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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 . 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 Attachment: List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices .
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