nrc seal Weekly Information Report

For the Week Ending October 1, 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 M. Satorius, OEDO 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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National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee Meeting

During the week of September 20, 1999, staff of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) and the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research participated in a Meeting of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee on Fire Protection for Nuclear Facilities (TC). During the Meeting, the TC continued to develop NFPA 805, "Performance-Based Standard for Fire Protection for Light Water Reactor Electric Generating Plants." The TC resolved the outstanding public and internal Committee comments on the draft standard and developed a revised draft standard. The revised draft standard will be balloted within the TC during October 1999. In accordance with the NFPA standards development process, if the revised draft is approved through the TC ballot, the NFPA will publish it for a second round of public comments on January 21, 2000; with a closing Date of March 31, 2000. The TC will meet next in San Francisco in May 2000, to address any public comments. NFPA plans to publish the final version of the proposed standard during September 2000; for approval by the NFPA membership during November 2000. This Schedule is consistent with the Schedule provided to the Commission in SECY-99-152 of June 7, 1999. The staff will continue to support the completion of NFPA 805 and will initiate a rulemaking in FY 2000 to support the adoption of NFPA 805 as an alternative to the existing NRC requirements for fire protection.

Unicom and Peco Energy Agree to Merger

Unicom Corporation (parent company of ComEd) and PECO Energy Company announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement providing for a merger of equals. The merger, which has been unanimously approved by both companies' boards of directors, will create a new holding company with a total value of approximately $31.8 billion ($15.2 billion in equity market value, $16.6 billion in debt and preferred stock). At the close of the transaction, PECO Energy and Unicom shareholders will each own approximately 50 percent of the new holding company.

Based in Chicago, ComEd has the largest nuclear power plant fleet in the country, with a total capacity of 9,400 megawatts from 10 generating units at five sites. Based in Philadelphia, PECO Energy has four nuclear units with a total generating capacity of 4,400 megawatts at two sites.

The companies will seek to minimize the impact of the merger on the workforce through a combination of attrition and separation packages. Reductions due to the merger are expected to be approximately 5 percent of the consolidated workforce of 22,500. All union contracts will be honored.

Following the close of the merger, Corbin A. McNeill, Jr. (PECO's chairman) and John W. Rowe (Unicom's chairman) will become co-chief executive officers of the new holding company for a transition period lasting until December 31, 2003. During the first half of the transition period, McNeill will be chairman and Rowe will be president of the new holding company. McNeill will serve as chairman of the board of directors for the first half of the transition period and Rowe

will serve as chairman of the executive Committee of the board. During the second half of the transition period, Rowe will serve as chairman of the board of directors and McNeill will serve as chairman of the executive Committee of the board. At the end of the transition period, Rowe will become chairman and sole chief executive officer of the new holding company. McNeill will remain on the board of directors.

McNeill will have the responsibility for overseeing the generation and power marketing operations of the new company and Rowe will have the responsibility for overseeing transmission and distribution operations, as well as unregulated retail enterprises.

The new holding company, yet to be named, will be headquartered in Chicago, and the generation and power marketing operations will have its headquarters in the Philadelphia region. Unicom's and PECO Energy's electric and gas utility operations will remain separate subsidiaries of the holding company and will continue to operate under the names Commonwealth Edison Company and PECO Energy Company, and will maintain their headquarters in Chicago and Philadelphia. The new holding company will be incorporated in Pennsylvania.

Millstone 1, 2, and 3

On Monday, September 27, 1999, representatives from the NRC, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Northeast Nuclear Energy Company and Northeast Utilities Service Company would pay $5 million each in fines based on guilty pleas to 25 felony counts for false statements made to the NRC and environmental violations at the Millstone site in Waterford, Connecticut, and the Devon fossil plant in Milford, Connecticut. The statements to the NRC were made during the period 1992 - 1996, and involved false certifications of completion of training requirements for operator licenses prior to the NRC administering operator license examinations. The false claims first came to light when six out of seven Millstone Unit 1 operator license candidates failed the licensing exam administered by the NRC in December 1996.

