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NRC Section XI Report - November 2005

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Presented By:  Mr. Wally Norris, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NRC Report
Section XI
November 2005

1.    Amendments to 10 CFR 50.55a


A final amendment to 10 CFR 50.55a incorporating by reference the 2001 Edition up to and including the 2003 Addenda of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, was published on October 1, 2004 (69 FR 58804).  The rule became effective on November 1, 2004.


The staff has completed the technical bases for the amendment to 10 CFR 50.55a to endorse the 2004 Edition.  Development of the proposed rule is proceeding.


2.    ASME Code Cases - Rulemaking/Regulatory Guides


Three final regulatory guides addressing ASME Code Cases were noticed in the Federal Register on September 29, 2005, (70 FR 56938-56939) - Revision 33 to Regulatory Guide 1.84, “Design, Fabrication, and Materials Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section III; Revision 14 to Regulatory Guide 1.147, “Inservice Inspection Code Case Acceptability, ASME Section XI, Division 1; and Revision 1 to Regulatory Guide 1.193, “ASME Code Cases Not Approved for Use.”  The guides address the Code Cases in Supplement 12 to the 1998 Edition through Supplement 6 to the 2001 Edition.  The guides are available electronically in the Regulatory Guides Document Collection of the NRC's public Web site at



Draft Revision 34 to RG 1.84, Draft Revision 15 to RG 1.147, and Draft Revision 2 to RG 1.193 have been developed.  The guides address the Code Cases in Supplement 7 to the 2001 Edition through Supplement 1 to the 2004 Edition.  It is the staff’s intent to publish these guides for public comment in the first quarter of 2006.


The staff is currently reviewing Supplements 2, 3, and 4 to the 2004 Edition.


3.    Risk-Informed Activities


10 CFR 50.69 ‑ Risk Informed Special Treatment Requirements


The final version of Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.201 is being prepared for publication for trial use.  The trial use period is expected to be completed by the end of 2006.


10 CFR 50.46a ‑ Risk‑Informed Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS)


A completed proposed rule package including the rule and a statement of considerations (SOC) was delivered to the Commission on 3/29/05 in SECY 05‑0052.  On July 29, the Commission issued an SRM that approved publication of the proposed Rulemaking subject to comments and specific changes provided in the SRM.  The Commission directed that the proposed rule be issued for public comment on October 28, 2005.


Request to Extend Reactor Vessel Weld Inspection Interval by One Operating Cycle


Three Licensees have submitted requests to extend the inspection interval for the reactor vessel welds by one operating cycle.  The requests referred to NRC guidance provided in a letter from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Westinghouse Electric Company, "Summary of Teleconference with the Westinghouse Owners Group Regarding Potential One Cycle Relief of Reactor Pressure Vessel Shell Weld Inspections at Pressurized Water Reactors Related to WCAP‑16168‑NP, "Risk Informed Extension of Reactor Vessel In‑Service Inspection Intervals," dated January 27, 2005.


4.    Generic Activities on Material Degradation/PWR Alloy 600/182/82 PWSCC


By letter dated July 27, 2005, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) transmitted to the NRC for information EPRI Materials Reliability Program Report MRP-139, Rev. 0, “Materials Reliability Program: Primary System Piping Butt Weld Inspection and Evaluation Guideline.”  It was indicated that NEI was not requesting approval of MRP-139 but would appreciate NRC staff comments on the document.  On August 4, 2005, a public meeting was held between NRC and representatives from NEI and MRP during which an overview of the report was given and general staff observations were provided.  In a letter to Alexander Marion, Senior Director Engineering/Nuclear Generation Division, Nuclear Energy Institute, from Michael Mayfield, Director, Division of Engineering, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, dated October 12, 2005, the NRC staff identified portions of the document it believed should be clarified and enhanced.


Meeting of the International Cooperative Group and Research Program for Proactive Materials Degradation Management


From August 15‑18, 2005, staff members from the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES) presented research, chaired sessions, and participated in the 12th International Conference on Environmental Degradation of Materials in Nuclear Power Systems – Water Reactors.  The conference participants representing 15 countries, were experts in the area of corrosion and metallurgy, and represented industry, regulators, manufacturers, universities, and research labs.  The purpose of the conference was to present current information about materials degradation in nuclear power plants and to discuss prevention and mitigation strategies.  The conference focused on degradation of nickel base alloys, stainless steels, pressure vessel and piping steels, zircaloys, and other alloys in the water environments relevant to nuclear power plant components.  On August 16 and 19, 2005, in conjunction with the conference, RES staff and contractors from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory held the first formal meeting with representatives from several nations to plan an International Cooperative Group and Research Program focused on Proactive Materials Degradation Management (PMDM).  The staff provided background information on the NRC’s efforts to identify components susceptible to possible future degradation.  In addition, industry presented their proactive degradation assessment work.  Finally, the staff discussed a detailed plan to coordinate an international agreement to conduct a cooperative PMDM program.  A second meeting is planned to be held with potential participants later this year.


