460th Meeting - March 11, 1999

                       UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
                        U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
                        Conference Room 2B3
                        Two White Flint North
                        Rockville, Maryland
                        Thursday, March 11, 1999
         The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:30 a.m.
         DANA A. POWERS, Chairman, ACRS
         JOHN J. BARTON, Member, ACRS
         MARIO H. FONTANA, Member, ACRS
         DON W. MILLER, Member, ACRS
         THOMAS S. KRESS, Member, ACRS
         ROBERT L. SEALE, Member, ACRS
         WILLIAM L. SHACK, Member, ACRS
         ROBERT E. UHRIG, Member, ACRS
         GRAHAM B. WALLIS, Member, ACRS
         MR. BOEHNERT
         MR. MARKLEY
         MS. MCKENNA
         MR. MATTHEWS
         MR. BELL
         DR. LARKINS
         MR. NISSLEY
         MR. NEWBERRY
         MR. AKSTULEWICZ.                         P R O C E E D I N G S
                                                      [8:30 a.m.]
         DR. POWERS:  The meeting with now come to order.  This is
     the second day of the 460th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Reactor
         During today's meeting, the committee will consider the
     following:  the proposed rule for event reporting requirements,
     reevaluation of the generic safety issue process, licensing framework
     for fuel burnup extension, and NRC participation in the Cabri Reactor
     Fuels Research Program, and we will be working on an extensive number of
     ACRS reports.
         The meeting is being conducted in accordance with provisions
     of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.  Mr. Sam Duraiswamy is the
     designated federal official for the initial portion of this meeting.
          We have received no written statements or requests for time
     to make oral statements from members of the public regarding today's
         A transcript of portions of the meeting is being kept, and
     it is requested that speakers use one of the microphones, identify
     themselves, and speak with sufficient clarity and volume so that they
     can be readily heard.
         Do any of the members have any comments they would like to
     make at the opening of the session?
         Fine.  Let's move on to our first topic, which is proposed
     rule for event reporting requirement.
         Mr. Barton, I believe you are the cognizant member on this.
         MR. BARTON:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
         The purpose of this session is to hear presentations by and
     hold discussions with representatives of the NRC staff concerning the
     proposed rulemaking to modify the event reporting requirements for power
     reactors which are contained in 10 CFR 50.72 and 50.73.
         The staff has issued an advance notice of proposed
     rulemaking, held public meetings to discuss the advanced rulemaking last
     August and has conducted tabletop exercises with the industry.
         The objectives of the proposed rulemaking are to better
     align reporting requirements with the NRC's reporting needs, to reduce
     reporting burden on licensees consistent with NRC's reporting needs, and
     to clarify reporting requirements where needed.
         The committee intends -- is expected to prepare a report on
     this matter at the closure of this -- prior to closure of this 460th
         At this point, I'll turn the meeting over to Scott Newberry
     of the staff to make a presentation.
         DR. POWERS:  Before the presentation starts, let me say that
     in examining the materials that were sent to us, I had a hard time
     understanding how we had defined what the NRC's current reporting needs
     are.  So to the extent that you can clarify that for me, I would
     appreciate it.
         MR. NEWBERRY:  Let me start out -- Dennis Allison to my
     right is going to do the briefing.  I am Scott Newberry.  I'm in a new
     position right now.  I've been there about four weeks.  I'm now David
     Matthews' deputy in the division that has a number of projects where we
         DR. POWERS:  Should we congratulate you or pass on our
         MR. BARTON:  Condolences are in order.
         MR. NEWBERRY:  As you wish. But we have a number of
     projects, as you know, where we're reexamining how we're doing business
     -- yesterday, 50.59, today, reporting requirements, and there's quite a
     few others.
         But Mr. Chairman, we would be glad to answer that question. 
     I was reviewing the viewgraphs last night.  Your question is not
     answered in the viewgraphs, and I think, Dennis, if you make a point, we
     need to talk about why we need reports, what the objective and what the
     use of the reporting information would be, and we would be glad to get
     into that in the briefing.  It's a good question.
         But just to amplify on the context of where we are, we're in
     a situation where we have a schedule of issuing a proposed rule early in
     April; that is, getting it to the Commission early in April.  I would
     like to meet that schedule, if we can.  That is a proposed rule.
         I think we aren't quite done yet.  We'll tell you where we
     are today.  We've tried to be responsive to the comments we have
     received as a result of the ANPR.  So --
         DR. POWERS:  You might remind members what ANPR stands for.
         MR. NEWBERRY:  Advanced Notice of Rulemaking.  So we put a
     proposal out into the arena and have a considerable feedback on that
     proposal; yet, we're still going out with a proposed rule.  So Dennis
     will talk to you a bit about the comments we have received.
         What we're talking about here is a reduction in reporting
     requirements.  I mean, that's pretty much what it is across the board. 
     And so the debate one has in-house here is, are we going too far?  You
     know, that's --
         DR. POWERS:  Well, it seems to me that equally well is, have
     you gone far enough?
         MR. NEWBERRY:  Well, primarily, the conversations I've
     participated in --
         DR. POWERS:  I bet they have, but I with raise the other
         MR. NEWBERRY:  Okay.  We will look forward to that feedback.
         And with respect to that, one of the things that we're
     looking at is, you know, reporting rule is not our only source of
     information.  Yesterday, we talked about 50.59.  There's an obligation
     for utilities to come to the staff for reviews when necessary, and we're
     talking about that threshold.
         We have a new assessment and a baseline inspection effort
     where we're going to get some much better information, and so as I go
     through these discussions, I think -- as I think about the issues, I
     think about this not being the only source of information, and I think
     that's significant.
         So I think I'm going to get out of Dennis' way now.  I had
     hoped to be in a shape where I could have told you, you know, what
     Dennis is putting in front of you is the staff position.  A snowstorm
     prevented that.  We've still got some work to do, to talk with our
     internal stakeholders, to look at some of these issues that Dennis I
     think will mention, where we aren't quite there yet.  But I think we're
     still planning on meeting our schedule.
         So Dennis.
         MR. ALLISON:  Thank you, Scott.
         My name's Dennis Allison, and I'll ask the reporter if you
     can hear me all right?  Okay.
         Okay.  This is -- I have passed out copies of these slides,
     and I may stop showing them sometime during the presentation, but the
     first one is just the title sheet.  I think I'll stop right now and just
         Okay.  On page 2, you have the objectives laid out, which
     Mr. Barton has already read to you, and they're simply to better align
     it with what we need reported by this mechanism at this time.
         The second is to reduce the burden consistent with what we
     have to know, what the NRC needs to know.
         The third is to clarify where needed.
         Some examples are listed there on the slide, and I would
     note just one thing.  You can shuffle those examples around, you can
     take some of the examples under two and put them under one instead and
     so on.  They're not mutually exclusive objectives.
         On the third slide, I've provided the schedule, and that's
     to publish the proposed rule May 14th, conduct a public workshop very
     shortly thereafter, May 28th, and at that time, the public, including,
     of course, the industry representatives, will have had two weeks to look
     at a proposed rule, come to the workshop and talk about -- we get a lot
     of good out of these workshops because it's a lot easier to have an
     interchange in that format than it is comments and formal responses.
         So we'll do that early in the process, and that will allow
     the industry to get a leg up on making their comments and the public. 
     David Lochbaum from the UCS probably -- he might come, I don't know, but
     he has shown some interest in this.
         Then the comment period ends 77 days after publication, and
     we'll address the comments, provide the final rule package to the CRGR
     and the ACRS in October with a goal of publishing it in January of 2000.
         On the next slide, number four, this is just a list of what
     I considered to be the significant or the principal changes that are in
     the package, and I'm going to discuss each one of these in subsequent
     slides, but I'll just read the titles now:  Initial reporting times;
     design issues; late surveillance tests; unanalyzed condition; condition
     outside coverage of procedures; and system actuations.
         Okay.  Then getting into the first slide about required
     initial reporting times, what we have proposed in the package is that
     one hour reports -- and actually, I should say -- I want to just stop
     and point out the requirement is really to report immediately after the
     declaration of an emergency class, and in no case more than one hour. 
     So -- but these are -- the one hour reports then would be limited to
     declaration of an emergency class or an emergency action taken pursuant
     to 50.54(x), and the reason 50.54(x) is still there is what that rule
     allows licensees to do is to take an emergency action contrary to the
     technical specifications if they can see no way to provide protection to
     public health and safety and comply with the tech specs.  So clearly,
     that's something, if it arises, the NRC ought to know about right away.
         DR. SEALE:  What is the NRC's take on a situation in which a
     utility might declare an emergency class and then, before the end of
     that first hour, determine that in fact that declaration was
     inappropriate?  Is there a withdrawal mechanism or do you have to go
     through the full range of agony associated what the reporting and so
     forth to clear that issue?
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, there's not a withdrawal mechanism, but
     the agony associated with reporting an emergency class is not great. 
     You have to pick up the telephone.
         DR. SEALE:  Yes.
         MR. ALLISON:  You don't even have to dial it.  It --
         DR. SEALE:  I understand.
         MR. ALLISON:  And you have to say, I declared an emergency
     class at the following time for the following reason.  And it's
     perfectly acceptable to say, not only that, that was a mistake, and I
     undeclared it 20 minutes later.
         DR. SEALE:  Okay.  Okay.
         MR. ALLISON:  But it's not an agony.
         DR. SEALE:  Okay.  Well, I think that's important because
     you can see people dancing to decide whether or not they want to do it.
         MR. ALLISON:  But once they declare it, it becomes
         DR. BARTON:  That's the way it is now, and that's the way
     licensees implement it.
         DR. SEALE:  Once they do it, it's important.
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, the rule requires reporting if you
     declare an emergency class.
         DR. SEALE:  Okay.  Once you've reported it, though, then
     it's -- but you can withdraw it before the report.
         MR. ALLISON:  Sure.
         DR. SEALE:  Okay.
         DR. BARTON:  If you withdraw it as soon as the plant
     conditions are such that you get out of that situation.
         DR. SEALE:  Sure.  I understand.
         DR. BARTON:  And you just report I'm out of it.
         DR. UHRIG:  It really doesn't make any difference whether
     it's before or after the one hour is up, really.
         MR. ALLISON:  That's correct.  There are all kinds of things
     that can happen, but you could change your mind in ten minutes --
         DR. BARTON:  Right.
         MR. ALLISON:  Before you've called the NRC.
         DR. BARTON:  Right.
         MR. ALLISON:  And you could just report both things.
         DR. BARTON:  Right.
         MR. ALLISON:  At the same time.
         DR. BARTON:  Right.
         MR. ALLISON:  Okay.  So this one-hour reporting is intended
     to capture things where immediate NRC action might be necessary, like
     fully activating the response center or -- with a lot of these things
     tending up toward the alert category we will partially man the operation
     center and follow the event, although we don't fully activate.
         Then the next category, all of the other 50.72 reports have
     been placed in an eight-hour category, which is as soon as practicable,
     and in no case later than eight hours after the occurrence of the event;
     50.72 by the way is based on the occurrence of the event, not on the
     discovery of it.  That is the timing.
         Okay.  This is intended to capture events where NRC action
     might be needed, but not immediately.  So something we need to do today,
     like call the plant, find out more, understand what really happened
     here, is there a need for a special inspection, should we request the
     licensee to quarantine equipment or not start up or what have you until
     it can be figured out what happened.  And so that's those kinds of
         This also -- 50.72 has a second purpose besides taking
     immediate action, and that second purpose is to obtain information to
     alleviate heightened public concern.  And this then captures things like
     low-level radiation releases, which is a concern, of course; injured,
     contaminated workers transported to an offsite medical facility; press
     releases, reports made to other agencies, and things of that nature.
         Now on the eight-hour reports, there are two issues that
     we're still discussing in the staff.  The first one is that part of
     this, if we go ahead with this, overrides some requirements of Part 2. 
     There are two paragraphs in 50.72 that say report a certain kind of
     release.  Oh, I'm sorry, there's one in 50.72 and one in 50.73.  You
     report low-level releases at the following level.  And if you do this,
     you have satisfied the requirement of paragraph (X) in Part 20.  That's
     proposed to be an eight-hour report.  In Part 20 the report's required
     in four hours.  So we're talking about how to address that conflict.
         And that's the simpler thing.  That's really a mechanical
     problem, I think.
         The second issue that we're talking about is whether eight
     hours is too long for some of these reports.  And people have raised
     concerns about the kind I was just mentioning, low-level releases,
     injured worker transported, things of that nature.  There's a concern
     that perhaps the NRC ought to know about these things sooner than eight
         And then another kind of event is some of the other events
     which are not there for public concern but for possibly safety, like
     safety injection into the reactor coolant system due to a valid signal. 
     Some of these reports are considered to be more urgent than others.  So
     we're talking about which ones -- whether eight hours is really soon
     enough for some of these reports.
         DR. BARTON:  What is your concern here, that on an injured
     contaminated worker, since the licensee may have an obligation to report
     local or goes to a local hospital that you're not going to know it for
     eight hours but it would be out there for the public?  There would be
     public knowledge of it?  Is that your worry?
         MR. ALLISON:  In that class of events, yes.  Right.  With
     the contaminated worker or the low-level releases.
         DR. BARTON:  Right.
         MR. ALLISON:  Because, you know, if the releases are
     significant enough that we might have to act they'd be in the emergency
         DR. BARTON:  Right.
         MR. ALLISON:  So that's -- yes, that's one concern, is just
     knowledge in that area.
         And the other concern about the safety injection, that's
     more is that an event that we need to react to faster than eight hours.
         DR. UHRIG:  What's the difference in the type of event
     that's required to be reported under Part 50 and Part 20?  Why the
     four-hour and eight-hour difference?
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, that's the problem.
         DR. BARTON:  Different people wrote the different rules.
         MR. ALLISON:  That's the problem.  See, right now there is
     no difference because they're both required in four hours.  But in this
     proposal, the way it was drafted up --
         DR. UHRIG:  I see.
         MR. ALLISON:  It's just changed it to eight hours.  So the
     question is well, what's going on?
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  What was the rationale for the four hours
         MR. ALLISON:  In Part 20?  I don't know, but it was probably
     consistency with the 50.72.
         DR. UHRIG:  It's just four hours -- it is still four hours.
         MR. ALLISON:  It's four hours right now.
         So that's kind of a -- shoelaces were tied together or left
     hand and the right hand.  But we need to address whether they should be
     consistent or not.  That's what we're talking about.
         DR. BARTON:  Well, your feeling is that eight hours is
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes, that's what we've proposed, and -- but we
     don't have all the staff concurrences that we need.
         DR. UHRIG:  Does the staff feel that certain events should
     be reported as soon as possible even though you don't have all the
     details, or is it better -- would you rather that they get more details
     before they send in a report?
         For instance, a person is injured, you don't know whether
     he's contaminated or not.  Is it better to wait until you know, or is it
     better to report and then have a followup from your standpoint?
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, in all of these 50.72 reports I would
     say it's better to report and then follow up.  That's -- but in the case
     of the injured worker, I guess that we -- one option that we might
     choose to deal with this is to emphasize that the requirement is to
     report it as soon as practical, and not more than eight hours.  And --
         DR. UHRIG:  Well, that one has to do with public relations,
     because the hospital -- the word is going to get out from the hospital.
         MR. ALLISON:  That's right.  Yes.  And --
         DR. BARTON:  Or it would get out as soon as that ambulance
     heads down the road to the plant.
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes.  That's heightened public concern.  And
     people will call and say what's happening.
         Okay.  On the 60-day reports, those are the LER, of course,
     and that includes these things here, but it also would include other
     things where the NRC might need to review the event in order to learn
     the lessons of operating experience basically.
         Okay.  This is a good place to talk a little bit about the
     NRC's reporting needs.  I guess the purposes of these rules would not be
     changed by this rulemaking.  So when I showed the objectives, that's --
     those are the objectives of this amendment, but they're not the
     objectives of the rules.
         There are two ways to define -- two ways that I see to
     define the NRC's reporting needs.  One is the objectives that are
     stated:  Is immediate action needed by the NRC to protect public health
     and safety?  And I would say that in the broad sense.  So the eight-hour
     report we might be talking about a special inspection or something.  But
     we need -- the NRC may need to do that.
          The second is where accurate information is needed to
     respond to heightened public concern.  We've talked about that.  Those
     are the objectives of 50.72.
         The objectives of 50.73 are basically to learn the lessons
     of operating experience.  That is, the purpose of the rule is to require
     the reporting of events that are considered significant and useful to
     the NRC in its efforts to identify and resolve problems, and they're
     also suitable for other studies.  So the objectives stand the same as
     they were in '83, and my summary of it is that's to learn the lessons of
     operating experience.
         The other way that I look at the NRC's reporting needs is
     this way, that is, what are we going to do.  And for the one-hour
     reports there are things that we would want to activate, the response
     center, or partially activate, or take some action very soon.  The eight
     hours -- it could be four, it could be 12, it could be six -- but those
     are things that we want to take actions that the NRC ought to take
         MR. ALLISON:  The third is just we ought to -- this event
     should be reviewed in due course.  So those are the two ways that I have
     of looking at it.  And the industry has urged us in their comments to
     think about what, in all regards, what is the NRC going to do with this
     report, both about the timing and whether it is needed at all.
         DR. POWERS:  I guess I am curious of what the empirical data
     on past experience shows.  When you have gotten what was a four hour
     report, did you do anything for four hours or not?
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes, sometimes.
         DR. POWERS:  Well, now, the partially manning the emergency
     center is probably an easy thing.
         MR. ALLISON:  Right.
         DR. POWERS:  Because they are geared up to do that.  Okay. 
     It is the subsequent steps that I am interested in.
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, --
         DR. SEALE:  Well, go ahead, finish.  I'm sorry.
         MR. ALLISON:  Okay.  Well, I mean it is not that common, but
     among -- because we get a lot of four hour reports, but for some of
     those, some of those are like complicated trips, or loss of HRH cooling
     capability, things that we are concerned about both from -- now, yeah,
     we might be concerned about following that, but the objective of the
     four hour report is not really to man the operations center, it is to,
     in my view, it is -- is it something we need to do today?  And that
     frequently happens.  I'm sorry, not frequently, it is rare, but --
         DR. POWERS:  I guess I am asking, what is the history on
     those events that you have gotten reports in the past, and what are the
     activities that took place?  And, similarly, when the report was made,
     did it constitute a burden to the licensee at that time?  I mean you
     have one guy that, I presume, picks up the phone and calls you, and it
     is a little hard to imagine one guy out of a hundred makes that much
     difference, but maybe it did.  Maybe the decision making process that
     you have to make this call in this active period of time was, in fact, a
     burden, in these historical events.
         MR. ALLISON:  I just haven't done that study.
         DR. POWERS:  Well, I think you need to have some empirical
     data here to make decisions on how you categorize things, because, in
     fact, if the NRC did nothing except things it is geared up easily to do,
     but, in fact, said, okay, well, let's -- we will talk about it on Monday
     when everybody is here, and then we will decide whether to send out this
     special inspection team or not, then you know that there are classes
     where you didn't need an eight hour report.  Otherwise, there is a
     strong speculative component to categorizing issues.
         MR. ALLISON:  Without the empirical study?
         DR. POWERS:  Yes.
         DR. SEALE:  To put it another way, what do you lose if you
     give up the time between four hours and eight hours?  Were there actions
     you took that presumably would be unavailable to you if you waited until
     eight hours?
         MR. ALLISON:  True.
         DR. SEALE:  And did they make a dime's worth of difference?
         MR. ALLISON:  Yeah, you have got a half-full/half-empty
     situation here.
         DR. SEALE:  That's right.
         MR. ALLISON:  That's right.
         DR. SEALE:  Exactly.  Exactly.
         DR. BARTON:  You know, I would tell you from personal
     experience that what it would affect, if you change it from four to
     eight, it would delay NRC's decision by four hours on whether they want
     to assemble an AIT, and that is what would be the impact on the NRC.
         DR. SEALE:  Okay.
         DR. BARTON:  On a utility, by extending the four to eight
     hours, it would enable a more accurate report because you would have
     more facts and figures, et cetera, et cetera.
         DR. SEALE:  You would take the noise out of the process.
         DR. BARTON:  Yes.
         DR. POWERS:  So, let me ask --
         DR. BARTON:  It helps on one hand, the licensee, and you can
     also see where it helps the decision making on the part of the NRC by
     doing a shorter report?
         DR. POWERS:  Well, if you have given me eight, I am going to
     ask now for 24.  I mean doesn't that just make it all the more both
         DR. SEALE:  Sure.
         DR. POWERS:  And as soon as you give me 24, I am going to go
     for seven days, okay.
         DR. BARTON:  Maybe an annual report.
         DR. SEALE:  Let me ask --
         DR. POWERS:  Once I get seven, I am going to go for a
         DR. SEALE:  Well, let me ask a slightly different question
     here.  You mentioned that you had run across this inconsistency or this
     necessary -- the necessity to do some remediation with respect to Part
     20 if, indeed, you made this change.  Have you gone through and
     systematically looked at the whole body of regulation to see if there
     are other reporting requirements that you might have similar problems
         And I can tell you, last week I attended a briefing that the
     Commission, one of the Commission offices had with some states and
     people from other federal agencies, FEMA and so forth, on Dr. Kress'
     favorite, potassium iodide issue.  And it turns out there, pre- or
     post-administration is a serious question in terms of what is to be
     attempted with KI and, furthermore, that the problem is really a, quote,
     state problem and not a national problem in terms of the community
     relations.  And, certainly, you have an awful lot of fingers sticking
     out on this thing that can get mashed if things turn out wrong, so you
     want to be very, very careful that you don't run into difficulties with
     your state constituencies and so on.
         It seems to me a pretty systematic run-through on what these
     other reporting requirements might be could be pretty helpful right now
     to let you know how many strings you are pulling whenever you make these
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, I haven't personally reviewed all the
     regulations, but NMSS has looked at a bunch of them, and I know there
     are quite a few other reporting requirements that some say to report
     immediately, and immediately is not defined.  Some say to report within
     one hour, some within four hours, some within 24, some within two
     working days, and so on.
         Now, there is a separate project associated with this.  The
     Commission told us to ask for comments on other rules that could be
     improved, or made more risk significant, or clarified, and some of those
     other comments captured a few of the rules you are talking about.  They
     said you should change Part 20 to make it consistent with this, or you
     should change this other requirement that is not --
         DR. SEALE:  Yeah.
         MR. ALLISON:  -- even directly tied to 72, but if immediate
     -- why isn't immediate eight hours, or one hour, or something there?  So
     that is another project that we are going to deal with after we make
     this change.
         The two paragraphs that I mentioned in Part 20, though, are
     kind of a direct conflict.  We would have two separate requirements with
     different timelines for the same event.  The others are a more general
     question, should we define what immediate means?  And should it be one
     hour, or eight hours, or what?  But we will have to deal with that, it
     is a different project.
         Okay.  Going to the next slide, significance levels for
     design issues.  Now, when the Commission approved the rulemaking plan
     for this rulemaking and directed the staff to consider using criteria
     similar to those that were used by the Millstone Special Projects Office
     in sorting design issues out according to significance, and these are
     those criteria.  The Millstone project people used it to sort things
     out.  So, outside the design and licensing bases and the system can't
     perform its safety function, that is the first -- that is the highest
     level.  The second level is the same thing, but it only applied to one
     train of a multi-train system.  The third is that is something is
     outside of its -- or the system does not meet its design and licensing
     basis, but it is still able to perform its function.  And the fourth is
     things that don't affect anything.  So those are the levels.
         So in the next slide, this proposal is related to those
     levels.  The first level is reflecting -- well, first, I should say, I
     think you saw it, the mechanism that is used in this package is to
     delete the requirement for a report, an event where the plant is outside
     the design basis of the plant.  That is the current requirement.  That
     would be deleted, but the reporting of design basis issues would not be
     eliminated because of what is on this slide.  You would have to make ENS
     notification and an LER, submit an LER for a design or analysis defect
     or deviation, or anything else, by the way, it doesn't have to be a
     design issue.  It could be an equipment problem, it could be operator
     error or what-have-you, if it is significant enough that the system
     can't perform its specified safety function.
