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MEMORANDUM FOR: Chairman Palladino W
Commissioner Roberts \
Commissioner Asselstine
Commissioner Bernthal
Commissioner Zech

FROM: Martin 3:4::/4 C-
C se

Deputy Genera


We have read and considered the license condition the staff recommends be made available to licensees and included in licenses issued in the future. We would recommend only that the wording of the second paragraph of the condition be made permissive. It is the intent of the second paragraph to make clear that licensees may make use of the flexibility available under 50.59, a flexibility which the first paragraph, standing alone, would take away. However, the neqative wording of the second paragraph obscures its intent. We therefore propose the following changes:

2. The licensee may net make changes to the approved
fire protection program without prior approval of the
Commission only if those changes would not wholeh-wetood
adversely affect the ability to achieve and maintain
safe shutdown in the event of a fire. witheat-prier


Steven F. Crockett, OGC, 41.465

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FROM; CoMMissionER AsselstiNE


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February 10, 1986

----o-roc-o-no co-i-o-o-o-o: MEMORANDUM FOR: Chairman Palladino Commissioner Rotfrts Commissioner Bernthal Commissioner Zech FPCM: cares K. Asselstine zSURJECT: SECY-85-306, 306A of 3068 - IMPLEMENTATION OF


I have several concerns about the staff's recommendations for implerentation of Appendix R. These include concerns about the procedures in the staff's interpretation document, technical concerns, problers with the proposed enforcement policy and the staff's backfitting analysis.


I he "+eve that the staff's approach will make it harder for our fire protection inspectors to do their jobs. The staff's new interpretation documert will allow licensees to depart from cornitments or #. accepted practices without first getting NRC approval. The 1*censee is only required to do an evaluation (undefined) of the di’erent approach it intends to take and to keep the evaluation documents ava?" Phle.

Whet this new procedure does is to, in effect, shift the burden from the
licensees, who formerly had to justify a different approach before they
could berin orplementation, to the NRC inspector and reviewer, who must now
discover the deviation and must establish why this approach does or does
not meet the rule. The new procedure will also make it harder to integrate
the work of the technical reviewer who will be at headquarters and the
inspector who will be in the field with the evaluation documents.
obviously, this new approach, by placing the burden on the inspectrrs ord
reviewers, will be more resource intensive for the HRC. In a time of
budget cuts, such an approach does not make sense.

The staff argues that its procedure is acceptable because, in the areas in
which they are not requiring prior approval, the staff has already granted
exemptions for other plants. Unfortunately, this answer dres rot adequate-
ly address the concern for several reasons. The staff's argument overlooks
the fact that fire protection is very plant specific. Whether a partiru"ar
fire protection method will be adequate for a particular plant car dererd
cr reny plant-specific details. The staff's argument also overlooks the
fact that, while exemptions have indeed been granted to sore p"arts. the
origire" roe, option proposals have often been altered as a result of the

staff's technical review process. Thus, there is no reason to believe that whatever alternative proposal the licensee comes up with will in the end be acceptable and will meet the requirements of Appendix R. Staff's proposal is, in effect, to wait until after changes to plants have already been made by licensees to decide whether their approach is acceptable. This can only lead to further confusion and further problems if the staff ultimately decides unfavorably. And, in the meantime, until the staff can discover the deviation and can analyze it and until the correct changes to the plant are made, the plant will continue to be in noncompliance with Appendix R.


I also believe that the Commission should give some consideration to the technical concerns raised by the Agency's experts in fire protection, the fire protection engineers. While I am not an expert in this area, it seems to me that they raise scre very good points. I will not discuss each item they raise, their DP0s do that better than I could. However, I will note that their main concern seems to be that the new interpretation document, by allowing divergence from Appendix R and Generic Letter 83-33, strays further from what are considered by those who know to be generally accepted industry standards.

