United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Reactor License Renewal Safety

The license renewal process is designed to assess whether a reactor can continue to operate safely during the period of extended operation.

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Significant Commission Determinations for License Renewal Rule

  • Regulatory process is adequate for ensuring safety of operating plants
  • Issues relevant to current operating plants will be addressed by the regulatory process and carried forward into the period of extended operation
  • Compilation of the current licensing basis (CLB) or reverification of CLB compliance is not necessary for a license renewal review. CLB carries forward into the period of extended operation
  • Focus of renewal review is passive, long-lived structures and components and time-limited aging analyses
  • Focus on managing the effects of aging during the period of extended operation

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Scope of Rule (10 CFR 54.4)

  • Safety-related systems, structures, and components relied upon to
    • Maintain integrity of the reactor coolant pressure boundary
    • Ensure capability to shut down and maintain a safe shutdown condition
    • Prevent or mitigate offsite exposures comparable to 10 CFR Part 100
  • Non-safety-related systems, structures, and components whose failure could prevent safety related function as outlined above
  • Systems, structures, and components relied upon for compliance with regulations:

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Contents of an Application

  • Integrated Plant Assessment [10 CFR 54.21(a)(1)]
    • Identify and list structures and components subject to an aging management review (AMR):
      • Perform intended function without moving parts or without a change in configuration or properties (passive)
      • Not subject to replacement based on a qualified life or specified period (long-lived)
    • Intended Functions:
      • Functions that a system, structure, or component must be shown to fulfill that form the basis for including the system, structure, or component within the scope of the rule
    • Describe/Justify:
      • Methods to identify structures and components subject to an AMR from those systems, structures, and components within scope [10 CFR 54.21(a)(1)]
    • Demonstrate:
      • Effects of aging will be adequately managed so that the intended function will be maintained consistent with the CLB for the period of extended operation [10 CFR 54.21(a)(3)]

    For additional information, see Integrated Plant Assessment.

  • Time-Limited Aging Analyses (TLAAs)
    • Definition (10 CFR 54.3)
      • Involve systems, structures, and components within scope of rule,
      • Consider the effects of aging,
      • Involve time-limited assumptions defined by current operating term,
      • Determined by licensee to be relevant in safety determination,
      • Involve conclusions related to performance of intended functions, and
      • Contained or incorporated by reference in CLB
    • Provide a list of TLAAs [10 CFR 54.21(c)(1)]
      • Demonstrate that for the period of extended operation
        1. Analyses remain valid,
        2. Analyses have been projected to the end of the period, or
        3. Effects of aging on the intended functions will be managed
    • Exemptions [10 CFR 54.21(c)(2)]
      • List of plant-specific exemptions granted pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12 and in effect that are based on TLAAs as defined in 10 CFR 54.3
      • Evaluation justifying continuation for period of extended operation

    For additional information, see Time-Limited Aging Analyses (TLAAs).

  • Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR) Supplement
    • Summary description of the programs and activities for managing the effects of aging and evaluation of TLAAs
  • Technical Specification Changes (10 CFR 54.22)
    • Changes and their justification necessary for managing the effects of aging during the period of extended operation
  • Standards for Issuance of Renewed License (10 CFR 54.29)
    • Actions have been or will be taken with respect to
      • Managing the effects of aging during the period of extended operation on the functionality of structures and components
      • Evaluating TLAAs that require review
    • Reasonable assurance that activities authorized by the renewed license will continue to be conducted in accordance with the CLB

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Structures and Components Subject to Aging Management Review ("Passive") [10 CFR 54.21(a)(1)(i)]

  • Reactor vessel
  • Reactor coolant system pressure boundary
  • Steam generators
  • Pressurizer
  • Piping
  • Pump casings
  • Valve bodies
  • Core shroud
  • Component supports
  • Pressure retaining boundaries
  • Heat exchangers
  • Ventilation ducts
  • Containment
  • Containment liner
  • Electrical and mechanical penetrations
  • Equipment hatches
  • Seismic Category I structures
  • Electrical cables and connections
  • Cable trays
  • Electrical cabinets

For additional information, see "Passive" Structures and Components.

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Structures and Components Not Subject to Aging Management Review ("Active") [10 CFR 54.21(a)(1)(i)]

  • Pumps (except casing)
  • Valves (except body)
  • Motors
  • Diesel generators
  • Air compressors
  • Snubbers
  • Control rod drive
  • Ventilation dampers
  • Pressure transmitters
  • Pressure indicators
  • Water level indicators
  • Switchgears
  • Cooling fans
  • Transistors
  • Batteries
  • Breakers
  • Relay
  • Switches
  • Power inverters
  • Circuit boards
  • Battery chargers
  • Power supplies

For additional information, see "Active" Structures and Components.

