Materials and Metallurgy - December 1, 1999
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON REACTOR SAFEGUARDS
MEETING: MATERIALS AND METALLURGY
Two White Flint North, Room T2-B3
11545 Rockville Pike
Wednesday, December 1, 1999
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:05 a.m.
WILLIAM SHACK, Chairman, ACRS
JACK SIEBER, Member, ACRS
THOMAS KRESS, Member, ACRS
ROBERT UHRIG, Member, ACRS
JOHN BARTON, Member, ACRS
MARIO BONACA, Member, ACRS
DANA POWERS, Member, ACRS
ROBERT SEALE, Member, ACRS. P R O C E E D I N G S
CHAIRMAN SHACK: The meeting will now come to order. This
is a meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Materials and Metallurgy. I am
Dr. William Shack, Chairman of the Subcommittee meeting.
ACRS members in attendance are -- well, I see Jack Sieber,
Tom Kress, Bob Uhrig, and John Barton --
DR. KRESS: Bob Mario's here.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Mario Bonaca, and Dana Powers are coming.
DR. KRESS: Dana's here. Rob Seale's probably coming later
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Okay.
The purpose of this meeting is to review the Staff's
proposed revision to 10 C.F.R. 50.55a, Codes and Standards. It
eliminates the requirement to update in-service inspection and
in-service testing programs to the latest American Society for
Mechanical Engineers code edition every 120 months. The Subcommittee
will gather information, analyze relevant issues and facts, and
formulate pr4oposed positions and actions, as appropriate for
deliberation by the full Committee. Mr. El-Zeftawy is the cognizant
ACRS staff engineer for this meeting.
The rules for participation in today's meeting have been
announced as part of the notice of this meeting previously published in
the Federal Register on November 16, 1999.
A transcript of this meeting is being kept, and will be made
available as stated in the Federal Register notice. It is requested
that speakers first identify themselves and speak with sufficient
clarity and volume so that they can be readily heard.
We have received no written comments or requests for time to
make oral statements from members of the public.
I believe Dick Wessman wants to start with a few
introductory remarks before Tom Scarbrough from the Staff begins.
MR. WESSMANN: Good morning. Thank you, Dr. Shack. My name
is Dick Wessman. I'm the Deputy Director of the Division of
Engineering. With me here at the table is Gene Imbro, who's Chief of
the Mechanical Engineering Branch.
I feel kind of bad -- I'm speaking to the backs of all three
of you. I should probably have snuck around to the other table. I just
wanted to say just a few words before turning it over to Tom Scarbrough,
who has had the lead for the work on our rule making activity, just to
kind of set the framework for our discussion and point the direction in
which we think we're headed.
As you know, there's been the long-standing requirement for
licensees to update their ISI and IST programs every ten years, to the
latest version of the ASME code that's been endorsed by the Staff by
Part 55 of the 10 C.F.R. Recently, after a number of years, we
completed rule making that updated that staff endorsement to the '95
code and '96 addenda with certain limitations. And this was all done in
Last spring we were with you and, and I think it was in
April where we discussed the concept of eliminating or replacing the
requirement of the 120-month update with a baseline code edition and
allowing the concept of voluntary updates to later approved versions of
the code. At that time -- this was before the completion of the rule
making -- we had proposed the idea of the 1989 version of the code,
which was currently in the rules as a proposed baseline, and pointed out
that a lot of licensees and utilities were on that particular version of
the code, just by virtue of the passage of time.
Later, the ACRS expressed their reservations on that to us
and, and suggested that the '89 baseline did not represent the most
mature version of the code. And I think the ACRS also indicated that if
we did eventually establish a baseline, whatever it was, that the
concept of voluntary updates seemed reasonable if licensees took whole
versions of the code and not parts and pieces.
This has been a complex activities and there's been a lot of
concerns and issues raised on this over the course of the last year or
so, and some of it has a history even before that. And you'll hear some
of those views regarding this particular process from the Staff and from
NEI and ASME in the court of the morning.
On balance, after we had completed our work over the last
few months, we believe the right approach is to replace the required
120-month update with a baseline representing what's currently on the
books -- the '95 code and the '96 addenda -- and include the provision
for voluntary updates to later endorsed versions of the code as the
years move forward. And this is the concept that we'll go into with a
little more detial with you, as Tom takes you through it. But we think
this represents the best compromise and balance of consideration of
regulatory burden for licensees and maintaining plant safety.
The Staff presentation represents a consensus of NRR and
research and regional folks that have been involved in this. And we
spent some time with our repsective management in the vairous offices,
and so I think we are presenting to you a product that has been, that
had fairly rigorous staff and management involvement arleady before we
come to you. But we want your views, we want our discussion and look
forward to the dialog that we can work together on today.
With that, Dr. Shack, let me turn it to Tom and let him take
you through the view-graphs, and he'll touch a little more on the
history and some of the public comments that went on last spring as we
worked down toward this. Go ahead, Tom.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Thank you. Good morning. My name is Tom
Scarbrough. I'm in the Division of Engineering of NRR. As Dick sort of
laid out the groundwork for you, we want to walk you through what we've
learned since we've last met, in terms of the public comments we've
received and the further Staff review and the consultations among the
Staff, and give an overview of what we're recommending and what the
options that we derived were.
As an overview, we were back here in April of this year to
discuss our proposed rule to replace the 120-month ISI/IST update
requirement with a process of voluntary updating. And in April of this
year -- April 27th -- we did issue that proposed rule for public
comment. And in that rule we included the 1989 edition as the proposed
On May 27th, we had a public workshop here in Rockville to
discuss the proposed rule and we had participants, about 60 participants
from the Nuclear Energy Institute, ASME, several utilities and private
citizens. On June 24th, the Commission directed the Staff to complete
the incorporation by reference of the '95 edition with the '96 addenda
into the regulations, and to require licensees approaching their
120-month update to apply that code editions. And they directed us to
further consideration of the ISI/IST update issue until the next
On June 28th, the public comment period closed. We received
about forty letters; some of them were --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Tom --
MR. SCARBROUGH: Yes sir?
CHAIRMAN SHACK: They would update when they reached their
120-month period? I mean, when do they have to update to the '95
edition with the '96 addenda?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Currently, on the books, the next time they
come up to their 120-month update --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: 120-month update.
MR. SCARBROUGH: -- that's when they would update. That's,
that is the current -- on the books right now. And that's what we
envision would happen.
On September 22nd, we did finish that, that rule to
incorporate by reference the '95 edition and '96 addenda, and that
basically established as the baseline currently, in the regulations.
And so where we are is, right now today, is we're preparing a commission
paper to summarize public comments, describe the options that we've,
that we've derived, and present some recommendations to the Commission
for their consideration. And based on their response in an SRM, we'll
take the next step, whatever they direct us to do.
There we go. Right there.
In terms of the public comment sources, we received letters
from ASME, the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety, NEI, and several
utilities -- and they're listed there -- I won't repeat them, but
they're listed -- and several individuals associated with ASME code
and/or ISI and IST programs, and then a legal firm, Winston & Strawn.
So we received quite a wide spread of different sources of comments and
views, and we considered all the comments to be credible in terms of
their presentation of their views.
In the Federal Register notice for the proposed rule, we
asked commentors to focus on several areas to try to make sure we
capture all the possible ramifications of this change. And this is a
list of them: potential effect on safety; what's the proper baseline;
the benefits and hardships; effect on the number of submittals;
consistency in the range of code editions that might be applied; the
potential effect on the risk-informed initiatives, because that's a high
priority for the Staff and the industry -- we didn't want to adversely
affect that; the potential effect on states and other organizations; and
the application of the portions of ASME codes, this sort of a
cherry-picking concept that we talked about. And then we also received
miscellaneous comments, which were actually very helpful, that I'll
mention briefly of some of the more important ones.
What I'll do now, I'll go through a little bit of some of
the examples of the public comments. We received quite a few more than
what I'll, what I'll kind of touch on. But I wanted to give you a
flavor of the dichotomy of the types of comments we received.
In terms of the potential effect on safety, NEI, several
nuclear utilities, the legal firm, did not believe that the periodic
revisions of the code resulted in safety and significant improvements.
DR. KRESS: Was this just a statement of belief, or did they
have anything to back it up? Like a risk analysis, or a --
MR. SCARBROUGH: This was just their views. Their views.
DR. KRESS: Just their views.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Right. Their views. Now there were -- in
some of the areas that we asked about, for example, the cost effects,
there were actual numbers that were provided, things of that nature.
But in terms of safety, most of it was the fact that the plants are
running safely now and so why do we need to update to another edition?
That was sort of the gist of their comment.
ASME and the Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety (IDNS)
and several individuals pointed to recent editions to the code and the
positive effect of small cumulative changes as evidence of improvements
over time. And they also noted that the actual process of updating had
a potential benefit of identifying weaknesses in the ISI and IST
programs, that they pointed out to us.
There also was some concern among some commentors,
principally ASME and some of the individuals, that there might be
reductions in the licensee participation on the code. And they were
worried about the unforeseen impacts on -- the adverse effect from a
successful code process that has served us well for many years. NEI and
utilities believe that the code participation will continue because of
common interest, such as code cases and the efficiency process of making
the code provisions more effective.
DR. KRESS: Did the utilities share that view? I see you
had just one utility on that last view.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Oh, many times utilities would just, like
say, we agree with the NEI comments and things of that nature, and so I
didn't -- but in the case where our utility would actually provide
additional views beyond NEI, I added them and identified them.
DR. KRESS: I see.
MR. SCARBROUGH: But for the most part, many of the
utilities had beginning, introductory language which says they agreed
with NEI comments.
In terms of the baseline, the NEI and several utilities
believe that the 1989 edition of the code provided an appropriate level
of safety, and that would be an appropriate baseline. And then, the
more recent code editions would be available for voluntary use.
DR. KRESS: Did they, did they -- you know, words like
"appropriate level of safety," did they say what that was and how they
determined that a particular edition gave that appropriate level? Or,
were these once again just statements of belief?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Well, it was a statement of belief in the
fact that, that more of the utilities are currently using the '89 code
edition and there's no current concern with the safety of the plants in
terms of their operation. So therefore, extrapolating that, then that
should be a reasonable baseline.
DR. KRESS: It's an extrapolation of experience?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Right. Right.
DR. KRESS: And the experience is that they haven't --
in-service testing and inspection haven't turned up any risk-significant
things to worry about.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Well, in terms of the current process, I
would assume that what they're indicating is that the current ISI and
IST programs are working effectively as they are and wouldn't
necessarily need to be updated to a later edition, like between '89 and
'95, what were their significant changes that would mandate a need to
update to the more recent version to change procedures and such to come
to the more recent version . And they felt that the '89 edition, the
programs based on the '89 edition were working effectively and there
wasn't a need to do that.
DR. KRESS: Isn't that in essence saying that the changes in
the codes themselves were not worthwhile?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Between '89 and '95, yes. They basically
were saying that the changes were not that safety-significant that it
would, it would be necessary to mandate their implementation at the
MR. WESSMANN: Dr. Kress, it I may -- excuse me. Dick
Wessmann again. If I may butt in on Tom briefly, first of all let me
suggest that when NEI makes their presentation, I think we can explore
that a little further with them.
There are quite a number of incremental improvements to the
code over the years, between '89 and the various addenda. And as you
get up to '95, it's very difficult to quantify a lot of little bits and
pieces, and yet in the aggregate I think we've recognized that there are
improvements. And I think some of the, some of the things that we could
illustrate to you in the way of changes that came about are things such
as different guidance concerning welding techniques.
In the IST area, a change to the pump testing provisions for
a more comprehensive pump test. They make some changes to some of the
methods for evaluating flaws in thin-wall piping. As we get up through
the '95 version of the code, the O&M Code is now in existence and the
Staff has endorsed it for the first time in that September rule-making.
There's changes to the check-valve testing requirements.
But each of these -- you might say these are tiny bits and
pieces, but these are in fact incremental improvements, recognizing the
change in technology and the change in experience. And that helped get
us from '89 to '95. It is true that when we first looked at this, we
looked in terms of '89, and in this concept of recognition it would be
very difficult to quantify those incremental improvements. And that's
why when we first were with you last April, we thought in terms of '89.
But I think we recognized, over the course of the last six
months, a little more clearly some of the incremental improvements and
here's where we are now with '95 on the regulations. And this, I think,
makes good sense. It represents relatively recent technology and
Okay, go ahead, Tom.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Sure --
DR. SEALE: Could I ask one question?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Sure.
DR. SEALE: In one of the bullets there, you refer to not
justifying the backfit of Appendix VIII. In the past where a
requirement has existed to comply with the latest edition of the ASME
codes or with an updated -- has the backfit criterion been applied to
MR. SCARBROUGH: In the sense that where we incorporate by
reference the next edition of the code --
DR. SEALE: Yes.
MR. SCARBROUGH: -- like '95, as itself, the application of
that, that incorporation by reference, has always been considered to be
exempt from 51.09 backfit.
DR. SEALE: I wanted to make sure I understood that. Thank
MR. SCARBROUGH: Right. Right.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: But this was an accelerated implementation,
right? That was the backfit argument with Appendix VIII?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Appendix VIII was accelerated, yes.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Right, and so it's the acceleration that
they wanted justified by the backfit argument?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Right. They felt that the, that Appendix
VIII justification for accelerated backfit was not appropriate.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: And the compliance argument here was
basically saying that there was always an implicit requirement that you
inspect effectively, and this was essentially intended to assure that
you were meeting that requirement?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Right, in terms of the effectiveness of the
testing examinations that were ongoing --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Yes.
