479th ACRS Meeting - February 2, 2001

                Official Transcript of Proceedings


Title:                    Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards
                               479th Meeting

Docket Number:  (not applicable)

Location:                 Rockville, Maryland

Date:                     Friday, February 2, 2001

Work Order No.: NRC-005                             Pages 241-379

                   NEAL R. GROSS AND CO., INC.
                 Court Reporters and Transcribers
                  1323 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W.
                     Washington, D.C.  20005
                          (202) 234-4433.                         UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
                                 + + + + +
                               479TH MEETING
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                             FEBRUARY 2, 2001
                                 + + + + +
                            ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND
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                       The Advisory Committee met at the Nuclear
           Regulatory Commission, Two White Flint North, Room
           T2B3, 11545 Rockville Pike, at 8:30 a.m., Dr. George
           Apostolakis, Chairman, presiding.
                 GEORGE APOSTOLAKIS          Chairman
                 MARIO V. BONACA             Vice Chairman
                 THOMAS S. KRESS             Member
                 GRAHAM M. LEITCH            Member
                 DANA A. POWERS              Member
                 ROBERT L. SEALE             Member
                 WILLIAM J. SHACK            Member.           COMMITTEE MEMBERS: (CONT.)
                 JOHN D. SIEBER              Member
                 ROBERT E. UHRIG             Member
                 GRAHAM B. WALLIS            Member
                        AGENDA ITEM                        PAGE
           Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244
           Regulatory Effectiveness of the Anticipated. . . 245
                 Transient Without Scram (ATWS) Rule
           Overview of the Mixed Oxide Fuel . . . . . . . . 302
                 Fabrication Facility
           Statement of Chairman Meserve. . . . . . . . . . 348
           .                           P-R-O-C-E-E-D-I-N-G-S
                                                    (8:29 a.m.)
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  The meeting will
           now come to order.  This is the second day of the
           479th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Reactor
                       During today's meeting the Committee will
           consider the following:  regulatory effectiveness of
           the ATWS rule, other view of mixed oxide fuel
           fabrication facility, NRC safety research program,
           future ACRS activities, report of the planning and
           procedure subcommittee, reconciliation of ACRS
           comments and recommendations, proposed ACRS reports.
                       In addition, the Committee will meet with
           NRC Chairman Meserve at 1 o'clock to discuss topics of
           mutual interest.
                       This meeting is being conducted in
           accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory
                       Mr. Sam Duraiswamy is the designated
           federal official for the initial portion of this
                       We have received no written comments or
           requests for time to make oral statements from members
           of the public regarding today's sessions.  A
           transcript of portions of the meeting is being kept
           and it is requested that the speakers use one of the
           microphones, identify themselves and speak with
           sufficient clarity and volume so that they can be
           readily heard.
                       I would remind the Members that we have
           interviews with candidates during lunch time.  We also
           have cake and coffee for Bob Seale at 12:45 in the
           subcommittee room.
                       MR. SEALE:  The rest of you are invited.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Including the
           Chairman.  And please review the reconciliation items,
           No. 14.  Each of you must have a copy because we want
           to go over it quickly later on.
                       The first item is regulatory effectiveness
           of the ACWS rule.  
                       Doctor Kress, will you lead us through
                       MR. KRESS:  Thank you.  If you recall, the
           former AEOD part of research has been engaged in the
           activity of a retrospective look at some of the
           regulations to determine whether they accomplished
           what we thought they would and whether the regulatory
           analysis process has worked correctly and we
           previously reviewed one of these looks.  It was the
           Station Blackout rule a few months ago.  I don't
           remember exactly when.  This is the second one and the
           idea is to look at this and see if it's accomplished
           what it intended to and see if the regulatory analysis
           was valid and to see if there are any lessons learned. 
           It sounds like a real good idea to me.  So with that
           I'll turn it over to Jack Rosenthal.
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  Thank you.  My name is
           Jack Rosenthal, Research.  And Farouk Eltawila, my
           Division Director is also in the room.
                       I just want to make the point before we
           start, although this originally started as an AEOD
           activity, one of the -- as a direction setting issue,
           it's now been incorporated as an RES function and we
           have a regulatory effectiveness team which is looking
           at rules and other matters and we intend to continue
           looking at rules or regulatory processes at a rate of
           about two a year.
                       Let me say no more.  George Lanik is the
           team leader of the Reg Effectiveness and Operating
           Experience Team.  And Bill Raughley who will be the
           principal spokesman is also a member of that team.
                       MR. POWERS:  Jack, let me ask you a
           question.  When you say "team" that seems to hint that
           maybe this group of people looking at regulatory
           effectiveness comes from organizations other than RES. 
           Is that a correct assumption?
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  No.  We've just gone to,
           instead of sections, where section leaders have
           administrative functions, to smaller teams where the
           team leaders can spend more of their time on technical
           matters and less on administrative matters.
                       MR. POWERS:  I had the sense without
           attributing why we got that sense, that maybe the
           enthusiasm for the re-examination of these rules like
           the ATWS and the Station Blackout is not universally
           high with the Agency.
                       MR. KRESS:  No comment?
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  Actually, I got some good
           feedback on the blackout rule.  Bruce Boger was one
           who, in particular cornered me and said hey, here's a
           good example of the Agency being able to be
           introspective and examine itself and he wanted to take
           credit for it as one of our self-assessments that we
           promised to do in the strategic plan.
                       And a number of people listened to the
           issues in the blackout and we got some change already
           in the inspection program.  So I think it went well
           and I know on the ATWS, we're now working with NRR and
           they're quite receptive to what we have to say
                       MR. SEALE:  Is there any predisposition or
           policy decision that would limit the membership on
           these teams to people on RES?
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  No.  If I can arrange to
           get some help, I'd like that.
                       MR. SEALE:  I'm thinking, for example,
           rules that might have a high inspection element in
           them that where some help from some qualified
           inspection people from the regions could be extremely
           useful and I know we've been in the past been
           connected with the efforts that some of those people
           have made contributions they've made in other areas.
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  Sounds good.  No, you're
           right.  We'll try that on the next ones.
                       MR. LANIK:  As Jack said, my name is
           George Lanik.  I'm a Team Leader for this activity. 
           I think Dr. Kress gave us a pretty good introduction. 
           One thing I'd add is these studies basically, the
           reason we picked the studies we have so far is that
           they were listed in the IPE inside report as those
           which are continue to be risk contributors and we're
           sort of doing them based on that.
                       The other point I'd like to make about
           Research's responsibilities and independent assessment
           is that we also have some role in independent review
           of operating experience and I think because at least
           one aspect of these studies is a looking at the
           operating experience.  We think that also contributes
           to that role for Research.
                       On a more technical level, I'd like to
           make two points about these studies.  First of all,
           the -- if you look at any of these rules, it's really
           a very short version that you see in the Code of
           Federal Regulations and you have to go back and look
           at the background information including the statement
           of considerations and other documents that were
           developed at the time these things were implemented to
           get what they really intended to accomplish.
                       And in particular for this one, if you
           read the rule you see that all the PWRs had to install
           both an automatic driven trip and automatic emergency
           feed water initiated, but only CE and B&W had to
           installed the so-called diverse scram system which is
           a totally diverse system to the normal RPS.  And none
           of that's -- the reason for any of that is not
           mentioned in the rules so you have to go back and look
           to see that there were design considerations for why
           that was true at the time.
                       And that had to do with the fact that if
           you did the analysis of these plants and the pressures
           they would reach during an ATWS event where the CE and
           B&W plants would typically go above this 3200 pound
           pressure limit which was the -- a design pressure
           which they thought would start -- you might start
           seeing some damage.  And in the case of Westinghouse
           with the design conditions they were operating at that
           time, they would only exceed that pressure for about
           1 percent of the cycle time.  So that was one of the
           considerations in that rule.
                       The second point I'd like to make is that
           in the type of risk analysis that we're using in this
           report, basically what we're doing is we're saying
           that the risk is the frequency at which during an ATWS
           event you will exceed that 3200 pounds.  We are not
           using the measure of poor damage probability or large
           early release.  This is the same measure that was used
           in the initial decision to make about the ATWS rule.
                       And the other point is that we're using
           the same basic models that were used then.  And one of
           the reasons for that is that we wanted to show that
           what the improvements that have been made have been
           improvements in the operations and equipment
           performance rather than improvements in the PRA model. 
           And secondly, in a lot of cases it's easier to
           understand and you can get a better idea of the big
           picture if you have the simpler model than the
           complicated model.
                       MR. KRESS:  Is it all right for us to
           equate this probability of exceeding this pressure
           with a core damage frequency?  The core damage
           frequency would be less than that, but --
                       MR. LANIK:  I think what you can say is if
           you don't exceed 3200 pounds, I don't think anybody is
           claiming that there will be any core damage.  
                       If you do exceed 3200 pounds, there is
           some probability and the other thing is with the
           thermal hydraulics the way they are, it's very
           difficult to calculate exactly what that is, so you
           know, if you only go 100 pounds above that, you're
           probably not going to damage any valves or anything to
           cause a problem.  But if you exceed it by 500 pounds,
           you probably are going to damage some equipment that
           you would need to mitigate and prevent core damage. 
                       You haven't reached core damage by the
           time you've hit that point, of course.  It will happen
           some time afterwards based on damage to equipment and
           being unable to respond --
                       MR. KRESS:  But in thinking of the risk
           implications it would be --
                       MR. LANIK:  Yes, it's a surrogate measure.
                       MR. KRESS:  It would be a surrogate --
                       MR. LANIK:  Obviously, it's going to be a
           little less.
                       MR. KRESS:  Yes.
                       MR. LANIK:  So without further ado, I'm
           going to -- Bill Raughley's going to take us through
           the major findings of the study including discussions
           of the background and methodology, some of the
           technical details and the basic conclusions.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I am Bill  Raughley, I'm a
           senior engineer in Research and I've prepared a half
           a dozen slides that I didn't get stapled.  They have
           the same orientation in the packet.  Sorry about that.
                       Anyway, it's about a 25 to 30 minute
           presentation and we have slides on the background, the
           assessment, the results, some of the highlights of the
           conclusions or the comments received from the industry
           and the conclusions in the report.
                       We'll spend a little time on the
           background just to get every start simple and work up
           to some of the details you need to know to understand
           the results in the conclusion.
                       We are talking about the draft report
           mentioned there.  That was issued in October 2000 for
           internal and external comment and we've received the
           last of the -- we received all of the internal
           comments in December of 2000 and we received all the
           external comments as of about two weeks ago.
                       And that was just to define an ATWS and
           it's defined in 10 CFR 50 as an expected operational
           transient which is accompanied by a failure of the
           reactor trip portion of the protection system and the
           reactor trip portion includes the RPS system itself,
           the control rods and the control rod drive mechanisms.
                       ATWS is usually discussed in terms of the
           three factors I've listed there, the initiation event
           frequency, the RPS reliability and the mitigating
           systems and it's usually also discussed by PWR type,
           Westinghouse, CE and B&W and the GE BWR type.  So all
           three of these factors are discussed individually for
           those different reactor types.
                       The ATWS rule was first detailed in  1973
           in WASH 1270.  Soon after the Commission made it an
           unresolved safety issue A9.  In response to that
           issue, the staff prepared NUREG 460 which is four
           volumes and 18 appendices which detail the
           deterministic and probabilistic analysis associated
           with ATWS.  That report relies heavily on the
           manufacturer's analyses for deterministic input and
           then our own -- and in conjunction with the industry
           some probabilistic assessment.
                       Pivotal to the ATWS issue and through the
           whole discussion of 460 there was considerable
           discussion or disagreement about the value of the RPS
           reliability.  If you look in 460 it ranges from 10-12
           up to 10-4 and they agree to disagree over the range
           being 10-4 to 10-6.
                       MR. KRESS:  It's hard to measure that,
           isn't it?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  And that was -- the
           discussion was over the inclusion or exclusion of
           data, whether you look at it just in the U.S. and
           include foreign experience and whether we even had all
           the experience because the RPS system failures aren't
           all reportable.
                       MR. LEITCH:  I notice in the table here
           that River Bend, for example, has an ATWS core damage
           frequency 1 times 10-10.  Is that a difference in
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  On the BWRs that was one of
           the findings or conclusions of the report.  On the
           BWRs there's a very large variation in the human error
           probability.  It ranges from .5 up to 1 in 10,000. 
           There's a very wide range and largely the answer you
           get on the BWRs is dependent on what value you select
           for operator.
                       MR. LEITCH:  So the BWR, of course, and
           that was very sensitive to operator actions and --
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes.
                       MR. LEITCH:  That difference --
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I would just guess that
           Riverbend used 10-3 or 10-4 for operator.
                       MR. LEITCH:  So it's not physical hardware
           that's different.  It's rather a different assumption
           about operator action --
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes, and that's one of our
           principal conclusions.
                       MR. LANIK:  However, there are two sort of
           two different approaches to BWRs.  One of them --
           there are a couple of plants out there, the BWRs that
           actually installed an automatic SLC.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  High capacity SLC and those
           don't rely so much on the human performance and they
           would do better.
                       MR. WALLIS:  What sort of experiment would
           you do to assure yourself of the probability of a
           human error was of the order of 10-4?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Jack, can you take that?
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  We observe that in the IPE
           analysis which included ATWS that there was a wide
           range of human factors.  In fact, I don't know how to
           affirm such a low value and the conclusion, really and
           I'm jumping all the to the conclusion is that when you
           do a rule and in that rule you're heavily reliant on
           human actions, then now in retrospect and retrospect
           is always 20-20, you should recognize that 10 to 15
           years later, you're not going to be able to confirm
           that the rule is being met within some uncertainty
                       MR. ELTAWILA:  This is Farouk Eltawila. 
           To answer your question, I think there are the
           training center in Chattanooga and things like that
           that run this type of scenarios and they watch the
           performance of the operator and there have been a lot
           of data collected in the Halden Project for ATWS
           scenario although that was for pressurized water, but
           they observed the operator and it's a training tool to
           respond to ATWS event because it has a unique feature
           that the operator does the counter intuitive things. 
           He has to lower the level of the water in the core, so
           that's why it makes it extremely difficult compared to
           other scenarios.  But there have been a lot of
           collection of data on ATWS either through the training
           centers or through the Halden Project.
                       MR. KRESS:  Let me ask you a question
           about -- you're next -- about the BWR, human error
           versus the automatic actuation of the SLC.
                       In the -- when I looked at the event trees
           for those two issues that you had in the report, the
           automatic didn't have a line for failure of the SLC,
           whereas the one with the operator action did. 
                       It did occur to me that the failure rate
           of this automatic is probably about the same as this
           operator action failure rate, if it's really that low
           and I was wondering if you actually looked at the
           comparison of how good the automatic actuation was
           compared to just the operator action?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  No, we did not.
                       MR. KRESS:  Okay.
                       MR. WALLIS:  I guess the problem is you
           want to get a number of 10-4, you have to do what --
                       MR. ELTAWILA:  I am not just defining the
           10-4, I'm just saying they are collecting information
           on that --
                       MR. WALLIS:  You can't collect
           information, but if you try to get those --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  It's really
           circumstantial evidence.  It's important evidence, but
           you can't really treat it like a statistical evidence.