The environmental violations involved deliberate actions to dilute effluent samples at the Millstone and Devon sites prior to analysis. The licensee had experienced difficulty keeping discharges to the environment within applicable limits. The licensee also wilfully discharged hydrazine, a highly toxic and corrosive substance, to the environment without applying to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for permission.

The $5 million fine to be paid by Northeast Nuclear Energy Company is the largest penalty, either civil or criminal, in the history of the commercial nuclear power industry. The $5 million fine to be paid by Northeast Utilities Service Company is the largest criminal penalty to ever be paid in an environmental case in Connecticut. Included in the $10 million penalty are payments for (1) $650,000 for a leadership camp for disadvantaged children, (2) $1 million to the State of Connecticut to help local towns purchase riverfront land for conversion to public parks, (3) $1 million to endow a Business Ethics chair at the University of Connecticut, and (4) $650,000 to endow an Environmental Clinic at the University of Connecticut School of Engineering.

Operational Safeguards Response Evaluation (OSRE)

An Operational Safeguards Response Evaluation was conducted September 27-30, 1999, at Limerick Station by members of the NRR Reactor Safeguards Section and Region I. The OSRE tests the licensee's protection against the design basis threat as it is defined in 10 CFR Part 73, by conducting drills and exercises of the tactical response capability of the licensee's security organization. Commissioner Merrifield and members of his staff observed the evaluation for a portion of the week's exercises.

AP600 Design Certification

By letter dated September 29, 1999, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC submitted a revision to the AP600 Design Control Document (9/99 revision). This submittal incorporated documentation changes resulting from a final review performed by Westinghouse. This review checked the consistency of the implementation of approved design change proposals, ongoing detailed design work on systems, structures, and components outside the scope of design certification, and commitments made in the final stages of the design certification review. In addition, one change to the description of the plates above the recirculation pump screens was necessitated by the location of other nearby hardware.

The NRR staff is preparing a supplement to the AP600 FSER (NUREG-1512) that will address these changes to the design documentation. Westinghouse and the staff will be prepared to discuss these changes at the ACRS Meeting on November 4-6, 1999. In accordance with the approved Schedule, it is expected that the final design certification rule will be ready for Commission consideration by December 1999.

Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards

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Holtec HI-STORM 100 Cask System

On September 22, 1999, a proposed rule was published in the Federal Register that would add the HI-STORM 100 cask system to the list of NRC-approved spent fuel storage casks. The comment period for the proposed rule ends December 6, 1999. The HI-STORM 100 is a storage-only, steel and concrete cask that stores a welded, dual-purpose canister. The canister is approved for storage and transportation in the HI-STAR 100 dual-purpose cask system. The users for the HI-STORM 100 include Commonwealth Edison's Dresden Plant, Southern Company's Hatch Plant, and the proposed Private Fuel Storage Facility.

Meeting with Western Nuclear, Inc.

On September 22, 1999, Division of Waste Management staff met with representatives from Western Nuclear, Inc. (WNI) to discuss submission of their Groundwater Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for the Split Rock, Wyoming, site. The Groundwater CAP submittal is part of WNI's overall site reclamation and groundwater restoration activities as required under its Source Materials License SUA-56. WNI presented an overview briefing of its proposed Groundwater CAP, which will be submitted to the NRC for review in October 1999.

Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards

On September 23, 1999, the Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards (ISCORS) met. Representatives were present from the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, EPA, DOE, Department of Defense, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and other federal agencies. The first presentation was a discussion on the General Accounting Office (GAO) report entitled, "Low-Level Radioactive Wastes: States Are Not Developing Disposal Facilities" (GAO/RCED-99-238, September 17, 1999), by Duane Weigel, GAO. Other topics discussed included an update on the NRC's clearance rule, NRC's decommissioning guidance, status of Federal Guidance Report 13, international meetings, and status of subcommittee activities. The next quarterly Meeting of ISCORS is proposed for December 13, 1999, at DOE Headquarters.

