United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

EA-99-325 - FitzPatrick (New York Power Authority)

March 20, 2000

EA 99-325

Mr. Michael J. Colomb
Site Executive Officer
New York Power Authority
James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant
Post Office Box 41
Lycoming, New York 13093


Dear Mr. Colomb:

On February 19, 2000, the NRC completed an inspection at the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant. The results of this inspection were discussed on March 2, 2000, with Mr. D. Lindsey and other members of your staff. The enclosed report presents the results of that inspection.

This inspection was an examination of activities conducted under your license as they relate to safety and compliance with the Commission's rules and regulations and with the conditions of your license. Within these areas, the inspection consisted of a selected examination of procedures and representative records, observations of activities, and interviews with personnel.

This report provides the final significance determination for the high pressure coolant injection (HPCI) system issue previously described in NRC Inspection Report 05000333/1999009. At your request, a regulatory conference was conducted with members of your staff on February 7, 2000, to discuss your views on the significance determination and proposed apparent violation. A copy of the handout you provided at this meeting is attached.

During the regulatory conference you addressed two main issues for NRC consideration. First, that the characterization of the HPCI overspeed event as having White (low to moderate safety significance) was not appropriate, because you believed that had a valid HPCI initiation signal existed, HPCI would have injected without an overspeed trip. Secondly, you believed that the apparent violation, as written in NRC IR 05000333/1999009, was not appropriate because the testing cited in the apparent violation was not required for determining HPCI operability.

The significance determination of the HPCI event was reevaluated and the NRC concluded that the issue had been appropriately characterized as White. The NRC concluded that the assumptions and uncertainties contained in your evaluation of the event did not provide adequate justification for a reduced safety significance. The details of this evaluation are provided in this report. In the Mid-Cycle Performance Review dated January 3, 2000, we previously noted our plan to address this White finding and the associated corrective actions as part of a supplemental inspection under Inspection Procedure 95001, which we have planned for April 4, 2000. Finalizing the White significance determination has not altered that plan.

The NRC agreed with your position that the apparent violation was incorrect. Based on new information reviewed, we have concluded that the apparent violation proposed in NRC IR 05000333/1999009 regarding inadequate test control of the HPCI system did not in fact exist. However, we have concluded that NYPA failed to identify and correct problems with the HPCI governor control system. Specifically, NYPA failed to properly set the HPCI system hydraulic oil operating pressure. The improper oil operating pressure resulted in abnormalities in HPCI governor control system performance and could have resulted in an overspeed trip during a system injection. In addition, HPCI system performance monitoring was ineffective as evidenced by the failure of NYPA to identify the problems with hydraulic oil pressure, spring tension and general degradation of the system. These failures to identify and correct conditions adverse to quality associated with the HPCI system are cited in the attached Notice of Violation and the circumstances surrounding it are described in detail in this report.

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.

The inspectors identified one violation of NRC requirements related to timely corrective actions for a residual heat removal service water system strainer. This finding was evaluated using the applicable SDP and was determined to be Green (very low safety significance). This violation is being treated as a non-cited violation (NCV), consistent with the interim Enforcement Policy for pilot plants. This NCV is described in the inspection report and has been entered into your corrective action program.

In accordance with 10 CFR 2.790 of the NRC's "Rules of Practice," a copy of this letter and its enclosures will be placed in the NRC Public Document Room. Should you have any questions regarding this report, please contact Mr. Glenn Meyer at 610-337-5211.



Richard V. Crlenjak, Deputy Director
Division of Reactor Projects

Docket No. 05000333
License No. DPR-59

Notice of Violation

cc w/encls:
C. D. Rappleyea, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
E. Zeltmann, President and Chief Operating Officer
R. Hiney, Executive Vice President for Project Operations
J. Knubel, Chief Nuclear Officer and Senior Vice President
H. P. Salmon, Jr., Vice President of Engineering
W. Josiger, Vice President - Special Activities
J. Kelly, Director - Regulatory Affairs and Special Projects
T. Dougherty, Vice President - Nuclear Engineering
R. Deasy, Vice President - Appraisal and Compliance Services
R. Patch, Director - Quality Assurance
G. C. Goldstein, Assistant General Counsel
C. D. Faison, Director, Nuclear Licensing, NYPA
G. Tasick, Licensing Manager
T. Morra, Executive Chair, Four County Nuclear Safety Committee
Supervisor, Town of Scriba
C. Donaldson, Esquire, Assistant Attorney General, New York Department of Law
P. Eddy, Electric Division, Department of Public Service, State of New York
G. T. Goering, Consultant, NYPA
J. E. Gagliardo, Consultant, NYPA
E. S. Beckjord, Consultant, NYPA
F. William Valentino, President, New York State Energy Research
and Development Authority
J. Spath, Program Director, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
T. Judson, Syracuse Peace Council
F. Elmer, Sierra Club
S. Penn
B. Brown
S. Griffin, Chenango North Energy Awareness Group
T. Ellis
A. Slater, GRACE
C. Gagne
L. Downing
H. Hawkins, Syracuse Green Party
E. Smeloff, PACE Energy Project
C. Hehl, Incorporated
C. Terry
R. Toole
R. Schwarz


New York Power Authority
James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant
Docket No. 50-333
License No. DPR-59

During NRC inspections conducted from October 18, 1999 to February 19, 2000, 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:

10CFR50, Appendix B, Criteria XVI, "Corrective Action," requires that measures shall be established to ensure that conditions adverse to quality, such as failures, malfunctions, deficiencies, deviations, defective material and equipment, and nonconformances are promptly identified and corrected.

Technical Specification 3.5.C requires that "the High Pressure Coolant Injection (HPCI) system shall be operable whenever the reactor pressure is greater than 150 psig...From and after the date that the HPCI system is made or found to be inoperable for any reason, continued reactor operation is permissible only during the succeeding 7 days unless such system is sooner made operable..."

Contrary to the above, between May 1997 and February 5, 2000, NYPA failed to promptly identify and correct a condition adverse to quality involving speed control of the HPCI system turbine. Specifically, NYPA failed to identify and promptly correct problems with hydraulic oil pressure, spring tension, and general degradation of the HPCI governor control as evidenced by the following:
  • Between May 1997 and February 2000 several changes were made to the HPCI hydraulic oil operating pressure; however, NYPA did not identify the proper operating pressure as specified in industry information. The hydraulic oil pressure was set improperly high, which caused speed transients to occur at normal operating reactor pressure. This condition was not identified and corrected until February 5, 2000.
  • On February 4, 2000, NYPA identified that the governor lever spring tension deviated from the plant drawings. However, this deviation was not considered when the hydraulic oil pressure was corrected on February 5, 2000. With the governor lever spring tension out of specification, there was no assurance, although the hydraulic oil pressure was set in accordance with industry information, that the control valves would function properly to control turbine speed.
  • Prior to October 14, 1999, HPCI system performance monitoring was ineffective as evidenced by the failure of NYPA to identify the problems with the hydraulic oil pressure, and general degradation of the system and components.
These problems resulted in abnormalities in HPCI governor control system performance that resulted in an overspeed trip during the startup of the system on October 14, 1999, and could have resulted in an overspeed trip when the system was called upon to perform its intended function. As a result, the HPCI system was inoperable, contrary to Technical Specification 3.5.C, for a period greater than seven (7) days.

Pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.201, the New York Power Authority 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 I, and a copy to the NRC Resident Inspector at the facility that is the subject of this Notice, 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 significance determination, (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 previous 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.

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 this 20th day of March, 2000

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