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NRC Section XI Report - September 2002

Site Updates


Presented By: Wally Norris, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission


NRC Report
Section XI
September 2002

1. NRC External Website

Most of the content on the NRC’s public website prior to 9/11/01 has now been restored (http://www.nrc.gov).

2. Amendment to 10 CFR 50.55a - 97A through 00A

The final amendment to 10 CFR 50.55a is scheduled to be published in September 2002 (proposed amendment is available at the Office of Federal Register website: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a010803c.html (66 FR 40626; August 3, 2001). The amendment will endorse the 1997 Addenda, 1998 Edition, 1999 Addenda, and 2000 Addenda of Section III, Section XI, and OM Code.

3. ASME Code Cases - Rulemaking/Regulatory Guides

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. Fifteen comment letters were received on the draft guides, and eight letters were received on the proposed rule. The staff has completed its proposed responses and revised the rule and guides accordingly. The packages are being reviewed by the cognizant offices. It is anticipated that the final rule and guides will be published in December 2002.

The NRC staff has completed its review of the Code Cases in Supplement 12 to the 1998 Edition and Supplements 1, 2, and 3 to the 2001 Edition and has begun developing Proposed Revision 33 to Regulatory Guide 1.84, Proposed Revision 14 to Regulatory Guide 1.147, Proposed Revision 1 to RG XXX, "Operation and Maintenance Code Case Acceptability," and Proposed Revision 1 to RG XXX, "ASME Code Cases Not Approved for Use." These draft guides are scheduled to be published in early February 2003.

4. ASME PRA Standard

The NRC staff is developing a draft regulatory guide, "An Approach for Determining the Technical Adequacy of PRA Results for Risk-Informed Activities," to provide the NRC position on consensus PRA standards and industry PRA documents. The guide is scheduled to be published for public review and comment (90 days) at the end of September 2002. On August 27, 2002, an "Advance Notice of a Public Workshop with Interested Stakeholders for Further Discussion Regarding the Use and Application of the ASME Consensus PRA Standard and the NEI Peer Review Process" was issued. The public workshop will be held in Rockville, MD, on September 19, 2002, to continue interaction between the NRC and Stakeholders on the use and application of the ASME consensus PRA Standard, the associated NRC regulatory guide, and the NEI Peer Review Process (NEI-00-02). A Federal Register Notice will be published to provide details of the workshop. A second Federal Register Notice will be published to discuss NRC’s desire to conduct a pilot application (e.g., risk-informed technical specification initiative 4b, "Configuration Risk Management for Completion Time"). The NRC staff is seeking CFO approval to wave process fees.

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 as an alternative to augmented inspection programs for break exclusion region (BER) requirements typically identified in Standard Review Plan Sections 3.6.1 and 3.6.2. piping. Both EPRI and WOG have developed methodologies to expand their current RI-ISI methodologies for this application. The staff has approved the use of the EPRI methodology to change the BER programs (ML021790158). If the BER program is described in the final safety analysis report, licensees may implement changes to the BER program according to the provisions of 10 CFR 50.59. Review of the WOG methodology is continuing. The staff is planning to update the RI-ISI Regulatory Guide 1.178 and SRP Section 3.9.8 by the summer of 2003.

6. Generic Activities on PWR Alloy 600/182/82 PWSCC

The 15 day response from licensees with regard to Bulletin 2002-02, "Reactor Pressure Vessel Head and Vessel Head Penetration Nozzel Inspection Programs," were due on August 28, 2002. These responses will provide the NRC staff with an alternative course of action, along with the basis for acceptability of the proposed action, to the 30 day response that licensees are required information. The 30 day response requested licensees provide either the fact that they were supplementing their inspection plans with non-visual non-destructive examinations or justification why they were not going to perform non-visual non-destructive examinations. The 30 day responses are due by September 12, 2002. Information relative to Bulletin 2002-02, and NRC activities related to this topic can be found at http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/ops-experience/vessel-head-degradation.html.

On August 23, 2002, at 9:00 a.m., the NRC staff held a public meeting with NEI and PWR licensees to discuss proposed licensee actions in response to Bulletin 2002-02. The staff discussed its expectations for the bulletin responses and the basis for issuance of the bulletin.

