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NRC Section XI Report - May 2001

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Presented By: Wally Norris, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NRC Report
Section XI
May 2001

1. Amendment to 10 CFR 50.55a

The proposed amendment to § 50.55a is scheduled to be published in September 2001. The amendment would endorse the 1997 Addenda, 1998 Edition, 1999 Addenda, and 2000 Addenda of Section III, Section XI, and OM Code. The draft package has been transmitted for inter-office review (see attachment for organization chart of reviewers).

2. ASME Code Cases

The draft regulatory guides have been transmitted for inter-office review. The package includes Supplement 4 to the 1992 through Supplement 11 to the 1998 Edition (Section III and Section XI) and OMN-1 through OMN-13. The regulatory guides are scheduled to be published for comment in August 2001.

3. Standards Coordination Meeting with ASME

Periodic teleconferences between representatives from the ASME and NRC staff are periodically conducted to discuss NRC endorsement of ASME edition/addenda and Code Cases, as well other items of interest. The most recent teleconference was on March 30, 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. Additional detail will be available after the SG-RRM meeting in May 2001 when the subgroup members have had an opportunity to discuss the matter.


  • Section XI publishes a large number of Code Cases each year. The review and endorsement process requires a great deal of NRC staff time. The NRC has requested that Section XI evaluate potential ways to decrease the number of Code Cases being published. For example, multiple Code Cases which address the same subject may be under development at the same time.


  • NRC representatives on ASME committees will identify potential differences with ASME positions that may result in NRC limitations or exceptions to Code revisions and Code Cases as soon as practicable.


  • ASME and NRC are considering advanced reactors and early site related work. Discussions will focus on whether Code rules will be required and available should new reactor applications be received in the near future. Section XI has initiated discussions regarding ISI needs for this area.


  • The ASME and NRC are considering material and inspection issues related to Summer and Oconee and whether additional Code rules are required.

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. Representatives from the staff, NEI, and utlities met on May 8, 2001, to discuss the status. Revision 14 is under development, and the standard is scheduled for balloting in June 2001. The standard would then be published for public review. The final standard is scheduled to be published in December 2001.

5. Generic Activities on PWR Alloy-600 Weld Cracking

There have been seven recent instances of significant cracking in Alloy 82/182 welds in commercial pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plants - five in the United States: V.C. Summer Nuclear Station; Oconee Nuclear Station, Units 1, 2, 3; and Arkansas Nuclear One; and two at foreign plants. Information relative to the Summer and Oconee instances are contained 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. Given the recent date of the Oconee incident, the industry response is still being formulated.

6. Regulatory Information Conference (RIC)

The Regulatory Information Conference 2001 was held March 13-15 at the Capital Hilton Hotel, Washington, DC. Individual speeches and slides and other referenced material for each session will be added to the web page soon; http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/REACTOR/RIC/RICREG/index.html.

7. Industry Initiatives

In response to the SRM issued on May 27, 1999, to SECY-99-063, "The Use by Industry of Voluntary Initiatives in the Regulatory Process," and to stakeholders' comments, the staff, working with stakeholders, developed proposed guidelines for including industry initiatives in the regulatory process. The proposed guidelines were transmitted to the Commission on May 30, 2000 (SECY-00-0116, "Industry Initiatives in the Regulatory Process"). On June 28, 2000, the Commission approved the staff’s recommendation to issue the proposed guidelines for public comment. The guidelines were published in the Federal Register on August 31, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 170, Pages 53050-53058) for public comment (45-day). The final version of the guidelines is scheduled to be provided to the Commission for review prior to issuance on June 29, 2001 (see http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/REACTOR/VII/index.html).

8. Risk-informing Technical Requirements of 10 CFR Part 50, "Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities"

The NRC held a public workshop on the reactor safety arena portion of the Risk-Informed Regulation Implementation Plan (RIRIP) on March 15, 2001. The plan is available at http://www.nrc.gov/RES/riskinfreg.htm. A transcript of the workshop is provided http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/PUBLIC/PART50/risk50-2001-03-15.pdf.

9. License Renewal Activities

SECY-01-0074, "Approval to Publish Generic License Renewal Guidance Documents," was published on April 26, 2001. The purpose is to obtain the Commission's approval to publish Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.188 "Standard Format and Content for Applications to Renew Nuclear Power Plant Operating Licenses," and NUREG-1800 "Standard Review Plan for the Review of License Renewal Applications for Nuclear Power Plants" (SRP-LR) for implementation. The RG and SRP-LR are based on the supporting guidance provided in NUREG-1801, the "Generic Aging Lessons Learned (GALL) Report," and the explanation of the staff's response to public comments in the accompanying NUREG-1739 "Analysis of Public Comments on the Improved License Renewal Guidance Documents." The SECY, RG, NUREG, and SRP-LR are available at http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/COMMISSION/SECYS/index.html#2001.

The GALL report systematically catalogs aging effects on structures and components; identifies the relevant existing plant programs; and evaluates the existing programs against the attributes considered necessary for an aging management program to be acceptable for license renewal. The GALL report also provides guidance for the augmentation of existing plant programs, including those based on codes and standards, to support license renewal. The GALL report provides credit for ASME section XI inspection where it was determined to be an effective aging management program and also provides specific recommendations where ASME section XI inspections may need to be enhanced to support license renewal. The revised SRP-LR allows an applicant to reference the GALL report to preclude further NRC staff evaluation if the plant's existing programs meet the criteria described in the GALL report. During the renewal review process, the NRC staff will focus primarily on existing programs that should be augmented or new programs developed specifically for license renewal.

Information relative to license renewal can be found at http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/REACTOR/LR/index.html.

10. Revised Reactor Oversight Process

A Lessons Learned Public Workshop was held from March 26 - 28, 2001. The agenda and slides from the closing session are available at http://www.nrc.gov/NRR/OVERSIGHT/index.html. The NRC is nearing the end of the first year of the initial implementation of the ROP and will be preparing a report to be submitted to the Commission in June 2001.

11. Risk-Informed Inservice Testing

On April 27, 2000, the licensee for Sequoyah submitted a limited scope RI-IST relief request. The Sequoyah RI-IST relief request addressed 80 valves in each of the two units, in ten different systems, and would have extended the test intervals for these valves from quarterly to once each refueling cycle. A set of Request for Additional Information (RAIs) have been prepared and discussed with the licensee. Subsequent to discussions between the NRC and the licensee concerning the type and amount of information that is required to complete the review, the licensee withdrew the request. The licensee does not have the resources in place and made a determination not to engage a contractor.

The staff is reviewing a RI-IST topical report from the B&W Owners Group (received in August 2000). This topical report applies the ASME RI-IST categorization code case, OMN-3, to air-operated valves at Davis Besse, the B&WOG lead plant for RI-IST. This topical report was also developed in conjunction with the Joint Owners Group (JOG) AOV Program. Davis Besse submitted a licensing action on September 11, 2000, which proposes an alternative to 10 CFR 50.55a(f) to implement the B&W Owners Group methodology for AOVs. A public meeting was held at the NRC on January 25, 2001. The meeting summary has been prepared and will be available in the near term. The staff, the B&WOG, and Davis-Besse are working to resolve the remaining open items. A set of Request for Additional Information (RAIs) have been developed for discussion with the licensee.

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