Recent Developments with Low-Level Waste Compacts

GAO recently released its report, "Low-Level Radioactive Wastes: States Are Not Developing Disposal Facilities." The report notes that states and compacts have spent almost $600 million attempting to develop new facilities, without success. Possible alternatives to the compacts that are considered in the report are repealing the compact act so that private industry can provide waste disposal services, or using one or more of the DOE's disposal facilities to dispose of commercial waste. The report concludes that any approach would have to address the willingness or unwillingness of states to serve as a host for a disposal facility. The NRC is briefly mentioned in several parts of the 100 page report.

In a related matter, the DOE FY 2000 Appropriations bill significantly reduces funding for the DOE technical assistance program for states and compacts developing new disposal facilities. The new funding level is approximately 15% of last year's budget, and only provides for tracking and reporting of low-level waste (LLW) disposal information. Funds for the LLW Forum are not budgeted. In addition, DOE cannot reprogram any funds without Congressional permission. DOE has not indicated whether it will request additional funds for the LLW program.

Information Exchange on Waste Management Programs with the French Nuclear Installations Safety Directorate

On September 22, 1999, representatives from the French Ministry for Economy, Finance and Industry Nuclear Installations Safety Directorate, and Institute for Nuclear Safety and Protection exchanged information on waste management policies and programs with representatives from the NRC's Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards and Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, and the EPA. The French presented a description of waste management and decommissioning programs in France and the High-level Radioactive Waste Disposal program. The NRC discussed an overview of the uranium recovery, decommissioning, low-level waste, and high-level waste programs. Other topics included NRC's proposals for clearance, recycle, and reuse of materials. The EPA representatives discussed EPA's program and current status and its specific role in the regulation of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The French also visited the WIPP on September 24, 1999, and the Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses on September 27-28, 1999.

Department of Energy Public Meetings on Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Yucca Mountain

On September 27, 1999, staff from the Division of Waste Management (DWM) observed a DOE public Meeting on DOE's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a geologic repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. DOE held the public Meeting in Amargosa Valley, Nevada, located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Yucca Mountain. There were approximately 15 speakers, including representatives from the Office of the Governor for the State of Nevada, Nye County, Nevada, and non-governmental organizations. Those providing comments indicated that they have not completely formulated their comments. Concerns were expressed over a wide range of issues, including assumptions in the DEIS; DOE's failure to adequately involve citizens of Nye County, Nevada; and differences in the EPA proposed standards and the NRC's proposed regulations. EPA and the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board staff attended the Meeting. DWM staff will observe upcoming DOE public meetings in Pahrump, Nevada, on September 30, 1999. Additional DOE public meetings on the DEIS are scheduled for 15 additional locations (eight within Nevada). Staff plans to observe most of the public meetings held in Nevada.

Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors' Meetings on Low-Level Waste

From September 24-27, 1999, the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD) held a Low-Level Waste Regulators' Workshop (the first two days) and a Meeting of its Radioactive Waste Management Committee (E-5) in Rockville, Maryland. Participants included the NRC staff; and representatives from Ohio, North Carolina, Connecticut, Colorado, Washington, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Envirocare, U.S. Ecology, Chem-Nuclear, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and General Accounting Office.

As a result of the meetings, CRCPD plans to prepare a white paper on pre-1978 11(e)2 byproduct material that will argue for additional regulation. CRCPD is also considering follow-up on the assured isolation concept with NRC, consistent with former Chairman Jackson's March 19, 1999 letter on this topic. Envirocare is pursuing the development of such a facility in Texas that would be licensed by the Texas Department of Health, and Ohio is beginning a process to promulgate regulations for this approach. CRCPD will also request, in writing, continued NRC participation in meetings of these two groups.

