Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release

No. I-16-015 May 16, 2016
Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330 Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331
NRC to Hold Open House on May 23 in Limerick, Pa., to Discuss 2015 Performance of Limerick Nuclear Power Plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct an open house on Monday, May 23, in Limerick, Pa., to discuss the agency’s annual review of safety performance at the Limerick nuclear power plant.

NRC staff will be at the Limerick Township Municipal Building, at 646 W. Ridge Pike, from 5 - 6:30 p.m. to discuss the plant’s performance in 2015 and the agency’s oversight plans for the remainder of 2016. On hand will be agency employees responsible for inspections of the plant, including the resident inspectors who are based full-time at the plant.

The NRC’s Reactor Oversight Process is the foundational program that enables the agency to successfully complete its mission of assessing plant safety. Under that program, the NRC gauges plant performance through the use of color-coded inspection findings and performance indicators, which are statistical measurements of plant performance that can trigger additional oversight if exceeded.

Based on its 2015 reviews, the NRC determined that the Limerick nuclear plant, which is owned by Exelon and is the site of two boiling-water reactors, operated safely during 2015. As of the end of last year, Limerick Units 1 and 2 had no inspection findings that were “greater than green” or no performance indicators that were other than “green” (very low safety significance) and will therefore receive the NRC’s normal battery of reviews, barring any changes.

The NRC’s normal level of oversight at each U.S. nuclear power plant involves thousands of hours of inspection. In 2015, the agency devoted approximately 5,300 hours of review at Limerick.

“Our Annual Assessments allow us to step back at regular intervals and size up plant performance. However, we view oversight of each facility as an ongoing responsibility,” Acting NRC Region I Administrator David Lew said. “In the case of Limerick, the plant’s current performance qualifies for our normal level of oversight.”

The NRC issues reports on performance at each plant twice a year: during the mid-cycle, or mid-point, of the year, and at the conclusion of the year. Inspection findings and performance indicators are also updated on a quarterly basis on the agency’s website. Following the release of the Annual Assessment letters each March, the NRC meets with the public in the vicinity of each plant to discuss the results. Normal inspections are carried out by the two resident inspectors assigned to Limerick. Reviews are also performed at the sites by specialist inspectors on a periodic basis.

Among the areas to be inspected this year at Limerick are radiological safety, fire protection and the plant’s problem identification and resolution program. In addition, the NRC will inspect the plant’s dry cask storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.

The Annual Assessment letter for Limerick, as well as the notice for the May 23 open house, are available on the NRC website. Current performance information is also available for Limerick Unit 1 and Unit 2.

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No: III-16-010

May 16, 2016

CONTACT: Viktoria Mitlyng 630-829-9662
                   Prema Chandrathil 630-829-9663

NRC Issues Confirmatory Order to Entergy Regarding Palisades Nuclear Plant

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Confirmatory Order to Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc. under which the company will perform a series of actions to address failures in handling a leak from the safety injection refueling water tank (SIRWT) into the control room at the Palisades Nuclear Plant.

The plant is located in Covert, Mich., five miles south of South Haven.

The order stems from a settlement reached under the NRC’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process requested by plant-owner Entergy to address the violations identified in the NRC’s investigation. The violations are connected to the discovery of leakage from the plant’s control room ceiling on May 18, 2011.

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No: II-16-030 May 16, 2016
CONTACT: Roger Hannah 404-997-4417
Joey Ledford 404-997-4416

NRC Schedules Meeting with TVA to Discuss Watts Bar Work Environment Improvement Plan
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has scheduled a meeting with Tennessee Valley Authority officials for Tuesday, May 24, to discuss TVA’s response to an NRC “chilling effect” letter issued in March to the Watts Bar nuclear plant.

The plant is located near Spring City, Tenn., about 60 miles southwest of Knoxville.

The NRC had found that some operations employees may not have felt free to raise safety concerns, and some licensed operators may have been unduly influenced and directed by sources external to the control room. That hesitancy to raise concerns is what the NRC calls a chilling effect.

The NRC met with Watts Bar officials on March 22 and issued the letter on March 23. That letter requested a response outlining what TVA is doing to address the concerns.

During the May 24 meeting, the Watts Bar staff plans to brief the NRC on the current status and progress of actions to improve the chilled work environment in the operations department at the plant.

The meeting is scheduled to be held in the NRC’s Region II office at 245 Peachtree Center Avenue NE in Atlanta at 10 a.m.

The public may observe the meeting and NRC officials will be available after the business portion to answer any questions. For people unable to attend, a toll-free teleconference line will be available. Anyone wishing to listen to the meeting should contact Alan Blamey by May 23 at 404-997- 4415 or

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This is misleading because it claims all safety systems responded the way they were supposed to. However the high pressure injection system was inoperable (although not called upon). This is how accident get started.

