nrc seal Weekly Information Report

For the Week Ending June 4, 1999

[ archive ]

The Weekly Information Report is compiled by the NRC Office of the Executive Director for Operations and includes highlights of Headquarters and Regional Office activities. For technical questions, please contact T. Hiltz by E-mail: For administrative questions, please contact Patricia Anderson at (301) 415-1703, or by E-mail: If you would like to request a hard copy, you may contact the NRC Public Document Room at (202) 634-3273, or by E-mail:


The following offices had No information for this issue:

Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

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Decommissioning - Millstone Nuclear Power Station Unit 1

On May 27, 1999, Northeast Nuclear Energy Company (NNECO), the licensee for Millstone, Unit 1, announced that Entergy Nuclear has been selected to provide management services for the decommissioning of Millstone, Unit 1. Entergy Nuclear is currently managing the decommissioning of Maine Yankee. The contract between NNECO and Entergy Nuclear became effective June 1, 1999. The NNECO announcement stated the decommissioning team would begin work immediately on completing the Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report. This report will outline the proposed decommissioning activities and timetable. Unit 1 has been shutdown since November 5, 1995, and the licensee submitted a certification to the NRC dated July 21, 1998, that power operations had been permanently ceased and the fuel removed from the reactor vessel.

Decommissioning - Haddam Neck

On June 2, 1999, NRC held a public Meeting with representatives of Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power (CY), Bechtel Power Corporation, and Constellation Energy. The representatives discussed the safety requirements for CY to build a natural gas fired gas turbine facility on the site of the decommissioning Haddam Neck reactor in Haddam, Connecticut. The proposed plan would release a portion of the site for unrestricted use to install 800 MWe capacity and reuse portions of the existing plant infrastructure. Installation of a natural gas pipeline to fuel the turbines would be necessary. The new electric generation facility would be owned by a third party, with CY retaining the right to evacuate the area if necessary.

CY plans to prepare all required licensing actions by September 1999 and has requested a series of meetings over the summer to address NRC concerns. The planned start of construction for the new facility, if approved by all the regulatory bodies concerned, is late 2000. Construction of the facility would be concurrent with decommissioning the Haddam Neck Plant. The new facility would be designed for acceptability with both spent fuel wet storage in the SPF, which is currently in use at the plant, and dry storage in an ISFSI, which will be used in the future.

Observation of Commonwealth Edison's (ComEd's) Centralized Emergency Operations Facility Functionality

A representative from the Emergency Preparedness and Health Physics Section of IOHB/NRR, observed the operation of the new Centralized Emergency Operations Facility (CEOF) during the Dresden full participation emergency preparedness exercise on May 26, 1999. The Commission approved the centralized EOF concept for ComEd (the licensee) last January in response to SECY-98-274, "Commonwealth Edison Company's Proposal to Centralize Its Emergency Operations Facilities at Its Corporate Offices." This was the first opportunity to observe the full implementation of the CEOF following completion of this licensing action. During the exercise, the CEOF operated effectively and functioned as designed. Region III evaluated licensee performance and participated in the exercise. Headquarters staff also participated.

State of New York Ingestion Pathway Post-Plume Exercise

On Friday, May 28, 1999, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) presented its preliminary findings for the State of New York's ingestion pathway post-plume exercise.

This exercise was a three-day activity based on a scenario involving the Indian Point site. The postulated radioactive materials plume and ingestion pathway involved jurisdictions north and west of the site. NRR will consider these findings to determine lessons-learned for application to issues associated with the Millstone site and Long Island.

FEMA identified five minor issues, which are still under consideration in light of additional information provided during and after the briefing. One potential issue, that was identified which may be applicable as a lesson-learned, was the need for improved coordination between organizations on the implementation of protective actions. FEMA's draft report will be prepared in about 30 days and provided to the State for comments.

Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards

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Management Review Board Meeting with Region III

On May 24, 1999, a Management Review Board (MRB) of senior Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials, along with an Agreement State manager from Maryland, met to review the proposed final IMPEP report of Region III. A review team comprised of members from the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, Office of State Programs, Region I, and the state of Georgia conducted the review and presented the proposed final report. The MRB supported the team's findings and directed No substantive changes to the final report. The MRB found Region III's Division of Nuclear Materials Safety programs to be satisfactory for all indicators, and technically adequate to support public health and safety.

Mixed Oxide Fuel Meeting

On May 27, 1999, a public Meeting was held at Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Headquarters regarding proposed plans by the Department of Energy (DOE) to fabricate and burn mixed oxide (MOX) fuel utilizing plutonium deemed excess to the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Information was presented by the DOE-selected consortium consisting of Duke Power, Cogema Fuels, and Stone & Webster (DCS). Attendees included DCS management, their primary subcontractors, DOE representatives, members of the public, and representatives from the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, Office of the General Counsel, and Office of Administration. The main topics discussed were the DCS strategy for the building and licensing the MOX facility, an overview of the MOX fuel production process, and the estimated Schedule for the project. The 1999 Defense Authorization Act provides authority to the NRC to license a mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility on a DOE site.

Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research

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Draft Report, "Evaluation of Air-Operated Valves at U.S. Light-Water Reactors"

On June 3, 1999, the draft report, "Evaluation of Air-Operated Valves at U.S. Light-Water Reactors," authored by Dr. Harold Ornstein, RES, and its INEEL draft companion document, "A Study of Air-Operated Valves in Nuclear Power Plants," INEEL/EXT-98-00383, were issued for peer review. On June 3, 1999, nuclear industry representatives met with NRC (RES/NRR) to discuss industry AOV initiatives and cooperative efforts with NRC to address AOV issues. The draft RES report was provided to the Meeting attendees.

The NRC study was initiated by the Office for Analysis and Evaluation of Operational Data and was completed by the Regulatory Effectiveness Assessment and Human Factors Branch of the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research.

The study objective was to provide an assessment of U.S. experience related to AOVs to help the NRC determine if additional attention needs to be focused on AOVs.

The reports describe the findings and conclusions which resulted from visits to 7 U.S. light-water reactor sites at which there were 11 operating reactors, and from reviews of AOV operating experience.

The study includes information on over 100 events which include common-cause failures or degradations of AOVs in important systems such as emergency core cooling systems, residual heat removal systems, auxiliary feedwater systems, emergency ac power systems, and boiling-water reactor scram systems.

All of the plants visited had initiated AOV programs. Many but not all of the programs focus on activities to confirm the capability and operability of important AOVs. There are large plant-to- plant variations in the types, numbers, applications and risk importance of AOVs, and there are significant programmatic and schedular differences between the plants' AOV programs. The AOV programs at all of the plants visited used risk informed methodologies from the plant PRAs and maintenance rule to categorize the plant AOV populations. Paralleling motor operated valve (MOV) experience, many licensees (in addition to those at the plants visited during this study) have used newly developed diagnostic equipment to discover deficiencies and weaknesses in the design, analysis, maintenance and testing of AOVs.

The AOV programs described in the study are voluntary and there are No explicit regulatory requirements governing them. The study concludes that implementation of an effective AOV program can minimize the likelihood for common cause AOV failures.

The Regulatory Effectiveness Assessment and Human Factors Branch is planning to work with NRR, other RES staff, NEI, AOV-Joint Owners Group, and ASME to communicate these lessons of operating experience.

These draft reports will be issued as NUREG and NUREG/CR reports after peer review and revision as necessary.

Meeting of Standards Development Organizations

On May 26, 1999, the NRC hosted the first coordination Meeting with standards development organizations (SDOs). The NRC frequently endorses consensus standards that have been developed by SDOs in its regulatory documents. John Craig, the NRC Standards Executive, chaired the Meeting with support from NMSS and NRR. The concept of coordination meetings to foster better communication between the NRC and the SDOs was proposed by SDO representatives at an NRC public workshop on standards held in Chicago in September 1998. Subsequently, SECY-99-029 on the NRC's development and use of consensus standards incorporated coordination meetings with SDOs as an integral part of the NRC standards effort.