         And so a paraphrase of the proposed rules is given in
     italics here, and ENS is required, for an event or condition, that at
     the time of discovery -- and at the time of discovery is a new feature
     in this proposed rule, but at the time of discovery could have prevented
     fulfillment of the safety function.  And you have to submit an LER for
     an event or condition that, during the previous two years, and during
     the previous two years is also a new element in this proposed
     rulemaking, could have prevented fulfillment of the safety function.
         Now, we go down to the second level where only one train of
     a multi-train system is affected, and this event would be reportable as
     an operation or condition during the previous two years, again, but it
     is an operation or condition prohibited by the plant's technical
     specifications.  And the idea there, of course, is if it is a design
     thing, it is going to last longer than the allowed outage time, so you
     will have had one train out of service, or inoperable for longer than
     allowed by the tech specs.
         So that is the way design issues would be reported.
         MR. BARTON:  What is the point about the previous two years,
     which is the new requirement?
         MR. ALLISON:  The previous two years was in response to a
     public comment where licensees commented that we should put some kind of
     a statute of limitations on one of these criteria.  They only asked for
     it I think on Number 1, but I thought it applied equally well to Number
         We need a statute of limitations because they will come up
     with an event where you find out that you might have had two trains out
     of service at the same time if certain things occurred.  Now if in most
     cases it is immediately obvious based on knowledge and experience that
     this did or did not occur, but it may be a rare circumstance and the
     operators just don't know if it occurred, so they have to search through
     operating records to find out.
         To search 30 years of operating records to see if some rare
     event -- that's just not warranted, so the past two years, which is an
     operating cycle seemed right.
         MR. BARTON:  Okay, so it is tied to an operating cycle,
         MR. ALLISON:  Right. Two years would cover at least an
     operating cycle, so that was the thinking there.
         A couple of the issues we are talking about are with regard
     to design basis.  One issue is that we sometimes get LERs that indicate
     a component is outside of its design basis but that didn't make a train
     or a system incapable of performing its function, so everything was
     operable, but there is something about a component that it can't deliver
     what it is supposed to do.  Maybe it is an MOV that doesn't deliver
     enough torque or whatever, but everything can still perform its required
         We get those reports sometimes.  We certainly don't get all
     cases of component problems reported but we get some, and those are
     useful to the Staff who are following the component problems, people who
     keep track of what is happening with pumps and valves and so on.
         The second issue that we are talking about here -- now there
     are other sources of component problems that we can tap, so that is the
     discussion there.
         The second issue is just a concern that if the licensee
     finds everything operable, although something might be outside of its
     design basis, he can then continue to operate until the next refueling
     outage without reporting it, and could we be missing something there
     that we would want to know about?  That is the second concern.
         That is the discussion about design basis that is going on.
         On the next page, page 8 --
         MR. NEWBERRY:  Just to pause there, that is a significant
     point.  We are still talking with Staff about that.  Dennis has even got
     some data about how many -- this is an area where he does have empirical
     data and we are looking to see what the true experience is, how many
     hundreds of reports have we gotten that just are not significant or they
     are, and there is another criterion I don't think you have mentioned yet
     in terms of backing this up in terms of a degraded, seriously degraded
         Was that on the slide?  But anyways, the idea is to really
     look at the safety significance of those reports versus learning from
     operating experience and to come up with the proper balance there.  We
     are getting good feedback from our technical folks and we are going to
     have to sort through it.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  One of the thrusts or comments that this
     Committee has made several times is that the empirical data constitute a
     resource that can support the Agency's move toward risk-informed
         MR. NEWBERRY:  Yes, sir.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  And you have got to balance that need
     against the burden that you impose both on yourself and the licensee on
     getting reports that are -- on the surface of them result in no action.
         MR. NEWBERRY:  This is an area where I say this isn't the
     only source of information.  If a plant is outside the design basis they
     have an obligation under other processes as well as the oversight
     process where we are getting data on performance and there is going to
     be a risk-informed baseline inspection to look at certain things where
     the indicators are not covering what you are interested in so we are
     looking at that right now and this is probably one of the more
     significant issues we are struggling with before we get the proposed
     rule out.
         MR. ALLISON:  Okay.  On Slide 8, late surveillance tests, in
     the past we had constructed a logic that said if you fail to perform a
     surveillance test on time, and that goes on for longer than the allowed
     outage time for the equipment, we will assume that it was inoperable
     during that time and therefore you have to report it as an event or
     condition -- or condition or operation prohibited by the tech specs.
         We made that assumption even if it was in fact operable
     during the whole time and so this change is simply to say you don't have
     to do that.  The surveillance test was performed late but you went back
     and did it and the equipment still worked, then that is not a
     condition -- you do  not have to report that as a condition prohibited
     by tech specs.
         DR. FONTANA:  Is that a potential early indicator of a
     management system breakdown though?
         MR. ALLISON:  Oh, yes, it may be, and -- but it hasn't
     typically been that in the past.
         The other thing is that of course the resident inspectors
     are very well aware when anything like this happens.
         DR. UHRIG:  What has it been an indication of?
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, I haven't been able to determine that
     the reports have been useful in any way.
         MR. BARTON:  It's probably been because it is a scheduling
     glitch when a surveillance was due and somebody forgot to put it on the
     work schedule for that week.  That has been the majority of these late
         MR. ALLISON:  Pardon me, yes.  That and then there's another
     thing too that we do get and we are getting a lot of reports like this.
         I have reviewed this surveillance procedure and discovered a
     glitch where maybe there wasn't overlap or neglected one of the criteria
     so for all this time I have been doing this surveillance test but I
     didn't really show it was operable.
         We get a lot of those, and so therefore although I did the
     test and it passed, the test wasn't quite proper, so they will report
     that as a condition prohibited by tech specs.
         MR. NEWBERRY:  This is an important change in philosophy as
     well as just their reporting system.  Just because you haven't tested it
     each month doesn't mean that it is not going to work.  In fact, you can
     look at the data to give you a pretty good feeling, and in the past we
     have done some things that maybe for even the proper safety alternative
     because of a mistest to go ahead and now put the plant in a different
     condition in order to perform the test.
         MR. BARTON:  To have a scram and then go do the
     surveillance --
         MR. NEWBERRY:  Right, that's right.
         MR. BARTON:  -- because you didn't do it two days ago like
     you should have.  Right.  This is a good change.
         MR. ALLISON:  And there is an issue we are talking about
     here too, and it is not whether -- it doesn't seem to be an issue really
     in the Staff whether we ought to make the change, but the package
     proposes to do it by changing the guidance and this particular issue is
     with OGC -- why not change the rule so that it is reflected in the plain
     language of the rule as well as in the guidance, and that is usually a
     good idea if you don't have to make the rule long to do it.
         Okay.  Moving on to Slide 9 is an unanalyzed condition that
     significantly compromises plant safety.  Now the package proposed to
     delete this requirement, this criterion.  The reason was that other
     criteria would capture events of this type if they are significant, and
     specifically if you look at the kinds of reports that we get here, they
     are all design basis issues.
         They are the same kind of thing you find when you review
     design basis reports.  There was a switch here that was set wrong and it
     didn't meet some limit in the FSAR only in this case perhaps -- and the
     system would still work, okay? -- so that kind of report would be
     eliminated and if the system wouldn't work because of it, the report
     would be retained, but that is all we get here is design basis problems
     but they don't, for some reason or other they don't consider it outside
     the design basis so they report it under this.
         This is an issue that we are talking about.  The question
     is what they are reporting now would be captured by other reporting
     criteria -- in fact, everything our guidance tells them to report, if we
     make this change I'll just take those same examples and move them over
     to the other criteria where they'd be captured.  It's not a problem.  It
     seems to be redundant, but the question is, well, could something happen
     that we can't foresee that we don't understand or we can't foresee that
     this criterion would catch that we need to know about, so that is the
     question with regard to that.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  How do you pursue that question?
         MR. ALLISON:  My approach is to look at what has been
     reported and say that doesn't happen and if you're worried about
     something that we can't foresee, that we can't define in these reporting
     rules happening that has some safety significance that we need to know
     about, then we would have two or three backstops available.
         One is 10 CFR 50.09, which requires the licensee to report
     anything that he determines -- the licensee determines is significant,
     has significant implications.     
         The other of course is our resident inspectors really do
     know a lot.  They are in the control room every day.  They read logs. 
     They see what the operability and terminations are.  They review all of
     the corrective action systems.
         Then the third is the common sense of the licensees -- that
     is, that if something is really very significant, and this is a
     significant thing, significantly compromises plant safety --
         MR. ALLISON:  So those are the kinds of backups we have.
         DR. POWERS:  It sounds like -- it sounds pretty rational. 
     You've got an empirical database and you said I can't find any examples
     that wouldn't have been caught by my other criterion on the proposed
         MR. ALLISON:  Correct, if they are significant.
         DR. POWERS:  And if -- but that could be a fallible
     database.  Maybe there's something out there, but I have a couple
     backstops that seem to cover this as well.
         MR. ALLISON:  Right.
         DR. POWERS:  So now you get into real flights of imagination
     to find something that somehow alludes all of these things, and there's
     a point where you just say, and if it happens, we'll change the rule
     again, I guess.
         DR. POWERS:  I mean, it seems silly to try to cover the
     inconceivable or the unconceived.
         MR. ALLISON:  Unconceived.
         DR. POWERS:  That sounds like a pretty powerful argument to
         MR. ALLISON:  That's the argument.  But we do have to settle
     the issues within staff.
         DR. POWERS:  Well, I mean, the optics are unfortunate
     because it's an unanalyzed condition that significantly compromises the
     plant safety, and to say, well, NRC doesn't want that reported anymore,
     that doesn't sound like a good optics.
         DR. POWERS:  I think what you want to say is, it's reported
         MR. ALLISON:  Right.
         MR. NEWBERRY:  In fact, one of our comments on the design
     basis issues is the optics and public competence issues.  You know, why
     shouldn't the NRC receive a report any time you're outside the design
     basis regardless of the significance?
         DR. POWERS:  True.  That's a fair question to ask.
         MR. ALLISON:  Okay.  The next slide is a condition not
     covered by the operating and emergency procedures.  The package proposes
     to delete this criterion.
         It sounds similar to the first, but it's a little different. 
     Right now, this criterion doesn't result in any reports that are
     worthwhile.  It results in about four erroneous reports a year.  By
     erroneous, I mean I discovered a mistake in a procedure, and so -- and
     decided to report it under this criterion.  But that's not what this
     criterion requires.  This is when the plant is in a condition that's not
     covered by its procedures.  The thinking is that other criteria would
     identify this kind of an event if it's significant, those other criteria
     being a broad scatter.
         In the case of unanalyzed events, I know just what is
     reported and what would catch significant events.  Since nothing is
     reported here, it's kind of like -- I think the other criterion would
     catch it.
         DR. WALLIS:  Well, it seems that there is a possibility of
     something getting into the syringe, though, which is very interesting. 
     You've got to catch it.
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, I think I would have to --
         DR. WALLIS:  Just the fact that you haven't got significant
     evidence yet doesn't mean that it might not occur.  You don't want --
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes.
         DR. WALLIS:  -- a plant getting into the conditions.
         MR. ALLISON:  Well --
         DR. WALLIS:  You want to know if it does.
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes.  I think everyone agrees if somebody gets
     a plant in this condition and the other criteria didn't catch it, we
     would like to know about it.  The real discussion here is, do those
     other criteria event in fact identify significant events, because we
     have not been able to think of an example where this happens and it
     wouldn't be caught by other criterion.  But anyway, that's the question: 
     Could it happen?
         Okay.  Moving on to the next slide.  That's slide 11. 
     System actuation.  Okay.  Currently, the rules require reporting the
     actuation of any engineered safety feature, and the package proposes to
     stop using that term and to say report the actuation of any of the
     following systems, and it lists the systems there.
         This would provide some consistent reporting for the most
     risk-significant systems in general.  Some plants don't consider the
     emergency diesel generators or the auxiliary feedwater system or the
     RCIC to be ESS, but they're all very highly risk significant systems.
         On the other hand, frequently we get reports of control room
     ventilation actuation, and although that may be an important system,
     it's not too highly risk significant, or even a fan in some penetration
     room, you know, we'll get people reports.  But we don't -- so this is an
     attempt to rationalize that a little bit.
         DR. POWERS:  How did you go about making your list of
     systems that you wanted --
         MR. ALLISON:  The way those were made was by -- we did --
     had a consultant look through the PRAs for five or six plants and
     calculate the Fussel-Vessley ratios and so on, made a table and lined
     them up, and the systems that are in that last pretty generally came up
     high for that sample of plants, plus the general knowledge of PRA
     analysts who've been working with PRAs and have a feeling for the risk
         Then, of course, we had to add things that wouldn't show up
     in that kind of measure, like containment, because those measures I just
     talked about apply to the first level of a PRA, not to containment
         So that's how they were made up.
         DR. POWERS:  I guess the only thing that distresses about
     that is what was the sample of plants?
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, it was three PWRs and two BWRs.
         DR. POWERS:  Okay.  So that means that there's at least one
     class of BWRs that got no coverage.
         MR. ALLISON:  In that particular sample.
         DR. POWERS:  Yes.
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes.
         DR. POWERS:  And I don't know what the PWRs are.  If there
     are sufficient differences among PWRs, my suspicion is that I can
     identify -- I could conceivably identify classes of PWRs that didn't get
         MR. ALLISON:  Oh, many plants, yes.  Yes.  And there might
     be a system at Zion that is risk significant.  It's possible.  And it's
     not on that list.  But I guess what I -- you know, this is based in
     large part on the experience of people who have done PRAs, too.
         DR. WALLIS:  Why should you make the list?  Why shouldn't
     the plant make the list based on their own PRA?
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, that's a possibility.  My main defense
     of this list is it's a lot better than the one that they're using.
         DR. POWERS:  I agree with you.  I agree with you.
         DR. POWERS:  But since we're going to go to the effort to
     change a rule, why not try to get as good a rule as we can within our
     time constraints here?
         MR. ALLISON:  Well, I think that's the key, is the time
         DR. SEALE:  You talk about things that impact other rules. 
     This is not the first time we've run across this problem; that is, that
     there are systems that are not on the, quote, safety list which in fact
     have risk significance.  And the last thing I think we would like to see
     is a proliferation of such lists which may reflect differences in
     interpretation of what constitutes the threshold of safety significance
     that you want to go up to.
         I think the chaos that could come out of that could be
     absolutely -- well, it just opens all kinds of arguments and so on.  If
     you want to go to this kind of approach, and I certainly wouldn't argue
     against it, it seems to me there's a large constituency for this and you
     need to get all of the members of that constituency involved.
         MR. ALLISON:  That's a good point because this is an issue
     that the industry --
         DR. SEALE:  I'm sure it is.
         MR. ALLISON: -- consistently opposed, and I don't understand
     why because they call me frequently and say this fan in something room
     that went off, and I didn't report it, and the resident's citing me, and
     did I have to report it?  And the answer is yes, you had to report it. 
     It was an ESS.  And you shouldn't have to report those kinds of things,
     but you do.  So I would hope to, maybe at the workshop, to try to
     persuade industry that they would be better off with this certain list
     than -- but anyway, that's my argument to use, but --
         DR. WALLIS:  Is the list negotiable between you and the
     licensee or is it something decreed by you?
         DR. POWERS:  Once it's in the rule, it's decreed.
         DR. WALLIS:  Well, it seems to me that this doesn't make
     much sense because it would -- you want to rely -- the licensee has
     something to contribute about what is not risk significant.  They may
     reveal to you something you don't know which would be beneficial.
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes.  Yes, that's true.
         DR. WALLIS:  You might miss something the licensee knows
         MR. ALLISON:  Absolutely. Absolutely. But the time, I think,
     is my big constraint there because -- and we've been through this before
     on the reliability data rule, is when you -- when you write a
     requirement and say, well, I know these systems are pretty generally
     risk significant throughout the industry, so you have to include these,
     now look at your PRA and determine what else might rise to this level at
     your plants, we're going to spend a long time talking about that one, I
         DR. SEALE:  Well, are service water systems on your list?
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes, but in this case, we're talking about
     wanting to know about the actuations, so we're really only asking them,
     when you have a system like Palo Verde that's just a standby system, and
     it goes off like an ECCS does, report those actuations.  But for a
     common service water system that you turn on and off all the time, we
     didn't ask them -- and keep running all the time, we didn't ask them to
     do those, not because the service water is insignificant, but because
     for a constantly running system, we don't really need to know when it's
         DR. WALLIS:  Yes, but some configurations are sensitive when
     they're suddenly stopped and started and things like that.
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes.
         So anyway, well, that's what we've proposed here, and I
     think it's important to get reasonably consistent reporting of the
     actuation, and in part, this is part of the estimation of reliability
     parameters we're doing.
         Okay.  My last slide is the principal effects on the burden,
     and I guess I would call significant reductions in, number one, the
     reporting of late surveillance tests in -- you know, based -- based on a
     review of the LERs that we do have, it looks like we would get maybe 160
     or so less LERs per year in that category; and eliminating reporting for
     design issues that don't rise to the level of affecting operability,
     that would also be around 160 LERs per year eliminated, and it might be
     more, but I don't want to claim too much credit there.
         Minor reductions -- the extension of reporting times is not
     so much an FTE or man-hour kind of -- it's not a big thing there.  In
     fact, it doesn't show up in the estimates.  But it seems to be very
     important to the people who have to actually make the reports and that
     is when they have to make these things -- do these things in a rush when
     it might not be warranted, it's a real burden.
         Okay.  Eliminating these two criteria, the redundant -- what
     I call the redundant criteria on analyzed condition and condition not
     covered by emergency procedures, that would -- neither one of those
     would, of course, by itself create a significant burden reduction
     because we don't get a lot of reports in those categories that wouldn't
     be captured by other criteria.
         And final, minor increase in the content of LERs doesn't
     affect the number of reports, but in the content of LERs in the
     guidance, we're asking for some additional information and particularly
     for shutdown events in what was operable and what was not operable when
     you're reporting a shutdown event.  The purpose of that is to support
     how PRA looks at the significance of events.
         So that's pretty much the story of what's in the package and
     the open issues that we're still discussing.  The schedule is fairly
     aggressive, but we still -- and we're late in the game, but we still
     hope to meet that schedule if we can, but I can't tell you --
         DR. POWERS:  I guess in your schedule the only thing that
     surprised me was that there's a two week -- two weeks after you put the
     notice of proposed rulemaking out, you're having a workshop?
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes, sir.
         DR. POWERS:  Has that been coordinated sufficiently that, in
     fact, the licensees can participate effectively?
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes, they've told me they can.
         Now, the schedule I showed you doesn't do the schedule
     justice.  It's very crowded in that time.  You have to do it fast
     because --
         MR. NEWBERRY:  I wouldn't let him put all those milestones
     up there.
         MR. ALLISON:  Within 30 days, the licensees have to submit
     their comments to OMB, and so this gives them a chance to come and have
     this discussion and say, what did you mean or why did you write this
     that way, et cetera, and find out so that they can -- and some -- that
     helps them with their comments.
         DR. POWERS:  Sure.
         MR. ALLISON:  Sometimes they'll find out, no, that wasn't
     what we meant or -- and they don't have to waste time commenting on
         DR. POWERS:  They just change the comment from --
         MR. ALLISON:  Right.
         DR. POWERS:  -- don't do this to say what you mean instead
     of what you said.
         MR. ALLISON:  Right.
         DR. POWERS:  Yes.  Sure.
         MR. ALLISON:  So anyway, it's a kind of an aggressive thing,
     but we hope to still make it, and, of course, it might be -- well,
     that's the end of the presentation.
         Scott, do you have anything?
         MR. NEWBERRY:  Yes.  Just -- I wrote down three takeaways
     that I think in one way or another we would have touched on, but I think
     it's fair to summarize here that we would commit to touch on them, and
     that's the issue of going to four to eight hours, taking a systematic --
     call it empirical look to have a good understanding to support a
     decision one way or the other, and that was an issue that was on our
     plate anyway, but just to confirm that we're going to look at that, and
     then a comment on systematically running through, you know, all the
     rules reporting requirements for consistency.  Knowing Dennis, he's
     probably done a lot more than I'm aware of there.  But we'll talk about
     that one.
         And then this last issues which you run into over and over
     again because of significant plant-specific differences when you take a
     risk-informed look at something and try to get system specific --
     there's the benefit there to try to pin things down, but then you could
     have a problem, and I think that will be an issue that we can talk about
     and even raise in the workshop to see how --
         DR. POWERS:  It may be a subject that you would want public
     comment on.
         MR. NEWBERRY:  Yes.  And we could highlight these in the
     Federal Register Notice to really pinpoint comments.  That's something
     that I've always liked to do, to really pinpoint areas where you want to
     get focused comments.
         DR. POWERS:  You run into this -- I mean, from your
     licensees, you run into this problem of is it fair to go out and ask
     them to do a risk assessment on their systems.  On the other hand,
     life's a lot easier if you tell me exactly what systems I have to do,
     you know.  They may have a preference.
         MR. ALLISON:  And I have to say with the current situation,
     they do have a list of systems.  They can look in their FSAR, and if
     it's not an ESF, it's not required; if it is, it is.  So they do have a
     certain list right now, and --
         DR. POWERS:  I mean, the problem with that list is it's not
     risk informed, and so you --
         MR. ALLISON:  Correct.
         DR. POWERS: -- get information on ventilation fans that are
     not risk significant, and that's an imposition both on the licensee and
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes.
         DR. POWERS:  And what you'd like to do is focus both of your
     efforts on things that have some safety significance.
         MR. BARTON:  Now, what was your first time?  You said you
     had three.
         MR. ALLISON:  The first one was going from four to eight
     hours --
         MR. BARTON:  Okay.
         MR. ALLISON:  -- in terms of --
         MR. BARTON:  Got you.
         Anyway other comments or question from members of the
     committee to the staff?
         DR. SEALE:  I really have the mental image of a bunch of
     rocking boats in the wake of this thing because you're going to interact
     with a lot of other requirements and --
         DR. POWERS:  It's certainly clear that they're going to have
     an interfacial problem with the state requirements.
         DR. SEALE:  Yeah.  Yeah.  With the states, you mean the
     agreement states?  Yes.
         DR. POWERS:  Well, all the FEMA --
         DR. SEALE:  Yeah.
         DR. POWERS:  -- activities.
         DR. SEALE:  And all the other --
         DR. POWERS:  I think you've got that covered.
         DR. SEALE:  Yes.  You know, there's this PT boat going
     through the marina at full speed, and there's going to be a lot of
     debris left in the wake of this.
         MR. BARTON:  Don't you have that covered in a proposed rule
     where you said something about there were other reporting requirements
     that were, you know, more frequent or in different time frames, you
     would still have to report to the NRC?  I thought I saw that in a
     proposed rule some place.
         MR. ALLISON:  I don't remember if --
         MR. BARTON:  For example, if you had a local -- if you had a
     requirement to report to your local community something that happened
     immediately, but you didn't have to do it here for eight hours or
     something, you would --
         MR. ALLISON:  That's right.  That's --
         MR. BARTON:  You would still need to notify the NRC if you
     had to notify other government agencies.
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes.
         MR. BARTON:  That's still in there someplace, right?
         MR. ALLISON:  Yes.  And -- yes.  There are two things.  One
     is in the response to comments in the State of Illinois.  So that is
     discussed in the response to comments.
         MR. BARTON:  Okay.
         MR. ALLISON:  Basically, we saw two -- a couple of things. 
     One is that we've asked as much a we can for state input on these
     things, but if the State of Connecticut insists on a one-hour report,
     that's your deal with them.  This rule doesn't control what Connecticut
     wants you to do.