MR. SCARBROUGH: -- based on actual experience of some
examinations that were, that were performed in terms of the quality of
the ability to perform those examinations, it was felt that there was
such a weakness it, this was not appropriate to let it ride until the
next ten-year update. It needed to be done much more promptly.
My next bullet there goes into the point that Dick was just
talking about, in terms of -- ASME and several individuals pointed to
the evolutionary process and specific improvements, and didn't feel that
a baseline was appropriate to be established at all. And I won't repeat
those improvements, but I had a similar list that I was going to share
with you, that Dick just gave, so I'll move on.
But there were two utilities that recommended the selection
of the 1998 edition as a baseline, so it wasn't all one side or the
There wasn't concerns, as we'd talked about, in terms of the
backfit of Appendix VIII, accelerated backfit of Appendix VIII. The
Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety raised an interesting point in
terms of the multiple-code editions and addenda that were presented in
the baseline of the proposed rule, where they pointed out by their state
inspectors, they were concerned that multiple levels of editions might
cause confusion in terms of, you know, having '89, and '92, and '95,
were all sort of part of that baseline. So they pointed out something
that we had not really noticed at first.
Uh, and there, there was a concern among NEI and one utility
that if there was a selection of a baseline other than the '89 that was
presented in the proposed rule, that that would prevent public comments
on that new baseline, and we don't agree with that because we felt there
was quite a bit of comment on what the proper baseline was.
DR. UHRIG: Is there any significant difference between the
'95 and the '98 editions? Just --
MR. SCARBROUGH: Well we're currently reviewing the '98
edition, so I can't say where we are so far in terms of what we've seen.
In terms of IST, I don't believe there's significant differences between
'95 and '98. I don't know if anyone has, wants to add or venture any
MR. TERAU: This is David Terau with the Staff. There was
one significant change in the '98 edition of the boiler and pressure
vessel code, Section XI, which dealt with the inspection of
containments, in-service inspection of containments. So Subsections IWE
and IWL have been changed significantly to represent, I'd say, more
current views on how containment in-service inspection should be
performed. But we're still, the Staff is still reviewing those changes.
DR. UHRIG: Thank you.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Also in terms of the public comments, we
received comments regarding potential burden implications regarding the
NRC staff. NEI believed that a constant baseline would increase our
stability in the regulatory space and lead to higher quality inspections
and more efficient use of resources.
DR. KRESS: Explain to me what you mean by "constant
baseline." That means, you choose one of these years like '95 and say,
all right, that's it, and if you want to update, it's voluntary from now
MR. SCARBROUGH: Well --
DR. KRESS: Is that what you mean?
MR. SCARBROUGH: That's how they, how they termed it, that
if a baseline, if you set the baseline and kept it there for long, long,
very periods of time, that would lead to an understanding of, that is
the rule and everyone gets to know the rule and they have an
understanding other than changes over time, then you kind of have to
relearn it a little bit.
I think that's what they're assessing there. We didn't feel
that that was a, a very significant burden reduction on our part because
the changes are not that, are every ten years anyway and we do have
relief requests coming in, so we have plants that have different
programs. So there's an ongoing flux in terms of the programs anyway.
So this was just a comment that came in from NEI that it might be, there
might be a beneficial aspect of, of a more stable baseline than we
certainly have right now.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Would it at least -- when you get a relief
request, is that essentially to have to be renewed every time there's a
120-month update so that, in fact, you get -- you know, if you've got a
relief request from one edition, as soon as you go through the 120-month
updates you then have to re-request the relief?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Yeah, as you come up to your next program
review for a ten-year update, you look back and see if you're able to
meet that new verison, and if you're not, then you would submit relief
requests for that.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: So there is a continuing generation of
relief requests associated with the update?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Right. Right.
There was one utility that believed that elimination of the
ISI/IST update would allow us to review and endorse code editions more
timely. And that was one point that they made, where we hoped to move
these endorsements on more promptly as it is, that's one of our goals.
There was a concern by ASME that the reduced emphasis on the
code process might delay endorsement of the code editions. And our
feeling is, we're not going to reduce our emphasis on the code process.
We're continuing to review all the ongoing editions, addenda that come
out. We're going to continue to endorse them by reference in the
regulations. So our emphasis on the code is going to continue; it's
just a different process that we're gonna have.
One utility did point out that it might be scheduling
difficulties in terms of, if you had relief requests coming in sort of
randomly -- licensees updating, as they voluntarily updated and they
would have different relief requests coming. And that may be true, and
that's part of our thought process in terms of the baseline and when we
would consider updating the baseline and what the schedule for
implementing that new baseline would be, and that would be part of the
consideration of that.
DR. KRESS: Are there -- excuse me.
MR. SCARBROUGH: okay.
DR. KRESS: Are there conflicts between the proposed ISI/IST
risk-informed regulations and the endorsement of the codes and
standards, or what is spelled out in the codes and standards themselves?
MR. SCARBROUGH: I don't, I don't -- I wouldn't say it's a
conflict. It's a different approach. The risk-informed process changes
a number of the different provisions that would be required by the ASME
code because they implement a sort of a risk-informed process, where
certain higher-risk components are tested more frequently than
lower-risk components. So it's a change; I wouldn't say a conflict.
But there is, there's a different there that, you know, has
to be taken into account as we review the risk-informed programs. And
we've done that for a couple of utilities already that are implementing
DR. KRESS: The risk-informed programs don't really address
an update period, do they?
MR. SCARBROUGH: That, that's a good question. I'm note
sure how the risk-informed programs deal with the longer-term aspect of
MR. WESSMANN: Dick Wessmann again. I think they -- first
of all, the provisions in the regulation allow the utilities to
implement an approved alternative to that which is endorsed in the
regulation. And that's the basic process by which, at this point in
time, they come in the door with the risk-informed alternative. And of
course we've put the regulatory guides out there, the 1.174, 175, etc.
that give guidance regarding an acceptable risk-informed program. They
will then reference that risk-informed program and its relationship to
the existing code of record, because that's what they have as the code
of record. And for many of them it's '89.
In the area of IST, many of the provisions in the '95
versions of the code are slightly more attractive from a risk-informed
standpoint, and so the one major risk-informed initiative that we had
approved for Comanche Peak is based upon mostly the provisions of the
'95 version of the code -- with certain exceptions, but that was the
concept that was there.
Now, when -- if the law and the regulations stayed the way
they are right now, when the 120 months time comes up, the licensee
would have to look at, what is the current version of the code that's on
the books, and how does that approved risk-informed program comport with
it, and then as they do that program update, have to do either relief
requests or, you know, supplement that old submittal. You know, we're
trying to look into the future to indicate how they all comport.
If we have a baseline, regardless of the baseline that it
is, this concept of a little more stability in a program that's there,
then they are not faced with that as this 120-month interval comes up,
the "next time around" type of thing. And so, in that sense I think
there's a little less burden for the utility and a little less burden
for the Staff.
DR. KRESS: Is there an expectation that the code and
standards -- this particular one on ISI/IST -- is becoming very mature
and that it's sort of a diminish in returns on the changes to it the
future, that you've already reached the stage where you're not going to
improve it very much?
MR. WESSMANN: I think, I think that's a subjective call,
and it's hard to know. And then we're trying to speculate, you know,
new technology or something that's in the future. From the --
certainly, as we've talked, the incremental improvements have come along
over the years. And yet, if we say is there a maturity now compared to
the early '80s or something like that, I think we would, we would like
to think, yes, that's the case.
And yet we're in an industry with evolving technology and,
you know, a new test method or a new gizmo will come along, or a new way
of evaluating a flaw, or something like that, and come into the code.
This is one reason why, as Tom continues here, he'll talk about, we will
continue to review later versions of the code as they come and would
endorse them for voluntary implementation.
And then somewhere along you say, the cumulative approach.
All right, and now I'm saying I'm in 2010, the cumulative activities
over a ten- or fifteen-year period represent enough of a cumulative
change that we think a new baseline should be put in place. To say that
'95 as the baseline from now until 2030 is a little hard to say and
speculate on, so to have the provision for making a change, we believe
it's the right way to work forward in this area. Let me turn it back to
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Oh yes. Oh yet, come up. Come up, Gil.
MR. MILLMAN: Gilbert Millman with the Office of Research.
We talk about the cumulative improvements that go on from edition to
edition. In many cases these improvements are improvements in practice.
And as a result of there being a change to the code in one edition, from
relative to another, the relief requests that would frequently be needed
in the next 120-month update are eliminated because the relief requests
are often due to a hardship. And as a result of a revision to a code in
the next edition, those reliefs are no longer required.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Okay. Let me go on and talk a little bit about the
public comments we received regarding burden implications for licensees
and vendors. NEI and several utilities reported that the savings from
the elimination of a mandatory program updating with the fewer relief
requests that would be involved was greater than what was predicted in
the proposed rule. And they suggested that it could be up to $1-1/2
million for every ten years, to update the programs.
ASME and some individuals considered the benefits to be, to
be minimal in terms of cost per year and actually might result in
additional relief requests for licensees to use portions of those later
code editions and code cases. ASME also pointed to the burden reduction
regarding economic benefits and reduction in radiation exposure from the
improvements, code improvements.
DR. KRESS: $500,000 every ten years doesn't sound like much
of a burden to me.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Yeah, we didn't consider the burden issue
to be significant.
One individual was concerned about --
DR. POWERS: Wait a minute -- you didn't, but apparently
NEI, from everything I read, does think it's a significant burden.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Yes.
DR. POWERS: Why the dichotomy? It's not your million
dollars, I guess. That's why you don't think it's a burden, right?
DR. POWERS: I mean, it's easy to be generous with other
MR. SCARBROUGH: I think, in terms of the cost to review
relief requests and the cost per year, that might, that would be
involved in terms of additional relief request submittals that might
come in, that's, that was what we were thinking about in terms of
whether or not --
DR. POWERS: I mean, I see these qualitative words all the
time and I see assurances that this or that is going to reduce burdens
on the NRC Staff. But I never see any numbers. At least with NEI, I
get some numbers from what the costs are. But I always see these words
that says, this option or the other option. And it just depends on
whose document I'm looking at, is going to relieve burden on the NRC
staff. But I never see anything quantitative. Have the other members
seen anything quantitative on that?
DR. BARTON: No.
DR. KRESS: There was one thing, where we saw a reduction of
three FTEs per year.
DR. POWERS: Oh, okay -- I mean, that's a useful thing.
That's a lot of money there. I'm not sure what an FTE runs for the NRC,
but I assume it's around $180,000.
DR. KRESS: I mean, I guess it would be something like that.
DR. POWERS: Okay, so --
DR. KRESS: That wasn't for this.
MR. SCARBROUGH: But we don't actually see any change,
significant change in burden one way or another on the staff regarding
any of the options.
DR. POWERS: But it says in various documents that, in your
case by having this, that this will relieve and avoid licensees'
applications. And NEI, on their behalf, say they're generously trying
to protect you from overwork as well. According to their -- I mean,
both of them say, I've never seen anybody come up and prove one way or
MR. SCARBROUGH: Much of it is qualitative in terms of their
views of what --
DR. POWERS: We'll give you 180 degrees apart and say this
is qualitatively correct. I mean, NEI in their document -- I can
probably find the word that says, by following their proposed course of
action, it'll save work on the part of the Staff. And you say, by
following your course of action, it'll save work on the part of the
MR. SCARBROUGH: No, we think that any, any path is going to
have a significant effect on the work of the Staff. We still have to
review the code editions that come up. We still have to compare them.
The only, actually in terms of the burden for eliminating the ten-year
update and replacing it with a voluntary process, we actually increase
our burden slightly because now we have to look at the valuation of the
new code editions in terms of 50.109. So there's a small increase there
in terms of what we haven't done before. It's sort of a learning
process for us.
But in terms of, we're still going to be reviewing the new
codes, the new codes that come out. We're still gonna be repairing
rule-making to endorse them. The process is going to basically be the
DR. POWERS: Okay, not significant. Okay.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Now there was some suggestion that there
might be some hardships on vendors that supply non-destructive
examination services to various plants between nuclear and non-nuclear
because there might be differences in the requirements from the various
jurisdictions in terms of what might be applied for that.
DR. KRESS: Did you take comment seriously? It looked kinda
like the kind of comment you can deal with.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Yeah, that's a, that's a hard one to deal
with. I think there -- you know, because now there's a potential for us
to be out of sync somewhat because there is a ten-year process, a
ten-year anniversary where you do update every ten years. So there's
always that potential for them to be out of sync somewhat over time.
In terms of potential effects on states, the Illinois
Department of Nuclear Safety provided some good comments in terms of how
they synchronize their rules to the code editions as accepted by the
NRC. And they did raise a concern that there might be a possibility
that we could be out of sync with the state requirements, if the State
of Illinois decided to update to a more recent code edition. So that
was something that we thought about carefully, to see how that would
There was also some concern that there might be an impact on
states and vendors and nuclear insurers and other organizations from a
perception of a reduced emphasis on safety. And we tried, we tried to
make clear, we're trying to make clear in the Commission paper and in
any proposed rule-making, further rule-making, that we're not reducing
our emphasis on the code; we're raising the process for making changes
to the baseline. We're changing the bar, so to speak, in terms of what
would be the process for updating to a more recent version of the code.
