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Information Notice No. 93-43: Use of Inappropriate Lubrication Oils in Safety-Related Applications
UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 June 10, 1993 NRC INFORMATION NOTICE 93-43: USE OF INAPPROPRIATE LUBRICATION OILS IN SAFETY-RELATED APPLICATIONS Addressees All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power reactors. Purpose The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this information notice to alert addressees to a potential for introducing inappropriate lubricating oils into safety-related components. 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 are not NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written response is required. Description of Circumstances During routine surveillance of plant equipment at the Farley nuclear plant in June-July 1992, the operations staff discovered that lubricating oils for the outboard and inboard bearings of component cooling water pump motors were discolored. A closer examination revealed some brown sheen on the bearing and other indications of bearing wear. The licensee analyzed samples of the lubricating oils and determined that the oils were not of the viscosity specified for that application. The licensee subsequently sampled the lubrication oils in all plant safety- related equipment. Of 33 samples taken, 18 revealed the presence of an inappropriate lubrication oil. In some cases, the correct oil was not present; in others, the sample indicated that a mixture of the correct oil and an incorrect oil was present. Discussion The licensee determined that, because of a wrong label on a drum supplied to the licensee by the vendor, Texaco Regal R & O 68 oil was used in safety- related applications where Texaco R & O 32 oil was specified. The oil was purchased as a commercial grade product. The licensee had not sampled the oil when it was delivered to verify that it had received the oil it had ordered. The licensee hired a consultant to evaluate the effect of having used the R & O 68 oil instead of the R & O 32 oil. The consultant determined that no serious problem was likely to occur in the short term, because the two oils 9306040105. IN 93-43 June 10, 1993 Page 2 of 2 differed only in viscosity. All of the additives were identical. However, the consultant also indicated that the more viscous oil (R & O 68) would generate more heat from higher friction. This could increase oxidation of the oil, resulting in shorter oil lifetime. The higher viscosity might also cause bearing distress, which could lead to increased wear on the bearing. The licensee replaced the oil in all of the affected equipment, after assuring that the correct oil was being used. Further, the licensee has instituted procedures to ensure that oil is sampled upon receipt at the warehouse, before release into the plant, and again before use. Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 50 contains the NRC regulations for procurement quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) for products to be used in safety-related applications. Generic Letter (GL) 89-02, "Actions to Improve the Detection of Counterfeit and Fraudulently Marketed Products," and GL 91-05, "Licensee Commercial-Grade Procurement and Dedication Programs," discuss commercial-grade dedication and the characteristics of effective procurement and dedication programs. 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 contacts listed below, or the appropriate Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) project manager. ORIGINAL SIGNED BY Brian K. Grimes, Director Division of Operating Reactor Support Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation Technical contacts: George Maxwell, RII (205) 899-3386 Michael Morgan, RII (205) 899-3387 Todd A. Cooper, RII (704) 875-1681 Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices .
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