NOED-99-3-001 - Point Beach 1 (Wisconsin Electric)

LISLE, ILLINOIS 60532-4351

January 8, 1999

EA 99-002

Mr. M. Reddemann
Site Vice President
Point Beach Nuclear Plant
6610 Nuclear Road
Two Rivers, WI 54241


Dear Mr. Reddemann:

By letter dated January 6, 1999, you requested that the NRC exercise discretion not to enforce compliance with the actions required in Technical Specification 15.3.0.B. Your letter documented information previously discussed with the NRC in a telephone conversation on January 5 at approximately 4:30 p.m. (CST). The principal NRC staff members who participated in that telephone conference included Messrs. J. Caldwell, Acting Regional Administrator, C. Pederson, Acting Deputy Regional Administrator, M. Dapas, Deputy Director, Division of Reactor Projects, C. Carpenter, Director, Project Directorate III-1, and T. Collins, Chief, Reactor Systems Branch. You stated that at 7:40 p.m. on January 5, 1999, Point Beach Unit 1 would not be in compliance with Technical Specification 15.3.0.B, which required that "In the event an LCO [Limiting Condition for Operation] cannot be satisfied because of equipment failures or limitations beyond those specified in the permissible condition of the LCO, action shall be initiated within 1 hour to place the affected unit in: 1) Hot shutdown within 7 hours of entering this specification; and 2) Cold shutdown within 37 hours of entering this specification." At the time of the request, the 1 hour time limit to initiate actions for shutdown had expired and the licensee had entered the portion of the action statement requiring the plant to be in hot shutdown within the next 6 hours. You requested that a Notice of Enforcement Discretion (NOED) be issued pursuant to the NRC's policy regarding exercise of discretion for an operating facility set out in Section VII.c. of the "General Statement of Policy and Procedures for NRC Enforcement Actions" (Enforcement Policy), NUREG-1600, to extend the action statement requiring the plant to be in hot shutdown an additional 6 hours, until 1:40 a.m. on January 6, 1999. This letter documents our telephone conversation on January 5, at 6:00 p.m. (CST) when we orally issued this NOED. We understand that the condition causing the need for this NOED was corrected by you and that you exited from Technical Specification 15.3.0.B and from this NOED on January 5 at 11:30 p.m. (CST).

The event leading up to the request for the NOED involved the declaration of both of the safety injection and containment spray systems inoperable on January 5 at 12:40 p.m. (CST) after the identification that the common minimum flow line returning to the Refueling Water Storage Tank (RWST) was frozen. Portions of this line and the RWST are located in an unheated enclosure. The minimum flow line was discovered frozen during an attempt to recirculate water in the RWST. You concluded that the additional time requested before the plant would have to be in hot shutdown in order to allow you to return one train of safety injection and the containment spray system to an operable condition, would result in a minimal increase in risk to the safe operation of Unit 1. In addition, you stated that compliance with Technical Specification 15.3.0.B may be detrimental in that subjecting the plant to a shutdown transient may entail additional risk. Also, while a power grid emergency had not been declared, the grid was in a "Yellow Condition," as determined by the Wisconsin Electric Control Center, which meant that the loss of generating capacity from the shutdown of Point Beach Unit 1 may have resulted in the curtailment of service to some sectors of electric customers. Compensatory measures included: (1) the modification of operating and emergency procedures to allow the temporary use of the installed full flow test line to provide minimum flow protection for the B train safety injection pump; (2) an analysis of the containment spray system that addressed operability of the containment spray system without a minimum flow path; (3) the conduct of a 10 CRF 50.59 safety evaluation to ensure that the modifications to operating and emergency procedures did not involve an unreviewed safety question; (4) the conduct of an operability evaluation using the guidance in NRC Generic Letter 91-18 to provide justification for declaring the B train of safety injection operable; and (5) training of each operating crew before turnover to make sure the operators and their supervision were aware of the unusual safety injection system alignment and the changes to operating and emergency procedures.

The NRC evaluated your safety rationale for the requested NOED and verified that the request to extend the action statement of Technical Specification 15.3.0.B an additional 6 hours involved minimal increase in risk to the safe operation of Point Beach Unit 1. The staff also evaluated the length of time requested and determined that the short duration of the request was also appropriate, since you had already reconfigured the plant to use the installed full flow test line in lieu of the common minimum flow line to the RWST in order to provide minimum flow protection for the B train safety injection pump, and had revised both operating and emergency procedures for the use of this test line, but had not yet completed the associated 10 CFR 50.59 safety evaluation. In addition, the NRC considered the compounding factor of the "Yellow Condition" of the power grid and the potential interruption of power at a time when sub-zero temperatures existed. Based on these considerations, the staff concluded that Criterion 1 of Section B and the applicable criteria in Section C.4 to NRC Manual Chapter 9900, "Technical Guidance, Operations - Notice of Enforcement Discretion," were met. Criterion 1 of Section B states that for an operating plant, the NOED is intended to avoid an undesirable transient as a result of forcing compliance with the license condition, and thus minimize the potential safety consequences and operational risks.

On the basis of the staff's evaluation of your request, we have concluded that an NOED is warranted because we are clearly satisfied that this action involves minimal safety impact, is consistent with the enforcement policy and staff guidance, and has no adverse impact on public health and safety. Therefore, it is our intention to exercise discretion not to enforce compliance with Technical Specification 15.3.0.B for the period from January 5 at 7;40 p.m. (CST) until January 6 at 1:40 a.m. (CST), a period of 6 hours.

As stated in the Enforcement Policy, action will be taken, to the extent that violations were involved, for the root cause that led to the noncompliance for which this NOED was necessary.

  /original signed by James L. Caldwell/
  James L. Caldwell
Acting Regional Administrator

Docket Nos.: 50-266; 50-301
License Nos.: DPR-24; DPR-27

R. Grigg, President and Chief  Operating Officer, WEPCO
M. Sellman, Chief Nuclear Officer
R. Mende, Plant Manager
J. O'Neill, Jr., Shaw, Pittman,  Potts & Trowbridge
K. Duveneck, Town Chairman   Town of Two Creeks
B. Burks, P. E., Director   Bureau of Field Operations
J. Mettner, Chairman, Wisconsin   Public Service Commission
S. Jenkins, Electric Division   Wisconsin Public Service Commission
State Liaison Officer


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