A couple utilities indicated they didn't see a significant
impact. And one individual believed that some insurance companies or
inspection agencies might be adversely affected by the reduction, a
reduction in research of approved techniques.
In terms of the application of portions of the ASME code,
NEI and one individual recommended that licensees be allowed to use
portions of future codes. And one commentor suggested that that be
handled by the 50.109 process -- I'm sorry, excuse me, 50.59 process.
In terms of -- one individual also suggested that the need
for prior NRC approval might preclude incentives from the ASME code
committees to prepare code sections that might be identified portions,
that can be identified without conflict. And we have tried, in the
current rule-making that we just issued in September, we did identify
certain aspects or code cases, or certain aspects of the ASME code that
could be implemented without prior approval. So we recognize that there
are portions that, that can be implemented in advance and we've tried to
indicate those in the rule-making.
There was a suggestion that we prepare generic relief
requests to allow broad uses of that, and that's something that we'd
have to explore with, with OGC and such. And then there was an
individual that suggested that in addition to some of the other areas
that we pointed out at individual without prior approval would be the
IWA repair sections on repair, replacement and modification.
DR. KRESS: But when the ASME codes or standards committee
are considering making some sort of change to the code or standard, do
they do a cost-benefit analysis to that proposed change to see whether
it's worthwhile making it?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Not explicitly, but it's always been
assumed implicitly that because of the wide spectrum of participants on
the code -- you have utilities and consultants and regulators and such
-- that there is an implicit consideration of the cost of doing this
change. But it hasn't been set out and presented in an explicit manner.
In terms of the miscellaneous comments -- I'm sorry. Go
DR. SEALE: I'm impressed by what appears to be a suggestion
of really cherry-picking in selecting the sections of various code
cases, depending upon what a particular utility might want or desire.
And the question of consistency bothers me when you get a whole diverse
set of requirements for different utilities, and perhaps even individual
plants. Have you discussed this at all with the inspection people as to
what the implications would be if you balk at the regulations in this
MR. SCARBROUGH: In terms of the, the -- we have sent this
out to the regions for the inspectors to evaluate, and we have received
comments back that, that we've addressed. And they're supportive of the
proposed options that they've talked about.
One of the things that we tried to do is, we're -- our
recommendation is that future editions of the code that we incorporate
by reference, if a licensee picks it up and wants to make that the code
of record, they would pick up the entire code. And that would make sure
that the inter-related aspects of the code are pulled together, so we
don't have the cherry-picking.
Now in certain cases in the rulemaking, we might select
areas that we see are, are very significant that might be helpful for,
and endorse those as a separate, so they don't have to go through the
whole next version. For example, in the September rulemaking on
appendix 2 on check-valve condition monitoring, that's a separate area
that's such an improvement over what was done in the past for
check-valve testing that we endorse that, so the licensee could pick
that up and use that portion.
But yeah, we look at that very carefully because you have to
look at all the ramifications of, when you pull out a piece and endorse
it separately that you don't end up having a --
DR. SEALE: When you say an improvement in this particular
instance, in what sense?
MR. SCARBROUGH: In terms of the quality of the information
that you gather on the checkvalves, in terms of the examination process.
You monitor it more closely rather than --
DR. SEALE: Is there a focus in this that might in fact
reduce the burden on the utility?
MR. SCARBROUGH: I think there is because there is a way to
extend these intervals of examination out farther, so you're not sort of
a, a stroke of the check-valve every quarter or so.
DR. SEALE: So clearly, some of these changes in the code
requirements cut both ways?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Absolutely, yes.
MR. WEINMANN: If I may supplement Tom very briefly on the
aspect of the inspectors and different versions out there in the field,
that's a reality of life out there, and it's there now and to some
degree it will always be, because you have, of course right now, a
majority of plants on '89, some plants on earlier versions, and as the
clock counts out, that clock, the plant will update now to '95 and some
other will still be on '89 until that partiuclar click counts out.
You have -- under the provisions of the regulation,
licensees have come in and request a particular alternative, or they can
come in and request the use of a code case, and the Staff evaluates. So
then, a particular licensee on that unit may be using the provisions of
a specific code case. This is a challenge for the inspection staff, and
yet the, the inspection in the ISI and IST area are a very mature group
of individuals that have been involved in it a number of years and
recognize, you know, the differences of the programs for the different
units at the different facilities. And we've always had to deal with
this, and I believe our experience base will allow us to continue to
deal with this.
I think, as we get to a baseline concept, it might get a
little simpler, but there will always be different code cases and
alternatives that are out there or built upon a relief request. So this
diversity is a fact of life out there.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Okay, just a last couple miscellaneous
comments that I wanted to point out was, no matter which side of the
argument you were, just about every commentor emphasized the importance
of a more prompt NRC review and endorsement of the revised code editions
and addenda, and the code cases. And we've taken that to heart and
we're trying to improve that process. Also, ASME believed that there
might be a concern regarding the National Technology Transfer and
Advancement Act of 1995, if we did replace ISI/IST update requirements,
and based upon the option that we're recommending, we don't believe that
that's going to be adversely affected by our process.
Okay, that's a summary of the public comments. And let me
outline for you the options that we derived based on the review of those
Option 1 was to replace the ISI/IST update requirement with
a baseline and allow voluntary updating to later NRC-approved code
editions and addenda, unless that baseline is revised based on 50.109.
And within that option, we have three sort of sub-options that we would
consider in terms of what would be the initial baseline.
DR. KRESS: Would that revision under 10 C.F.R. 50.109
require a backfit analysis?
MR. SCARBROUGH: It would be a backfit analysis, but it
could be qualitative and quantitative. It doesn't have to be only
quantitative. So that was something, yes. It would be under 50.109.
Option 1.A is basically the proposed rule baseline. The
1989 edition for ISI and IST; '92 edition for the IWE/IWL subections for
containments; and then the '95 edition to pick up the Appendix VIII for
ultrasonic qualification of personnel.
Option 1.B would be the '95 edition and '96 addenda, with
the limitations and modifications are spelled out in the regulations
currently. That was issued on September 22nd of this year.
And then Option 1.C would be a later version, and currently
the latest version is '98. I think the '99 addenda is coming out. But
that would have an option of going to something even more recent.
Option 2 was to retain the current 120-month update
requirement and there'd be no change in the current approach that we
Option 3 is sort of a slight difference from Option 2 in the
sense that we retain the regulatory requirement for the update but we
develop guidance for plant-specific alternatives to that requirement and
make that a more organized outline approach in terms of how you might
request an alternative to that update requirement.
Okay, in terms of the options, under Option 1, we'd continue
the review of the future code editions and incorporate them by reference
in 50.55a for voluntary use, and then evaluate the code improvements
under 50.109 for backfit implementation. We would evaluate the ongoing
changes, both quantitative and qualitative improvements to the code, and
determine whether or not it's sufficient to revise the baseline under
the 50.109 criteria.
Licensees would be allowed to voluntarily implement an
entire edition or addenda without prior NRC approval, if it was
incorporated by reference in the regulations. Once a licensee selected
a particular code edition or addenda, that would be their code of
record. That would be what would be applied in their regulatory
requirement. Prior approval would be required for portions, and that
would make sure the inter-related requirements were imposed without
reducing the effectiveness of the code.
And we continue to participate in the code process the way
we do without any changes in that regard. And what we did was we tried
to outline the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options.
And under Option 1, the burden on licensees might be reduced, but there
is a potential for an increase in relief requests as they voluntarily
want to use portions of later code editions. And that might reduce
their savings. We would apply safety significant improvements to the
code through the 50.109 process, which would be consistent with NUREG
requirements. So we'd make it a level playing field regarding the
ISI/IST requirements and all the other requirements that we impose these
We would continue to emphasize the importance of the code to
our participation in the code committees and also the revision of the
baseline and specific backfits. And where there wasn't a baseline
established, we would have that update review that has been shown to
help identify program weaknesses.
Under the sub-options there, Option 1.A might provide more
burden reduction because most plants are currently apply the '89
edition. Option 1.B would apply to the current requirements that are in
the regulations that were issued on September, in September of '99. And
Option 1.C would allow the most recent version to be used as a baseline.
DR. UHRIG: The most recent being '95 or '98?
MR. SCARBROUGH: It would be '98.
DR. UHRIG: '98.
DR. BONACA: Have you identified any of the advantages with
Option 1 or yes?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Yes. Yes. In terms of the disadvantages,
we are removing historical exclusion of 50.109 from ISI and IST
updating. And that's a significant change. Before, we didn't have the
burden of reviewing each of the changes in editions for the 50.109
criteria. In terms of the additional resources, we estimated that the
total now for, of FTE, about one FTE would be required to review future
code editions, the changes that have been made due to do the rulemaking
process, and then also included in that now would be looking at what
significant changes were made from the previous edition to see if the
baseline needed to be revised. So there's additional work aspect in
this new process for Option 1 that wasn't --
DR. POWERS: Can I go back to the first one?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Sure.
DR. POWERS: Say that option removes their historical
exclusion, at least the updates from the 109 backfit rule. Have you
looked at your history and said, if we'd had, if we'd pursued Option 1
ten years ago, how would it affect things you did in the past?
MR. SCARBROUGH: No. One of the things we have tried to do
is go back and look back to the '89 and see what were significant
changes, not to the level of maybe a 50.109 type task, but what would
be, what were some of the significant improvements or changes that have
been made since '89.
DR. POWERS: And so you --
MR. SCARBROUGH: And that's, and that's where some of those,
you know, would not have been implemented in that sense. They may not
have been raised up to the level --
CHAIRMAN: -- most of them have been implemented.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Right. Right, but we haven't done it
CHAIRMAN: We've been through this for the ISI, of the
piping, in some detail associated with the risk-informed inspection.
And in fact, GSI-190. I mean, GSI-190, the whole analysis is based on
no inspection, and you still end up with CDF increments of 10(-6),
therefore, you conclude that you can't impose any new requirements. So
even without inspection, at least in terms of the piping, you're, you
can't really justify this on a CDF kind of basis.
DR. KRESS: So does this mean that there never would be a
revision to the baseline, because it would never pass the backfit rule?
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Well it would seem as if you had to impose
an ISI program, you'd have a hard time doing it. But --
DR. KRESS: As opposed to ISI --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: -- as well as updating the ISI --
DR. KRESS: As opposed to IST, which is even harder to --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Well, IST, you know, I haven't seen the
form -- you know, with the ISI, at least you, you have the analyses that
have been done for the risk-informed inspections in GSI-190 in front of
you, and so the numbers are --
DR. KRESS: I would guess if ISI doesn't pass, IST won't
CHAIRMAN: I would guess that's the case.
MR. SCARBROUGH: Yeah, we recognize the difficulty of trying
to do a quantitative analysis in terms of a backfit or revision of the
baseline. And one of the things we've discussed is the process for, for
updating that baseline. In many cases, it would be more qualitative in
terms of what are the changes and identifying those changes, and then
deciding if those, if there's a sufficient amount of changes that have
been made, that would give us good confidence that we should go to CRGR
Committee and suggest that we change the baseline. It wouldn't only be
the quantitative aspect, but I agree that that would be a difficult task
if we only used that task.
In terms of the, the ongoing activities, we do have a number
of activities ongoing, and you all have mentioned some of them this
morning. There's a significant effort in terms of the risk-informing
Part 50 that may change a lot of how we do business in terms of applying
regulations. And that might fold into 50.55A as well. The ISI/IST
risk-informed programs are ongoing and that has a different aspect in
terms of how we apply the IST requirements.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Just coming back to that, and in light of
Dick's early comments, I thought most of the, at least the in-service
inspection ones that we looked at, really replace the Section XI
requirements for an inspection, so it was a wholesale change. And the
updating was essentially built into the program in the sense that it was
a performance monitoring requirement rather than a formal calendar
requirement -- you would be required to demonstrate the fact that your
leak rates weren't going up, your failure rates weren't going up. But
as long as you were meeting those performance requirements, the program
could proceed. And you indicated that in fact there was still an update
requirement on that.
MR. WEINMANN: I guess I'm not sure quite how to respond. I
think we're both a little bit right, that these performance requirements
in the replacement for the ISI, like you're describing, that's correct.
It is basically a replacement of the Section XI program. I think that
the utilities at the hundred, you know, at the ten-year interval has to
at least look at what's on the books and see whether there's an
applicability or not. And I'm just not sure what the level of scrutiny
is required there at that ten-year interval.
MR. SCARBROUGH: We'll look into that and get back to you
tomorrow when we talk to you again, and you let you know, because our
risk-informed IC export isn't here, but he's back in the office and I'll
talk to him and get back to you on that.
In terms of licensees, one disadvantage might be that a
licensee might incorrectly, in our opinion, assume that we've reduced
the importance of a code. There might be additional burden regarding
additional updating if we want Option 1.B to '95 or 1.C to the '98
edition. We would not have the ongoing established time interval for
periodic review of the ISI and IST programs which has identified
weaknesses in the past.
There is a potential for inconsistencies between state and
NRC requirements, if the states happen to update to a more recent code
than we have. There was a concerned, as we mentioned, about the
multiple code editions in Option 1.A, and there was a concern that the
specific public comments would not have been obtained on the '98
editions or something other than the '89 edition as a possible baseline.
But we think we do have, received a number of comments in that area that
we're able to screen those and discuss those.
DR. POWERS: You have listed on there your, an issue -- you
say licensees might assume less significance or less importance to the
ASME code. Now that -- your conclusion on that was based on some
psychological review of various members of the licensing community?
