United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 87-58: Continuous Communications Following Emergency Notifications

                                                         IN 87-58

                                  UNITED STATES
                          NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                      OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION
                              WASHINGTON, DC  20555

                                November 16, 1987


Information Notice No. 87-58:  CONTINUOUS COMMUNICATIONS FOLLOWING
                                   EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS 


Addressees: 

All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license and the 
following fuel facilities that have Emergency Notification Systems (ENS):  
Nuclear Fuel Services, Erwin, Tennessee; General Atomics, San Diego, Califor-
nia; UNC, Montville, Connecticut; and B & W LRC and B & W Navy, Lynchburg, 
Virginia.  

Purpose:  

This information notice is provided to clarify NRC's role in emergency 
response and initial event analysis and to reiterate the responsibility of 
licensees to maintain adequate personnel on shift to permit continuous 
communications with the NRC in an emergency without diminishing the ability to 
expeditiously place the plant in a safe condition.  Recipients are expected to 
review this information notice for applicability and consider action, as 
appropriate, to preclude occurrence of similar problems at their facilities.  
However, no specific action or written response is required.

Description of Circumstances:  

On July 15, 1987 at 6:25 a.m., North Anna Unit 1 experienced a steam generator 
tube rupture while operating at 100% power.  The unit was manually tripped by 
the operators, and an automatic safety injection actuation occurred on low 
pressurizer pressure at 6:36 a.m.  Safety injection was terminated by the 
operators at 7:05 a.m.  A small radioactive release to the environment oc-
curred via the main condenser air ejector exhaust and the auxiliary feedwater 
pump turbine exhaust.  

An Unusual Event was declared at 6:39 a.m., and the emergency classification 
was upgraded to an Alert at 6:54 a.m.  The licensee notified the NRC Headquar-
ters Operations Center of the event via the Emergency Notification System 
(ENS) at 7:04 a.m.  The Operations Center requested that the licensee maintain 
continuous communications with the NRC via the ENS and provide updates of the 
event status as additional information became available.  

The NRC Region II Incident Response Center and the Headquarters Operations 
Center were activated in the Standby mode.  ENS communications were maintained 
until the NRC Centers were returned to Normal mode at 12:41 p.m.  The licensee 
downgraded the emergency classification from Alert to Recovery when the unit 
reached a cold shutdown condition at 1:31 p.m.  

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                                                            November 16, 1987 
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Discussion:  

In a meeting with industry representatives after the event, licensee 
management indicated a concern regarding the burden placed on the plant staff 
by NRC requests for information during the event.  In later discussions with 
the licensee, the licensee stated that the intent during that meeting was to 
inform other industry representatives of the importance of planning to provide
for communications with the NRC during an emergency. 

10 CFR 50.72(c)(3) requires reactor licensees to maintain continuous communi-
cations with the NRC when they are requested to do so.  This requirement was 
reemphasized in Information Notice No. 86-97, "Emergency Communications 
System."  Information Notice No. 85-80, "Timely Declaration of an Emergency 
Class, Implementation of an Emergency Plan, and Emergency Notifications," 
reiterated licensees' event notification responsibilities.  Licensees have a 
responsibility to provide enough on-shift personnel knowledgeable about plant 
operations and emergency plan implementation to enable timely, accurate, and 
reliable reporting of operating events without interfering with plant 
operation.  

The effectiveness of the NRC during an event depends in large measure on 
complete and accurate reports from licensees.  During an emergency, the Region 
Incident Response Center and the Headquarters Operations Center become focal 
points for action by the NRC.  Licensee actions during an emergency are 
monitored by the NRC to ensure that appropriate action is being taken to 
protect the health and safety of the public.  When requested, the NRC supports 
licensees with technical analysis and coordinates logistics support.  The NRC 
keeps other Federal agencies informed of the status of an incident and 
provides information to the media.  In addition, the NRC assesses and confirms 
the appropriateness of protective actions recommended by the licensee to local 
and state authorities.

No specific action or written response is required by this information notice.
If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the technical 
contact listed below or the Regional Administrator of the appropriate regional
office.




                              Charles E. Rossi, Director 
                              Division of Operational Events Assessment 
                              Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation 


Technical Contact:  Kevin P. Wolley, AEOD 
                    (301) 492-8373 

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