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NRC Section XI Report - May 2002

Site Updates

Presented By: Wally Norris, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NRC Report
Section XI
May 2002

1. NRC External Website

Release 4 of the NRC’s redesigned public web site is now available at http://www.nrc.gov. This marks the fourth step in the NRC’s plan to deploy the remainder of the site in a phased approach early in 2002. What We Do has been greatly expanded and includes, among other areas, Commission Activities; Rulemaking, Generic Communications, Standards Development; Inspection, Assessment of Performance, Enforcement, Investigations, Allegations; Licensing and Certification; Emergency Response, Events Assessment, Generic Issues; Research, Advisory Activities, Adjudication; and Congressional Affairs, State and Tribal Programs, and International Programs. Additional Information on Nuclear Reactors includes Power Uprates, Fitness for Duty, and Operator Licensing Generic Fundamentals Examinations. For Nuclear Materials, the new content includes Sealed Sources and Devices; Product Manufacturing and Distribution; Medical Uses; Veterinary Uses; Industrial Uses; Academic and Research Uses; Exempt Consumer Product Uses; Licensee Toolkits for all categories of materials licensees; Orphan Sources; and Medical Use of Byproduct Material (Part 35). Additional information in the Electronic Reading Room includes the new Electronic Hearing Docket; Regulatory Issues Summaries issued in 2001; selected Regulatory Guides in Division 1; and a focused search capability for the 10 CFR Collection. The Site Glossary has been restored and the Site Index and Site Map have been updated. As with past releases, some information is still not available because of content reviews subsequent to the events of September 11, 2001. Information not yet available continues to be shown as "blacked-out" links. See the Site Rebuilding schedule for what's coming in March at: http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/new-content/rebuild-schedule.html.

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. To date, 14 comment letters have been received, and the staff has begun its review. The guides are scheduled to be completed in September 2002 and will be published 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 and Supplement 1 to the 2001 Edition. Supplement 2 to the 2001 Edition was recently published, and the staff is considering also addressing those Code Cases 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. Hence, the review time for each new supplement must be balanced against a proposed guide’s schedule.

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 was published by the ASME on April 5, 2002. The NRC staff expects to publish with a 90-day public comment period a regulatory guide endorsing the PRA standard in August 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 Activities

The NRC website contains information at http://www.nrc.gov/what-we-do/regulatory/rulemaking/risk-informed/reactor-safety.html relative to risk-informed activities in the Reactor Safety Arena.

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 600/182/82 PWSCC

Information relative to primary water stress corrosion cracking can be found at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/ops-experience/alloy600.html. The industry's actions to address the generic implications of the cracking seen at V.C. Summer cracking and cracking 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. Licensee responses to the bulletin and any closeout letters can be found on the website.

The NRC issued Bulletin 2002-01, "Reactor Pressure Vessel Head Degradation and Reactor Coolant Pressure Boundary Integrity," on March 18, 2002 in response to the discovery of significant reactor vessel head degradation at the Davis Besse plant. The Bulletin had 15, 30, and 60 day reporting requirements. The NRC has received the 15 day responses to Bulletin 2002-01, from all 69 PWRs except for Davis-Besse, who indicated that a response will be transmitted after completion of the root cause evaluation. The staff has completed its first detailed review of all 68 responses. The staff has not identified any plants with conditions similar to those which lead to the degradation at Davis-Besse. Some plants have reported localized, minor wastage of the reactor vessel head as a result of boric acid (some of which are summarized in previous generic communications). The wastage is limited and does not represent a structural integrity concern. Based on the review of the 15 day responses, in some cases, the staff will issue questions to confirm or verify the information that was provided in response to Bulletin 2002-01.

Information relative to Bulletin 2002-01, and NRC activities related to this topic can be found at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/ops-experience/vessel-head-degradation.html.

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. 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
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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