MR. SCARBROUGH: No, that was their comment.
DR. POWERS: How can you seriously come up and say what
somebody might think?
MR. SCARBROUGH: That's what they commented. That's what
DR. POWERS: No, they said that comment. I mean, they said
participation would be reduced. They were concerned about that, and
that's why we're relating what their comment was. And our view is, we
don't intend to reduce our importance on the code.
In terms of Option 2, which is the current process we have,
some of the advantages are that there have been licensee event reports
which reveal numerous program weaknesses that have been found during the
program update reviews. And part of that's caused by the divergence
over time of the programs as a result of procedural changes or
modifications from different influences of, of different requirements or
provisions that might cause them to diverge from where they originally
were -- the priority isn't as high as it used to be on things of that
So the program updates do help safety by incorporating
experience and new techniques in identifying weaknesses. It does retain
the public confidence if the code revisions are seen to be
safety-significant in terms of the improvements to the programs over
time. And it does allow the NRC to respond through the ASME code
process to emerging issues without the burden of having to go through a
DR. SEALE: Could you give us some help on assessing the
severity or the seriousness of these numerous IST/ISI program
deficiencies that have been discovered in the past. Were they category
5 or category 4 or what?
MR. SCARBROUGH: We summarized them in our attachment, which
went into more detail on, for option 2. But in terms of the, the
identifying components that had been, had been, failed to be included in
the program, they'd somehow dropped out of their program somehow. So
they hadn't really been tested over time. So that's the type of thing
they found, where there were mistakes that were made, until they went
back and re-reviewed it. But I can't give you a report. Maybe I can
look into that and talk to you tomorrow about that in terms of, I'll
talk to the folks who did that review and see if they had looked at what
sort of result was that after, that they were finding? Was it a high
level of concern that was raised?
But there were weaknesses in terms of components that were
missed form the program.
MR. WESSMANN: Wally, can you add any dimension? Excuse us
for a minute -- we're putting Wally Norris on the spot a little bit, but
he did some of the work on the LER review, and if he can shed any light
on the perception of significance of some of these deficiencies or the
quantity of them or something, that might help. Wally?
DR. SEALE: He probably has been on the spot before.
MR. WEINMANN: Yes, sir.
MR. NORRIS: Wally Norris, Office of Research. We're still
looking into that, as you alluded in trying to determine what the real
risk for many of these is the difficult process. We had determined that
there were arund 140 LERs total in, relative to ISI and IST programs in
the 1990s. It turns out that somewhere, 20 to 25 percent of them are
related to the update. It's a little difficult to tell because there's
no standardization with regard to the wording of the LERs and right now
we're looking at about 20 of those. It appears that they will be
something that is safety significant.
And as Tom mentioned, there are sometimes entire classes of
components or either not putting the program through plant mod or other
outside influences. The programs get changed and even they're still in
the program, the procedures get changed. The tests are not completed.
Examinations don't take place. So, we hope to have that within the next
week or two.
SPEAKER: You've got a hand in the air behind you, sir.
MR. WEST: My name's Ray West from ASME, today. And I
looked at these LERs and a lot of them were very difficult to determine
if they are related to the ten-year update. But the percentage I got
was probably fifty percent for the related ISI ones were for the
ten-year update when you read into them. But I didn't see a lot of them
that were safety-significant. However, the way that the update is done
at the utilities is that it's usually done in the third period of the
ten-year interval. And it's done before the last refueling outage. And
as a result of that update, if there are mistakes, they usually can be
corrected in the inspections performed in that last period. But if you
do away with the update, that does not get looked at. That focus goes
away. And I'm not sure how many would be listed, and you could identify
LERs if that was the case. Thank you.
DR. SEALE: Thank you.
MR. SCARBROUGH: One of the disadvantages of Option 2 is it
could be considered to be not to reflect the current effort to improve
our justification for new requirements using the 50.109 process where
imposed on licensees.
Option 3 is a slight change to that aspect of Option 2,
where we would retain the regulatory requirement in 50.55a, but we would
authorize plant-specific alternatives, pursuant to 50.55a(a)(3)(i),
which, to provide acceptable level of quality and safety. We would need
to develop guidance for evaluating those alternatives, and we might
include such aspects as operating life and the safety-significance of
the changes from the previous version of the code.
The advantage of option 3 is that it uses a current process.
It does have -- the potential for reduced code participation is
minimized because on the books it's still the 120-month update
requirement. And the potential inconsistency for state and Federal
requirements is reduced because it's really reduced to a more
The disadvantages would be that the licensees have the
burden of justifying that alternative, and as a result it could have
less burden reduction than Option 1 because licensees would have to
address all the sections of the code in terms of their justification.
And another aspect of concern would be that it might not involve public
participation, where it was all done internally within the staff, and we
would need to have resources develop that guidance for this process to
make it clear as to what would be the success path for this option.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: So this is basically a global relief
request? Is that what you envision? I mean, you can now come in and
request relief from specific provisions. You're saying here they can
request relief from the whole --
MR. SCARBROUGH: Yes. Yeah, they would come in and ask for relief and
justify that, under 53(a)(i). Yeah.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: They already have this alternative, right?
MR. SCARBROUGH: Right. They can do that. And we've and
had -- they came in and did that once before. But now we've taken a
more organizaed approach in terms of the guidance, guidelines for
following that pathway, rather than just kind of reviewing it
In terms of evaluation of the options, we did apply the
strategic goals from the commission and, of the maintianing safety,
increasing public confidence, and reducing regulatory, and making NRC
activities more effective, efficiant and realistic -- I don't have much
time. I don't want to go into all these, but we did, we do feel that
each option would maintain safety. The process for updating is just
different for each of these options.
Option 1, you have the 50.109 test; option 2, you have the
process where it's automatically updated; and option 3 would be n a
plant-specific basis. So we feel that safety would be maintained for
all three options. We think that public options. We think that public
confidence, you know, would be reflected by how it's perceived in terms
of what option. We think all of them have the potential to increase
public confidence by the manner in which we intend to make sure that
safety-significant changes are continued to be mandated.
In terms of reducing unnecessary burden, we think that
option 1 provides the greatest flexibility for licensees, in terms of --
if they want to voluntarily update to a new version, they can, or they
can wait until the baseline was changed. So that gives them the
In terms of activities, we're gonna need Staff resources to
review relief requests regardless of the updating requirements. They're
gonna continue to come in. Option 1 does remove the historical
exclusion of 50.109 from updating, but it does make it consistent with
all our other requirements that we have. So we think overall that
process would work out to our advantage.
So all that said and done, we developed a recommendation
that we plan to present to the Commission, that no particular option has
an overwhelming advantage over the other options in terms of the
strategic goals. We've gone through all those in detail and there's not
an overwhelming process or argument that can be made for any of the
We think Option 1.B reasonably combines the strategic goals
and it would be recommended to replace the 120-month update requirement
with a voluntary updating provision unless the baseline were, was
revised using the 50.109 criteria.
We selected the 1995 with the '96 addenda as the initial
baseline on two points. One is, it's already incorporated by reference
in the regulations with the requirement that the licensees update at
their next 120-month interval. And second is the improvements that have
been pointed, from the public comments and from our review, since 1989,
to the code, which provides a number of improvements to the code
DR. POWERS: Would this supersede the accelerated
implementation of Appendix VIII, or that goes on --
MR. SCARBROUGH: That would continue. That would continue
just the was it is as of today. Basically what would happen was, under
Option 1.B what's currently in the regulations would be the baseline,
and licensees approaching their next 120-monrh interval would update to
DR. POWERS: But they have to do Appendix VIII sooner than
MR. SCARBROUGH: Yes. That was a backfit. That was an
accelerated backfit. So that schedule would continue. And we've talked
about, we've considered how to implement the process for updating the
baseline and such, and we've considered -- if, as we've reviewed future
code editions, if we found specific provisions that, I mean backfit over
time as we collected a number of different backfit provisions, that
might be an indication that it's time to update the baseline. So we've
started thinking about how that process would work. But it would be a
learning process because it's something we hadn't done before.
MR. WESSMANN: I would point out that if something like
Appendix VIII shows up in the future, and let's say it's in the 2004
edition of the code, there is something that is such a compelling
improvement like the Appendix VIII and it passes the specific backfit
test, that we would then go down the path, through the public comment
process and all, to impose that on some sort of accelerated schedule,
but that would have to be tested on its merits and, we're speculating,
on some invention in the future.
But the concept we applied for Appendix VIII would certainly
stand, no matter how we move forward from this particular activity.
MR. SCARBROUGH: That's all I had. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Yeah. Let's take a break until 9:35.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: I'd like to come back into session. We
have a presentation from the ASME and Jerry Eisenberg and James Perry
start. And I see some other gentlemen -- I'm sure they'll introduce
MR. EISENBERG: Thank you very much. I'd like to thank the
Committee for this opportunity to express our views on this important
subject. I'm Jerry Eisenberg, Director of Nuclear Codes and Standards
at ASME. With me is John Furgeson, the current Vice President of
Nuclear Codes and Standards. James Perry, former Vice President of
Nuclear Codes and Standards. Owen Hedden from ABBCCE, current Chairman
of Subcommittee on Nuclear In-Service Inspection. And in the audience,
Ray West who's a, from Northeast Utilities and a member of Subcommittee
This morning, we'd like to summarize -- in the handouts in
front of you, you'll see, we have ASME letters to the NRC and to the
Chairman regarding this rulemaking. We intend to provide a summary of
that. Also, to outline the important code changes over the last ten
years and to provide a basis for supporting the retention of the
And with that, I'd like to turn it over to Mr. Perry.
MR. PERRY: Thank you very much. It's certainly an honor
and a pleasure to present our views before this august body. As Jerry
mentioned, there are three different handouts. The letters that were
sent in, both dated June 16th, reflect the views of the Board on Nuclear
Codes and Standards, based on the committee members' or the board
members' feeling, and the consensus of the majority of the people, as
well as input from the effective subcommittees. That also was discussed
at the next higher level within the organization, at the Council of
Codes and Standards, and was voted on unanimously, endorsing the content
of the information in this letter.
What was sort of unique and different in this instance is
that the Council felt so strongly about this, they in turn made a
presentation to the highest body of ASME -- that is the Board of
Governors. And the Board of Governors also endorsed it, and that was
reflected in the letter signed by the, our president, Bob Nickell. So
that's a little bit unique, I think. We don't normally get that kind of
audience and support all the way up on every detail.
The other point I'd like to make is that in the one handout
that is titled "Important Section XI Subgroup NDE, Code Changes and Code
Cases" -- that package sums 17 pages -- is additional material beyond
what was presented in our letters, and I will try to walk you through at
least some of that to give you a much better feel from a technical point
of view. What are these changes that were made? How relevant are they?
What's the impact of those? What's the benefits? And I think that I'll
leave you with a little bit more ammunition than what was in our letter
on specifics. I think it would be helpful.
Okay, the content -- next chart -- really parallels the
information that's in our letter. And I'll try to summarize that
briefly. Next please -- also the update.
The staff in their proposal indicated that the costs run
around $200,000. NEI has much higher numbers. And I'm not gonna
dispute who's right or who's wrong. Those are big numbers. But a point
that we want to make -- I guess there was an informal survey done by he
Section XI Committee, with input from 7 people from different utilities.
The estimated average was around $200,000. But it doesn't matter --
whether it's $200,000, $300,00, $400,000, or what have you, that's a big
number. But I think the point we want to make is, that's a number that
is spread out over a ten-year period. In other words, if you make the
update, it's a one-shot deal over a ten-year period before you do it
again. So if you annualize that, then the cost per year looks a little
more reasonable. But it's still a big number.
Now the one-time cost adds significantly to the total and
the point I want to make here is that if you look at what the Staff has
required already, beyond '89 code, namely mandatory implemention of IWE
and IWL on containment, which is in addition to what used to be in the
ISI programs that utilities had to make. That's a significant new
increase. So a large percentage of the dollars associated with this
update are associated with what's being mandated by the NRC anyway,
whether you update it or not.
Secondly, Appendix VIII is a significant increase in the ISI
program. So all the changes necessary to make that happen, including
procedures, I think represent a lion's share of the cost, whatever it is
-- $200,000, $400,000 or so. The other point I think that's significant
is if you do not require future updates -- in other words, if you
baseline it to the '89 or the '98 or whatever not in the future -- then
you need to also factor into account the additional costs incurred that
are associated with review fees necessary and costs on the part the
utility and the staff in reviewing exemptions and relief requests to go
with that baseline. In other words, if I take the 1989 -- and I'll show
you many of the changes and code cases that I think are very attractive
for utilities to want to get approved, they would have to go in with all
these exemptions and release requests, and those are not insignificant
costs. I think the Staff charges so much per hour for each one of
those. You multiply that by all of the licensees, you're talking big
numbers and additional staff burden.
If you were to impose the latest code, like what's in the
regulation now, then I think you reduce -- because many of the changes
they're talking about have already been incorporated in the code. Many
of the previous code cases are incorporated. I think the numbers of
exemptions and relief requests are considerably less, and it has a net
savings on the utilities and the NRC.
Next, we say the code is a living document. You know,
there's discussions as to whether it's mature or not. Certainly, you
know, you can't argue that what we had in place in the past was not
safe. But I think we're talking about what knowledge we've gained, what
experience we had, what improvements we've made, and it makes sense that
you don't want to just sort of ignore those. And I'll talk about
changes that have big impacts on reducing radiation exposure. And I
submit, those have impact on safety as well that and we can't ignore. I
mean, you know, ALARA is the lowest impact on safety, on changes.
