United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 83-61: Alleged Use of Stand-ins for Welder Qualification Tests

                                                               SSINS:  6835 
                                                               IN 83-61    

                                UNITED STATES
                       NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT 
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 
                                     
                             September 26, 1983

Information Notice No. 83-61:   ALLEGED USE OF STAND-INS FOR WELDER 
                                   QUALIFICATION TESTS  

Addressees: 

All nuclear power facilities holding an operating license (OL) or a 
construction permit (CP). 

Purpose: 

This information notice is provided to bring to the attention of licensees 
and construction permit holders the alleged practice of using stand-ins for 
welder qualification tests. It is expected that recipients will review the 
information for applicability to their facilities. No other action or 
response is required. 

Description of Circumstances: 

On June 29, 1983, The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, Chairman, Committee on Labor
and Human Resources, United States Senate, held an oversight hearing. 
Witnesses testified that some local branches of the International 
Brotherhood of Boilermakers Union were illegally selling membership "books." 
The membership book indicates that a welder has completed his 
apprenticeship, which enables him to work as a journeyman welder. The 
witnesses also indicated that qualified welders have been taking the 
qualification test on behalf of people who had purchased union membership 
"books" but did not have adequate training to pass the test. Their testimony 
indicated that this use of stand-ins may be most prevalent at fossil fuel 
plants. However, the witnesses also testified that use of stand-ins for 
welder qualification tests has occurred at nuclear power plant construction 
sites and specifically alleged that this practice existed during the 
construction of the Three Mile Island nuclear plants. 

Section IX, "Welding and Brazing Qualifications" of the ASME Boiler and 
Pressure Vessel Code, requires that welders be qualified by test. This test 
is to be conducted under the full supervision and control of the 
manufacturer, contractor, assembler, or installer during the production of 
the test weldment. 

It is a fundamental principle that the responsibility for adequate 
construction and operation of nuclear facilities rests upon the licensee. 
The NRC inspection program can examine only a small sample of activities and
records of activities. Recent NRC review of utility practices for 
establishing welder identity during qualification testing has indicated that
in addition to requiring the welder's signature and social security number 
for identification, some utilities also require a current photograph. The 
photo system appears to offer distinct advantages in preventing the alleged 
practices of using stand-ins for welder qualifications. 

8308300340  
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                                                       IN 83-61            
                                                       September 26, 1983  
                                                       Page 2 of 2         

The combined practices of certified training, stringent qualification 
testing with verified identity, and appropriate production weld inspections 
are necessary to assure the quality of welds in nuclear power plants. The 
NRC has initiated a request to the ASME to provide a code requirement for 
positive identification of the individual taking the welder qualification 
test. 

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:
G. B Georgiev
(301) 492-9674

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