United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NOED-02-3-005 - Dresden (Carol Y. Barajas)

July 10, 2002

Carol Y. Barajas
[HOME ADDRESS DELETED
UNDER 10CFR2.790(a)]

SUBJECT:   NOTICE OF ENFORCEMENT DISCRETION (NOED) REGARDING OPERATOR LICENSE CONDITIONS (NOED-02-3-005)

Dear Ms. Barajas:

By letter dated July 8, 2002, Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon) informed the NRC that certain conditions of your reactor operator license were not being met. Specifically, Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10CFR), Part 55, Section 55.53(h), imposes a condition on your license which requires you to complete a requalification program as described by 10CFR55.59. Title 10CFR55.59 (a)(1) and (a)(2) require you to successfully complete a requalification program not to exceed 24 months in duration, and to pass a comprehensive requalification written examination as part of that requalification program. As discussed in the Exelon letter, you have not completed a comprehensive requalification written examination, in accordance with 10CFR55.59, since January/February of 2000, and thus you have exceeded the required 24-month written examination periodicity.

The Exelon letter documented information previously discussed with the NRC in a telephone conference which occurred on July 3, 2002. At the time of the telephone conference, both Dresden units were operating in Mode 1.

Exelon indicated that the Dresden Nuclear Power Station staff identified that you had not completed a required element of the licensed operator requalification program. Exelon, on your behalf, requested enforcement discretion because you had not successfully taken and passed a comprehensive requalification written examination within the requalification training program period, which is required not to exceed 24 months. Exelon indicated that a Dresden Training Department scheduling error resulted in the comprehensive written examination being scheduled at an interval greater than the required 24 months. Specifically, the Dresden Training Department previously administered a comprehensive written examination pursuant to 10CFR55.59 to you during the period of January through February 2000. This examination was to cover the training period from April 1998 to February 2000. The next written examination to meet the requirement of 10CFR55.59 should have occurred during January 2002. However, through a scheduling error, the examination was deferred until July 2002. Because of the rescheduling of the examination, the 24-month time limit was exceeded. Consequently, during the last 24-month training period, you did not complete a comprehensive written examination in accordance with the condition of your license imposed via 10CFR55.53(h).

In a separate letter dated July 2, 2002, Exelon requested the NRC to extend the 24-month interval required by 10CFR55.59(c) to an interval of approximately 30 months. This extension would allow Exelon (the facility licensee) to complete the requirement to administer a comprehensive written examination. To accomplish this within the prescribed time extension Exelon plans to complete examinations for all licensed operators and senior operators on shift by July 17, 2002, and for all other remaining licensed personnel by August 2, 2002, before they are scheduled to resume licensed activities. The NRC Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) will respond to this request for an exemption from the requirements of 10CFR55.59 by separate correspondence.

As detailed in Exelon's July 8, 2002, letter requesting enforcement discretion and during the July 3, 2002, telephone conference, Exelon explained that suspending enforcement of the 10CFR55.53(h) requirement between July 3, 2002, and July 17, 2002, will not endanger life or property, and is otherwise in the public interest. Exelon, on your behalf, indicated that you have demonstrated knowledge and performance capabilities similar to those required by the comprehensive written examinations. Specifically, you have been enrolled in a continuous requalification training program developed through a systems approach to training as defined in 10CFR55.4, "Definitions." During this training program, you were trained and evaluated using dynamic simulator evaluations and periodic written quizzes. These continuous evaluation tools were used to measure your retention and application of skills and knowledge. In general, you have successfully completed the training program and were evaluated as a satisfactory operator.

In addition, Exelon indicated that you satisfactorily completed an annual operating examination in November through December 2001, as required by 10CFR55.59(a)(2). This evaluation included dynamic simulator scenario and job performance measure evaluations. Moreover, you satisfactorily completed a comprehensive written examination between July and September of 2001. Although this examination was not designed or intended to satisfy the requirement of 10 CFR 55.59, it did cover a representative sample of material from August 1998 to August 2000.

Furthermore, the Exelon letter indicated that representatives from Dresden Nuclear Power Station and Exelon Nuclear Oversight performed augmented on-shift oversight at the Dresden Station during the period of June 21 through June 26, 2002. The purpose of the audit was to review operator performance, including operator skills and knowledge. No issues related to your knowledge or skills were identified.