Changes result from new and improved inspection tests,
materials and design methodology. So I think we were going through an
evolution here over a period of time. Next, the changes also reflect
lessons learned from over 30 years of experience and also respond to
user feedback. I'll just use one code case, as an example, in Section
XI. B. J. Welds code case. That one, we admitted that we'd spent
billions of dollars in the past to do inspections on these, and we find
out that we're not getting a pay-back on it. So the change in that,
based on the history and what's important and where to look and what to
look for, including improved methodologies, we can reduce the number of
inspections, reduce the costs considerably on B. J. Welds, and also have
a much greater confidence that its safety-significant aspects were
really improving the health and safety from that.
Also the code moved from the prescriptive, repetitive type
inspection we had in the past to tests that are more risk-informed and
performance-based. And I think we talked about that. And there's pilot
plants going on, a lot of action on that. And we think that's the right
way, right way to go.
Also, numerous changes have occurred since the 1989 edition
that really improve safety -- not only the ones that NRC singled out on
the IWI, IWL and Appendix VIII, but we'll talk about a couple more
besides. In addition, there are many changes that have been made that
really improve the industry standards and also reduce burden, reduce
burden in terms of cost; reduce burden in terms of radiation exposure.
And respond to inquiries. I think someone made the comment earlier that
some of the routine changes that are made really pick up people who
interpreted something wrong or misapplied it or really didn't get the
right point, as we learn and get experience.
The code is kind of complicated and you almost need to go
through a maze to figure it out. And so I think it's not uncommon for
someone to err in terms of interpreting. And these things are picked up
as we get feedback.
Now to support our contention here, we have some -- the next
viewgraphs really go into some specifics. And that's really, will be
backed up by the handout that I have there. But in summary, for exmaple
in Section XI, just the changes to the code which are summarized on this
chart that go from the 1989 version of the code to the 1990 addenda, and
pick them up in terms of categories of changes, where IS is improved
safety, IIS is improved industry standards, RRE is reduced radiation
exposure to personnel, RR is reduced requirements, M is maintenance.
And as we get to the O&M code, they have another one -- IR, increased
requirements. So we had some where we increased.
So what we've identified here is a breakout by each of the
subgroups under Section XI. The first has to do with the subgroup on
nondestructive examination. The next group is a subgroup on
water-cooled systems. Followed by the subgroup on repairs,
replacements, and modifications. And then of course last, dealing with
FFTF and overseas plants, the subgroup on liquid metal cooling systems.
So you can see from this table that for important safety changes --
there's a total of ten. I might point out that all ten, the tables that
are in this handout only address what the Committee and Subcommittee
consider as the more important changes; roughly about 50 percent of them
are saying they're more important. All of those of course are included
in the more important category.
Second, on improved industry standards, you'll notice
there's 124. Of those, 55 are included in here as important changes.
On reduced radiation exposure, we show only one, and that's a hundred
percent and that's covered in "more important." Reduced requirements --
there's 29, and 13 of those are identified as "important." On
maintenance, there's a total of 91; one of those maintenance items shows
up as important.
Now, the other thing that I'd like to bring to your
attention is that if you take, for example, on page 1, in item number 1,
this is part of the imposition of the ultrasonic requirements on
performance demonstration tied in with Appendix VIII. Off on, in the
center we described the purpose and the benefits derived by this change.
Off on the right, you'll see we have a last column that says
"classification." The first indication code is, it's predominantly, the
reason for this is related to improved safety. But you'll also note a
secondary purpose, which you can't ignore, and it has it taken credit on
this chart, is that it also has improved industry standards, impact, and
has a significant impact with respect to reduced radiation exposure.
So I think the Committee did an excellent job of trying to
summarize and categorize these, other than, you know, safety significant
versus errata sheets and routine changes. If we can take a look at page
2 for a second, and if you look at item 14, that change involved
improved safety and also improved industry standards as well. If you
look at item 21 on page 2, here we're talking about a change that
relates to going to leakage test in lieu of hydrostatic tests, and that
one has significant saving man-REM exposure, because it allows ten-year
pressure tests to be conducted at nominal operating, and this recognizes
the difficulty of hydrostatic testing with no value-added benefit over
system leakage. Plus, it also minimized the cycling of the plant, which
is important from a safety point of view. So that one has merit with
respect to reduced radiation exposure, which in my view relates to the
health and safety of the public, as well as improved industry standards.
I could go on and on, but at any rate I don't want to do
that. Let me just go to page 6 --
DR. POWERS: What you've presented here of course is very
interesting because we've seen another breakdown for a different period
of time, prepared by NEI, which claims differently -- they claim lots of
changes in punctuation and grammar and things like that.
MR. PERRY: Right.
DR. POWERS: Of course I'm tempted to ask you, does this
square -- how does this square because it's a different period of time
with them that all these changes occur between --
MR. PERRY: No, the ones that NEI had, and I'm familiar with
that, addressed part of this period, not the total period. They didn't
look at the whole ten years. We looked at the whole ten years. I don't
argue with what NEI had, but I think that they tended to make a grosser
analysis of the changes, and what I'm talking about is a more detailed
analysis by the people involved in the code. I think it's more precise.
DR. POWERS: Sure.
MR. PERRY: And so when you break it down in not only what's
safety -- and I think part of the confusion is that Section XI is gone
to the point where trying to handle all these things during a meeting,
they can't always get to the agenda so they have come up with a system
that was suggested by Gil Millman of the NRC to classify these. Is it
predominantly, is the change predominantly based on safety? Is it
predominantly based on economics? Or is it a maintenance item?
DR. POWERS: Let me ask you a different question. And that
is, people come out with an update to the code itself every three years,
MR. PERRY: A new edition, a new edition and a new edition.
DR. POWERS: So why aren't you in there lobbying the NRC to
go to a 36-month updating?
MR. PERRY: If I had my way, I would --
SPEAKER: That's the question.
MR. PERRY: We've had a lot of discussions with the Staff.
Part of the difficulty is what it takes them to go through the public
review, CRGR, and so forth. And so if you make it too frequent, they're
caught in this maze here and can't get through it. And so three years,
I think, is one you can almost breathe, you know, and do it.
DR. POWERS: Yeah, I'm sure the three areas could be done,
but I just --
MR. PERRY: But that's, that's one of my own. That's one of
my own personal feelings. I think it'd be nice if utilities were
allowed -- you know, and there are certain ones that are very active in
the code, and see what's going on. And I think it would be nice if
they're allowed to update their program every three years.
DR. POWERS: Well, they're allowed to upgrade any time they
want to, I suspect.
MR. WESSMANN: If I may -- this is Dick Wessman from the
Staff, and if I may butt in on you for a minute, Jim, we recognize that
from the '89 version all the way up to September of '99, it was an
inordinate long time, and there's a long story and lots of difficulties
along the way. I don't expect that we'll ever walk into all those
When you look at the general scenario of what you have to do
to prepare a rulemaking and go through CRGR and go out for initial
public comment and disposition it and come back with a final, it should
be able to be done in a 14- to 18-month period.
And I think we've recognized we stubbed our toe badly in the
past, and I want to represent to you, we're going to try to make that
happen in the future and we started working on that 1998 version. And,
you know, regardless of how the path comes out on this, we'll have an
opinion on the '98 version, either for voluntary use or for required
use, depending on how this particular activity on 120-month update
finally comes out.
DR. POWERS: The pay's of course a different issue here.
Really, the issue that I really wanted to get to the heart of was why
you guys aren't in here just pounding the table and saying, by God, we
come out every 36 months and every 36 months you up -- and I think
you've given me your answer.
MR. PERRY: I think we'll discuss some of the impact in
terms of, if you don't continue the update process, greater disparity
and more confusion between what the regulators in Washington say, versus
what the states mandate. So the user just gets totally confused. One
says update every year, and the other says maybe you don't have to
update at all.
Okay. I was --
DR. SIEBER: Maybe I could ask just one question that's sort
of mechanical in nature. Uh, the number, total 255 on this chart, that
actually is the result of some double-counting?
MR. PERRY: No, no. No, no, no, no. We only count once.
What we show here are a hundred, or 80 of those 255, which the Committee
said are important. So you see, the heading says "important". The ones
that they don't consider as important are not included. In other words,
it was a big effort on the part of Owen's group to put this analysis
together and present it to you now. And so --
DR. SIEBER: Well --
MR. PERRY: -- we said, let's concentrate on the ones that
you consider important.
DR. SIEBER: Just for the item number 1 on this document --
MR. PERRY: Yes.
DR. SIEBER: -- the classification has IS, IIS and RRE.
MR. PERRY: Yes. Right, it only shows up on this table
under IS. In other words, whatever the first classification was, that's
DR. SIEBER: Okay. All right. Thank you.
MR. PERRY: Now, on page 6, at the end of each of these one
of these subgroup write-ups, there's a summary. And the summary in note
1 shows on the left-hand column how many code changes there were -- and
I think that kind of repeats what I have already shown you. But on the
right, which I haven't discussed at all, is the code cases and case
revisions. So these are ones that are not yet in the code, but these
Now the reason I didn't include them and didn't discuss them
yet is that when we talk about going to the latest code, these are
options that are not mandatory. But they have a big impact on the part
of utilities saying, hey, I think this is the latest thing, greatest
since sliced bread and I need to implement that. So now they come in to
the Commission, if they haven't endorsed it by Reg. Guide, and have to
get an exemption. And now you're incurring additional staff effort on a
DR. BONACA: I have question for --
MR. PERRY: Furthermore -- excuse me. Furthermore, on note
2, I think we do a better job of defining just what we mean by important
safety, just what we mean by improved industry standards, and so forth.
DR. BONACA: The question I had was to do with the
involvement in fact. I mean, clearly, looking at this table in general
MR. PERRY: Yes sir.
DR. BONACA: -- shows to me that the utility has to have
significant involvement with the ASME coding standards because of the
update requirements, in part.
MR. PERRY: Yes.
DR. BONACA: Would you expect that involvement in this kind
of, you know, information exchange would still take place if these, the
requirements for the update is eliminated?
MR. PERRY: No. I think the level of support and interest
is going to less, and let me tell you why. The pressure is on utilities
to become more competitive in, in an environment, and I think they're
looking at how can they reduce costs. And if you look at short-term, if
you're short-term oriented and say, how can I reduce costs -- if this
not going to be mandated, I'm not going to spend the dollars to have
people go to these meetings and pay for travel and wages. So I think
there may be a reduction there. I think the emphasis will be probably
more on code cases and not code changes.
And a lot of the research that goes on in back of all this,
supported by the Welding Research Council eventually get in changes. I
think a lot of that's going to go away.
DR. BONACA: I see --
MR. PERRY: So all this is built around 120 months update,
but I think 120 months also makes sense from the point of view that the
whole program is laid out so that you're looking at a ten-year interval
to complete the entire cycle of all the inspections or all of the tests.
And further, when you get to the end of that period, you need to assess
what's happened. What have we found? And what shortcoming and what
things have we missed? If you don't have the update, I don't think it's
going to be done by all of the utilities.
DR. BONACA: Thank you.
MR. PERRY: Okay. With respect to code cases that I don't
show on this table, under the NDE group, there's 94 of those. And under
the water-cooled systems, 41. Under the repair and replacement, 28.
And then under the metal, liquid metal. So there's 163 code cases in
addition to the code changes.
I might point out that on page 7 through 9 is where you find
the information on a water-cooled systems, 10 through 14 covers the
repair and replacement, and the liquid metal-cooled systems are on page
15 and 16. So that gives you kind of a thumbnail sketch there.
Now if I can just shift very quickly over to the next chart.
And here we're talking about an analysis of the operations and
maintenance code. And here, we're talking about what's changed from
1990 edition to the present code. This one kind of categorizes it along
the same lines as the NDE did, except you'll notice that there's a new
category near the bottom -- IR. And that one says, the essence here is
to increase requirements, so we added new things.
To put this one in perspective, the first three -- improved
safety, improved standards, and reduction in radiation exposure -- all
of those are listed on your handout, on the last page, 17. So this one
was more abbreviated. I didn't get the same degree of detail from O&M
that I did from Section XI with respect to a more crisp description of
the change and a summary of the benefits. But let me just highlight --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: What's the difference between something
that increases requirements and improves safety?
MR. PERRY: Beg your pardon?
CHAIRMAN SHACK: What is the difference between something
that increases requirements and something that improves safety? Why
would I increase requirements without improving safety?
MR. PERRY: I have a breakdown on that --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: You just have a category, a new category --
MR. PERRY: Right.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: -- improved safety and increased
MR. PERRY: Right.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: And I assume that they're mutually
exclusive, as they were on the original table.
MR. PERRY: Well I think that -- again, I think that what
they're saying is that the primary basis of that change relates to
either improved safety or increasing requirements or something. And as
we showed before on Section XI, many of the changes affect more than one
class, but we only, we only showed it on what the primary classification
was. So I can, I can have a change -- for example, Appendix VIII of
Section XI, improves safety, but it also increases requirements,
guaranteed. You know -- and improves industry standards, too.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Yeah. I can, I can understand improving
safety while increasing requirements. I can't understand increasing
requirements without, say, reducing exposure or improving safety, you
MR. PERRY: I think you're right. I think you're right
there. And if we look at examples, on page 17, for example, the
comprehensive pump test is one that is classified as improving safety,
but it also has to do with, in some instances, increasing requirements
and so forth. But I think it has to do with where you put the emphasis,
how you perform the test, what the net benefits are.