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License Renewal Guidance

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GALL Report

  • Catalog of generic aging management evaluations
    • Builds on previous aging studies
    • Reviews aging effects
    • Identifies relevant aging programs
    • Evaluates program attributes to manage aging effects
    • An applicant may reference GALL in the license renewal application if it is applicable to the plant
  • Evaluation conclusion
    • Program is adequate and no further evaluation is needed, or
    • Program should be augmented or new program considered
  • Not a scoping document
    • Systems, structures, and components (SSCs) listed in GALL do not imply they are within scope of license renewal for all plants
    • Conversely, SSCs not listed in GALL do not imply they are not within scope of license renewal for all plants
  • "One acceptable way" to manage aging
    • GALL does not preclude other alternative programs

Table of Contents: GALL Report

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Aging Management Program Elements

(Standard Review Plan, Section A.1)

There are generally 10 elements for acceptable aging management programs. The programs in a license renewal application are evaluated against these 10 elements:

  1. Scope of program
  2. Preventive actions
  3. Parameters monitored or inspected
  4. Detection of aging effects
  5. Monitoring and trending
  6. Acceptance criteria
  7. Corrective actions
  8. Confirmation process
  9. Administrative controls
  10. Operating experience

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Standard Review Plan

  • Provides staff guidance in reviewing license renewal applications
  • References GALL report for generic aging evaluations
  • Focuses on areas where programs should be augmented
  • Incorporates lessons learned from initial license renewal reviews

Table of Contents: Standard Review Plan

Guidance consistent with NUREG-0800, "Standard Review Plan for the Review of Safety Analysis Reports for Nuclear Power Plants."

  • Areas of Review
  • Acceptance Criteria
  • Review Procedures
  • Evaluation Findings
  • Implementation
  • References

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Regulatory Guide

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id="isg">Interim Staff Guidance (ISG)

  • The purpose of the ISG process is to provide timely guidance to applicants on new staff positions
  • ISG process includes identification and implementation of ISGs for current and future applicants
  • Approved ISGs are available on the Reactor License Renewal Guidance Documents page.
  • Examples:
    • Station Blackouts
    • Fire Protection Piping Inspections
    • Concrete Aging Management Programs
    • Fuse Holders

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Scoping and Screening Review

The staff reviews the license renewal applications, plant drawings, Updated Final Safety Analysis Report, and other current licensing basis documents to determine if the applicant has identified the necessary structures and components subject to an aging management review. This is generally done in two steps:

  • Scoping
    • Definition: Identification of components within the scope of license renewal
    • Portions of the system identified as being within the scope of license renewal by the applicant do not have to be reviewed because the applicant has the option to include more components within the scope than the rule requires
    • The review focus is on those components that are not identified by the applicant as within the scope of license renewal
  • Screening
    • Definition: Identification of components subject to an aging management review
    • For those structures and components that are in scope of license renewal, the review verifies that the applicant has not omitted those that are "passive" and "long-lived"

For more information:

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Review of Aging Management

  • Aging Management Review (AMR)
    • The component, material, and environment, and associated aging effects and aging management programs are reviewed
      • Table 3.x.1 in the license renewal application contains a summary (roll-up) of aging management review results
        Example Page
      • Table 3.x.2 in the license renewal application contains the details that is summarized in Table 3.x.1
        Example Page
  • Aging Management Program (AMP)
    • The adequacy of the aging management programs against the 10 program elements are reviewed
      (Standard Review Plan, Appendix A)
      • Appendix B of the license renewal application contains the aging management programs

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Aging Management Work Split

  • On-site audit and review
    • AMRs and AMPs consistent with GALL
    • AMRs and AMPs consistent with past NRC-approved positions
  • Technical Review
    • Emerging aging issue
    • TLAA
    • AMRs and AMPs not consistent with GALL or past NRC-approved positions

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Safety Review Process

  • Request for Additional Information (RAI)
    • During the safety review, the staff asks the applicant for additional information through the RAI process. RAIs will normally be developed by the technical staff, with the possible assistance of contractors. The project manager is responsible for reviewing the RAIs to verify that they are within the scope of the license renewal rule. The project manager will send the draft RAIs to the applicant and hold conference calls with the applicant and technical staff, if necessary, to clarify the questions before the RAIs are issued.
  • Safety Evaluation Report (SER)
    • The SER will provide the technical and legal basis for the NRC’s disposition of a License Renewal Application. The level of detail should be commensurate with the requirements of the rule and consistent with the guidance in the Standard Review Plan. The SER should document the bases for the staff’s conclusions and provide sufficient information to explain the staff's rationale to someone unfamiliar with the licensee's application.
    • The SER is assembled by the project manager with inputs from the audit, and technical staff.

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Documentation of Staff Evaluation

  • Audit and review report for the on-site audits and review 
  • Inspection reports from the regional inspectors
  • Safety Evaluation Report (SER)

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Safety Review

Take the Review.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, April 29, 2013