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Waterford scores ‘headed in right direction’

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / June 3, 1998

TAFT – Waterford 3’s scores from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency, asreported in the Systematic Assessment of Licensee Performance (SALP), improved and are “headed in the right direction.”Chuck Dugger, vice president of operations for Entergy, was told recently by NRC Regional Administrator Ellis Merschoff, “Overall, your self- assessment activities improved the identification of conditions adverse to quality at Waterford 3. Audits performed by quality assurancepersonnel were generally comprehensive and critical and organizational self-assessments contributed to the overall improved performance.”Dugger commented later, “I was really pleased with the report. To beperfectly honest, I didn’t expect anything else.”The major improvement came in the Engineering division of the SALP report, where the ability to identify emerging issues that affected equipment operability was “substantially improved,” raising their score to a 2, from a 3 score in the previous assessment period. Top score is a 1out of 4.

Other scores, in Plant Operations, Maintenance and Plant Support, retained their 2 scores, according to NRC representatives.

The latest assessment period covers Dec. 1, 1996 to March 21, 1998.In the Plant Operations category, overall safety performance remained good with some improvement noted over the previous assessment, yet not enough for a 1 rating.

Procedures and administrative controls were good, but some procedure weaknesses were noted and a good, self-critical assessment process was evident, according to the SALP report.

As an example, the report continued, the procedure for responding to the loss of the station uninterruptible power supply did not aid the operators in identifying affected equipment when the control power was lost. Inanother example, an emergency operating procedure was not upgraded to reflect a modification to the closing circuits for the containment spray injection valves in the plant.

Operator training continued to be considered effective and, at a dinner held May 11, 11 senior operator licenses were awarded, Dugger stated. TheSALP report noted the “professional response of the operators to plant events” but also noted minor weaknesses in crew direction and oversight by senior operators in the control room simulator.

In the Maintenance category, while the conduct of maintenance was generally good, a number of welding program implementation problems were identified. Also, a number of surveillance procedure deficiencieswhich resulted in some improperly performed surveillances were also noted.

It was noted a number of surveillance tests associated with safety- related equipment, such as the high-pressure valve and containment spray systems, did not take into account appropriate instrument uncertainties.

In the Engineering category, a few potential equipment operability concerns resulted from inattention to design details.

The SALP reported recognized significant improvement to Waterford’s ability to identify design deficiencies but commented the engineering organization was still less effective in identifying adverse conditions.

A program was established to correct and update the design basis for the facility which already has located and corrected several design deficiencies.

However, Engineering missed several opportunities to prevent operation outside of the licensing basis because of flow uncertainties in the high pressure safety injection system.

In the Plant Support category, radiological controls, emergency preparedness, security and housekeeping remained good, with quality assurance audits and self-assessments critical and effective in identifying areas of concern.

“The NRC did the right thing by recognizing a good performance,” Dugger continued. “There were some areas which needed to be assessed.”However, he concluded the chances for Waterford 3 achieving some 1 scores were “a distinct possibility,” with the positive motivation provided by this improved SALP report.

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