United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Removal of the Schedule for the Withdrawal of Reactor Vessel Material Specimens from Technical Specifications (Generic Letter 91-01)


January 4, 1991



TO:       ALL HOLDERS OF OPERATING LICENSES OR CONSTRUCTION PERMITS FOR 
          NUCLEAR POWER REACTORS 

SUBJECT:  REMOVAL OF THE SCHEDULE FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF REACTOR VESSEL 
          MATERIAL SPECIMENS FROM TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS (Generic Letter 
          91-01)


Technical specifications (TS) include limiting conditions for operation that 
establish pressure and temperature limits for the reactor coolant system.  
The limits are defined by TS figures that provide an acceptable range of 
operating temperatures and pressures for heatup, cooldown, criticality, and 
inservice leak and hydrostatic testing.  These limits are generally valid 
for a specified number of effective full-power years.  A program for reactor 
vessel material surveillance ensures the availability of data to update the 
inservice operating temperature and pressure limits.  This program will 
assist in fulfilling the requirements of Appendix H to Part 50 of Title 10 
of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) to prevent brittle fracture of 
the reactor vessel. 

The surveillance requirements associated with these limits specify the 
withdrawal schedule for the reactor vessel material specimens.  Recently, 
the staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved a request 
to remove this schedule from the TS for the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant.  
This TS change was requested because Section II.B.3 of Appendix H to 10 CFR 
Part 50 requires the submittal to, and approval by, the NRC of a proposed 
withdrawal schedule for material specimens before implementation.  Hence, 
the placement of this schedule in the TS duplicates the controls on changes 
to this schedule that have been established by Appendix H.  Therefore, the 
staff concluded that, because this duplication is unnecessary, the removal 
of this TS schedule as a line-item improvement is consistent with the 
Commission Policy Statement on TS Improvements. 

The enclosed guidance addresses the preparation of a request for a license 
amendment for this TS change.  Licensees and applicants that plan to adopt 
this line-item TS improvement are encouraged to propose changes to their TS 
that are consistent with the guidance in the Enclosure.  The NRC project 
manager for the facility will review these amendment requests.  Please 
contact the project manager or the contact identified below if you have 
questions on this matter. 

This letter does not require any licensee to propose changes to its plant 
TS.  Action taken in response to the guidance provided in this generic 
letter 






9012310078 
.

Generic Letter 91-01                - 2 -                   January 4, 1991 



is voluntary and is not a backfit under 10 CFR 50.109.  Therefore, Office of 
Management and Budget clearance is not required. 

                                   Sincerely, 



                                   James G. Partlow 
                                   Associate Director for Projects 
                                   Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation 

Enclosure:
As stated

Contact:  Tom Dunning, OTSB/NRR
          (301) 492-1189
.

Generic Letter 91-01                                           Enclosure 


           GUIDANCE FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE WITHDRAWAL SCHEDULE FOR
       REACTOR VESSEL MATERIAL SPECIMENS FROM TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Introduction: 

This enclosure provides guidance for the preparation of a request for a 
license amendment to remove from the technical specifications (TS) the 
schedule for the withdrawal of reactor vessel material surveillance 
specimens.  The control of changes to this schedule by way of a license 
amendment to modify the TS duplicates the requirements of Section II.B.3 of 
Appendix H to Part 50 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 
CFR).  These requirements address the submittal of a proposed withdrawal 
schedule, as specified in 10 CFR 50.4, and NRC approval before its 
implementation. 

Discussion: 

The limiting conditions for operation (LCO) for the reactor coolant system 
include operating limits on pressure and temperature that are defined in 
figures that provide an acceptable region for operation during heatup, 
cooldown, criticality, and inservice leak and hydrostatic testing.  An 
associated surveillance requirement addresses the frequency of verifying 
that operation is within the specified limits during these operating 
conditions.  In addition, a separate surveillance includes the requirement 
that reactor vessel material surveillance specimens be removed and examined 
to determine changes in material properties, as required by 10 CFR Part 50, 
Appendix H, and in accordance with the schedule in the referenced TS table.  
The reference to this table along with the TS table providing the schedule 
for the withdrawal of reactor vessel material surveillance specimens may be 
removed from this surveillance requirement.  This surveillance requirement 
may also specify that the results of these examinations shall be used to 
update the TS figures for the pressure and temperature operating limits.  If 
this requirement exists, it shall be retained. 

The Bases Section for this TS provides a detailed description of the bases 
for this LCO and the associated surveillance requirements.  The standard 
technical specifications (STS) bases reference the TS table that provides 
the schedule for surveillance specimen withdrawal.  The bases states that 
the heatup and cooldown curves are recalculated when data from the 
surveillance specimens indicate a change in material properties that exceeds 
the limiting value of those properties that were used to develop the 
existing pressure and temperature limits.  Finally, the STS Bases Section 
includes a table of the initial values of reactor vessel material properties 
and includes figures showing the effects of neutron fluence on the material 
characteristics and the predicted shifts in material characteristics. 

The current STS bases provide extensive background information on the use of 
the data obtained from material specimens.  This background information 
clearly defines the purpose and relationship of this information to the 
requirements included in the regulations and the American Society of 
Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code.  Therefore, the removal of the schedule 
for specimen withdrawal from the TS will not result in any loss of clarity 
related to regulatory requirements of Appendix H to 10 CFR Part 50. 

If the Bases Section of this TS includes a reference to the TS table that 
provides the schedule for material specimen withdrawal that is being removed 
from 
.

Generic Letter 91-01                - 2 -                       Enclosure 



the TS, this section should be updated to reflect the removal of this TS 
table. However, to obtain a readily available copy of the NRC-approved 
version of the specimen withdrawal schedule, licensees should provide a 
commitment to include this schedule in the next revision of the updated 
safety analysis report (USAR). 

Summary: 

The removal from the TS of the schedule for the withdrawal of reactor vessel 
material surveillance specimens will not result in any loss of regulatory 
control because changes to this schedule are controlled by the requirements 
of Appendix H to 10 CFR Part 50.  In addition, to ensure that the 
surveillance specimens are withdrawn at the proper time, the surveillance 
requirements in the TS on pressure and temperature limits must indicate that 
the specimens shall be removed and examined to determine changes in their 
material properties, as required by Appendix H.  A request for a license 
amendment to remove this table from the TS may be made based upon this 
guidance.  Licensees should include an updated Bases Section for this TS 
with this proposal if changes to the Bases Section are necessary to remove 
references to the table being removed from the TS.  Also, the licensee 
should commit to maintain the NRC-approved version of the specimen 
withdrawal schedule in the USAR. 
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