                       MR. KRESS:  That's why there's large
           uncertainty associated with  --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  When you do it
           right, there is uncertainty.  You have to do it in a
           Category 1.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  A question we had
           was why do you have -- why does the standby liquid
           system in some cases be automatic and some cases it is
           not.  Is it an option?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes, it was for the BWR 5
           and 6s.  It was required.  It was based on a date of
           licensure for all plants licensed after a certain
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  So it met the
           requirement of the -- resulting from the ATWS or was
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  It was as a result of the
           ATWS rule.  BWR 5s and 6s were required to install an
           automatic initiated high concentration.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  But there was no
           requirement to backfit the older plants?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  No, on the value of impact
           analysis, that didn't come out to be favorable.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  The other question
           I had was regarding the event trees used here in the
           additional material.  It shows -- maybe we can talk
           about it later, simply that there is some event tree
           where the standby liquid system is shown to fail with
           the RPS.  When the RPS fails, both the electrical,
           then the mechanical one is not -- there is no window
           there, there are not cut sets for that and there are
           no cut sets for the standby liquid system.  Is it
           because the standby liquid system is tied to the same
           electric instrumentation of the RPS?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  No, it's not tied to the
           RPS.  The fault trees came from -- the origin of the
           fault trees is they were -- if you let me get to it
           further, if you look down in the presentation --
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  Please, whenever
           you have an opportunity to address that.  That's
           Figure A2 that has that but we can talk about it
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  So as I was saying, there
           was considerable uncertainty on RPS.  Human error was
           another point of debate on the BWRs and on the
           analytical side there was considerable discussion on
           the codes that would be used.  And on the sensitivity
           of results, the certain operational design factors.
                       On the PWRs, the B&W and CE reactor pipes
           have different  moderator temperature coefficients
           throughout the cycle, smaller relief capacity, smaller
           steam generators and different mechanical design
           factors and then there's questions on whether you're
           operating with the rods and auto or manual, whether
           the PORVs are blocked or unblocked.  So you get with
           quite a maze of conditions to analyze.
                       In the 1980s, we had the Brown's Ferry
           event and that was in Brentwood.  Not all the rods
           inserted due to a problem in the scram discharge
           volume and that resulted in a confirmatory action
           letter to install a reactor recirc pump trip.
                       Immediately following that, the NRC issued
           a Draft ATWs Rule with three option, the Staff Rule,
           the Henry Rule and the Utility Group Rule.  The Staff
           Rule was largely dependent on the deterministic
           analysis, analyzing the pressures and temperatures
           associated with an ATWS.  The Henry Rule emphasized
           improving RPS reliability, a specific program in that
           area.  And the Utility Group was a more practical
           approach based on modifications focused on preventing
           and mitigating an ATWS.
                       In 1983, we had the Salem events.  There
           were two events three days apart and that resulted in
           several generic letters mandating improvement to the
           RPS trip system.  Immediately following that, there
           was a task force and steering committee organized by
           the Commission and its primary deliverable was SECY-
           83-293 which contains the technical basis and
           regulatory analysis for the ATWS rule.
                       SECY 293 relied heavily on NUREG 460 for
           the deterministic analysis and it adopted the Utility
           Group approach for the risk assessment and it also
           used the Utility Group value impact analysis.
                       The SECY-83-293 defined P(ATWS) which was
           the annual frequency of an ATWS event, leading to
           unacceptable plant conditions that exceed certain
           design parameters which George referred to earlier in
           the discussion.  And for PWR, that unacceptable design
           condition was the ASME Service Level C, pressure of
           3200 pounds and for the BWR which was suppression of
           full temperature of 200 degrees F. which was
           established in 839.
                       On the BWR, just to quickly run through
           the event, you start with an initiating event and you
           have the RPS failure and it's assumed that there's no
           credit for operator scramming their reactor. 
           Increased pressure, if discharged through the SRV sort
           of suppression pool and the severity of the heat up
           depends on whether you close the MSIVs to isolate, in
           which case you would not have the condenser as a heat
           sink or nonisolation transient where they don't close
           and you have the condenser and the suppression pool
           available for the heat sink.
                       The outcome is heavily dependent on
           operator action.  The operator is required to lower
           the water level, to mitigate the event and for the
           BWRs 1 through 4 standby liquid controls and for most
           of the 5s and all the 6s start the standby liquid
           control pump.
                       MR. KRESS:  They lower the water level
           about halfway into the core?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  It is down to level -- I
           don't know the specific -- which level, 7 or 8.
                       MR. LEITCH:  It is well below the top of
           active fuel though.  It's down like a third of the way
           down into the --
                       MR. WALLIS:  It is a little touchy because
           you've got to maintain cooling, but not maintain
                       MR. KRESS:  That's the idea.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  And for an isolation
           transient, the operator has two minutes to make that
           decision and for a nonisolation transient he has 17
           minutes to make that decision.  And the probabilities
           for those action are taken --
                       MR. WALLIS:  Does he have good feedback so
           he knows that his level is the appropriate level that
           he's trying to get --
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I don't know.
                       MR. WALLIS:  That it's really working out
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  BWR instrumentation is not
           -- doesn't have real good feedback.
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  Can I just chime in?  What
           we tried to do in assessing the rule was say what do
           we know at the time of the rule and what do we know
           now and what are the changes?  Separate from that
           activity we now know that if you trip the recirc pumps
           you will fall into a region of potential instability
           where you get isolations.
                       And that introduces a whole new set of
           technical concerns including what would the instrument
           displayed to the operator, because the instrument is
           not connected to the inside of the core and has its
           own delay times, etcetera.  And we're looking at those
           BWR isolation issues as part of Research's work, but
           we're trying not to introduce that into the assessment
           of what was known at the time of the rule and what did
           we get?  So we do have future work planned on those
                       MR. LANIK:  Yeah, and also I think for our
           particular case here, we did not give a lot of
           operator credit in our particular analysis, we didn't
           give anywhere near as much as you noted for River
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Okay, on the PWR, you have
           an initiating event RPS failure also, no credit for
           operator action to scram the reactor.  You increase
           the RCS pressure, then the pressure is relieved.  You
           start HPI and aux. feed.  And that's also dependent on
           whether the turbine trips or the turbine doesn't trip,
           whether you have the condenser available for a heat
           sinc or not. 
                       The peak pressure on the PWRs is dependent
           on the moderator temperature coefficient which is a
           measure of the reactivity as a function of
           temperature.  And in general, sufficiently negative
           and works with a Doppler to give you a negative
           feedback coefficient.  However, there are points in
           the fuel cycle at the beginning of the fuel cycle. 
           You have a positive, PMTC sufficiently negative or
           slightly positive and that can give you a positive
           feedback characteristic.  And the amount of time that
           it's insufficiently negative or positive is called the
           unfavorable exposure time.
                       The ATWS risk analyses were done assuming
           that the MTC was acceptable 99 percent of the time and
           that the deterministic analysis supplied by the
           manufacturers were done assuming the MTC was
           sufficiently negative 95 percent of the time.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Why did they allow the
           moderator temperature coefficient to be positive at
           any time?  You can absolutely design that out of the
           fuel by putting in burnable poisons.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  It is a function of the
           fuel cycle length. 
                       MR. SIEBER:  You put in burnable poisons,
           it's a matter of how many hours worth of neutrons
           you're willing to spend to maintain the negative
           moderator temperature coefficient.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes, and you would also,
           it's a function of what you said, the boron
           concentration --
                       MR. SIEBER:  The less, the better off you
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  But dependent on how you
           vary all those factors and controls, the --
                       MR. SIEBER:  You can design that out.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes.
                       MR. SIEBER:  And so it would seem to me to
           minimize the exposure you'd have licensees design it
           out, design out a positive temperature coefficient.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  I don't think you
           an totally eliminate that effect because of what you
           have.  You have at the beginning of the transient you
           have number pressure transient, enough scram.  You
           have a temperature increase.  I think you're going in
           a region where you have some positive feedback.
                       I'm not sure you can leave it at that
           completely.  That has been difficulty there.
                       MR. SIEBER:  I was under the impression --
           we managed to do that and I was under the impression
           it can be done, given sufficient burnable poison,
           coated pellets, inserts and so forth.
                       MR. LEITCH:  One of the things that I
           found interesting in that respect and we're concerned
           about the combined effects of power upgrades and
           license renewals and extended fuel cycles and so forth
           is a sentence here on page 17 of the report that I
           felt was interesting in that regard.
                       It says fuel designed to achieve longer
           cycles result in less negative MTCs at full power, but
           a larger fraction of the cycle time during which time
           half this mitigation is rendered ineffective.  And I
           just think that's one of these effects of longer cycle
           time that might not be apparent.  That's one of the
           things that we've been kind of worried about.
                       MR. KRESS:  It's one we ought to put on
           our list, maybe.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Yeah, right.  Just a comment.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  That is one of the
           conclusions the report is -- that we should continue
           to give that attention because as a result of
           deregulation and the emphasis to be more competitive,
           the BWRs would likely go to longer cycle times, 18-
           month and 24-month cycles which requires you to
           further increase the MTC.
                       But this is from NUREG-1000.  It's based
           on Salem-specific factors that has an MTC of -8 which
           is their normal value at hot, full power, all rods out
           and the 95 percent -- at 95 percent of the fuel cycle. 
           What you can see is the pressure does go up to 3500
           pounds in about 100 seconds and one of the debating
           points in NUREG-460 is whether the manufacturer was
           looking at 100 and the NRC's analysis was looking at
           60, but the point being is very short, it ramps up
           real quick in a very short time.
                       MR. LANIK:  Basically, that's timed with
           usually steam generator dry out time, as soon as the
           steam generator dries out, the pressure shoots up.
                       MR. KRESS:  What was used to calculate
           that?  RAMONA and RELAP together?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Westinghouse uses four
           programs.  They use LOFTRAN, maybe Farouk -- there's
           four different codes, so depending on where you are on
           this curve --
                       MR. KRESS:  I should have known that.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  They use LOFTRAN down in
           this area and they switch off.
                       Then last but not least, the ATWS rule was
           passed in 1984 which requires specific modifications
           by reactor type that we'll discuss in detail on the
           next slide.
                       And as George mentioned earlier, when
           you're looking at a rule, not everything about the
           rule is written in the Code of Federal Regulations or
           some important background, one being that along with
           the FRN that issued the rule, there were two
           recommendations made by the Commission.  One was that
           they expected that the licensees would undertake an
           RPS reliability improvement program and the other was
           that they would reduce the number of automatic scrams.
                       We'll breeze through this slide quick,
           since you saw it before in the station blackout
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  But the --
                       MR. WALLIS:  Well, the regulation is
           effective if expectations are being achieved. 
           Sometimes the statements of consideration don't give
           a very clear exposition of just what is expected.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  That's true and in this
           case that's true and we have to go back to SECY.  Most
           of the meat and potatoes for the ATWS rules in SECY-
           83-293 which the statement of considerations refer to. 
           And then the statement of considerations also refer
           you, that if you're interested in the deterministic
           analysis, they're in the appendices of NUREG 460, but
           it provides you with a roadmap on which documents to
           go back and review.
                       The basic approach we took to effect this,
           as the regulations effect, the expectations are being
           achieved and we got those expectations from the NRC
           documents, as I mentioned, largely SECY-82-293 and the
           outcomes, we used operating experience, the NRC PRA
           IPE data bases which is available on the webpage LERs,
           NRC surveys of the moderator temperature coefficient
           that was done in 1995 and NRC RPS reliability studies.
                       The scope of the rule was to stay within
           the confines to compare what, exactly what they did to
           the outcome.  We didn't try to read anything into the
           rule, change the method.  We used their methods, tried
           to do the calculations the same way they did, so we
           had an apple to apple comparison.
                       Certainly, some things could be done
           better, more precise and with technology today, but
           then you wouldn't know if you made any progress as far
           as what the authors expected in 1984.
                       The ATWS rule required certain
           modifications by reactor type.  For the PWRs, were all
           required to install AMSAC which is the ATWS mitigation
           system actuation circuitry which -- that's what I'm
           referring to in the first line there and that's a
           diverse means to trip the turbine and auxiliary
           feedwater and what that does is -- AMSAC monitors
           steam generator levels and initiates when the level
           drops below a certain set point.
                       The CE and B&W PWRs installed a diverse
           scram system referred to as a DDW and this Scams the
           reactors on high RCS pressure, about 2450 is what most
           of them are set at and that signal is derived from the
           riffle system.
                       The CE and BWR reactor types have an
           insufficient MTC, approximately 40 percent of the fuel
           cycle.  It seems like a longer exposure.  That was the
           primary driving force for installing the diverse scram
           system, but you can -- this is for the -- I want to
           say CE reactor.  They're showing for 18-month and 24-
           month fuel cycle, the percentage of time that they
           would be above the 3200 pounds.
                       MR. WALLIS:  Is it worse at the beginning?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Always.  Typically, the
           moderator temperatures --
                       MR. WALLIS:  Counter intuitive.  You
           usually expect new things to be better.
                       MR. POWERS:  Not true in fuel reactivity. 
           You burn the fuel up, see?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  All PWRs have MTC tech spec
           limits at hot zero power and how full power.  And
           we'll summarize those a little further down in the
                       For the BWRs installed, an alternate rod
           injection system, which is typically DC scram valves
           on the exhaust discharge volume.  And BWRs have, as we
           discussed before, high capacity, high concentration
           standby of the control systems.  The systems were
           typically about 40 GPM and the rule requires them to
           increase them to 86 GPM and most BWR 5 and 6 is
           installed automatic standby liquid control. 
                       The ATWS rule also required installation
           of recirc pump trip which also is redundant to the
           confirmatory action letter that was issued after the
           Brown's Ferry event.  
                       As far as another -- all of the
           modifications were installed in the 1986 to 1990 time
           frame.  As far as the Commission recommendations, the
           frequency -- the number of automatic scrams was
           reduced.  It was 6 in 1980 and the industry started on
           a program in the early 1980s to reduce it and it was
           4 in 1984 at the time the ATWS rule was passed and
           that was what was used as an input to the ATWS
                       And in 1997, 1998 and 1999, in each of
           those years it was .5 trips were year and within that
           it should be noted in each of those years the 60 to 70
           percent of the operating reactors had zero scrams and
           in any one year 10 to 20 percent had 2 to 4 scrams. 
           So they're the two ends.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  But is this
           reduction frequency the result of the rule?
                       MR. KRESS:  That was sort of a secondary
           thing the Commission asked for.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  It is second, but what did
           come as a result of the rule was four days before the
           ATWS rule was passed, the industry briefed the
           Commission on the fact that they were going to make
           scram reduction a program, that this would become a PI
           in 1985, 1986.  I think it was a catalyst to
           formalizing a program and getting it, giving it
           visibility rather than something that was being done,
           that we were to assume being done.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Is it fair to claim
           that this was the effectiveness of the rule?
                       MR. KRESS:  It was a response to the rule
           being promulgated.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  This study provided
           really a lot of sensitivity in the industry in
           regarding the acquisition and that's part of the drive
           of the concern with the failure of the RPS was coming
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  What were the main
           reasons that we had this order of magnitude reduction?
                       What did they do?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  More attention to analyzing
           the scrams that they had.
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  The dominant contributors
           to react a trip was number one to the turbine systems
           and number two to the feedwater systems.  And we've
           gone through a whole generation of improvement. 
           There's now a lot of digital feedwater control systems
           that help you go up.  There's a trip reduction
           program.  You walk around a plant and there's taped
           off areas, telling people not to trip over stuff.
                       There was a time when you had technicians
           -- you'd put a probe inside a cabinet and there's some
           likelihood you're going to slip, well, there's a lot
           of banana jacks around so that you connect up your
           scope right without slipping.  So there were real
           hardware things associated with the turbine and the
           feedwater which have commercial implications as well
           as safety implications.  And then just plain better
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  Better training,
           heavily dependent on training because the sensitivity,
           for example, testing was an issue.
                       MR. KRESS:  We heard about a reactor in
           Switzerland yesterday that's gone 10 years without an
           automatic scram.
                       MR. LEITCH:  One of the things that
           perhaps is lost up there is where it says upgrade
           EOPs.  I think that was a very significant step in
           scram reduction, coupled with well thought out
           emergency operating procedures, coupled with operator
           training, along in this time is the advent of plant
           specific simulators which I think helped a great deal
           in the scram reduction.
