United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NOED-02-1-002 - Indian Point (Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.)

June 13, 2002

Mr. Robert J. Barrett
Vice President, Operations
Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.
Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit 3
295 Broadway, Suite 3
Post Office Box 308
Buchanan, NY 10511-0308

SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF ENFORCEMENT DISCRETION FOR ENTERGY NUCLEAR REGARDING INDIAN POINT UNIT 3 [NOED No. 2002-01-02]

Dear Mr. Barrett:

By letter dated June 11,2002, you requested that the NRC exercise discretion not to enforce compliance with the actions required by Technical Specification (TS) 3.7.9.E. Your letter documented information previously discussed with the NRC in telephone conferences at 11:00 p.m., on June 7, 2002 and at 1:13 a.m., on June 8th. The principal NRC staff members who participated in these telephone conferences included:

NRC Region I Staff

Randy Blough, Director, Division of Reactor Projects (DRP)
Brian Holian, Deputy Director, DRP
Peter Eselgroth, Branch Chief, DRP Branch 2
James Trapp, Senior Reactor Analyst
Dave Lew, Branch Chief, Perf Eval, Division of Reactor Safety
Peter Drysdale, Senior Resident Inspector

NRC Headquarters Staff

Stuart Richards, Director, PD-I, Division of Licensing Project Management (DLPM)
Richard Laufer, Chief, Section 1, PD-I
Patrick Milano, Indian Point 3 Project Manager, PD-1, DLPM
Richard Lobel, Sr. Containment Sys Engr, Plant Sys Branch
Matthew Mitchell, Sr. Materials Engr, Structural Integrity Section

You stated that on June 7, 2002, at 8:35 p.m. you entered TS 3.7.9.E with an allowed outage time (AOT) of 12 hours, and that on June 8, 2002, at 8:35 a.m., Indian Point Unit 3 would not be in compliance with this requirement due to the expected duration of repairs for a portion of the service water (SW) header. Accordingly, you would be required to enter the hot shutdown condition by 9:35 p.m. on June 8th. You requested that a Notice of Enforcement Discretion (NOED) be issued pursuant to the NRC's policy regarding exercise of discretion for an operating facility, set out in Section VII.C, of the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, and be effective for a total of 72 hours, ending on June 10 at 8:35 p.m. This letter documents our telephone conversation on June 8, 2002 at 1:13 a.m. when we verbally approved this NOED. We understand that the condition causing the need for this NOED was corrected by you and thus you exited from TS 3.7.9.E and from this NOED on June 9, 2002 at 4:57 p.m., a total duration of SW system partial inoperability of approximately 44.5 hours.

Your staff requested this NOED following identification of a small leak in a weld to a tee connection in the SW system during an operator's routine plant tour. Specifically, a leak of about 1 drop per second was identified in a piping weld connection on one of the 18" SW lines that supply cooling to the containment fan coolers. Non-destructive testing in the location of this leak determined that a 1" by 5" area contained locations that were below minimum wall thickness. You planned to weld repair this area in accordance with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code. You stated that the weld associated with this leak was included in your Generic Letter 89-13 program. However, it had not been previously selected as an inspection sample.

You stated that the time necessary to complete the planned ASME Code repair to this SW pipe defect area would be longer than allowed by the TS, but less than 72 hours. Your staff requested this NOED after consideration of the safety significance and potential consequences of such an action. Your staff concluded that remaining at power for an additional 60 hours while completing the repairs to the SW system would not result in an undue risk to the health and safety of the public. That conclusion was based on risk insights that qualitatively indicated no net increase in radiological risk as a result of having this section of SW piping out of service for up to 72 hours, as well as your confidence that the ongoing repairs would be effective and would be completed within this discretionary period. Your staff's conclusion that this NOED was safety and risk neutral was, in part, based on a number of compensatory, risk management measures implemented while this portion of the SW system was out-of-service. The SW system repair required that the degraded pipe section be isolated resulting in three of five fan cooler units (FCU) being inoperable. You stated that the safety function of the containment cooling system would be maintained, and was analyzed under the provisions of the Safety Function Determination Program as required by TS 3.0.6. The containment cooling safety function was maintained with the two operable containment spray pumps and two FCUs. Additionally, you noted that the AOT for a SW configuration of only one operable FCU, under the containment cooling TS, is 72 hours.