In addition to the NRC, the participants were the American Concrete Institute, American Nuclear Society, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Testing and Materials, Health Physics Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, International Society of Instrumentation, National Fire Protection Association, and the Nuclear Energy Institute. The participants concluded that this Meeting was very useful and should be held periodically to discuss policy issues. It was acknowledged by all that the resources being devoted to standards activities are diminishing, making regular interaction of standards stakeholders an important part of planning. Participants agreed that coordination meetings with standards stakeholders could fill a void created by the dissolution of the ANSI Nuclear Standards Board by addressing policy issues such as standards implementation problems, needs, and priorities. The next Meeting will be held within 6 months.

The topics discussed at the SDO Meeting were identifying the need for new or revised standards from the perspective of both the industry and the NRC, determining the appropriate SDO to develop the new standards, clearly defining the scope of the needed change, and setting priorities and schedules for the new or revised standard. Additional topics included the length of Time between identification of need for a standard and NRC's endorsement of the standard, the level of NRC's participation in SDOs, the Time required for SDOs to develop or revise standards, and the level of resources or level of participation in standards development. NRC activities related to the implementation of Public Law 104-113 and OMB Circular A-119 were also discussed.

NAS Meeting on the Performance of Engineered Barriers

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) senior staff requested a Meeting with RES staff to discuss a proposed study on engineered barrier performance for contaminated sites and disposal facilities. The Meeting focused on the proposed study's objective of providing information and real-world experiences needed to model, analyze, and confirm the performance of various engineered barriers (e.g., earthen covers, geosynthetics, concrete structures, waste package, waste forms). The value of engineered barriers was discussed in the context of their contribution to limiting doses calculated in performance assessments of radioactive waste disposal facilities and contaminated sites. The proposed study would include modeling the time-dependent degradation of the barriers in specific geologic environments, analyzing laboratory and field data, and identifying critical research needs. The performance of engineered barriers for both physical and chemical containment of waste has taken on an important and critical role in waste disposal facilities, primarily because of the considerable uncertainties in characterizing the capability of the geologic media surrounding the radioactive materials to limit dose. The NAS staff intends to hold similar discussions with engineers and scientists from the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Electric Power Research Institute before a draft copy of the study proposal will be circulated to interested agencies.

Incident Response Operations

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2. PNO-III-99-020, Midmichigan Medical Center, MEDICAL MISADMINISTRATION

Office of Administration

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Procurement Executive Council

On June 3, 1999, Mary Lynn Scott, DCPM, participated in a Meeting of the Procurement Executive Council. This Meeting focused on reports from the acquisition workforce, electronic commerce, performance measurement subcommittees, and an update of the Federal Acquisition Institute's on-line training. In open discussions, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy stated that legislation has been proposed to extend the simplified acquisition commercial item pilot for two years. This pilot, which permits the use of simplified acquisition procedures for commercial items procurements valued at up to $5M, would expire on January 1, 2000.

Chief Information Officer

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Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Requests received during the 4-Day Period of May 28, 1999 through June 04, 1999:

OI report 1-94-021. (FOIA/PA 99-246)

St. Lucie, 12/10/97 memo to F. Hebdon from J. Calvo re Task Interface Agreement St. Lucie Unit 1 Environmental Qualification of the Woodward Governor Controls. (FOIA/PA 99-247)

First Energy Corp. in Ohio, DOL vs. Centerior Energy, et al., Case # 97-ERA-43. (FOIA/PA 99-248)

Operator licensing tracking system listing by facility. (FOIA/PA 99-249)

Office of Human Resources

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Office of Public Affairs

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Media Interest

There was media interest in the bomb threat at headquarters.

