United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-98-560 - LaSalle 1 & 2 (Commonwealth Edison Company)

March 29, 1999

EA 98-560

Mr. Oliver D. Kingsley
President, Nuclear Generation Group
Commonwealth Edison Company
ATTN: Regulatory Services
Executive Towers West III
1400 Opus Place, Suite 500
Downers Grove, IL 60515


SUBJECT:  NOTICE OF VIOLATION AND EXERCISE OF ENFORCEMENT DISCRETION
                    (NRC INSPECTION REPORT NOS. 50-373/98017(DRS); 50-374/98017(DRS)
                    AND NRC OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS REPORT NO. 3-98-032)


Dear Mr. Kingsley:

This refers to the inspection and subsequent investigation by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Office of Investigations (OI) into information reported to the NRC by the Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) on May 18, 1998, that a deliberate violation of the NRC-required fitness for duty (FFD) program may have occurred at the ComEd LaSalle County Station. The synopsis of the OI report was provided to ComEd by letter dated January 14, 1999.

Based on the information developed during the NRC inspection, the OI investigation, ComEd's investigation, and the information provided in ComEd's letter dated February 17, 1999, in response to the January 14, 1999, letter from the NRC, the NRC has determined that a violation of NRC requirements occurred. The violation is cited in the enclosed Notice of Violation (Notice) and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in the inspection report, the investigation reports, the January 14, 1999, letter from the NRC, and a ComEd letter dated February 17, 1999. In summary, a supervisor at the LaSalle County Station failed to follow ComEd FFD procedures on May 11, 1998, after he detected the odor of alcohol on an employee. The supervisor did not require the employee to submit to a "for-cause" FFD test, and allowed the employee to leave the station without the employee receiving the required FFD test. The actions of this supervisor on May 11, 1998, placed ComEd in violation of its NRC-required FFD procedures. The supervisor violated 10 CFR 50.5, "Deliberate Misconduct," and a separate enforcement action is being issued to the supervisor.

The NRC expects and demands that all employees, especially supervisors, follow all established procedures to ensure that the nuclear power facility is operated safely. That was not the case on May 11, 1998, when a supervisor at the LaSalle County Station deliberately failed to follow ComEd procedures that implement 10 CFR Part 26, "Fitness for Duty Programs." Therefore, this violation has been categorized 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 of $55,000 is considered for a Severity Level III violation. Because the LaSalle County Station was the subject of escalated enforcement actions within the two years preceding this Severity Level III violation, (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 given for Identification because ComEd identified the violation and notified the NRC. Credit was also given for Corrective Action because of the immediate and long term measures taken by ComEd. The corrective actions are described in Section 1.1.b of the inspection report, and include, but are not limited to: (1) retraining foremen and supervisors on their duties and responsibilities under the ComEd FFD program; (2) interviewing supervisors subsequent to the training to determine their understanding of the actions required by the ComEd FFD program; (3) expanding the investigation to determine if similar problems existed in other contractor organizations at the LaSalle County Station; and (4) taking disciplinary action against the employees involved with the violation.

Therefore, to encourage prompt identification and comprehensive correction of violations, I have been authorized, after consultation with the Director, NRC Office of Enforcement, not to propose a civil penalty for this Severity Level III violation. However, significant violations in the future could result in a civil penalty.

The investigations disclosed a second act of apparent deliberate misconduct by the supervisor. On May 19, 1998, ComEd reported to the NRC that the supervisor provided false information on May 18, 1998, during the ComEd investigation into the FFD testing issue. He originally stated to ComEd investigators that he had not detected the odor of alcohol on the employee. However, at his first opportunity he voluntarily recanted that information and stated that he had actually detected the odor of alcohol. The NRC recognizes that the FFD testing issue may have gone unresolved without the voluntary recantation of incomplete or inaccurate information that he previously provided about this FFD issue. Therefore, the NRC is exercising the enforcement discretion authorized by Section VII.B.6 of the NRC Enforcement Policy, and the NRC is not issuing a violation to the supervisor for violation of 10 CFR 50.5(a)(2) for the incomplete or inaccurate information he provided.