International Atomic Energy Agency International Illicit Smuggling Exercise

The Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards staff participated in a no-notice exercise conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in June 1999 to test the point-of contact system of the IAEA's Illicit Trafficking in Nuclear and Radioactive Materials Database. Twenty-six countries participated in the exercise. The response for the United States was coordinated by the Department of State (DOS) in its lead role for the National Security Council Nuclear Smuggling Subgroup, of which the NRC is a member. An evaluation of the exercise recently was provided to DOS, in which NRC was commended for identifying a potential nuclear criticality risk in its assessment of the scenario.

Paducah and Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plants

During the weeks of August 30, 1999, and September 13, 1999, respectively, a five-person inspection team comprised of Health Physics specialists from the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, Region III, and Region I conducted confirmatory inspections of the Paducah and Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plants' Radiation Protection (RP) programs. The objectives of the inspections were to confirm the adequacy of the U.S. Enrichment Corporation's (USEC's): (1) understanding of the radiological contamination on site; (2) controls for worker protection from transuranic (TRU), Tc and U radionuclides; (3) internal and external dose assessment program for TRU, Tc and U radionuclides; (4) characterization methodology for measuring TRU and Tc radionuclides; and (5) environmental and effluent monitoring practices for TRU, Tc and U radionuclides. No immediate radiological health and safety concerns were identified. Three members of the team revisited Paducah during the week of September 20, 1999, to take a closer look at the radiological controls and to address two NRC identified open items. USEC provided the NRC inspectors additional information on the two open items and has indicated that more detailed information will follow. The NRC inspection staff is reviewing the information as it is being provided by USEC. Open inspection exit meetings are anticipated to be held near the two sites in late October 1999.

Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research

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Taiwan Earthquake Aftershocks Occur near the Hualien Large Scale Seismic Test (LSST) Site at Hualien, Taiwan

On Tuesday, September 21, 1999, at 1:47 AM, local Time, a large earthquake occurred in central Taiwan near the town of Nantou, 90 miles south-southwest of Taipei. The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated the earthquake magnitude as 7.6. News media reports indicate that "the Taiwan quake occurred along a reverse-strike fault. It occurs when two plates, the Eurasian and the Philippine, press against each other. Pressure from below pushes one plate up, while the other plate drops at a 45-degree angle." The quake and many aftershocks have caused extensive damage, including a death toll of over 2100. Two nuclear power plants in the northern end of Taiwan island, Chinshan and Kuosheng, were tripped off line by damage from the main shock to several substations and 345 Kv transmission towers in the electricity grid system, according to a Taiwan Power Company engineer. More than 4,300 aftershocks have occurred, some registering magnitudes above 6.0. These aftershocks have caused further damage near the original destructive quake in Nantou where some 4200 buildings have collapsed and over 3000 buildings have been damaged.

Preliminary review of data available on the earthquake and several large aftershocks indicates that several of the aftershocks occurred within Taiwan's Strong Motion Array (SMART-2 array) layout. The Hualien Large Scale Seismic Test (Hualien LSST) program includes several of the SMART-2 seismic stations as part of its instrumentation layout. The Hualien LSST program was initiated in January 1990 and became fully operational in May 1993, when a consortium charter was signed by participants from EPRI , NRC, and 11companies from Japan, France, and Korea.

A 1:4 scale model reinforced concrete containment and a full scale steel tank have been constructed and instrumented in Hualien, Taiwan. Recordings of both the free field and structural motions are made when earthquakes occur at the site. Since 1993 over 33 moderate earthquakes, magnitude 3.5 - 6.4 (local scale), have been recorded at the Hualien LSST site. The NRC has been involved in this work, along with the City College of New York, to make predictions of the free field and structural motions and to correlate the measured data with predictions using Computer Code for Rapid Evaluation of Structures (CARES). The goals of this work are to validate seismic analysis methods used in nuclear power plant design, quantify uncertainties in the methods, and establish a recognized body of data from real earthquakes. EPRI organized the Hualien LSST experiment and coordinated participation with the Taiwan Power Company. To Date more than 10 useful events have been recorded from the latest main shock and aftershocks by instrumentation at the Hualien LSST site.