The Charlotte Observer is preparing an article on Duke Power.

Press Releases
99-113 NRC Issues License Amendment Approving Stabilization Plan for Atlas Uranium Mill Tailings Pile in Utah
99-114 NRC Headquarters Temporarily Closed Because of Bomb Threat
99-115 NRC Makes Available Staff Recommendations for Proposed Rule on Certain Uranium and Plutonium Facilities
99-116 NRC Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste to Meet in San Antonio, Texas
I-99-51 Note to Editors: NRC Staff to Hold Performance Evaluation Meeting at Limerick
I-99-52 NRC Commissioner Merrifield to Hold Press Briefing at Seabrook
I-99-53 NRC Proposes $4,400 Fine Against New Jersey Medical Facility for Firing Employee Who Raised Safety Concern
III-99-34 NRC Staff to Meet with FirstEnergy Officials to Discuss Performance at Davis-Besse Nuclear Plant
III-99-35 NRC Staff to Hold Predecisional Enforcement Conference on Response to Fire at Portsmouth Uranium Enrichment Plant
III-99-36 NRC Staff Schedules Public Meeting June 14 to Describe New NRC Inspection Program for Prairie Island Nuclear Station

Office of the Secretary

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Document Released

to Public

Date Subject
Decision Documents
1. SECY-99-128 5/6/99 Proposed License to Export Natural Uranium to Canada for Test and Evaluation of Avlis Feed Material (Application No. XSOU8762)
SRM ON 99-128 6/2/99 (same)
Commission Voting Record on 99-128 6/2/99 (same)
2. SRM on SECY-99-054 6/3/99 Plans for Final Rule - Revisions to 10 CFR Parts 50, 52, and 72: Requirements Concerning Changes, Tests, and Experiments
3. SECY-99-083 3/19/99 Fiscal Year 1998 NRC Annual Report
SRM on SECY-99-083 6/4/99 (same)
Commission Voting Record on 99-083 6/4/99 (same)
Negative Consent Documents
1. SECY-99-099 3/31/99 Transmittal of the Staff's Safety Evaluation of DOE's Topical Report on the Tritium Production Core
SRM on 99-099 5/18/99 (same)
Chmn Jackson comment on 99-099 4/26/99 (same)
Cmr Diaz comment on 99-099 4/21/99 (same)
Cmr McGaffigan comment on 99-099 4/21/99 (same)
Cmr Merrifield comment on 99-099 4/7/99 (same)
2. SRM on SECY-98-251 and 99-057 6/3/99 SRM - SECY-98-251 - Decommissioning Criteria for West Valley and SECY-99-057 - Supplement to SECY-98-251, "Decommissioning Criteria for West Valley"
Commission Voting Record 6/3/99 SECY-98-251 - Decommissioning Criteria for West Valley
Commission Voting Record 6/3/99 SECY-99-057 - Supplement to SECY-98-251, "Decommissioning Criteria for West Valley"
Information Paper
1. SECY-99-137 5/20/99 Weekly Information Report - Week Ending May 14, 1999
1. M990505A 6/2/99 SRM - Briefing on Safeguards Performance Assessment, May 5, 1999

Commission Correspondence

1. Letter to Congress, dated May 27, 1999, provides the "Report to Congress on Abnormal Occurrences, Fiscal Year 1998" for events at nuclear facilities

2. Letter to Senators Joseph I. Lieberman and Christopher J. Dodd and Representative Sam Gejdenson, dated May 25, 1999, provides a Notice of Violation issued to Northeast Utilities regarding the Millstone Unit 1 spent fuel pool and fuel offloading practices

3. Letter to Congress, dated May 25, 1999, concerns issuance of the NRC staff's safety evaluation report on the DOE topical report on the tritium production core

