United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment


                                                            SSINS No.: 6830 
                                                            Accessions No.: 
                                                            7910250495

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555

                                May 28, 1980

                                                    IE Circular No.  80-13 

GRID STRAP DAMAGE IN WESTINGHOUSE FUEL ASSEMBLIES 

Description of Circumstances: 

During the refueling operation at Salem Unit 1, it was noted by the licensee
that some of the assemblies that were removed had suffered grip strap 
mechanics damage.  This was reported to the NRC in LER 79-44.  Subsequent to
this discovery all fuel assemblies were removed from the core for 
examination. The degree of the damage to the grid straps was classified in 
three categories:  small pieces missing (15 assemblies), grid material 
ripped and laid over (5 assemblies), larger sections missing and fuel pins 
exposed (11 assemblies).  No damage to the fuel pins was observed.  A total 
of 31 assemblies suffered some grid damage. 

The damage appeared to be the result of corner to corner interaction of the 
grid straps of diagonally adjacent fuel assemblies during the vertical 
loading and unloading movements.  No correlation of the damage to core 
location, grid strap elevation, or manufacturing and shipping batches has 
been identified. 

The licensee and the fuel manufacturer established the following guidelines 
for reloading damaged assemblies:  (1) those assemblies with full width 
pieces missing will not be reloaded for cycle 2, (2) those assemblies with 
deformed edges and those with small pieces missing will be reloaded with 
special procedures to prevent further damage. 

Sale Unit 1 is fueled with 17X17 Westinghouse assemblies.  Similar grid 
problems have occurred at other facilities fueled with 14X14 and 15X15 
Westinghouse assemblies; however, fewer assemblies were damaged in those 
instances. 

Recommended Actions: 

All licensees using 14X14, 15X15, or 17X17 Westinghouse assemblies are 
advised to: 

(1)   Visually inspect grid straps of those fuel assemblies which are 
      discharged from the core as well as those assemblies which are moved 
      to the spent fuel pool for control rod replacement and are 
      subsequently returned to the core. 

.

IE Circular No. 80-13                                       May 28, 1980 
                                                            Page 2 of 2 

(2)   Review the fuel handling precautions recommended by Westinghouse at a 
      meeting on May 25, 1979, with NRC and the licensee for Salem 
      (Attachment 1).  Adopt those recommendations which are pertinent. 

No written response to this Circular is required.  If you required 
additional information regarding these matters, contact the Director of the 
appropriate NRC Regional Office. 

Attachment:
Summary of Meeting Notice
  dated 5/30/79

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