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Aturo Smith Interview

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Guest Name: Aturo D. Smith

Company: Entergy Nuclear Northeast

Plant Name: FitzPatrick

Position or Title: Sr. Technical Specialist

ASME Section XI/OM Code of Record: 1989 Edition

ASME Section XI/OM Inspection Interval and Period: 3rd Internal, 2nd Period

E-Mail Address: asmit17@entergy.com

Phone Number: (914) 272-3514


Question: How many personnel do you have in your ISI/IST organization and how are the responsibilities distributed between the ISI/NDE, Risk Informed, Pump and Valve, Containment, System Pressure Test, Snubber, Repair/Replacement Programs, etc.?

Smith: Six (6) Corporate & Site – R/R; ISI; IWE; IVVI (Corporate) & Snubber; Pressure Test; IST, NDE (Site)

Question: How much of the NDE is actually performed by your organization, if any, in lieu of utilizing outside vender support, and if so, what savings have you recognized by using your in-house personnel?

Smith: 15% -20% non-outage and provide Level III review during outages

Question: What changes have you made in your organizational structure or reporting functions that you have found to be beneficial?

Smith: No changes – management is currently assessing organizational structure

Question: What issues proved to be very difficult, costly, or troublesome to resolve, and what would you recommend to avoid those issues in the future?

Smith: Organizationally we have not been able to get from behind the eight ball, which puts us in a reactive mode instead of proactive. This prevents optimization of the various elements of the ISI Program. Takes away from long term planning and vision. All this translates into inefficient use of resources.

Question: What code cases or relief requests have you implemented that has proven to be very helpful and cost effective?

Smith: Risk-Informed piping Inspections, Code Case N-416-1, N-491-1, N-498-1, N509, N-524, N-532, N-522, N-573, N-546, N-523, N-513, N583, N504-1, CRD Bolting, Flange leakage at bolted connections

Question: Has your organization implemented a risk informed ISI or IST program, and if so, what Code Cases or methodology did you incorporate and what benefits and savings have you realized? What was the scope of the program and the approximate costs to develop the program? Were there any unexpected problems encountered while developing the program? Did you receive any requests for additional information from the NRC and has your program been approved?

Smith: Yes; Currently using ISI Risk-Informed Inspection Program – Full Scope, 45% – 55% savings, $21K – $25K per system, 13 systems

Question: What form of training has proven to be the most successful for your group; in-house instruction, vendor instruction, organizational instruction (EPRI, NSSS, etc.), conferences, technical meetings, online learning, etc.? What ISI/NDE training seminars are you considering for attendance in the near future?

Smith: Conferences and technical meetings, ESP Training

Question: What new NDE techniques, technology, or special NDE situations have you encountered recently and were they successful?

Smith: Phased array piping inspection techniques; reliability of CRDM Penetration examinations have proven to be very challenging.

Question: Has your organization implemented the requirements for ASME Section XI, Appendix VIII, of the 1995 Edition with the 1996 Addenda? Did you utilize the recommended EPRI format for relief requests, and if so, which ones? What is the approval status of your relief requests and what problems or successes have you encountered in implementing Appendix VIII?

Smith: Yes; The EPRI guideline was an integral part of our basis of control to ensure Appendix VIII compliance. The EPRI Relief Request format and ours were almost identical (no need to change). All relief requests applied for in support of Appendix VIII have been approved. The quality of vendor data has always been high but the same standard was not imposed on in-house exams. This has caused an overall increase in vendor and in-house examinations and the comprehensiveness of data recording and documentation.

Question: What do you find to be the most difficult part of your job?

Smith: Administrative burden

Question: What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your job?

Smith: Successfully completing objects and goals along with instituting new and innovative technologies and methodologies.

Question: What have you found to be the most humorous experience on the job?

Smith: To many to pick just one.

Question: Have you had any difficulties or questions applying the Section XI Repair/Replacement Rules to components, spare parts, etc., and if so, what difficulties or questions did you encounter and how did you resolve the issues? What technical positions did you take?

Smith: There are always questions on R/R rules based on ambiguous code guidance or none at all. These range from pressure testing to whether an ISI Planner is even needed. Entergy’s approach is to take a technical position based on, at times limited code guidance, consult with the ANII for compliance issues, and develop a technical basis for the position adopted.

Question: Does your organization plan to implement a Section XI edition and/or addenda that is later than currently required in 10 CFR 50, and if so, what benefits do you anticipate?

Smith: We have upgraded and applied for relief to use later code editions for areas such as IWE.

Question: Do your NDE procedures include a methodology for calculating the examination coverage for limited examinations, and if so, how is this calculation performed and what considerations are included?

Smith: Code coverage calculations are required within the procedure but this instruction is not prescriptive.

Question: Does your plant share any calibration blocks on a regular basis with other plants outside of your organization, and if so, what types of blocks do you share and who do you share them with?

Smith: RPV Vessel Blocks – Nine Mile Point

Question: As outages become shorter and shorter, how are you able to handle your ISI workload during the outage? Are you supplementing your staff with additional temporary personnel or are some tasks getting deferred?

Smith: Some tasks are deferred. But during outage times so far we have been able to adequately staff.

Question: Has your current or prior organization ever lost accountability of their ISI/IST program due to inadequate record keeping, non-documented plant modifications, etc.? What activities were lacking that led to the situation? What efforts were required to reconcile, verify, and/or validate the database to get the program back to a state of confidence? What controls were put in place to ensure that such an incident would not occur again?

Smith: Yes; Pressure Testing Program – validation of all testing was performed and reviewed. An LER was issued and a Relief Request was initiated. The control process was reviewed for root cause and procedural enhancements along with the definitive organizational responsibilities delegated.

Question: What type of software do you use to track and analyze ISI program commitments and inspection data? Was the software developed by your organization or purchased from a vender? Does it adequately meet your needs? If not, why not?

Smith: The computerized aspect of the ISI Program consist of Excel spread sheets for Program tables and word processing applications for the program text. These applications are off the shelf. Tracking of program commitments are performed through the plant’s Action Commitment Tracking Systems (ACTS). Analyzing ISI data, Program B requirements, and augmented program commitments are performed manually. No, it does not adequately meet my needs. Revisions and updates are very time consuming.

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