United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-468 - Millstone 2 (Northeast Nuclear Energy Company)

February 18, 1999

EA 98-468

Mr. M. L. Bowling
Recovery Officer, Technical Services
c/o Ms. Patricia A. Loftus
Director - Regulatory Affairs
Northeast Nuclear Energy Company
P.O. Box 128
Waterford, Connecticut 06385

SUBJECT: NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND EXERCISE OF ENFORCEMENT DISCRETION
(NRC Inspection Report No. 50-336/98-203)

Dear Mr. Bowling:

This letter refers to the NRC inspection conducted by a team from the NRC Independent Corrective Action Verification Program (ICAVP) branch between August 24 - September 4, and September 14 - 25, 1998, at the Millstone Nuclear Power Station, Unit 2. The findings were discussed with your staff during a public meeting on October 6, 1998. The inspection was part of an ongoing, multifaceted NRC effort to evaluate the conduct of the ICAVP and the effectiveness of your Configuration Management Plan (CMP). As described in the inspection report sent to you on November 5, 1998, an apparent violation of NRC requirements, involving the auxiliary feedwater (AFW) system, was identified during the inspection. In that letter, you were offered the opportunity to respond to the apparent violation in writing or to request a predecisional enforcement conference. Northeast Nuclear Energy Company (NNECO) declined the opportunity for a conference and responded to the apparent violation in a letter dated December 7, 1998.

Based on information developed during the inspection, and the information provided in your written response, one violation of NRC requirements is being cited. The violation is described in the enclosed Notice of Violation (NOV) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the subject inspection report. The violation involved a change to the facility in 1995, with respect to the AFW system, without first performing a safety evaluation to ensure that the change did not involve an unreviewed safety question. Specifically, a Technical Specification (TS) Clarification was issued which would have allowed Unit 2 to operate for up to 72 hours following isolation of one of the two flow paths that provide water from the three AFW pumps to the two steam generators (SGs). With the flow path to one SG isolated, a main steam line break on the other SG would result in no AFW being supplied to an intact SG. As a result, the clarification had the potential to increase the overall consequences of an accident described in the FSAR.

The NRC recognizes that although the TS Clarification was approved by the Plant Operations Review Committee (PORC) on June 26, 1995, the unit was never operated in the configuration allowed by the TS Clarification. Nonetheless, the NRC is concerned that your reviews of TS Clarifications conducted in 1995 and 1996 failed to identify that this TS Clarification was not properly evaluated, and constituted a USQ. The violation is classified at Severity Level III in accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Action" (NUREG-1600) (Enforcement Policy).

The violation described in this report is equivalent to an ICAVP Significance Level 3 finding, which is defined by the NRC to occur if a system is outside its licensing and design bases while still able to perform its intended function. In a January 30, 1998, letter to you, the then Director of the Special Projects Office described the NRC's criteria for determining whether to expand the scope of the ICAVP. An important factor in making this determination was the NRC's assessment of the effectiveness of the corrective actions taken to address the findings. The NRC assessed the corrective actions taken in response to this finding as part of its review of the implementation of ICAVP-related corrective actions. These actions included, but were not limited to, review of all TS Clarifications, strengthening 10 CFR 50.59 procedures, and revising the TS Clarification. The NRC staff determined that NNECO has taken effective corrective actions for this ICAVP Significance Level 3 finding identified by the NRC and that these corrective actions represented an appropriate expansion of the scope of NNECO's CMP and provided confidence that similar issues, if present, would likely have been found. Therefore, expansion of the ICAVP scope was not warranted.

A civil penalty would normally be proposed in this case to emphasize the importance of making changes to the facility as described in the safety analysis report in accordance with 10 CFR 50.59. However, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director of the Office of Enforcement and the Regional Administrator, Region I, to exercise discretion in accordance with Section VII.B.2 of the Enforcement Policy, to not propose a civil penalty in this case. The decision to exercise discretion was made because (1) the violation occurred before the extended shutdown of the Millstone units and was considered an additional example of the underlying performance problems that were the basis for the $2,100,000 civil penalty issued to NNECO on December 12, 1997; (2) the violation was not willful; and (3) the decision to restart Millstone Unit 2 requires NRC's concurrence. Although the violation was identified by the NRC, the NRC concluded that a civil penalty in this case is not necessary to achieve remedial action.