The NRC is developing a supplement to Bulletin 2002-01 to request information from licensees regarding the effectiveness of their boric acid control programs. A letter dated August 19, 2002, was transmitted from Brian Sheron, Associate Director for Project Licensing and Technical Analysis, NRR/NRC to Richard Gimple, Chair, Section XI, requesting that ASME re-evaluate its rules for boric acid corrosion inspections.

7. Future Reactor Licensing Activities - Advanced Reactor Research Plan

In response to Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) for COMJSM-00-0003, the staff prepared and issued information paper, "Future Licensing and Inspection Readiness Assessment [FLIRA]," SECY-01-0188, dated October 12, 2001. The FLIRA committed the staff to the development of a advanced reactor research plan, to set directions for research programs, and to identify necessary tools and expertise necessary to support the regulation of new reactor designs. In response to that commitment, the staff developed an advanced reactor research plan which includes an infrastructure assessment, to identify technology gaps and Agency needs in the form of methods, tools, data, and expertise. Infrastructure needs identified in the advanced reactor research plan are primarily associated with non-LWRs. Recently Exelon’s withdrawal of their pre-application review for the PBMR, however, has impacted and shifted research priorities. Accordingly, High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactors (HTGRs) research has been scaled back but not eliminated. HTGR research will remain focused at generic level, and on Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR) design. The GT-MHR will undergo pre-application review during FY03-FY04. In addition, many of the key technical issues identified in the plan (e.g., high temperature materials, graphite, and TRISO fuel particle performance), are generic to all HTGRs, and as such, will receive a higher priority over those considered to be associated with a particular plant design. Advanced reactor research has also been identified for reactor designs that have been submitted since we prepared the plan, e.g., ESBWR, SWR-1000, and ACR-700. These new activities will be added to the plan. The plan will be transmitted to the Commission in the Fall of 2002.

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

The NRC staff is preparing a proposed rule, 10 CFR 50.69, "Risk-Informed Treatment of Structures, Systems, and Components," under Option 2 of the NRC’s initiative to incorporate risk insights into its regulations. Consistent with Commission direction, the staff made its preliminary rule language publicly available on the NRC website on November 29, 2001. The staff reviewed the comments received on the draft rule and posted a revision to the draft rule dated April 3, 2002. Comments on the revised draft rule were received from NEI in a letter dated May 15, 2002, and from ASME in letters dated June 3 and 17, 2002. A public meeting was held on June 18, 2002, to discuss the NEI and ASME comments. The NRC staff considered the comments and posted a further revised draft rule dated July 31, 2002. The staff’s current schedule for submittal of the proposed rule package to the Commission is September 30, 2002.

NEI is preparing guideline document NEI 00-04, "Option 2 Implementation Guidance." The staff is focusing its review of NEI 00-04 on categorization, and does not plan to develop or endorse regulatory guidance for treatment of RISC-3 components. NEI submitted a draft of NEI 00-04 on June 28, 2002. On August 14, 2002, the NRC staff provided comments to NEI on the guidance document (ADAMS Accession No. ML022270004). The NRC staff plans to complete a regulatory guide that would endorse NEI 00-04 with clarifications and exceptions, as necessary. At the present time, there are a number of issues that need further discussion and development before NRC can complete such a document.

Pilot plant activities at Wolf Creek, Surry, Quad Cities, and Palo Verde were conducted to evaluate the proposed NEI Option 2 implementing guidance (NEI 00-04). The staff plans to use the lessons learned from these efforts to improve the NEI guidance and the Option 2 regulatory framework.

9. Nuclear Safety Research Conference (NSRC)

The NRC’s Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research is hosting its annual NSRC on October 28-30, 2002, at the Marriott at Metro Center, 775 12th Street NW, Washington, DC. Registration can be completed at http://www.bnl.gov/nsrc. The NSRC is an international conference focused on regulatory issues with the participation of researchers, regulators, and utility representatives from more than 20 countries. The NSRC provides an opportunity to obtain research and insights from research programs in support of the NRC’s mission.


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