                       But I wonder, like George, if you just
           upgraded the EOPs and improved operator training and
           reduced automatic scram frequency, reduced RPS --
           increased RPS reliability, wouldn't that have greatly
           improved the situation?  In other words, I guess what
           I'm wondering is I guess it's not really possible to
           separate out how effective the hardware modifications
           were in making these improvements.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Two slides down we do.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Very good, thanks.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I think we're getting to
           the same place you are.  And then the other
           recommendation as far as RPS reliability -- could you
           put up that slide?
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Put a table in the report,
           basically shows the first line is what 
           SECY-83-293 expected and that was calculated based on
           one failure from Brown's Ferry and Westinghouse for
           each of the reactor types to get the value here.  This
           is the improvement expected as a result of RPS
           reliability --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Let me understand
           this.  Was the Brown's Ferry incident really a
                       MR. LEITCH:  Not a total, partial failure.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  It was partial
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  There were --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  They were buying
           themselves time and they were going to drain the water
           from the scram discharge volume.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Some of the rods inserted all
           the way, others failed to insert.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Right, over a
           period of time they managed to actually scram.  This
           is really conservative, is it not, to say that there
           was one failure?  This has been the perennial problem
           with scram reliability.  There were raging debates.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  It was to find more than,
           I think it was a third of the rods did not go in, that
           would be considered a failure.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  It was not that
           they didn't go in period.  I mean this was a dynamic
           event.  The operators intervened and so on and that's
           not here.  So 10-5 doesn't really mean much.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Did the rods go in to make
           the reactor subcritical?  I think they did.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Pardon me?
                       MR. LANIK:  No, they were at about 20
           percent power.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Were they?
                       MR. LANIK:  Yeah.
                       MR. LEITCH:  I'd forgotten the details.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  As I mentioned earlier the
           pivotal to the ATWS is the RPS reliability, does make
           a difference in the numerical answer, whether you use
           10-4, 10-6 and the discussion you're starting is
           exactly the discussion in the 1970s over whether you
           count this as a failure or not and what number do you
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  I mean this
           probably should have been analyzed as a precursor
           event, following the sequence and seeing what kind of
           probability you get rather than a straight forward
           classical statistics analysis because it was not a
                       I mean that's clearly an upper bound, if
           you assume it's a failure, the number you have there?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  They calculate upper and
           lower bounds about these values.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  How do they get the
           lower bound?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  They use a binomial
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Oh God, oh.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Again, I didn't challenge
           what the people did.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Is this being
           recorded?  Oh.  Let's go off.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  That was 1984, George,
           before you came along.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  I was an Assistant
                       MR. POWERS:  I get the vague sense that
           maybe you're a little disappointed?
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  You always read me
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  This is the expected
           improvement.  This is the result, if you treat the
           calculation the same as they did in the ATWS rule. 
           You can see they didn't get the improvement achieved,
           the improvement you wanted.  And then this is using
           the latest methodology in NUREG-5500 which starts with
           data from 1984 to the present.
                       And this is the value you get.  But
           there's not much --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  It that done like
           a precursor analysis in the 5500 or again is it the
           straight forward statistics?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  5500 is they modeled the
           different components.  They broke the RPS system down
           into 30 or 40 different components and got the failure
           data on those components and modeled it as a system.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  The important
           lesson from the Brown's Ferry incident is the
           operators do have time to intervene.  It's not a yes,
           no event.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I think I mentioned at the
           beginning you have to 2 to 17 minutes depending on --
           that's the consideration they gave to it.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Okay.
                       MR. KRESS:  Before you take that off, if
           we believe the bottom line why then we can say the
           expectation was met.  If we believe the next to the
           bottom line, we say a dozen.
                       Since I'm a Bayesian of sorts, I like the
           bottom line.  I presume that's one we ought to
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  If you throw out the
           failure data, you get a good answer.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  That is usually the
                       But remember though there is also a
           question about the denominator, what is the demand?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes.  
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  It is a big
           question.  Right?  So the number of demands they use
           there, one probably --
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  The denominator is probably
           a good estimate.  We do understand how many time a
           month they test a reactor.  What's in question is the
           numerator, because not all reactor 
           -- not all of these failures are reported.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  But even the
           denominator, wasn't there an argument made that
           they're moving all the time.  You don't scram, but
           that's an indication of how things work and that's a
           very difficult piece of evidence.  It's not that the
           rods are there and either they go in or not.
                       That was a big argument in the 1970s.  I
           mean how much credit do you take for that and the NRC
           finally said no, we'll count real scrams.
                       I notice a reluctance to show event trees. 
           The report has report trees, but your presentation
           does not.  Is there any reason why you don't have --
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  We have event trees.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  I know you have
           event trees.  I'm just asking why you don't show it.
                       Anyway, okay, please go ahead.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  This slide next.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  As far as P(ATWS) in
           getting to what Mr. Leitch, I think, was headed, most
           -- as you can see, as far as P(ATWS) goes, it did meet
           the goal of 1.0E-5 in all cases, but the majority of
           the improvement came from the initiating event
           reduction and not from the modifications.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  That is an
           interesting --
                       MR. KRESS:  That's an interesting --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Why is that?
                       MR. KRESS:  It's a direct multiplier.  The
           other one, you have to --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  I mean if you
           install hardware, if you make hardware modifications,
           shouldn't you see some --
                       MR. KRESS:  It's the number of scrams. 
           You don't challenge the hardware.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  All PWS install
           diverse means to trip the turbine or that affected
           what, the initiating event frequency?
                       MR. LANIK:  Basically what that does is
           affect the operator action time.  It lengthens the
           time you have water in the steam generator.  You're
           talking about tens of seconds.
                       MR. KRESS:  Let me ask you a question
           about this table.  We have a set of ATWS sequences in
           the event trees.  What was their contribution to the
           overall risk, say CDF, if we use a P as the CDF
           surrogate to the point for those classes of plants?
                       MR. LANIK:  We did not summarize those in
           aggregate.  They're listed individually in the
           appendices for each plant of their contribution.  What
           they estimate is their contribution on a 
           plant-specific basis.  We didn't go back and add those
                       MR. KRESS:  But it was generally a high
           times 101-5 approaching 10-4.  Is that -- I'm trying to
           figure out why the ATWS events were considered an
           unacceptable risk in the first place and of course
           that depends --
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  It's a low probability,
           very high consequence.  It's an unforgiving event,
           with the high pressure and the PWRs.
                       MR. KRESS:  And high uncertainty also?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes.  
                       MR. KRESS:  But I was trying to put some
           numbers on it.  How much contribution does that set of
           sequences give to the overall CDF of giving class a
           plant, say it was the number I'm looking for?
                       MR. LANIK:  I am just looking in our
           appendix and I see look at Tewkesbury and they claim
           24 percent as the contribution of ATWS.
                       On others, you can just look through the
           list, I guess.
                       MR. LEITCH:  But if you go to the extreme,
           you've got .000645.  
                       The difference is what one assumes about
           operator action.
                       MR. KRESS:  But I'm wondering why that was
           considered unacceptable so we had to have a rule in
           the first place.  That's the point I'm getting to.
                       MR. LANIK:  I think it's the point that
           Jack made earlier. It was the uncertainties --
                       MR. KRESS:  Large uncertainties.
                       MR. LANIK:  Large uncertainty in these
           things and the fact that some people were claiming 10-
           8 and I think that's a number that nobody would
                       MR. KRESS:  Frankly, I think that's a good
           answer, that there was large uncertainty -- that it
           was a sizable contribution and it was high uncertainty
           in that number.
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  And as a matter of fact,
           we've spoken a number of times and in fact, we got an
           opportunity to interview Mr. ATWS at the NRC which is
           our office director.  And as much as anything else, at
           least in my mind the purpose of this rule was not to
           suppress the risk of the plants so much as to suppress
           the uncertainty in the risk of the plants.  And we had
           gone back and forth for 15 years with the industry and
           then came up with what seems like a pragmatic approach
           to drive down the uncertainty. 
                       But let me just go on with the risk a
           little bit more.  If you take the Limerick Plant which
           I just happen to know, ATWS is 1 percent of the core
           damage frequency, so that's a small contributor. 
           However, because in ATWS you fail the containment
           before you melt the core, it was the dominant
           contributor to large early release.
                       Now those are insides that at least I have
           post the ATWS rule, but that was still as important on
           boilers, especially because of the fact that you
           failed the containment before you failed the core.
                       MR. KRESS:  Frankly, I'm very pleased to
           hear you say that one good purpose of rules is to
           reduce uncertainty.  I'm really glad to hear that.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I think the other thing
           they were wrestling with then is you had the very low
           numbers, but you also had three events.  If it's
           really 10-6 or 10-8 well why do we have three events?
                       MR. KRESS:  Why do we have three events,
           that's right.  Bayesian thinking again.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  We'll go to the comments.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  We sent this out, as I
           mentioned in the beginning of the discussion for
           public comment and we've received internal comments
           from NRR from Rich Barrett's group, the BRA Assessment
           Branch and the Reactor Systems Branch and we've
           received external comments from the people I've listed
                       Some of the highlights of the comments,
           UCS and Westinghouse commented that the risk approach
           was very simplistic and that's a --
                       MR. KRESS:  We've made the comment before
           that the complexity and extent of the risk ought to
           depend on the application and how much of a risk
           analysis do you need for retroactive look at something
           like this?  I don't know how simplicity -- simplicity
           doesn't seem to be too bad to me in this case.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  And then alluding to a
           question -- well, by the --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  The analysis of
           Brown's Ferry, for example, could have been done
                       MR. KRESS:  I don't think that's the
           analysis I'm talking about.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  That's not the
           issue here.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  In the final value impact
           analysis, I did not -- the original value impact
           analysis, the costs were divided up into the
           modifications and then the costs for lost power due to
           spurious scrams due to the installation of systems
           such as AMSAC and I went back and identified the
           number of spurious scrams which were considerably less
           than expected which helped make it more favorable. 
           And then I also stuck, there's a couple of sentences
           in there about I gave the NRC some credit for the
           scram reduction program because there are significant
           bucks.  It's in excess of $10 billion if you credit --
           somebody gets credit for that and a lot of people
           suggested, as George maybe was, that the NRC had
           nothing to do with it.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Did you consider the downside
           of false automatic boron injections?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  There weren't any, but that
           was --
                       MR. LEITCH:  I know there was one at
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  On the original actual just
           Tewkesbury's actuation of the systems that were being
           installed under the ATWS rule as calling a scram,
           diverse AMSAC which there have been several spurious
           actuations of, I think, 13.  But that's a lot lower
           than the one or two per plant that was expected per
           year.  And the --
                       MR. LEITCH:  But you're talking about
           false scrams.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes.
                       MR. LEITCH:  I'm speaking about false
           boron injections.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I don't think they
           considered that in the original rule.
                       MR. LEITCH:  But in the economic benefit
           of this, did you debit that?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  No, because they didn't do
           it in the original rule.  I did whatever they did in
           the original rule.
                       MR. LEITCH:  I see.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Just so you could measure
           the expectation versus the outcome.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Because there have been, I
           think, a few of those and then that increases the
           outage time because you have to clean up and several
           days sitting there cleaning up.  Okay.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  The other discussions on
           the PWR comments, one is to recognize that there were
           sensitivities to different design features between the
           Westinghouse and in contrast to the CE and B&W plants
           and we have a few sentences in there on that, we'll
           beef that up in the final report.
                       And then there were opposing comments from
           the industry, de-emphasized the MTC/UET issue and the
           NRR wanted us to increase our emphasis in that area.
                       We have a lot of "mays" and "could be's"
           and NRR would like us to make those hard statements.
                       UCS had a comment tying the steam
           generator tube issues to the MTC issue and then in all
           cases, both the BWR and the PWR manufacturers would
           like us to give more credit for operator action in the
           scram.  We've acknowledged that in the report based on
           the NUREG-5500, if you credit the operator or scram
           you halve the factor of 2 on the risk.  So we'll roll
           that up into an observation or conclusion of the
                       And then what we plan to do is each
           comment will be addressed in an appendix of the report
           like we did in the station blackouts so you'll see the
           comment as submitted, and then we'll provide a
           response to it.  And those will be issued with the
           final report.
                       The conclusion, we concluded primarily
           based on the risk that the ATWS rule was effective,
           the modifications were installed as intended and it
           was effective in reducing the risk.  The target was
           1E-5 for P(ATWS) and as you saw they were in the order
           of 10-6.  However, there's still uncertainties in the
           RPS reliability.  You still have to -- if you give
           benefit to the full range of the statistics, you can
           still get some answers that are -- maybe you wouldn't
                       And you still have questions about the
           data because RPS failures aren't always reported.  And
           then in the area of the mitigative capability, we have
           the concerns about the fuel management issues as we
           discussed earlier with the utilities need to become
           more competitive and a way to do that is to extend the
           fuel cycle.  To do that, you've got to increase the
           MTC and that's as Westinghouse has submitted.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  And for BWR isn't
           it true that given the chance there's some dependency
           on operator action?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  And that was our third
           problem that we thought we needed attention and as far
           as getting back to Mr. Wallis as to what to do, we
           didn't come up with a solution.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  No, the question I
           had was I thought that I remember a power operates
           coming in for BWRs and those are likely to accelerate
           sequences including the ATWS sequence.  Wouldn't that
           challenge further the operator action that -- or
           defectiveness of it?
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  Yes, we are planning a
           separate research initiative on what we call the
           synergistic effects of the power upgrades, the longer
           cycles, the change in fuel designs and we'll be coming
           up with a plan and likely write a Commission paper
           before we embark to try to figure out some way to put
           these together in a synergetic effect, rather than
           looking at the issues one by one.
                       That's a separate activity.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Just a comment on Table 1B,
           the column that's headed modification summary, is
           there any reason why you didn't annotate that to
           indicate which plants had automatic boron injection,
           automatic standby liquid injection?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I thought we did for a few
           of them.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Table B2, there's a table
           called modification summary and I don't see any
           indication there which plants have automatic SLC
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  We can add that.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Just out of curiosity.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  We can add that.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  Before I raise the
           question regarding the Figure A2, Figure A2 shows in
           the event tree you have the branch where you assume
           the electrical RPS failure.  And that doesn't have any
           -- of course in a failure you do have also a
           consequential and mechanical RPS failure.  You have no
           -- not that one.  A2. 
                       MR. LANIK:  We do not have that first
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  It has a branch
           that essentially shows failure of the electrical RPS
           and then a straight line, I don't know for the
           arranged your CAT sets to assume successful failure of
           the other components downstream.  Why is it?  I can
           understand if you have a failure of the RPS electrical
           you have also failure of the mechanical, but what
           about the automatic standby liquid system?
                       MR. LANIK:  Well, this is basically the
           event tree that was in the NUREG and we didn't change
           these.  And as a matter of fact, we didn't really use
           this in any of the calculations we did.  So I would
           say we didn't look at this one very closely.  The
           other ones we actually have the tables with the
           numbers that we plugged in and we looked at those
           closely.  This one -- we took it from the original
           ATWS rule, NUREG and put the numbers in that we got
           from the people in the reliability area.
                       I don't know the reason why that was left
           out.  I think it doesn't matter much because the
           electrical is so reliable, really, I mean in other
           words you always -- you usually go that way.
                       You're not going to have many
           contributions there. 
                       MR. WALLIS:  These are all amalgamous LCs. 
           Maybe that makes a difference.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  That's right, but
           then at that point you would have a gate and you will
           have success or failure system still.
                       MR. LANIK:  It's almost never -- you know,
           it's a very small number.  That's not going to be much
           of a problem.
                       MR. SIEBER:  A minor question.  It seems
           to me from my memory, AMSAC was a non-safety grade
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes.
