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Potential Problems from the Use of Space Heaters
UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 January 17, 1989 Information Notice No. 89-04: POTENTIAL PROBLEMS FROM THE USE OF SPACE HEATERS Addressees: All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power reactors and test and research reactors. Purpose: This information notice is being provided to alert addressees to potential problems from the use of space heaters. It is expected that recipients will review the information for applicability to their facilities and consider actions, as appropriate, to avoid similar problems. However, suggestions contained in this information notice do not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written response is required. Description of Circumstances: On December 7, 1988, with the Fort Calhoun Station in cold shutdown and de-- fueled, an onsite release of toxic chlorine gas occurred. The chlorine gas leaked from a chlorine gas cylinder when the fusible plug melted because of the proximity of a space heater. The licensee stores the chlorine gas cylinders, used in the purification process of Missouri River water for plant cooling systems, in a ventilated, enclosed room approximately 4 by 6 feet. To keep the cylinders warm in prepa- ration for use, a 13-kW heater was placed in the room. It appears, based on the licensee's initial investigation, that the fusible plug became overheated because of the close proximity of the heater to the cylinder and melted. The melting point of the plug is approximately 160�F. The melted fusible plug initiated the release of the chlorine gas. The licensee detected the chlorine leak by the odor of chlorine gas in the area adjacent to the gas bottle storage room. The area was immediately evacuated. A total of 22 individuals affected by inhalation of the gas were transported to a hospital by the rescue squad. The most severe effect on any individual was minor lung and nasal passage irritation. All individuals have been released from the hospital. 8901100172 .. IN 89-04 January 17, 1989 Page 2 of 2 Licensee personnel removed the leaking cylinder from the storage room to a parking lot that was downwind of the plant. The cylinder was kept in the parking lot until it completely depressurized. No other problems were re- ported after the cylinder was placed in the parking lot. Discussion: The use of space heaters at plants during the winter months is a common prac- tice. However, the use of space heaters may not have been fully evaluated. It is important that licensees consider the following items before placing a space heater into service: 1. Fire hazards or combustibles in the area of the space heater. 2. Damage to or effect on the operability of equipment by the space heater. 3. Effect of accelerated aging on the environmental qualification of electri- cal equipment caused by the space heater. Recipients may wish to review their use of space heaters to preclude problems that could result from inadequate controls. No specific action or written response is required by this information notice. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact one of the technical contacts listed below or the Regional Administrator of the appropriate regional office. Charles E. Rossi, Director Division of Operational Events Assessment Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation Technical Contacts: P. C. Wagner, RIV (817) 860-8127 John Jankovich, NRR (301) 492-1167 Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices .. Attachment IN 89-04 January 17, 1989 Page 1 of 1 LIST OF RECENTLY ISSUED NRC INFORMATION NOTICES _____________________________________________________________________________ Information Date of Notice No._____Subject_______________________Issuance_______Issued to________ 89-03 Potential Electrical 1/11/89 All fuel cycle and Equipment Problems major nuclear materials licensees. 89-02 Criminal Prosecution of 1/9/89 All holders of a Licensee's Former President U.S. NRC specific for Intentional Safety license. Violations 88-23, Potential for Gas Binding 1/5/89 All holders of OLs Supp. 1 of High-Pressure Safety or CPs for PWRs. Injection Pumps During a Loss-of-Coolant Accident 89-01 Valve Body Erosion 1/4/89 All holders of OLs or CPs for nuclear power reactors. 88-46, Licensee Report of Defective 12/30/88 All holders of OLs Supp. 2 Refurbished Circuit Breakers or CPs for nuclear power reactors. 88-101 Shipment of Contaminated 12/28/88 All holders of OLs Equipment between Nuclear or CPs for nuclear Power Stations power reactors. 88-100 Memorandum of Understanding 12/23/88 All major nuclear between NRC and OSHA materials licensees Relating to NRC-licensed and utilities Facilities (53 FR 43950, holding CPs and October 31, 1988) OLs. 88-99 Detection and Monitoring 12/20/88 All holders of OLs of Sudden and/or Rapidly or CPs for PWRs. Increasing Primary-to- Secondary Leakage 88-98 Electrical Relay Degradation 12/19/88 All holders of OLs Caused by Oxidation of or CPs for nuclear Contact Surfaces power reactors. _____________________________________________________________________________ OL = Operating License CP = Construction Permit ..
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