Agreement between the USNRC and Tohoku University (TU) regarding participation in the USNRC Cooperative Research Project on Non‑Destructive Examination for Primary Water Stress Corrosion Cracking in Nickel‑base Materials and Dissimilar Metal Welds


On September 1, 2005, the NRC’s Executive Director for Operations signed an international Agreement with Tohoku University, Japan, that defines the terms and conditions by which the USNRC and TU will cooperate in the cooperative research project on non‑destructive examination for primary water stress corrosion cracking in nickel‑base materials and dissimilar metal welds.  The insights gained through this cooperative project will enhance NRC’s understanding of the aging and environmental effects on materials in nuclear power plants.  Goals are to reduce the uncertainty associated with non‑destructive examination, and improve the quality of standards for in‑service inspections for structural integrity endorsed by the NRC.


5.    New Reactor Licensing Activities


Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Public Meeting


On September 21-22, staff met with Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Pty Ltd., and discussed plans for the pre-application review.  Representatives of the Department of Energy and industry attended.


International Atomic Energy Agency Research Coordination Meeting on Evaluation of High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors


From September 5-9, 2005, NRC staff attended the 6th Research Coordination Meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA’s) Cooperative Research Project 5 on "Evaluation of High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors" (HTGRs), in Vienna, Austria.  Information gained from the meeting will support technical reviews of Next Generation Nuclear Plants and future HTGR infrastructure activities.


Public Meeting with Westinghouse on IRIS Test Plans


On September 28, 2005, NRC staff participated in a public meeting with Westinghouse to discuss Westinghouse’s planned test program for the International Reactor Innovative and Secure (IRIS) reactor design.  Staff discussed comments from review of the extensive test plan of thermal hydraulic and mechanical testing done by Westinghouse to support product development and to provide an experimental data base to satisfy the requirements of 10 CFR 52.47.


Other Information


The final safety evaluation report (FSER) and Final Design Approval (FDA) for the AP1000 design certification were issued on September 13, 2004.  The staff is scheduled to complete rulemaking to certify the AP1000 design in December 2005.


The staff is reviewing early site permit (ESP) applications for three sites: North Anna, Clinton, and Grand Gulf.  All three applications were accepted for docketing in late 2003.  The staff completed the safety evaluation reports for North Anna and Grand Gulf in June and October of this year.  The staff expects to complete the Clinton FSER in February of 2006.  The environmental reviews are in progress and the staff expects to complete those reviews over the next few months.  The completion of the FSERs and EIS will then be followed by a mandatory hearing on all three proposed ESPs.


The staff is currently engaged in certification review of General Electric's ESBWR design.  The design certification application was submitted to the NRC in August 2005, and once accepted for docketing, the certification review is expected to take 48 months.  In addition, the staff is currently engaged with vendors in pre-application review of several other new and innovative reactor designs, including the EPR design (Framatome ANP), the Pebble-Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) design (PBMR Pty Ltd.), the Advanced Candu Reactor (ACR)-700 design (Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd.), and the International Reactor Innovative and Secure (IRIS) design (Westinghouse Electric Company).


Documents related to future licensing activities can be found on the NRC web site at, http://www.nrc.gov:201/NRC/GENACT/GC/index.html


6.    Public Meeting on the Mitigating Systems Performance Index (MSPI)


On August 17, 2005, staff from Offices of Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES) and Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) and the Regions discussed MSPI implementation issues with industry representatives and other interested stakeholders.  Discussions during the public meeting focused on the staff's response to the Nuclear Energy Institute's proposed alternatives to probabilistic risk assessment quality requirements for the MSPI.  As a result of the meeting, the staff and industry representatives came to general agreement on the MSPI PRA quality issue.  The staff also discussed the need for licensees to submit MSPI basis documents to the NRC by September 1, 2005, in order to support the current MSPI implementation schedule.  A staff planning session was held for the purpose of ensuring that basis document reviews can be conducted efficiently.  Industry‑wide implementation of the MSPI is scheduled for January 2006.


7.    Publication of NUREG/CR‑6877, "Characterization and Head‑Loss Testing of Latent Debris from Pressurized‑Water‑Reactor Containment Buildings"


The Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES) has published NUREG/CR‑6877, "Characterization and Head‑Loss Testing of Latent Debris from Pressurized‑Water‑Reactor Containment Buildings."  It is part of a research program conducted by RES in support of the resolution of Generic Letter (GL) 2004‑02, on PWR sump blockage.  Dirt, fiber, and other foreign materials that are normally found in nuclear power plant containment buildings are referred to as "latent debris."  Latent debris samples were obtained from five volunteer PWR plants.  A variety of experimental techniques were used to characterize the latent debris which basically consists of fibers and particles.  The head loss contribution of latent debris was determined separately for fiber and particle components.  Based on a comparison of physical characteristics, the study concluded that the head loss associated with latent debris fibers can be conservatively assessed using fiberglass insulation properties.  RES staff is pursuing additional research to substantiate both the head loss measurements and the hydraulic parameters that this report recommends for use in the evaluation of head loss attributed to latent debris particles.


8.    Regulatory Information Conference)


The next Regulatory Information Conference (RIC 2006) will be held March 7, 8, and 9, 2006, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center (opposite Metro's White Flint Station on the Red Line and diagonal to NRC's Headquarters).  The agenda is currently under development and will be made available on the NRC’s web site.

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