Power Reactor    Event Number: 51925
Region: 1 State: PA
Unit: [ ] [2] [ ]
RX Type: [1] GE-4,[2] GE-4
HQ OPS Officer: HOWIE CROUCH    Notification Date: 05/13/2016
Notification Time: 05:00 [ET]
Event Date: 05/13/2016
Event Time: 01:10 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 05/13/2016
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS ACTUATION - CRITICAL
50.72(b)(3)(v)(C) - POT UNCNTRL RAD REL
50.72(b)(2)(iv)(A) - ECCS INJECTION
Person (Organization):

Unit    SCRAM Code    RX CRIT    Initial PWR    Initial RX Mode    Current PWR    Current RX Mode
2    M/R    Y    100    Power Operation    0    Hot Shutdown
Event Text

"At approximately 0110 hours [EDT] on May 13, 2016, Susquehanna Steam Electric Station Unit Two reactor was manually scrammed by plant operators due to a sustained loss of AC power to essential plant loads. Power to MCC 2B246 was lost at 2355 on May 12, 2016, resulting in a loss of Drywell cooling. Drywell pressure increased to 1.3 psig when operators placed the mode switch to the shutdown position to manually SCRAM the reactor. All rods inserted as expected. Reactor water level lowered to -27 inches and was immediately restored by normal feedwater level control. Level 3 (+13 inch) PCIS isolations occurred, along with an initiation of the RCIC system (-30 inches). Once adequate level was verified, RCIC was overridden. Pressure was controlled with turbine bypass valves, and subsequently main steam line drains. All safety systems functioned as expected.

"The power loss also tripped Reactor Building HVAC, causing a loss of secondary containment differential pressure resulting in a loss of safety function.

"Due to the loss of drywell cooling, high drywell pressure actuations and a second reactor SCRAM signal, this signal was automatic, occurred at 0314 hours. HPCI [which automatically initiated on high drywell pressure] was subsequently overridden and declared inoperable, resulting in a loss of safety function. [HPCI did not inject into the vessel].

"The reactor is currently stable in Mode 3. Initial reports from the field indicate a phase to phase fault on the MCC 2B246 bus bars."

The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector and will be issuing a press release.


Press Release I-16-001: NRC Proposes $3,500 Civil Penalty for Connecticut FirmOver Nuclear Gauge Security Control Deficiencies

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Press Release 16-028: NRC Proposes $42,000 Civil Penalty for Connecticut Company for Willful Import, Possession and Distribution Violations

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Press Release
No. I-16-014 May 13, 2016
Contact: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330 Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331

NRC Proposes $7,000 Civil Penalty for Violation at West Virginia Manufacturing Facility
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is proposing a $7,000 fine for an Atlanta-based company for a violation of agency requirements. The violation involves maintenance inappropriately done on a fixed nuclear gauge at the firm’s manufacturing facility in Fairmont, W.V.

Based on the results of an NRC inspection and investigation carried out at Novelis Corp.’s Fairmont plant, the agency is also issuing a Severity Level III violation to the company.

Novelis performs aluminum sheet and light-gauge fin/foil cold rolling activities at the facility. The company held an NRC license for the possession and use of fixed nuclear gauges at this location. The gauges are used to measure the thickness of the sheet metal products.

The NRC inspection and investigation completed on Jan. 21, 2016, determined that on Sept. 12 and 13, 2014, there was a violation involving the deliberate actions of plant employees. Specifically, an engineering reliability and automation engineer directed an electrical technician to repair nuclear gauge components related to the radiological safety of the device even though Novelis’ NRC license prohibits such activities.

“Our reviews found that the plant employees involved understood the work they were undertaking was not permitted, but they proceeded with the repairs nonetheless in order to minimize the economic impact on the facility from the inoperable gauge,” Acting NRC Region I Administrator
David Lew said. “These activities could have resulted in unnecessary radiological exposure and possibly physical harm. This enforcement action serves as an important reminder of the need for gauge owners and users to adhere to license conditions meant to ensure the proper handling of nuclear materials.”

In a March 8, 2016, letter, Novelis acknowledged the violation occurred, but it disagreed that the employees acted deliberately. After reviewing the information, the NRC staff concluded that the enforcement action was still appropriate. Based on the apparent economic incentive for the violation, the NRC used discretion to double the fine from base amount of $3,500.

Novelis has notified the NRC of prompt and comprehensive corrective and preventive actions in response to the issue, including the termination of its NRC license, which occurred on Jan. 12, 2016.
The NRC is also issuing a Severity Level III violation to the engineering reliability and automation engineer who authorized the technician to work on the gauge.

The company is required to respond to the violation and proposed civil penalty within 30 days.

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Press Release 16-019: NRC and Army Corps of Engineers Issue Final Environmental Impact Statement for Bell Bend New Reactor

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Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 - Relief Requests for the Third 10-Year Inservice Inspection Interval (CAC Nos. MF6302 through MF6307)

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Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3 – Issuance of Amendments re: Inservice Leak and Hydrostatic Testing Operation

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