DR. SEALE: But according to your ground rules, it only
shows up the first time.
MR. PERRY: Whatever the Committee determined --
DR. SEALE: -- so you'll look under --
MR. PERRY: -- was the primary reason, that's right.
DR. SEALE: So you'd want to look under "valves" if you
wanted to find out, a case --
MR. PERRY: right.
DR. SEALE: -- where you increased requirements without
increasing safety, or industry standards
MR. PERRY: Well, the first thing is -- okay.
So, so also, when you look at the valves, for example, Item
2 on page 17 there, we're looking at condition monitoring and Appendix E
for in-service exercising of check-valves. So that's the basis for that
and, yes, it's predominantly driven by improved safety.
Under "snubbers," Item 3, there we're looking at service
monitoring of dynamic restraints. And that's a big improvement. Now,
so when you get all done, there's 51 changes in the O&M code over the
last period, 9 years, that fall into these categories.
In addition to the code changes, there were 11 code cases.
And let me just highlight a couple of the code cases, which I think the
Committee feels are rather significant, most important. One of them has
to do with the OM-1 code case dealing with motor-operated valves. That
has been endorsed by the NRC Reg. Guide, 96-05. So we've had a lot of
action with respect to MOVs and how do you make them work, how do you
test better to make sure that they're gonna continue to perform
satisfactorily when called upon?
Three other code cases that are significant that were
mentioned deal with the risk-informed in-service testing. So that's OMN
3 and 4 and 7. So I'd just point out those 4 for your benefit, as well.
Okay, so that takes care of this handout package. Back to the
The ASME process and system, in our view, provides what I
call a multiplier effect, that is in direct support of the 120-month
update. Now what I mean by "the multiplier effect" is that ASME
provides us with a real unique opportunity here in that it involves a
collaborative effort of hundreds of volunteers working together toward a
common objective of improving safety standards to protect the health and
safety of the public.
And with that forum, we're able to accomplish a lot over a
period of time -- granted, you can argue it takes a little long, but
it's been very effective. And when you remove this, I think you lose
that collaborative effort and collection of all this activity. If you
try to do it individually, either by utility groups or by specific areas
or individual utilities, you don't have the same effect.
Changes reflect operational experience to assure
implementation of safety and ALARA considerations. The broad-based
balance group of experts that are on the committees that produce these
code changes and code cases use the consensus process. And the
distribution of the membership in the ISI and IST really involve -- 30
percent, roughly, are from utilites; 30 percent, consultants; and then
the other user groups, like enforcement regulatory agencies,
manufacturers, insurance companies, you know, inspectors, account for 40
percent of the committee.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Just, on this process, we know that there's
no formal cost-benefit analysis. Is there, in fact though, an explicit
requirement to qualitatively discuss cost-benefit impacts?
MR. HEDDEN: You know -- this is, I'm Owen Hedden. In fact,
we have done explicit cost-benefit analyses on a number of items. And
over a period of time, the utility will come in proposing a change and
they'll give us a basis for that. And we'll check that with other
utilities and get numbers on that. The Appendix J code case that Jim
mentioned is one that, in our suppoting material on that we had quite a
bit of cost-benefit information in that. But we do do that explicitly
and have done that in a number of cases.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Just how many of the, of the changes are
brought to you by -- who suggests the changes to begin with?
MR. HEDDEN: Most come from the utilities, from our utility
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Thank you.
MR. PERRY: Okay. User feedback on operating experience
also results in changes to the code.
DR. POWERS: Let me come back to asking just a little bit
about this broad-based balanced group of experts.
MR. PERRY: yes, sir.
DR. POWERS: -- that slide you have up there. I'm getting
more of an understanding of this, not in the, because of this particular
code, but because of the efforts on PRAs. As I understand it, what you
try to do is keep, so that no group constitutes more than 30 percent of
members, so you're gonna get some prejudice in the process, as I
understand. What I've never understood is, you have 30 percent
utilities and 30 percent that are consultants. I mean, why are those
treated as the same?
MR. HEDDEN: Jim, could I answer that?
MR. PERRY: Sure.
MR. HEDDEN: Owen Hedden again. They're not all consultants
to the utilities. We also have a number of consultants to the NRC that
are on our committee.
DR. BONACA: Okay, so there are consultants -- consultants
could be National Laboratory people that the
MR. HEDDEN: Yeah. Yeah, we have a lot of National Lab
people that represent us, for instance.
DR. POWERS: okay.
DR. SEALE: Do they fall in that category?
MR. HEDDEN: Yes.
MR. PERRY: Yeah, the rule is, whoever your sponsor is
that's paying your way for attending these meeting as salary, what's
their primary business --
DR. SEALE: Interest.
MR. PERRY: -- interest. And that's what determines what
classification you fall into.
DR. SEALE: And as Dr. Powers says, we can't have anymore
than one-third from any one of these different sectors on the
committees. And the same thing is being applied, at least in Section XI
where they, they try to maintain a balance as well.
MR. PERRY: I think that's healthy, because then you can't
have any one group dominating.
MR. HEDDEN: In Section XI, we have about, more than 200
engineers participating in our committees as members. I think we have
20 from the NRC, for instance, that are participating in one committee
or another. About a third, as we said there, are utilities
So we have a lot of people involved and roughly 80 from the
utilities, 70 or 80, plus other people who do comes to the meetings
regularly, from utilities, from the manufacturers, and the consultants.
All these groups send people to the committee meetings and become
familiar with their actions, propose actions, participate in the
discussions that are not amongst those that are committee members.
MR. PERRY: Okay. Also, you know, I think it was mentioned
earlier by the NRC individual, that when you look at these changes
individually, they may not be real significant, but when you kind of
look at all of them cumulatively over a 10-year period and look at what
the impact is, they do have a cumulative, significant, I think,
beneficial effect that cannot be ignored. And I think the proposed
recommendation on the part of the Staff recognizes that by saying, well,
instead of baselining in '89, we really ought to baseline what's in the
regulation now, which is the more recent one. So I think that speaks
Also, many changes relate to reducing examinations and tests
and new methods for repair and flow analysis. And the point I want to
make here is that if you look at short-term gain, you could say, all
right, the administrative costs are probably prohibitive; you don't want
to make the update. But if you were to make all these changes in your
update to the latest code, the benefits gained by implementing these
changes over the 10-year period where now it's less costly to do the
examinations or less frequent some of these are done, or more improved
methods, all of those savings, in our judgment, exceed the
administrative costs of making change.
It's almost like, if you're going to do a capital project,
what's it cost and what's the return on investment? And if it isn't
reasonable, you don't do it. I think the same thing is true here. If
you were to add up the reductions in implementation costs over the
ten-year period, in our view, it exceeds the administrative costs of
DR. POWERS: If that's the case, why do we have to require
it? Why wouldn't the utilities just do as a good business practice?
CHAIRMAN SHACK: -- beat 'em off. You'd have to beat 'em
off from making these changes.
DR. POWERS: That's right. They would be sitting here
saying, no you can't upgrade because we can't keep up with you. And
things like that, and why not? I mean, we're getting in an era where
people are looking at these costs --
MR. PERRY: I think it's the difference between short-term
and long-term. If I were in senior management and someone says, do we
need to spend $200,000, $300,000 to upgrade the ISI if it's not
required? Hell no! I'm not going to incur that cost; I've gotta be
DR. POWERS: Yeah, but what if you were --
MR. PERRY: If you were to ask, here's what the benefits are
and here's what you gain and here's a reduction of costs of the ten-year
period and here's how it's offsetting the administrative costs, I think
you might get a different answer. Short-term gain versus long-term
benefit. I think we need to put it in proper perspective, all of those
collectively, not just administrative costs.
DR. POWERS: I mean, people are fairly clever. We've got
lots of people coming out of MBA school that can do these analyses and
say, here's, here's what the return on an investment of $200,000 is.
Help us here.
MR. LEWIS: My name is Steve Lewis, and I'd just like to
comment on the point made by ASME. And that is exactly the point of
this whole issue is, is it ought to be that utility's choice to make
that update, and that choice is driven by cost and return. And it's not
how it's -- and if it is a cost over a ten-year period, then that has to
be factored into the up-front cost.
And several points that we've talked about that this cost is
spread out over ten years, but the cost hits the budget in a single
year. And it has to be evaluated on a net-present value for the return
gain. If it's not, it's gonna cost me a half a million dollars, so
that's $50,000 a year. That's a half-million dollars for O&M that year.
That means a half-million dollars of other O&M activities are not going
to take place in order to fund that mandatory update.
But the point you made is, if there is return, then the
utility would probably make the right decision to go forward with the
DR. POWERS: Right.
MR. LEWIS: Now this is separate of the safety issues. This
is just, do I do an update in order to gain the benefits gained by new
DR. POWERS: Right.
MR. LEWIS: So I agree, I think you've made a very valid
DR. BARTON: I think people are looking at ten years, and I
think they're looking at payback over the next year or two. And if they
can't get it the next year, year or two, forget it.
MR. LEWIS: But see, all the inspections are spread over a
ten-year period, so your payback is never in one year. Your payback is
always spread over ten years. I made this very presentation --
DR. POWERS: The fact is that I know a lot of things where
you can get paybacks -- where calculations are done on paybacks longer
than ten years, just because of the tax law.
MR. LEWIS: That's right.
DR. POWERS: So people can do the analyses.
MR. LEWIS: Right.
DR. POWERS: You know, which I may be right, that if the
management psyche is such that if somebody comes forward with something
they only ask about the two-year payback, which I agree with them is
very common now in capital projects, to ask what the two-year payout is.
And if they don't want to hear about the ten-year, then we're not gonna
do the cost-benefit analysis.
MR. LEWIS: But these aren't capital activities; these are
O&M activities. This comes directly out of maintenance budget.
MR. PERRY: But I submit that the driver for this
supplemental proposed change in the rule was only identified as a burden
reduction, so that's why we're trying to emphasize the cost aspects of
it. But I think that ASME's views -- and I know the NRC's views -- are
that the responsibility that we have is broader than just cost
considerations. In other words, we shouldn't be driven by somebody that
says, I'm only going to look at the economic impact. We certainly ought
to be looking at it from the point of view of protection of the health
and safety of the public and what really makes sense.
DR. SEALE: I would agree with you, but going back to this question of
longer-term costs and so on. The nature of the cost-related activities,
beyond the implementation of the up-front costs that we've already
talked about, you use the words up there "individual" and "subtle".
MR. PERRY: Yes.
DR. SEALE: And it would seem to me there's a large issue of
the copycat syndrome here in terms of identifying ways where you can
reduce costs. And it's only after someone has gone through and done the
detailed analysis and come up with the concept and implementation of a
specific way to apply these changes, that you really can determine then
what the consequences are in reducing costs. So it's a lot -- the
potential reductions are iffy on the front end. You have to, you really
have to have examples before you --
MR. PERRY: They're not precise. They're not precise.
DR. SEALE: That's right. And they may not be the same for
every plant type, you know.
MR. PERRY: That's true.
DR. SEALE: BWRs may be different from PWRs in respect -- we
MR. PERRY: And that's the decision the utility makes as to
whether it --
DR. SEALE: But it's usually buried down the road, and it's
only if the enabling decision up front is made that you even have the
opportunity to examine those changes.
MR. PERRY: Okay. Next chart. Okay, we made a statement
that deleting the updating requirements, in our view, appears to be
contrary to the spirit of the public law 104-113 in OMB Bulletin A119.
And what we mean by that is that the current process that we've been
using for, I don't know, 30 years or so, which is a ten-year cycle and
ten-year update of the programs, really is proven and it's successful.
And I can tell you a personal experience at one utility I
worked at where we had a real awakening at the end of the ten-year
interval on in-service inspection because we really found -- this was an
old plant, built to the P31.1 -- that what happened is that we lacked
proper checks and balances; we had left it to the ISI manager at the
plant and he had consultants doing the inspections. And they found that
many of the wells, for example, were supposed to have been UT'd. The
note was written, "Can't do it because the well condition doesn't allow
for it." It wasn't ground; it never was intended. And it got thrown in
the filed; it never was done. When we got to the end of the ten-year
period, we had hundreds of those. The more we dug, the more problems.
That's just one example how all of these things tie in, where you do an
assessment, an evaluation, a critical one, look at these. I think when
you have to update, it causes you to revisit these things, and there's
really benefits there. Now, many utilities are gonna do that
automatically. But I submit, many won't. It depends on the pressures
Next, I think that the evaluation and reports, as stated by
the Staff in their notice, public comment on this proposal, said that
they recognized that by doing away with the ten-year update, they will
probably have to do evaluations and submit reports to OMB according to
this, so that's an increased burden on Staff that you wouldn't have to
go through if you continue the process of updating every ten years.
By the NRC applying only selected parts of different code
editions and licensees -- when you talk about what was in the proposal,
the 1989 baseline plus the changes for the IWE/IWL, changes for Appendix
VIII to different ones, now you're causing all kinds of perturbations
that make it difficult. And I maintain, the code is rather complex in
itself, and when we come out with revisions, we're not saying you ought
to be just taking this out of context and not seeing how it impacts that
part. So it becomes more complex.
Last, I think that the rulemaking creates greater
inconsistencies -- and I think this was addressed in the Staff comments
-- between the Federal requirements for what's the current version that
you use versus what the states require. Many states require updating
requirements each year, you know, whatever the latest code is.