         MR. BARTON:  That's true, but if I have to report something
     to Connecticut in one hour, I now have to tell you.
         MR. ALLISON:  That's right.  So it's as soon as practical
     and in no cases later than eight hours.  Well, if you reported it to
     Connecticut in an hour, it's probably going to be practical to call the
     NRC --
         MR. BARTON:  Yes.
         MR. ALLISON:  -- without waiting eight.  It does say that.
         MR. BARTON:  Hearing no other comments at this point, I
     understand NEI is here and would like to make some comments regarding
     the proposed rule.
         MR. DAVIS:  Good morning.  I'm Jim Davis, Director of
     Operations at the Nuclear Energy Institute, and I think you'll
     appreciate that my remarks will be exceedingly brief.
         I think Mr. Allison was somewhat surprised when he issued
     the ANPR in that normally those things go by and there's not much
     reaction, but in fact the industry started getting involved right at
     that point, and aggressively involved, because our analysis and our
     attempts to get the reporting requirements sorted out over the last few
     years we feel that probably the process for coming to closure on this
     rulemaking is almost as important as some of the changes that are being
     made.  And there hasn't been any discussion of that.  I wanted to make
     sure that I pointed that part of it out.
         We think that part of the difficulty is that we have three
     parties that have been playing in this particular area.  We had AEOD at
     one time who was collecting data and information and a valid
     requirement, we had the licensee who was trying to report, and a totally
     different group doing enforcement activities.  And we weren't well
     coordinated in that particular area.
         So we're the ones that asked for a tabletop exercise this
     fall as an additional step and asked the staff to bring in some of the
     draft language they were going to use.  We sat down with some people
     from the region and with licensees to see if we could make any sense out
     of it, and if -- we ran a bunch of scenarios against that draft language
     to see if you really could figure out what you needed to report.
         We're also the ones that asked for the workshop that you
     talked about in that we said (1) we want to see the rule, and we also
     need the NUREG, the implementing guide, at the same time, and we can't
     comment on the rule if we don't have the implementing guide in the hand. 
     So we've got to understand the entire process, what we're aiming for in
     the reporting in the higher level and how that's going to be
     implemented, and we in fact will be ready to participate in that
         And again the idea is we're going to come in and okay,
     here's what you've said you want, here's what the implementing guide
     says, here's a scenario, does it make any sense, can we walk through
     this and could we make this consistent so that in the future the
     licensee knows what he's reporting and the NRC knows what is going to be
     reported.  Because I think that is a much more important argument and
     discussion item than the ESF action, what's on that list, from our
         Now, I mean, I picked that one because Mr. Allison is
     correct, the industry is concerned that the plants have been licensed in
     one arena, we've defined what the engineered safety features are, and
     suddenly we're going to change that rubric and say no, the real list of
     engineered safety features is something else, and we've got to be
     careful how we're approaching that.  And that's our concern, that
     suddenly in reporting you want a consistent list of items to be
     reported.  We also need to make sure what we're doing is consistent with
     the license and the basis under which the plants have been licensed. 
     And we'll engage in that discussion when the notice comes out in that
         The other comment, as we looked at it we saw two other
     problems that we think need to be solved in this arena that maybe
     haven't been addressed.  There is the need for timely information to be
     given to the NRC, particularly in the old four-hour reports, which were
     things that would have been of media interest, outside interest, things
     reported to other agencies.  One of the problems is that in fact the
     event reports have become also the public window to the industry, and
     for most media and for most outside organizations, that event report
     also is the alerting or the initial indication that they get.
         So there needs to be a balance.  And we feel that the eight
     hours allows, one, the facility to in fact react and provide accurate
     information in an initial report, and still provides the staff with
     adequate alertment on what's going on.  Just like the contaminated man
     in the ambulance, what you really want to do is put the right
     information in front of the world the first time and not the second
         I have had several events that are reported with the acronym
     Y2K in it, and in each case, the information in the initial report has
     not been -- has not conveyed the whole story and been totally accurate
     in the situation.  But in the national media those two have gotten a lot
     of attention, and therefore we've always wasted a significant amount of
     time going back and feeding the right information into the system.  So
     that's our cut on the eight versus four hours.  And obviously there's a
     balance.  The staff will look at that, because there are other factors
     that need to be considered in that arena.
         DR. BARTON:  But you make a good argument for the eight
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I mean, it's a really interesting point. 
     I think you're right, that obviously things are not requiring
     instantaneous action if you're going to make either a four or an
     eight-hour report, and if that report is in fact the window on the
     industry to the rest of the world, it serves everybody's interest to be
     as accurate as you can.
         MR. DAVIS:  And the rest of the world has a problem when we
     come back later and say well, that wasn't really the story, the story is
     thus and such.  And so there is some need -- and actually there's a
     burden on the industry in that arena, that those eight-hour reports need
     to also be carefully staffed out so that you provide --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  So let me ask you this question.
         MR. DAVIS:  The right information.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  If eight gives you more accuracy than
     four, wouldn't 24 give you more accuracy than eight?
         MR. DAVIS:  There's a balance.  And I heard your earlier
     comment.  One, this is published on a daily basis.  It's put into the --
     onto the Web site on a daily basis.  So I think eight is a rational
     balance between the daily summary requirements and the need for rapid
     reporting of the material.  If we went to a --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I mean, I can understand why you might
     think -- that your intuition and your judgment, which is undoubtedly
     better than mine -- on this says that's a good balance.
         MR. DAVIS:  I could argue --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  But it's not very persuasive.
         MR. DAVIS:  I could argue the first point on judgment, but
     the industry is, you know, collectively we looked at it, and we think
     that eight hours -- we could live with eight hours and that it
     provides for the scenario --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  That's not my question.  You could live
     with four I'm sure.  I mean, you're not going to shut down plants
     because they make it four hours.
         MR. DAVIS:  Yes, sir.  That's correct.  We've lived with
     four before.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  The question really is what is optimal. 
     If I look at the past reports and the corrections to those reports,
     would it make more sense to have 24 or 8?
         DR. KRESS:  It might be a good idea to ask why is there a
     time limit at all.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  That's right.
         DR. KRESS:  And work from that direction.  You might end up
     with next day's okay or --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Um-hum.  I mean, in some way -- I have no
     doubt in people's judgments and I -- one thing I'm confident is that
     their judgments are better than mine on this.  But to make a scrutable
     rule I need to look at empirical data here.
         MR. DAVIS:  And I have no doubt that I could contribute that
     would answer the eight versus 24 question.  We have not looked at it in
     that --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  It wouldn't matter.  As soon as you gave
     in to 24 I'd ask for seven days.
         MR. DAVIS:  The final point that we're -- and I think the
     design-basis issue is the best pointer in this area -- is we're trying
     to get wording that is self-contained within the reporting requirements
     and doesn't get what I'll say contaminated by other issues that will
     come and go within the arena.  As I look at the rule as it's written,
     the requirement to report things that are outside the design basis makes
     a lot of sense.  It's when you redefine design basis to be changes of
     color of pipe that we get into a problem.  And what I've seen is -- and
     I don't know if this sort of analogy will get me in trouble -- but I've
     see this, it's sort of been the broken-taillight syndrome, you know,
     that you find problems in other areas, you don't know exactly how to
     write it up, so you write it up as a reporting violation, and suddenly
     we get ourselves into the position that we're reporting a lot of things
     to avoid problems in other areas and not to provide the information that
     the NRC and the public need.
         So I'm hoping that with the changes we get the criteria
     focused back on the real issues and what needs to be reported so it's
     sort of self-contained and as we -- because, you know, we're looking at
     PRA and a whole bunch of other issues, and things are going to come and
     go in that area, and hopefully the reporting can maintain its integrity
     in that area.  And I think, you know, from our viewpoint those are
     probably the two most important aspects of it.
         And we will argue around the periphery on the ESF actuation
     list and some of the examples and that kind of stuff, but I think we're
     moving towards a significant improvement in the process, and we plan to
     stay heavily engaged with the staff when they bring this out into the
     public arena.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I agree with you on that.  It looks like a
     significant improvement, and I'm delighted that you're devoting
     resources to this.  I think that helps.
         DR. BARTON:  Thank you.
         MR. DAVIS:  Thank you, sir.
         DR. BARTON:  Comments?  Questions?
         If not, I'll turn the meeting back over to the Chairman.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I will promptly recess till 10:15, I
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Let's get back into session, and everybody
     is very anxious to get on to this, our next topic, which is the
     re-evaluation of the generic safety issue process.
         DR. MILLER:  Just a bit of background.  I may overlap what
     John Craig has prepared, but a little background for the committee, to
     get us on track here.
         The generic safety issue is one that precludes my time by a
     long time on this committee.  It's been around a long time, and Bob
     Seale maybe has the most lengthy experience with it.
         Most recently we've dealt with this issue in several
     meetings in the last year or so, and March 16th of '98, almost one year
     ago, we wrote a long letter to the EDO, followed up by another letter in
     October, in which we identified as a committee a number of concerns, and
     our most notable concern, most notable, I guess, recommendation was that
     the committee stated in the October letter there's a need for a
     systematic re-evaluation of the process, the generic safety issue
         The staff heard us and maybe others on that issue and, with
     the assistance of a consultant, Arthur Andersen, conducted a
     self-assessment, of which we have, of course, a rendition of that. 
     We've had that for a week or so now.
         In that self-assessment, the staff made a number of
     observations, and from that, they derived a number of recommendations,
     and they then proposed to implement those recommendations in what's
     called a management directive, and that's number 6.4, and associated
     with that is a management directive handbook, which really gives all the
     implementation details.
         The management directive, as I said, looks at the
     self-assessment recommendations and then puts through an implementation
         I want to remind the committee, the management directive was
     not derived specifically to respond to the concerns we raised.
         However, the staff has done an assessment of our concerns,
     and through a cross-referencing, which we all have now, have indicated
     how they believe the management directive does speak to our concerns,
     and I don't know if they're going to address that today or not, but I
     just wanted to remind the committee that they did that, although the
     management directive specifically responded to the recommendations of
     the self-assessment.
         With us today, John Craig will get things started, and Mike
     Marshall, I guess, is on the hot seat to see that we have this process
     on a track that hopefully will resolve a number of these issues over the
     next several years.
         With that, I'll turn it over to John.
         MR. CRAIG:  Well, good morning.  It's a pleasure to be able
     to come and make this presentation after so many months of working on
     the generic issues program.
         A number of the staff that have spent a long time with the
     GI program and process are here to support it, and as occasion arises,
     I've asked people like Ron Emrit, who's been the historian for the GI
     process, to be here to help answer questions.
         Let's go to the next slide.
         This is a progress report on a work in process.  The
     management directive has not been reviewed and concurred in by the other
     offices.  We have brief senior managers from the other offices, NMSS and
     NRR.  We have gotten input from some of the key staff members within
     those offices who are responsible for generic activities, but it is by
     no means final.
         Our goal is to publish this month a draft management
     directive for comment that will be both office comment, and we plan to
     have stakeholder meetings, public meetings with NEI and others, who also
     have an interest in the generic issues program.
         So, this is a status report.
         I'm not going to go down through each and every item on the
         The letters that the committee wrote reflected comments
     about the generic issues program that a number of other sources had
     identified.  A number of your comments went beyond their comments, and
     so, we had a large pool of comments.
         I think the point that was most significant perhaps was the
     discussion last year about the need for a self-assessment, and rather
     than trying to respond to individual comments or criticisms of the
     program, there was a realization that so much had changed that it wasn't
     a matter of minor changes to the program, we needed to stop, review the
     program in a systematic way, and make a determination as to whether or
     not the program, in fact, would meet the goals that we thought needed to
     be met.
         Let's go to the third slide.
         One of the handouts that I believe -- you all have received
     copies of the self-assessment, and in the back of the self-assessment,
     attached is some background information that goes through the history
     and evolution of the generic issues program, and the historical
     highlights reflect the items that are discussed in there.
         I'll note that, in the early '80s, which is the starting
     point, I think, for the current system in 0933, it was really an NRR
     tracking system, and it was a work item tracking system, much like the
     NRR directors -- I think it's a bimonthly report now, it has task action
     plans for issues, those kind of things, and so, there was some -- there
     is today and there will be some duplication if NRR has responsibility
     for one of the generic safety issues, and they have responsibility for a
     couple, they're included in that task action plan, in that directors
     highlights report, as well as in 0933, and as a result of the system
     being moved to research but not fundamentally changed, we perpetuated, I
     suppose, a number of problems.
         The thought that the licensing link to these issues, as that
     was previously defined, didn't exist anymore continued to be part of the
     program, and as you read 0933 and you get into a discussion about a
     generic issue versus a generic safety issue, you can appreciate, I
     think, rather quickly some of the problems that we've encountered and,
     indeed, some of the things that we've discussed with the committee as
     we've talked about individual issues.
         The generic safety issue was, in fact, a potential
     cost-beneficial safety enhancement.  It's not a safety issue that needs
     to be resolved to make a decision about whether or not a plant is safe
     enough today.  So, it's a safety enhancement.
         In earlier times, when there were a lot of license
     applications being processed, applicants had to come forward and address
     unresolved safety issues, and for generic safety issues in the pipeline,
     they could simply commit to implement whatever the staff's ultimate
     resolution was, so that there was a priority associated with GSIs as a
     result of the need to address them in licensing applications for plants
     coming on-line with OLs.
         That need obviously doesn't exist anymore, and as a result
     of that, generic safety issues have received a lower priority over time
     than more safety significant activities in the Office of Research, and
     as a result, as I don't need to remind you, as you know, a number of the
     GSIs that are open today have been with us for some time.
         We have made significant effort over the last year to
     complete the prioritization and re-prioritization of the GSIs that are
         There are approximately 15 open GSIs today, and we've
     developed task action plans for each one, and we're driving them to
     closure as quickly as we can, and you were briefed a week or two ago on
     B-61, I believe.
         I'll note that the comments that we received on that issue,
     some of the comments about the risk methods, etcetera, we hope to fix
     with this new process.
         Another thing that has happened, after we briefed the
     Commission in December 1995, was that the Commission directed us to have
     a transparent system for the agency so that a member of the public could
     ask a question about a generic issue, and if it was an NMSS issue, they
     could figure out what the issue was, what the schedule was, etcetera,
     and we've been working with the CIO's office to make that transparent
     via the computer and link tracking systems.
         I think the reasons for revising the process and the
     comments in our self-assessment -- we are prepared to go over those. 
     Mike can talk comment by comment.  What we'd like to do is cover the
     process and walk through it, and as you have questions about the
     process, let's ask them now in a give-and-take, because I think that
     will be more meaningful for us, more helpful for us as we make the
     revisions to the management directive so we can then publish it for
         As I said, our goal is to get it out in a couple of months
     final, and I would -- I don't know if we've already scheduled, but we
     would schedule another meeting as we got the final management directive
     to go back to the committee.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  The only caution I'll introduce at this
     point is that I do have to cut this session off at exactly 11:45.
         MR. CRAIG:  Okay.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Several of the members have another
     obligation at 11:45.
         MR. CRAIG:  I will note, on slide 4, that DSI-22, as you
     know, the Commission made the decision that Research doesn't do
     rulemaking anymore.  In the previous generic safety issues, generic
     issues process, the resolution stage included development of a draft
     rule.  And so one of the changes that you will see made in the new one
     is that, after the research is done to identify a solution or two, we
     would then make a recommendation to either NRR, NMSS, if we thought a
     rulemaking was appropriate, or a Generic Letter, and it is up to the
     program office then, with our support, to take the lead and run with
         So with that as background, I will turn it over to Mike
         MR. MARSHALL:  Thank you.  Good morning.  Just a couple of
     things we would like to touch on just to start with.  There's a couple
     of improvements we are trying to seek in a program.  We wanted to
     provide clear guidance to the staff on how to handle a generic issue. 
     We wanted to revise the tracking system so it would become more
     transparent, not only would it track the beginning of the process, but
     follow issues all the way through implementation and verification.  A
     couple of other things we want to do is update some of the guidance in
     the process.
         This program overlaps with other programs such as rulemaking
     and the inspection program where there's good a bit of guidance for that
     part.  At the beginning of the process, there's less guidance, or the
     guidance was contained in this program, as far as how to screen issues
     to decide if you should work on them or not.  And most of my -- sorry,
     wrong one.  And when I am talking, I will be spending most of my time
     talking about the items highlighted in red because that is the part of
     screening which is contained within the generic issue process, and
     usually the black part is contained in other documents, other Management
     Directives or other NUREGs or NUREG handbooks, describing to the
     staff --
         DR. WALLIS:  I have to complain, you guys give us a huge
     piece of paper, but the most minuscule typing in boxes, in some of the
     boxes.  It doesn't make sense to use a big piece of paper and then use
     the smallest available typing.
         MR. MARSHALL:  I am at fault for that one.  I got criticized
     many times, and I thought just going to a bigger sheet of paper would
     fix it, but apparently it didn't.  I apologize for that.  Okay.
         But, overall, the flow chart describes the overall process. 
     You will probably see a lot of similarities to the current process in
     here.  And the goals for the overall program we have, I just want to
     make sure we have a process for identified generic issues, and we have
     process or procedure for screening them.  We make sure that identified
     generic issued are analyzed, meaning we establish a technical basis for
     taking some sort of action and we identify cost effective solutions.
         Also, for the generic issues that are resolved, we identify
     what regulatory vehicle the solution should be implemented in, verify
     that implementation has taken place.  And for all the work that occurs
     in this process, we want to make sure it is documented, one, for people
     outside NRC to see how we handled the generic issue, also for the staff. 
     As issues happen to come up again, we will be able to go back into the
     documentation and see how the staff handled issues in the past or
     handled similar issues, or to evaluate whether an issue was resolved
     adequately if questions arise about how well an issue was resolved. 
     And, again, all the documentation would be shared with anybody that is
     interested in how we handled the generic issue.  And that's the overall
     goals we hope to implement through the Management Directive.
         DR. POWERS:  I take it from this flow chart that the word
     "resolved" associated with the GSI is going to take on a different
     shape, form and meaning.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Yes, it will.  Before --
         DR. POWERS:  That, if nothing else, is a step in the right
     direction.  Make sure that we highlight that in any letter we write on
         MR. MARSHALL:  Before -- right now, what "resolved" will
     mean is that an issue has gone through pretty much all these stages,
     that the NRC has taken the time to verify that an implementation
     occurred.  Previously, "resolved" meant that back up here, right along
     in this area here, the NRC decided how to address a generic issue.  We
     decided we needed a new rule.  We decided we needed a new Regulatory
     Guide.  It didn't necessarily mean we issued a new rule, we issued a new
     Regulatory Guide, or anybody verified whether licensees implemented the
         And this was one of the biggest criticism from, not only
     internal to the NRC, but external groups had with our process, was
     "resolved" didn't mean "resolved," it meant we had a plan, essentially,
     for resolution.
         DR. SEALE:  Mike, I hate to beat a dead horse, but --
         MR. MARSHALL:  I have a bigger, hopefully, --
         DR. SEALE:  Graham raised a question.  I finally figured out
     what all the diamonds are except the top one.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Okay.  Let me go through them.  The other
     side isn't any better than this one, really.
         DR. POWERS:  Classification.
         DR. SEALE:  Thank you.
         DR. POWERS:  We got it resolved, Mike.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Okay.  Class -- oh, sorry.
         DR. WALLIS:  I didn't go through all the steps to resolve
     that one.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Okay.
         DR. POWERS:  Sure we did.  We came up with a candidate
     solution and we implemented it.
         DR. MILLER:  Did we verify it will work now?
         DR. POWERS:  We haven't verified.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Oh, another thing we are going to get rid of,
     as we went through technical -- what we are calling technical assessment
     now, that used to be called prioritization.  There used to be a box
     outside of prioritization, where you use -- assign a "nearly resolved"
     to an issue at this stage.  Essentially, it meant it didn't go through
     the formal prioritization stage, yet we decided we are going to work on
     it anyway.  I guess that wasn't the proper way to phrase that.  But we
     decided we are going to work on it.  It didn't mean it was nearly
     resolved, just at the very beginning of an issue, you would label it
     "nearly resolved," and that was merely to indicate to us that it didn't
     go through the formal prioritization stage.  We will no longer be using
     the term "nearly resolved."
         And, also, on that point is recently one of your comments
     was, you took all the nearly resolved and you just changed them to high. 
     One thing we are stressing in a Management Directive is any decision you
     make with regard to a generic issue should be documented, even a
     decision of why it was important, why it was not important, why you
     decided to work on it.  And, again, we would document that in a central
     location so everybody could see why the NRC is working on an issue, or
     not working on an issue, also, which is probably just as important.
         DR. WALLIS:  I think it would be useful if you had sort of
     an expected mean timeline for these activities.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Yes, we do.  For the beginning -- for the
     very beginning, we do.  For the initial screening --
         DR. WALLIS:  For the beginning.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Let me -- for the initial screening.  And
     this is essentially taking a candidate to generic issue and evaluating
     whether it is a generic issue or it should belong in another program. 
     Is it plant-specific and should be directed to another agency -- I mean
     not another agency, another part of the agency?  If there is another
     ongoing program which this issue fits in, generic compliance activity,
     directing it to that program.  Making sure it is duplicated -- already a
     generic issue on the books.  And then defining what scope the issue
     would have.
         One problem we identified during the self-assessment was
     that the scopes of some of the issues weren't defined until much later
     in the process.  It made it hard to decide how much work you actually
     had to do to solve a problem if you weren't sure what problem you were
     solving.  And we are going to give ourselves a month to do that, decide
     if it belongs in the process and decide what scope the issue has before
     we send it on to the technical screening stage.  And we gave ourselves
     three to six months to do all technical screenings.  And, essentially,
     the purpose of the technical screening is to decide is this issue worth
     working on, essentially, is what it boils down to.  Will we get the
     benefits we think we are going to get from them, and are they
     substantial?  And for certain issues, are they cost effective to
     implement?  We will try to get a handle on that before sending it
     through the rest of the process.
         Just a couple of issues.  We are still on slide 9 now.
         DR. WALLIS:  You want to make sure that the plan doesn't
     change before you get out of the first process.
         MR. MARSHALL:  What?
         DR. WALLIS:  The plan, the plan.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Oh, the plan.
         DR. WALLIS:  If you have too many boxes, you may find that
     the whole system changes before you get out of the bottom box.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Okay.
         DR. WALLIS:  Why does it take three to six months to do
         MR. MARSHALL:  Three to six months, one --
         DR. WALLIS:  Aren't some of them done quicker?
         MR. MARSHALL:  If you wouldn't, could I address that a few
     slides later.
         DR. WALLIS:  Sure.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Around slide -- once we get to slide 12, I
     will pick up that question, I will make sure.
         But I would just like to touch on a few things about
     tracking documentation before we get much further into this.  Right now
     our tracking system, and it is a central tracking system, we track the
     beginning of the process.  We tracked how we initially screened it.  The
     technical screening, which used to be formerly called prioritization,
     and we tracked the development of the resolution, reaching the technical
     basis.  And after that, there was no longer a central tracking system.
         Now, we propose tracking issues from one they entered the
     process, all the way through verification.  So if you have a question of
     whether an issue was implemented or not, you will still have to just go
     to a single point, you won't have to go a different office.  You can go
     to what we are going to -- we are going to create a position for a
     project manager position, or you can check with the project manager for
     the process and he should be able to tell you what stage in the generic
     issue process any issue is, whether it has been implemented, how many
     more plants will have to do implementation, because all information will
     be funneled to the generic issue process project manager.
         We are also going to establish minimum documentation
     requirements, again, just telling the staffers, or telling us what
     things we have to document, what technical decisions, what management
     decisions need to be documented.  And, again, all these would be
     funneled to the generic issue process project manager, so it will be
     kept in a central location.
