[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 87 (Thursday, May 6, 2010)]
[Pages 24991-24993]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-10678]



 [Docket No.: 70-1257; License No.: SNM-1227; EA-09-272]

In the Matter of AREVA NP, Inc.; Confirmatory Order (Effective 
Immediately) [NRC-2010-0172]


    AREVA NP, Inc. (AREVA or Licensee) is the holder of Materials 
License No. SNM-1227 issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC 
or Commission) pursuant to 10 CFR Part 70. The license in effect at the 
time of the incident described below was most recently amended via 
Amendment 49, issued on July 9, 2007. The NRC renewed Materials License 
No. SNM-1227, effective April 24, 2009. The license authorizes the 
operation of the AREVA NP facility in accordance with the conditions 
specified therein. The facility is located at the AREVA site in 
Richland, Washington.
    This Confirmatory Order is the result of an agreement reached 
during an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mediation session 
conducted on March 9, 2010.


    On September 23, 2009, the NRC's Office of Investigations (OI) 
completed an investigation (OI Case No. 2-2009-025) regarding 
activities at the AREVA facility located in Richland, Washington. Based 
on the evidence developed during the investigation, the NRC staff 
concluded that on April 21, 2009, Item Relied On For Safety (IROFS) 
1111, an electronic eye sensor known as the vacuum wand interlock, was 
deliberately bypassed by an employee and made to work by using tape. 
These actions violated Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 40486, 
``Richland Operations General Rules,'' Version 16.0, Section 7.0 which 
states that ``interlocks, limit switches and any other safety-related 
equipment are never to be bypassed, made to work by using tape or other 
material, or adjusted by anyone except for a defined purpose and in 
accordance with an approved procedure.'' As a result, IROFS 1111 was 
not available and reliable as required by 10 CFR 70.61(e).


    On March 9, 2010, the NRC and AREVA met in an ADR session mediated 
by a professional mediator, which was arranged through Cornell 
University's Institute on Conflict Resolution. ADR is a process in 
which a neutral mediator with no decision-making authority assists the 
parties in reaching an agreement or resolving any differences regarding 
their dispute. This confirmatory order is issued pursuant to the 
agreement reached during the ADR process. The elements of the agreement 
consist of the following:
    1. The NRC and AREVA agreed that the incident that occurred on 
April 21, 2009, as described in NRC's January 6, 2010, letter, 
constituted a violation of SOP 40486, and that the operator's actions 
were deliberate. The NRC and AREVA also agreed that, although the 
vacuum wand interlock IROFS was disabled, sufficient system IROFS 
remained in service to perform the intended safety function for 
identified accident scenarios.
    2. Based on AREVA's review of the incident and NRC concerns 
associated with precluding recurrence of the violation, AREVA completed 
the following corrective actions and enhancements:
    a. The equipment was returned to normal operation and safety 
function was verified;
    b. The employee was immediately relieved of duties pending an 
    c. A charter was established and a root cause investigation was 
    d. Although not reportable, AREVA notified the NRC of the incident 
in a timely manner;
    e. Disciplinary action was administered in accordance with company 
    f. AREVA Richland management held stand down meetings with all 
Richland employees to reinforce obligations with respect to willful 
misconduct, procedural compliance, potential event repercussions, 
personal accountability, problem reporting, open communications, 
opportunities for employees to raise issues and other discussion 
    g. Lessons learned from this incident were communicated internally 
and to all other AREVA U.S. Special Nuclear Material (SNM) licensed 
facilities within the AREVA U.S. fuel organization;
    h. AREVA conducted an extent of condition review with operators in 
all product centers and determined that the incident was isolated; and
    i. Safety Conscious Work Environment (SCWE) training was conducted 
for employees at all AREVA SNM licensed facilities within the AREVA 
U.S. fuel organization.
    3. In addition to the actions completed by AREVA as discussed 
above, AREVA agreed to additional corrective actions and enhancements, 
as fully delineated below in Section V of this Confirmatory Order.
    4. AREVA agreed to complete the items listed in Section V within 12 
months of issuance of this Confirmatory Order.
    5. Within three months of completion of the terms of this 
Confirmatory Order, AREVA will provide the NRC with a letter discussing 
its basis for concluding

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that this Confirmatory Order has been satisfied.
    6. The NRC and AREVA agreed that: (1) The actions referenced in 
Section III.2 and Section V will be incorporated into a Confirmatory 
Order; and (2) the resulting Confirmatory Order will be considered by 
the NRC for any assessment of AREVA, as appropriate.
    7. In consideration of the completed corrective actions delineated 
in Section III.2 and the Commitments delineated in Section V of this 
Confirmatory Order, the NRC agrees to refrain from proposing a civil 
penalty or issuing a Notice of Violation for the matter discussed in 
the NRC's letter to AREVA of January 6, 2010 (EA-09-272).
    8. This agreement is binding upon successors and assigns of AREVA 
NP Inc.
    On April 14, 2010, AREVA consented to issuance of this Confirmatory 
Order with the commitments, as described in Section V below. AREVA 
further agreed that this Confirmatory Order is to be effective upon 
issuance and that it has waived its right to a hearing.


    Since AREVA has completed the actions as delineated in Section 
III.2, and agreed to take the actions as set forth in Section V, the 
NRC has concluded that its concerns can be resolved through issuance of 
this Confirmatory Order.
    I find that AREVA's commitments as set forth in Section V are 
acceptable and necessary and conclude that with these commitments, the 
public health and safety are reasonably assured. In view of the 
foregoing, I have determined that public health and safety require that 
AREVA's commitments be confirmed by this Confirmatory Order. Based on 
the above and AREVA's consent, this Confirmatory Order is immediately 
effective upon issuance.


