one of the EDGs started as designed, the EDG auxiliary MCC supply breaker tripped on undervoltage, and operator action was required to restore power to the support systems, contrary to system design.

This failure to remove the undervoltage trip function and the resultant impact on the EDG auxiliary support systems, represents a significant concern because two of three EDGs would not have functioned as designed on a loss of offsite power. Specifically, the EDGs would have failed due to room overheating or loss of fuel oil unless operators recognized the loss of power to the auxiliaries and took appropriate action to manually restore power. Although, in this instance, operators successfully restored power to the auxiliaries on May 28, 1998, there was no assurance that the degraded condition of the EDGs would have been identified and corrected prior to failure of the EDGs during a more complex event when multiple annunciator alarms are received in the control room that require operator action. This violation had significant potential safety consequences, since the EDGs could not be relied upon to run for the required period of time without the auxiliary support systems; therefore, it has been categorized at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600 at Severity Level III.

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 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 is not warranted for identification because the design error for the emergency diesel generator auxiliaries was identified as a result of an event and your staff had a prior opportunity, but failed, to identify the error during post-modification testing (PMT). As a result of the inadequate PMT, the existence of the undervoltage trip function was not recognized. Credit is warranted for corrective action because your actions, as described at the enforcement conference, were considered prompt and comprehensive. These actions included, but were not limited to: (1) removal of the undervoltage trip function from the power supply breakers; (2) review of the design change package; (3) reviews of the circuitry in similar MCCs not affected by the design change and other breakers installed in spare compartments; (4) addition of a requirement to perform cross-checks of drawings when new schematics or wiring diagrams are developed; and (5) training to improve translation of safety requirements into test requirements.

Therefore, to emphasize the importance of assuring that the design bases are maintained when performing design modifications, and in recognition of your previous escalated enforcement action, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, Office of Enforcement, to issue the enclosed Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the base amount of $55,000.

The second violation is described in Section II of the enclosed Notice and is categorized at Severity Level IV in accordance with the Enforcement Policy. The violation involved ineffective and untimely corrective actions to preclude spurious closures of the reactor coolant pump (RCP) thermal barrier heat exchanger outlet valve (FCV-625) during routine system manipulations. Spurious closures of FCV-625, which supplies component cooling water (CCW) to the RCP seals, were documented in the problem identification system since September, 1997; however, effective corrective actions had not been taken as of May 28, 1998. On May 28, 1998, the inadvertent closure of FCV-625 in conjunction with loss of a charging pump resulted in a momentary loss of all RCP seal cooling. This was an additional challenge to the operators during the loss of power event. The apparent cause for ineffective corrective actions was a lack of appreciation for the significance of this deviation during postulated events, and a conditioned acceptance to the spurious closures.

The inspection report also describes an apparent violation of 10 CFR 50.59 related to the operation of FCV-625. Based on the information provided at the conference, the NRC has concluded that no violation of NRC requirements occurred.

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

Sincerely,

Hubert J. Miller
Regional Administrator

Docket No. 50-286
License No. DPR-64

Enclosure: Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty


NOTICE OF VIOLATION
AND
PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF CIVIL PENALTY

New York Power Authority
Indian Point 3 Nuclear Power Plant
Docket No. 50-286
License No. DPR-64
EAs 98-336, 98-344

During an NRC inspection completed on June 12, 1998, for which an exit meeting was conducted on June 19, 1998, violations of NRC requirements were identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure 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 for below:

I.     VIOLATION ASSESSED A CIVIL PENALTY

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion III, Design Control, requires, in part, that measures be established to assure that the design basis is correctly translated into specifications, drawings, and instructions. The design control measures shall provide for verifying or checking the adequacy of design, such as performance of design reviews, or by the performance of a suitable testing program. Design changes shall be subject to design control measures commensurate with those applied to the original design.
Contrary to the above, between October 24, 1997 and May 28, 1998, the licensee failed to assure that a design change in October 1997 was subject to design control measures commensurate with those applied to the original design. Specifically, during the design change made to the 32 and 33 EDGs that realigned the essential power supplies to the EDG auxiliary support systems (which include EDG room ventilation; the fuel oil transfer pump; and the crankcase exhaust blower), an undervoltage trip function was installed on the supply breakers to the EDG auxiliaries. With the undervoltage trip relay installed, the EDG auxiliary support systems would be deenergized following a loss of normal power and operator action would be required to restore power to the auxiliaries. This was contrary to the design basis for the EDGs. Without the auxiliary support systems, the EDGs could not be relied upon to operate for the required period of time without operator action. The design error was not identified during design reviews. (01013)
This is a Severity Level III violation (Supplement I).
Civil Penalty - $55,000.

II.     VIOLATION NOT ASSESSED A CIVIL PENALTY

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVI, requires, in part, that measures be established to assure that conditions adverse to quality, such as deficiencies, deviations, and nonconformances are promptly identified and corrected.
Contrary to the above, between September 1997 and May 28, 1998, the licensee failed to promptly correct a condition adverse to quality involving the inadvertent closure of the reactor coolant pump (RCP) thermal barrier flow control valve (FCV). Specifically, between September 1997 and March 1998, the licensee initiated four deviation event reports (DERs) to address the inadvertent closure of FCV-625, the thermal barrier FCV, when swapping component cooling water (CCW) pumps. However, this condition had not been corrected as of May 28, 1998. On May 28, 1998, the inadvertent closure of FCV-625 in conjunction with loss of a charging pump resulted in a momentary loss of all RCP seal cooling. (02014)
This is a Severity Level IV violation (Supplement I)

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, New York Power Authority 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. 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 replay 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, 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 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.

In requesting mitigation of the proposed penalty, the factors addressed in Section VI.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy should be addressed. Any written answer in accordance with 10 CFR 2.205 should be set forth separately from the statement or explanation in replay pursuant to 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 234© 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: Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Region I.

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 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, Pennsylvania
this 19th day of August 1998


1. A Notice of Violation and Proposed Imposition of Civil Penalty in the amount of $55,000 was issued to New York Power Authority on August 19, 1997, for failure to translate design basis information into the Emergency Operating Procedures (EA 97-294).

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012