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Biofouling Agent: Zebra Mussel
UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 November 21, 1989 Information Notice No. 89-76: BIOFOULING AGENT: ZEBRA MUSSEL 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 biofouling of service water and cooling water systems that may result from a recently identified biofouling agent, Dreissena polymorpha (zebra mussel). 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. Discussion: The potential for biofouling has been of concern to the NRC since 1980 because biofouling can compromise the vital transfer of heat to the ultimate heat sink. The NRC issued Generic Letter (GL) 89-13, "Service Water System Problems Affecting Safety-Related Equipment," on July 18, 1989, requesting licensees to adopt either the specific recommended surveillance and control procedures delineated in the generic letter or an equally effective alternative course of action for preventing biofouling of their nuclear service water systems. This aspect of the generic letter presents the results and recommendations from an NRC research program initiated in 1982 when biofouling agents were noted to clog service water systems. The principal biofouling agents noted in the generic letter were Corbicula fluminea (Asiatic clam), Crassostrea virginica (American oyster), and Mytilus edulis (blue mussel). In 1980, the number of nuclear power plants directly affected by these agents was small, but by 1984 the infestation by these aquatic bivalves had spread to a large portion of the United States. The following information about the zebra mussel is taken from the abstract of a paper given at the Electric Power Research Institute Service Water System Reliability Improvement Seminar at Charlotte, North Carolina, on November 6-8, 1989. The paper is entitled, "The Zebra Mussel, Dreissena Polymorpha (Pallas, 1771), in North America: Impact on Raw Water Users." The authors are R. W. Griffiths, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Ontario, Canada; W. P. Kovalak, Detroit Edison Company; and D. W. Schloesser, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 8911150012 . IN 89-76 November 21, 1989 Page 2 of 2 "The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha (Pallas), is a small mollusc native to the Black, Caspian, and Azov Seas that was discovered in Lake Erie of the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America in 1988. The mussel raises immediate concerns for raw water users because it can obstruct the flow of water through pipes, hoses, screens, and condensers when it occurs in substantial numbers. Biofouling attributed to this mussel was observed at several power plants, water treatment plants, and processing and industrial facilities along Lake Erie in 1989. At one power plant, densities as high as 700,000 per m 2 were observed in the intake canal in August. In addition, large numbers were found in main steam condensers and in the service water system threatening operation of cooling, fire protection, and dust suppression systems. Intakes of municipal water supplies along the Canadian and the United States shorelines have also been impaired. In one southeast Michigan city, drinking water withdrawal from Lake Erie was reduced 45% by the mussel." The geographical area of immediate concern for this source of potential bio- fouling is along the Great Lakes and major tributaries and canals. This potential is the subject of an international conference at Rochester, New York, on November 28 and 29, 1989. Additional information on the meeting may be obtained from Charles R. O'Neill, Jr., of New York Sea Grant at (716) 395-2638 or Don W. Schloesser of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (313) 994-3331. This information notice requires no specific action or written response. If you have any questions about the information in this notice, please contact the technical contact listed below or the appropriate NRR project manager. Charles E. Rossi, Director Division of Operational Events Assessment Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation Technical Contact: C. Vernon Hodge, NRR (301) 492-1169 Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices .
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