4. Letter to Dennis Donald, The Keystone Center, dated May 25, 1999, concerns the NRC staff's participation in meetings of the Keystone National Policy Dialogue on Commercial Nuclear Reactor Decommissioning Issues

5. Letter to George E. Apostolakis, dated May 21, 1999, offers a reappointment to a four-year term on the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards

Federal Register Notices Issued

1. Report to Congress on Abnormal Occurrences; Fiscal Year 1998; Dissemination of Information

2. U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Seeks Qualified Candidates for the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Request for Résumés

3. 10 CFR Part 50; Consideration of Potassium Iodide in Emergency Plans; Proposed Rule

Region I

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Gamma Knife Initiative

Gamma Knives are special teletherapy machines that enable precise focusing of a gamma ray beam on intracranial abnormalities. Because of the recent increased use of these machines (there currently are six in Region I, most installed in the last two years and it is expected that interest in this technology will continue). Region I has initiated a training program to introduce the operational and safety features of Gamma Knife machines to more materials licensing and inspection personnel, as well as to key managers.

Phase one of the Region I Gamma Knife initiative commenced on June 3, 1999, at Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster, PA. Introductory training was provided to two Region I managers and three staff on the safety features of the device and new source loading procedures. The machine was loaded with 201 cobalt-60 sources of approximately 30 curies each by Elekta/Alpha Omega, the unit vendor. Licensee staff monitored the source loading activities.

Phase II of the Gamma Knife initiative will be conducted on June 9-10, 1999 also at Lancaster General Hospital. Phase II will include classroom and practical training on the unit structure, components, safety features and interlocks. An introduction to treatment planning will also be included.

Region II

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Duke Energy Corporation - Oconee Nuclear Plant

As a part of the license renewal inspection program for the Oconee nuclear reactor site, Region II inspectors were onsite from June 1 - June 4, 1999. The focus of the inspections was to review the licensee's program for coatings inside the containment structure and for the in service inspection of certain systems. The inspections were conducted during a refueling outage in order to maximize observation of the structures, systems and components that are affected by these programs. The findings from these inspections will be included in the second license renewal inspection planned for July 1999 to review the licensee's aging management programs.

Institute of Nuclear Power Operations Presentation

On June 4, the Director, Division of Reactor Projects facilitated a training session at the INPO New Operations Manager Seminar. The session focused on building effective relationships with the regulator.

Navy Radiation Safety Committee Meeting

On June 2, the Regional Administrator and the Navy Master Materials License Project Manager attended the Navy's quarterly Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) Meeting in Crystal City, Virginia. The Project Manager also conducted an exit Meeting with the RSC on the results of the NRC's annual review of the Navy's licensed materials program. The review included the results of several facility inspections in all four regions. No violations were identified and the RSC oversight of the materials program was found to be effective.

Region III

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Inspection Exit Meeting - Palisades Spent Fuel Cask Loading

Members of the Region III staff met June 1, 1999, with Consumers Energy Company officials to discuss the findings of an inspection of the utility's preparations for loading additional spent fuel

storage casks at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant. The Meeting was attended by members of the public and two news media representatives.

Commissioner Merrifield Speaks at Inspector Seminar

The Region III Inspector Seminar was held June 2-4, 1999, in the regional office. Commissioner Jeffrey Merrifield spoke to the regional staff on June 4.

Office of Congressional Affairs

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Congressional Hearing Schedule, No. 22
Time Witness Subject Committee
Combs TBA
406 DSOB
TBA TBA S. 1090, Superfund Reauthorization Senators Chafee/Baucus
Environment and Public Works
Keeling TBA
2322 RHOB
TBA TBA Security at DOE Laboratories Reps. Upton/Hall
Energy & Power
Keeling TBA
2154 RHOB
TBA Former Security Chief of DOE Security Lapses at DOE Facilities Reps. Burton/Waxman
Government Reform
Keeling 06/10/99
10:00 TBA Export Controls at DOE Senators Thompson/Lieberman
Governmental Affairs
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