In addition to the noted training program implementation, Exelon indicated that the on-shift staffing at the Dresden Station exceeds the minimum required by 10CFR50.54, "Conditions of License." In accordance with 10CFR50.54 (m), the minimum staffing requirement for a facility with two operating units in a single control room is two Senior Reactor Operators (SROs) and three Reactor Operators (ROs). Each operating crew at Dresden Station has three SROs and four ROs. The extra operators reduced your individual workload and added to the skills and capability of your crew. Exelon has also verified and noted that your operating shift crew has at least one licensed individual that was current in the requalification training program.

Finally, Exelon indicated that due to the expected high electrical power demand during the summer period, Exelon has minimized the number of plant activities that have the potential to cause unplanned unit shutdowns and de-ratings. This action minimizes the potential challenges you face as a licensed operator.

Exelon requested that a Notice of Enforcement Discretion (NOED) be issued pursuant to Section VII.C of the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600. Exelon, on your behalf, requested enforcement discretion for your failure to complete the comprehensive requalification written examination within the 24-month periodicity in accordance with 10CFR55.53(h) and 10CFR55.59 (a)(1) and (a)(2). To accomplish this, Exelon requested that the NRC suspend the enforcement of the requirements of 10CFR55.53(h) until July 17, 2002, to allow sufficient time for you to complete the written examination requirement. This letter documents the telephone conversation on July 3, 2002, between Exelon and the NRC. Regional enforcement discretion was verbally granted at 7 p.m. on July 3, 2002 to suspend the enforcement of the requirements of 10CFR55.53(h) until July 17, 2002, in order to allow you sufficient time to complete the written examination requirement. Should you fail the examination, you would be subject to the requirements of the station's requalification program, i.e. removal from shift, remediation, and re-examination.

Exelon requested this NOED after consideration of the safety significance and potential consequences of such an action. Exelon determined that obtaining enforcement discretion until July 17, 2002, would allow for the Dresden Training Department to administer the written examination to you and would not result in an undue risk to the health and safety of the public. The conclusion was based on risk insights that qualitatively indicated there was no net increase in risk related to allowing the current on-shift licensed operators until July 17, 2002, and all other licensed operators until August 2, 2002, to complete the written examination.

Exelon committed to: 1) administer comprehensive written examinations to on-shift licensed operators by July 17, 2002, and to the remaining licensed personnel by August 2, 2002; 2) ensure on-shift licensed operator staffing exceeds the minimum required by 10CFR50.54 (m); 3) ensure each operating shift crew includes at least one individual that is current with respect to the requirements of the requalification program; and, 4) minimize the number of plant activities that have the potential to cause unplanned unit shutdowns or de-ratings.

The NRC determined that the risk of continued operation with Exelon's compensatory measures for the remaining four week time period of the NOED did not result in an increased risk over shutting down both units. Based on this qualitative evaluation the NRC accepted Exelon's safety rationale.

The NRC's basis for this discretion considered: 1) your continued attendance and past performance in the Dresden Training Department requalification program; 2) Exelon's assurance of expedited administration of the written examinations; 3) the compensatory measures to reduce the probability of a plant transient while ensuring that more than the minimum required shift manning is maintained with at least one individual on shift that has successfully completed the requirements of the requalification program; and, 4) the risk associated with continuing to operate at steady state with crews not meeting 10CFR55.59 was no greater than shutting down, a self-induced transient, with the same crews.

Based on the above considerations, the NRC staff concluded that Criterion B.2.1.1.a and the applicable criteria in Section C.4 to NRC Manual Chapter 9900, "Technical Guidance, Operations - 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 NRC staff's evaluation of Exelon's request, on your behalf, we have concluded that issuance of this NOED is warranted because we are satisfied that this action involves minimal or no safety impact, is consistent with the Enforcement Policy and staff guidance, and has no adverse impact on public health and safety. Therefore, we exercised discretion at 6:20 p.m. on July 3, 2002, not to enforce compliance with the condition of your license imposed by 10CFR55.53 (h), which requires that you successfully complete a comprehensive requalification written examination within a 24 month period. This NOED is in effect from 6:20 p.m. on July 3, 2002 until 6:20 p.m. on July 17, 2002.

Enforcement action may be taken for violations that occurred prior to granting the NOED.

Sincerely,

/RA/ by Steven A. Reynolds
Acting for/

Geoffrey E. Grant, Director
Division of Reactor Projects

Docket No. [DELETED UNDER 10CFR2.790(a)]
License No. [DELETED UNDER 10CFR2.790(a)]

cc: Site Vice President - Dresden Nuclear Power Station

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012