                       MR. SIEBER:  On page 10 you discuss in the
           report reliability of ATWS mitigating systems.  Did
           the fact that AMSAC is non-safety grade have any
           impact on the estimate of reliability that's discussed
           there and in the previous table, top of the page?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  No.  The reliability we
           have is from the operating experience.  So whether
           they got it --
                       MR. SIEBER:  One way or the other?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  One way or the other.  It--
                       MR. SIEBER:  Well, somebody some place
           must have made a judgment that you don't have to have
           AMSAC of safety grade.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  All the ATWS modifications
           are non-safety.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Right.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Right.  
                       MR. SIEBER:  And that's because they don't
           have a lot of impact on the risk that scram reductions
           had a far greater impact?
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yeah, that's the bottom
           line.  The biggest impact was the scram --
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  Let me just point out, I
           mean this was anticipated transient, normal transient
           without scram.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Right.
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  It wasn't a 
           seismic-initiated event or a Hughes situation, so the
           special conditions didn't apply.  I think this was a
           very reasonable thing to do to make them, a system
           without all the pedigree, but it was always expected
           that they would be -- and of course, they are, high
           grade commercial.
                       But it does point out the importance of
           getting voluntary data collection on the component
           level with -- through INPO because if it's not
           reported via an LER because it's not safety-related,
           you need some other way of collecting the data and so
           these other ways are important to us.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Thank you.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  The question I had
           was why was 3200 psi used as a criterion for lack of
           effectiveness?  I mean you mentioned it above 3200 you
           may have failures of some valves and so on and so
           forth.  But the RCS is designed to withstand much
           higher pressures than that, I can see --
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  They considered ASME
           service level D.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  D, okay.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I think that got above --
           I think the steam generator for 3600 psi is what
           Westinghouse told us the limit was there.  But I think
           the D gets above that and then the D also gets into an
           area where they really don't know if the valves are
           going to deform or not where there's a lot of testing
           really hasn't been done in that neighborhood.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Actually, at that level you
           get some component deformation, for example, tube
           sheet bowing and so forth which is maybe not a
           disaster as far as integrity and continued service,
           but it's there, nonetheless.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Any other questions?
                       MR. POWERS:  I guess I've got two or
           three.  One of the first questions is an element of
           phenomenology.  Does the appearance of an axial offset
           anomaly affect significantly the response of the plant
           to an ATWS condition?
                       MR. LANIK:  I don't know.  Do you know,
                       I would say that probably that hasn't been
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  Years ago when I had hair,
           I ran a 3D space-time kinetics calculations and those
           were different than a 1D and clearly different from
           point kinetics.  So the axial offset would change,
           would change the response in the calculational model.
                       Now I was recently sobered by Norm Laubin
           who is sitting to my left because we just tried to do
           some sensitivity studies with just relap with a simple
           point model, but kinetics model and as -- just to get
           some feel for this and as Norm did the calculations
           and you know, you just turn the little knob on the MTC
           or you turn the little dial on the relief capacity in
           the primary system, you go from being, having steam in
           the pressurizer to going solid, you do one thing, you
           end up with 3100.  You turn the knob a little bit
           differently, you get 4,000 pounds and big differences.
                       And so that was sobering that the
           calculational model, the thermohydraulic model had a
           lot of questions for them and so I would get back to
           the forte of the rule was it suppressed the concern in
           these things.
                       MR. POWERS:  I guess what I'm wondering is
           if we aren't seeing a reimposition of uncertainty as
           these phenomena associated with longer duty cycles
           come up and we get these axial offsets.
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  And that's why research is
           interested in doing a study of the synergistic effects
           of all these changes, absolutely.
                       MR. SEALE:  I think it's important to
           remember that the effect of point kinetics is always
           to inject a coherence of events into any calculation
           and you will always over emphasize the simultaneity of
           a pressure pulse or a radiation pulse or anything else
           using point kinetics and if --
                       MR. POWERS:  I don't think that's the
           question here.  The question is are they doing any
           calculations on the neutronics at all here in response
           to the axial offset anomaly?
                       MR. SEALE:  I was going to say if there
           was ever a justification for going into those issues
           of computational capability, there it is.
                       MR. POWERS:  I derive from your study that
           a substantial amount of the evolution in ATWS
           probability arose from the reduction in the scram
           frequency that seemed to be correct.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes.
                       MR. POWERS:  And I believe that we now
           have a reactor oversight system in which scram
           frequency, unplanned scram frequency is a performance
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  Yes.
                       MR. POWERS:  If a plant were to go from
           the green to the white in its unplanned scram
           frequency and for the purposes of the thought let's
           say that they're all automatic scrams and none of them
           were manual, how would the frequency of ATWS events
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  If it were to --
                       MR. POWERS:  If the frequency at a plant
           for unplanned scrams -- I predicate it by saying
           they're all automatic, were to go from green to white,
           how does the frequency of ATWS events change?
                       MR. LANIK:  I believe it's about an order
           of magnitude.
                       MR. POWERS:  Which would put it over the
           Commission's goal or near the Commission's goal?
                       MR. LANIK:  It would be close.  It would
           be right --
                       MR. POWERS:  And if they went on to
           yellow, they would definitely be over the Commission's
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I don't know where the
           white -- you may have to get down to the -- the red is
           25 scrams and that's certainly within --
                       MR. POWERS:  An enormous number.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  I think the white
           is 3.
                       MR. POWERS:  It seems to bring us back
           where we were and so I'm wondering why is that white? 
           Why is that a little more extreme if you're
           essentially undoing everything that the ATWS rule did
           for you?
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  You're right. 
           Which is the big question because it was always being
           what was a rationale because green, white and yellow
           and most importantly the action matrix.
                       MR. RAUGHLEY:  I'm not aware that --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  I realize you're
           not, but this is a good comment.
                       MR. POWERS:  I think it's important that
           this study relate back to the current oversight
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Sure.
                       MR. POWERS:  And ask the questions, have
           we set these levels correctly in light of this
           objective of the Commission and this finding that
           those scrams make a difference.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Yes, yes.  And we
           may even find that some of these have to be plant
           specific, huh?
                       MR. POWERS:  Well, that would be a
           stunning revelation, wouldn't it?
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Surprise.  Okay,
           any other questions?  I think we will have an
           opportunity to review the oversight process again this
           year, right?  We have an SRM?
                       MR. POWERS:  Do you think we'll ever get
           into the SDP?
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  There are hopes.
                       Tom, is this done?
                       MR. KRESS:  I think so unless Jack wants
           to make a few more comments?
                       MR. ROSENTHAL:  Just that what we tried to
           do was -- well, what we did do was publish a draft
           report, went for public comment.  By the way, we
           always write to UCS with a letter requesting their
           comments as well as the industry groups.
                       And then -- but still as a draft report,
           we came before you with a near final product because
           this gives you an opportunity to influence the final
           product and some of the observations made on the table
           when you said that we'll incorporate in the report. 
           So what I'd like you to do is tell me is this a good
           way to go about it because we'll be back again in
           another six months.  Or, would you prepare a final
           product or earlier input and then in terms of your
           actions -- the choice is in terms of a letter or not
           or whatever, is just yours.
                       MR. POWERS:  I think this is just about
           exactly right.  The timing was just about exactly
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Are we writing a
           letter, Tom?
                       MR. KRESS:  I am still debating.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Debating.
                       MR. KRESS:  I have thoughts on what a
           draft might look like, but it's not --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  So we can discuss
           this this afternoon.
                       MR. KRESS:  We'll have to discuss it this
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  So the staff is not
           requesting a letter?
                       MR. KRESS:  No sir.
                       MR. POWERS:  Not even an "atta boy, Jack"? 
           Come on.
                       MR. KRESS:  It will be sort of that
           nature.  That's why, I don't know, we sometimes are
           reluctant to write "atta boy" letters.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Especially to Jack.
                       Is there anything else of substance to be
           discussed at this point?  Thank you very much,
           gentlemen.  We'll recess until 10:15.
                       (Off the record.)
                       MR. KRESS:  Can we come back into session,
                       The next item on our agenda is an overview
           of the mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility and with
           some debate over who it's supposed to be.  I'm going
           to turn it over to Jack Sieber for introducing the
                       MR. SIEBER:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  The
           licensing of a MOX or a mixed oxide fuel fabrication
           plant is a relatively new endeavor for the ACRS and
           the NRC.  There is a new standard review plan that
           covers the staff's responsibilities for that licensing
           effort.  This is sort of a kickoff meeting wherein we
           learn a little bit about a MOX fuel plant and the
           schedules and so forth that we will have to keep in
           order to keep the licensing process for a MOX plant on
                       With that, I'd like to introduce Tim
           Johnson who will give the presentation.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Thank you very much.  I'm
           the backup project manager for the MOX fuel
           fabrication facility project and I appreciate the
           opportunity to brief you on the status of this
                       Before I begin, I'd like to introduce
           several people who are available to also help me
           answer your questions:  our Deputy Division Director
           for the Division of Fuel Cycle Facilities and
           Safeguards, Bob Pearson; my branch chief, Eric Leeds;
           my Section Chief, Joe Gidder; Patrick Rhodes from
           DOE's Office of Fissile Material Disposition and Peter
           Hastings from DOE's Contractor, Duke, Cogema, Stone &
           Webster who's going to actually build and operate this
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  What I'd like to do today is
           go over a number of different areas.  One is to give
           you an overview of the MOX program and some of its
           history.  I'd like to talk about the NRC licensing
           process, what we're doing with respect to the National
           Environmental Policy Act requirements we have.  Talk
           about opportunities for public hearings, what we're
           doing in terms of public participation, some of the
           significant issues that we're dealing with and our
                       Before I begin though, are there any
           particular things that you wanted me to focus on as I
           went through my discussion?
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  To begin an overview, I'd
           like to talk a little bit about the history of this
           project.  The MOX project is part of a bilateral
           plutonium disposition agreement between the United
           States and Russia.  This agreement was intended to
           reduce nuclear proliferation.  Discussions on this
           agreement began shortly after the fall of the Soviet
           Union and the initial agreements were prepared in
           1993.  And I believe you recall that this past summer
           in June, President Clinton met with Russian Premier
           Putin and the most significant thing that came out of
           that summit was an agreement to go forward with this
           MOX project.  And the agreement was formally signed by
           Vice President Gore and made effective September 1st
           of 2000.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The objective of the
           agreement is to take 34 metric tons of surplus
           plutonium from the weapons programs and irreversibly
           convert them to forms that are unusable for weapons.
           In this approach, the U.S. is going to take 25 metric
           tons of material and convert it into mixed oxide fuel
           for use in commercial reactors and the remaining 9
           metric tons would be immobilized with vitrified high
           level waste.
                       The Russians are planning on converting
           all of their material into mixed oxides fuel and under
           the agreement both of the programs within the United
           States and Russia are going to roughly precede and
           parallel in terms of schedules and timing.
                       As part of the plutonium disposition
           program, DOE prepared an overall programmatic
           environmental assessment that was published in
           November of 1999 and following that, there was a
           record of decision in January 2000 and in this EIS and
           record of decision, DOE evaluated a number of options
           for dispositioning the excess plutonium and they
           looked at what you could do with it and also the
           locations of DOE facilities where these operations can
           take place.
                       The record of decision makes a
           determination that DOE would undertake what's called
           a hybrid approach that involves making MOX fuel out of
           a portion of the surplus plutonium immobilizing the
           rest of it. 
                       Under the approach of making mixed oxide
           fuel, the whole program involves taking a weapons
           pits, disassembling them, doing a chemical conversion
           from plutonium metal into an oxide form.  The next
           phase would be to take that oxide, make fuel with it
           and the next phase would be, of course, to use it in
           commercial reactors.
                       For the mobilization project, what that
           involves are materials that have significant
           impurities that don't make it easily adaptable to
           mixed oxide fuel and for this material DOE would
           convert the plutonium which is in various forms to a
           ceramic form.  They would put this material in small
           containers and encapsulate those containers in with
           vitrified high level waste.
                       The record of decision also decided that
           these operations would take place at the Savannah
           River site.  DOE investigated a number of facilities
           throughout the country for it and settled on the
           Savannah River site.  DOE also decided to place a
           contract with a consortium of Duke Engineering, Cogema
           and Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation to do the
           mixed oxide fuel fabrication and also be responsible
           for using it in the reactors.
                       MR. SEALE:  Excuse me, I probably missed
           something earlier.  The 34 metric tons that the U.S.
           would be reasonable for taking care of here is matched
           by another 34 approximately that the Russians will
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Yes.
                       MR. SEALE:  Where does this set in the
           total of the amount of material that we either know or
           think that the Russians have that might be --
                       MR. JOHNSON:  I think it's a relatively
           small amount.
                       MR. SEALE:  I would think so too.  So this
           is sort of skimming the oxide slag off the top of the
           crucible, I would imagine.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  That's my understanding that
           this is a small percentage of the total amount of
           weapons material.
                       MR. SEALE:  Yes.  I just wanted to keep
           the perspective.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  This next slide kind of
           diagrammatically shows what the overall process is. 
           The weapons plutonium will come into the Savannah
           River site and under DOE jurisdiction and oversight
           they will disassemble the pits and chemically convert
           the plutonium into an oxide and that material will go
           to the mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility which is
           under NRC licensing responsibility and from there the
           fresh MOX fuel will be used at the Catawba and McGuire
           Stations in their reactors.
                       MR. POWERS:  Do you have any insights on
           why ICE condenser plants are chosen for this?  
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Why these two plants?
                       MR. POWERS:  Yes, I mean they're ICE
           condensers, aren't they?
                       MR. SEALE:  Yes.
                       MR. POWERS:  Why are ICE condensers
           particularly suited for MOX fuel I guess comes to
                       MR. JOHNSON:  I don't know if that was a
           consideration in the selection of these plants.
                       MR. UHRIG:  I suspect it's more related to
           Duke.  They operate those, one of the three partners.
                       MR. POWERS:  They operate other things
           too.  I just wondered if ICE condensers had some
           peculiarity about them that I didn't know other than
           vulnerable containment.
                       MR. KRESS:  You were reading my mind.
                       MR. POWERS:  I saw you grinning over
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The fuel fabrication process
           is going to involve two primary activities.  The first
           step is an aqueous polishing.  The plutonium that
           comes from weapons does contain some impurities,
           primarily gallium and americium that are desired to be
           removed and in the removal of these materials,
           impurities, the proposal here is to use a liquid
           process, an aqueous process based on a scrap recovery
           process used at the La Hague processing facility that
           Cogema operates in France.
                       MR. KRESS:  Does that require you to grind
           the plutonium up into a powder?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The plutonium will already
           be in a powder.
                       MR. KRESS:  You receive it in a powder
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Right, it will be received
           in a powder.  And the first step would be nitric acid
           dissolution, a solvent extraction as an oxalate
           dissipation step and calcination back into an oxide
                       MR. POWERS:  When you say it's received as
           a powder is that because it's coming from the calcium
           reduction process as particulates or is it a powder of
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Right.  DOE is going to turn
           over to the fuel fabrication facility an oxide after
           they do their conversion.
                       MR. POWERS:  Okay, so we've got some
           serious criticality headaches here ahead of us.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Criticality is one of the
           most important parts of our review.
                       MR. SEALE:  Now, are they on the -- to
           what extent are those headaches on the NRC side of the
           fence and to what extent are they on the DOE side of
           the fence?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Both.
                       MR. POWERS:  If we're going to dissolve a
           nitric acid solution and do stuff with it and you're
           going to avoid the precipitation problem, you've just
           got headaches because you got to control that nitric
           acid pretty carefully.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Is this a PUREX type process?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  It's similar to the PUREX
                       MR. SIEBER:  Whose responsibility is it to
           control the particle size at precipitation stage?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  It will be --
                       MR. SIEBER:  DOE?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  It will be DCS's
           responsibility.  What these processes are are
           processes that will come under the fuel fabrication
           piece of it --
                       MR. SIEBER:  So the polishing is part of
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Correct.  And again, this
           process is a process that is taking place now in the
           La Hague facilities so there is a good deal of
           experience in using it and the La Hague designs are
           basically going to be used at this facility.
