United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Relating to the Deadlines for Compliance with 10 CFR 50.49, "Environmental Qualification of Electric Equipment Important to Safety for Nuclear Power Plants" (Generic Letter No. 85-15)



                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                           WASHINGTON, D C. 20555

                               August 6, 1985

TO ALL LICENSEES OF OPERATING REACTORS 

Gentlemen: 

SUBJECT:  INFORMATION RELATING TO THE DEADLINES FOR COMPLIANCE WITH 10 CFR 
          50.49, "ENVIRONMENTAL QUALIFICATION OF ELECTRIC EQUIPMENT 
          IMPORTANT TO SAFETY FOR NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS" (GENERIC LETTER 
          85-15) 

The deadline for compliance with 10 CFR 50.49, "Environmental Qualification 
of Electric Equipment Important to Safety for Nuclear Power Plants" is 
specified in the rule as the date of the second refueling outage after March
31, 1982 or March 31, 1985, whichever was earlier. Some plants have received
extensions to these deadlines up to November 30, 1985. Where current 
extensions terminate prior to November 30, 1985, the delegation in 10 CFR 
50.49(g) permits the Director of NRR to act on further requests for 
extensions as long as the new deadline is not beyond November 30, 1985. 
Section 50.49(g) states that "in exceptional cases, the Commission itself 
may consider and grant extensions beyond November 30, 1985, for completion 
of environmental qualification." The purpose of this letter is to advise 
licensees that it is the Commission's intention that extensions will be 
granted only in rare circumstances and that enforcement action will be taken
against licensees that continue to operate their plants with unqualified 
equipment beyond November 30, 1985, without extensions approved by the 
Commission. 

It is the Commission's intention that licensees which are not in compliance 
on November 30, 1985, and which have not been given extensions either will 
have to either shut down or, if they have valid staff-approved 
justifications for continued operation, select to operate and face civil 
penalties of $5,000 per item2 per day for each day after November 30, 1985, 
on which a licensee operates in noncompliance with the rule. For 
noncompliance identified after November 30, 1985, such fines may be made 
retroactive to November 30, 1985 for each day a licensee clearly knew, or 
should have known, that equipment qualification was incomplete. Some 
mitigation of any penalty may be considered based upon satisfaction of the 
following factors: 

1/   For purposes of enforcement, "unqualified equipment" means equipment 
     for which there is not adequate documentation to establish that this 
     equipment will perform its intended functions in the relevant 
     environment. 

2/   An item is defined as a specific type of electrical equipment, 
     designated by manufacturer and model, which is representative of all 
     identical equipment in a plant area exposed to the same environmental 
     service conditions. 


8508070178 

                                    - 2 -

     1.   Did the licensee identify and promptly report the noncompliance 
          with 10 CFR 50.49? 

     2.   Did the licensee apply best efforts to complete environmental 
          qualification within the deadline? 

     3.   Has the licensee proposed actions which can be expected to result 
          in full compliance within a reasonable time? 

For equipment which is discovered (through new test results, NRC inspection,
or other means) after November 30, 1985, to be in noncompliance or is 
suspected to be in noncompliance with the requirements of 10 CFR 50.49, 
licensees should report the finding if the condition found meets the 
reporting criteria of 10 CFR 50.72 (Prompt Notification) or 10 CFR 50.73 
(Licensee Event Reporting System). Evaluations of the significance of and 
corrective action for all actual and potential noncompliances should be 
documented as should the circumstances of discovery of the noncompliance or 
suspected noncompliance. These documents should be retained in appropriate 
licensee files. If equipment addressed in the plant Technical Specifications
is found to be unable to perform its intended function during an accident 
because of equipment qualification problems, the licensee is required to 
follow the provisions of the Technical Specifications. A case by case 
determination will be made whether retroactive enforcement is appropriate 
for noncompliance identified after November 30,, 1985. 

Licensees desiring an extension beyond November 30, 1985, must submit an 
extension request at the earliest possible date to the Commission with a 
copy to the Director, NRR and the Director, IE. Requests received after 
September 30, 1985, will be considered untimely, and may be denied on that 
basis. The basis for any extension request beyond November 30, 1985 must 
clearly identify the exceptional nature of the case, e.g., why, through 
events entirely beyond its control, the licensee will not be in compliance 
with the rule on November 30; the date when compliance will be achieved; and 
a justification for continued operation until compliance will be achieved. 

This letter does not require any response and therefore does not need 
approval of the Office of Management and Budget. Comments on burden and 
duplication may be directed to the Office of Management and Budget, Reports 
Management Room 3208, New Executive Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20503.
Should you have any questions, the staff contacts are Gary Holahan for 
technical questions and Jane Axelrad for enforcement questions. Mr. Holahan 
can be reached on (301) 492-7415 and Ms. Axelrad can be reached on (301) 
492-4909. 


                              Hugh L. Thompson, Jr., Director 
                              Division of Licensing 

cc:  List of Generic Letters 
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