United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Regulatory Effectiveness Assessment of Option B of Appendix J (NUREG-1777)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: November 2002
Date Published: August 2003

Prepared by
J.V. Kauffman

Division of Systems Analysis and Regulatory Effectiveness
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Abstract

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research is reviewing selected regulations to determine if they are achieving the desired results. This initiative is part of an evolving program to make NRC activities and decisions more effective, efficient, and realistic. The goal of this assessment is to determine whether the revised, performance-based, risk-informed, voluntary Option B of 10 CFR 50, Appendix J, Primary Reactor Containment Leakage Testing for Water-Cooled Power Reactors, was effective, and, if not, to make appropriate recommendations.

The effectiveness of Option B was determined by comparing regulatory expectations to outcomes. The assessment concluded that risk-informing Appendix J has been effective. The revised Appendix J has been at least partially adopted by all currently operating nuclear power plants. Its adoption has resulted in cost saving and burden reduction to licensees, while maintaining safety. Note that this conclusion regarding maintenance of safety is based on probabilistic risk assessment insights and the very limited failure data available since the adoption of Option B by licensees. Occupational radiation exposure to workers has been reduced by adoption of the revised Appendix J. However, with the reduced frequency of Type A tests under Option B, it is likely that a degraded containment will not be identified as quickly as under the original Appendix J. Required licensee inspections of containment structural members limit the potential for significant degradation to remain undetected for lengthy periods of time.

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