                       MR. SIEBER:  There is a PUREX plant in
           Hanford and also West Valley used a PUREX process too.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Now this is different, a
           little bit different than just reprocessing.  This is
           a scrap recovery process that is used at La Hague.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Okay.
                       MR. UHRIG:  Is the removing of these
           impurities because it affects the fabrication of the
           fuel or because it affects the operating
           characteristics of the plant?
                       MR. SIEBER:  They have a pretty tight
           specification for the operator based on operational
           use and they want to minimize obviously any impurities
           that they can.
                       MR. UHRIG:  It would affect the operating
           characteristics of the plant, as well as the waste --
                       MR. JOHNSON:  I think the concern is more
           of the operating characteristics of the fuel than the
                       MR. UHRIG:  Okay.  Americium has a pretty
           good cross section, as I recall.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Right.
                       MR. SEALE:  Could I ask -- the aqueous
           polishing is part of the fuel fabrication process?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Yes.
                       MR. SEALE:  Is it part of the fuel
           fabrication process for which the NRC is responsible
           for the licensing?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Yes.
                       MR. SEALE:  So everything on this chart
           here, ultimately the NRC is going to have as a
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Right.
                       MR. SEALE:  For licensing.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Right.  We're going to be
           responsible for the oversight of both of these
           processes here on the slide.
                       The next phase after the impurities are
           removed, the plutonium would go into more of a
           standard fuel fabrication process and with the
           exception of the fact that the use here is plutonium
           and depleted uranium, rather than low enriched
           uranium, the rest of this fuel fabrication process is
           very similar to what takes place in a normal uranium
           fuel fabrication.  There would be mixing and blending. 
           The material would be pressed into pellets.  The
           pellets would be centered in a reducing environment. 
           They would be ground to a specification and then put
           in fuel rods and ultimately into fuel assemblies.  And
           again, this process for fuel fabrication is based on
           the existing process now at the MELOX facility in
           Marcul, France.  
                       In Cogema, one of the partners in the
           consortium has been making MOX fuel for about 20 years
           and MOX fuel is being used right now in 35 reactors in
           Europe, 20 of which are in France.
                       MR. SEALE:  Could I ask, is that process,
           you say it's similar.  Does the similarity go so far
           as to allow hand contact, or is this a remote process?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  This is a remote process
           from the point of getting the plutonium canisters in
           from the DOE facility to the point where the fuel rods
           are taken and assembled into assemblies.  But the
           entire operation is done remotely in glove boxes.
                       MR. UHRIG:  Is the enrichment comparable
           to ordinary fuel?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The plutonium percentage
           will be about 4 to 5 percent and the rest will be
           depleted uranium.
                       MR. POWERS:  In NRC's examination of this
           facility, carrying out its regulatory
           responsibilities, is fuel quality part of that or not?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Well, one of the steps in
           the NRC program is to evaluate the qualification data
           for the fuel.  Part of the -- this is outside of the
           fuel fabrication project, but in terms of the use and
           the reactors, NRC is going to be evaluating that and
           like I said it kind of opens up our next slide here.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. POWERS:  Which is the depth of
                       MR. UHRIG:  That is a true Freudian slip.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Yes.  One of the pieces in
           our review is the reactor piece on the qualification
           of the fuel.  It's outside of the fuel fabrication
           project, but it is something we're involved in and the
           steps will be -- they'll be two lead test assemblies
           that will be produced and they will be radiated at the
           McGuire Station and data from that will be used in
           qualifying the entire program and one of the issues
           that I can talk about this a little bit later, but one
           of the primary issues right now is who is going to
           make those lead test assemblies.  Originally DOE was
           going to use the Los Alamos facility to fabricate the
           lead assemblies, but that was changed and right now
           the proposal is to use material, plutonium, from the
           United Kingdom, have the fabrication done in France
           and have that fuel shipped over here.
                       So yes, part of our program is to evaluate
           the fuel use and qualify it for the whole program.
                       MR. UHRIG:  Do you have estimates of the
           burn up that would be allowed in fuel of this sort? 
           Is it 30, 40, 50,000 megawatts --
                       MR. JOHNSON:  It will be on the order of
                       MR. UHRIG:  What would the plutonium
           content at that point be?  Do you have any --
                       MR. JOHNSON:  It's about the same.
                       MR. UHRIG:  Is it generated about as fast
           as --
                       MR. JOHNSON:  There are some numbers.  I
           don't recall.  
                       Peter, do you recall what the numbers are?
                       MR. HASTINGS:  I don't have those numbers
           with me.
                       This is Peter Hastings.  I don't have that
           number off the top of my head, no.  We can get it.
                       The final plutonium concentration of spent
           fuel is about 2.5 percent.  The IC topics are
           dramatically shifted from 93 down to the 59 range.
                       MR. UHRIG:  Thank you.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Again, the areas of the NRC
           review involve the licensing of the fuel fabrication
           facility and that is required by law.  It was -- the
           law was 1999 Defense Authorization Act that required
           the NRC to license a plutonium fuel fabrication plant
           where the fuel was going to be used in commercial
                       We're also going to be involved in some
           transportation aspects.  The proposal is that there
           will be a new package designed for transporting the
           fresh fuel from the fuel fabrication facility to the
           reactors and NRC will certify that package.
                       Again, for the reactors, we'll be
           licensing the use of the fuel at the McGuire and
           Catawba Stations and NRC would also be licensing the
           disposal of the spent fuel at the high level waste
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  For the fuel facility, we're
           going to be using a two-stage licensing process and
           this process falls out of our regulations which
           requires us to issue a construction approval prior to
           construction.  This is a little bit different from the
           way normal uranium fuel fabrication facilities are
           licensed.  It doesn't require approval prior to
           construction.  And this process is also -- turns out
           to be most convenient for the applicant.  They have a
           requirement to irradiate MOX fuel in 2007 and they
           feel that they can best do this by submitting its
           application in two pieces.  One is a construction
           application which is due at the end of this month and
           the second would be an operating license application
           and that's scheduled to be submitted in June of 2002.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  For the construction
           authorization, the regulations require that the
           application include a site description, a safety
           analysis of the design bases of the principal
           structures, systems and components and also quality
           assurance program.  And in order for us to approve the
           construction application, we're going to need to
           conclude that the environment will be protected and
           that the principal structures, systems and components
           are going to provide reasonable assurance against
           projection for natural hazards and accidents.
                       MR. SIEBER:  When this facility is
           finishing processing the 25 metric tons of heavy
           metal, is that the end of the facility or would you
           contemplate additional processing as time goes on?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The current program now is
           the facility would operate for 20 years.  At this
           point, DOE hasn't decided what the future uses of the
           facility will be, but I mean it is conceivable that it
           could be used for additional processing, if that's
           what the decision is or it could be deactivated and
           perhaps used for other things.  But as of right now,
           DOE has not indicated what uses beyond the 20 years of
           operation will be.
                       MR. POWERS:  Does the disposal or
           decommissioning of the facility, is that an NRC
           oversight responsibility or does it revert to DOE's
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Under the contract that DCS
           has with DOE, the facility would revert to DOE and
           DCS's responsibilities would be to deactivate it, to
           place a facility in a safe, shutdown mode and then it
           would be turned over to DOE and DOE could make
           decisions on further use or dismantlement if they
                       MR. SIEBER:  The EIS does not discuss
           anything about decommissioning, I presume?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Other than what I just said.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Okay.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Because there isn't a
           decision yet that it would be decommissioned after
           operation.  The environmental report just indicates
           that it would be turned over to DOE and final
           decisions on its use would be made later.
                       MR. SIEBER:  It seems to me that 25 metric
           tons is not a lot of material.  I presume that to
           operate for 20 years, you're going to have to have
           additional feed stock?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Right.  But the project is
           really intended to provide about a third of a core for
           four reactors for 20 years, so you're correct, it's
           not a great deal of material.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  As I mentioned, there are
           two parts to the whole licensing project.  One is
           construction authorization and the other is review of
           an operating license application.  And for the
           operating license application, we would address the
           overall safety analyses, the detailed design of the
           facility, management measures, emergency plans,
           physical protection plans and materials accountability
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  One the most important
           things that's a part of our licensing process is the
           preparation of the environmental impact statement. 
           And this, of course, is required for all major federal
           activities and it's also explicitly required under
           Part 51 for fuel fabrication facilities.  So we are
           going to be preparing an EIS for this activity.
                       One of the benefits we have though, as I
           mentioned before, DOE has prepared a programmatic EIS
           in a Record of Decision and we're hoping to be able to
           use a lot of that material and not have to regenerate
           material that's already been done by DOE.
                       MR. KRESS:  In the EIS I'm familiar with,
           the nuclear part uses a source term for fission
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Yes.
                       MR. KRESS:  Will you use that same source
           term for this fuel, you think, that's used in the
           normal EISs?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Are you referring to Table
                       MR. KRESS:  Yes.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  I don't really know the
           details of Table S-3, but we'll try to use what's
           already been used, if it's appropriate.  If it's not
           appropriate, we're going to have to generate our own
           source term based on information on the design of the
                       And again, we're going to try to use as
           much of the DOE EIS as possible, but because the DOE
           EIS dealt with the facility and the impacts on a very
           broad level, there will be a need to review it at the
           detailed design level of our application.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The process that we'll be
           using is the standard process that's described in Part
           51.  We've already received the environmental report. 
           Our next step will be to issue a Notice of Intent to
           Prepare an EIS.  We'll start a scoping process.  Our
           intent at this point is to have scoping meetings at
           three locations, one in August, Georgia near the
           Savannah River site; also in Savannah, Georgia and
           Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Charlotte, North
           Carolina site is so that we can get public input from
           people in the vicinity of the two reactors that will
           end up using this fuel.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  We'll do the coordination
           with federal and state agencies and the product of the
           scoping will be a scoping summary report upon which
           we'll develop a draft EIS, receive public comments and
           then issue a final EIS.
                       It turns out that for licensing, the EIS
           is a critical part of our schedule development and our
           goal here is to try to prepare a final EIS in 18
           months and that's going to be a very aggressive
           schedule, but the EIS people think that they can do it
           primarily because we'll be able to use a lot of the
           information from the DOE's prior EIS.
                       MR. SIEBER:  That's 18 months from the art
           of the NEPA process?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  From the application date.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Which is March?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Which is the end of this
                       MR. SIEBER:  Okay.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The next thing I'd like to
           talk about are opportunities for public hearing and I
           think you're aware that there's a great deal of
           interest in use of MOX fuel and opportunities for a
           public hearing are going to be an important factor in
           our licensing process.
                       Basically, because of the two step
           licensing in which we receive a construction
           application and then an operating license application,
           there will be two opportunities for a hearing, one at
           the construction authorization stage and this hearing,
           if it's -- if one takes place, will be limited to
           issues related to our authorization of construction. 
           And likewise, for operating, those issues involved
           with that hearing would be limited to those issues on
           which we base a decision on issuing an operating
                       The intent would not be to relitigate
           construction authorization issues at the operating
           approval stage.  And under the requirements of Part 2,
           the hearing proceedings would be the informal hearing
           proceedings in Subpart L.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Are NRC folks participating
           in DOE's preparation for their part of the EIS?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Well, DOE's EIS has already
           been prepared.
                       MR. SIEBER:  And there's public hearings
           going on?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Well, that's already been
                       MR. SIEBER:  Everything is done?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Right, and the record of
           decision was issued in January of 2000 on that, but
           there were a whole series of public meetings that DOE
           undertook in their overall programmatic EISs and those
           meetings occurred across the country, primarily
           because at that time they were evaluating where these
           -- the plutonium disposition activities would take
           place and ultimately the decision by DOE was to have
           these activities take place at the Savannah River
                       MR. KRESS:  Is there any plants for PRA at
           the Savannah River site?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  I am not sure I completely
           understand your question, but for the MOX facility,
           one of the requirements in Part 70 is to do an
           integrated safety assessment.
                       MR. KRESS:  An ISA.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  And that will be applicable
           to the fuel fabrication project and it's our
           expectation that the integrated safety assessment
           would use both a qualitative and quantitative
           evaluation as part of their integrated safety
                       Another important activity is public
           participation.  I think you're aware that that's one
           of the strategic goals of our Agency and in response
           to that, we've prepared a project communications plan
           in December and in there it describes a number of
           activities that we will be using to encourage
           participation.  We obviously have the NEPA process
           that involves scoping meetings and other meetings in
           going through the EIS process.  We'll have two
           opportunities for hearings.  We'll have periodic
           public meetings.  Last July, we did have a public
           meeting.  We had actually two of them.  One was in
           Augusta and the other was in Columbia, South Carolina
           to introduce people to the NRC.  People in the
           Savannah River area are very familiar with nuclear
           issues, but most of them aren't familiar with NRC
           licensing activities because their involvements have
           been primarily dealing with DOE.
           So this was an opportunity for us to kind of explain
           the differences in our roles with respect to DOE and
           the program.
                       We've also established a website for the
           MOX project.  We're going to be publishing a
           newsletter.  The first issue will be out within the
           next two months and of course, there's the normal
           availability of ADAMS for other documents.  Our MOX
           site is intended to allow easy access to some of the
           major documents that we produce, but it won't have all
           of the correspondence and memorandum related to the
           project, but that information can be obtained through
           the normal public access to ADAMS.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Who will be the recipients of
           the MOX newsletter?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  We have generated a mailing
           list and we'll be expanding that as people want copies
           of it.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Yeah, but what types of
           organizations or individuals are on that list right
                       MR. JOHNSON:  It will be internally within
           the NRC.  It will also be externally to the applicant,
           to DOE and individual members of the public that have
           been involved in the public meetings and other
           activities and that have requested to be put on the
           mailing list.  But there are a number of intervenor
           groups that have shown interest in this project and
           they will be on the distribution list for the
                       MR. WALLIS:  How does the website work? 
           Is it mostly a source for documents or is it an
           opportunity for dialogue?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Both.
                       MR. WALLIS:  Do you have experience with
           the dialogue?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Well, no, the dialogue piece
           isn't quite in place at the present time, but we're
           working with our Office of -- our Chief Information
           Officer to get that, but the overall objective is to
           provide not only a place to go for information and
           easy access to some of the significant documents, but
           it would also allow comment on documents and allow
           people to see the comments and others to comment on
           those comments.
                       MR. WALLIS:  It's not going to be a chat
           room thing where conversations are carried on, is it?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Yes, it could be that.
                       MR. WALLIS:  That kind of thing, okay.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  But the Agency does have,
           does use that in a number of other of their websites
           and it's our intent to adopt that into this.
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Some of the significant
           issues that we're wrestling with at this point in time
           involve a couple of areas.  One is technical issues. 
           Since fall of 1999 we've been conducting a series of
           technical meetings with DCS with the objective of
           ensuring that we get an understanding between both
           parties as to what the application should look like. 
           Our desire is to get a complete application that will
           not require a large number of requests for additional
                       And these technical meetings have, I
           think, have been pretty good.  We recently completed
           one regarding design bases.  As I mentioned, one of
           the elements for making a determination on a
           construction authorization is to evaluate the design
           bases of principal systems, structures and components
           and we wanted to make sure we had an understanding of
           the level of detail that would be necessary for us to
           do the review.  And in early January we had a two-day
           meeting to talk about that.
                       Other areas relate to seismic design,
           safeguard security issues.  We've had discussions on
           glove box materials, accident analyses, how to define
           the controlled areas and so on.  