Workshop on Risk-Informing 10 CFR Part 50

A public workshop on risk-informing 10 CFR Part 50 was held on September 15, 1999. The Office of Research (RES) staff presented their preliminary plan on Option 3 for studying the issue of risk-informing the technical requirements of 10 CFR Part 50, including the general design criteria and the documents for implementing the regulations (e.g., standard review plans, regulatory guides).

Various stakeholders, including the Nuclear Energy Institute, made presentations regarding their preliminary views on candidate regulations. ABB's presentation was in regard to a similar effort by DOE on risk-informing regulations for future nuclear power plants. South Texas Electric Generating Station presented their views, as did two consultants. The workshop was widely attended by approximately 40 licensees, vendors, public interest groups, and consultants, and numerous issues were discussed. The main points that emerged from the Meeting were:

In addition to holding future workshops, the staff agreed to develop a web site whereby the staff would provide updates as well as solicit and receive stakeholder feedback.

Public Meeting To Discuss Proposed Draft Guide on Methods for Determining Reactor Pressure Vessel Fluence

On September 28, 1999, RES sponsored a public Meeting to discuss a proposed regulatory guide, "Calculational and Dosimetry Methods for Determining Pressure Vessel Neutron Fluence." The guide would describe methods acceptable to the NRC staff for determining reactor pressure vessel fast neutron fluence for use in satisfying requirements in both Appendix G and 10 CFR 50.61. These regulations are used to evaluate the fracture toughness of the pressure vessel materials. In addition, Appendix H, "Reactor Vessel Material Surveillance Program Requirements," to 10 CFR Part 50 requires the installation of surveillance capsules, including material test specimens and flux dosimeters, to provide data for material damage correlations as a function of fluence. Use of these dosimeters to estimate fast fluence is also discussed in the proposed guide.

About 17 members of the public, including power reactor licensees and several NRC staff members, attended the Meeting. Brookhaven National Laboratory, RES's primary contractor on the proposed guide, presented a detailed discussion of the guide and the changes that were made based on previous public comments. The discussion included the proposed companion NUREG/CR, which provides a fluence benchmark problem set for use in verifying fluence calculation methods. An NRR staff member provided the regulatory perspective for the guide, and there was active participation by industry representatives. Public comments are expected within the next two months. RES will evaluate and incorporate these comments as appropriate. The target for issuing the final regulatory guide is late 2000.

Incident Response Operations

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Emergency Response Coordination Meeting

IRO conducted the 32nd counterpart Meeting of the regional Emergency Response Coordinators and their management on September 29 and 30, 1999, in Region III. The workshop updated the regions on current initiatives within the agency related to incident response. These included discussions on Continuity of Operations, State Outreach, exercises and relationship with the FBI. A major focus of the workshop was to discuss and finalize procedures for response to Y2K. These were successfully completed and will be tested during the Y2K exercise the agency will be conducting on October 15,1999.

Preliminary Notifications:


2. PNO-I-99-045, PECO Energy Company (Limerick 1 2), UNUSUAL EVENT DECLARED AT LIMERICK

3. PNO-II-99-038, Department of the Army, DIAGNOSTIC MISADMINISTRATION

4. PNO-II-99-039, Carolina Power & Light Co. (Robinson 2), TORNADO SIGHTING WITHIN PROTECTED AREA


6. PNO-III-99-043, Veterans Administration, MEDICAL MISADMINISTRATION



9. PNO-IV-99-038A, Entergy Operation, Inc. (Waterford 3), RESTART OF WATERFORD 3

10. PNO-IV-99-040, Nebraska Public Power District (Cooper 1), PLANT STARTUP FROM SHUTDOWN GREATER THAN 72 HOURS

11. PNO-IV-99-041, Texas Bureau of Rad Control, STOLEN PORTABLE MOISTURE/DENSITY GAUGE


Office of Administration

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Contract Award

On September 30, 1999, the Division of Contracts and Property Management awarded contract NRC-04-99-050 to SAIC, entitled, "Support for Collection and Analysis of Occupational Radiation Exposure Data" in the amount of $772,802. The period of performance is September 30, 1999 to September 29, 2001 with three one-year options. The contractor will provide support to NRC for collection and analysis of occupational radiation exposure data, for evaluating licensee performance, and for conducting health effects research. The data will be further utilized by the NRC to identify high dose facilities and to identify dose trends. The following streamlining measures were used: limit competition to known sources, simplified evaluation criteria, and award without discussions.

