United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 93-51: Repetitive Overspeed Tripping of Turbine-Driven Auxiliary Feedwater Pumps

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555

                                July 9, 1993


NRC INFORMATION NOTICE 93-51:  REPETITIVE OVERSPEED TRIPPING OF TURBINE-DRIVEN
                               AUXILIARY FEEDWATER PUMPS


Addressees

All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power
reactors.

Purpose  

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this information
notice to alert addressees to the problem of repetitive tripping of turbine-
driven auxiliary feedwater pumps (TDAFWPs) at the South Texas Project Electric
Generating Station.  It is expected that recipients will review the
information for applicability to their facilities and consider actions, as
appropriate, to avoid similar problems.  However, suggestions contained in
this information notice are not NRC requirements; therefore, no specific
action or written response is required.

Description of Circumstances

On December 27, 1992, Houston Lighting & Power Company (the licensee)
performed a monthly surveillance test on its Unit 1 TDAFWP.  After receiving
a start signal, the pump immediately tripped on an overspeed condition.  The
operators repeated the surveillance test after a successful local manual
start.  On this attempt the pump successfully started, and the licensee
subsequently considered the pump operable.   

On January 23, 1993, Unit 2 tripped from 100-percent power on low water level
in one of the steam generators.  The trip occurred because electro-hydraulic
control oil to the steam generator main feedwater pump turbine was lost.  The
Unit 2 TDAFWP started on demand and was later secured when no longer required. 
After the pump was secured, problems occurred when operators attempted to
relatch MOV-514 (the TDAFWP trip/throttle valve) from the control room.  (See
Figure 1.)  The pump was declared inoperable.  The licensee conducted a
significant amount of troubleshooting and testing on the TDAFWP to resolve the
MOV-514 relatch problem and another speed control problem that was identified
during the testing.  After the operability surveillance test was completed
successfully, the TDAFWP was declared operable and the unit was restarted on
January 25, 1993.  

On January 28, 1993, the Unit 1 TDAFWP was tested as part of a routine monthly
surveillance.  When started, the TDAFWP immediately tripped on an overspeed
condition and was subsequently declared inoperable.  From January 28 through

9307010233
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January 30, 1993, the licensee undertook an extensive testing and
troubleshooting effort to determine the cause of the problem with the TDAFWP. 
Numerous pump starts were completed.  Several problems (overspeed tripping,
lack of speed control, oscillations, and inability to maintain rated full-
load, steady-state speed) were identified.  On January 30, 1993, the Unit 1
TDAFWP was declared operable following extensive maintenance activities and
the successful completion of the surveillance test.  

On February 1, 1993, the Unit 1 TDAFWP was tested again at the direction of
the Unit 1 operations manager in order to ensure operability, considering the
numerous problems encountered previously.  After receiving a start signal, the
pump tripped on an overspeed condition and was declared inoperable.

On February 3, 1993, Unit 2 was operating at 100-percent power.  Two steam-
driven steam generator main feedwater pumps and one electric startup feedwater
pump were providing feed flow to the steam generators.  The startup feedwater
pump tripped when the pump lubricating oil duplex strainers were being
shifted.  Operators began to manually ramp down power but were unable to avoid
the low steam generator level.  The operators subsequently initiated a manual
reactor trip before receiving an automatic reactor protection system trip
signal on low steam generator level.  Following the plant trip, the Unit 2
TDAFWP received an automatic signal to supply water to the steam generators. 
The pump started but immediately tripped on an overspeed condition. 

On February 4, 1993, Unit 1 commenced a shutdown to place the reactor in the
mode required by the Technical Specifications because the TDAFWP had not been
restored to an operable condition within the outage time allowed by the
Technical Specifications.  

Further details can be found in License Event Report 50-498/93-007 and NRC
Inspection Reports 50-498; 50-499/93-05 and 50-498; 50-499/93-07.        

Discussion

Although the licensee did not identify the root cause of the Unit 1 TDAFWP
overspeed trips, the proximate cause was determined to be the intrusion of
water into the TDAFWP turbine that adversely affected its performance. 
However, this cause was effectively masked for several surveillance tests
because the surveillance test program established to satisfy the operability
requirements of the Technical Specifications was not sufficiently rigorous to
assure that the testing was performed under suitable environmental conditions. 
The TDAFWP was not returned to its normal standby condition before each of the
TDAFWP surveillance tests performed on December 27, 1992, and 
January 30, 1993.  Because of this, the pump was not tested in its normal
standby condition and degraded conditions affecting operability were not
revealed..

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The licensee determined that the root cause of the February 3, 1993, Unit 2
TDAFWP overspeed trip was an incorrect valve lineup in conjunction with an
inoperable or degraded steam trap.  The valves and the steam trap are located
in the drain line from the steam admission line.  (See Figure 1.)  The TDAFWP
overspeed trip was caused by excessive condensate buildup in the steam supply
line upstream of the trip/throttle valve (MOV-514 in Figure 1).  The excessive
condensate had accumulated because the steam trap bypass valve, MS-517, was
incorrectly positioned (closed) and the steam trap had degraded to such an
extent that it was no longer capable of passing condensate to the condenser. 

The licensee took the following corrective actions related to the hardware
modifications for both units:

      The trip/throttle valves and governors were sent to the respective
      vendors for complete refurbishment and testing.  The gearing arrangement
      of the trip/throttle valve was modified to ensure slower stroke time,
      thus enabling a more positive governor response.

      The TDAFWP drain system was modified to remove the steam traps in the
      steamline drain system, replacing them with a spool piece.  Also, the
      trip/throttle valve high-pressure steam leakoff was separated from the
      turbine casing drain line and rerouted to the sump to prevent possible
      intrusion of steam into the turbine casing.  (See Figure 2.)

Related Generic Communications
 
      NRC Information Notice 86-14, Supplement 2, "Overspeed Trips of AFW,
      HPCI, and RCIC Turbines," dated August 26, 1991.

      NRC Information Notice 88-09, "Reduced Reliability of Steam-Driven
      Auxiliary Feedwater Pumps Caused by Instability of Woodward PG-PL Type
      Governors," dated March 18, 1988.

      Information Notice No. 86-14, Supplement 1, "Overspeed Trips of AFW,
      HPCI, and RCIC Turbines," dated December 17, 1986.

      Information Notice No. 86-14, "PWR Auxiliary Feedwater Pump Turbine
      Control Problems," dated March 10, 1986.
.

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This information notice requires no specific action or written response.  If
you have any questions about the information in this notice, please contact
one of the technical contacts listed below or the appropriate Office of
Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) project manager.

                                   orig /s/'d by BKGrimes


                                   Brian K. Grimes, Director
                                   Division of Operating Reactor Support
                                   Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

 Technical contacts:  Mark A. Satorius, RIV
                      (817) 860-8141

                      William D. Johnson, RIV
                      (817) 860-8148

                      Peter C. Wen, NRR
                      (301) 504-2832
             
Attachments:  
1.   Figure 1, Existing South Texas Project 
       TDAFWP Steam Supply and Exhaust System
2.   Figure 2, Modified South Texas Project 
       TDAFWP Steam Supply and Exhaust System
3.   List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices  
.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2013