United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 89-45, Supplement 2: Metalclad, Low-Voltage Power Circuit Breakers Refurbished with Substandard Parts

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION
                           WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                              December 15, 1989


Information Notice No. 89-45, SUPPLEMENT 2:  METALCLAD, LOW-VOLTAGE 
                                                 POWER CIRCUIT BREAKERS 
                                                 REFURBISHED WITH 
                                                 SUBSTANDARD PARTS

Addressees: 

All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power 
reactors.

Purpose: 

This information notice supplement is being provided to alert addressees to 
the problem of potentially defective General Electric (GE) and Westinghouse 
(W) metalclad, low-voltage power circuit breakers and associated equipment 
supplied to nuclear power plants by the Satin American Corporation (SA) and 
its affiliate, Circuit Breaker Systems, Incorporated, both of Shelton, 
Connecticut, or by any of SA's representatives.  Of particular concern are 
GE EC-type, electromechanical, overcurrent trip devices, in safety-related 
applications, or available for use in such applications, supplied by these 
organizations. 

It is expected that recipients will review this information for 
applicability to their facilities and consider actions, if appropriate, to 
avoid similar problems.  However, suggestions contained in this notice do 
not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written 
response is required.

Description of Circumstances:

NRC Information Notice (IN) No. 89-45 discussed a General Electric (GE) type 
AKF-2-25 metalclad, low-voltage power circuit breaker (field discharge 
configuration) supplied to the Quad Cities nuclear power plant by SA that 
was found to have been built or refurbished with nonstandard and substandard 
parts.

Supplement 1 to IN 89-45 discussed the NRC's findings on GE EC-type trip 
devices from follow-up inspections at utilities that had procured circuit 
breakers and related electrical equipment such as trip devices from SA.  As 
discussed in detail in the supplement, the NRC found EC-type trip devices 
supplied by SA that were refurbished with nonstandard and possibly 
substandard parts, or old, used parts, in nonstandard combinations using 
questionable fabrication methods.  Some of these devices had failed in 
service or testing.  

Additional tests were conducted by utility personnel and were observed by 
representatives of the original manufacturer and the NRC.  In these tests, 
the devices 

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                                                    IN 89-45, Supplement 2
                                                    December 15, 1989
                                                    Page 2 of 3


exhibited inconsistent performance including some test failures.  
Subsequently, the NRC obtained more of these SA-supplied trip units and had 
them tested and examined at the GE Apparatus Service Facility in Atlanta, 
Georgia.  This facility is currently the sole original equipment 
manufacturer of EC-type trip devices.  The results of this testing were also 
unsatisfactory, with virtually all the devices tested exhibiting 
out-of-specification operation of one or more of their functions in some 
portion of their design operating ranges.  The devices were not adjustable 
such that they would operate within tolerance at all points within their 
nameplate-identified characteristic curves, and some of them failed to 
perform one or more of their trip functions entirely.  Post-testing 
examination of these devices confirmed that they were rebuilt with used 
parts, in incorrect combinations.  Some of the parts were so degraded with 
age that they were no longer suitable for use, and some of the 
unsatisfactory test results were directly attributable to the discrepancies 
in the conditions found.  Some of the fabrication methods used could 
contribute to erratic operation and failure.  Such latent defects would not 
be readily detectable during routine inspection and testing and could render 
the affected circuit breakers unreliable during normal operation due to 
spurious tripping and lack of overcurrent protection.

The SA facility in Shelton, Connecticut, suffered major damage in a fire in 
July 1989.  The resultant destruction of records may make it difficult or 
impossible for SA's customers to audit the company and obtain the 
information necessary to assure that previously purchased equipment was in 
full compliance with the applicable specifications and purchase order 
requirements.

In order to assess the scope of the problem with regard to GE EC-type trip 
devices, all nuclear utilities were contacted by the Nuclear Management and 
Resources Council (NUMARC) at the request of the NRC to determine which 
utilities had purchased low-voltage electrical switchgear or related 
equipment from SA that was used or available for use in safety-related 
applications.  Information thus obtained indicated that about 40 utilities 
had purchased equipment of the types in question in the last 5 or 6 years, 
much of which was purchased as commercial grade equipment and was used in or 
available for use in nonsafety-related applications only.  Of the NUMARC 
respondents, several utilities initially reported that they had GE AK-type 
circuit breakers containing EC-type over-current trip devices supplied by SA 
which were possibly used in safety-related applications.  These utilities 
subsequently contacted the NRC.  

All licensees thus far identified that have GE EC-type trip devices 
installed in safety-related circuit breakers have committed to acceptable 
courses of action to replace the suspect trip devices or to consult with GE 
in reviewing and determining the suitability of the trip devices for 
continued use.

As a result of the NRC's continuing inspections of the types of equipment in 
question at licensed facilities, the NRC has identified additional 
SA-supplied equipment that may be defective.  NRC inspections of SA-supplied 
Westinghouse low-voltage switchgear at several plants, including type DB-25 
and DS-416 circuit breakers at the Cooper Nuclear Station and the Zion 
Nuclear Power Station respectively, have identified apparent irregularities 
when compared to the original equipment.  Specifically, apparent differences 
in pole shaft and spring-pin configuration, wiring type, frame finish, and 
nameplates were observed..

                                                    IN 89-45, Supplement 2
                                                    December 15, 1989
                                                    Page 3 of 3


It is possible, therefore, that this and other equipment supplied by SA may 
not be suitable for service without additional operability reviews in 
consultation with the original equipment manufacturer.

The NRC is interested in obtaining information on circuit breakers and 
related pieces of equipment that have been found with deficiencies such as 
those described in IN 89-45, Supplement 1 thereto, and this supplement.  
Documentation, in as much detail as practicable, of any such deficiencies 
noted, especially in recent procurements and in cases of possible improper 
servicing or refurbishment, is important.  Licensees may communicate 
information of this type by telephone to the technical contacts listed 
belw.

This information notice requires no specific action or written response.  If
you have any questions about the information in this notice, please contact 
one of the technical contacts listed below or the appropriate NRR project 
manager. 




                              Charles E. Rossi, Director
                              Division of Operational Events Assessment
                              Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation


Technical Contacts:  S. D. Alexander, NRR
                     (301) 492-0995

                     U. Potapovs, NRR
                     (301) 492-0984


Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices

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