         One other item, I guess just to note on here, and we have --
     this isn't available to everybody yet, on Item 3, we have begun
     developing a web page for generic issues.  And from that web page, it
     should send you to all different tracking systems for generic issues. 
     That is under works right now.  Generic Issues Status Report, GIMCS,
     will continue to be updated on a quarterly basis, and, hopefully, we can
     increase access to it and get it out on a much more regular basis than
     we have recently.
         One thing that hasn't changed is the identification.  Pretty
     much all these balloons here represent sources where candidate issues
     can come from, the public, industry, internal to the NRC, and most of
     these bullets over here represent sources within the NRC where generic
     issues, candidate issues can come from.
         And we are going to request for issues, or organizations
     internal to the NRC to complete a candidate issue form.  We had
     something similar to this before, but we never really required the other
     parts and agencies to complete this form.  We figure by having the
     submitter complete this form, we will get a better grasp on a scope.  We
     are sure everybody is talking about the same problem.
         Again, the problem with the scope is, what the agency that
     -- or the submitter that submitted the issue was thinking the problem is
     one thing, the person that got the problem to work on is thinking
     something else, and sometimes we end up solving the wrong problem, or it
     might be the right problem, not necessarily the problem the submitter
     wanted us to solve.
         And just to show you some of the things we are going to ask
     for on the candidate issue form, there is a quick list of them, a
     listing here, and I will just let you read through them.  And, again,
     most of it is geared towards making sure we all have a common
     understanding of what issue we are supposed to address.  This is a
     backup slide, and I will leave a copy of it here with Ji at the end of
     the meeting.
         DR. WALLIS:  I just wonder how much of this has been done
     before.  Isn't there a long history of work on these issues, so that a
     lot of the work has already been done?  You don't want to start too far
     back in the process.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Oh, no.  No, no.  One thing, I guess an
     important thing I forgot to mention is that the process, the changes we
     are implementing are for new issues.  Any current issue would complete,
     would follow through the current process.  So the 15 issues John has
     mentioned earlier would go through -- we would let them finish the
     current process.  We would document them in 0933, and this, the
     revisions we are talking here are handling any new issues that arise.
         DR. WALLIS:  I see.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Any new material and reactor issues that come
     up will go through this process here.
         DR. WALLIS:  So, this has no bearing on getting rid of the
     present issues.
         MR. MARSHALL:  No.
         Next slide.
         The initial screening -- and that's the beginning here --
     we'll still do some of the things we currently do with the initial
         Again, that's checking for duplication, checking to see if
     this issue has been addressed before, checking to see if this issue's
     being addressed in some other program in NRC.
         One big -- one change we're going to have this time around
     is, number one, we'll make this a joint activity between the offices. 
     Originally, our initial screening was done within the Office of
         Again, this is geared towards making sure that there is a
     common understanding between the offices of what the issue is and what
     the resolution of the issues is supposed to accomplish.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  It strikes me that frequently I see things
     that are said, well, this is a joint activity and we'll get all the
     offices together to work on this and that is the death knell to
     progress, that all those offices you list up there are fairly busy
     people, you come in with this additional activity, it is not top on
     their priority list, and so, it languishes there, and it's very
     difficult to get them all in one room at one time or to even do it in a
     sequential fashion.
         How do you avoid that becoming the slow step in this kinetic
         MR. CRAIG:  The way we do it is to have it be clearly
     defined as part of a management directive, and as we get office buy-in
     on the management directive, there will be specific individuals that are
     identified to participate on this and make it happen.
         The fact that we're reporting these to Congress on a monthly
     basis is clear evidence to the agency that some external stakeholders
     think these are very high priority and it is, in fact -- that our
     activities reflect recognition of that significance.
         So, I think the comment's fair, and it's a caution that
     we're going to have to guard against.
         In a similar manner, the research effectiveness review
     board, where we have people from all the offices -- there was some
     jerkiness getting out of the gate, and it quickly went to the office
     directors, there was some discussion, and then we got the support.  The
     same thing would happen here.
         But it is a caution that we're going to have to be sensitive
     to to make sure that these things don't get delayed.
         DR. MILLER:  You mentioned that there will be individuals --
     they're the ones that are going to be on this generic issue panel or
     committee, I believe you called it.
         MR. CRAIG:  Right.
         DR. MILLER:  And then there's going to be a chairman of that
     group that's kind of the manager of this?  That person will have real
     designated to manage this, or it will be just an add-on?
         MR. CRAIG:  No, it will be part of their assigned functions,
     it will be a senior executive, I believe it's going to end up being Jack
     Rosenthal in the new reorganization.
         He can't be here today because he's on the west coast
     looking at some grid reliability issues, but he's fully fluent in the
     presentation and on-board with what we're doing.
         DR. MILLER:  Just one more comment.  One thing that might be
     valuable, Mike, when you go through -- going back to the assessment
     program, very clearly said that set certain goals and then we set
     certain success criteria, and they were risk reduction, burden
     reduction, public confidence-building.
         You might just remind us, as we go through this process --
     some are pretty obvious and some may not be so obvious, but I think
     those are very high-level goals and very valuable to this entire
         MR. CRAIG:  You'll see some of those reflected on the other
     slide specifically.
         MR. MARSHALL:  We hope to achieve the public confidence by
     having this very transparent process that's easy to delve in and get a
     question answered.
         DR. MILLER:  A web-site is certainly one of those key
         MR. MARSHALL:  Right.  And for the risk reduction and burden
     reduction, we'll touch on that right now in this slide here.
         The issues -- the generic issues that we're going to handle
     in this process we're going to put in one of these three bins here,
     either adequate protection, substantial safety enhancement, or burden
     reduction initiatives, and I'll just give everybody a moment to read
     over those definitions.
         The screening of an adequate protection, substantial safety
     enhancement is different.  There's a big difference between how we would
     handle a burden reduction issue and an adequate protection concern,
     issue.  That's the main reason for the difference.
         USI will also be part of the system, and I'll touch on that
     on a later slide.
         DR. WALLIS:  How do you do cost-beneficial analysis?  Do you
     put a price on various aspects of public safety?
         MR. MARSHALL:  Yes.
         DR. WALLIS:  You do.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Yes.  And we touch on that later in the
     guide.  That's one of the sections that wasn't complete when we sent out
     the management directive to you.
         DR. WALLIS:  So, you have a formula for various sorts of
     cancers and costs and land all the other things?
         MR. MARSHALL:  Can I touch on that later, in the same slide
     I told you before.  Sorry about that.
         DR. WALLIS:  No, that's all right.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Okay.
         Is there any questions about the definitions?
         One point I would like to make on the slide, though, is the
     generic issue process won't handle all generic issues.  For instance,
     generic compliance issues -- we don't envision them going through this
         What we used to call -- what are still called licensing
     issues, which used to be part of the generic issue process -- they will
     not be handled through this process.
         DR. MILLER:  And all the current issues will not be handled
     through this process.
         MR. MARSHALL:  And the current issues will not be handled
     through this revised process.  The current issues will be handled
     through the current process, and so, there are some -- I think there's
     at least one issue in the current process.  That will be worked and
     completed under the current process.
         DR. UHRIG:  What about the re-licensing issues that are
     associated with --
         DR. SEALE:  -- license renewal?
         DR. UHRIG:  Yes.
         MR. MARSHALL:  If one of those issues meet one of these
     three definitions, they could be handled through this process.
         DR. UHRIG:  Well, there a number of issues that have been
     declared generic issues that are not addressed by the applicants.
         MR. CRAIG:  I was with you until you said they weren't
     addressed by the applicants.
         Currently in the generic issues program, there are two
     technical issues, environmental qualification of electrical equipment
     and fatigue associated with license renewal.
         In addition, NEI put together a list -- and I forget how
     long the list was -- of technical issues related to license renewal, and
     you may have been briefed on those.
     The decision was made that those were not potential generic safety
     issues and shouldn't get dumped into this program, and that was the
     point that Mike was making.
         DR. FONTANA:  How about the first two that you mentioned?
         MR. CRAIG:  They're in this program, and we're working them
     on pretty aggressive schedules.
         DR. FONTANA:  I read something to the effect that the
     industry intended not to do anything more on those two.  Is that
         MR. CRAIG:  I believe that there's a difference between what
     industry is going to do to look at fatigue or EQ technically, industry
     collectively, versus plants individually, as opposed to what is being
     discussed with Chris Grimes and his staff as to what has to be included
     in an application, what level of detail, and I don't know if that's come
     to closure yet or not.
         DR. MILLER:  Well, I think every plant is addressing the
     cabling issue a little bit differently.  They all develop different
     databases, and we haven't seen that, but I've seen that at different
     technical meetings.  That's kind of aside from this issue.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Neither of those two issues are a part of
         MR. CRAIG:  No.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  They're continuing on their own pace.
         DR. MILLER:  But you have a program to address the current
     15, I believe, issues that are in this.
         MR. CRAIG:  Yes.
         DR. MILLER:  And you said earlier you're going to drive
     those to completion.
         MR. CRAIG:  Whether it's a new rule or no new requirement,
     however they come out.
         DR. MILLER:  And you'll have a time-line on those?
         MR. CRAIG:  For each one we do, yes.
         DR. SHACK:  And you have some license renewal generic issues
     that have now been renamed something else.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  That's what they were discussing.
         DR. SHACK:  No, no.  There's many generic -- you know,
     there's EPRI technical generic issues, then there's these generic
     license renewal policy issues, then there's these GIs.
         DR. MILLER:  I think we ought to get new names for all this. 
     It's confusing.
         DR. SEALE:  Don't encourage him.
         MR. MARSHALL:  I'll probably spend a bit of time on this
     slide here.
         DR. KRESS:  Does this slide mean that, for purposes of
     generic issues, we defined adequate protection in terms of CDF and LERF?
         MR. MARSHALL:  That's one of the comments we got.  That's
     not consistent with our definition of adequate protection.  So, this is
     probably subject to change.
         I was actually going to skip this first flow chart on this
         DR. KRESS:  But if you're going to quantify it in terms of
     risk or dollars or something, you have to use something.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Right.
         DR. KRESS:  And you can't use the standard adequate
     protection definitions, because it's non-quantifiable.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Right.  It's something we're going to have to
     work through.  The initial cut was -- to some of us, it seemed
     desireable to do this, but we're not sure it's consistent with how --
     legally with how the NRC handles --
         DR. KRESS:  For generic issue, do you think you have to be
     legally -- I mean this is a process internal to the NRC to help you do
     your job.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Right.
         DR. KRESS:  I applaud you trying to put something that's
     quantifiable as a surrogate for adequate protection.  Let's call it a
     surrogate.  I'm just not sure CDF and LERF incorporated all the things
     you might be interested in, that could be quantifiable.  That would be
     the only comment I have.
         But I would encourage you to continue in that direction,
     maybe look for other things, like person-rems.
         DR. WALLIS:  This might be a starting point.  So, the
     minimal thing is to calculate CDF and LERF, and then you might also want
     to do something else.
         DR. KRESS:  Well, I think I read somewhere in there you
     talked about frequency -- product of frequency and person-rems, which
     might be another thing that would capture some other adequate protection
     issues that maybe LERF and CDF doesn't capture.
         I wouldn't think, legalistically -- I'd think what can I do
     to help my process.
         MR. MARSHALL:  We thought this would be nice to help the
     process.  It was raised during our internal review as a concern that we
     had to be aware of.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  On your previous slide, one of the items
     in your four bullets that you had at the top of that slide was to define
     the scope of the issue, which is done up in this flow chart that you had
     marked in red.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Yes.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  And then it comes down into the group that
     actually starts working to develop the resolution on this.
         If they work along and said, well, this guys defined the
     scope of the issue all right but they were wrong and it should be
     different, the scope needs to be different or changed or augmented or
     shrunk, something different, what do they do?
         MR. MARSHALL:  They take it back to the review board.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  At the top or someplace else?
         MR. MARSHALL:  Right there, wherever they happen to be, this
     group, even though most of their work is done here, they follow the
     issue -- they're supposed to follow the issues along.  Same with the
     generic issues project manager.
         So, if there's a question that the scope should be changed,
     they should bring it to the attention of the review board, schedule a
     meeting, and get the scope formally altered and document why it was
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  And that review board gets together and
     says, nah, we like the scope it was, and the guys that are doing the
     work are from NMSS, and they said, no, we don't agree.  What happens?
         MR. CRAIG:  They'll work the management chains to make it
     get up and over.  The idea was that the board was roughly at the branch
     chief level, and if, indeed, the individuals feel strongly, it will get
     bumped up and then come over at a higher level.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  You understand what my concern was, and I
     think you've given me the right answer, is that you've got these branch
     chiefs making decisions and I've got the director of NMSS making
     decisions, and he's going to pull rank on these guys, and I don't care
     how many of them there are, he's still going to pull rank, and what
     you're saying, well, if that happens in the management system and if it
     can't be resolved at the office director, it goes to the EDO level, and
     that's probably the only answer that there is to that.
         MR. MARSHALL:  The other thing we have done in the technical
     screening is revised risk assessment guidance.
         Essentially what we did here was we went through NUREG-1489.
         That's a review of NRC uses of PRA, and we essentially
     lifted out of Appendix B, if I recall correctly, the guidance they had
     there for technical -- for using PRA for screening, and then we reviewed
     that against Regulatory Guide 1.174 just to see if they were consistent,
     and we believe that the guidance we have in there is consistent with
     those two documents.
         Some of the changes -- one of the major changes was to
     recommend to the staff that they use the most current available PRA.
         Another thing is also to use what's called risk transforms
     or trying to figure what the early releases were, to use the more
     current source information.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I guess I don't understand, quite.  I've
     got a generic issue, means it's applicable to at least a class of
     plants, and so, now I want to understand something about the risk
     significance of this, and I want to use something from a PRA to do that. 
     What PRA do I use?
         MR. MARSHALL:  Well, the person doing the analysis should
     look through the PRAs and pick the one that's closest to the affected
     plants, and if there's not a single one, he should pick multiple PRAs.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Whose PRA does he use?
         MR. MARSHALL:  Essentially a search through whatever is out
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Oh, okay.
         So, he goes and he grabs a PRA from some amorphous group. 
     This could be a PRA that was done back in the days when methods were, at
     best, crude and whatnot?  Well, that doesn't sound very good to me.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Well, he shouldn't have picked that one,
     because it didn't meet the criteria of being a current PRA.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  How does he know?
         MR. MARSHALL:  Whoever is doing the analysis -- one criteria
     we're going to have in the program is that they be familiar with the
     PRAs they're using, that they're not just merely a black box to them and
     they're just changing numbers in SAFIRE or something.
         They should know what the assumptions were, what tools were
     used to develop the PRA, and that's the person that should be doing this
     analysis here.
         Tom King's group will be -- if Research wants to do more of
     this work in-house, it will be done out of that group.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Okay.  That's good, because those guys now
     are subscribed two-and-a-half times their available working hours or
     something like that, and so, now you've got to know another 10 percent
     of that.  So, you've got to 2.6.
         Tom's a busy fellow here.
         MR. MARSHALL:  No argument there.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  The problem is that you've got these
     people that are becoming a focus as you moved to risk-informed
     regulation.  I don't have a solution to this problem.
         I can tell you the lengths and the breadths of it is that,
     if I want a PRA for Mark I boilers, that's a pretty good class and
     liable to have a generic issue on Mark I boilers.
         I've got a lot of old ones, and I've got a bunch of things
     that were used for the IPEs, and I know that those have never been
     blessed, and I know the old ones are just exactly that, old, and may not
     have the best techniques.
         So, it strikes me you've got a hole here someplace, but I
     got some resources, too, in thinking about a solution.
         I got some SRAs in every single region, and they have to use
     something for their risk assessments, and they might be a pretty good
     source for what you should use in these generic issues, because they're
     going to be as up to date as anybody I can think of.
         MR. MARSHALL:  That's a good suggestion.
         MR. CRAIG:  Tom and his staff have participated in this.  We
     have John Flack and others helping us, and he made the same point about
     limited resources and how much he can support this.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I mean every group that comes in here says
     Tom King's going to help us on this.
         DR. MILLER:  Which Tom King?
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I've been walking out of this building at
     seven o'clock and seen Tom walking in after dinner, so I know that he
     puts in a few hours here, but I know there's also a limit.
         DR. KRESS:  You're going to end up identifying a set of
     plants for a given generic issue, I'm pretty sure.  Each of those plants
     will already have calculated a CDF and a LERF.  So, you don't really
     have to re-calculate those, if you believe what you've already got.
         So, that box really only needs to calculate a change in CDF
     and a change in LERF.
         Now, those changes generally are plant-specific for a given
     issue, but there may be a way to conjure up an easier way to get a delta
     than to get the actual.  You don't have to recalculate the actual every
         This could be a place where a little research on how to do
     the PRA could be very useful, how to calculate a delta with a
     generic-like PRA that would be applicable to more than one plant.  I
     would be more apt to believe a delta, the generic number, than I would
     the bottom line.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I'd harken back to the IPE insights
     document that's pretty clear that the assumptions and methods are so
     different that inter-comparison even from sister plants is very
         DR. MILLER:  Even on delta?
         DR. KRESS:  Yes, but what you kind of want to do here, Dana,
     is -- this is a screen, and you want to pick -- I think you can pick out
     a representative CDF and representative LERF for this class.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I can take an average.
         DR. KRESS:  I don't think an average is the right thing.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I can take a mode, a mean, from an
     unreliable source, okay?  I'm not wild about this.
         DR. KRESS:  Well, for screening purposes --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I think you have to be careful about that,
     because these guys are a little more aggressive than just screening. 
     They're also going to define the depth and breadth of the issue.
         DR. KRESS:  Well, I'm interested in what kind thresholds
     they're going to have, also.  Would your threshold for CDF be 10 to the
     minus 4, for example?
         DR. MILLER:  Are you talking about threshold on CDF or
     change in CDF?
         DR. KRESS:  Well, I'm looking at CDF and LERF as -- well,
     actually LERF, and CDF, as a surrogate for adequate protection, and I
     want to be sure that --
         MR. MARSHALL:  We intended to use the figures -- I think
     they're three and four -- out of Reg. Guide 1.174 for the thresholds.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  That's good.  I like those figures,
     because they've got a plot right across the horizontal that says CDF,
     not CDF during normal operations, not CDF just during external events,
     it's CDF.
         How do you find a -- where do you go on the horizontal axis?
         DR. MILLER:  Tom King will do it.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Just one moment.
         DR. KRESS:  In principle, your concept is logical.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Yes, I think that's the take-home lesson. 
     I don't think we've said anything that impacts the outline of your
         DR. SEALE:  I do have a related question.  In some of the
     criticisms that we and, I guess, others have voiced of some of the past
     generic issue resolution efforts, we observed that the solution or,
     let's say, the considerations that went into the judgement that the
     issue had been resolved stove-piped, if I may use the term, the breadth
     of the issue as it was originally defined.
         That is, you looked at a fairly narrow version of that
     particular problem and there were other cases where things were really
     under the same generic issue, but they weren't considered in the
     analysis that made the judgement that it had been resolved.
         I assume you're going to try to defend or guard against that
     kind of tunnel-vision, I guess you could call it.
         MR. MARSHALL:  That's something we need to be aware of as we
     try to keep a stronger hold on the scope, that we don't force ourselves
     into more of that.
         DR. WALLIS:  I have a concern that we see a lot of plans and
     things like that here, how things are going to be done.
         My advice to students who are planning anything is to, as
     soon as possible, immerse yourself in doing something and seeing if
     something works along the lines you envisage, because you may change
     your plan once you actually try to implement something like the plan you
     have in mind.  So, try it out as soon as you can on something.  Get some
     experience with doing.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Okay.
         I'd just like to touch on the third bullet for a moment,
     revisions to the cost estimation guidance.
         One thing we're going to do -- and again, this section
     hasn't been completed yet -- is recommend the use of the current OMB
     discount rate, whatever that happens to be, to use the net present value
     in calculating cost, and also, when you're assuming -- especially for
     relaxation of regulations, right now the assumption is to assume that
     all plants will take advantage of the relaxation -- is to try to get a
     feel for how many plants would take advantage of the relaxation, to
     decide if the NRC is willing to spend the amount of money to relax a
         The estimate would be different if you assume all plants
     versus, let's say, only three plants are interested in a particular
     relaxation of the regulations.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  OMB, in their guidance, don't they -- they
     give you a discount rate out to a certain number of years and then the
     cost of money after that is zero?  Is that correct?
         MR. MARSHALL:  Not sure.  Not sure at all.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I think you want to go out 10 years.
         DR. KRESS:  Well, the thing is it's likely to change
     drastically.  It's very low right now, and the question is, if it
     changes drastically, do you go back and redo the calculation?
         MR. MARSHALL:  Right now, in the current -- the guidance we
     have, I believe they recommend we use seven as the discount rate.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  It's a pretty high value for their
     recommendation relative to current environment, but the problem is you
     frequently run into, when you plan long-term activities and, say, a mean
     of 35 years for the existing plants, assuming the license renewal, the
     value of money after -- I think it's 10 years -- is zero, and so, it
     gives you a -- you push all decisions off to beyond that time because it
     didn't cost you anything to do them.
         DR. WALLIS:  Are there really decisions which are like that,
     which are so border-line that you have to worry?  I would hope that some
     of these decisions are clearly one way or the other, in fact that many
     of them are.  They're overwhelmingly beneficial or not.
         MR. MARSHALL:  The next bullet is just in the screening
     stage.  We're going to provide guidance for how to screen a burden
     reduction issue.  That was left more qualitative in the former process. 
     We would like to quantify that, also.
         The biggest change in here -- and this goes exactly opposite
     of one of the ACRS recommendations, and we should bring it up here -- is
     number five.
         Before in the prioritization, when we're calling this
     prioritization, when we screened an issue, it came out as being high,
     medium, low, or drop.
         Essentially, high meant -- high and medium, we would work on
     those.  Lows -- they would just sit in a bin somewhere until they either
     moved up to high or medium or they moved down to drop, and drop we just
     didn't think about anymore.
         And mainly, that was done to help us with our budgeting.
         If it was high, you're supposed to seek funding for it.
         If it was medium, you're supposed to wait till you're done
     with your highs you had funding available, work on those, and if it was
     low, it was at the discretion of the division director if he wanted to
     seek funding for it or not.
         One problem we have or we feel we have with labeling things
     high, medium, or low, instead of being an indication of the priority it
     should be in the budget, we thought it was -- it appeared to some to be
     also a priority as the safety significance or, rather, the safety
     deficiency associated with an issue, and so, we want to get away from
     that appearance in the sense, since we know we're working on mediums and
     highs, we just call those go's, we'll continue working on those, and the
     lows and drops, since we just sat those aside anyway, we're not going to
     work on those, and that's what the drop here represents.
         Something before that would have been low or drop is now
     just drop, and things that will continue through the process are mediums
     and highs, and later on -- and it's indicated in this checked box here
     -- I guess as part of the research self-assessment that's going on now,
     they're coming up with a prioritization scheme for all research
     activities as part of the PBPM process, and these issues, the
     substantial safety enhancement and the burden reduction issues, they
     would be prioritized against all the other research work in the Office
     of Research.
         Is there any questions?
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I assume that there will be a historical
     record that's maintained so that I don't keep putting in an issue that
     is no-go that you have to go through this work on over and over and over
         MR. MARSHALL:  Yes, there is.  We'll have that documented. 
     That's one thing we definitely want to keep is the documentation of the
         DR. WALLIS:  If your flow chart is right and there are lots
     of candidate issues which are going to emerge, it's going to soon become
     pretty clear that you'd better work on the most important ones, and the
     payoff on those is going to be pretty obvious.
         So, you don't need to be worried about splitting hairs.  You
     need to be worried about getting the job done.
         MR. MARSHALL:  And that's what the technical screen is
     supposed to help us do, pick out the ones that are most worthwhile, the
     biggest bang for the dollar, and work on those.