DR. POWERS: I'm intrigued by the title of your slide. It
says that "contrary to the spirit of the public law."
MR. PERRYY: Yeah.
DR> POWERS: My impression, operating a little bit from
memory, that the spirit of the public law was for government agencies to
use consensus standards rather than creating their own, wherever it as
possible and fit their needs. That was the spirit. And I guess I don't
understand why any of the options that the Staff has presented to us
would be contrary to that spirit.
MR. PERRY: When we talk about the spirit, Dr. Powers, we're
saying, you know, if there is a consensus standard out there that is a
right thing to do, then the government agencies ought to endorse that as
opposed to writing their own. Now I submit that the requirements up to
now ahve been to update that to the later requirements as a matter of
routine, 50.55a. So in terms of the practices, that was a given.
That's been done. Now we're gonna change it. And according to the
Staff's own analysis, if they change -- according to their
interpretation, not mine -- they're gonna have to now do an evaluation
and they're gonna have to submit reports to OMB on this change, based on
that public law. That's my understanding.
MR. WESSMANN: I guess, Dr. Powers and Tim, if I can butt in
again on you, let me at least comment on that a little bit. John Craig
and I, we talked on that on the break a little bit -- and John Craig is
the agency standards executive, and I think our local expert on the OMB
119. But our perception is, we are not at odds with the spirit and the
intent of the public law. If -- and I take a more extreme example to
try to illustrate this -- if we decided that we wanted to impose a new
requirement on how to test a pump or a valve, and we wrote that into the
regulations, as opposed to searching the ASME codes and determining,
gee, is that requirement already there for working with the ASME
committees and going through the ASME process and, and marketing that
proposed new way of testing the pumper valve? And to some degree, the
whole evolution of the MOV testing was some stimulus from the staff
driven back towards the original static tests of valves that we felt was
not good enough.
We worked through that spirit and the process of the OMB
law. The idea of replacing the required 120-month update with a
baseline, and then continuing to endorse for voluntary use with whatever
limitations that we might see that, for the regulatory purpose, might be
appropriate as a limitation. I think -- we think it's still consistent
with the spirit of the law.
DR. POWERS: It seems to me that all the options, every
single one of them, seems to be inconsistent with the spirit --
MR. PERRY: Yes, sir. That's our --
DR. POWERS: I actually understand the spirit now.
MR. PERRY: Now, we may have confused ourselves a little bit
in the public comment period or something. I can't recall. But that's
our perception at this point.
DR. POWERS: If in fact there's any deviation from the
spirit of the law, then I would say it is not mandating the 36-month
update. And I think that's what gets you in that trouble is -- if what
you have now is against the spirit of the law, then not requiring the
36-month is against the spirit of the law.
MR. PERRY: Yes.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: But it's less against the spirit to update
every 10-months, right?
MR. PERRY: I think all we're saying is, in our view it
appears, when we talk about the spirit, we think not the letter, but the
spirit. So it's a judgment call. But I think it's not the total issue,
but it is a consideration.
DR. POWERS: And I think you for reminding us of this public
law, because it is an important consideration that we --
MR. PERRY: Right.
DR. POWERS: But I think we're on safe grounds here.
MR. PERRY: Yeah, and I think -- I'll have to admit, by
comparison, when I look at all the government agencies, NRC is out front
and has been in terms of endorsing codes and standards. And so I don't
want to say they're not doing it.
DR. POWERS: Here and everywhere.
MR. PERRY: Okay. The benefits outweigh the costs in our
judgement, because we feel update cost, we think, is not significantly
different from the costs associated with release requests that are
utilized without the update. So I think there's some compensating
factors here. And I think that one number that I think Ray West has in
his submittal, a letter he wrote on code cases -- if you were to ask the
Staff to consider adoption of a code case, depending on whether you're
doing it individually or a group of utilities collectively, that cost
for that one code case could be somewhere between $15,000 and -- how
much did you say?
MR. WEST: Provided it was done as a rule --
MR. PERRY: Right.
MR. WEST: -- develop the code cases through ASME to request
relief, it's about $15,000.
Ray West, ASME. If you have a code case that went through
ASME, as a, an industry effort-type code case and it's recognized as
such, then normally about $15,000 to process that through and get it
approved by the NRC. If as a utility you come in with a relief request
and you want to request a relief from a code requirement, that could
range anywhere from $15- to $500,000, depending on how much effort you
have to put in and the Staff has to put in to justify that. Those were
MR. PERRY: So I think these are significant numbers, not
only a burden on utility but a significant burden on Staff. And I think
when you look at the proposed rule change, we talk about allowing, not,
you know, voluntary implementation and allowing to cherry-pick, then
that has to go back to Staff. I don't think they really assess what the
impact on the Staff is, and I'm not sure all the Staff is that familiar
with the ins and outs of the code. And so that creates another question
as to the validity of the sanctions.
I believe when you talk about the people in the regional
offices and inspectors at the plant, they're gonna pull their hair out
with all of these things. We already have had problems under the
current rules, where somebody's misinterpreting what the code says, and
misapplying it in some cases.
Okay. Also, revisions and code cases since 1989 are
collectively in our judgment safety-significant and also replace, reduce
personnel exposure. And I think we talked about that. Updating --
maintain some more current, consistent, and uniform standard for the
industry. And I think -- you know, I've been in this business for forty
years and I've heard the NRC for forty year. And it seems to me that
the theme up to now, excluding this one, is that we want
standardization, we want uniformity, we want consistency. And this one
flies in the face of that. You're gonna have greater variations between
utilities on this, and greater variations for the Staff to evaluate, if
it's selectively applied. Updating minimized separate submittals and
evaluations on a case-by-case basis between utilities and NRC, and I
think that talked about the costs associated with that.
I think one of the benefits of NRC doing their analysis and
endorsing a later code is, it's a big effort but you do it once, it's
done, and it applies across the board. Either it's acceptable or it's
not. It's acceptable with these additions. That's it. When you do it
on a case-by-case basis, it's much more costly.
Without updating, future changes become voluntary and
licensees' programs are going to vary greatly. And we think the
regulatory oversight is gonna be much more difficult, and lack of
standardization consensus --
DR. BARTON: Does that comment still pertain when you figure
down the road you're gonna have maybe ten operating companies operate in
a hundred plants instead of 90 or 70 companies operating in a hundred
MR. PERRY: I think that supports our position in terms of
administrative costs, because I think that what you'll find is that
they're going to say, let's standardize. If I've got ten plants, I want
to have one ISI program and try to fit it. Maybe just -- mine are
unique differences peculiar to that plant. So that's gonna reduce the
cost per ISI program update or IST program per plant. That'll help.
That'll help the NRC. But you're still gonna have variations if you
say, we want to make this non-mandatory, and they're gonna voluntarily
pick these between those ten or twelve utilities. And the Staff's gonna
still have to evaluate those on a case-by-case basis.
As I understand the proposal, as it came out, said if the
Staff endorses a later edition and you elect to pick it up, then you can
do it without getting Staff approval. That's fine. But if I want to
cherry-pick, since the Staff's gonna be the experts and decide whether
or not you did it right, whether you've misapplied it or whatever. So
that's a big burden on Staff that could be avoided if you continue the
Updating also focuses on evaluation of the entire program
and identifies deficiencies and forms the basis for making corrections
and enhancements. I can't emphasize this too strongly. I think you've
got two kinds of utilities out there. You have one that's proactive and
interacts with the code and is involved in it day-to-day and knows what
it's all about -- what's happening, what's changing, and why. And I'm
not worried about those.
The ones I am worried about, frankly, and I think the NRC
should be and probably is too, are those that don't participate, that
choose not to participate. They come to the meetings every ten years
just before the update and try to play catch-up. They're not that
familiar with it. And whether they do the same degree of scrutinizing
and analyzing and determining how effective the ten-year inspections and
tests are and what changes we need to make is where I have the real
And as you go through organization changes and changes at
transfer of responsibility, I think there's a degradation that could
take place over the years that I would be fearful of, and NRC Staff is
faced with reductions in budget as well. And so, they've backed off in
terms of the overview at the utilities with respect to ISI teams going
in there and doing in-service inspections. They don't do that like they
used to, to the extent that they did. So they're more reliant on
utilities. So I think there's other considerations here beyond just,
you know, the update. What takes place during that update?
In summary, I think keeping the 120-month update maintains a
stable system which works and is proven as an integrated approach to
safety improvement and burden reduction. I would maintain that I
welcome the Staff's position about going to the later code. I think
that's good. But the analysis that I wanted to, that I showed you with
respect to all of these changes I think applies whether I'm looking at
the changes from '89 to '99, or whether it's '99 to '109, or whatever.
We're gonna have a similar thing. If it makes sense that collectively
over a ten-year period these, these should be done, then I don't know
why we would even need to go to doing away with the update period.
I heard the Staff, well, if we use the 1998 as the update,
we make, we don't know what's gonna happen in the next thirty years. We
might decide we want to change the baseline in 2010. So why change the
rules if you think you might do that?
Updating of IST and ISI programs for a plant, we believe, is
necessary. Whether it's mandatory or non-mandatory, we think it just
makes sense. And I think the comment was made very well, the better job
we can articulate in ASME on what the benefits are, the utilities will
beat down the door wanting to make those changes. And I think we're
getting a little smarter and doing a little better job on that.
The cost of the 120-month update we think is relatively
small, and that the implementation benefits over a ten-year period, in
our view, outweigh the administrative costs of the update. The proposed
rulemaking, we think, creates greater inconsistencies between Federal
and state agencies that we think adversely impact on the users and
insurance companies that try to enforce this as well.
Maintaining the 120-month update, we think, facilitates the
regulatory oversight, better serves the common objectives of public
safety. In conclusion, we're saying, maintaining the update process is
the right thing to do. It works and we think it ought to be continued.
Thank you very much.
DR. POWERS: you indicated a substantial number of years of
experience in this area.
MR. PERRY: In the nuclear field, not necessarily in the ISI
and IST --
DR. POWERS: Let me -- I'll still ask my question.
MR. PERRY: Sure.
DR. POWERS: And that really relates to technical innovation
in this field. Your perception of whether we're going to see rapid
technical innovation in this field as far as the technologies that are
available for doing inspections, or is it going to be a relatively
static field? I'm thinking over the next 20 years.
MR. PERRY: I would say, Dr. Powers, that in my view, the
one that the NRC is in 100 percent agreement and we've been working hard
with them on it has to do with the risk-based in-service inspection and
tests. And there we're talking about the use of the probabilistic risk
assessment tool as a way to really focus more sharply on what is really
risk-significant. And to put more emphasis on that with respect to
better types of inspections or methods of testing and techniques and so
forth, and even reconsideration in terms of frequencies. And
conversely, diverting more resources toward that and less on those that
are less safety-significant. I think that's the right way to go. So
there's one example.
And I think that many of the changes that we've looked at
dealing with condition monitoring and that sort of thing really have a
good impact. So in terms of the future, I don't know, but I can tell
you that what's happened in the last ten years, if it's any indication
over the next ten years, if we continue the 120-month update; I think if
we don't, I think then that the body that's out there now isn't going to
do the same job.
Also, from ASME's point of view, we really are looking at
this as an international code. And Jerry Eisenberg and I, for example,
spent some time this year in Japan and in China. And I can tell you
that there's two examples where whatever the NRC says, that's the way
their government mandates. So there's lots of plants being built in
Asia and elsewhere that are based on code requirements, are based on
what the NRC mandates, that really helps protect the health and safety
of the public beyond just the boundaries of this country that we ought
not to stop and forget about.
Secondly, you know, even though we don't have a resurgence
in nuclear today, we don't have any new plants, there's advanced
reactors being built overseas and I think one of these days -- hopefully
in my lifetime -- we may see a resurgence of nuclear in this country and
I think it behooves us to have the best available codes and standards
that can be applied from the get-go on those new plants.
DR. BONACA: I have a question to do with, clearly an
important criteria to decide which way to go, it's the rate of
significant changes that you expect to see in the standards.
MR. PERRY: Yes.
DR. BONACA: And the question I have is, do you expect to
see any significant changes coming from, you know, license extensions,
plants aging beyond 40 years and going to 60 years, and -- or are you
foreseeing pretty much the current ISI/IST problems to be --
MR. PERRY: I would say that the Section XI and O&M
Committees are cognizant of the question of plant life extension and the
importance of that, and so they take that into account. So
incrementally, as they go through, this is part of the consideration.
And I think if you were to ask, are there things that we don't have in
the code now that we know of that really should be tied to plant life
extension, we would say nothing beyond what we know now, but we're still
getting more data based on input.
MR. HEDDEN: I had, I had a couple of things, one of which
does respond to Dr. Powers, as to new things that are coming. And one
of them applies to what you're asking too. Two things that I can see
that are coming along that may affect, have a large affect on the code.
One is real-time monitoring of the plant with instrumentation to see
what's, if we have deterioration, if we have cracking occurring. That's
something that acoustic emission may finally be able to do. They've
been promising they were going to do it for the last thirty years. The
other one is the environmental effects of fatigue, which some of you
people are involved in.
