Comanche Peak received a favorable report at a publicly viewed meeting between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Luminant representatives June 30. The safety report covered the 2008 calendar year.
John Kramer, the NRC senior resident inspector at Comanche Peak, said units 1 and 2 are now in the licensee response column of the Action Matrix Concept (AMC). Unit 1, however, did spend some time in the lower regulatory response column after a white level finding was discovered in 2007.
Kramer said the NRC uses the AMC to determine appropriate responses to various safety situations. The licensee response column is the top, or best, column for a plant to be in. The regulatory response column is one step lower, meaning unit 1 was subject to more inspections.
NRC also uses a four color coded system to identify the severity of findings.
Green is the lowest level, indicating performance within an expected range. White is a step up, indicating that performance levels have fallen below expected ranges. Yellow indicates a more severe performance problem, with red topping the chart and pointing to problematic safety and performance issues.
Comanche Peak’s unit 1 was given a white level indicator after an emergency diesel generator (EDG) failed to start after three attempts during a surveillance test on Nov. 21, 2007. A special investigation review completed on Jan. 24, 2008, found that paint from a nearby painting project had gotten into the engine, causing the failure.
The 42-page report, titled ML080600164, details the events leading up to the EDG failure.
“Following the discovery of the condition, the required actions were satisfied; however, the time period between the occurrence of the condition and the discovery of the condition exceeded the allowed outage time,” the report stated.
The painting project began on Oct. 15, 2007 and the EDG passed the monthly surveillance test on Oct. 24. The report notes that painting done on Nov. 1 could have reasonably resulted in paint dropping on the fuel racks, leading to the test failure on the 21st.
The report also explained why the finding was listed as white.
“The finding was greater than minor because it was associated with the human performance attribute of the mitigating system cornerstone and it affected the cornerstone objective to ensure the availability of systems that respond to initiating events to prevent undesirable consequences.”
A subsequent report did state, however, that once the problem was identified, immediate corrective actions were taken.
At Tuesday’s meeting, NRC Director Dwight Chamberlain said he approved of Luminant’s response.
“We found your corrective issues to be acceptable,” Chamberlain said.
Kramer followed up by stating Luminant operated Comanche Peak units 1 and 2 in a manner that preserved public health and safety.
“Since both are back in the licensee response column, NRC plans to conduct baseline inspections,” Kramer said.
Luminant also issued a press release on June 29, stating employees had set 23 safety records in six months.
Safety records account for a combined 17 years without an OSHA-recordable injury and combined 113 years without a lost-time incident
“It’s one thing to talk about safety, it’s another to live and work by these principles each and every day. The impressive number of safety milestones our employees have reached this year is evidence they’re doing just that,” said Mike Blevins, Luminant chief operating officer, in the release. “By covering safety in daily pre-shift meetings and engaging our workforce through a variety of on-site safety programs, employees are taking ownership of their own safe work practices and it’s making a difference.”
According to the release, some of the safety milestones reached in first half of 2009 include:
• North Lake, Tradinghouse and Trinidad Power Plants each reached four years without an OSHA-recordable injury; Graham Power Plant achieved three years; and Oak Grove Power Plant reached two years.
• Stryker Creek Power Plant achieved 34 years without a lost-time injury; Trinidad Power Plant reached 29 years; Three Oaks Mine, Permian Basin and Lake Creek Power Plants 10 years each; and Big Brown Power Plant nine years, among others.
• Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant, Monticello and Martin Lake Mines reached two million safe work hours without a lost-time injury; Beckville Mine and Martin Lake Power Plant each achieved one million safe work hours.
• The plant maintenance support fleet logged more than one million miles of safe driving without a preventable accident.