         DR. KRESS:  You'll have to have some other sort of screen
     for material license issues.
         MR. MARSHALL:  The screening here -- I should have stayed at
     that -- the three flow charts on slides one through 12 -- those are for
     reactors.  The materials issues -- and we're working with NMSS -- they
     said that's probably going to be more qualitative.
         I'll just pick out one of these flow charts.  Let's just
     pick the first one on slide number 12 and just talk through that.  I've
     already touched on some of this already.
         The person or team responsible for doing the screening of an
     issue would calculate the CDF, change in CDF, calculate the LERF, change
     in LERF, then compare that to Reg. Guide 1.174 and decide if we should
     continue working on it or drop it.
         Now, if it continues, they would assume a solution -- you
     have to assume a solution anyway when you want to calculate the change.
         You calculate the cost associated with implementing that
     solution, developing that solution.  You also calculate the reduction in
     estimated public dose.  We don't take the cancers and translate them
     into a dollar figure.  We try to get a feel for public health with a
     estimated public dose they might receive.
         And again, we take a chart that's similar to the one in
     0933, essentially.  We just want to check the values on that and decide
     if we continue working on that or we drop it, and if it passed through
     all those thresholds, it goes to the technical assessment stage, and
     each issue -- type of issue would go through a similar process.
         DR. KRESS:  You'll have to calculate the first box before
     you decide which category it goes in.  Then you use that information to
     say, well, this is essential to safety enhancement.
         MR. MARSHALL:  The decision of which box it goes in will be
     made prior.
         DR. KRESS:  How can you do that without having that
     information in the first box?
         MR. MARSHALL:  It will be based on what the intent of what
     the issue is.  If the intent is saying, okay, we think the plants are
     safe enough and we just want to -- we think there's a substantial safety
     enhancement we could make, we're going to label that as --
         DR. KRESS:  More of a judgement call.
         MR. MARSHALL:  But if somewhere along this process they --
     and that section wasn't completed in the management directive we gave
     you -- if they decide that -- for instance, that an adequate protection
     concern was more of a safety enhancement, they should reclassify it at
     that point to make sure it's treated properly through the rest of the
     system and again document why it was changed from one thing to another.
         DR. KRESS:  Do you envision the different parts of this
     being virtually identical to the regulatory analysis, using their rules
     and their --
         MR. MARSHALL:  That was another source.  Other documents we
     used, we tried not to create anything new here.  We went back and we
     reviewed the backfit handbook, how backfits should be handled, the
     regulatory analysis handbook.  We again are borrowing from those to make
     sure -- not only just not to create anything new but to make sure we are
         DR. KRESS:  Let me ask you a question about that.  When you
     calculate costs then, are you -- what are you going to do with averted
     on-site costs which of course they are talking about changing or at
     least relooking at?
         MR. CRAIG:  That is a timely question, since I was with
     Ashok late last evening talking about the plan to respond to an SRM, to
     re-examine the Reg Analysis Guidelines including averted on-site costs,
     and we put together a plan to move forward to develop that SECY and
     whenever that comes out with the Commission's decision it will be
     reflected on this one, so Mike was very correct in that that is an open
     question right now.
         DR. SEALE:  I presume you have requested Divine guidance on
         MR. CRAIG:  I think it is early yet, but that may be --
         MR. CRAIG:  -- since it is a very challenging issue.
         DR. SEALE:  It sure is.
         DR. KRESS:  Let me give you some Divine guidance.  Don't
     include averted on-site costs in your regulatory analysis.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Mike, let me ask you about the flow chart
     at the bottom of the page, the one you chose not to go through and it
     may be just a clarification.
         This is burden reduction and you go through your various
     steps and you calculate the costs.  You compare them against a threshold
     and then you solicit industry interest.  Is it the intent or is it
     likely to happen that when the industry's interest is solicited that you
     may have to revise your calculated costs?
         MR. MARSHALL:  Possibly, yes.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I mean there is something funny about that
     flow.  You might want feedback into that because they may know their
     costs a lot better than you do.
         DR. WALLIS:  I don't quite understand why industry doesn't
     come first, why they shouldn't be in the position of soliciting --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  It was my presumption in looking at it was
     that there are probably a lot of things that come up that you just don't
     want to bother people with because you can quickly go through and say,
     ah, this sounds like a good idea but it is worth $10.50 or something
     like that.
         DR. WALLIS:  Isn't industry in the best position to assess
     burden reduction potential?
         MR. MARSHALL:  I would say yes.
         DR. WALLIS:  Why don't they initiate this?  Then you
     respond.  If they don't initiate anything, you don't do anything.
         MR. CRAIG:  Industry certainly could be a source at the top
     to identify a burden reduction initiative.  If the Staff identified it,
     as we go down through and I was looking because on one of the other
     slides, and I can't even read these with the bottom half of my glasses,
     we had a slide that indicated where we would get public involvement and
     recognizing that while we may have some good guesstimates about what
     industry costs are, before we got too far down in the process of
     devoting resources on what we thought was a burden reduction initiative,
     we needed to get industry involvement upfront because it is quite
     conceivable that what we think is a good idea that they agree with, but
     they also say but that is not going to save us any money so we wouldn't
     adopt it anyway --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  You don't want an Appendix S.
         DR. KRESS:  Does that category include reduction of burden
     to NRC?
         MR. CRAIG:  I think we are going to have another process for
     that one.
         DR. KRESS:  A process for that one?  Okay.
         DR. MILLER:  Well, if you can reduce burden on industry,
     oftentimes you reduce the burden on the NRC.
         DR. KRESS:  Of course.  A lot of times you could do
     something just to save NRC resources, not very safety significant.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Right now we have got to save Tom King.
         DR. MILLER:  The Chairman of the Committee announced that we
     have a definite hard timeline, so --
         MR. MARSHALL:  I could probably wrap up in a couple of
         The only other thing, the one other change I would like to
     notice, before the process was just sequential.  It just went one box
     into another.  Right here we have a break here and the reason we put the
     break here is to acknowledge that not all issues will necessarily result
     in a new rule or new guidance, and also sometimes if industry steps
     forward, like John mentioned, we will have public meetings and if they
     come forward and say we have a solution, we would track it through this
     "other activities" but we would still follow, we wouldn't just drop the
     issue at that point.  We would still follow it to see that it was
     implemented and try to verify to make sure it addressed the concern we
         Like I mentioned earlier, much of the guidance, inspection
     manual and others, are already developed to provide guidance on how to
     perform or perform the functions in these other boxes here.
         In closing, I would just want to mention some of the things
     we think we are doing that's okay or pretty good -- resolved will be
     resolved now --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Hooray.
         MR. MARSHALL:  The tracking will be through all the stages
     so you will just have one location or one person to call or one
     organization to call to find out the status of any particular issue.
         We are going to try to improve the documentation of
     decision-making so you won't have to worry about why something was
     switched from never resolved to high.  You could get an answer to that.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  You'll learn how to spell "decision" too.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Yes -- oh.  I thought I spell-checked it.
         MR. MARSHALL:  Hopefully we can improve the coordination on
     defining the scope -- some issues at the very beginning between the
     offices so we can avoid having problems toward the end of a resolution
     or the end of working on an issue, and just revising the screening
     criteria.  We think those are improvements.
         John has already talked about the schedule.  I think we are
     done except for any questions you might have.
         MR. BONACA:  The question I have and I realize you may
     already provided the answer before but I am new here so I'll ask my
     question anyway.
         You are proposing a new process and the centerpiece of that
     is the use of PRA to make certain determinations and already here we
     have discussed what PRA and all that kind of stuff.  As a minimum have
     you attempted to try this process on some past issues to see how that
     would come out?  It's almost like trying to validate methodology, trying
     to see if it makes sense.  That would be the first question I have.  I
     think that would be probably a good exercise.
         Second.  I really would like to hear more about this PRA
     model you are going to use because if you have a generic model in your
     mind, you know, there are pet issues that each one of us have that tend
     to really bias the evaluation we make.  I mean we have strong beliefs
     about certain contributors to risk and when they are allowed to prevail
     over actual calculations they really mask actual effects, and there is
     evidence of that all over the place, you know, in the past, so two
         One is have you tested this process or are you planning to,
     and second, is there any way to see some examples in fact on how you
     would apply that?
         MR. CRAIG:  One of the things that you will note is that
     this effort is the first effort in probably 15 or more years to take a
     look at the generic issue process.  We have been using risk assessments
     related to prioritizing or determining whether or not to work on generic
     safety issues now for some number of years.
         One of the criticisms that we have received, some from some
     members, is that the risk assessment, the PRAs that were used for some
     of the issues were old and even some of the plants had had newer and
     better risk models and methods that had been developed and used and one
     of the problems with the current processes, the risk methods are not
     clearly defined and it is sort of in a box, because as soon as we define
     "the" risk method to use, it will be out of date or Tom's people will
     come up with a better one, or something, so as Mike indicated we are
     encouraging people to use current methods coordinating upfront with
     whoever it is in the research staff working for Tom that is
     knowledgeable in that area, recognizing that there are limitations and
     key assumptions with different methods.
         We have -- all the examples so far are examples of the past
     which illustrate the need to change and use more current methods and
     techniques.  We haven't tried with a new issue to run it through the
     process to go back and say which method or model should we use, what's
     the criteria to make that determination, and the comment that Dr. Wallis
     made a few minutes ago is a real good one.
         We have got a new issue from NRR that is the boron dilution
     question that came over.  It's reminiscent of GSI 22 and right now this
     morning we were talking about should that be the first surrogate to go
     through this new process and it may likely be.  As we come up with new
     issues and identify them, we will be briefing the Committee on changes
     to this process and the basis, and that will be one aspect of it.
         DR. WALLIS:  I have a simple question.  The new process is
     here because it's thought to be better than an old process.  Where's the
     problem with the old process, in the process or the fact that the work
     just didn't get done?
         MR. CRAIG:  Well, the old process to the extent that we use
     terms that were significantly different from common usage, that was a
     process problem.  To the extent that the old process stipulated that we
     used out-of-date PRA methods and methodologies, that was a process
         Compounding that was the fact, as I indicated, that
     potential cost-beneficial safety enhancements over time as licensing
     decreased lost their real significance, so things tended to drag out. 
     So that was a management problem.  The fact that the tech staffs between
     offices could argue for extended periods of time without coming to
     closure was a management problem, not a process problem.
         It was only a few months ago where we were here on a looped
     LOCA and the Committee heard reasons why it should be closed and why it
     shouldn't be closed from various interests.  And I think that reflects a
     management failure not to come to some definition of scope earlier on. 
     So there were a lot of problems to go around.  Some were not getting the
     work done; some were the process.
         DR. MILLER:  That was a question leading to my question.  I
     think overall from where I see it's been a management problem from day
     1, in that when there was a priority problem of top management,
     everything was moving ahead, even with maybe a process that wasn't that
     good.  Once the top management got onto other things and this became a
     stepchild, so to speak, this thing got into trouble.
         My question is, two years from now, the three who are
     involved, and there are two involved, three of you involved, may be on
     to new things, what's to give me kind of warm fuzzies that we won't be
     in trouble three years from now, even though this process looks quite
         MR. CRAIG:  I don't have a good answer.
         DR. MILLER:  Can't answer that one?
         MR. CRAIG:  I can't answer that one.
         DR. KRESS:  I thought your earlier answer on that was pretty
     good, about the reports and the personal managers for each one of them
     and their names will be on the reports.
         DR. MILLER:  That's true, but that still -- you've got this
     committee setup which has designees from the top managers, but years
     from now the top managers are going to have new issues.
         DR. KRESS:  But each issue will have its own manager.  I
     think that's a key.
         MR. CRAIG:  That's a significant difference that we've made. 
     In the past the input was entered into a computer data system and it was
     a staffer talking to a staffer, and the first time I looked at it, there
     were a number of closure dates that were two years old, and I queried
     whether or not we'd be able to meet those dates.  We were already past
     it by two years, recognizing that we're good, some of them --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Did you get any answers but yes?
         MR. CRAIG:  I didn't get any good answers.  And by assigning
     a specific staff person for each issue, that's a step in the right
     direction for accountability.  Each generic safety issue is specifically
     identified in our operating plans as part of the budget that get
     reviewed within the line in addition to reporting them to the Hill.  So
     as long as that process is in place I'm optimistic and I don't have any
     reason to doubt that whoever is the manager responsible for it will be
     able to meet due dates, because you don't slip due dates in the op plans
     without office director recognition and review.  So the dates may slip,
     but there will be conscious decisions as to why.
         DR. MILLER:  We plan to write a letter on this report, and
     do you want input on the management directive at this time from us, even
     though you said it was fairly early?
         MR. CRAIG:  We would appreciate any comments that you would
     have about risk methods, comments on the management directives, et
     cetera.  We have a window to go out for comment, and you'll have the
     opportunity again to the extent that we can revise this to reflect
     near-term comments.  We'll do that.  And we've discussed that with the
     other offices, so it's truly a work in progress.  But any comments that
     you feel you want to make, we'd appreciate.
         DR. SEALE:  I have a question on the generic issue question
     in general, and, you know, maybe you're ready to talk about this or not. 
     I don't know.
         Back several years ago a large number of issues were -- I
     won't say relegated, really, but were assigned to a category that says
     well, when we get the IPEs in, we will have resolved those issues.  And
     that turned out to be at least in some cases a fairly hollow aspiration. 
     Is there an overall assessment of how many of the issues that were
     allocated to the IPE program really did in fact achieve resolution?
         MR. CRAIG:  Yes.  For each issue where there was an
     assumption that it would be addressed we're going back to verify it, and
     if in fact it was adequately addressed, that will be the basis for the
     documentation of the closure or no additional action, and that closure
     package then would come to the Committee.
         DR. SEALE:  You're going to do that for us then.
         MR. CRAIG:  Actually it's going to be Ernie Rossi that's
     going to do it.
         DR. SEALE:  Okay.
         MR. CRAIG:  But it's -- I've already started the process. 
     The ones that are closed are the easy ones.  The ones where the
     process --
         DR. SEALE:  Sure.
         MR. CRAIG:  Did not close them, then we're going to have to
     identify what steps needed to be taken to come up with a solution and
     close the issue, and we'll have to develop a task action plan for each
     one of those.
         DR. SEALE:  I want to congratulate you on not ducking the
     hard ones, because that struck me as a hard one, and I'm really very
     pleased to hear that you're not going to duck that, you're going to go
     after it.
         MR. CRAIG:  We're going to do them -- I've told the staff
     it's a lot like putting shingles on a roof.  You do them one at a time.
         DR. SEALE:  That's right.
         MR. CRAIG:  And you don't move on to the next one till
     you've put the number of nails in that one.
         DR. KRESS:  I believe you've put shingles on a roof.  That's
     exactly the way you do them.
         MR. CRAIG:  That's exactly right.
         DR. MILLER:  You have done that before, it sounds like.
         Since I five or ten minutes ago implored us to move on and
     get finished by 11:45, we're now slightly ahead, and I congratulate the
     Committee for letting me do that.  Any more Committee input here?  We'll
     discuss this letter later today; is that right?
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  That's right.
         DR. MILLER:  So I encourage the Committee to be thinking
     between now and later today to have input on the letter.  We'll have a
     draft or some sort of a skeleton started.
         Anything else that staff here wanted to provide for us?
         MR. CRAIG:  No.  We're glad to have the opportunity, and we
     look forward to the comments.  We think it's an opportunity to make this
     process significantly better.  Thanks.
         DR. MILLER:  Well, I think we at least feel like we're on
     the right -- at least on first base or maybe at home plate and heading
     for first base.  It's a lot better than it was six months ago.
         MR. CRAIG:  Thank you.  We think so too.
         DR. MILLER:  I'm sorry to use a metaphor.  For a guy who
     plays basketball, he doesn't understand what I was talking about. 
     Probably never heard of that game.
         Thank you very much.
         MR. CRAIG:  You're welcome.
         DR. MILLER:  May I turn it over to the Chairman.  I
     congratulate the Committee on leaving a few more minutes for lunch, I
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  There's no time for lunch, because several
     of the Members have signed up to participate in a tour of the ops
     center.  I guess Jocelyn Mitchell is going to lead you on this
     expedition, and so we will recess until one o'clock.
         [Whereupon, at 11:35 a.m., the meeting was recessed, to
     reconvene at 1:00 p.m., this same day.].                   A F T E R N O O N  S E S S I O N
                                                      [1:00 p.m.]
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Let's come back into session.
         In this afternoon's presentation, we're going to cover one
     of the topics that is, to my mind, extremely important both to the NRC
     and to the industry as we move into an era of deregulated generation of
     electricity, and that is the extension of fuel burn-up.
         There has been a historical trend over the last 20 years of
     extending the burn-up of fuel to the point that we're now up to
     somewhere around 50 giga-watt days per ton, and in the course of making
     that progression, we've discovered that there may be limits on how high
     you can take the burn-up of fuel.
         The NRC has imposed a limit currently of 62 giga-watt days
     per ton.
         In making that limit, they drew a regulatory judgement that
     burn-ups to that limit would not pose any significant threat to public
     health and safety, and they have initiated a class example of a
     confirmatory research program to validate that regulatory decision.
         In today's presentation, we're going to get a status report
     on the progression of that confirmatory research program.  We have --
     were a part of planning on that research program and had commented on
     that, those plans, and will be looking to see how the work has
         In our comments, we also suggested that the NRC staff needed
     to look forward and determine what kinds of information would have to be
     provided in order to allow the NRC to approve burn-ups that went beyond
     the current limit of 62 giga-watt days per ton.
         Even though the agency's decision was that the licensees
     would have to provide any data or analysis necessary to make that
     approval, it still seemed prudent to look ahead and understand what kind
     of information would be necessary to support an application for even
     higher levels of burn-up, and there is every indication that, in fact,
     the industry wants to move to higher levels of burn-up.
         Members will recall that, in our quadra-partite meeting,
     that higher levels of burn-up are envisioned in every country, and
     certainly, 75 giga-watt days per ton is considered feasible, especially
     with some of the more modern clads.
         So, we're also going to hear about how the staff plans to go
     about finding out what kinds of information would have to accompany
     applications for extended fuel burn-up, but as I understand it, we're
     going to begin the presentations today with -- Margaret Chatterton is
     going to discuss the perspectives from NRR on the high burn-up fuel
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Good afternoon.  I'm Margaret Chatterton,
     Reactor Systems Branch, NRR, and I'll be talking about the licensing
     strategy for burn-up extension.
         The presentation will be basically an update of where the
     staff is on burn-up extension.  I will review the process as we see it,
     talk about the burn-up extension requirements that we see and then fill
     you in on what's happened in the last year or so, the progress that's
     been made, and the current status.
         The approach is pretty much the same, has been explained
     before and outlined in the agency program plan that was issued last
         The key points are that the NRC will be working with the
     industry to develop a strategy and a plan, but it will be up to the
     industry to actually develop that plan and then, with that plan, the
     plan should point out areas that data will be necessary, it will be up
     to the industry again to do the testing and to develop the criteria that
     must be met.
         You probably remember that, in the past, the NRC has done
     the testing and developed the criteria.  This is no longer possible
     because of budget constraints.
         So, at the point that the industry has developed the plan,
     then the NRC would review it and hopefully endorse it as a regulatory
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  When the NRC goes about reviewing it and
     endorsing it, what we see are, as we go up in burn-up, changes in
     phenomenology --
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  -- things that we had not anticipated from
     a straightforward extrapolation of past behavior.
         I guess my question is how do you review something when you
     don't have any experience in the phenomenological regime?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Well, I think the approach is to have a
     systematic comprehensive plan that all areas of operation are looked at
     in order to determine where data needs to be obtained, and then the
     industry will have to go ahead and get that data.
         Some of that data may be from lead test assemblies, a lot of
     it's going to be from other types of testing, and it's the plan that
     industry will be putting together that should show us where we need to
     go and what areas need to really be examined more carefully.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I guess -- maybe you said it here.
         My concern is that, in the past, when we moved to higher
     burn-ups, the industry was very good about running lead test assemblies,
     and we had data on the normal operations of these high burn-ups rods,
     but we relied on the fortuitous experimental results for off-normal
     conditions that came from abroad in order to make us aware that there
     might be a problem with these high burn-up fuels.
         Is the industry going to be willing to collect data for
     off-normal and upset conditions?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  They'll have to get the data that's
     necessary as part of -- that's outlined as part of the plan that they
     come up with.
         When we get a little bit further into this, I was going to
     talk about what we expected -- what we expect as part of a systematic,
     comprehensive plan, and I think maybe that will help.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Sure.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  The burn-up extension requirements as we
     see them and has been previously outlined are that the current licensing
     requirements need to be addressed, it needs to be risk-informed.
         The specific areas of LOCA, ATWS, and RAI must be
     specifically addressed.
         There should be a real emphasis on a lead test assembly
     program and that they must be prototypical as far as power history,
     types of fuel and cladding as intended to be used to higher burn-ups, it
     must be based on burn-ups up to the requested burn-up, and they should
     also be in near-limiting locations.
         This is a change from previous work that's been done. 
     Usually, the LTAs were in very much non-limiting locations, and our last
     experience has found that sometimes power history does make a very big
         So, we're going to emphasizing the industry that we want
     them in near-limiting locations so that they will have a very similar
     power history to what the fuel will be operating in when it's actually
     used.  Better to find out that a few LTAs don't do well than to have a
     whole batch not do well.
         Also, as part of the requirements, we expect a good fuel
     performance monitoring program.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Would you explain the second bullet,
         MS. CHATTERTON:  The risk-informed?
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Yes.  What exactly do you expect them to
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Well, I think it has to be looking at not
     only accidents and the risk of the accidents to probability, but it also
     has to be looking at the consequences, both parts.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  So, they will do something like what
     Regulatory Guide 174 specifies?  I mean these are the criteria you will
     use there?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         DR. KRESS:  Does that mean you need severe accident
     information on the high burn-up fuel, such as how it affects the melt
     behavior and the fission product release?
         MR. COLLINS:  Excuse me.  This is Tim Collins from DSSA.
         With regard to being risk-informed, there's currently a
     whole set of deterministic requirements out there for fuel, and the
     risk-informed is kind of acknowledging the fact that some of those may
     be overly prescriptive or overly conservative, and if the industry wants
     to propose something different than the existing criteria, they need to
     use a risk-informed approach to do that, okay?
         Now, whether the -- the specific criteria of Reg. Guide
     1.174 -- I don't think we've thought hard enough about that as to how to
     apply this particular fuel arena, but this is just kind of like a
     high-level invitation, if you will, to the industry to say, look, if
     there's things which you happen to think are overly conservative, if you
     want to choose something different than what you've done in the past, it
     needs to be a risk-informed approach.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  So, the second bullet is an option.
         MR. COLLINS:  It's an option, yes.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  It's not required.
         MR. COLLINS:  That's correct.  It's not a requirement in the
     sense -- we don't have a regulation out there that says you have to do
     that, and if somebody wants to come in and say, okay, we can meet all
     the existing fuel criteria and demonstrate that those criteria do apply
     to the conditions which we believe are associated with high burn-up
     operation, that's okay.  It is an option.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  What if you found that the set of fuel
     criteria that you developed so many years ago under such a low burn-up
     regime really weren't an adequate set?
         MR. COLLINS:  Well, in fact, we're hoping to find that sort
     of thing out by the systematic approach that we're asking the industry
     to follow.
         Now, if we find that it's inadequate, I mean we would
     require that they address whatever -- on a risk-informed basis whatever
     is found to have been previously inadeaquate, and we would have to go
     back and look to see if we had to back-fit existing burn-up limits.
         DR. WALLIS:  What does "address LOCA" mean?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  It basically means go through, examine it,
     examine all the phenomena, exactly what happens, determine whether and
     where new data is needed, how much data is needed.
