United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 97-66: Failure to Provide Special Lenses for Operators using Respirator or Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus During Emergency Operations

                                 UNITED STATES
                         NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                     OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION
                         WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555-0001

                                August 20, 1997


NRC INFORMATION NOTICE 97-66:    FAILURE TO PROVIDE SPECIAL LENSES FOR
                                 OPERATORS USING RESPIRATOR OR SELF-CONTAINED
                                 BREATHING APPARATUS DURING EMERGENCY
                                 OPERATIONS


Addressees

All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power
and non-power reactors and all licensed reactor operators and senior
operators.

Purpose

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this information
notice to alert addressees to a potential problem associated with procedures
or instructions to ensure that licensed operators who require corrective
lenses are equipped with the special lenses needed for respirator or self-
contained breathing apparatus use.  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 is required.

Background

For most licensees, the final or updated safety analysis report establishes
that for some design-basis events, licensed operators must perform licensed
duties while wearing a respirator or a self-contained breathing apparatus. 
Some licenses require operators to wear corrective lenses while performing
licensed duties.

Description of Circumstances

In April 1997, the Quality Assurance Department of Waterford Generating
Station, Unit 3, audited licensed operator medical conditions.  The audit
found that the facility had insufficient instructions or procedures in place
to ensure that all licensed operators who were required to wear corrective
lenses were equipped with the appropriate lenses for self-contained breathing
apparatus.  NRC inspectors subsequently confirmed that the licensee final
safety analysis report required licensed operators to perform licensed duties
while wearing self-contained breathing apparatus in some instances.  The
inspectors also confirmed that the licensee had established training and
administrative procedures requiring all licensed operators to be qualified in
the use of self-contained breathing apparatuses, and requiring that self-
contained breathing apparatuses be staged, as required, in the control room. 
However, the inspectors found that the licensee did not have specific
procedures or instructions in place to ensure 


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that the special lenses were available for those licensed operators on shift
who were required to wear corrective lenses with the self-contained breathing
apparatus when performing licensed duties.

In April and May 1997, during inspections at Arkansas Nuclear One, Comanche
Peak Steam Electric Station, Fort Calhoun Station, and Wolf Creek Generating
Station, inspectors found that the licensees had not established
administrative controls for special lens inserts and had not ensured that the
requisite special lenses were available for licensed operators.  During other
inspections in the same timeframe, inspectors found that Diablo Canyon Nuclear
Power Plant and Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, had procedures
pertaining to special lens inserts in place, but had failed to properly
implement them.  Finally, inspectors at River Bend Station found that the
licensee had changed the type of self-contained breathing apparatus used at
the facility, which required different type of corrective lens inserts,
without ensuring the new inserts were also available.  In all cases,
inspectors confirmed that mitigation of certain design-basis events required
operators to perform licensed duties while wearing a respirator or a self-
contained breathing apparatus.

This information notice reminds licensees to ensure that licensed operators
who need to wear corrective lenses while performing licensed duties should
have proper corrective lenses available for conditions requiring a respirator
or a self-contained breathing apparatus.  This information notice requires no
specific action or written response.  If you have any questions about this
notice, please call the technical contacts listed below or the appropriate
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) project manager.

                                              /s/'d


                                       Marylee M. Slosson, Acting Director
                                       Division of Reactor Program Management
                                       Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Technical contacts: John L. Pellet, RIV               
                    (817) 860-8159                    
                    E-mail:  jlp@nrc.gov              

                    Thomas Koshy, NRR
                    301-415-1176
                    E-mail:  txk@nrc.gov
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, December 03, 2013