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NRC Section XI Report - August 2001

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Presented By: Wally Norris, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NRC Report
Section XI
August 2001

1. Amendment to 10 CFR 50.55a

The proposed amendment to § 50.55a was published on Friday, August 3, 2001 (66 FR 40626). The proposed amendment endorses the 1997 Addenda, 1998 Edition, 1999 Addenda, and 2000 Addenda of Section III, Section XI, and OM Code. The proposed rule is available at Office of Federal Register website: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a010803c.html. The 75-day public comment period is scheduled to end on October 17, 2001.

2. ASME Code Cases

Four draft regulatory guides are scheduled for review by the Committee to Review Generic Requirements at the beginning of September 2001 - Draft Regulatory Guide DG-1090, (Proposed Revision 32 to Regulatory Guide 1.84), "Design, Fabrication, and Materials Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section III, Draft Regulatory Guide DG-1089, "Operation and Maintenance Code Case Acceptability," ASME OM Code, Draft Regulatory Guide DG-1091, (Proposed Revision 13 to Regulatory Guide 1.147), "Inservice Inspection Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section XI, Division 1, and Draft Regulatory Guide DG-1112, "ASME Code Cases Not Approved for Use." The regulatory guides are scheduled to be published for public comment in October 2001.

3. Standards Coordination Meeting with ASME

Periodic teleconferences between representatives from the ASME and NRC staff are conducted to discuss NRC endorsement of ASME edition/addenda and Code Cases, as well other items of interest. The most recent teleconference was on June 15, 2001. Following are several important items resulting from the past two teleconferences:

  • The Section XI Subgroup on Repairs, Replacements and Modifications (SG-RRM) will conduct a 1-year pilot program that provides analysis of the technical basis and reasons for the Section XI Code changes and Code Cases. A determination will be made whether the analysis could provide information to support the NRC regulatory analysis and prioritization. SG-RRM applied the analysis approach for the first time at the May 2001 meeting. The approach worked well, and it is believed that with use, the length of time to apply the analysis to a committee action can be shortened.
  • The NRC staff committed to attempting to structure the rulemaking process in a manner which: did not conflict with other regulations; decreased the length of time to develop and publish the rule; and maintained the longstanding practice of addressing Code Cases in regulatory guides. On July 6, 2001, in SECY-01-0110, "Initiation of NRR-Sponsored Rulemaking:ASME BPV and OM Code Cases," the Commission approved the staff's recommendation to proceed with the rulemaking in accordance with the staff’s proposed rulemaking plan. Per the rulemaking schedule, the rule is to be published 9 months after the SRM was issued.

4. PRA Standard

The staff has been working with the ASME and the other stakeholders to reach a consensus on a standard for PRAs. The ASME Standards document will help define the quality of PRAs to be used in applications to satisfy risk-informed regulations. Use of this Standard will diminish the need for staff review of PRAs, and provide uniformity and consistency of staff review when it is determined that a detailed review is necessary. The Committee on Nuclear Risk Management has approved the latest revision. The ANSI/ASME public comment period is scheduled to end September 11, 2001. No comments have been received to date. Board letter ballot comments would be resolved in October with the final standard being published in December 2001.

5. Generic Activities on PWR Alloy-600 Weld Cracking

Information relative to the recent instances of significant cracking in Alloy 82/182 welds in commercial pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plants can be found at http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/REACTOR/ALLOY-600/index.html. The industry's actions to address the generic implications of the cracking seen at V.C. Summer is being managed by the EPRI Materials Reliability Project (MRP). One of the issues being studied is whether the Section XI examinations are adequate to detect and manage this type of degradation.

With regard to cracking in the Control Rod Drive Mechanism (CRDM) nozzles and seal welds, the NRC has issued a letter, "Subject: Issues to be Addressed in a Generic Justification for Continued Operation of PWRs," dated April 17, 2001, and NRC Information Notice (IN) 2001-05: "Through-Wall Circumferential Cracking of Reactor Pressure Vessel Head Control Rod Drive Mechanism Penetration Nozzles at Oconee Nuclear Station, Unit 3, dated April 17, 2001. The staff is continuing interactions with the MRP on the industry's proposed generic activities to ensure that this issue is adequately addressed in a timely manner in order to assure continued safe operation of the subject PWRs. The industry report, MRP-44, "Interim Alloy 6000 Safety Assessment for US PWR Plants, Part 2: Reactor Vessel Top Head Penetrations," EPRI TP-1001491, Part 2, was issued in May 2001. The NRC staff briefed the Committee to Review Generic Requirements on July 2, 2001, and the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) on July 10, 2001. The MRP also made a presentation to the ACRS on July 10, 2001. At that meeting, the staff discussed in detail the bulletin that is scheduled to be issued on August 3, 2001.

6. Nuclear Safety Research Conference (NSRC)

On October 22 - 24, 2001, the Nuclear Safety Research Conference (NSRC) [formerly Water Reactor Safety Meeting (WRSM)], http://www.nrc.gov/RES/meetings.htm, will be held at the Marriott at Metro Center, 775 12th Street, NW., Washington, DC. While the name of the conference has been changed to more accurately capture the broad range of topics that are covered, the objective of the conference still is to promote dialogue with stakeholders about research that develops and confirms technical bases for regulatory decisions and prepares the agency for the future.

7. Revised Reactor Oversight Process

Information relative to the revised reactor oversight process can be found at http://www.nrc.gov/NRR/OVERSIGHT/index.html. SECY-01-0114, "Results of the Initial Implementation of the New Reactor Oversight Process," was issued June 25, 2001. SECY-01-0111, "Development of an Industry Trends Program for Operating Power Reactors," was issued June 22, 2001. The first Agency Action Review Meeting (AARM) was conducted on June 26 - 28, 2001, in the Region II office. The NRC conducted the June 2001 AARM in accordance with the approved draft Management Directive (MD) 8.14, "Agency Action Review Meeting." The results of the AARM was discussed with the Commission in a public meeting on July 19, 2001.

8. Future Reactor Licensing Activities

The NRC is preparing for the possibility for new power reactor siting, licensing and construction activities. These activities include early sit permits, design certifications, combined licenses, construction permit reactivation, and operating licenses. In February 2001, the Commission directed the staff to assess its technical, licensing, and inspection capabilities and identify any enhancements needed to ensure that the agency is prepared to review applications for early site permits or for the construction of new nuclear power plants. On May 1, as requested, the staff provided the Commission with a description of its planned activities, and a schedule for fulfilling this directive.

The NRC held a public workshop on July 25 - 26, 2001 to inform the public of current and proposed NRC staff activities, and to solicit public feedback on identified issues and challenges. The workshop schedule and presentation materials are available at http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/REACTOR/FLO/index.htm.

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