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staff's technical review process. Thus, there 1s no reason to believe that whatever alternative proposal the licensee comes up with will 1n the end be acceptable and will meet the requirements of Appendix R. Staff's proposal 1s, in effect, to wait until after changes to plants have already been made by licensees to decide whether their approach 1s acceptable. This can only lead to further confusion and further problems 1f the staff ultimately decides unfavorably. And, 1r the meantime, until the staff can discover the deviation and can analyze 1t and until the correct changes to the plant are made, the plant will continue to be 1n noncompliance with Appendix R.
I also believe that the Commission should give some consideration to the technical concerns raised by the Agency's experts 1n fire protection, the fire protection engineers. While I am not an expert 1n this area, it seems to me that they raise seme very good points. I will not discuss each Item they raise, their DPOs do that better than T 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 1n 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, 1t seems entirely reasonable to me to Insist thrt nuclear power plants meet generally accepted Industry fire protection standards.
My biggest concern about this whole process, however, is that it appears to be unnecessary and may, in fact, delay Implementation of Appendix R even more. Because the interpretations document will enable utilities to withdraw proposals made under Generic Letter B3-33 and does not require prior NRC approval, the dpte when we can say that everyone complies with ^ Appendix R may stretch even further Into the future.
The staff argues, however, that this document 1s necessary to provide additional guidance on Appendix R and to expedite compliance for cVer plants. Admittedly, there was some confusion and uncertainty 1n the early 1980s as to what the staff expected 1n order to ensure compliance with Appendix R. Workshops were held with licensees and from those came the additional clarification 1n Generic Letter 83-33. Plant specific Safety Evaluation Reports were issued providing further guidance to licensees. However, most licensees have been working with the staff to meet 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 *chinp beyend 1987 — Browns Ferry 1 & 3 (yes. Browns Ferry), Brunswick 1 & 2, and Davis-Besse. (See, Memorandum from W.J. Olrcks, EDO,
to the Commission dated December 26, 1985 "Staff Requirements - Status of Implementation of Appendix R - F1re 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 already completed plant modifications or will complete essentially all of their modifications this year. (The one exception Is Dresden 2 which 1s scheduled to complete Its alternate shutdown system by mid-1987.)
The staff also argues that the new Interpretation will better assure corslstent levels of fire protection safety 1n all plants. But, the staff falls to explain how something which will allow deviations from Industry standards and which provides for greater flexibility will result 1n greater consistency 1n fire protection levels. In fact, 1t appears that the staff's new approach will have just the opposite effect.
Since existing guidance seems to have been sufficient for most licensees, working closely with the staff, to determine what 1s required of them, the orest.lon 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 1n the failed lawsuit against the NRC regarding promulgation of Appendix R, began appealing to the staff to develop new Interpretations. Ir March of 1984 those utilities decided to appeal directly to senior staff management. Following the meeting between those utilities and one senior manager, that manager directed the staff to accommodate the concerns of the unhappy few. They were told that if the rule Itself had gray areas, the staff should accSmmodete the requests of those few utilities. This accommodation process led to the "new Interpretations" document, ard to further departures from 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 seriously, worked with the technical staff to develop a common understanding as to what wasj 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 up the chain of ccrmand until you found a sympathetic ear." Given that all but 5 plants appear to be able to come into compliance with Appendix R by the end of 1987 without a need for "new interpretations," I see no need to Issue additional guidance to help out a few of the utilities, especially when those utilities have been the most recalcitrant and the poorest performers on this issue al1 along.
I also believe that the staff's proposed enforcement policy 1s totally Inadequate. Under the staff's proposal, a utility could have major violations of and departures •from Appendix R requirements, 1n fact a utility could have done absolutely nothino to Implement Appendix R, and if
no fire actually occurs, the staff cculd Impose nothing higher than a Severity Level IV violation.
For ell of these reasons, I cannot support the process and Interpretations outlined by the staff 1n the SECY-85-306 series. There are unanswered questions about the need for the document, the workability of the proposed process, and the technical adequacy of the new Interpretations.
As a separate mttter, I think the Commission should carefully consider the backflt analysis provided by the staff on the new Interpretations document. The analysis 1s cursory at best. The discussions of the criteria 1n §50.109 are really nothing more than unsupported, conclusory statements. The level of detail 1n this analysis 1s far below that of the analysis provided for the Station Blackout Rule. I propose that we require an analysis that 1s at least as complete as that for the Station Blackout Rule.
Further, I propose that we publish a more detailed analysis for public comment, as was the interpretations document. Any comments received should be addressed before the Commission acts.
SECY, please track responses.
RULEMAKING ISSUE *E"-83-"»
William J. Olrcks
Executive Director for Operations
FINAL RULEMAKING CONCERNING FITNESS FOR DUTY FOR PERSONNEL WITH
To obtain Commission approval to publish a final rule in the
On August 5, 1982, the Commission published for comment (47*FR
Seventy-three responses containing 310 comments were received
The Commissi oners 2
Approximately one-third of the comments involve socioeconomic and
The Federal Register notice for the final fule (Enclosure "A")
The final rule does not Include coverage of NRC personnel, since
The rule retains the word "protected" rather than using the term
Finally, the rule 1s broadly worded In keeping with the belief