Chief Information Officer

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Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Requests received during the 5-Day Period of September 24, 1999 through September 30, 1999:

USGS facility at 5293 Ward Rd., Avada, CO, 1999 decommissioning report and related records. (FOIA/PA 99-371)

Reg. Guide 1.13, Spent Fuel Storage Facility Design Basis, Rev. 2 & all guidance documents interpreting General Design Criterion 62, 10CFR50. (FOIA/PA 99-372)

General Design Criteria in Appendix A, proposed rule 10CFR50, Federal Register notices & all promulgating documents. (FOIA/PA 99-373)

Landfill site at 330 S. Barrington Ave., Brentwood, CA, permit/license & inspection reports. (FOIA/PA 99-374)

Topical report, CENPD-397-P, Rev. 00, "Improved Flow Measurement Accuracy Using CROSSFLOW Ultrasonic Flow MEASUREMENT Technology." (FOIA/PA 99-375)

Manual, Investigative Procedures Manual, OI, revised 8/1/96. (FOIA/PA 99-376)

Atlas Corp., 9/98 through 9/99, all financial status records. (FOIA/PA 99-377)

Professional engineers listing of NRC employees certified as safety professionals, industrial hygienists, and/or health physicists, and state of license for each. (FOIA/PA 99-378)

D.C. Cook Units 1 & 2, Safety Evaluation by the Directorate of Licensing, Sec. 9.7 dated 9/10/73. (FOIA/PA 99-379)

Office of Human Resources

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Office of Small Business & Civil Rights

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Minority Enterprise Development Week

On September 20-21, 1999, Von Deloatch, Small Business Program Manager, Office of Small Business and Civil Rights (SBCR), attended the 17th Annual Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week, in Washington, D.C. MED Week has been designated by Presidential Proclamation since 1983, and is the largest Federal advocacy and education event sponsored on behalf of minority business enterprises. This year's Conference provided a forum to discuss issues affecting the growth and development of minority business. It provided workshops, forums, symposia, and the opportunity for Federal agencies to meet with prospective small businesses interested in contracting with the government. Keynote addresses were given by Congressman Ruben Hinojosa(D-TX), the Honorable William M. Daley, U.S. Department of Commerce and the Honorable Aida Alvarez, U.S. Small Business Administration. A highlight of the Conference was the presentation of the Parren J. Mitchell Pioneer Award to Daniel S. Goldin, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Managing Diversity

The SBCR-sponsored Managing Diversity Leadership Session for the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) managers on Thursday, September 23, 1999. The purpose of this session was to provide additional tools for managers and supervisors to use in adding performance, productivity, and leadership. Mr. Fred Soto, founder of Straight Talk Enterprises, conducted the session.

NRC's First Diversity Day

The SBCR, Employees Welfare and Recreation Association, and the EEO Advisory Committees sponsored NRC's first Diversity Day. The theme of this event was "Celebrating Diversity in the Workplace." Chairman Dicus provided supportive remarks regarding the need for enhanced and sustained diversity in the workplace. The Keynote speaker was Dr. Rosita Lopez-Marcano. This event included a panel discussion on the evolution of diversity and age in the work force issues. Multi-cultural performers and arts and crafts vendors provided a variety of cultural attractions. This event was held in Headquarters and broadcast to the regions.

Office of Public Affairs

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Media Interest

Both headquarters and the regional public affairs offices received dozens of calls on the incident at Tokai, Japan.

