Information Notice No. 87-21:Shutdown Order Issued Because Licensed Operators Asleep While on Duty

                                               SSINS No.: 6835 
                                                   IN 87-21 

                                  UNITED STATES
                          NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                             WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                                  May 11, 1987

                                  OPERATORS ASLEEP WHILE ON DUTY 


All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license (OL) or a 
construction permit (CP) and all licensed operators. 


The purpose of this information notice is to reaffirm the principle of high 
standards of control room professionalism and operator attentiveness that are 
essential to ensure a nuclear power reactor facility is operated safely and in 
amanner which will protect the health and safety of the public.  It is 
expected that recipients will review the information for applicability to 
their facilities and consider actions, if appropriate, to preclude a similar 
problem occurring at their facilities.  However, suggestions contained in this 
notice do not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or 
written response is required. 

Description of Circumstances: 

On March 24, 1987, the Region I office of NRC received information that 
certain control room operators at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station had 
been observed sleeping while on duty in the control room and otherwise being 
inattentive to their license obligations. 

On the basis of initial findings, an NRC order was issued on March 31, 1987, 
directing the shutdown of Peach Bottom Unit 3 within 36 hours (Unit 2 was 
already shutdown and in the refueling mode).  As indicated in the order, the 
salient findings to date have established the following: 

1.   At times during various shifts, particularly during the 11:00 p.m. to 
     7:00 a.m. shift, one or more of the Peach Bottom operations control room 
     staff (including licensed operators, senior licensed operators, and shift 
     supervisors) periodically have slept or been otherwise inattentive to 
     licensed duties while on shift during at least the past 5 months.

2.   Management at the Shift Supervisor and Shift Superintendent level either 
     knew and condoned the facts set forth in paragraph 1, above, or as a part
     of their duties should have known of these facts and taken action to 
     correct the situation. 

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                                                            May 11, 1987
                                                            Page 2 of 3 

3.   Plant management above the Shift Superintendent position either knew and 
     condoned the facts set forth in paragraph 1 or should have known the 
     facts and taken action to correct this situation.

The order requires the licensee to provide a detailed and comprehensive plan 
to ensure full compliance with NRC requirements before requesting the restart 
authorization of either unit.  The order clearly states the NRC position on 
this issue: 

     The NRC expects licensees to maintain high standards of control room 
     professionalism.  NRC licensed operators in the control rooms at nuclear 
     power plants are responsible for assuring that the facility is operated 
     safely and within the requirements of the facility's license, technical 
     specifications, regulations and orders of the NRC.  To be able to carry 
     out these highly important responsibilities, reactor operators must give 
     their full attention to the condition of the plant at all times.  
     Operators must be alert to ensure that the plant is operating safely and 
     must be capable of taking timely action in response to plant conditions.  
     All control room business must be conducted in such a way that neither 
     control room operator attentiveness nor the professional atmosphere will 
     be compromised.  Sleeping while on duty in the control room demonstrates 
     a total disregard for performing licensed duties and a lack of 
     appreciation for what those duties entail.


As previously disseminated in IE Circular 81-02 "Performance of NRC-Licensed 
Individuals While on Duty," conditions and practices that are among those the 
NRC believes to be necessary for the maintenance of a professional atmosphere 
in the control room and throughout the facility include the following: 

1.   All on-duty NRC-licensed operators and operating supervisors must be 
     aware of and responsible for the plant status at all times.  This 
     includes supervisors being responsible for the performance of all 
     personnel assigned to their shift who could affect plant safety, 
     regardless of specialty affiliation.  Knowledge of the plant's status 
     must be ensured during shift changes by a formal watch turnover and 

2.   All on-duty NRC-licensed operators must be alert, remain within their 
     immediate areas of responsibility until properly relieved, and be 
     particularly attentive to the instrumentation and controls located within
     these areas at all times.

3.   Potentially distracting activities in the control room and other watch 
     stations must be prohibited (for example: use of radios, TV, alcohol or 
     drugs,  games, horseplay, hobbies, and reading that is not directly job 

4.   Control room access must be limited to those persons on official business
     only and loitering in this area must be prohibited.
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                                                            May 11, 1987 
                                                            Page 3 of 3 

5.   All necessary plant-related technical/administrative control room 
     business must he conducted at a location and in such a manner that 
     neither licensed control room operator attentiveness nor the professional 
     atmosphere will be compromised.  This includes activities associated with 
     the use of special eating and training facilities for on-shift personnel.

Information Notice No. 85-53, "Performance of NRC-Licensed Individuals While on
Duty," recently reemphasized these points. 

It is recommended that each power reactor licensee review the content of this 
notice with its licensed operators and other plant staff as appropriate. 
Administrative procedures that provide guidance to licensed operators 
regarding acceptable performance and behavior should also be reviewed and 
revised as necessary to ensure clear direction is provided in the area of 
shift supervisory personnel duties and responsibilities, including operator 
attentiveness while at the controls of a power reactor. 

It is also recommended that the information contained in this notice be widely
disseminated to licensed personnel by management at a level that will convey 
the very high degree of importance the NRC staff places on this aspect of 
reactor operations. 

No specific action or written response is required by this information notice. 
If there are any questions regarding this matter, please contact the Regional 
Administrator of the appropriate NRC regional office or this office. 

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

Technical Contacts:   Pohert M. Gallo, Region I
                      (215) 337-1225

                      Richard J. Kiessel, NRR
                      (301) 492-9605

Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices 


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