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Information Notice No. 83-60: Falsification of Test Results for Protective Coatings
SSINS No.: 6835 IN 83-60 UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 September 22, 1983 Information Notice No. 83-60: FALSIFICATION OF TEST RESULTS FOR PROTECTIVE COATINGS Addressees: All holders of a nuclear power reactor operating license (OL) or construction permit (CP), and nuclear fuel cycle licensees. Purpose: This information notice is provided as a notification of a potentially significant problem pertaining to the alteration of a test report and subsequent use of substandard materials at a nuclear facility. Earlier this year, a jury found the Quality Assurance Director of a protective coatings company guilty of fraudulent practices. Although the fraudulent practices occurred in 1979 and 1980, the criminal trial was not concluded until March 25, 1983. Nuclear power reactor licensees who had purchased protective coatings from this company during the period of concern were notified at the time. Presently, the details of this case are being publicized to illustrate the risk involved in accepting test reports that are not provided directly from an independent testing facility. It is expected that addressees of this information notice will review the general problem described herein for applicability to their facilities. No specific action or response is required. Description of Circumstances: In early 1979, Con-Chem, Incorporated (CCI) sought a contract to supply a protective coating for use at the Hope Creek Generating Station. The architectural engineering firm for the Hope Creek project was Bechtel Corporation of San Francisco. To qualify for consideration, bidders were required to demonstrate that the coatings would withstand accident-level radiation exposures. Pursuant to this requirement, CCI submitted concrete test blocks coated with their product to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for radiation tests. Following receipt of an acceptable test report and confirming photographs 8308300330 . IN 83-60 September 22, 1983 Page 2 of 2 of the test blocks, Bechtel awarded the contract to CCI and the protective coating was applied to selected areas within containment at the Hope Creek Generating Station. Later, an FBI investigation determined that the Quality Assurance Director for CCI had altered the ORNL test report before-delivering it to Bechtel. The report provided to Bechtel by the Quality Assurance Director stated "coating intact, no defects" whereas a copy of the report on file at ORNL indicated "delamination," "cracking," and "peeling" of the coating following the radiation exposure tests. Additionally, it was discovered that the photographs of the test blocks actually showed untested blocks which had been spray painted brown by the Quality Assurance Director to make them appear radiation tested. The protective coating used at Hope Creek had to be removed and replaced. The investigation did not uncover any illegal or fraudulent activity on the part of any other company official. On March 25, 1983, a jury found the Quality Assurance Director guilty and he was later sentenced to three years' confinement and fined $6,000. In this case and perhaps others, it appears the problem and associated cost and schedule-related impact could have been averted by requiring that the test report or a copy thereof be submitted directly from the reputable testing facility. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the Regional Administrator of the appropriate NRC Regional Office, or this office. Edward L. Jordan, Director Division of Emergency Preparedness and Engineering Response Office of Inspection and Enforcement Technical Contact: R. M. Young, IE 49-27275 Attachment: List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices .
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