United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Falsification of Welder Qualifications for Contractor Employees

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

                              November 20, 1989


Information Notice No. 89-75:  FALSIFICATION OF WELDER QUALIFICATIONS 
                                   FOR CONTRACTOR EMPLOYEES 


Addressees: 

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

Purpose: 

This information notice is intended to alert addressees to potential 
problems related to the need to assure that welding personnel hired to 
perform activities affecting safety are properly qualified in accordance 
with ASME Code requirements.  It is expected that recipients will review the 
information for applicability to their facilities and activities, 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: 

In 1984, Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO) hired Southwestern 
Engineering Company (SECO) to modify and install moisture separator reheater 
(MSR) internals at the licensee's North Anna and Surry Nuclear Power 
Stations in late 1984 and early 1985.  SECO, in turn, formed a joint venture 
with Powerplant Specialists, Inc. (PSI) for craft labor (boilermakers, 
welders, etc.) to perform the work.  Welder qualification for the MSR 
projects was to be completed in accordance with the specifications set forth 
in Section IX of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.  Investigation 
activities by NRC, prompted by an allegation, revealed that 16 of the 45 
boilermaker/welder personnel utilized for the VEPCO projects were properly 
tested and certified by an authorized, independent testing facility.  
Although Welder Qualification Test (WQT) records were completed by PSI for 
the remaining 29 welder personnel, indicating that the test welds were 
prepared, welded, and tested in accordance with the requirements of Section 
IX of the ASME Code, the investigation revealed that company officials 
intentionally falsified the welders' records by certifying them without 
requiring the proficiency tests. 

Discussion: 

It is important to note that it is the responsibility of each licensee to 
assure that welders assigned to nuclear power plant tasks, whether or not 



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                                                       IN 89-75 
                                                       November 20, 1989 
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the tasks are categorized as safety-related, are qualified to the 
appropriate standard.  In the specific circumstances cited above, the welder 
qualification records were falsified by PSI to the licensee through SECO, 
and recipients of this notice should be aware of the potential for this 
situation at their facilities. 

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 Contact:  Gregory C. Cwalina, NRR
                    (301) 492-3221

                    Walter P. Haass, NRR
                    (301) 492-3219

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices
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