United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

YEAR 2000 READINESS OF COMPUTER SYSTEMS AT NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS (GENERIC LETTER NO. 98-01 - SUPPLEMENT 1)

UNITED STATED
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555-0001

January 14,1999

NRC GENERIC LETTER NO. 98-01 SUPPLEMENT 1: YEAR 2000 READINESS OF COMPUTER SYSTEMS AT NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

Addressees

All holders of operating licenses for nuclear power plants, except those who have permanently ceased operations and have certified that fuel has been permanently removed from the reactor vessel.

Purpose

The U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this generic letter supplement to provide addresses with a voluntary alternative response to that required in Generic Letter 98-01 on Year 2000 (Y2K) readiness of their respective facilities. This offer is consistent with the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI) recommendation in their letter to the NRC dated November 9, 1998. The alternative response should provide information on the overall Y2K readiness of the plant, including those systems necessary for continued plant operation which are not covered by the terms and conditions of the license and NRC regulations.

Description of Circumstances

On May 11, 1998, the NRC issued Generic Letter 98-01, requesting information regarding the licensee's programs, planned or implemented, to address the year 2000 (Y2K) problem in computer systems at their facilities. Specifically, item (2) under Required Response, requires addressees to provide a written response upon completing the Y2K program or, in any event, no later than July 1, 1999, confirming that the facility is Y2K ready, or will be ready, by the year 2000 with regard to compliance with the terms and conditions of the license and NRC regulations. For incomplete programs as of that date, the licensee is to provide a status report, including completion schedules, of work remaining to be done to confirm the facility is/will be ready by the year 2000.

Since issuance of GL 98-01, increased public awareness and government attention to the Y2K problem have resulted in concern over not only public health and safety of nuclear power plants but also concern over the ability of nuclear power plants to continue to provide power to the national electric power grid. A key aspect of this concern is the recognition of the need for significant disclosure and sharing of information on the Y2K problem and its impact on the nation's infrastructure as described in the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act (Public Law No: 105-271) which was enacted on October 19, 1998. The information requested in this supplement to GL 98-01 is consistent with this Act.

Discussion

As discussed in Generic Letter 98-01, the Y2K computer problem pertains to the potential for date-related problems that may be experienced by a computer system or an application. The Y2K problem has the potential of interfering with the proper operation of computer systems, hardware that is microprocessor-based (embedded software), and software or databases relied upon at nuclear power plants. Diverse concerns are associated with the potential impact of the Y2K problem on nuclear power plants because of the variety and types of computer systems in use. The concerns result from a reliance upon (1) software to schedule maintenance and technical specification surveillance, (2) programmable logic controllers and other commercial off-the-shelf software and hardware, (3) digital process control systems, (4) software to support facility operation, (5) digital systems for collection of operating data, and (6) digital systems to monitor post-accident plant conditions.

Some examples of systems and computer equipment that may be affected by Y2K problems follow:

  • Security computers
  • Plant process (data scan, log, and alarm) and safety parameter display system computers
  • Radiation monitoring systems
  • Dosimeters and readers
  • Plant simulators
  • Engineering programs
  • Communication systems
  • Inventory control systems
  • Surveillance and maintenance tracking systems
  • Control systems

The NRC and the nuclear industry recognized the importance of the Y2K concern to the above systems, even though some of the systems may not be covered by specific requirements of the facility license, because of their impact on the ability of the plant to support the grid and the nation's electric power infrastructure. For this reason, the NRC will permit addressees to provide an alternative response to that identified in item (2) of GL 98-01 which addresses overall plant Y2K readiness. Addressees may still provide the more narrowly focused response required by GL 98-01 on the readiness of only those systems within the scope of the facility license and NRC regulations under the provisions of 10 CFR 50.54 (f). However, addressees are reminded that existing reporting requirements under the provisions of 10 CFR Part 21, 10 CFR 50.72, 10 CFR 50.73 and 10 CFR 50.9 are still applicable as appropriate when Y2K problems in safety-related systems are identified.

Voluntary Response

Addressees may respond to this supplement to GL 98-01 on or before July 1, 1999, in lieu of item (2) of GL 98-01 but must respond to one or the other. In responding to this supplement to GL 98-01, the addressee should confirm Y2K readiness of the facility with regard to those systems within the scope of the license and NRC regulations, and those systems required for continued operation of the facility after January 1, 2000. For those systems which are not Y2K ready as of July 1, 1999, the addressee should provide a status and completion schedule for achieving readiness by the year 2000.

Address the written response to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Attention: Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001.

Backfit Discussion

The NRC staff has determined that the backfit rule, Section 50.109 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR 50.109), does not apply to this generic letter because it only requests information from addressees (in particular, those addressees who choose to respond to the NRC in the manner described herein, rather than in accordance with item (2) of GL 98-01) that will enable the NRC staff to confirm that a facility is Y2K ready, or will be ready, by the year 2000 with regard to complying with the terms and conditions of the facility license and NRC regulations. Therefore, no backfit analysis was prepared.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

This generic letter contains information collections that are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). These information collections were approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), approval number 3150-0011, which expires on September 30, 2000.

The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 100 hours per response, including the time for reviewing the instructions, searching data sources, gathering and maintaining the needed data, and completing and reviewing the information collected. This estimate assumes a licensee's response simply confirms that the Y2K program will be completed by July 1, 1999. Licensees whose Y2K program will not be completed by July 1, 1999, must submit additional information to the NRC.

The NRC is seeking public comment on the potential impact of the collection of information contained in this generic letter and on the following issues:

  1. Is the proposed collection of information necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the NRC, including whether the information will have practical utility?

  2. Is the estimate of burden accurate?

  3. Is there a way to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected?

  4. How can the burden of the collection of information be minimized, including the use of automated collection techniques?

Send comments on the burden estimate and any aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to the Information and Records Management Branch, T-6 F33, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001, and to the Desk Officer, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, NEOB-10202 (3150-0011), Office of Management and Budget, Washington, D.C. 20503.

The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact one of the technical contacts listed below or the appropriate office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) project manager.

        /s/'d by

David B. Matthews, Director
Division of Reactor Program Management
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation



Technical Contact: Matt Chiramal, NRR
301-415-2845
E-Mail: mxc@nrc.gov
Lead Project Manager:    Allen G. Hansen, NRR
301-415-1390
E-Mail: agh@nrc.gov


Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Generic Letters


(NUDOCS Accession Number 9901130297)

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, May 27, 2014