                       Another issue I talked about earlier was
           the production of lead test assemblies.  Again, one of
           our jobs will be to review the qualification data that
           comes from these lead test assemblies to ensure that
           the actual MOX fuel can be used safely at the Catawba
           and McGuire Stations.
                       With regard to security, there are a
           number of overlapping areas of responsibility we found
           between DOE and NRC on a number of security issues and
           clearance issues.  This facility is going to be done
           under DOE contract.  It's going to be done under DOE
           site and in order to resolve some of these overlapping
           security issues we're in the process of preparing a
           Memorandum of Understanding with DOE to outline what
           our responsibilities are and what DOE responsibilities
           will be.
                       Another important consideration is this is
           really the first application of the revised Part 70
           requirements and the new Part 70 introduces integrated
           safety assessments which haven't been required in the
           past and this will be our first opportunity to really
           put an application through the mill on this.
                       MR. WALLIS:  Does that include
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Pardon?
                       MR. WALLIS:  That includes transportation,
           Part 70?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  No.
                       MR. WALLIS:  It doesn't.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Part 70 is for the fuel
           fabrication facility itself.
                       Part 71 is the transportation
                       MR. WALLIS:  Okay.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  And that will be used to
           certify the package that will be used for fresh fuel
           shipments to the reactors.
                       MR. WALLIS:  Are you also concerned with
           the shipment of the powder or is that DOE?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Well, DOE is going to be
           principally responsible for transporting the powder
           from their conversion facility to the fuel fabrication
           facility, but once it enters the jurisdiction of DCS,
           it will be part of our responsibility.  But the
           package that will be used will be developed by the
           Department of Energy.
                       MR. SIEBER:  I have a couple of questions. 
           Going back to the lead test assembly bullet there.  To
           use mixed oxide fuel in a commercial reactor in steady
           state is not particularly challenging, but if you have
           nuclear transients, particle size makes a pretty big
           difference, for example, a reactivity pulse to a mixed
           oxide fuel assembly creates a hot particle at the MOX
           particle point which could, for example, perforate
                       What's the data base that will be used to
           assure that specifications for the mixed oxide
           materials are suitable to take care of these nuclear
           transients and other effects?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The data base will be the
           European experience of 20 years of operations and
           also, the qualification data from the lead test
                       Again, I mentioned earlier that there are
           currently 35 European reactors that use MOX fuel and
           there is a substantial data base from that and DCS
           intends on using that in their fuel qualification
                       MR. POWERS:  I think it is also true,
           however, that the isotopic mixture used in the
           European reactors is substantially different.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  It is slightly different in
           terms of the isotopics and that again is one of the
           reasons for the lead test assembly program to verify
           the similarities in the actual operation data.
                       MR. POWERS:  In the past, a lot of the
           lead test assemblies have been located in fairly
           benign locations in the core.  We perhaps learned from
           high burn up fuel it's not a good idea to do that. 
           Are we going to locate these late test assembles in
           more aggressive parts of the core?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  I don't know the answer to
           that, but -- is there someone else?
                       MR. CARUSO:  This is Ralph Caruso from
           NRR.  Yes, for the retest assembles for MOX, we are
           encouraging DCS to load these assemblies in, not
           necessarily the limiting locations in the core, but
           near the limiting locations so that they're burned in
           a prototypical fashion.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Getting back to the hot
           particle issue, what comes to my mind is the work of
           Battelle Northwest, did it at Hanford in the 1970s on
           the plutonium utilization project where they actually
           test fuel rods with mixed oxide fuel under some of
           these conditions.  Perhaps that should be a part of
           the database that one uses in order to cite
           characteristics the pellets should have.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  A lot of people feel that
           the United States just has never done anything with
           MOX, but that's really incorrect.
                       MR. SIEBER:  That's not true.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  In fact, in the late 1960s
           and early 1970s, there was a substantial mixed oxide
           fuel program in the United States.
                       MR. SIEBER:  That's right.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Although since the 1970s, it
           hasn't been used.  But you know, your particle size
           question is a major concern and that's one of the
           critical components in the development of the fuel is
           to ultimately get the appropriate particle sizes and
           homogenization in the actual fuel pellets.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Right.  An additional
           question.  When you talk about the security of mixed
           oxide fuel, when you ship a new unburned fuel assembly
           from the fabrication plant to the reactor, does that
           follow the rules of shipping special nuclear material
           or is it something greater than that since --
                       MR. JOHNSON:  It would fall under the
           transportation regulations.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Well, it would seem to me
           that some relatively simple chemical processing could
           be used to concentrate the plutonium and separate it
           from the depleted uranium just as it was put together
           in the first place, say as opposed to slightly
           enriched uranium where making a more fissile material
           is virtually impossible without a diffusion plant or
           centrifuge or something like that.  
                       You see what I mean?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  No, could you --
                       MR. SIEBER:  Well, you could take this
           fuel assembly, put it in nitric acid, again, run it
           through an organic separation process and separate the
           uranium from the plutonium.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  This is after the radiation?
                       MR. SIEBER:  No, this is at the point
           where it leaves the fabrication plant, before it's
           inserted into the reactor.  So you end up with high
           grade plutonium again after you do that which would be
           an opportunity for somebody --
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Right, well, the security of
           that shipment will be an important consideration.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Okay. You would take
           something like that into consideration?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Yes.  And the security plans
           for use at the reactors, as well as the transport will
           be a key thing for our review.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Well, once it's installed in
           the reactor and becomes irradiated, it actually has
           all the same safeguards that normal uranium fuel wold
           have.  It's too hot to handle easily.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Correct, and I understand
           that the time that the fuel, the fresh fuel is at the
           reactor site, they're going to try to minimize that to
           the extent possible because that is recognized as a
           vulnerable period for that in terms of safeguards.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Right.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Pete, did you have something
           you wanted to say?
                       MR. HASTINGS:  Yes, this is Peter
           Hastings.  Let me clarify.  The fresh fuel shipment
           from the MOX facility to the mission reactors will be
           in a Part 71 certified shipping container in terms of
           safety requirements, but it will be under DOE safe
           secure transport and so it will be within the DOE
           security provisions and then once it's received at the
           reactors, the current plans are to load it directly
           into the spent fuel pool and not into a dry, fresh
           fuel storage.
                       MR. POWERS:  If we look at this
           transportation cask, do we have an understanding of
           what happens in the event of an accident on these fuel
           rods crushing or shattering?
                       MR. RHODES:  Yeah, the answer to that is
           there's a series of tests for the packages.  It's Type
           B package and it will go through a series of tests
           under Part 71 regulations.
                       I'm Patrick Rhodes.  I'm the MOX program
           manager for DOE.
                       MR. POWERS:  That will contain some sort
           of fuel rod mock up or an actual fuel rod?
                       MR. RHODES:  The test is going to be done,
           we'll have three assemblies, two of which are mock,
           one of which is a realistic assembly, a paratypical
           assembly and they'll actually measure the distortions
           after the drop test.
                       MR. POWERS:  And that's a drop test, how
           about accident test?
                       MR. RHODES:  Well, in the Part 71
           regulations it specifies the series of tests one has
           to do.  By analysis, it's fire, it's drop, it's
           perforation and puncture and maybe others and it will
           by demonstration, testing or analysis demonstrate all
           those requirements.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The remaining issue that is
           kind of at the forefront has to do with the hearing
           process.  Under the regulations you would use the
           informal Subpart L hearing proceedings.  However,
           there are some stakeholders that want to see the
           formal Subpart G hearing proceedings used and so I
           think that will probably end up getting sorted out as
           a -- if there is a hearing.
                       Did you have a question?
                       (Slide change.)
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The next thing I'd like to
           talk about is some of the things we've done and our
           schedule for the rest of the process.  
                       We've prepared a standard review plan for
           review of the mixed oxide fuel fabrication project. 
           That was completed in August of 2000.  I mentioned
           that we have a MOX website on line.  We've been having
           a series of technical meetings with DCS and DOE.  We
           had the public meeting last July in South Carolina. 
           In December, we received the environmental report for
           the fuel fabrication facility.  We expect to get the
           application for construction authorization at the end
           of this month.  We would expect that we can complete
           the review for construction authorization in September
           2000 so that construction can begin at that time.  We
           expect an operating license application in June of
                       On the reactor side, in order to use the
           lead test assemblies, we're going to need to receive
           an amendment.  That is expected in August 2001.  We
           expect the irradiation of those lead test assemblies
           to begin in October 2003.  We expect the license
           amendment for the use of the MOX fuel, other than the
           lead test assemblies, at both McGuire and Catawba to
           be submitted in January 2004 and the objective of DCS
           is to begin fuel irradiation in September 2007.
                       MR. WALLIS:  There must be a detailed plan
           of what you can learn from this radiation of the lead
           test assemblies?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Yes.  NRR and Research are
           very much involved with DCS and DCS's contractor,
           Framaton in doing the fuel qualifications studies,
           that program is -- Framaton had submitted to us an
           overall qualification plan that is currently under
           review by NRR.
                       MR. SIEBER:  The capacity of the fuel
           fabrication plant is such that you could actually
           provide reload for four reactors?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  It's intended to provide a
           third of a core for each of four reactors over 20
                       MR. SIEBER:  So do you -- is there a
           thought about who the other two reactors will be?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The four reactors are at
           McGuire 1 and 2 and at Catawba 1 and 2.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Okay.
                       MR. POWERS:  I'm telling you, there's
           something unique about a nice condenser of MOX fuel.
                       MR. SIEBER:  It sounds like it should be
           going in to cook.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Well, that concludes my
           remarks.  If you have any questions, I'll be happy to
           try to answer them.
                       Basically, I tried to talk about the
           history of the MOX program, our licensing process, how
           we're going to deal with the EIS in preparation of
           that, public hearings, public participation and our
           schedules and if you have any additional questions,
           I'll try to answer them for you.
                       MR. POWERS:  I have a comment for -- not
           for you, but for the rest of the Committee.  If you
           look at the schedule, you see that it goes out to 2007
           which means that most of the Members on the current
           Committee will not see the end of this process.  So
           we're going to have to establish some sort of a
           procedure for continuity throughout this so that
           people -- the institutional memory is going to atrophy
           if we don't do something fairly formal in this
                       We need to struggle with that, actually to
           the extent of going through a documented plan to
           assure that we have some continuity in this process.
                       MR. SIEBER:  I think that that is a good
           point.  I think that we're going to have to have some
           kind of a subcommittee meeting early this summer or
           late spring and that certainly is one of the things
           that we will need to address at that time. 
                       I think the other one is the Standard
           Review Plan.  We should probably attack that the same
           way that we addressed license renewal where we divide
           up the section among the members so that each of us
           has an expertise and a certain part of the review
           process and I know that I have a copy of that SRP, but
           I don't know if it's been distributed to -- everybody
           has it.
                       MR. SIEBER:  I think -- well, it's not
           that big.
                       MR. POWERS:  Are you going to be asking
           the reactor fuels subcommittee to look at these LTA
                       MR. SIEBER:  I think that last week when
           we redistributed the work amongst the various
           subcommittees of the ACRS, the fuels folks actually
           inherited a substantial portion of the overall
           responsibility for completing ACR's work with regards
           to the facility.  On the other hand, at the same time,
           fire protection is heavily involved and that's why we
           got the assignment initially.  So I see us working
           together and perhaps even forming a special ad hoc or
           special subcommittee just to handle issues here.
                       I also would point out to me the schedule
           seems very aggressive, which means that there will be
           a fair amount of work, both on the part of the NRC,
           DOE, the applicant and the ACRS and so I think it's
           important for us to keep that in mind so that we don't
           end up impeding progress on this process.
                       Does anybody else have any comments at
           this time?
                       MR. LEITCH:  There's a sense here in the
           Standard Review Plan that -- in the Executive Summary,
           that I was just wondering if you could expand upon a
           little bit.  It says the NRC staff has attempted to
           ensure that this SRP is consistent with the
           requirements of on-going rule making.  Could you say
           a word or two about what that means?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Yeah, basically what that
           means is our schedule for producing the standard
           review plan was actually ahead of the promulgation
           schedule for the revised Part 70.  And we tried to
           incorporate the thinking that was going into the
           revised Part 70 as we went ahead, even though it
           hadn't been finally promulgated.
                       MR. LEITCH:  Thank you.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  And it turns out, I think
           the revised Part 70 was ended up promulgated a month
           or two after publication of the SRP, so there wasn't
           a great deal of time and change between the two
                       MR. LEITCH:  Okay, thanks.
                       MR. SIEBER:  I guess at this time I'd like
           to ask if since we have DOE representatives here, if
           they have anything they would like to state or add to
           the presentation?
                       MR. RHODES:  Thanks for the opportunity. 
           My name is Patrick Rhodes.  I'm the manager of that
           activity.  Let me first start with a couple of little
           minor corrections. 
                       Tim said the facility will operate for 20
           years.  Actually, that is its design operating
           lifetime, but we're actually only expecting it to be
           12 or 13 years.  We're expecting initial production in
           2007, final production in something like 2019.
                       Second one is this facility is designed
           nominally for 70 metric tons, heavy metal throughput
           per year which is more than enough for six or seven or
           eight reactors.  Realistically, if one wanted to push,
           I'm sure we could even get more through it than that.
                       When this contract was originally awarded
           to the DCS contract, the contractor, there were
           actually two other plants, the North Anna plants were
           also involved which are not ICE condenser plants, so
           it just happened to be a coincidence if the ones that
           were resolved, had returned, actually are ICE
           condensers and consistent with the comment the fact
           that ICE condensers had no bearing on the selection
           per se.
                       The last thing I would like to comment on
           is what the gentleman said, it seems aggressive and
           indeed it is, but rightly so.  This is something that
           the National Academy of Sciences has dictated to be a
           clear national, clear and present danger, both to the
           United States and for the world.  There are large
           amounts of inventories in the United States and Russia
           to get rid of.  Nobody has really advocated or
           suggested the U.S. materials are in any way, shape or
           form going to be unsecure.  However, people don't make
           that same comment about the Russians and the way to
           get the Russians to make their moves, to make their
           stuff secure so it's not available for theft or
           diversion, to give it to us first.
                       MR. POWERS:  Let me ask you a question in
           that regard.  We have a cooperative agreement with the
           Russians dealing with space stations and what not and
           they have been consistently tardy in their
           contributions on things.  Will Russians be similarly
           tardy in this?
                       MR. RHODES:  Well, if you're relying on
           the Russians to pay for it I think absolutely the
           answer is yes, but the agreement that was signed in
           September required the United States in concert with
           the G-8 nations to secure funding and financing for
           the Russians to do the activities.  
                       The biggest problem for the Russians in
           meeting their obligations under many nuclear
           activities around the world really has been a lack of
           resources.  They're basically a bankrupt country when
           it comes to finding funds for major activities.  So in
           this case, the Western nations are going to fund the
           lion's share and perhaps all of the Russian activity.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  I wasn't here
           during the presentation, so I apologize for that, but
           I had a question regarding in reviewing somewhat the
           Standard Review Plan, there is an establishment of
           quantitative guidelines for use with acceptance
           criteria based on the highly unlikely and highly
           likely frequency of events, etcetera.  It is not a
           probabilistic approach to this establishment, is it? 
           Or is it just the traditional approach that is being
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Well, the approach that will
           be used will be consistent with the regulations in the
           revised Part 70 and I mean we haven't gotten the
           submittal yet, so I can't really say in detail how all
           of that is going to be resolved, but the requirements
           would be for the applicant to describe how they meet
           the highly unlikely and likely scenarios in their
           integrated safety assessment.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  It seems more of a
           standard approach.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Now we anticipate that
           they're going to be using kind of a combination
           qualitative and quantitative approach for this, so it
           will -- it looks like it will involve both aspects.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  Thank you.
