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NRC Section XI Report - February 2002

Site Updates


Presented By: Wally Norris, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission


NRC Report
Section XI
February 2002

1. NRC External Website

Release 3 of the NRC's redesigned public web site is now available at http://www.nrc.gov. As a result of the events of September 11, 2001, the NRC shut down its previous public Web site on October 11 to conduct a thorough review of site content and restored a partial site on October 17. As reviews are completed, NRC will restore content incrementally in the redesigned format. As the site is being re-built, you may find a "blacked-out" link to information you are trying to locate, which indicates that the information is not yet available. See the site's What's New page for updates of new content for each release and plans for future releases.

The new Web site is organized by content and topic rather than by NRC organizational structure, uses top-down logic going from general to specific topics, makes navigation easy, gives greater visibility to frequently accessed information, uses plain language where possible, and complies with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act to ensure site access to people with disabilities.

2. 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 the Office of Federal Register website: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a010803c.html. The 75-day public comment period ended on October 17, 2001. Seventeen comment letters were received. The final rule is scheduled to be published in September 2002.

3. ASME Code Cases

Four draft regulatory guides were published for public review on December 28, 2001: DG-1090, (Proposed Revision 32 to Regulatory Guide 1.84), "Design, Fabrication, and Materials Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section III; DG-1089, "Operation and Maintenance Code Case Acceptability," ASME OM Code; DG-1091, (Proposed Revision 13 to Regulatory Guide 1.147), "Inservice Inspection Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section XI, Division 1; and DG-1112, "ASME Code Cases Not Approved for Use." The guides address Supplement 4 to the 1992 Edition through Supplement 11 to the 1998 Edition, and OMN-1 through OMN-13. The public comment period ends on March 25, 2002. The guides are scheduled to be published final in September 2002 concurrently with an amendment to 10 CFR 50.55a. It was determined by the NRC Office of General Counsel that 10 CFR 50.55a must be amended as new Code Cases are endorsed in order to conform to the Administrative Procedures Act. The proposed amendment will address Footnote 6 to 10 CFR 50.55a which refers to the regulatory guides, and add a new section to the rule that contains the implementation guidance previously listed in the guides. The proposed rule is scheduled to be published for public comment in March 2002.

The NRC staff has completed its review of Supplement 12 to the 1998 Edition and is currently reviewing Supplement 1 to the 2001 Edition (the latest published supplement). These Code Cases will be contained in the next revision of the guides. It is the NRC staff's intent to, in the future, remain more current in its endorsement of Code Cases by publishing new draft guides for public comment at about the same time that a set of final guides is being published.

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 standard was considered by the BNCS in Standards Action No. 868, dated January 11, 2002. The NRC has no objection to the standard being published, but as discussed in a letter from Scott F. Newberry, Director, Division of Risk Analysis and Applications, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, to G. M. Eisenberg, Secretary, Committee on Nuclear Risk Management (see Attachment 6 to the BNCS ballot action), the NRC staff expects to endorse the PRA standard with some exceptions. The PRA standard is scheduled to be published by the ASME by the end of February 2002. Based on this date, the NRC staff expects to publish with a 90-day public comment period a regulatory guide endorsing the PRA standard in June 2002. A public meeting would be held in October 2002. The final regulatory guide would be published by the end of December 2002.

5. Risk-Informed Inservice Inspection

According to the information provided by Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), approximately 100 plants are expected to have implemented RI-ISI in the next two years. Of these, the staff has approved RI-ISI programs for 20 plants and approximately 25 programs are currently being reviewed.

Recent activities in the application of RI-ISI methodology include the extension of the RI-ISI methodology to break exclusion region (BER) piping. Both EPRI and WOG have developed methodologies for this application. The staff is currently reviewing these methodologies and has held several meetings with the industry representatives to discuss relevant issues. Issues related to RI-ISI that have arisen recently include addressing the augmented ISI programs and the synergistic effects when multiple degradation mechanisms exist in a segment; details of merging the RI-ISI program with the existing ASME XI program when the RI-ISI program does not start at the beginning of an interval; implementing changes in the inservice examination (ISI) of BER piping via 10 CFR 50.59; clarifying the criteria to be used for sample expansion when ISI reveals unacceptable flaws; evaluating the application of RI-ISI methodology to preservice inspection; living program criteria.