As compensatory measures during the period of the NOED, your staff committed to: (1) invoke administrative controls to restrict work and protect the three emergency diesel generators (EDG), offsite electrical feeders, the two operable FCUs and two containment spray pumps from being taken out of service; (2) designate a special evolution manager to provide extra management oversight of this activity during the period the portion of the SW system is inoperable; (3) perform a nondestructive examination of a similar location on the unaffected SW header; (4) perform a walkdown of the SW header that will remain in service. Your letter of June 11th summarizes these compensatory measures and states that no leakage was identified from this walkdown.

The NRC's basis for this discretion considered: (1) the availability and recent satisfactory testing of the three EDGs onsite; (2) the availability of all offsite electrical sources; (3) the absence of adverse weather or generation shortages that would impact the reliability of these power supplies; (4) the extremely low calculated risk for operating with service water isolated to three fan cooler units for this period; (5) the licensee's evaluation which concluded the remaining equipment (two containment spray trains and two fan cooler units) met the containment cooling safety function; (6) the added margin to design heat load calculations (which assumes a 95 F ultimate heat sink temperature) for the current river temperature of approximately 70F; (7) the list of compensatory actions undertaken to ensure that the extended AOT did not result in a net increase in radiological risk; (8) high confidence that your repairs to the SW pipe would be successfully implemented during the discretionary period; and (9) your agreement to demonstrate operability of the unaffected portion of the SW piping by nondestructively examining a similar location on the unaffected header.

Based on the above considerations, the staff concluded that Criterion B.2.1.1.a and the applicable criteria in Section C.4 to NRC Manual Chapter 9900, "Technical Guidance, Operation - Notices of Enforcement Discretion" were met. Criterion B.2.1.1.a states that for an operating plant, the NOED is intended to avoid unnecessary transients as a result of compliance with the license condition and, thus, minimize potential safety consequences and operational risks.

On the basis of the staff's evaluation of your request, we concluded that issuance of this NOED is consistent with the Enforcement Policy and staff guidance, and has no adverse impact on public health and safety. Therefore, it is our intention to exercise discretion not to enforce compliance with TS 3.7.9.E for the 72 hour period starting at 8:35 p.m. on June 7, 2002, and ending at 8:35 p.m., on June 10, 2002.

As stated in the Enforcement Policy, action will be taken, to the extent that violations were involved, for the root causes that led to the noncompliance for which this NOED was requested.

Sincerely,

/RA by
Brian E. Holian
Acting For/

A. Randolph Blough, Director
Division of Reactor Projects

Enclosure: NOED Request from Indian Point 3 Nuclear Power Plant, dated June 11, 2002

Docket No. 50-286
License No. DPR-64
NOED No. 2002-01-02

cc w/encl:
J. Yelverton, Chief Executive Officer
M. Kansler, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
J. DeRoy, General Manager - Operations
D. Pace, Vice President - Engineering
J. Knubel, Vice President Operations Support
F. Dacimo, Vice President - Operations
J. Kelly, Director - Licensing
C. D. Faison, Manager - Licensing
H. P. Salmon, Jr., Director of Oversight
J. Comiotes, Director, Nuclear Safety Assurance
J. Donnelly, Licensing Manager
A. Donahue, Mayor, Village of Buchanan
J. McCann, Manager - Nuclear Safety and Licensing - IP2
J. M. Fulton, Assistant General Counsel
W. Flynn, President, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
J. Spath, Program Director, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
P. D. Eddy, Electric Division, New York State Department of Public Service
C. Donaldson, Esquire, Assistant Attorney General, New York Department of Law
R. Schwartz, SRC Consultant
R. Toole, SRC Consultant
C. Hehl, SRC Consultant
R. Albanese, Executive Chair, Four County Nuclear Safety Committee
S. Lousteau, Treasury Department, Entergy Services, Inc.
Chairman, Standing Committee on Energy, NYS Assembly
Chairman, Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, NYS Assembly
Chairman, Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions
Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, NYS Assembly
C. Terry, Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation
County Clerk, Westchester County Legislature
A. Spano, Westchester County Executive
R. Bondi, Putnam County Executive
C. Vanderhoef, Rockland County Executive
E. A. Diana, Orange County Executive
M. Elie, Citizens Awareness Network
J. Riccio, Greenpeace
F. Zalcman, Pace Law School, Energy Project
A. Matthiessen, Executive Director, Riverkeeper, Inc.
P. Leventhal, The Nuclear Control Institute
K. Copeland, Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic

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