                       MR. POWERS:  You are allowed under the
           Commission's policies to ask explicitly for risk
           information.  Are you going to do that?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  I think we can ask for
           information that we need to review the application
           under the regulations.  And I guess if that means
           asking for specific risk information, I think it's
           legitimate in asking that and requesting that.
                       MR. POWERS:  But you don't have any plans
           to do so right now?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  I think it will be dependent
           on when we see the application and what is in there. 
           I think it's a little premature to say exactly what it
           is we're going to be asking for at this point.
                       MR. KRESS:  I think you'll find that the
           ISA process is a qualitative risk information.
                       MR. POWERS:  And many of us feel that
           qualitative risk information is an oxymoron.
                       MR. KRESS:  Right.  Let's go a little
           further, it's semi-quantitative --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Semi-oxymoron?
                       MR. KRESS:  Semi-oxymoron.
                       MR. POWERS:  I think Stan Kaplan had a
           statement on that.  If you're having trouble
           quantifying things, go figure out a way to quantify
                       VICE CHAIRMAN BONACA:  But the guidelines
           are quantitative.  That's what it says here.
                       MR. LEITCH:  At what point in time will
           they be submitting the ISA?
                       MR. JOHNSON:  Will they be submitting
                       MR. LEITCH:  The ISA.
                       MR. JOHNSON:  The complete ISA will be
           submitted with the operating license application.  The
           construction authorization does require a safety
           analysis of the design bases, so there will be kind of
           a partial, but not the finished product ISA.  The
           construction authorization will include a safety
           analysis, will look at some of the ISA matters, but
           the full, complete ISA will be submitted at the time
           of the operating license application.
                       MR. SIEBER:  Are there any other further
           questions from the Members or comments?
                       If not, thank you very much for your
                       Mr. Chairman?
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Thank you, Jack. 
           Thank you very much again.  We will recess until 12:45
           where we have the reception in the room there, but
           several of us will be interviewing candidates.
                       (Whereupon, at 11:23 p.m., the meeting was
           recessed, to reconvene at 12:45 p.m., Friday, February
           2, 2001.)
           .                     A-F-T-E-R-N-O-O-N  S-E-S-S-I-O-N
                                                   (12:50 p.m.)
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  It's a great
           pleasure to welcome the Chairman of the Commission,
           Dr. Meserve who is here to tell us what is happening
           up there and what his priorities are, so maybe we can
           adjust our priorities.  So without much ado, I will
           turn it to you, Mr. Chairman.
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  Thank you, George. 
           Actually, I arrived here with a little trepidation. 
           Usually, the circumstances are different.  There are
           five of us on the other side of the table and we get
           the chance to ask all the questions and I could
           realize that this is an opportunity to turn the tables
           on me.
                       George had asked if I would come in, as
           he's indicated, and give you some sense of my feelings
           for the priorities of the Commission over the coming
           year and I'm going to do that, although let me start
           out by saying that what I said a few minutes ago in
           connection with an event for Bob Seale is that we do
           extraordinarily value your input.  It's very, very
           important to us in the process.
                       And in that context, we want you to give
           us your best advice.  Call them the way you see them. 
           Don't worry about the consequences of it.   Your job
           is to give us the best advice and we'll have to deal
           with it.  I recognize that on occasion that may mean
           you're passing us a few hot potatoes, but that's
           exactly what you're supposed to do and I am never
           going to criticize you and I don't think my colleagues
           are for giving us a straight shot on the issues that
           you deal with.
                       As I go through a couple of the issues
           that I see as ones that are important to the
           Commission over the coming year and I would like to --
           I will leave plenty of time for questions.  I think
           most of the things I'm going to mention are going to
           be things with which all of you are fully aware and
           are not going to be a surprise.  I will try to give
           you my sense of the context in which I think the
           Commission is going to be dealing with some of these
           issues in the hope that that might be of some interest
           to you.
                       First, I mention license renewal.  This is
           a very high visibility issue for the Commission.  As
           you know, we all had some challenges that were being
           presented to us by the Congress, a number of years
           ago, and we had pledged that we were going to make
           decisions with regards to these license renewal issues
           within a designated time period.  That doesn't
           obviously preclude us from saying no to some.  We may
           find that to be necessary.  But we are trying to abide
           by the time lines for this in that people are
           monitoring whether we are able to do the job within
           the time that we've allowed ourselves.
                       I am concerned that that is going to be a
           challenge for the Commission, particularly as the
           queue of plants gets longer and larger.  There is hope
           in anticipation in NRR that efficiencies are going to
           arise out of that process and the generic lessons
           learned is obviously an effort to try to find a way to
           take some issues off the table if that's possible, to
           do that.
                       We'll see if that has been effective.  As
           all of you know, we've heard from, on some of that
           that report may not be as effective in achieving that
           goal as we might have hoped.  We'll see.
                       It is essential in that process obviously
           to look at the aging issues that we get strong,
           reliable, technical input on matters there.  I know
           that you are involved in that.  There's going to be a
           continuing challenge for you as well as for us because
           of the fact that as the queue gets longer, and the
           number of applications in our process get larger,
           that's going to increase the burden on you.  I hope
           that it gets something that is more routinized as time
           goes on and that it will facilitate that, but I am
           conscious of the challenge that we're presenting to
           you.  And this is an important area for uss, not only
           because of the importance of doing the job, but also
           because we're being assessed in terms, at least the
           timeliness of our action in that area.
                       The second area I'd mentioned and I know
           this is one that is an area within which this group
           has been very helpful in its briefing to the
           Commission and that is our efforts to risk-inform our
           regulatory system.  It is apparent to all of us that
           we are feeling our way into that process and it is
           proving, perhaps, to be a more intricate and
           challenging task than some might have expected.  You
           might have had the wisdom to see what we were getting
                       I'm not sure that all of us on the
           Commission side of the table had an awareness of that,
           but we clearly have a serious technical challenge in
           order to think through our regulatory system,
           particularly where the regulatory system is so
           interconnected and to be able to make a change in one
           area without having implications you haven't thought
           through, at least, in another area in making sure that
           you can do this in a sensible fashion.   At one point
           I think we had talked with this group about whether a
           clean sheet of paper might be an alternative approach. 
           The problem is that would be such an immense task,
           we'd be many, many years until we could make progress
           on it.  So I think that the incremental approach that
           we're taking is the right one and we're learning as we
           go through it.
                       But it's hard for me to tell at this
           juncture how fast the pace is going to be, but this is
           also a high visibility issue and it does seem to me it
           is one that is very important for the Commission
           because it provides us with a principled way to think
           through our regulations and decide which ones can be
           reduced for purposes of efficiency, give us confidence
           that what we have is either adequate or needs to be
           supplemented and there is the prospect here for sort
           of a win-win situation for modifying the regulatory
           system in a way that gives us improved confidence that
           we're achieving our objective of protecting public
           health and safety while simultaneously perhaps in some
           areas, reducing the burden of licensees where it's
           needless to have that burden.
                       And it gives us a principled way in which
           to go through that analysis.  Of course, we have had
           the benefit of 25 years of work since the WASH 1400
           and probabilistic risk assessment.  We've always been
           using it in some fashion in our efforts, but this is
           a more systematic way to include it.  And we should do
           it.  The learning is ripe enough to allow us to take
           that step.
                       We're clearly going to encounter some
           problems along the way.  We have one that we have to
           work through now with the fire protection standard,
           for example, where we're headed off in a direction on
           that with a standard in which it appears from the
           letter we've received the Nuclear Energy Institute
           that there may be no takers on our efforts to take a
           different approach.
                       So that there are going to be those sorts
           of pitfalls that we're going to encounter along the
           way and we're going to have to work our way through
           them.  Again, this is an area where the insights that
           this group can bring to bear and has brought to bear
           in the past is going to be very important for the
           Commission in trying to help us work our way through
           the challenges that this effort provides.
                       This is going to be a continuing challenge
           because I'm sure that this is going to be a decade or
           more of work for the Commission as it does its job. 
           I say in the anticipation of at least the early
           efforts are ones that we're going to view as
           successful and therefore we should continue.  But if
           that's the case, then this is something that's going
           to be a continuing challenge for us and one that --
           which your help is going to be essential.
                       The third area I'd mention is the
           challenges that we confront in reactor operations. 
           And there are many.  We have issues with the steam
           generators.  I know that there's a report that you
           have on that issue that at least I understand it's
           headed toward EDO.
                       We have the revised reactor oversight
           program and our evaluation of that and the development
           of improved performance indicators.  We have the spent
           fuel risk study which is intended to provide a
           foundation for rethinking recommissioning regulations. 
           We're going to have to grapple with that.  We have a
           whole series of things that relate to the interest of
           operating plants to go to higher burn ups on fuel,
           power-up rates and things of that nature. 
                       We confront some near term challenges on
           those and let me say that I think that the pressure on
           us in many of these areas is going to increase and I
           say that because I think that the political fall out
           from the California situation is going to be one where
           there is going to be great interest in assuring that
           existing plants are in a position to contribute and
           there will be great interest in power-up rates and
           improvements in longer burnup capacity and so forth as
           a result of that.
                       And so I would anticipate that this is
           going to be an area in which there will be, if
           anything, increased interest by the licensees.  The
           economic interest was already there, but there will be
           increased interest as a matter of energy policy of
           making sure that we can squeeze as much power from
           existing power plants as we can in a safe fashion.
                       And so there is going to be, this is going
           to be an area where I would expect there is going to
           be a variety of influences on us to be looking at this
           very carefully.
                       Obviously, none of us want to go beyond
           any point at which we're comfortable with adequate
           protection of public health and safety and we will not
           do that, but we're going to have to look at the issue
           very carefully and I anticipate some changes there. 
           And if anything, that's something that I think the
           emerging situation in California may result in some
           heightened interest in that area that may have some
           spinoff effects for you, as well as for us.
                       The related issue as I go into the
           political context, is something that I think would
           have been unthinkable for anyone to mention a year ago
           and that is the prospect that we may have some new
           construction in the United States.  We have had -- the
           Commission has been visited by representatives of
                       There was a meeting the other day that
           Research held on the PBMR reactor and obviously
           there's interest in that.  It was a prospect that if
           events go in South Africa as the utility hopes that
           this may be something that will be advanced in the
           United States.  There obviously is interest in light
           water reactors and upgrades in those of various types
           that might also be pursued.  And so I think that this
           is something that would have been, I say, unthinkable
           a year ago.
                       Nobody was talking about the prospect that
           we might have new construction in the United States a
           year ago and it's now being looked at seriously by
           people who are thinking about the prospect they might
           put some money in this.  This, too, I would imagine
           and would expect is going to be affected by the
           California situation and that there will be no doubt
           there's interest in the Congress and in an energy
           policy that will encompass a large number of areas.
                       Nuclear, I would expect, if I don't know
           any more than any of you on this, Nuclear is likely to
           be a component in that and exactly what shape this
           takes is of course uncertain, but one would expect
           that there will be interest in the prospect of a
           portfolio of energy technology and that may well
           include nuclear interest, encouraging and creating an
           environment where to exploit nuclear when and if it's
           appropriate to do so.
                       I think that that is perhaps a longer term
           issue for us, but it is something that obviously, ACRS
           is going to have to be in the middle of.  
                       We have made an offer to participate in
           some fashion in the events in South Africa.  We did
           that originally with the idea that we would -- the
           intention as we understood it was the South Africans
           were trying to use the risk-informed approach to
           thinking about this reactor.  We thought that we would
           gain from involvement in that exercise.
                       Perhaps at the initial stages we didn't'
           realize that it might truly ripen into something that
           might come home to the United States, but it's
           premature to say that.  But we are, at the staff
           level, are going to be basically intensifying our
           efforts on PBMR and alternative concepts with the need
           to prepare today for the possibility that we may have
           to be dealing with issues in the future and that will
           include, of course, not only the technical side, but
           also making sure that we have the regulatory apparatus
           in place so we don't place needless impediments on new
           ideas, but are able to regulate them in an efficient
           and effective way and provide adequate assurance of
                       I'll just mention two other areas and then
           throw this open to questions.  One of the other areas
           is research.  When I came to the Agency, now about 15
           months ago, one of the data points that I checked on
           before I came here was to look at the research
           situation at the NRC, at least in an aggregate form. 
           And I was concerned to see a program that had fallen
           from a level of about $200 million in the 1980s down
           to something that's about $40 millon today.
                       Even to deal with the existing fleet of
           reactors and dealing with issues, embrittlement
           materials issues and embrittlement type issues, higher
           burnups, MOX fuel, it was clear to me there were a lot
           of areas in which we were necessarily going to have to
           tread in which we would need a technical foundation
           for it being able to make decisions and I was
           concerned about that.
                       We have two groups that are looking at
           research.  Ken Rogers is leading a group of outside
           experts that has been examining the research
           enterprise and I know that you have a report that is
           headed in our direction this spring that is also going
           to be directed at the research enterprise.
                       And let me say for my part in it I think
           for the remainder of the Commission, I can say that we
           are going to look at those reports very carefully and
           to make some decisions as to what changes we should
           make in that area, so let me suggest that that's an
           area where -- I am thinking outside the box by this
           group and by Ken Rogers' group is going to be very
           welcome in that we are going to take that very
           seriously and I anticipate that we will be holding a
           Commission meeting that will be focused on the
           research after we receive these two reports for the
           purpose of our making, perhaps, making some decisions
           for change in that area.
                       This is obviously of a different, sort of
           broad public salience than the other issues I've
           mentioned, but I think it's an underpinning for a lot
           of our long-term success is our making sure that we
           have the capacity to be able to answer the questions
           that we're confronting today and even more importantly
           that we have a research foundation to be able to look
           at the issues that are over the horizon for us today.
                       I had been worried in our research
           program, for understandable reasons, that over time
           we've gotten increased emphasis on being a -- doing
           confirmative research, what we cal lit internally here
           which is basically being available to answer questions
           as they're presented from NMSS or from NRR, rather
           than the harder job of looking over the horizon and
           seeing what's coming.
                       Having that capacity to do what they call
           anticipatory research is an essential thing for us,
           just because of the long lead time to be able to get
           results in the research area.  You need to have some
           capacities to be able to ask the questions before the
           people who are doing licensing decisions ask them, so
           that you have some information in place that can guide
           the decision process.
                       Your insights about this program are going
           to be very important to us and I think that is,
           summing it, is essential for the long term of the
                       The final thing I will just mention
           quickly and it's of a different nature than us is that
           we have -- anticipate that we will be getting an
           application for mixed oxide fuel fabrication facility. 
           I read in the Energy Daily that that may have some
           environmental issues associated with it that are
           different from those that we had, I guess, understood
           were going to be the case and it's a lot more liquid
           waste that we may have to deal with in that facility.
                       We are obviously, the purpose of that is
           so that we can take surplused plutonium from weapons
           and then turn it into mixed oxide fuel and then burn
           that in some reactor so there is the counterpart issue
           of using mixed oxide fuel in some reactors which
           obviously is going to raise some technical questions.
                       We've been getting mail on that issue and
           that is another area in which I anticipate that this
           group is going to have to be providing us with some
           insights and again it will be welcomed to us because
           that's moving us into some territory and it's a little
           different in the things that we've been regulating in
           the past.
                       With that, I'll close.  Again, I would
           very much welcome your questions and let me say again
           how much I appreciate your work.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Thank you, Mr.
                       Do Members have any questions?
                       MR. POWERS:  I have a couple of things i
           would like to bring up.  We are moving in the
           direction of risk-informed regulation and this group,
           of course, is enthusiastic about that.  But I will
           comment that one of the things that surprises us about
           risk-informed regulation is how far we've been able to
           get with so little risk information into the process.
