United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 85-80: Timely Declaration of an Emergency Class, Implementation of an Emergency Plan, And Emergency Notifications

                                                       SSINS No.:  6835
                                                            IN 85-80 

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555

                              October 15, 1985

Information Notice No. 85-80:   TIMELY DECLARATION OF AN EMERGENCY CLASS,
                                   IMPLEMENTATION OF AN EMERGENCY PLAN, AND 
                                   EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS 

Addressees: 

All nuclear power facilities holding an operating license (OL) or a 
construction permit (CP). 

Purpose: 

This information notice is provided to describe an instance when an 
emergency condition was not classified and declared in a timely manner and 
to clarify the requirement for licensees to adequately notify the NRC 
Headquarters Operations Officer of emergencies. The NRC expects that 
recipients will review this notice for applicability to their facilities. 
Suggestions contained in this notice do not constitute NRC requirements; 
therefore, no specific action or written response is required. 

Description of Circumstances: 

Davis-Besse: 

At 1:35 a.m. on June 9, 1985, the Davis-Besse plant experienced a complete 
loss of main and auxiliary feedwater for nearly 12 minutes. This event is 
described in more detail in Information Notice 85-50, "Complete Loss of Main
and Auxiliary Feedwater at a PWR Designed by Babcock & Wilcox," and NUREG-
1154, "Loss of Main and Auxiliary Feedwater Event at the Davis-Besse Plant 
on June 9, 1985." The emergency plan identified the loss of feedwater event 
as a Site Area Emergency, However, it appears that all knowledgeable person-
nel in the control room were occupied with stabilizing the plant and, thus, 
were not able to classify the event as a Site Area Emergency and activate 
the emergency plan. It is possible that had the plant not been brought to a 
stable condition quickly and had plant safety further degraded, the efforts 
of all knowledgeable personnel in the control room would have been required 
for recovery efforts, further delaying initiation of appropriate onsite and 
off-site emergency response. 

At 2:11 a.m., the shift technical advisor (STA) called the NRC Operations 
Center from the control room using the Emergency Notification System to re-
port the event pursuant to 10 CFR 50.72. At the beginning of the event, the 
STA had been in his quarters in the administration building, which is 
outside the 


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protected area about a half mile from the plant. Although the STA mentioned 
the trip of the main and auxiliary feedwater pumps, the STA did not describe
the length of time that the plant was totally without feedwater or the 
difficulty the plant had in restoring auxiliary feedwater. No Emergency 
Class was declared, nor was the fact conveyed to the NRC that plant 
conditions which warranted the declaration of a Site Area Emergency had 
existed for nearly 12 minutes. 

At 2:26 a.m., the STA informed the NRC that an Unusual Event had been 
declared at 2:25 a.m. The STA also informed the NRC that although the 
emergency plan identified the total loss of feedwater event as a Site Area 
Emergency, the plant was no longer in this emergency action level at this 
time. At 2:29 a.m., the licensee informed the county that an Unusual Event 
had been declared. The licensee depended on a procedure that required the 
county to notify the State of Ohio. However, because the county could not 
reach the local state representative, the State of Ohio was not notified of 
the Unusual Event declaration until after the event had been terminated, 
more than 6 hours after its declaration. 

At Davis-Besse, the emergency plan is initially implemented by the shift 
supervisor, who also has primary responsibility for ensuring that the plant 
is maintained in a safe condition. Because of the competing priorities of 
(1) directing attention to necessary recovery actions to obtain a safe and 
stable plant and (2) reviewing the emergency plan and initiating its 
actions, there was a substantial delay in declaring an Emergency Class and 
implementing the emergency plan. If the June 9 event had progressed in 
severity, valuable time needed to initiate appropriate onsite and offsite 
response to the emergency would have been lost. 

Corrective actions being undertaken by the licensee as a result of this 
event include a number of operational and procedural changes that include 
but are not limited to the following: The STA shift schedule will be changed 
from a 24-hour duty day to rotating 12-hour shifts. The STA will spend the 
entire shift within the prOtected area, and the STA office will be located 
within 1 to 2 minutes of the control room. The STA will be trained as an 
Interim Emergency Duty Officer to advise the shift supervisor in event 
classification and protective action. The licensee will make emergency 
notifications directly to the State of Ohio. 

Point Beach: 

On July 25, 1985, at 7:25 a.m. (eastern time), Point Beach Unit 1 
experienced an event involving loss of offsite power. Point Beach Unit 2 
continued to operate normally during this event. Because of the incomplete 
understanding of the event by those making the notification to the NRC 
Operations Center, the NRC Operations Center was not made aware of the 
details of the event. At 7:37 a.m., a security guard called the NRC 
Operations Center to notify the NRC that Point Beach Unit 1 had declared an 
Unusual Event. The explanation for the Unusual Event was that the plant had 
a turbine runback. When the NRC Headquarters Operators Officer asked 
questions, the security guard was unable to provide additional information 
because of his limited technical knowledge of the plant and because the call 
was made from a location outside the con-trol room where the security guard 
could not obtain additional information from the operators involved. 

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                                                          Page 3 of 3 

The NRC Headquarters Operations Officer called the control room, and as a 
result of asking questions learned that a station transformer had been lost.
However, not until 2 1/2 hours later, when the plant notified the NRC Head-
quarters Operations Officer that the Unusual Event was terminated, did the 
NRC Headquarters Operations Officer learn that there had actually been a 
loss of offsite power. 

Discussion: 

Licensees should not delay the declaration of an Emergency Class when condi-
tions warrant such a declaration. Delaying the declaration can defeat the 
appropriate response to an emergency. It is the licensee's responsibility to
ensure that adequate personnel, knowledgeable about plant conditions and 
emergency plan implementing procedures, are available on shift to assist the
shift supervisor to classify an emergency and activate the emergency plan, 
including making appropriate notifications, without interfering with plant 
operation. 

When 10 CFR 50.72 was published in the Federal Register (48 FR 39039), the 
NRC made clear its intent that notifications on the Emergency Notification 
System to the NRC Operations Center should be made by those knowledgeable of
the event. If the description of an emergency is to be sufficiently accurate
and timely to meet the intent of the NRC's regulations, the personnel 
responsible for notification must be properly trained and sufficiently 
knowledgeable of the event to report it correctly. The NRC did not intend 
that notifications made pursuant to 10 CFR 50.72 would be made by those who 
do not understand the event that they are reporting. 

No written response to this information notice is required. If you need 
additional information about this matter, please contact the Regional Admin-
istrator of the appropriate NRC regional office or the technical contact 
listed below. 


                                   Edward L. Jordan, Director 
                                   Division of Emergency Preparedness 
                                     and Engineering Response 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Technical Contact:  Eric W. Weiss, IE 
                    (301) 492-9005 

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices 
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2013