United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 86-97: Emergency Communications System

                                                            SSINS No. 6835 
                                                            IN 86-97 

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

                              NOVEMBER 28, 1986

Information Notice No. 86-97:   EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM 
Addressees: 

All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license and the 
following fuel facilities: Nuclear Fuel Services of Erwin, General Atomics, 
UNC Montville, B&W LCR Lynchburgh, and B&W Lynchburgh. 

Purpose: 

This notice is being issued to more clearly define the emergency 
communications system (i.e., the emergency notification system and health 
physics network) and to provide guidance on the operation and testing of the 
system. No specific action or written response is required by this 
information notice. 

Discussion: 

Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 50, Appendix E, Paragraph 
E.9, requires that the licensee have an emergency communications system. The
System currently in use and acceptable to the NRC consists of two subsystems
- the emergency notification system (ENS) and the health physics network 
(HPN). These networks are funded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The ENS is an automatic ring-down service that provides dedicated telephone 
service to the NRC Operations Center. Originally, the HPN system was a dial-
up dedicated circuit between the licensee's facilities, the regions and the 
NRC headquarters. The HPN requires special equipment that has been subject 
to reliability and maintainability problems and can no longer economically 
provide the necessary level of service. The NRC is replacing the original 
HPN equipment With normal commercial dial-up service pending a permanent 
solution. 

The ENS portion of the emergency communications system is designed to (1) 
facilitate the licensee's timely notifications to the NRC of off-normal 
incidents affecting the facility and (2) provide information concerning the 
operation and status of the plant to the NRC Operations Center. The HPN is 
designed to provide health physics and environmental information to the NRC 
Operations Center in the event of an ongoing emergency. Licensees must 
provide qualified personnel to maintain an open, continuous communications 
channel with the NRC Operations Center upon request by the NRC, as required 
by 10 CFR 50.72(c)(3). The licensee is responsible for supplying timely, 
reliable information concerning an event to the NRC via the Operations 
Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Members of the NRC will not relieve the 
licensee of this responsibility. 


8611240083 
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                                                       IN 86-97 
                                                       November 28, 1986 
                                                       Page 2 of 3 

The ENS system is exercised each morning, usually between the hours of 0400 
and 0800 Eastern time, by the Headquarters Operations Officer's placement of
a call to each licensed facility to collect status information. However, 
this call does not fully satisfy 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix E, Paragraph 
E.9.d., which requires each licensee to perform monthly testing from the 
control room, the technical support center (TSC) and the emergency 
operations facility (EOF). 

The monthly tests of the ENS and HPN instruments from all installed 
locations except the NRC Resident Inspector's Office should be done at the 
initiative of the licensee. It should be noted that it is not necessary to 
conduct monthly tests of the ENS and HPN instruments to the NRC regional 
office because that connection is made through the Operations Center. In the 
case of the ENS, it is necessary for the licensee to call from each ENS 
location and establish contact with the NRC Headquarters Operations Officer. 
The Headquarters Operations Officer should be requested to return the 
licensee's call at each of the locations. The licensee also should be aware 
that on occasion it may be necessary to delay a particular test because of 
the heavy volume of traffic being experienced at the NRC Operations Center. 
All HPN instruments installed at the licensees facilities should be tested 
by placing a local call to any other telephone and request a call back to 
ensure the instrument is working. No call to the NRC Operations Center is 
required. Documentation of the monthly test for the entire emergency 
communications system is required to be maintained by the licensee. 

The following information is provided to the licensee in recognition that 
the new commercial service for the HPN has raised questions about its use 
and operation: 

     The new system is standard commercial telephone service and requires no
     complicated or sophisticated operating instruction. It is only 
     necessary to lift the receiver and dial (301)-951-1212 to get the NRC 
     Operations Center. This telephone is installed and operated at the 
     expense of the NRC. Its intended use is to permit licensee personnel to 
     transmit health physics and environmental information to the NRC 
     through the Operations Center in Bethesda, Maryland in radiological 
     events and exercises. No other licensee use other than required testing 
     is permitted. Licensees must take appropriate precautions to ensure 
     that the telephone is readily available for the purpose described here 
     and for the monthly tests. 

     Licensees should ensure that the system is not used for other purposes.
     The development and implementation of appropriate precautions is left 
     to the discretion of the licensee, but should be consistent with the 
     general administrative controls and procedures of the individual facil-
     ity. 

     The HPN telephone instrument, manufactured by ITT, is a distinct ash/ 
     almond color, and is identified as "HPN Telephone." Stickers are 
     attached to each instrument providing the primary and backup phone 
     numbers of the NRC Operations Center. Most facilities have installed 
     these instruments in the TSC and EOF, although some plants will need to
     deviate from those locations based on where protective measure 
     information is centrally collected. 
.

                                                       IN 86-97 
                                                       November 28, 1986 
                                                       Page 3 of 3 

Should either or both of the emergency communications subsystems (ENS and 
HPN) fail, the Operations Center in Bethesda, Maryland, should be so 
informed over normal commercial telephone systems by calling 301-951-0550 or 
one of the following backup numbers: 

                               301-427-4056 
                               301-427-4259 
                               301-492-8893 

A collect call to any of these numbers will be accepted. NRC will make 
arrangements to have the failed system returned to normal operation. At the 
time the failure is reported, the licensee should be prepared to supply the 
following information to expedite repair: (1) name of contact at location of
failure, (2) commercial phone number of contact, (3) location of contact 
(i.e., street address, building number, room number, etc.), and (4) any 
other information that would expedite repair. 

No specific action or written response is required by this information 
notice. If you have questions about this matter, please contact the Regional
Administrator of the appropriate 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:  H. Michael Hawkins, IE 
                    301-492-4145 

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