         DR. WALLIS:  Does this mean taking, say, fuel which has been
     subjected to high burn-ups and then quenching it, doing tests of the
     sort of response it would have to going through a LOCA?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  It may mean that, but it doesn't -- I don't
     think it necessarily means that.  I think, at this point, what we're
     saying is it needs to be addressed, we need to look at it very
     carefully, they need to look at it very carefully, and justify exactly
     how they're going to treat it.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Suppose in that regard the industry came
     along and they said, look, NRC, you've done these tests on exposing fuel
     to LOCA conditions up to about 60 giga-watt days per ton, maybe 62, and
     we've got this magic computer code that allows us to extrapolate that up
     to 75 giga-watt days per ton and it shows everything's fine.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  My next question would be how do I know
     that the code is validated beyond 62?  That's part of what the industry
     would have to justify.  As part of the process, every step is going to
     have to be justified, and the justification is going to have to be
         If the industry can come along and show that the code is
     valid up there, I can't see how they can do it without data, but let's
     assume they can do it, there's some -- like you say, a magical code that
     can do it and that they can provide an adequate justification, then I
     think we're in the position of having to accept it.
         DR. BONACA:  I had a different question, which is still
     regarding the second bullet.  Would you allow today risk-informed
     approaches to the design of regular assemblies?
         MR. COLLINS:  Yes.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  We would allow it in principle.  Nobody
     has asked for it, have they?
         MR. COLLINS:  Oh, right.  We would allow it in principle. 
     Nobody has asked for it.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Margaret, let me ask you, down in
     prototypic, you've indicated that power history makes a difference, and
     certainly, this committee has had a presentation by the industry in
     which they showed us that they typically have two varieties of high
     burn-up fuel, one that burns up very quickly and one that's a more
     leisurely high burn-up, and we've had presentations by you on some of
     the difficulties that have been encountered with high burn-up locations.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Right.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Do we now have a documentation on the
     magnitude of this power history effect on fuel behavior?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  I don't think we do.  I don't think we have
     a comprehensive -- I don't think it's something that's totally known. 
     It's fundamental, but exactly how they work in each case, I would not be
     able to say we have anything, and I don't think there is anything.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I'm thinking about the confirmatory
     research program that's going on now.  When you go about selecting
     variables to investigate -- and clearly burn-up is one of them --
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  -- and maybe this history is another one,
     maybe the water chemistry that the fuel has been subjected to is yet
     another one.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I mean you get quite a few variables.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.  And I don't think that you've covered
     the area unless you've covered the areas that you want to have as far as
     power history.
         If one power history is all that's -- that there is data
     available on, then maybe that's the limit of how you can approve a new
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  So, you're saying that there might be
     multiple pathways here to getting approval.  You may have I'll only do
     fast burn-up fuel, these high burn-ups.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.  Then that would be the only one we'd
     know about.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Yes.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Let me come back to the earlier comment
     about the second bullet.  The view-graph says that it's a requirement,
     but now you said that it is not, it's an option, and I wonder how
     optional it is.
         In other words, you do all the calculations, you're
     addressing LOCA, ATWS, and so on.  Wouldn't you be curious after that,
     even though the utility may not have asked or -- or the industry may not
     have asked to use 1.174 -- what happened to LERF and the core damage
         Would you ask them to address that even though they are not
     proposing to use the regulatory guide?
         MR. COLLINS:  No, I don't think we would ask them to address
     that.  We're talking about the fuel surviving all the basic -- all the
     different design basis transients.  For there to be a hidden risk, I
     guess there would have to be some sort of a different physical response
     to another transient of some significant probability, and the way the
     design basis transients are set up, they're typically based on what
     different phenomenology could occur, and they're grouped that way.
         For example, you know, loss of heat, increase in heat
     removal or decrease in heat removal, and the fuel response then is
     calculated in such a way that the fuel doesn't fail or is limited in
     failure to a certain value.
         Now, I don't -- we'd have a hard time justifying, I think,
     going back and asking for a risk assessment after that.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Are you saying that, if the deterministic
     calculations show that the fuel can take whatever abuse we think of,
     then the risk really does not change?
         MR. COLLINS:  Yes, I think so.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  I'll have to think about that.
         DR. WALLIS:  These tests determine behavior of the fuel in a
     reactor.  Do they extend to what happens to it afterwards?  You're going
     to take it and put it in a spent fuel pool or something and things are
     going to diffuse and some changes perhaps will happen post-irradiation.
         DR. UHRIG:  They'll be examined, won't they?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Well, the LTAs will certainly be examined. 
     As part of the LTA program, there will be post-irradiation examinations. 
     They will be both on-site and there will be a good number that are
     destructive in a hot cell.
         DR. WALLIS:  If you've seen a spent fuel pool, does nothing
     more happen to this after that?  It's harder to do a test of a long
         MS. CHATTERTON:  I'm not sure what more would be.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Well, imagine that you've heavily hydrited
     the fuel --
         MS. CHATTERTON:  I'm sorry.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  -- heavily hydrited the clad --
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Okay.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  -- then you stick in water and you wait --
     and you wait a while, and metal hydrites and water are usually not a
     compatible combination.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Correct.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  And so, after a year-and-a-half, you get
     breakthrough and you start getting reactions of the hydrites with water. 
     That's one conceivable thing that could happen and probably a spirited
     event if it did, especially if you get localized high concentrations of
         MS. CHATTERTON:  I don't know.
         DR. WALLIS:  I guess your answer is that you're going to
     look into it.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         DR. WALLIS:  Or somebody has.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes, that will obviously be looked at.
         DR. SEALE:  And you're telling us that the NRC will have the
     -- in its discussions with the definition of the program and so on --
     will be in a position to include data points in the test matrix that
     will allow an evaluation of these kinds of concerns.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  It may be bounded by other things that
     they're looking at, and that may be the way it's handled.
         DR. SEALE:  Fine.  But if it's not and you come up with
     something which is a little corner of the world over here that they
     didn't include in their test matrix, then, you know, prudence says
     somebody has got to stand up for that.
         MR. COLLINS:  Ideally, where this needs to be included in
     early on in the systematic assessment of what's most important and
     what's not, okay, and if it comes out in that assessment to be
     significant, then that's where we'll have to get data if we want to
     address that issue.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  That's right.
         DR. SEALE:  So, this represents a much more aggressive input
     into the definition of somebody else's text matrix than you've ever had
     or even insisted upon before, and I'm not saying that's bad.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes, that's absolutely true.
         DR. SEALE:  I think that's great.  That's the best way to
     spend your money, is to spend it on the problem.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  There's no question that this process will
     be much more comprehensive and much better documented than we've had in
     the past --
         DR. SEALE:  And aggressive.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  -- yes, and aggressive than we've had in
     the past.
         MR. COLLINS:  It should be aggressive, but hopefully it's
     aggressive in that it focuses on what's most important, not aggressive
     in the sense of let's go do a whole lot, where the aggression is
     supposed to be at whittling away what's not important, because it's
     going to be expensive to get data in, we've got to make sure we're
     focused on the important data.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Can we move on to the fuel performance
     monitoring program in there?  It's the last line on your slide.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  What are you looking for there?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  How the fuel behaves under all kinds of
     situations they might normally go through, exactly how well do the codes
     predict a lot of the properties that may be very important in accident
         I look at this as being able to give us a real handle on are
     the parameters going into the accident analysis really correct.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  You're actually looking for some
     destructive examinations?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.  There will definitely be.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I don't think you cover it later on, but
     if you do, just let me know.
         There is a persistent concern that comes up over the new
     source term we have, which has been developed, by and large, based on
     analysis of 34-, 35-giga-watt day fuel and whether it's applicable to
     these burn-ups within the current limits but high burn-ups, and even
     that concern just gets worse and worse as you go beyond the current
         What's the thinking now?  Can they use the new source term,
     or do you have to modify it?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  I'm not the right one to answer that. 
     Ralph has got that in his presentation.  I'm sorry.  We'll get to
     Ralph's presentation quickly, I think.
         The current status -- we had several meetings with NEI, and
     I will probably interchangeably say NEI and the industry, because NEI is
     actually coordinating this, we're working with them and the industry all
     together, and they're working on a comprehensive systematic plan.
         As a matter of fact, we met with them yesterday, and I'm
     going to tell you a little more about what we got out of that meeting.
     In parallel, the Office of Research is planning work in selected areas.
         Now, at yesterday's meeting with NEI, NEI proposed a process
     to use -- to determine limiting criteria as well as the combination of
     methods, programs and data that will be appropriate to demonstrate
     meeting those criteria.
         I want to stress that right now, the process is still being
     developed.  The staff has just had a chance to look at it briefly.  We
     will be examining it a lot more, we will be giving our comments to NEI. 
     Initially, our reaction was favorable.  They're really starting at the
     big picture and working all the way down, looking at all areas of
     operation, normal operation, the transients, the accidents, to see
     exactly which areas need further work and which areas need a lot more
         This is part of where the industry will be documenting the
     justification for each step of the process, and for anything that's
     eliminated or put aside so we don't have to work on, they will have to
     document the justification for why that's acceptable, and we will be
     working with them as that process works along.
         The process will provide a, as I've said, a comprehensive
     systematic plan such that we will know when we're to the end.  It won't
     be, well, maybe we should do some more here or there or -- and you've
     gone on and never quite shown when you're finished.
         We'll be having regular meetings with NEI probably every
     couple of months or so, I believe, and we'll continue to work on this
         There's another area that I would like to mention that we
     talked about yesterday, and that was that the Office of Research invited
     the industry to participate in a PIRT process on specific accident
         The industry's reaction was favorable.  Of course, they have
     to check resources and be sure that all that works out, and Ralph Meyer
     is going to describe all of that process a lot more in his presentation.
         DR. WALLIS:  The last bullet here on research --
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.  Research.  I meant Office of
     Research.  Sorry.
         DR. WALLIS:  Surely there's a history here.  I mean, people
     must have known that there was an interest in how far you could push
     burn-up.  I would naively expect research would be going on for a long
     time.  There's a lot of basis for it that someone could give us a
     perspective on -- this is the current status of knowledge and this is
     where the gaps are.  It appears as if all this is starting from the
         MS. CHATTERTON:  No, I don't think there's going to be a lot
     of starting from the beginning, but I think where -- what we're looking
     at is, let's get it -- let's this time take a little bit different
     approach, take a broader approach, and maybe you're right, start at the
     beginning, not to do research, but start at the beginning to document
     everything as to how you get where you are and why what --
         DR. WALLIS:  Research is usually what you do ahead of time.
         DR. POWERS:  Maybe I can interject here and just recount the
     history or ask Ralph if he can recount the history.  But the truth of
     the matter is that NRC used to have a very aggressive research program
     in the area of fuels behavior, and as anyway research program that's
     been ambitious, they quickly got into the state of diminishing returns,
     and the press of other interesting areas for research arose and a
     decision -- I think I'm fair in characterizing it -- was made that that
     research program had to be allowed to atrophy and atrophy almost to
         DR. WALLIS:  Well, if there were diminishing returns, that
     sort of implies to me that a lot had been achieved.
         DR. POWERS:  Oh, a huge amount had been achieved.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         DR. WALLIS:  Maybe sometimes, it's nice to have a
     perspective on how big that achievement is --
         DR. POWERS:  Oh, it's very --
         DR. WALLIS:  -- and all that needs to be done.
         DR. POWERS:  It's very significant.  The point was that the
     research program was reduced to minimal subsistence levels or well below
     that perhaps, and then along came some research results that suggested
     -- well, what had happened was that fuel burn-ups in excess of the
     database were being achieved in the reactors, and along came some
     results from abroad that suggested that there were greater
         At the same time within this country, some operational
     difficulties that Margaret would probably be glad to review with you
     chapter and verse since she was the point person on that --
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yeah.  Several of them.
         DR. POWERS:  -- arose.
         DR. WALLIS:  You said that they were achieving higher
     burn-ups in reactors than the existing research database?
         DR. POWERS:  That's right.
         DR. WALLIS:  That sounds extraordinary in terms of strategy.
         DR. POWERS:  I don't think there's anybody in this room will
     disagree with you --
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         DR. POWERS:  -- about the unusual character of it.  It was,
     again, a case of confidence you could extrapolate, and indeed, had there
     not been a change in physics that occurred at some level of burn-up, it
     probably would be possible to extrapolate the codes.
         So the Agency has found itself in a position of having to
     make quick regulatory decisions, which they have done, and I think we
     have examined those decisions as a committee in fair detail and been
     fairly supportive on that, and it's a classic -- I mean, this is a
     classic example of how you use confirmatory research to validate
         In addition, they've gone on and said, if you want to go
     beyond what the have as current level, you, the applicant, will have to
     supply the data, and that's what Margaret has been outlining for us.
         DR. WALLIS:  It's also a classical example of how you fail
     to do anticipatory research.
         DR. POWERS:  I think it's fair to say that the -- that it
     would have been very useful if the --
         DR. WALLIS:  I don't know why you're answering my question
     rather than --
         DR. BONACA:  I just have one comment I would like to make. 
     I made it before privately.  For those as old as I am, I can remember 25
     years ago, some experiments showing that the irradiated fuel had a much
     lower threshold for failure than -- you know, in calories per gram, than
     new fuel, and I don't know why that perspective did not end up in the
     Reg Guides that supported the 280 calories per gram position for, you
     know, reactivity insertion.  But I don't know.  It will be an
     interesting exercise to go back 25 years and figure out.  That must have
     been illogic, because I still remember that I have -- I think I have
     that paper somewhere in my garage.
         MR. MEYER:  This is Ralph Meyer from the Office of Research,
     and I think I know exactly what you're referring to.  There was one test
     in the spurt reactor which produced a low enthalphy fuel failure at 85
     calories per gram.
         DR. BONACA:  Correct.
         MR. MEYER:  And I can tell you that the rationale, which was
     not valid but nevertheless believed around here, was that it was a
     flawed test, that there was a preexisting defect and some waterlogging
     in that fuel rod.
         Many years later, when we went back and checked as carefully
     as we could and actually were able to find some of the original
     experimenters to talk to, we find that that's not the case, and it was
     indeed an indication of things to come had we only recognized it.
         DR. BONACA:  Because I remember another test at 115 calories
     per gram that was a failure.
         MR. MEYER:  Well, now, that didn't occur until late 1993,
     and we learned of that in 1994, and that's the one that really got the
     ball rolling.
         DR. BONACA:  Right.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Are there anyway other questions or are we
     ready to move on to Ralph's presentation?
         DR. POWERS:  I think we can move on.  Thanks, Margaret.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  You're welcome.
         DR. POWERS:  Oh.  Margaret, let me ask you one question.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Sure.
         DR. POWERS:  You've mentioned NEI throughout this last
     slide, and this committee is familiar with a research program being
     conducted under the auspices of EPRI.  Are these one in the same
     activities or complementary activities?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  They're not one in the same, but they're
     working together.
         DR. POWERS:  The usual kind of relationship between NEI and
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         DR. POWERS:  One's kind of an experimental arm and the other
     one is kind of a policy arm?
         MS. CHATTERTON:  One's a policy regulatory arm, yes.
         DR. POWERS:  Thanks.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  That's exactly it.  And the various
     utilities will be working in that as well.
         DR. POWERS:  So it's a fairly coordinated --
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         DR. POWERS: -- activity by the industry.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Yes.
         DR. POWERS:  And I assume the fuel vendors as well.
         MS. CHATTERTON:  Oh, yes.  Yes.  If I didn't mention that,
     all the fuel vendors are involved in this process, as well as utilities
     and NEI and EPRI.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Welcome, Ralph, and I, in case you hadn't
     detected, do recognize that there are some new members on the committee
     since last time you spoke here, so you may find it useful to give a
     little more background that you might ordinarily have anticipated.
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.
         I'm Ralph Meyer from the Office of Research, and Dana
     mentioned a few minutes ago that there were some changes in physics that
     took place at the higher burn-ups, and since there are some new members
     here, let me just mention two of them.
         You can keep them in the back of your mind and they will
     underlie a lot of the discussions that are going on now.
         One thing that happened was that, with the increasing amount
     of fission gas that was being held up inside of the uranium oxide
     pellets, there was a change in micro-structure in the pellet, and this
     affected things like the rate of release of fission gas to the gap.
         The other major change in physics that occurred in the
     mid-burn-up range of 40 to 50 thousand mega-watt days per ton had to do
     with the oxide layer on the cladding.
         The oxide layer on the cladding begins to develop
     micro-cracks in it, and the cladding loses its effectiveness as a
     barrier for oxygen transport into the metal surface of the cladding.
         So, these two things, one of them that affected the pellet
     and one of them that affected the cladding, changed rates so that we
     were no longer able to just extrapolate from our previous rate
     equations, and those two changes then had big effects on lots of things.
         So, now let me --
         DR. FONTANA:  The effect of the oxide layer on the cladding
     -- is that due to water chemistry primarily?
         MR. MEYER:  No, I think it's just due to the density of the
     oxide, and when it gets thick, it just can't support an adherent layer.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  The Bedford-Pellum ratio on these things
     is dicey, and I think once you get beyond a certain thickness, that
     you've got to relieve stress some way, and cracking up is nature's way
     of relieving stress.
         DR. WALLIS:  Could you say a bit more about these two
     changes?  You said there were these changes in physics.  Are these
     incremental sort of slow changes of a differential nature where they
     sort of slowly increase, or are they of the type where you approach
     rather rapid deterioration so the fuel becomes mushy and porous and
     bursts of gas come out and things?
         MR. MEYER:  As far as we can see from the kinds of things
     that we observe, like rod pressure or gas release or just measured
     amounts of oxide accumulation, the changes are gradual.  You can see the
     change in the rate, but I'm not aware of any precipitous change that
     occurs.  I don't think there is.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  The precipitous change is when you
     saturate and start getting hydride precipitous changes when you saturate
     and start getting hydride precipitations in the clad.
         That one will be non-continuous, and in truth, physical
     manifestation of the rim effect, where you can detect it, is a step
         Now, that development, I think you're right, is a gradual
     thing, but when you can actually see a rim effect, looks like almost a
     step change.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.  We've now mentioned some additional terms,
     rim effect and the hydrides.  It gets complicated.  If we go into that,
     we won't cover what I am supposed to cover.
         So, you can go ahead and put the first slide up for me,
         The agenda says that we're going to talk about PIRT and
     about the status of the Cabri program.  Sometime prior to the meeting I
     had some additional discussion with Med El-Zeftawy and with Dr. Powers
     and was told of some additional subjects of interest, and this is the
     list of the subjects of interest, and I'm going to try and cover all of
         We have until 1:30.  Is that correct?
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  2:30.
         MR. MEYER:  From this list, I'm going to spend most time
     talking about the first item and the list item, the PIRT and the source
     term, and I'll try and move over the others quickly if you let me.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Well, I'll point out that the first entry
     and last entry are the areas where the committee has some obligations. 
     So, maybe we better let him focus his efforts as he sees fit.
         MR. MEYER:  It was already mentioned that we are interesting
     in a PIRT.
         What is a PIRT?  I think there is at least one person on the
     committee that knows a lot more about a PIRT than I do.  So, I beg your
         I have never done a PIRT.  The acronym standards for
     Phenomenon Identification and Ranking Table.  We use these to try and
     learn what is important, to learn what is the problem, so that we can
     address that.
         We think it will help us determine what data are needed to
     assess or modify regulatory fuel damage limits and the codes that we use
     to show that we meet the limits.
         We call this a PIRT.  We haven't done it yet.  I know that
     there are a lot of sophisticated techniques that have been developed in
     the thermal-hydraulic area, and let me just say that we're trying to use
     the concept.
         We may not satisfy all of the detailed procedures that have
     been used before, but we're going to try it.  We discussed it yesterday
     briefly in this meeting with the industry that was mentioned, and we
     hope that they will pitch in with us and work on it.
         I have a series of slides following this.
         DR. WALLIS:  If all you've got is expert opinion and there
     isn't a good knowledge based behind it, you shouldn't take it too
         MR. MEYER:  Knowledge base -- you mean hard experimental
         DR. WALLIS:  Yes.
         MR. MEYER:  I agree, and one of the things that we're trying
     to do is to see if this experimental base is adequate.
         Let me try and -- with the next few slides, to think through
     an example of a PIRT activity as we imagine it, and then you can see
     what we have in mind and you can comment on it, and perhaps the
     industry, who has at least one representative here, will see in a little
     more detail what we were trying to talk about yesterday in outline form.
         The PIRT is based on scenarios, and in a review of our high
     burn-up activities that was performed in the last couple of years, we
     developed a plan, and in this plan, we said that there were three areas
     that were important enough from both a risk point of view and the
     regulatory point of view that we were going to engage in research on
     them, and they included the loss of coolant accident for both types of
     reactors and then a reactivity accident of a different type for each
         In the PWR, the reactivity accident is a rod ejection
     accident, where you postulate that the housing in the upper head breaks
     and the control rod drive, along with the control rods, are ejected
     under the pressure differential.
         In the boiling water reactor, we had gone through some risk
     and some probability arguments to conclude that we would be better off
     looking at oscillations, power oscillations related to ATWS events than
     looking at the control rod drop accident in the boiling water reactor.
         So, these are the three major accident types that I think of
     as sort of the gate-keepers, the thing that keep you getting into severe
     accident regions, and we have regulatory criteria that are to keep the
     fuel in a coolable geometry, to ensure long-term cooling and reactivity
     control for these, and so, this is the focus of these research programs
     and, therefore, the focus of the PIRT that we are hoping to do.
         DR. WALLIS:  Even without accidents, there are limits to
     burn-up, presumably.  Why this focus on accidents?  That's part of it,
     but it's not all of it.
         MR. MEYER:  Well, it comes from -- it's not all of it, but
     it's the risky part of it.  We have -- all this stems from our
     traditional regulatory approach --
         DR. WALLIS:  It must be risky, for instance, if you
     irradiated it and then stuck it in the fuel pool, and a year later,
     because of some chemistry and physics which you hadn't anticipated,
     you've got really exciting events in the fuel pool.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. WALLIS:  It's not an accident, this type.
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.  Well, let me then back off and say that,
     in my part of the organization, we are concerned with the reactor
     events, and there is another group of people who are interested in the
     spent fuel concerns.  We do work with them.  We have work going on right
     now in that area, and it's not included in what I am trying to talk
     about here.
         DR. SHACK:  I think it's probably also fair to say that, if
     you get enough hydriding to cause you to worry about the spent fuel
     pool, you're going to have problems in some of these other situations.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  And it's also true that high burn-up
     impacts things in the transportation area, as well, and it's just
     another area that we're going to have to address at one point or
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.
         So, this is the outline of the PIRT.
         I'm going to try and walk through some example on the
     reactivity accident for the PWR, and at the end of the PIRT activity,
     then we will try and reach some conclusions on the adequacy of the
     database and the particular licensing criteria and codes, and that step
     I think of as a separate step from the PIRT.
         We do the PIRT to identify the phenomena, and then decisions
     are made based on that.
         I make this distinction because we have to worry about how
     closely do we work with the industry on certain things, and I think,
     just like data collection, we can work objectively with the industry on
     identifying and ranking phenomena.
         When we then start reaching conclusions, we probably will go
     our separate ways.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Under phenomena on your slide, Ralph, you
     have identify main phenomena and fuel behavior.  I take it that's surely
     broad, that it could include core behavior as well, things like boron
     absorption on the clad and things like that.
         MR. MEYER:  I realized, in fact, as we get on through the
     slides, as I was thinking about them before coming down here, I realize
     that there are some obvious omissions in the lists and things that I
     have here, but the idea was, not having done the PIRT, to sit and just
     imagine what it might be like to do the PIRT in sort of a sketchy way
     and at least give us a tangible example to look at.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  You've quickly learned what the value of
     this is, that it gets awfully complicated, and asking one person to do
     this -- you always leave something out.
         MR. MEYER:  First we select the scenario, and again, just
     guesses, just put on here to show that you're going to need to be fairly
     specific about the details of the scenario that you're picking.