The office also received inquiries on the inadvertent criticality alarms that occurred at the BWX facility in Virginia.

Press Releases
99-204 NRC Releases Previously Contaminated Site in Pennsylvania for Unrestricted Use
99-205 NRC to Hold Atlanta Meeting on Control of Solid Materials From Licensed Facilities
99-206 NRC and Utah Choose Dames & Moore as Trustee for Atlas Uranium Mill Tailings Pile
99-207 NRC Sends Letters to Utilities to Follow up Y2K Readiness at Nuclear Power Plants
99-208 NRC Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste to Meet in Las Vegas
99-209 NRC Completes Final Plan for Evaluating Foreign Ownership, Control or Domination of Nuclear Power Plant License Applicants
99-210 Note to Editors: ACRS Meeting October 22
III-99-42 NRC Staff Issues Confirmatory Order to Nuclear Contractor on Employee Concerns Program and "Safety Conscious" Environment

Office of the Secretary

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Document Released

to Public

Date Subject
Negative Consent Documents
1. SECY-99-215 8/23/99 Removal of the Passes/Metals Company of America Site from the Site Decommissioning Management Plan
Comm. McGaffigan's comments on 99-215 9/7/99 (same)
Information Papers
1. SECY-99-228 9/13/99 Litigation Report - 1999 - 5
2. SECY-99-231 9/16/99 Weekly Information Report - Week Ending September 10, 1999

Commission Correspondence

1. Letter to David A Lochbaum, Union of concerned Scientists, dated September 17, 1999, concerns July 1, 1999 revisions to the 10 CFR 2 206 petition review process documented in Management Directive 8 11 (MD 8 11), "Review Process for 10 CFR 2.206 Petitions."

2. Letter to Jill Lipoti, Ph D, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, dated September 16, 1999, concerns State of New Jersey soil cleanup standards and the opportunity to comment on the proposed New Jersey standards.

3. Letter to Olexander Smyshliaiev, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine, dated September 14, 1999, concerns changes in the nuclear regulatory structure in Ukraine.

Federal Register Notices Issued

1. 10 CFR Part 50; Emergency Core Cooling System Evaluation Models; Proposed Rule.

2. Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Meeting of the Subcommittee on Human Factors; Notice of Meeting on October 22, 1999.

3. Advisory Committee on the Medical Uses of Isotopes; Meeting Notice for October 20, 1999.

4. 10 CFR Part 20; Respiratory Protection and Controls to Restrict Internal Exposures; Final Rule.

Region I

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Licensing Practices and Procedures Course

On September 27 through October 1, 1999, Region I hosted the Technical Training Center's presentation of the Licensing Practices and Procedures Course for materials license reviewers. Region I staff member Betsy Ullrich covered the "Overview of Licensing" introduction to the course and the segment on "Sealed Sources and Devices," and Pam Henderson covered "Medical Licensing". Approximately 20 students attended the course including staff from Agreement States, NMSS, and the Air Force.


On September 29, 1999, a Meeting and tour was held at the Molycorp, Inc. Washington, PA site involving representatives from Region I, NMSS, and the licensee to discuss the decommissioning plan review process and familiarize NRC project management staff with key areas of site characterization. The Meeting was observed by individuals from the State Department of Environmental Protection and members of the public, and received media attention from Pittsburgh newscasters and local reporters.

Meeting with EPA Region I

On September 30, 1999, NRC Region I hosted a Meeting with representatives from the Region I (Boston) office of EPA . EPA was represented by staff and management from their Office of Ecosystems Protection (Radiological), Office of Site Remediation and Restoration, and Regional Counsel. NRC staff and management from the Division of Nuclear Materials Safety and the Regional Counsel were in attendance. The Meeting was held to establish a dialogue on a regional basis for interaction concerning permanently-shut down reactor decommissioning projects. Both agencies explained their structure and responsibilities for radiological and non-radiological contamination at the shut down reactors, interface with licensees, and interface with the states. Both agencies agreed to continue to interact at the regional level as decommissioning projects continue.

