Information Notice No. 89-40:Unsatisfactory Operator Test Results and Their Effect on the Requalification Program

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

                                 April 14, 1989

                                   THEIR EFFECT ON THE REQUALIFICATION PROGRAM


All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power


This information notice is being provided to alert addressees to problems 
associated with high failure rates for operators taking requalification
examinations.  It is expected that recipients will review the information
for applicability to their facilities and consider actions, as applicable,
to avoid similar problems.  However, suggestions contained in this information
notice do not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or
written response is required.

Description of Circumstances:

During the weeks of March 13, 1989, and March 20, 1989, requalification exami-
nations were administered by the NRC to six crews of licensed operators at 
Turkey Point Units 3 and 4.  Three of the six crews performed unsatisfactorily 
during the simulator portion of the operating test and 12 of the 24 licensed 
operators failed at least one portion (written examination, simulator test, 
or plant walk-through examination) of the NRC-administered requalification 
examinations.  As a result, the Turkey Point Units 3 and 4 requalification 
programs were evaluated as unsatisfactory by the NRC.  The number of licensed 
operators at the units currently is limited to the 27 licensed operators who 
have not failed either a facility or an NRC-administered examination within 
the past 12 months.

New crews have been formed using licensed operators who have not failed recent 
facility or NRC-administered examinations.  Under the terms of a Confirmatory 
Action Letter issued by the Regional Administrator, Unit 3 has shut down to 
allow the facility licensee time to train the new crews in team performance.  
Unit 4 was already in a shutdown status for refueling.  The NRC, in 
conjunction with the licensee, will perform an operational assessment of the 
new crews' performance before concurring in the decision to restart either 

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                                                            April 14, 1989
                                                            Page 2 of 2


The NRC resumed administration of requalification examinations after conducting
extensive pilot tests of a system for examining candidates in the work environ-
ment on job-relevant tasks of great safety significance.  Facility licensees 
provide licensed senior operators to the NRC examination teams to share the 
quality assurance responsibilities and to concur in the importance and 
relevancy of the examinations.  The examinations were field tested before 
administration by the examination team.  

The NRC's confidence in the ability of facility licensees to ensure public 
health and safety depends upon the licensee's ability to administer an 
effective requalification program that maintains highly qualified, 
professional licensed operators and senior operators at the unit controls at 
all times.  The importance of this aspect of licensee responsibility cannot be 

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 

                                    Charles E. Rossi, Director 
                                    Division of Operational Events Assessment
                                    Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
Technical Contact:  K. Perkins Jr., NRR
                    (301) 492-1031

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices
.                                                            Attachment 
                                                            IN 89-40
                                                            April 14, 1989
                                                            Page 1 of 1

                             LIST OF RECENTLY ISSUED
                             NRC INFORMATION NOTICES
Information                                  Date of 
Notice No._____Subject_______________________Issuance_______Issued to________

89-39          List of Parties Excluded      4/5/89         All holders of OLs
               from Federal Procurement                     or CPs for nuclear
               or Non-Procurement Programs                  power reactors.

89-38          Atmospheric Dump Valve        4/5/89         All holders of OLs
               Failures at Palo Verde                       or CPs for nuclear
               Units 1, 2, and 3                            power reactors.

89-37          Proposed Amendments to        4/4/89         All U.S. NRC 
               40 CFR Part 61, Air                          licensees. 
               Emission Standards 
               for Radionuclides

89-36          Excessive Temperatures        4/4/89         All holders of OLs
               in Emergency Core Cooling                    or CPs for nuclear
               System Piping Located                        power reactors.
               Outside Containment

88-86,         Operating with Multiple       3/31/89        All holders of OLs
Supp. 1        Grounds in Direct Current                    or CPs for nuclear
               Distribution Systems                         power reactors.

89-35          Loss and Theft of Un-         3/30/89        All U.S. NRC 
               secured Licensed Material                    byproduct, source 
                                                            and special 
                                                            nuclear material

89-34          Disposal of Americium         3/30/89        All holders of an
               Well-Logging Sources                         NRC specific 
                                                            authorizing well-
                                                            logging activities.

89-33          Potential Failure of          3/23/89        All holders of OLs
               Westinghouse Steam                           or CPs for PWRs.
               Generator Tube 
               Mechanical Plugs

89-32          Surveillance Testing          3/23/89        All holders of OLs
               of Low-Temperature                           or CPs for PWRs.

OL = Operating License
CP = Construction Permit 

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