    Accordingly, pursuant to Sections 51, 53, 161b, 161i, 161o, 182 and 
186 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and the Commission's 
regulations in 10 CFR 2.202 and 10 CFR Part 70, it is hereby ordered, 
effective immediately, that license No. SNM-1227 be modified as 
    a. AREVA will incorporate lessons learned from this incident, 
including enhanced SCWE training, into General Employee Training for 
new employees and annual refresher training for all AREVA Richland 
    b. AREVA will implement a management observation program at 
Richland for the purpose of reinforcing task performance standards and 
work practices;
    c. AREVA Richland Site Operations will perform a survey to 
determine the results of efforts to increase supervisor availability in 
the work area;
    d. AREVA will develop a presentation and offer to present the 
detail of this incident and lessons learned with regard to work 
practices to a future industry forum such as the annual Fuel Cycle 
Information Exchange.
    e. AREVA agrees to complete the above items within 12 months of 
issuance of this Confirmatory Order.
    f. Within three months of completion of the terms of this 
Confirmatory Order, AREVA will provide the NRC with a letter discussing 
its basis for concluding that this Confirmatory Order has been 
    The Regional Administrator, NRC Region II, may relax or rescind, in 
writing, any of the above conditions upon a showing by AREVA of good 


    Any person adversely affected by this Confirmatory Order, other 
than the Licensee, may request a hearing within 20 days of its 
publication in the Federal Register. Where good cause is shown, 
consideration will be given to extending the time to request a hearing. 
A request for extension of time must be directed to the Director, 
Office of Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001, and include a statement of good cause for the extension.
    All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a 
request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or 
other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a 
request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by 
interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), 
must be filed in accordance with the NRC E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139, 
August 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit 
and serve all adjudicatory documents over the Internet, or in some 
cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not 
submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in 
accordance with the procedures described below.
    To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 
ten (10) days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should 
contact the Office of the Secretary by e-mail at 
[email protected], or by telephone at (301) 415-1677, to request 
(1) a digital ID certificate, which allows the participant (or its 
counsel or representative) to digitally sign documents and access the 
E-Submittal server for any proceeding in which it is participating; and 
(2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a 
request or petition for hearing (even in instances in which the 
participant, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-
issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this information, the 
Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this 
proceeding if the Secretary has not already established an electronic 
    Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is 
available on NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/apply-certificates.html. System requirements for accessing 
the E-Submittal server are detailed in NRC's ``Guidance for Electronic 
Submission,'' which is available on the agency's public Web site at 
http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants may 
attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but should 
note that the NRC's E-Filing system does not support unlisted software, 
and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer assistance 
in using unlisted software.
    If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC 
in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the 
document using the NRC's online, Web-based submission form. In order to 
serve documents through the Electronic Information Exchange (EIE), 
users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC 
Web site. Further information on the Web-based submission form, 
including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on 
the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.
    Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a 
docket has been created, the participant can then submit a request for 
hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in 
Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance 
available on the NRC public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the 
documents are submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be 
timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system 
no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of 
a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends

[[Page 24993]]

the submitter an e-mail notice confirming receipt of the document. The 
E-Filing system also distributes an e-mail notice that provides access 
to the document to the NRC Office of the General Counsel and any others 
who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to 
participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the 
documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and 
other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for 
and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request/petition 
to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the document 
via the E-Filing system.
    A person filing electronically using the agency's adjudicatory E-
Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC Meta System 
Help Desk through the ``Contact Us'' link located on the NRC Web site 
at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by e-mail at 
[email protected], or by a toll-free call at (866) 672-7640. The 
NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., 
Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.
    Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not 
submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in 
accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing 
requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper 
format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail 
addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: 
Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or 
expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth 
Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 
20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants 
filing a document in this manner are responsible for serving the 
document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by 
first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, 
express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the 
document with the provider of the service. A presiding officer, having 
granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a 
participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer 
subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from 
use of E-Filing no longer exists.
    Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in 
NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at 
http://ehd.nrc.gov/EHD_Proceeding/home.asp, unless excluded pursuant 
to an order of the Commission, or the presiding officer. Participants 
are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as 
social security numbers, home addresses, or home phone numbers in their 
filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of 
such information. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited 
excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would 
constitute a Fair Use application, participants are requested not to 
include copyrighted materials in their submission.
    If a person other than the Licensee requests a hearing, that person 
shall set forth with particularity the manner in which his interest is 
adversely affected by this Confirmatory Order and shall address the 
criteria set forth in 10 CFR 2.309(d) and (f).
    If the hearing is requested by a person whose interest is adversely 
affected, the Commission will issue an order designating the time and 
place of any hearing. If a hearing is held, the issue to be considered 
at such hearing shall be whether this Confirmatory Order should be 


    In the absence of any request for hearing, or written approval of 
an extension of time in which to request a hearing, the provisions 
specified in Section V above shall be final 20 days from the date this 
Confirmatory Order is published in the Federal Register without further 
order or proceedings. If an extension of time for requesting a hearing 
has been approved, the provisions specified in Section V shall be final 
when the extension expires if a hearing request has not been received. 
A request for hearing shall not stay the immediate effectiveness of 
this confirmatory order.

    Dated this 26th day of April 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Victor M. McCree,
Deputy Regional Administrator for Operations.
[FR Doc. 2010-10678 Filed 5-5-10; 8:45 am]