It appears to me from reading Appendix R that the Commission's intent in enacting Appendix R was generally to apply industry standards to power plants, and I have seen no technical justification for departing from that course. In fact, given the potential of fires to serve as common mode failure mechanisms, it seems entirely reasonable to me to insist thrt nuclear power plants meet generally accepted industry fire protection standards.


My biggest concern ebout this whole process, however, is that it appears to be unnecessary and may, in fact, delay implementetion of Appendix R even more. Because the interpretations document will enable utilities to withdraw proposals made under Generic Letter 83-33 and does not require prior NRC approval, the date when we can say that everyone complies with : Appendix R may stretch even further into the future.

The staff argues, however, that this document is necessary to provide additional guidance on Appendix R and to expedite compliance for older plants. Admittedly, there was some confusion and uncertainty in the early 1980s as to what the staff expected in order to ensure compliance with Apperdix R. Workshops were held with licensees and from those came the additional clarification in Generic Letter 83-33. Plant specific Safety Evaluaticr Peports were issued providing further guidance to licensees. However, most licensees have been working with the staff to reef the requirements of Generic Letter 83-33. In fact the staff has told us that 62 of 67 plants licensed before January 1, 1979 are scheduled to be in compliance with Appendix R by the end of 1987. Five plants have compliance schedules str +ching beyond 1987 -- Browns Ferry 1 & 3 (yes, Browns Ferry), Brunswick 1 & 2, and Davis-Besse. (See, Memorandum from W.J. Dircks, ED0,

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to the Commission dated December 26, 1985 "Staff Requirements - Status of Implementation of Appendix R - Fire Protection.") Furthermore, additional guidance has not been necessary with respect to the 30 or so plants licensed since January 1, 1979. The 10 oldest plants have elready completed plent modifications or will complete essentially all of their modifications this year. (The one exception is Dresder 2 which is scheduled to complete its alternate shutdown system by mid-1987.)

The staff also argues that the new interpretation will better assure corsistent levels of fire protection safety in all plants. But, the staff fails to explain how something which will allow deviations frcr industry standards ard which provides for greater flexibility will result in greater consistency in fire protection levels. In fact, it appears that the staff's new approach will have just the opposite effect.

Since *::::: guidance seems to have been sufficient for most licensees, working closely with the staff, to determine what is required of them, the crestion arises "why do we need this interpretations document?" I have discussed this issue with most of the people involved in developing the document. It appears that the answer is because several of the very poor performers on fire protection wanted the new interpretation. After Generic Letter 83-33 was issued, a few utilities, primarily the leaders in the failed lawsuit against the NRC regarding promulgation of Appendix R, began appealing to the staff to develop new interpretations. or Merch of 1984 those utilities decided to appeal directly to senior staff management. Following the meeting between those utilities and one senirr menager, that manager &irected the staff to accommodate the concerns of the unhappy few. They were told that if the rule itself had gray arces, the staff should accommodate the requests of those few utilities. This accommodation process led to the "new interpretations" document, are to further departures fron the standards set in Generic Letter 83-33 and the SERs.

Given this history, I think that a decision to go along with SECY-85-306 would serd the wrong message to the industry. In effect such a decision would say to those utilities that took fire protection ser:cusly, worked with the technical staff to develop a common understanding as to what was: needed, and then went out and diligently worked to accomplish the necessary improvements -- "This approach was unnecessary, you should have argued with the NRC; you should have gone : the chain of cormond until you found a sympathetic ear." Civen that all but 5 plants appear to be able to come into compliance with Appendix R by the end of 1987 without a reed for "new interpretations," I see no need to issue additional guidance to help out a few of the utilities, especially when those uti" + ties have been the most recalcitrant and the poorest performers on this issue all along.


I also believe that the staff's proposed enforcement policy is totally inadequate. Under the staff's proprsal. a utility could have major violations of and departures from Appendix R requirements, in fact a utility could have done absolutely nothing to implement Appendix R, and if

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