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the enclosed violation, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence and the dates when full compliance was achieved is adequately address on the docket in NRC Inspection Report Nos. 50-373/98017(DRS); 50-374/98017(DRS) and in a February 17, 1999, letter from ComEd. Therefore, you are not required to respond to this letter unless the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. Should you choose to respond in writing, your response should be clearly marked as a "Response to Apparent Violation EA 98-560," and should include for the apparent violation: (1) the reason for the apparent violation, or, if contested, the basis for disputing the apparent 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 should be submitted under oath or affirmation and may reference or include previous docketed correspondence, if the correspondence adequately addresses the required response. The response should be addressed to the NRC Document Control Desk, Washington, DC 20555, with copies to the Director, NRC Office of Enforcement, Washington, DC 20555, the Regional Administrator and Enforcement Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, IL 60532-4351, and the NRC Resident Inspector at the LaSalle County Station.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter, its enclosure, and your response (if you choose to provide one) 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.

Sincerely,

Original Signed By

James E. Dyer
Regional Administrator


Docket Nos. 50-373; 50-374
License Nos. NPF-11; NPF-18

Enclosure: Notice of Violation

cc w/encl:
D. Helwig, Senior Vice President
H. Stanley, PWR Vice President
C. Crane, BWR Vice President
R. Krich, Vice President, Regulatory Services
DCD - Licensing
J. Benjamin, Site Vice President
T. O'Connor, Station Manager
P. Barnes, Regulatory Assurance Supervisor
M. Aguilar, Assistant Attorney General
State Liaison Officer
Chairman, Illinois Commerce Commission


NOTICE OF VIOLATION

Commonwealth Edison Company
LaSalle County Generating Station
Units 1 and 2

Docket Nos. 50-373; 50-374
License Nos. NPF-11; NPF
EA 98-560

During an NRC inspection and an NRC investigation concluded on November 19, 1998, a violation of NRC requirements was identified. In accordance with the "General Statement of Policy and Procedure for NRC Enforcement Actions," NUREG-1600, the violation is listed below:  

10 CFR 26.20 requires a licensee establish and implement written policies and procedures designed to meet the general performance objectives and specific requirements of 10 CFR Part 26.

10 CFR 26.24(a)(3) requires, in part, testing for cause as soon as possible after receiving credible information that an individual is abusing drugs or alcohol.

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) Corporate Nuclear Security Guideline No. 200, "ComEd Fitness for Duty Program," (FFD) implements 10 CFR Part 26, and refers to ComEd Corporate Nuclear Security Guideline No. 207, "Testing for Cause." Revision 10, dated April 18, 1997, of Guideline No. 207 was applicable to all ComEd and contractor personnel granted unescorted access to protected areas of ComEd nuclear stations. Section 5 of Guideline No. 207, provides, in part, that for-cause testing is required when the odor of alcohol has been detected on an employee and a supervisor has confirmed that odor. Guideline No. 207 further provides that the person be escorted at all times until the issue is satisfactorily resolved or the person exits the protected area.

Contrary to the above, on May 11, 1998, a supervisor employed by the Raytheon Corporation, a contractor at the LaSalle County Station, confirmed the odor of alcohol on an employee and failed to have the required for-cause test performed. Specifically, the supervisor confirmed the odor of alcohol on a Raytheon employee and allowed the employee to leave the LaSalle County Station without requiring a for-cause FFD test of the employee. Furthermore, the employee was not escorted at all times until the issue was satisfactorily resolved or until the person exited the protected area of the station. (01013)

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

The NRC has concluded that information regarding the reason for the violation, the corrective actions taken and planned to correct the violation and prevent recurrence and the dates when full compliance was achieved is adequately address on the docket in NRC Inspection Report Nos. 50-373/98017(DRS); 50-374/98017(DRS) and in a February 17, 1999, letter from ComEd. However, you are required to submit a written statement or explanation pursuant to 10 CFR 2.201 if the description therein does not accurately reflect your corrective actions or your position. In that case, or if you choose to respond, clearly mark your response as a "Reply to a Notice of Violation, EA 98-560," and send it to the NRC Document Control Desk, Washington, DC 20555, with a copy to the Regional Administrator and the Enforcement Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 801 Warrenville Road, Lisle, IL 60532-4351, and the NRC Resident Inspector at the LaSalle County Station, within 30 days of the date of the letter transmitting this Notice of Violation (Notice).

If you contest this enforcement action, you should also provide a copy of your response, with the basis for your denial, to the Director, Office of Enforcement, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

If you choose to respond, your response will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR). Therefore, to the extent possible, the response should not include any personal privacy, proprietary, or safeguards information so that it can be placed in the PDR without redaction.

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

Dated this 29th day of March 1999


1. EA 96-325 was issued on January 24, 1997, for a Severity Level II problem ($600,000 civil penalty) and a Severity Level III problem ($50,000 civil penalty) for the lack of control of work associated with the service water system during 1996.

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