No response is required to the enclosed NOV because the information regarding the reason for the violation, the corrective actions taken to correct the violation and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance was achieved are already addressed in your response to Inspection Report 50-336/98-203, dated December 7, 1998.

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.

Sincerely,

Original signed by

Eugene V. Imbro, Director
Independent Corrective Action
  Verification Program
Associate Director for Technical Review
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Docket No. 50-336
License No. DPR-65

Enclosure:Notice of Violation

cc:
B. Kenyon, President and Chief Executive Officer - Nuclear Group
L. Olivier, Senior Vice President & Chief Nuclear Officer
M. Brothers, Vice President - Operations
R. Necci, Vice President - Nuclear Oversight and Regulatory Affairs
C. Schwarz, Director - Unit 3
J. Price, Director - Unit 2
D. Amerine, Vice President - Human Services
E. Harkness, Director, Unit 1 Operations
J. Althouse, Manager - Nuclear Training Assessment Group
F. Rothen, Vice President, Work Services
J. Cantrell, Director - Nuclear Training (CT)
S. Sherman, Audits and Evaluation
L. Cuoco, Esquire
J. Egan, Esquire
V. Juliano, Waterford Library
J. Buckingham, Department of Public Utility Control
S. Comley, We The People
State of Connecticut SLO Designee
D. Katz, Citizens Awareness Network (CAN)
R. Bassilakis, CAN
J. Block, Attorney, CAN
S. Luxton, Citizens Regulatory Commission (CRC)
Representative T. Concannon
E. Woollacott, Co-Chairman, NEAC




NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Northeast Nuclear Energy Company
Millstone, Unit 2
Docket No. 50-336
License No. DPR-65
EA 98-468


During an inspection conducted by the NRC ICAVP Branch, between August 24 - September 4, and September 14 -25, 1998, for which an exit meeting was held on October 6, 1998, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, Rev. 1, the violation is listed below:

10 CFR 50.59 states, in part, that the licensee may make changes in the facility as described in the safety analysis report without prior Commission approval, unless the proposed change involves a change in the technical specifications incorporated in the license or an unreviewed safety question (USQ). A proposed change shall be deemed to involve a USQ, in part, if the consequences of an accident or a malfunction of equipment important to safety previously evaluated in the safety analysis report may be increased. The licensee shall maintain records of changes in the facility which include a written safety evaluation which provides the bases for the determination that the change does not involve a USQ.
Contrary to the above, on June 26, 1995, the licensee made a change to the facility as described in the Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR), Section 10.4.5, Condensate and Feedwater System, that created a USQ, and prior to the change, the licensee did not perform a safety evaluation to determine if the change created a USQ. Specifically, Technical Specification (TS) Clarification 3.7.1.2(1) was issued which would have allowed Unit 2 to operate for up to 72 hours following isolation of one of the two flow paths that provide water from the three AFW pumps to the two steam generators (SGs). With the flow path to one SG isolated, a main steam line break on the other SG would result in no AFW being supplied to an intact SG. As a result, the clarification had the potential to increase the overall consequences of an accident described in the FSAR, and therefore constituted a USQ. (01013)

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

The NRC has concluded that no response is required to the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) because the information regarding the reason for the violation, the corrective actions taken to correct the violation and prevent recurrence, and the date when full compliance was achieved are already addressed in your response to Inspection Report 50-336/98-203, dated December 7, 1998. However, you are required to submit a written statement for explanation pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201 if the description therein does not accurately reflect you corrective action or your position. In that case, or if you choose to respond, clearly mark your response as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation," and send it to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ATTN: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555 with a copy to the Regional Administrator, Region I, a copy to the Director, Independent Corrective Action Verification Program Oversight, and a copy to the Millstone Unit 2 NRC Resident Inspector, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice.

If you contest this enforcement action, you should also provide a copy of your response to the Director, Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555.

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.

In accordance with 10 CFR 19.11, you may be required to post this Notice within two working days.

Dated at Rockville, Maryland
this 18th day of February, 1999

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