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Allegation: Material False Statement Regarding Full Power Licensing
Atomic Energy Act, Section 186(a), Revocation: "Any license may be revoked for any material- false statement in the application or any statement of fact required under Section 182, or because of conditions revealed by such application or statement of fact or any report, record, or inspection or other means which would warrant the Commission to refuse to grant a license on-an original application, or for failure to construct or operate a facility in accordance with the terms of the construction permit or license or the technical specifications in the application, or for violation of, or failure to observe any of the terms and provisions of this Act or of any regulation of the Commission."
Code of Federal Regulations, Part 2, Appendix C, Supplement VII, Section B.l: "A material false statement or a reporting failure, involving information which, had it been available to the NRC and accurate at the time the information should have been submitted, would have resulted in regulatory action or would likely have resulted in NRC seeking further information."
DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION
Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Station achieved its first reactor criticality on June 21, 1985. On the evening control room shift of July 1, 1985, Fermi was in the process of a startup to 5% power. The control room personnel consisted of a Shift Supervisor, Assistant Shift Supervisor, Senior Reactor Operator, Reactor Operator, Reactor Engineer, Shift Technical Advisor (STA), STA in training, and a Shift Operations Advisor (SOA). The reactor operator, who was not experienced at operating the Fermi 2 reactor, was to continue the control rod pull started on the afternoon shift. The NRC Senior Resident Inspector who followed plant operations, was scheduled to leave for Washington, DC, at noon on July 3 to attend the July 10 Commission hearing and vote regarding a Fermi 2 full power license.
Chronology of Events
On July 1, 1985, at approximately 11:00 p.m., DECo Reactor Operator William KLINE, took over the already in-process reactor startup procedure at Step 38. KLINE was advised by the previous reactor operator to expect criticality at approximately Step 156. KLINE was performing his first rod pull to criticality on the actual Fermi 2 reactor. His only other experience had been in the Fermi 2 simulator. When KLINE began withdrawing the first group 3 rods, he did not observe the procedure instruction to pull from 00-04, but rather he withdrew 10 group 3 rods to position 48. On the eleventh group 3 rod Step 56, KLINE and the STA in training, John DEWES, noticed the increasing neutron count on the source range monitors. KLINE immediately began to insert the misaligned rods and directed the STA in training to summon the Shift Supervisor, David ANIOL, and the Reactor Engineer, Barry MYERS. ANIOL, who was in the Shift Supervisor office, came out to the 603 panel and directed KLINE to continue inserting the eleven group 3 rods to their proper position. MYERS was advised by the STA in training of an out-of-sequence criticality and he proceeded to log the premature criticality in the Reactor Engineering Log (Exhibits: 1. pgs. 6-15; 2, pgs. 8-15; 3. pgs. 6-9; 4. pgs. 18-29).
ANIOL contacted the Operations Supervisor, Eugene PRESTON, and advised him of the operator error to include a statement that the reactor had not achieved criticality. Contrary to his sworn testimony given to 01, ANIOL did not consult the SOA, STA, or the Reactor Engineer for input to that reactor criticality decision. PRESTON requested that ANIOL prepare a Deviation Event Report (DER) documenting the incident and granted approval to continue the rod pull to achieve a planned startup. ANIOL did prepare a DER, however, he did not document the operator error in his Shift Supervisor Log, nor did he advise the Lead Reactor Operator, Stephen BURT, of the incident; therefore, the operator error was not documented in the Reactor Operator's Log. During the same evening shift, sometime after the rod pull incident occurred, ANIOL became aware of the fact that the Reactor Engineer, MYERS, had entered a premature criticality in the Reactor Engineering Log. ANIOL advised MYERS that his log was incorrect and the reactor had not been declared critical. Based on ANIOL's suggestion, MYERS altered the Reactor Engineering Log to read, "the count rate began to increase on one of the SRM's as if we may have
been critical (Exhibits: 3, pgs. 6-9; 4, pgs. 19-29; 5, pgs. 14-17; 6, pgs. 9-13; 7, pgs. 7-10; 8, pgs. 8-13; 9, pgs. 8-13; 10, Reactor Engineer Log; 11, DECo NSS Log; 12, DECo NSO Log)."
On July 2, 1985, at approximately 6:00 a.m., PRESTON arrived at the Fermi 2 site and obtained the already prepared DER from ANIOL. ANIOL advised PRESTON that he should be aware of the Reactor Engineering Log entry of criticality. At 7:00 a.m., during the shift turnover meeting, PRESTON advised the Assistant Manager, Nuclear Production, Robert LENART, of the out-of-sequence rod pull error; however, he did not mention the Reactor Engineering Log entry. At 8:00 a.m., during the DECo staff meeting, PRESTON gave the DER to the Assistant Plant Superintendent, Gregg OVERBECK, who read the DER and stated to PRESTON that he would address that DER during the Corrective Action Review Board (CARB) meeting following the staff meeting. At the morning CARB meeting, OVERBECK was cognizant of the dissenting opinion by reactor engineering regarding criticality, and therefore, he assigned reactor engineering the task of analyzing the rod pull event to settle the criticality issue. Concurrently, several other corrective actions relating to operator actions and verification were instituted. No one from the DECo staff cognizant of the operator error, advised the NRC Resident Inspectors of that incident on July 2, 1985 (Exhibits: 4, pgs. 24-27; 9, pgs. 18-25; 13, DECo DER, dtd 07/02/85; 15A, pgs. 3-4; 16, pgs. 5-13).
On July 3, 1985, reactor engineering advised Operations that a decision had
"In my opinion, you were critical...just from my experience of
just pretty well knew what the results were going to be . It
really doesn't make that much difference, the error. You pulled 11
LENART stated in an interview with 01, that his gut feeling was that he agreed
the DECo position on criticality was not unanimous. LESSOR stated, during an interview with 01, that had the NRC Resident Inspector queried him as to the rod pull error, he would not have supported the DECo position, but rather would have confirmed the reactor criticality based on his reading of the SRM charts (Exhibits: 9, pgs. 25-34; 9A, pgs. 16-20; 14, pgs. 9-14; 15, pgs. 6-16; 15A, pgs. 5-8; 16, pgs. 13-20; 16A, pgs. 9-25; 17, pgs. 18-19; 17A, pgs. 6-12; 18, pgs. 7-12).
LENART's decision on the DECo "management position" with regard to premature criticality was admittedly not the conservative approach. LENART stated:
"From this particular incident in question, the most conservative,
LENART, rationalizing why he chose the non-critical decision, stated:
"It was also recognized by me to some degree the significance of
OVERBECK's account of the July 3 meeting and discussion of what to advise the NRC Resident Inspector also revealed DECo management having a problem in deciding how to describe the event. OVERBECK states:
"Because there was a discussion at the end of our meeting on
In the early afternoon of July 3, 1985, shortly after the Senior Resident