United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No.79-09 - Spill of Radioactively Contaminated Resin

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

                                             Information Notice No. 79-09 
                                             Date: March 30, 1979          
                                             Page 1 of 2

SPILL OF RADIOACTIVELY CONTAMINATED RESIN

Description of Circumstances:

In May 1978, a spill of contaminated resin slurry occurred outside the 
auxiliary building at the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant, Unit No. 3.- A 
plant radioactive waste pump was being used to transfer resin from a holdup 
tank inside the building, through a trailer-mounted control station, into a 
shielded shipping cask. The cask and trailer, owned and operated by a 
contractor, were located outside of plant buildings because of space 
limitations. All hoses in the transfer line were metal braided and all piping 
was steel except for a polyvinylchloride (PVC) tee inside the trailer, where 
flush water could be added after each transfer. Resin entered the cask
through  a fill cap where it was mixed with a solidifying agent. An automatic
isolation  valve in the transfer line was designed to close upon receipt of
a high cask  level signal from level instrumentation on the fill cap. The
resin spill  occurred when this valve closed prematurely; the resultant
pressure surge  caused the PVC tee inside the trailer to break. Resin flowed
from the broken  tee into the trailer sump. Bolted seams in the sump leaked,
spilling resin  onto asphalt pavement under the trailer. Water from the
spilled resin slurry  flowed into a nearby storm drain.

Factors contributing to the cause or consequences of the spill included: use 
of a PVC pipe fitting in the resin transfer line, inadequate hydrostatic test 
of the system before use, failure to leak test the trailer sump, and 
insufficient precautions taken to mitigate the consequences of a spill.

Technical Specifications require radioactive waste system to be tested and 
operated in accordance with procedures approved by licensee management. It 
should be noted that this requirement applies to systems owned and/or
operated  by contractors at licensed power reactors.

It is the responsibility of licensees to review equipment and procedures used 
for the transfer of contaminated liquids, resins, and filter media that
differ  from permanent systems described in the FSAR. Such equipment and
procedures  should include consideration of the following:




.

                                             Information Notice No. 79-09
                                             Date: March 30, 1979          
                                             Page 2 of 2

1. Preoperational testing of systems, including interlocks and automatic 
functions. These tests should assure the operability of the systems (i.e., 
hydrostatic testing for transient loads, testing of sump integrity, testing
of  system interlocks, functional testing of level instrumentation, and 
verification of proper valve line-ups).

2. Visual inspection of connections, temporary lines, and other potential
leak paths during transfer operations.  

3. Means to promptly isolate leaks.

4. Establishment of adequate communications.

5. Means to control releases (i.e., capping of uncontrolled drains, use of 
barriers or dikes, use of controlled sumps, and protection from inclement 
weather).

No specific action or written response to this Information Notice is
required.  If you desire additional information regarding this matter, please
contact the  Director of the appropriate NRC Regional Office.

Enclosure:
List of IE Information
Notices Issued in 1979




Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2013