6. Generic Activities on PWR Alloy-600 Weld Cracking

The industry's actions to address the generic implications of the cracking seen at V.C. Summer in the Control Rod Drive Mechanism (CRDM) nozzles and seal welds 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 these type of degradations.

With regard to cracking in the Control Rod Drive Mechanism (CRDM) nozzles and seal welds, the NRC has issued Bulletin 2001-01, "Circumferential Cracking of Reactor Pressure Vessel Head Penetration Nozzles," on August 3, 2001. The bulletin sought information from the licensees of 69 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) regarding the structural integrity of their nuclear reactor pressure vessel (RPV) head penetrations. In addition to the oversight activities within the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research has initiated several contracts on materials research relative to primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC) of CRDM nozzles and piping. On September 26, 2001, NRC ASME Section XI representatives transmitted a request to the Section XI task group that is considering issues regarding PWSCC of nickel-based alloys in pressurized water reactors (PWRs) to enhance the vessel head visual examination requirements. The task group began its consideration of the NRC's proposal at the meetings in December 2001. The MRP provided an update to the NRC staff regarding industry activities on Wednesday, February 20, 2002. On Thursday, February 21, 2002, the MRP met again with the NRC staff to exchange information relative to the analyses being performed by MRP and the staff to understand CRDM nozzle cracking.

7. Future Reactor Licensing Activities

The staff expects to receive requests to begin the International Reactor Innovative and Secure (IRIS) and Gas Turbine - Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR) pre-application reviews in early to mid fiscal year (FY) 2002. In addition, the staff expects that it will receive one early site permit (ESP) application in the middle of FY 2002, and at least two additional ESP applications in mid-FY 2003. Assuming decisions by Westinghouse Electric Company, Exelon Generation, and General Atomics to move forward, the staff expects to receive an application for certification of the AP1000 design in early FY 2002, a combined license (COL) application for the PBMR in early FY 2003, and a COL application for the GT-MHR in early FY 2004. Design certification reviews for the PBMR and for IRIS could be submitted in the 2005-2006 time frame.

8. Risk-Informing 10 CFR Part 50 (Option 2)

A proposed rule, 10 CFR 50.69, "Risk-Informed Treatment of Structures, Systems, and Components," was published on November 29, 2001. On January 9, 2002, the NRC held a public meeting to discuss the NRC staff's intent, stakeholders comments on the proposed rule, and possible areas in the rule for clarification and revision. The staff plans to have the revised draft rule re-posted for information in February 2002. The staff also plans to provide its comments on the NEI guidance document on the categorization process. The intended staff approach with regard to treatment of risk-informed safety class 3 (RISC-3) structures, systems, and components (SSCs) which are safety-related with low safety significance is to include program requirements in 10 CFR 50.69 to maintain the design basis function of RISC-3 SSCs. Licensees would be responsible for achieving functionality of the SSCs. A meeting between the NRC staff, NEI, and ASME was held on Thursday, February 21, 2002, to discuss risk-informed alternatives for treatment of safety-related, low-safety-significant components in lieu of 10 CFR 50.55a requirements, including use of risk-informed ASME Code Cases, in NRC's proposed 10 CFR 50.69 rulemaking.

9. Regulatory Information Conference

The 14th NRC Regulatory Information Conference (RIC) is scheduled for March 5, 6, and 7, 2002 at the Capital Hilton Hotel, 16th and K Streets, NW, Washington, D.C. The conference is open to the public and there will be NO conference fee. The on-line topic survey is now closed. The NRC staff appreciates all of the input and suggestions received for RIC 2002. For updates on conference information or to pre-register for the conference, go to http://www.nrc.gov:201/NRC/REACTOR/RIC/RICREG/index.htm.

10. NRC/ASME Pump and Valve Symposium

The 7th NRC/ASME Symposium on Valve and Pump Testing will be held on July 15, 16, 17, and 18, 2002, at the Renaissance Washington DC Hotel. The hotel is located at 999 9th Street, N.W., in Washington, DC. Requests for registration information should be sent to:

G.M. Eisenberg, Director Nuclear Codes and Standards
ASME M/S 20W1
Three Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016-5990

Fax: (212)591-8502
E-Mail: eisenbergg@asme.org

The NRC contact is:
Thomas G. Scarbrough
Telephone: (301)415-2794
E-mail: tgs@nrc.gov


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