Region II

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Tennessee Valley Authority - Browns Ferry Plant Status Meeting

On September 27, representatives from Tennessee Valley Authority met with the Regional Administrator, Director of the Division of Reactor Projects, and other regional staff to discuss Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant status and performance.

Carolina Power and Light Company - Robinson

At 8:39 p.m. on September 29, 1999, a tornado passed through the protected area at Robinson and the licensee declared an Alert. There were No injuries and the plant experienced minor damage to non-power block support facilities and several vehicles. Offsite power remained available throughout the event. The unit was in a cold shutdown for a refueling outage. The Alert was terminated at 10:03 p.m. on September 29, 1999.

BWX Technologies

On October 1, 1999, at 10:04 a.m., while excavating between two buildings on the plant site, a criticality alarm cable was severed which activated the criticality alarm system.

In accordance with plant procedures, personnel evacuated two designated locations. The alarms were from areas where high enriched uranium is normally processed. The licensee performed radiation surveys around the buildings where the alarm had activated in accordance with existing procedures and obtained readings within the normal range. A search of the area for the cause of the alarm identified the severed cable. Additional radiation surveys inside the buildings confirmed that a criticality accident had not occurred. The licensee also verified that the environmental monitors around the site did not show any abnormal readings. The facility processes in the buildings were shutdown at the Time of the alarm and No processing of radioactive materials was planned until the alarm system was restored. Evacuated staff returned to areas where criticality monitors were still operable. Only a portion of the criticality alarm system was affected.

Region III

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ABB Combustion Engineering Plant Shut Down Following Strike

All nuclear fuel processing and fabrication activities at the ABB Combustion Engineering plant at Hermatite, Missouri, were shut down September 28, 1999, following a strike by 112 employees represented by the Teamsters Union. The company plans to train salaried and management personnel to resume operations at the plant. A Region III inspection began September 30 to review the company's training activities for the replacement workers. The inspectors will also observe the plant startup once the company completes the training activities.

Region IV

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Public Meeting Between South Texas Project (STP) Nuclear Operating Company and NRC

On September 23, 1999, a public Meeting was held in the Region IV office with STP Nuclear Operating Company managers to discuss the status of the commitments related to a confirmatory order, dated June 8, 1998, modifying the STP operating license for STP. The licensee's plans for performing future comprehensive cultural assessments and annual "mini" surveys were discussed. This Meeting did not include the results of any previous surveys. Also included in this Meeting was the introduction of the new Director, Safety Quality Concerns Program at STP.

Meeting with Buzdor Engineering and EBA Engineering, Inc.

The Region IV Regional Counsel, Enforcement Specialist, and Chief, Nuclear Materials Inspection Branch conducted closed predecisional enforcement conferences with the Presidents of Buzdor Engineering and EBA Engineering, Inc., on September 27, 1999, in Anchorage, Alaska.

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Congressional Hearing Schedule, No. 36
Time Witness Subject Committee
Gerke 10/5 & 6
2123 RHOB
10:00 TBA H.R. 2944, Electricity Competition Reps. Barton/Hall
Energy and Power
Gerke 10/07/99
2167 RHOB
2:00 TBA GSA's Federal Building Security Program Reps. Fowler/Traficant
Oversight, Investigations & Emergency
Emergency Mgmnt
Transportation & Infrastructure
Gerke 10/15/99
TBA GAO, GSA, IRS, NTEU, AFGE Quality Management by Federal Agencies Senators Voinovich/Durbin
Oversight of Gov't Mgmnt, Restructur- ing, & the District of Columbia
Governmental Affairs
Combs 10/19/99
TBA NRC, DOE Paducah GDP Senators Domenici/Reid
Energy and Water Development
Gerke 10/22/99
10:00 NRC, DOE, GAO, NERC Y2K Nuclear Plant Readiness Domestically and Internationally Reps. Horn/Turner
Gov't Mgmnt, Info & Technology
Government Reform
Reps. Morella/Barcia
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