                       One of the areas you mentioned was fire
           protection and I'll remind you that I don't think you
           were a Member of the Commission at the time, that when
           we first looked at the performance-based ideas that
           NFPA was advancing on fire protection, that we said
           this is not meeting the NRC's needs and they really
           need to start thinking about how to make fire
           protection risk-informed as well.  And I think it's
           possible to do that because of the structure of the
           regulations are well built for fire protection.
                       Another area that this continues to
           interest this Committee is the area of risk during
           operations other than normal operations.  And
           particular risk during shutdown operations.  Our own
           feeling is that if one is really going to look at this
           risk informing the regulations in a unit by unit basis
           because of the tendrils of any given regulation into
           other regulations, you're going to need a
           comprehensive risk assessment.  And one can't help
           wondering if it isn't useful to at least have a couple
           of people sitting down and thinking what does it take
           to do a clean sheet of paper approach while you're
           carrying on this more incremental approach?
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  You may be right that
           as to the -- doing something in parallel, there may be
           insights that come from one that bear in the other
           that could be useful.  I think that this has been an
           area in which we have been resource constrained and
           therefore have, as much as anything, I think have
           taken a path in order to not be duplicating effort and
           maybe that's a wrong strategy.  I'll raise it.
                       I am very much aware that all of you as I
           think as all of our staff has got concerns about
           making sure if we go forward on risk-informed
           regulatory approach that we have PRAs on which we can
           rely for doing that work.  And you know, there has
           been this effort in developing the ANSI standard for
           PRAs, the NS has got its work underway and I think
           that all of that is something -- it's unfortunate it's
           been moving so slowly, but it is the -- it obviously
           has to underlay what we're doing in this area.
                       You do mention the -- you did mention the
           fact that we ought to be concerned about the risk at
           all stages of operation and we have, as I think you
           know that is particularly in the low power and
           shutdown risk that that is an area that I share your
           views, that this is something that perhaps we ought to
           be looking at more seriously than we have in the past.
                       MR. POWERS:  If I can just continue one
           other step and then ask a little more controversial
           question, but I'd appreciate, maybe you've got some
           insights that I don't have.
                       You have spoken about the California
           situation and it may be a renewed interest in the
           potentialities that nuclear power offers for the
           country and its energy mix and even spoken of the
           potential of using commercial nuclear plants to aid us
           in ridding ourselves of excess plutonium beyond any
           logical defense needs.
                       Do you have any sense that there's any
           interest in reprocessing fuel?
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  I'm not aware of any
           one prepared to enter that debate.  Right now we have
           a narrowly focused effort on this MOX facility that is
           to deal with the plutonium that you would like to be
           able to put in a state where it doesn't present a risk
           for generations.  And that that is the objective.
                       I don't think that there is anyone who is
           seriously considering the reprocessing option now and
           of course that's largely driven, I think, at the
           moment because uranium fuel is so inexpensive and
           there seems to be such an abundant supply and an
           overcapacity internationally, at least, in terms of
           enrichment capacity, that the situation is one that it
           would be economic reasons alone you'd have lots of --
           you don't have any pressures to be thinking about
           going to a plutonium fuel cycle.
                       MR. POWERS:  Whereas, as you said, we have
           an abundance of supply of the input to the process,
           we're rapidly running out of supply of things to
           handle the output of the process and that is a major
           headache that you have ahead of yourself.
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  That's true.  I mean
           that's a much different fibrillated problem by dealing
           with the back end of the process.  And we're in a
           situation where we await decisions that get made with
           regard to Yucca Mountain on that.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Any other comments,
                       MR. POWERS:  I'd also like to kick in a
           couple of other comments, least there be any -- maybe
           we need to realign our wheels.  You spoke of the
           research report.  We are preparing a research report
           in which we did not plan to speak at all to the issue
           of the way RES is organized.  We would speak in this
           report to the technical content of the work of
           research and perhaps some of its relationship to the
           line organizations, but not to anything about the
           organization and feeling that if there were things to
           be said in that regard, it might be better for the
           Rogers committee to speak to that issue than
           ourselves.  We have addressed the issue in the past
           and didn't plan to in this report.  If you want us to
           do something different, speak now or forever hold your
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  Let me say that I would
           welcome this group, giving us advice, broadly as it
           chooses on the research area.  If whatever reason you
           conclude that there are certain areas that you don't
           want to intrude upon, be covered elsewhere or that for
           whatever reason you think that might delay the report
           significantly to get into other areas, I will
           understand that.
                       We do have the benefit of the Rogers
           effort and so we're going to have no doubt some
           overlap and presumably some areas of nonoverlap
           between the two reports.  So I am not asking you to
           redirect your report, but let me just say and repeat
           again what I had said earlier is that we are prepared
           to receive your recommendations in the research area
           wherever you choose to provide them and if you have
           views in areas relating to organization that you would
           like to provide us, then that's fair game.  But I'm
           not asking you to redirect your effort.
                       MR. POWERS:  Okay.  We are trying to
           coordinate loosely with the Rogers committee in the
           sense of community with them over what they're doing
           and what we're doing and I think I can say with some
           confidence that the overlap is minimum.
                       MR. POWERS:  Okay.
                       MR. SEALE:  I think it's also true that
           there's not anything in those earlier research reports
           that we would disavow at this point.
                       MR. POWERS:  Not a thing.
                       MR. SEALE:  So to the extent that it's not
           addressed in this report, if you go back and find it
           in an earlier version, it's pretty much on mark as far
           as we're concerned.
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  You might want to say
           that in your report.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Any other comments,
                       MR. LEITCH:  Chairman, it's a little off
           the topic, perhaps, but one of the things that
           concerns in the broad sense is the aging of the people
           in this industry and the technical skills that seem to
           be leaving, perhaps by retirement.  Maybe it's Dr.
           Seale's retirement party that makes me think about
           these issues, but do you sense any difficulty in
           attracting the brightest and best people into this
           industry today?
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  I think this is, I
           didn't mention this as one of the issues to mention to
           you, but as an Agency, this is clearly a very serious
           issue for us.  We have six times as many people over
           60 in this Agency as we have people under 30.  You can
           -- you go to some important parts of the organization,
           Research, NRR, there's an order of a quarter of the
           people who are fully eligible for retirement, could
           leave today, full retirement.  And those numbers, of
           course, are growing as time goes on.
                       This is, in part, the consequence of the
           fact that our budget has been going down and
           allocation of full-time equivalents has gone down. 
           Until the last year, we managed to get real growth in
           both, very slight real growth in both.  And we managed
           that through attrition in that we have not had the
           opportunity to bring in as much as fresh blood as we
           would like to in terms of being able to strengthen our
                       I have talked to people in the industry
           and of course, they are confronting exactly the same
           problem and that we're drawing from the same pool of
           people.  The data I've seen is that we're producing,
           this was nuclear engineers alone, I've realized we
           draw from broader communities, but the national
           production of nuclear engineers -- if I have the
           figures right, is in the order of about 240 a year and
           the jobs from the industry are in the order of 600. 
           So that's without considering our demand.  So we
           confront a very serious challenge, both at the NRC and
           the nuclear energy industry more broadly.  It's a
           pipeline problem.
                       I think that time may correct that in some
           sense there's always a lag time is the problem in that
           there are economic signals that are going out that
           weren't there a year ago that if you go into this
           field there are going to be jobs.  And there's a
           future with life extension of plants, as a possibility
           you can go to work for a given utility and you may
           have a career, rather than a plant that's going to be
           terminated early.
                       So I mean the context is different, but
           it's going to take a while until that builds into the
           system.  To try to deal with our problem, I have asked
           for the EDO to provide basically a plan of attack for
           us on this issue which has just arrived on my desk. 
           And it's going to start with trying to assess the
           areas in which we have a perceived need, have
           competency over the years and seeing where we are in
           each of those and how we backfill and try to generate
           a plan for being able to deal with that.
                       I am hopeful that we may be a beneficiary
           of the fact that as a country we're going to start
           looking seriously at energy issues again and that
           there will be concern about this issue at the
           political level that may make it possible for us and
           other agencies to be able to address serious manpower
           issues that we, as a society as a whole confronts in
           this area.
                       I hope that's the case, but we're clearly
           going to have a short term problem at the least.
                       MR. SHACK:  Just in the context of our
           research report, one of the issues that always arises
           as we go through this is when does the NRC need to do
           the work and when do we accept the data from industry? 
           Our plants are basically built and licensed on designs
           and data from industry, but you mentioned, for
           example, embrittlement of pressure vessels.  If a
           utility wants relief so it can go through a different
           pressure temperature start up or use a master curve
           approach, are you comfortable with them supplying the
           data?  Do you feel that there's a need for the NRC to
           independently assess these issues?  Do you have any
           feeling for when we ask for independent verification
           and when we don't, because it's always an issue in the
           research area.
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  I can't give you an
           informed view of that matter.  It is clear that sort
           of fundamental things that are essential for safety,
           we need to have some independent capacity to be able
           to judge, things that are longer termed efforts, more
           generic than cooperative ventures with industry, for
           example, would be something we ought to encourage
           maybe more than we have in the past as it gets down to
           more specific licensing issue than perhaps a little
           more distance capacity to be able to look very
           carefully and be able to confirm that information is
                       I agree, it's a very tricky issue in it's
           not one that I can -- I feel capable to provide very
           much light to illuminate it for you.  I think that --
           I suspect that this is an area where you're going to
           have -- I hope you will have some insights for us in
           your report.
                       How's that for turning the table?
                       I'm sure we wouldn't let you get away with
                       To answer this real quickly, no, we don't
           need any more data on pressure vessel integrity.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Robert Uhrig.
                       MR. UHRIG:  You alluded a few minutes ago
           to anticipatory research and yet we are getting the
           signal, both directly through speeches and indirectly
           by word of mouth that other Commissioners have a less
           liberal view on this, specifically saying each
           research project should have a very defined end
           product, this type of thing.  I wonder if you could
           address this a little bit.
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  Well, let me say that
           the background for all of our activities and the
           thought process we have to follow is that for the most
           part our budget is one that is paid by our licensees
           and that puts pressure on us to make sure that above
           and beyond the pressure that every Agency feels to be
           efficient and effective in the expenditure of funds
           and the danger is that the more the research is
           anticipatory, the more vulnerable it is to being seen
           as not being related to a real industry need.  That
           may not prove to be the case, of course.
                       The whole reason you're doing anticipatory
           research is because you believe it's going to be an
           important need that the Agency is going to have to
           confront to deal with things that our licensees
           present to us in the future, but the reason it's not
           a present demand from NRR and NMSS is because it's not
           one that's being currently presented to them.  So
           there is a vulnerability to the fact that why in the
           world is the NRC involved in that area?  We don't have
           any requests to you in that area.
                       I think that this is an issue which I
           talked to my colleagues about and I think that -- I
           think there is a recognition of the need for
           anticipatory research.  There may be varying degrees
           of enthusiasm for how far you get into it, depending
           on the fiscal situation and let me say that this is an
           area that one possible solution might be to try to get
           at least some of the research that's funded out of
           general revenues, rather than from fees.  And I can't
           speculate as to whether that's like, but that is one
           way out of the impasse.
                       MR. UHRIG:  Another related issue, we have
           heated debates at times about who should do the
           research.  There's an argument that the utilities
           benefit from it, they should do the work themselves
           versus this is something that's important to the NRC,
           therefore NRC should support it and then there's the
           middle ground in between that's -- sometimes it gets
           lost because nobody picks it up.  
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  I think this relates to
           the matter we were just talking about a moment ago
           about the degree to which the NRC can rely on on
           industry data that's very into that is who should be
           the performer of the research.  And I think it has a
           lot to do with the extent to which the data is
           critical to an individual license application and
           obviously we need to have -- that's a cost that should
           be born by the licensee initially.
                       We need to have a capacity to be able to
           verify its accuracy and have to have a sufficient
           knowledge of the field and of the data to be able to
           do that, as opposed to something that's a much more
           generic issue in which there is, that maybe no one was
           prepared to pick it up.  It's sort of a commons issue
           in which there may be a -- might be appropriate for
           the NRC, recognizing that the work has to be done to
           play a role.  
                       I don't -- there's a separable question
           there as to who the performer is.  They decide that
           the NRC should support it, but then there's the
           question of where the work should be done.  I think
           that with a wide variety of possible sources and
           obviously, to my mind that depends very much on where
           we can get the work done most effectively and the most
           reliably.  We should obviously use international
           efforts to the extent we can.  I believe, just because
           of the cost savings that we can and they have
           facilities abroad that we may not be able to replicate
           here.  So it's a complicated set of parameters you
           need to consider in making a decision.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  I have a couple of
           comments, too.  We discussed earlier the issue of PRA
           quality and the need to do PRAs for modes of operation
           other than power.  I think another related subject
           that perhaps has not attracted as much attention is
           the use of codes and tools that have been developed by
           various industrial groups, consulting firms which are
           being used and the agency really hasn't to my
           knowledge reviewed them or used them in some way to do
           make sure that what they do is reasonable.
                       The measure seems to be that if this code
           is used by a lot of people it must be good and I think
           it's important to have some mechanism to make sure
           that what these codes produce is reasonable.
                       Now to go all the way and say that these
           codes, the PRA codes should be blessed by the NRC the
           way thermohydraulics codes have been in the past,
           maybe that's not the answer either because then to
           change something is a major headache, but I think we
           need to find a way and of course, most of these are
           proprietary, you really have to buy them to --
           although some companies are wiling to give them to you
           for free, but even then it takes some effort and
           resources to run them and find problems.
                       I think that tools that we as an industry,
           as a community are using to assess risks have to be
           subjected to some scrutiny so that as a community we
           will feel that yes, this particular computer program
           produced something reasonable that can be used under
           certain conditions.  And right now we don't do that. 
           We just rely on reputation and number of users and so
           on, so I think that's an important consideration and
           the committee, I think, will say something about it,
           at least in the research report and maybe in other
           forms as just information.
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  George, on that point,
           are there some specific areas for codes that you're
           talking about?  Obviously, we heard from you on the
           thermohydraulic codes.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Yes.
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  He have effort
           development in PRAs.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  I think they do a
           lousy job calculating importance measures and this is
           the central part of option 2.  And the utilities are
           caught in the middle.  They go out, they buy one of
           the best according to reputation and so on and now
           here comes the ACRS and says no, you have problems
           with the code and they have invested a lot of
           resources doing various things that are required by
           the regulations and I think somehow we have to avoid
           that in the future and make sure that the tools that
           are out there are doing what they're claiming they're
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  You have something
           coming to us in this area?
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  If I convince my
           colleagues at some point.
                       MR. POWERS:  George, we may go on from
           this to even build upon this, not only do we have
           these peculiar importance measures that are somewhat
           historic in their generation, we have alternatives
           proposed by licensees that no one seems to take
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  That's correct. 
                       MR. POWERS:  And we have academic papers
           which seem to make a fairly logical expansion type
           argument that seem to get ignored.  It's a real
           problem here when we have set down in writing what the
           division --
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  You are putting me
           in a situation of conflict of interest.
                       MR. POWERS:  I happened to have read the
           paper and liked it.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  Mr. Chairman, I had
           another thing to say and I must have forgot it.
                       Any other comments from my colleagues?
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  Thank you very much. 
           I appreciated the opportunity to meet with you and let
           me say that as issues arise that you'd like to talk to
           me about, I am available to you.  Please call and I've
           sent -- George, in particular, please stop by and let
           me know what's going on.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  I'd like to finish
           by repeating something I told you the other day, that
           this committee does know what an engineering approach
           measure is.  Don't believe it when people tell you we
           don't.  We really appreciate your willingness to come
           here and spend some time with us.  Thank you very
                       CHAIRMAN MESERVE:  My pleasure.  Thank you
           very much.
                       CHAIRMAN APOSTOLAKIS:  We will recess
           until 2:15.
                       (Off the record.)


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