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Information Notice No.80-26 – Evaluation of Contractor QA Programs
SSINS No.: 6835 Accession No.: 8005050064 UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 June 10, 1980 Information Notice No. 80-26 To All Part 50 Licensees EVALUATION OF CONTRACTOR QA PROGRAMS Description of Circumstances: Appendix B to 10 CFR 50 requires that each applicant and licensee establish and execute a Quality Assurance Program, and that each licensee "shall require contractors or subcontractors to provide a quality assurance program". Further Appendix B requires each applicant and licensee to regularly review the status and adequacy of subcontractor programs. The NRC is becoming increasingly concerned by continuing evidence that many holders of construction permits and operating licenses are not properly implementing these facets of their quality assurance programs. Examples of this lack of effectiveness of contractor QA program implementation, and inadequacy of licensee overview of contractor QA program implementation are appearing in every facet of project activity. Instances have been observed where architect-engineers have released documents for procurement with inappropriate material specifications. Nuclear steam system suppliers have overlooked erroneous assumptions in analysis of instrument system response to design basis transients. Other cases have been observed where both AE's and NSSS have not followed through on commitments to review vendor detailed designs. Vendors' quality assurance programs have been found to contain errors of both omission and commission. A containment tendon installation contract was awarded to a specialty contractor. During a licensee audit some three months after work started it appeared that a contractor inspector was falsifying records by initialing inspection points not actually observed. A subsequent investigation by the licensee revealed that the contractor had required that QC inspections be performed only on a random basis even though all records had QC signatures. The signatures could mean that the activity was inspected or that record signoffs by others were reviewed; or that the data were recorded by the QC inspector. It is apparent that the licensee had not appropriately reviewed the contractor's inspection program prior to the start of work. In another instance, after completion and acceptance of a major structural steel installation, the licensee found that significant rework would be required to correct construction quality problems. NRC inspection at the contractors fabrication facility disclosed that in addition to work for that license, the contractor had contracts for "high density" fuel storage racks from several operating licensees. None of the NRC licensees had inspected the contractor's shop or examined his quality assurance programs. Response to Information Notice No. 80-26 is not required. The NRC expects appropriate action from all licensees and organizations engaged in nuclear activities and actions will be examined in the ongoing NRC inspection program.
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