         Hopefully, it won't just apply to one plant type, we can do
     one PIRT for all PWRs, I would say, but this is something you have to
     discover in the activity, and also, I put a limit on here of 62
     mega-watt days per kilogram on the burn-up.
         DR. WALLIS:  I guess I'm naively asking -- you're doing this
     PIRT because no one's ever done the test.  Is that why?  Because this
     looks like something you could answer by doing it instead of asking
     about it.
         MR. MEYER:  Which test?
         DR. WALLIS:  If someone had done this test, you wouldn't
     have to ask experts what might happen if we did it.
         So, then why do you have to ask experts?  Why have a PIRT if
     you've got the evidence?
         MR. MEYER:  Well, let's see.  I guess the right answer to
     that is that we've done it halfway.
         We do have some tests at 62 giga-watt days per ton.  They
     are tests that were done with what we now believe to be the wrong shape,
     the wrong coolant environment, and we believe some of those affected the
         We're not quite sure how important those effects are,
     whether this database is bad enough that we have to have a better one to
     go forward or, as some people think, it might be good enough to live
     with if we just recognize the shortcomings.
         In addition to that, there is the desire to go to 75
     giga-watt days per ton, or thereabouts, and we don't have tests up
         So, if we arrange for some cooperative work on this PIRT
     with the industry, then I think we would immediate move this figure up
     to 75 and would then be able to, with the one exercise, to be able to
     address both the NRC's rule of confirming the current approved burn-up
     ranges and the industry's interest in providing a basis for going beyond
         Let's go on.
         So, here I have taken a guess at what some of the phenomena
         Right away, you've got to break the problem into several
     categories of phenomena, because in this accident you dump energy into
     the fuel rod, the pellet expands and applies a mechanical loading to the
     cladding, the cladding responds to the loading, the cladding eventually
     fails, and then fuel particles can be expelled, pressure pulses can be
     generated, and you have these post-failure events.
         Now, I -- this list has evolved from what I just remembered
     off the cuff about a number of discussions we've had regarding these
     existing data.
         I really expect the list to be two or three times this long
     as soon as some group sits down and really examines it, but you can see
     the kinds of things that you get into, and the one that I left off
     that's so obvious under the loading is just -- is the energy deposition
     itself and the reactivities and the reactivity feedbacks and the shape
     of the power pulse.
         All of these things are important some degree or another,
     and to find out the degree of importance is, I think, going to be of
     significant value to us.
         DR. WALLIS:  Is there no chemistry that occurs you're
     interested in?
         MR. MEYER:  Chemistry?
         DR. WALLIS:  Something to heat this thing up.
         MR. MEYER:  This transient takes place in 40, 50
     milliseconds, and there is chemistry involved in terms of the corrosion,
     the absorption of hydrogen, the solubility limits on hydrogen, its
     precipitation in hydrides that you have prior to the transients.
         DR. WALLIS:  No rapid chemical kinetics?
         MR. MEYER:  Well, I don't think so.
         Now, you have to decide the relative importance of these
     phenomena, and that's going to depend on what you have in mind to do
     with the results, and there are several different items that have to be
     addressed that might depend on the same database or involve the same
         One is that we currently use a fuel enthalpy criterion and
     will likely continue to use an enthalpy criterion, and so, one ranking
     of the importance of the phenomena would be in relation to the fuel
     damage criteria that are used.
         We use a plant systems code to calculate the energy that's
     deposited in the rod and the power shape and related characteristics of
     the pulse, and so, that would be another application of these phenomena
     in order to see what was important in the plant transient codes, and you
     can see right away that some things are going to be important in one
     case and not in the other.
         For example, the failure criteria, the fuel damage criteria
     have to know a lot of about cladding, mechanical properties, applied
     stresses, ductility.  The plant systems code could care less about
     those.  It needs to know about reactivities and feedback effects and any
     hydraulic involvement in this rapid transient.
         So, you know, it just depends on what your application is as
     to how your ranking is going to come out.
         So, we have to do these three times.
         Dana wants to ask a question, but just show the next slide
     quickly and then we can come back.  So, you end up with --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  He won't forget.
         MR. MEYER:  -- three different rankings.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Ralph, in this approach that you've
     outlined here, you have a slide in which you said here are the
     phenomena, and I wonder, do you have to put in yet another breakdown --
     I know it's adding to your complexity -- in which you say, yes, thermal
     expansion is going to be very important for those fuel rods that have
     burned up quickly, but it's not so important for those that burned up
     slowly, as an example, and similarly, your cracking of the clad will be
     important for those fuel rods exposed to a high boron borated water
     chemistry but not for those that have been in low-boron-content water?
         In other words, is there another breakdown where -- within
     the RIA category, where you have to break things down according to
     exactly what rods you're talking about?
         MR. MEYER:  Well, I suppose, but I guess I should ask you. 
     This is what the PIRT does for you.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  That's right.  I mean I would think that
     that would come out of it.
         MR. MEYER:  In the example, I haven't been good enough to
     think through all of these things.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  That may be something you want to think
     about in posing the questions for your expert elicitation.  Do they need
     to take a split on this and break the question down further?
         I mean you asked your experts to do this for you.  I don't
     know that you can do it in advance.
         MR. MEYER:  Well, certainly the question of power history
     has come up, as to whether it's important or not important, and so, I
     think, obviously, you have to delve into that and see what are the
     possible effects of power history that might get involved in producing
     the outcome of this kind of transient.
         We have one pretty slide here that Farouk developed last
         This is after the PIRT is over with.  In the yellow bubble
     in the middle at the top is the PIRT, and this is a slide --
         DR. WALLIS:  Did Farouk try to read it from the back of the
         MR. MEYER:  No, but he insisted that I give you a handout so
     that you can read it.
         DR. WALLIS:  Even that's a bit of a task.
         MR. MEYER:  It's one of these flow diagrams that show how
     you make a decision regarding adequacy, and it simply shows that the
     PIRT is one element, not the whole thing, that the PIRT is what we can
     do working together with the industry to give us some good insights on
     the importance of the phenomena, and then we put that together with
     other things, including the knowledge which comes from the data, and
     make the decisions.
         DR. WALLIS:  At least you've told me something new, which is
     that it's less than minimal, it's insufficient.
         DR. POWERS:  It's so inside that it must be only this part
     of the table that understands it.
         DR. WALLIS:  No.  No, there's a table up there:  excellent,
     reasonable, minimal, and insufficient.
         DR. POWERS:  Okay.
         MR. MEYER:  Moving right along, I can mention that we have
     begun to collect our list of names of experts.  We have drafted work
     statements, and yesterday, we talked to NEI and the people from the
     robust fuel program about their possible involvement.
         I think they're interested.  If they go through with it,
     then they would provide some of the experts, we would provide some of
     the experts.  It would be a different mix.  I think it would be really a
     very good mix because typically, we would get people from the
     laboratories and the universities, and the industry would go to vendors
     and consultants and utilities, and I think, with some representatives
     from all those camps, that it would make for a very good group of
         It will take us a couple of months to organize this effort
     and get contracting taken care of, so I don't see that it could start
     before late summer or early fall.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  What is the actual use of the PIRT?  This
     is to --
         MR. MEYER:  I'm sorry, say again?
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  The actual use of the ranking, that will
     tell you what kinds of experiments to do?
         MR. MEYER:  The colorful slide --
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Well, the colorful slide goes directly
     into the decision.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  I don't understand that.
         DR. ELTAWILA:  Well, the use of the PIRT is that going to
     the -- once you identify all the important parameters that control the
     accident scenario of interest, you want to design your experiment to
     develop the data to provide this information, and at the same time, you
     want your code, if you're going to use code, to have a model to
     represent that phenomena.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  So if we go back to the slide, then, with
     the adequacy decision, there is an important box that's missing.  It
     says a PIRT feeds directly into the decision.  Decision for what?
         DR. ELTAWILA:  If you look at the question that is asked
     there, which I cannot see it from here --
         MR. MEYER:  The three questions are about the adequacy of
     the fuel damage criteria that we're using as the speed limit for this
     event, the adequacy of the plant systems code, which is telling us how
     fast we're going, and then possibly the examination of another type of
     code that may well be used in some intermediate step in the definition
     of the damage criteria.
         So you look at each one of those --
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  So now I get the ranking.
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  And then I go back to the other diagram,
     and then I can make a decision regarding what?  I mean, when do the
     experiments come into the picture?
         MR. MEYER:  Oh.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Why do I rank phenomena?
         MR. MEYER:  The big decisions that we're grappling with
     right now are what kind of data and how much data are needed to support
     the licensing activities with these --
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  And where is that in the picture?
         DR. ELTAWILA:  No, the experiment is on the right-hand side,
     you know, the -- relevance of the data.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. ELTAWILA:  So you are --
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  So the PIRT actually is feeding into that.
         DR. ELTAWILA:  That's correct, yes.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Not directly to the adequacy of the
     decision.  I mean, should I take this literally or is it just a picture? 
     Because also knowledge of physics, it seems to me that's an important
     input to PIRT.
         DR. WALLIS:  And to PRA.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  PRA is a part of physics.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Well, I mean, I realize that maybe you put
     this together just to talk to people, but, you know, I don't know how
     literally to take it.  It seems -- I don't -- you see --
         DR. ELTAWILA:  I think the adequacy to reach an adequate
     decision about the regulatory criteria that we have --
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  I understand that.
         DR. ELTAWILA:  -- we need to know what are the important
     phenomena, so it feeds into that.  The PIRT itself feeds into the design
     of the experiment and the design of -- or implementing model in the
     code, but you need to know what are the important phenomena, and you
     look from the other side.  Does the experiment that we are -- I am
     running provide me with the information related to that important
     phenomena?  Do I understand all the physics that's happening regarding
     this phenomena?  All this collectively is going to be used to reach a
     decision that if we run the code or if you develop criteria from the
     experimental data, which will be the case, we will reach an adequate
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  I realize that.
         DR. ELTAWILA:  Okay.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  I'm not saying that you don't know what
     you're going to do with this.  All I'm saying is that this particular
     figure does not send that message.
         DR. ELTAWILA:  Okay.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  And in fact, there are diagrams that
     reflect what you just said; they are called influence diagrams.  You
     have to make a decision of adequacy at the end, and you're deciding in
     between what experiments to run because you don't have sufficient
     knowledge.  So maybe that would be a better way, or just drop it
         DR. ELTAWILA:  Okay.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Because I -- I mean, either we take this
     literally and say, well, gee, they don't need physics to identify the --
     to rank the phenomena and where are experiments -- I mean, these things
     are not in parallel, all right, are not in parallel, because I have to
     look later and find out that you're going to use this PIRT to identify
     what you're going to do.
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.  I knew I was going to be in trouble on
     this one.
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  You're not in trouble.  You're not in
     trouble.  It's just an outsider's view.
         MR. MEYER:  Because several of you have done this and I
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  I'm trying to understand this ranking of
     phenomena.  What exactly are you doing here?  Saying, okay, phenomena A
     is more important than B?  What does that mean?
         DR. KRESS:  You look at the information you need to make
     your regulatory decision, and you look at the phenomena that feed into
     that information with respect to the physical --
         DR. APOSTOLAKIS:  Right.
         DR. KRESS:  The fuel.  And some of them are more important
     than others.  Some of them -- you list all the phenomena you can think
     of; some of them you probably can drop off the list because it doesn't
     enter into it.  So you have to rank them some way.  You may end up with
     several of them that are ranked high.  I mean, it's not ranked one, two,
     three, four; it's ranked high, low or medium.  So you end up -- if you
     have to limit the number of experiments you have, you want to be sure to
     look at the ones you think are the most important.  So it's a relative
     ranking and it's not an absolute ranking.
         MR. MEYER:  I can give you two examples of things we're
     struggling with, and -- but I'm not going to be able to give you a flow
     diagram to show how we're going to get from A to B.
         But one of the examples has to do with the experiment, and
     it has to do with whether the pulse width of the pulse in the reactivity
     experiment is important, because we have a couple of test reactors that
     are being used for this which have their own natural pulse widths, and
     they're not the same as the pulse width of a power reactor.  You know,
     this has to do with doppler feedback and the materials layout of the
         So one of the big questions we have is, are these tests
     which were done in test reactors with narrow pulses representative
     enough of what we're trying to do with that for power reactors or are
     they not.
         Another example of a big issue that we're trying to deal
     with is in the codes.  The loading on the cladding -- obviously the
     thermal expansion provides a loading on the cladding.  You're dumping a
     lot of heat into the pellet.  It expands rapidly and it exerts a stress
     on the cladding.  But there's also a lot of fission gas in small bubbles
     all around boundaries in the fuel, and these expand rapidly as well.
         Can you model the loading on the cladding adequately with a
     code that only accounts for thermal expansion, or do you have to have a
     model in the to account for the fission gas expansion?  There are
     questions of timing.
         DR. WALLIS:  The fission gas is all chemically non-reactive.
         MR. MEYER:  It's mostly noble gases.  So it's not -- there's
     not an obviously answer to the question because there's a difference in
     timing of these things, and so hopefully, if we go in with a group of
     people who know something about this and a body of preliminary data,
     which we have, we might be able to figure out which are the most
     important phenomena that we just can't live without.
         If we can get that out of the PIRT, then I think it's going
     to be successful.  How we dot the I's and cross the T's, I don't know
         DR. FONTANA:  Of course, a PIRT would be iterative.
         MR. MEYER:  Perhaps.
         DR. WALLIS:  You haven't given us a time-line in the plan,
     but I was curious if you had a plan, said we need to do these activities
     in order to finish, and the PIRT seems to have taken a lot of time,
     first say let's have a PIRT and then how are we going to go about it,
     and then you have to solicit and write contracts, and it sounds like six
     months before you finish this one thing, which then puts you in a
     position to begin to make decisions.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. WALLIS:  Is it worthwhile to spend that time?
         MR. ELTAWILA:  The answer is yes, Professor Wallis.  We are
     going to embark in a very expensive research program, test program, and
     we don't know if all the tests or the test that's going to be run in the
     Cabri reactor are going to be addressing all the important phenomena.
         So, whether we need the tests or not, whether we are going
     to get all the data that's going to resolve this issue or not, we need
     to be sure, before we embark on that program, that we are going to get
     the data, we're going to get it in a timely fashion, and there will be
     no question asked in the future about pulse width or about the coolant
     or about all the different variables that enter in the experiment
         So, it's going to help us making the decision that we really
     need the tests and we cannot make any decision without this data.
         DR. WALLIS:  How long is the program, Farouk?
         MR. ELTAWILA:  We're talking about five to seven years to
     get all this data from the test reactor.
         MR. COLLINS:  I think it's almost important -- one of the
     purposes of the PIRT -- we're not going to have a big abundance of data
     when we're through, and there's going to have to be extrapolation of
     that data to different fuel types, different fuel designs, and the PIRT
     gives you a good idea of understanding what's important in that
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.  It's 2:14.  You want me to skip to
     somewhere or you want me to keep on going?
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  It would be useful if you could give us a
     status report on your ANL program, and I think your Cabri program is
     self-explanatory in the view-graphs, and then if you could move on after
     a status report on the ANL program, because we never hear about what's
     going on at ANL.
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.
         The program at ANL is to look at actual high burn-up
     cladding from a couple of commercial plants and to do some tests that
     are directly aimed at checking the validation of the embrittlement
     criteria in 10 CFR 50.46 at high burn-up, and it also has a component of
     the program to do a series of mechanical properties measurements, which
     are largely aimed at giving us the basic data that we need to run our
     analytical codes.
         DR. WALLIS:  Was there a PIRT for this program?
         MR. MEYER:  No.  But we are going to do the PIRT on it.
         DR. WALLIS:  Post-PIRT.
         MR. MEYER:  Mid-stream PIRT, because again, this is a
     three-to-five-year project.  These are relatively long-term projects.
         DR. WALLIS:  I think you have to be careful that you plan in
     a way that you make the right decisions at the right time, for the right
     reasons.  I'm trying to figure out how PIRT fits into that.
         DR. UHRIG:  These go out to 50 giga-watt days per ton.  Do
     you expect to go higher than that?
         MR. MEYER:  Well, the -- oh, yes.  The real fuel rods that
     we want to test are at higher burn-up.  They're BWR rods from Limerick
     and PWR rods from H.P. Robinson.  They haven't arrived.
         What we in the cell are some intermediate burn-up rods from
     TMI.  We're using them for some limited purposes.
         The oxidation apparatus have been tested out in-cell, works,
     we're ready to go with the oxidation measurements.
         The mechanical properties test really could be done at any
     time that's convenient.  We're essentially ready for that.
         The LOCA criteria tests are much more complicated, and there
     is just design and construction work going on on that equipment right
         The big question is when are the rods going to arrive? 
     We've had some delays in this.  It looks now rather certain that the
     Limerick rods will be shipped this summer and will arrive at Argonne
     around September.
         DR. WALLIS:  I'm sorry.  I'm going to go back to the
     scheduling.  You're spending seven years on a program which is
     presumably eventually going to benefit industry.  So, they're going to
     save so much because they can use higher burn-up fuel 10 years from now,
         MR. MEYER:  That's partly true.  The deal is that -- and
     this was the policy decision of last summer -- that the NRC has already
     approved burn-ups to 62 giga-watt days per ton and that we did that
     without having a full database, and so, now, we, the NRC, are going to
     do the confirmatory work necessary up to that point.
         The industry wants to go beyond 62, the industry is going to
     have to pony up the work.
         DR. WALLIS:  But what you do and how fast you do it and how
     much you spend on it depends on the return you expect future -- I would
     think that would have a big influence on what you do and how fast you do
         MR. MEYER:  The need is to make sure that our licensing
     criteria are valid.
         DR. WALLIS:  And that has no price-tag.
         MR. MEYER:  I wouldn't put a price-tag on that.
         DR. WALLIS:  That's my impression, but eventually we may
     come to a world where sort of accounting becomes more important.  You
     actually get a payoff from a certain amount of research.
         DR. SEALE:  Well, they've told you that, if you build it,
     they'll come.
         MR. MEYER:  Field of Dreams.
         DR. SEALE:  Right.  I mean they've said that, if you have
     the criteria that allows you to go to higher burn-ups, that there's a
     lot of interest by a lot of people in utilizing those criteria.
         MR. MEYER:  But what NRR has said is that the industry is
     going to have to propose the criteria beyond 62.  But what we're doing
     here is NRC in its research program is working -- up to the 62 limit is
     our responsibility, and we're looking for opportunities to work with the
     industry to higher burn-ups, because if we raise the burn-up, then we
     can satisfy our own needs and perhaps the industry needs at the same
         The current plans at Argonne have fuel only up to the 60-,
     65-giga-watt-day-per-ton range.  So, these would not support an
     extension, but they do build an experience base and a facility where
     additional testing could be done rather easily.
         DR. WALLIS:  It would be very good politically, if no other
     way, to be able to show that, by spending 50 million for five years, you
     can potentially save a billion over the next 10 or something.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Especially if you could spend 50 million
     over the next five years.
         MR. ELTAWILA:  Professor Wallis, did you say 50 million?  I
     wish, you know, but I don't think this is the case.
         We are spending a very moderate amount of money on this
     program, but in addition to the benefit that they gain -- and I hope NEI
     can correct me with that -- that it provide the industry with operation
     flexibility, operating flexibility.
         For example, if they have a bundle that have some leaker,
     and instead of waiting for a fresh bundle to come in, they can go to the
     spent fuel pool and get one that -- high burn-up and put it and continue
         So, it provide them with additional benefit in addition to
     the increased burn-up, I think, over the long run there will be some
     benefit from keeping the fuel longer.
         There are also the issue of spent fuel, that you will have
     less fuel to store in the storage tank, and so, you cannot add a value
     on all these things, so -- but in general, it's reduction in burden for
     industry, and as Ralph indicated, we have a safety criteria, we want to
     be sure that what we granted the industry in terms of burn-up limit meet
     our existing criteria right now.
         DR. WALLIS:  But maybe we should ask industry, then, because
     it may well help you, if industry gets this perspective and can see how
     much they would benefit from your research, they might be willing to
     come up with 10 times as much.
         MR. MEYER:  Terry, do you want to answer that?
         MR. RICK:  Good afternoon.  I am Terry Rick.  I am the
     Chairman of the Robust Fuel Committee that is looking into response to
     transients is our title but we are also looking at the higher burnup.
         I think you have touched upon some of our concerns that we
     have.  That is, if the industry is going to go forward with helping
     sponsor some research we feel that there must be some benefits -- that
     is, you have touched upon the benefits that we are looking for and we
     would like to get to higher burnup so that we can save on the economics. 
     We do look at that and see that there's maybe on the order of hundreds
     of millions of savings down the road.
         But one of our biggest concerns is if it is five or seven
     out into the future a lot of those savings go away with the present
     value of money as it is --
         DR. WALLIS:  -- depends on whether or not you spend six
     months on a PIRT.  If you want an answer this year do something these.
         MR. RICK:  That's right.  That's right, and that is where
     the biggest concern has been at the industry on going forward with some
     of these researches, and I think it is in one of the slides I think that
     we have skipped over here, but there must be representative fuel,
     representative experiments.  It must be done timely so that we can
     benefit in a timely manner.
         DR. WALLIS:  Well, you do have to pay for it.  If you want
     it so you can benefit, then you have to understand what your benefits
     are and what the payoff is.
         MR. BONACA:  Yes.  I also would like to say one thing about
     it, because I've the problem with thought process that comes behind all
         We have got a problem evidently with running the fuel to
     where it is licensed today, which is up to 62 gigawatt per day per
     metric ton.  We have problems both in operations by excessive oxidation. 
     We have examples of that and in expected response to oxidants, and
     now -- so typically, you know, a logical regulatory response would be
     fix the problem first, run the fuel to the limits that they are licensed
     and that will give you sufficient confidence now to move onto the next
     step, which may be 75, you know, gigawatts right now.
         What I see in the industry proposal is throw away -- throw
     everything together and try to design to 75 gigawatt a day.  Now the
     concern I have with that is that it is now an evolutionary process in my
     perspective, okay?  There is no experience being gained at a higher
     exposure level, like for example -- I mean burnup level like 62 before
     you move on to 75, so, you know, somewhere, maybe in the regulatory
     response, we have to see that interval.
         I mean we have never seen this happening in fuel.  Fuel has
     been a very evolutionary area where we have done a little step at a time
     and then we have used past experience to project future gains and here I
     don't see it.
         I see -- you know, I was looking at the presentations from
     the industry.  It's good but it throws everything in with an objective,
     which is 75 gigawatt/day per metric ton, and that is -- I want to know
     that we can run at 62 first.
         MR. RICK:  Yes, I agree with a lot of what you are saying. 
     In fact, I see the presentation you have is back from our March -- I am
     sorry, our January 13th presentation.
         I think right upfront in there we said some of the initial
     concerns, the concerns we have with existing fuel must be solved first,
     and that is where our priority has been set in the robust fuel.
         We have an -- oh, boy, what do we have? -- like a 50 million
     dollar program in robust fuel and the first brunt of that program is to
     solve existing problems -- that is, taking some fuel to hot cells,
     examining some of those problems, coming up with better methods of
     analysis so that we might change our operational methods, and that is
     our top priority.  Solve that.  And we are only getting into the 75,000
     because we know that it is a long lead-time and it requires some
     research, so we are jumping into that now too.
         MR. BONACA:  Yes, but a few years time you won't do it in my
     book.  I mean to me it seems because if you look at some of the general
     fuels being used there, there have been hundreds of, thousands of
     assemblies and operations, and then only a few of those have shown real
     problems, and because of the few problems we have got to understand that
     there were fundamental issues with oxidation.
         So you have to have a significant experience to identify the
     problems and you know, the LTAs by themself I don't think are going to
     resolve all the issues.
         MR. RICK:  And I think part of the PIRT process, why we are
     agreeing that we think we should get into that is to try to identify
     what are the needs -- you know, what type of experiments are, you know,
     representative of our fuel and in fact we don't want to just test
     existing fuel if it is going to go forward, because we are not going to
     use existing fuel to 75,000.  We are going to have to use Zirlo and
     other advanced alloys and so test that fuel to the higher burnups.  That
     is what we are looking for, so it has got to be a combination of
     existing fuel to make sure you can survive to 62,000 but also the
     advanced alloys to get you to higher burnups, so we are working very
     closely with the NRC to come up with what are the effects, what do we
     need to look at down the road.
         MR. BONACA:  And I don't have a problem with the industry
     drawing both things together, but I think the regulatory response should
     be different in the sense that it should make a clear separation between
     what needs to be done to get here, and I think you said
     something similar but I haven't seen it in the presentation.
         What do you have to do to license and support what is
     already licensable today by versus what else do you need to do in an
     evolutionary mode to go beyond that?
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.  We haven't explicitly said it and maybe
     Tim can hopefully say that what I am going to say now is correct, but we
     probably should complete the confirmation at 62 before we give approval
     to go to 75.
         MR. BONACA:  That's correct.
         DR. WALLIS:  I guess I am trying to get out of the
     regulatory world into the business world to figure out what is the
     overall strategy and where do you want to be and how much is it worth to
     be at various places at various times?  How do you need to get there in
     order to be most effective in the payoff for the industry and the
         I don't think you can get away from that.  You have got to
     face that.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.  I want to interject here, because, you
     know, listening to the underlying thread in your comments and I think
     the missing piece of information on the table is that a couple of these
     test programs that we see as essential for moving forward are running on
     very slow schedules and you can't hurry them up.
         I don't think we have told you what those schedules are.
         DR. WALLIS:  Is this because you need a certain number of
     neutrons over a period of time -- is it a physical barrier or a human
         MR. MEYER:  It is the ability to -- the Cabri program.  They
     have been running at an old sodium loop.  They are going to shut down. 
     They are going to construct a water loop, make some modifications to the
     core, relicense the plant, restart a new experimental program in the
     water loop.
         Testing in the new loop can't begin until 2002, just because
     of the work that has to be done between now and then, but there is no
     way you can speed that up and this is a problem for our industry because
     the results then come a few years later and it pushes a number of
     utilities back close to the time of eventual shutdown and lost
         It's tough scheduling problems.  The program at Argonne is
     moving very rapidly.  We put it in place very quickly.  It has taken us,
     you know, a year, year and a half to get fuel rods to test and you miss
     a window -- we had fuel at Limerick.  We had fuel in shipping casks.
         DR. WALLIS:  It takes a year to get a fuel rod?  You can't
     just buy a fuel rod?
         MR. MEYER:  Last June -- these have to come out of a power
     reactor.  They have to come out at a convenient time when you don't
     interfere with an outage.
         We had fuel rods in a shipping cask last June at Limerick
     and there was a problem.  They were taken out and we will not be able to
     get back in there and ship it until this coming June -- one full year.
         DR. FONTANA:  Now the NRC has approved 62 megawatts per
     kilogram.  The H.P. Robinson fuel says here 68 to 73.  Have they
     actually run to that?
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. FONTANA:  Weren't they breaking some rules or something?
         MR. COLLINS:  I think they are for lead test assembly.
         MR. MEYER:  Lead test assemblies.  They typically approve
     lead test assemblies, a few assemblies that can exceed the burnup
         DR. FONTANA:  Thank you.
         MR. MEYER:  In my opinion this is the real value of the lead
     test assembly.  You can put one or two of them in there and really push
     them and then take them out and let them feed your test programs.
         MR. RICK:  Let me add something else, and that is we keep
     talking about burnup and burnup as being the high criteria.  We had a
     large debate on it.  Is it burnup or is it something else?  Is it, for
     example, oxide thickness -- and if we don't use the existing materials
     for the high burnup but we use another material, but that material is
     oxide thickness and other characteristics are the same at 75,000 as we
     have tested at the older fuel that might only be at 60,000, we would
     like to do those effects type tests and say we can go to 75,000 with
     this new material and it can act like 60,000 at the older material, so
     that is the type of test we want to do to also say that we can go to
     higher burnup.
         DR. SEALE:  There is an advantage of the PIRT process too I
     think we need to recognize, and that is that unless you do something
     like that, you are very likely to be trapped into thinking about things
     the way you have thought about them before, and so while you are not
     necessarily thinking about the unthinkable when you do the PIRT
     assessment, you are thinking about the as yet unthought about, if you
     know what I mean.
         You are looking at processes that aren't in the physics
     picture right now, but appear to be appropriate under the next increment
     or the next -- or may be appropriate.  And I don't think you're going
     to -- you know, it's as good a way as any to bring your analysts and
     your planners back up to speed.  I mean here the NRC dismantled
     virtually the fuel program.  How do you get that expertise back?  One of
     the ways you do it is you look at the problem and you look at the
     problem in an innovative, thoughtful way.  And this is about as
     thoughtful a way that I've heard of that anybody's tried to look at this
     sort of thing.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  Certainly I think I agree with you 100
     percent, that it's the only way I know how to go about doing it, and
     given that your testing program by the very nature of it is always going
     to be limited.  And it has the additional advantage that a guy with a
     reasonable amount of thought can think of lots and lots of physics that
     might be important, but in this particular context of these particular
     scenarios that Dr. Meyer laid out one of them for us, but I think he's
     got several of them up his sleeve.
         DR. SEALE:  Sure.
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  You can say ah -- you know, expert people
     who are smarter than I am on these subjects can say ah, yes, this is a
     phenomenon that's operative, but it's not important here.  And you don't
     need to investigate it.  But you do need to investigate the combination
     of these two otherwise individually unimportant phenomena but because
     they hook together, there could be a problem here.
         DR. SEALE:  Well, and it's -- and the other thing is that it
     provides a mechanism for organizing the input from the intellectual
     community in this discipline rather than just going around and
     collecting a bunch of "sea stories" about what's happened.  You put it
     together in a logical framework, and I think that's very -- very
         MR. MEYER:  Do you want to go on to the source term or do
     you want to quit?
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  I think we have to touch upon --
         DR. KRESS:  I would request he at least cover slide 19.
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.  High-burnup effect on source term we
     think is --
         DR. KRESS:  Let me tell you why I would like for you to
     cover that.  Maybe that will help.
         Number 1, I'm extremely glad to see your last bullet on
     there, because I think all the other bullets are huge leaps of faith
     that are unfounded, to tell you the truth.
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.  Well now that the comments have undercut
         MR. MEYER:  All of my thinking on this, I'll tell you what
     my thinking is.
         Well, we are of the opinion at the moment, subject to
     further information which we hope to get, that the source term is
     probably affected mostly in its gap activity component at high burnup.
         DR. KRESS:  Let me ask you about that.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. KRESS:  Do you consider that gap inventory to be a
     risk-significant element of the source term?
         MR. MEYER:  In the following slides I was going to show you
     what the gap inventory affected, and I was going to say it doesn't have
     much of an effect on LOCA.
         DR. KRESS:  Right.
         MR. MEYER:  And the LOCA is the risk-significant event.
         DR. KRESS:  Right.
         MR. MEYER:  So probably not important.
         DR. KRESS:  Yes.  So why even worry about the gap?  Let's
     think about the other things.
         MR. MEYER:  I was asked to talk about the gap.
         DR. KRESS:  Oh, okay.  I'm sorry.
         Well, let me ask you, you know, I know you're going to cover
     your slide, but let me ask you another one.  When you talk about the
     effect on the source term, did you attempt to run FASTGRASS at the high
     burnups to see what you'd get out of that, because it does have a burnup
     correlation in it, even though it doesn't, you know, it doesn't have a
     data base to verify it at those burnups, it does have a correlation.
         MR. MEYER:  What we did was we ran FRAPCON-3.
         DR. KRESS:  Yes, but that's not a fission-product release
         MR. MEYER:  It's got the -- what do you mean?  It's got the
     fission -- the gaseous fission products in it.
         DR. KRESS:  Yes, but it doesn't have the concepts that
     involve the effects of burnup on fission-product release that FASTGRASS
         MR. MEYER:  But it does have empirically because the
     model --
         DR. KRESS:  Yes, but you see, the trouble is there's no
     empirical data base that goes up that high, so you can't really --
     that's the same problem I have with CORSOR-M.  It's an empirical code,
     and you can't rely on it to extrapolate.
         MR. MEYER:  I want to get the data slide for FRAPCON.  We do
     have data for the fission gas modeling in FRAPCON, and there are two
     kinds of data.  There are data from steady-state tests and data from
     tests with power bumps in them, and there is some variability, so, you
     know, it's not -- he's going to show you when he gets it -- it's not a
     nice, clean fit, but it's a good fit.  It's been peer-reviewed.  It's in
     the code.  And we used it to have a look at -- this thing is -- we've
     got data up around 65 gigawatt days per ton and one higher one --
         DR. KRESS:  What you're talking about there is the fission
     gas pressure inside unfailed fuel.  Right?
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. KRESS:  That's been operated at relatively normal
     operating temperatures.
         MR. MEYER:  Right.  Right.
         DR. KRESS:  Now when I'm talking a source term, I'm not in
     that regime at all.  I'm --
         MR. MEYER:  Your gap activity is.
         DR. KRESS:  Well, the gap is, but, you see, I've already
     discounted the gap.
         MR. MEYER:  So forget the gap.
         DR. KRESS:  Yes.  See, so FRAPCON doesn't tell you anything
     about --
         MR. MEYER:  No.  No, no.
         DR. KRESS:  About a LOCA severe accident where you go up to
     fuel melt --
         MR. MEYER:  Well, neither does FASTGRASS.
         DR. KRESS:  Well, FASTGRASS will take you up almost to fuel
     melting.  It has models in it.  And it's worth looking at to see what
     effect it has on the source term.  Although I guarantee those models
     haven't been validating data, but they have physics that talk about the
     effects of burnup.  And it would be well worth just making a calculation
     with FASTGRASS to see what effect it has on the source term to see if
     1465 may or may not be --
         MR. MEYER:  I don't understand.
         DR. KRESS:  I mean, that would be an easy thing to do.
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.  Charlie Tinkler wants to make a comment.
         MR. TINKLER:  The question about the FASTGRASS models. 
     While it's true the fuel-release models in FASTGRASS would allow you to
     do this kind of calculation, during -- one of the issues that we would
     consider before that is when we went through the peer review of the
     Victoria code, Victoria at one time had the capability to use those
     kinds of models, and we were dissuaded by the peer review committee from
     using those models because of their lack of validation.  And we also
     did -- we, you know, we have looked at the data and primarily come to
     the conclusion that the temperature effect during core degradation is
     the dominant effect above and beyond the burnup.  And that's the
     underlying basis for most of the conclusion aside from the fact that the
     1465 is a prescription for the boundary conditions of a global core fuel
     release, okay?  And your ability to account for the effects of burnup
     within the general prescription of releases from a damaged core in
     vessel could easily be overwhelmed by things considering -- issues
     related to the basic core configuration that was assumed for the 1465
         DR. KRESS:  The meltdown process.
         MR. TINKLER:  Yes.
         DR. KRESS:  Yes.  I agree.  But that's information you
     needed.  The release -- if you look at separate effects tests outside of
     the core, which -- you do have a kind of picture but you don't have the
     mobile effects that you get --
         MR. TINKLER:  Right.
         DR. KRESS:  Well, look at those.  There's a definite effect
     of burnup on fission-product release.  It's clear in the data.  It's
     increasing almost Arrheniusly with burnup.  FASTGRASS has models in it
     and it has a trend with burnup.  And so these data that we have are very
     limited.  They go up to maybe 50 gigawatt days, somewhere around there. 
     It could --
         MR. MEYER:  Could you indicate what's underlying these
     effects that you're talking about?
         DR. KRESS:  It's the effect -- if you look at FASTGRASS, it
     has all these transport mechanisms for fission products.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. KRESS:  That have to do with linking of pores.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.  Yes, yes, yes, yes.
         DR. KRESS:  You know, the infusion of gases through the
     grains, through the grain boundary.
         MR. MEYER:  Right.
         DR. KRESS:  Those things are affected by burnup.
         MR. MEYER:  Sure.
         DR. KRESS:  And the size of the grains and the size of the
     pores and the distances of travel, and those things are built into the
     FASTGRASS.  And they're built in in such a way that you can link the
     power history and the burnup through fission product release by the
         MR. MEYER:  I'm rather skeptical of that, and this is the
     point that I wanted to make with the reference to CORSOR-M.  No thought
     that CORSOR-M has the ability to do these calculations.  It's the
     underlying concept that went into the modeling in the first place, which
     was based on observations.  And the observations were that the high
     volatile species seem to be rate-limited by their ability to get from
     inside the UO2 to a surface.  But the low-volatility materials seem to
     be rate-limited by their vapor pressures.  You looked at the measured
     release rates and they lined up in the order of vapor pressures.
         DR. KRESS:  But I'm only --
         MR. MEYER:  This says to me --
         DR. KRESS:  I'm only interested in --
         MR. MEYER:  That the dependence on the structure, which is
     the burnup effect, is only going to affect the low volatiles, not the
     high volatiles.  And it's the high volatiles that dominate your source
     term --
         DR. KRESS:  That the empirical --
         MR. MEYER:  The lows.
         DR. KRESS:  That the experimental evidence refutes that.  If
     you look at all the test data for release of fission products that are
     talking about iodine and cesium --
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. KRESS:  The things that are important.
         MR. MEYER:  Yes.
         DR. KRESS:  And even some of the noble gases.  If you look
     at the effects of burnup in the data that exist, it's an Arrhenius
         MR. MEYER:  Okay.  The --
         DR. KRESS:  And that's --
         MR. MEYER:  Sure, the iodines and the cesiums are high
         DR. KRESS:  Well, those are the ones we're worried about. 
     The iodines and the cesiums.
         MR. MEYER:  Well, you've got essentially --
         CHAIRMAN POWERS:  If I think about just an ordinary booth
     diffusion model, which is a gross simplification of GRASS-type modeling,
     but it includes the effect of grain size and it can be made to include
     the effect of interconnected porosity, I see a very clear burnup effect.
         That burnup effect appears in the pre-exponentials on all of
     these things.  It doesn't affect the exponential term.  So, I guess what
     -- I think your statements may be entirely self-consistent here, and
     that what you are saying in connection with CORSOR-M is things depended
     on the vapor pressure as you looked at them with temperature, which is
     what you do with CORSOR-M, because that exponential term is dominant at
     any given burnup.  But the pre-exponential factor changes with burnup,
     and I think what you will find is the burnup effect will affect all the
     fission product releases, and it affects in the pre-exponential, not in
     the temperature effect.
         DR. KRESS:  Well, I think it will also, though, affect the
     time and temperature.
         DR. POWERS:  Yes.
         DR. KRESS:  That will be a synergistic --
         DR. POWERS:  Yeah, well, what happens is at any given
     temperature, if you fix the temperature and you fix the burnup, then the
     pre-exponential carries equal weight with the exponential term now, and
     so if one goes up, everything goes up.
         DR. KRESS:  But the question is how much does it?  Is it
     worth thinking about a new 1465 that is a function of burnup?  Will it
     cause you, in the first place, to violate your 10 CFR 100 criteria, but
     more than that, is it risk significant?
         Mr. MEYER:  Well, look, in the underlying calculations for
     1465, the Nobles and the iodines, and I don't remember cesium, but the
     initial release from the high temperature fuel was essentially 100
     percent.  And then you had deposition and retention mechanisms that
     knocked down the aerosol ones.  So that is why I thought that, well, the
     burnup isn't going to have any effect because you have already assumed
     100 percent release from the fuel for these volatile species, or
     essentially.  The Nobles is 100 percent.  And the iodines, I think the
     release rates were about the same, and they got knocked down because of
     all the phosphoresis.
         DR. POWERS:  It is pretty clear 1465 envisaged over the
     course of gap and in-vessel release, essentially quantitative release of
     the Nobles.  I don't think it has quantitative release of either cesium,
     iodine, and if it did, it would be in error because --
         DR. KRESS:  It focused on the low pressure accidents, which
     ended up hardly any retention, and it was, the source term was source
     term into the containment.  It was about 50 percent of the iodines.
         DR. POWERS:  Well, see, there is a late release into the
     containment that is -- its origin is really two things, it is a
     revaporization of those deposited materials, and it is the continued
     degradation of the residual fuel.
         DR. KRESS:  Yeah.  Those didn't enter into a big part of the
     low pressure accident, they were part of the other accident.
         DR. POWERS:  Well, that amounts to 30 percent of the
         DR. KRESS:  But it certainly wasn't release of all those
     elements.  It was only about half that.
         MR. TINKLER:  Let me -- the ex-vessel and late in-vessel
     releases for iodine are quite substantial in NUREG-1465.
         DR. POWERS:  Yeah?
         MR. TINKLER:  Yes.
         DR. POWERS:  They are very significant because they get
     right to the containment.
         MR. TINKLER:  But, remember, the implementation of the
     revised source term is limited to the gap in the early in-vessel.  And
     with regard to the pre-exponential term and the temperature-dependent
     exponential term, I think it is also important to recognize that some of
     the separate effects tests of limited duration show a little different
     effect than what you might expect in a core that is hot for any
     substantial period of time, when the temperature dependence would be
     quite substantial, and may be more important than other issues.
         DR. KRESS:  I agree, there is --
         MR. TINKLER:  Okay.  Because some of those --
         DR. KRESS:  There is -- rate effect in that data.
         MR. TINKLER:  Some of those separate effects tests are of
     short duration, and it would show up larger than in a core that has been
     hot for an hour.
         DR. KRESS:  I agree with that.
         MR. TINKLER:  And we think that -- you know, when we are
     looking at the global characterization of source term from a core damage
     event, where we have the release over roughly two hours, I guess we just
     don't see that -- I guess we see the temperature effect as being the
     dominant effect.
         But, now, Ralph's last bullet there, that we -- you know,
     there's surely merit in confirming these behavior.  And I would even
     throw in, if we can talk them into them, putting some high burnup fuel
     in the PHEBUS.  Of course, there are many more candidates for tests than
     there are tests left, but, you know, we would suggest that that is an
     excellent opportunity to look at integral behavior.
         DR. WALLIS:  Will this final bullet resolve all this
     hypothesizing and rationalizing and debate?  I mean there is nothing
     like data.
         DR. POWERS:  Well, I mean it seems to me that --
         Mr. MEYER:  We are hesitating because it is a bench
     experiment and --
         DR. POWERS:  Well, the concern I think you might have over a
     VERCORS test is that VERCORS, in the past anyway, have been very small.
         DR. KRESS:  They are very small.  They are almost a carbon
     copy of the Oak Ridge tests.
         DR. POWERS:  Well, I think they are smaller than that.
         DR. KRESS:  About the same.
         DR. POWERS:  And you will surely not get anything from gap
     out of this.
         DR. KRESS:  No.  Although the gap is going to open by the
     time you get into the test.  But is Jeff Rest still at Argonne and does
     Fast Crash still exist?
         Mr. MEYER:  Yeah.
         DR. KRESS:  I mean that is a pretty cheap code to run, and
     you could at least explore some of these speculations.
         Mr. MEYER:  Maybe one of the first things we need to do is
     just to go back and look at the 1150 calculations and see, you know, get
     beneath --
         DR. KRESS:  I wouldn't do that because 1150 doesn't have any
     concept of the effect of burnup in it, I don't think.  I think you are
     just barking up the wrong tree if you do that.  I would ask you to go to
     Fast Crash and see what it tells you.  You know, you can't believe it,
     because it doesn't have a database, but it is the best we have.
         MR. TINKLER:  Well, the last comment I made about Fast Crash
     is we tried to convince Professor Olander about this, and we had a very
     difficult time.  And as a last point, at the end of the day, if someone
     comes in with a high burnup core, and they need to redo their dose
     calculation, do we believe they should redo their dose calculation with
     a TID source term or with a revised source term?  And in our view, there
     is no doubt, they should be doing it with a revised source term, because
     all these issues apply to the core.  So what characterization do you use
     for the source term for your accident analysis?  So, you know, I realize
     that is not --
         DR. KRESS:  Yeah.  My point is --
         MR. TINKLER:  That is not the technical issue, but that is
     part of it.
         DR. KRESS:  My point is there should be a revised revised
     source term for high burnup fuel.
         DR. POWERS:  I think this is obviously a fertile ground for
     subcommittee deliberations and, Ralph, as you knew well coming in, you
     are running one of the most exciting programs around and it gets this
     committee's blood going and whatnot, and we have more questions than you
     possibly have time to answer.  I retain my enthusiasm for your pert
     approach and hope you can keep us informed as you progress through the
         I certainly hope that you are successful in getting
     cooperation in this venture from your licensees and the industry in
     general.  I would hope that we can also get cooperation from the members
     of our quadra-partite group in assisting you in carrying this out, and
     that you will keep us informed, and we will give you a forum with a
     little more time.
         Mr. MEYER:  Well, we would certainly welcome any involvement
     that you would want in that regard.
         DR. WALLIS:  Could I also suggest, Mr. Chairman, that
     sometime when you have sorted things out a bit more, we see a plan that
     says that we are going to achieve certain things by certain dates, and
     here is the regulatory payoff or something from what we are going to
     achieve by that date.  It will enable us to make certain decisions we
     can't make today.  And there is going to be some kind of benefit or
     whatever, see the --
         DR. POWERS:  I am not sure, I guess I have to just
     interject.  The regulatory decision has been made.
         DR. WALLIS:  Well, why aren't we doing any work?
         DR. POWERS:  Because we would like to know that that
     regulatory decision was, in fact, the right decision to make.  The
     regulatory decision is that these burnups of the 62 gigawatt days do not
     pose any significant threat to the public health and safety.
         DR. WALLIS:  We are just making a reality check on the
     regulatory decision, is that what we are doing?
         DR. POWERS:  What we are trying to do is -- the regulatory
     decision was made on the basis of an engineering judgment, and I
     guarantee you the people that made that judgment spent a lot of time
     pacing the floor and saying, do I really do it, in the face of some
     experimental data that was fairly inflammatory, and fairly diverse
     technical opinions.  That is what was communicated to us in previous
     meetings on this subject.  So if anybody would like to correct me on my
     perceptions of the decision making process.
         Mr. MEYER:  Well, I would only comment on the timing and
     that is that the regulatory decision to go to 62,000 megawatt days per
     ton was made prior to the performance of the REP NA-1 test in Cabri,
     which was the first test to show that there might be a significant
     problem with one of our Regulatory Guides.
         DR. WALLIS:  I guess what I am just asking for is a laid-out
     plan which says what you are going to achieve and what will be the
     effect, whatever it is, that is measurable in some way, or
     understandable in some way.  And if it is not quite what I thought it
     was, then maybe you can explain what it is, when you get there.  I don't
     think we are going to get it today.  I think -- I am sure good work is
     going to be done.  I would just like to know about why this is the
     optimum way to do it and where are the rewards.
         Mr. MEYER:  I am looking over for my boss to see --
         DR. ELTAWILA:  Professor Wallis, have you see the agency
     plan on high burnup?  Maybe I will make a copy of it.
         DR. WALLIS:  I have seen it.  I may not have realized that I
     had to pay as much attention to it at the time.
         DR. ELTAWILA:  Well, I will send it to you and I hope you
     pay attention to it.  And if you need any information, that will give it
     to you.
         DR. POWERS:  I think we can probably get it for you.
         DR. WALLIS:  You hope or you fear?
         DR. POWERS:  Well, thank you very much, and, as I say, this
     is certainly an exciting program, and I hope you get your fuel
         DR. ELTAWILA:  Thank you.
         DR. POWERS:  I am going to recess until a quarter after.
         [Whereupon, at 2:57 p.m., the meeting was recessed, to
     reconvene at 8:30 a.m., Friday, March 12, 1999.]

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