DR. POWERS: Those technical innovations I think are, look
promising, and I have no idea what that's going to do to it. But I know
that the Department of Energy, for instance, is funding a study to do
this, some of this acoustic emission and detecting not -- changing from
having maintenance on a prescribed schedule to when you need it. And I
can see the same thing happening here, that instead of doing inspections
of piping based on some formula of time and some formula of, fraction of
the piping that you look at, to do it in a needed basis, in a needed
area. It would certainly be something that would be in the bounds of
thinking for the next twenty year -- not ten, but twenty years. I could
imagine that happening. Maybe not on existing plants, but maybe in new
And those kinds of things -- any time people start
forecasting end-of signs, I know that they, that that's usually
indicating that there's gonna be some great leap. What had happened at
the turn of the century when people were predicting the end of science,
relativity and quantum mechanics came along and survived. And it seems
to happen fairly regularly. Biology was proposed recombinant DNA
research. So I think maybe we do have the same situation here, because
of these very advanced thoughts on going away from a prescribed interval
DR. SEALE: I think there are other points too. I'm in a
much more mundane area. I would wager that no one in this room really
expected the explosion in the capability to do steam generator tube
inspections that's taken place in the last ten years. And there may be
all kinds of changes in other things having to do with other hot-button
issues like reactor internals, things like that that we, that are just
percolating now underneath the surface. And they may very well emerge as
DR. POWERS: Yeah, what's advanced today becomes the code
standard technology tomorrow.
DR. SEALE: Um hmm.
DR. POWERS: And what you see is this, innovation breeds
DR. SEALE: that's right.
DR. POWERS: That, once something starts on the pathway down
to improvement, you get a lot before the momentum runs out.
DR. SEALE: Yeah.
DR. POWERS: And certainly your example of the steam
generator is a case in point that I still think has not played out.
DR. SEALE: Yeah.
DR. POWERS: Because I certainly have seen DOE proposals on,
on some marvelous technology for steam generators tube inspection about
the time all the effective steam generators tubes are gonna be plugged
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Are there any more questions?
CHAIRMAN SHACK: If not, I think we have two more
presenters. Mr. Lewis from Entergy. Thank you very much.
MR. EISENBERG: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: This compilation, which I realize must have
been an enormous piece of work is actually very helpful.
MR. PERRY: You can thank Owen for that.
DR. POWERS: That's definitely a keeper.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Mr. Lewis.
MR. LEWIS: Good morning. My name is Steve Lewis. I am
with Entergy and I appreciate the opportunity to come and address such a
distinguished panel as this. I am on your agenda to provide a utilities
perspective on the issue of elimination of the 120-month update. And
actually, I hope to provide something more than that. In addition to be
an employee of a utility, I have been in the nuclear business for 22
years, and that entire 22 years has been dedicated toward the
implementation of ASME rules in both construction and operational
Additionally, I'm a voting member of ASME Section XI, and
have been for about 13 years. And I am also the technical Chairman of
the BWRVIP assessment committee, so I have an array of industry
initiatives. And I have to admit, when Entergy initiated this action
several years ago to eliminate the 120-month update, I personally was
adamantly opposed, and that was due to my personal attachment to Section
XI and all the good things that Section XI does. It wasn't until I had
time to look at this closer and to become more exposed to industry,
industry initiatives that I have come to understand the significance of
this issue and the right thing to do.
The early publication of Section XI established initial
goal. In fact, it as a philosophy section provided in the early
publications of Section XI. And the philosophy of Section XI in the
early '70s was to provide an assessment of the general overall condition
of safety-related pressure boundaries by sampling, with emphasis on high
service factor areas.
The early editions of Section XI established a ten-year
interval. And that ten-year interval was established at the time in
trying to complete these examinations and to control even distribution
of these examinations over a given time. In the early editions of
Section XI, it was specifically stated that once the edition and addenda
of the code was assigned to the operating facility, that that was the
stated edition and addenda for utility life. It was not a requirement
of the code to update to every ten years.
Section XI, not unlike any other industry standard, required
time to evolve to reach its optimum effectiveness on its initial goals.
As such, it has gone from 22 pages in the early '70s to almost 800 pages
in the 1998 edition. It has gone through significant scope changes to
expand itself to all safety-related pressure boundaries. It has added
repair/replacement rules to where it used to depend totally on the
construction codes. It has worked real hard to eliminate dependency on
the construction codes in the area of flaw evaluations and acceptance of
Luckily, in this timeframe the NRC had the foresight to
require ten-year updates because if it had been followed the way Section
XI started, we would have stuck with thsoe 22 pages, or 40 pages, or
something that size. However, we have gone through this timeframe for
almost 30 years now, and it's time to determine, is it time to change?
Do we need to do business a little bit differently. And that's what I
think the issue is here now.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: But we -- well, maybe you should go through
-- let me make my pitch now. We went through all the good things that
might happen that would require updates, but isn't this also a
self-limiting process? I mean, you know, people don't go to Section XI
because there are wild and wonderful meetings held in luxurious resort
areas. I mean, you know, they're work. These are not frivolous
suggestions, so that if there are changes made, there are changes
because a consensus of a wide body of people believe that they're
significant changes. So --
MR. LEWIS: Right, and I'm gonna address that in a few
Section XI today, which is at the '98 edition with the new
addenda coming out still provides an assessment of the general overall
condition by a sampling process with an emphasis on high service areas.
It still uses a ten-year interval to establish a timeframe for
conducting the exams and for even distribution of the exams. However,
it now refers to 50.55a for determining the effective edition and
addenda. Section XI itself has not yet established a position, at least
within his code body on how often it should be updated. It still relies
on Federal law to specify the update period.
Probably one of the most fundamental questions that has to
be addressed by both the licensees and the NRC staff in addressing this
issue is the effect on safety. That is probably the utmost concern on
what happens if we eliminate the mandatory 120-month update.
As with Entergy, we elected to go to the '92 code for all
five of our units, instead of the '89 code. In that process, we were
asked by the Staff to do an evaluation between the '89 code and the '92
code and identify all changes. Excluding IWE/IWL and Appendix VIII,
between the '89 code and '92 code there were 184 changes -- 77 were
editorial, 8 were errata, 22 were reduced requirements, 52 changes were
no change in requirements, and 25 were increased requirements with no
measurable or identified needed change to safety.
DR. POWERS: We've seen a breakdown that went the next seven
years, so I take it between '92 and '99, a whole bunch of safety things
MR. LEWIS: I think ASME identified a total of ten safety
changes total, for the whole ten-year period, in their presentation.
DR. SEALE: Are you suggesting that none of those were in
this '89 to '92 period?
MR. LEWIS: Well, there may be a difference in definition on
what's a safety change. If you look at ASME's definition, it doesn't
meet the typical definition that's used by the regulators and the
licensee for identifying improvement to safety.
Any change in requirement can somehow be construed as an
improvement in safety. But that's not necessarily the appropriate
approach, as we all know. First identified, need has to be identified
to, that there are changes needed before we impose an increased
DR. SEALE: And using that definition, none of these, in
that period of time, satisfies it.
MR. LEWIS: That's correct. A lot of the increased
requirements or increased requirements for the administrative process,
the documentation requirements, methods of administering eye exams,
those type of things. They are increased in requirements. They may
even be some improvements. But are they a measurable change in safety,
and was there a needed change in safety identified? The qeustion has to
be asked before you evaluate the changes to safety.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: You would agree, Appendix VIII though, in
some sense, is important to safety?
MR. LEWIS: As stipulated by regulation, absolutely.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: That's --
MR. LEWIS: What I'm getting ready to talk about now is in
now way a reflection on Section XI's performance. Section XI has done
an absolutely wonderful job. I work very closely with Section XI and
they have the right goal in mind. They provide a fundamental base
program for ensuring structural integrity of safety-related piping
systems and their supports. However, Section XI is not the go-to place
for all safety issues.
Just looking since 1979 -- and I only looked at generic
letters; I did not look at notices, bulletins, other regulatory formats
-- I identified real quickly 25 generic letters addressing safety issues
that either met directly with the Section XI scope or very close to it.
And I found that most of them still have not been addressed by Section
XI. I identified just a couple to, that I thought everybody'd be
Generic Letter 81-03, IGSCC in BWR piping -- as old as that
is, that still has not been -- Section XI has taken no actions to change
its rules to address IGSCC in BWR primary piping.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Well, you could argue that Appendix VIII is
largely a reaction to the fact that you couldn't find IGSCC by the old
MR. LEWIS: Not really. There's nothing in Appendix VIII
that specifically addresses itself toward IGSCC. There has been an
agreement between the NRC and the industry that we will allow the
three-party agreement that was between EPRI, the regulators and the
licensees to be built upon the PDI process. So you can go read Appendix
VIII and there's nothing there that would take you to the issues
associated with the IGSCC. One issue.
Secondly, in addition to the detection problem, there's also
increased scope, increased inspection populations and inspection
frequencies. Those have never been addressed either. So there's more
than just a personnel side. There is what I look at and how often I
look at it. Section XI still says I do 25 percent of my Class-I
population once every 10 years, which we supplement that with regulatory
Other issues, Generic Letter 81-11, feedwater nozzle
cracking. Generic Letter 83-15, Reg. Guide 1.150. And probably the
majority of that reg. guide has been picked up by Appendix VIII. 89-08,
erosion and corrosion-induced pipe wall thinning. 92-01, RPV integrity;
94-03, IGSCC core shrouds.
The message I want to leave here is that Section 11 is not
the only place we go to for addressing safety issues. The format and
process that section has built in is a very protective process, as
described by the ASME representatives, is made up of a large industry
body that requires a consensus process, there is a very torturous path
that a proposed action goes through before it becomes ASME rule.
Unfortunately, that does not lend itself conducively to addressing
emerging safety issues. So it takes the ASME-based program combined
with industry initiatives and regulatory licensee interaction to address
emerging issues. And with those two efforts, we end up with a safe
CHAIRMAN SHACK: These tend to be reactive efforts that the,
you know, I would look at the base program as kind of a defense in
depth, where in fact, you know, you really don't have an identified
issue, but you're doing inspections without really, as a defense in
depth measure to assure yourself that in fact that high-quality piping
system remains high-quality. Here you've identified specific problems
and you're addressing those. The industry programs identify specific
programs. It's this notion that there is a defense in-depth element
here, that you're trying to look for problems that might be arising.
MR. LEWIS: Absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, if you look
at most utilities' ISI programs, you will find the base Section XI
requirements, then you will typically find a -- fuzzy word, we call it
augmented requirements. And those augmented requirements come from all
these extra programs that we do to combine a total effort to address
these issues. And they are reactive programs, but they do become a
normal way of business for the licensee. They do evolve and build
themselves into the licensee program for the remainder of the plant
life. So they end up becoming part of the base program itself.
BWR VIP is probably a very good example of what's happening
there. When that program reaches technical completion, you will
probably see -- you will have to see substantial submittals requesting
the use of that in lieu of Section XI for those portion of the rack
controls that are under Section XI jurisdiction. Compliance with the
Section XI rules, as we know in rack controls, may not result in the
safety level that we're looking for right now as being identified within
the BWR VIP. So, there's the base program and then there's all those
things that we have to do to maintain that top level that we're all
Fortunately, for several years I was given the opportunity
to be the Secretary to the Subgroup Repair/Replacement modifications.
And in that process, as was indicated, we were all tasked with coming up
with a way to prioritize our workload. The Section XI agenda is an
enormous agenda. Utilities, consultants, manufacturers are always
coming forward with new ideas, new technology that we're pursuing code
For four years now within the Subgroup RM, we started
tracking all the agenda in the computer database and we established a
method of assigning priority to those actions. And the actions that
were determined to be safety significant or actions to address safety
issues were given the highest priority. At the last time I checked, a
few months ago when I prepared this, there was 174 both open and closed
items on the Subgroup RM's agenda, and none had been identified as a
priority addressing safety issues.
I spoke with the Chairman of the Subgroup on Water-Cooled
Systems, and to his recollection he had a similar story. For about the
past four years, there have not been any issues addressing
safety-significant issues. What this has pointed to is that Section XI
is reaching its maturity on building its base program. Its base program
for maintaining in general overall integrity of the plant is about
The majority of the actions that we're seeing within Section
XI now are burden-reduction items where we're going back and looking at
the old rules that were established in the early '70s and early '80s,
and we're fine-tuning those to address what we're finding in the
facilities these days, and they typically are burden-reduction type
items. Optimum safety depends on the Section XI base program with
industry initiatives and regulatory actions for emerging issues.
I guess the point that needs to be made and I think has been
said several times is, the elimination of the 120-month update does not
exclude the ability to recognize the continued improvement Section XI
has to offer in addressing the need to improve safety. The Staff still
maintains the ability to mandate those changes that are deemed necessary
to maintain or enhance safety where safety enhancement is needed.
Examples of that is through 50.55a, we've seen expedited examination of
requirements for RPV welds. We've seen the expedited implementation of
IWI/IWL. We've seen expedited implementation of Appendix VIII. I don't
anticipate that would go away.
Section XI does good work, and will continue doing good
work. Section XI through its members will address safety issues as
appropriate. And when those safety issues are identified by the Staff,
they would be mandated appropriately.
What does it mean to the industry? Well, effective use of
resources. The entire industry boasts -- the licensees, consultant
supports to the licensees, and the regulator are being driven to operate
more efficiently. One of the new initiatives we have now is better use
and better understanding of industry initiatives. I think Section
99-063 has been written and is even being expanded upon now to talk
about how the licensee and industry can work with the regulators on
industry initiatives to address these emerging issues. And that's
what's going forward is industry initiatives.
The resources that are spent on updates can cost equal to or
exceed the cost of supporting these voluntary initiatives. I'm not
advocating and I don't have the authority to speak on behalf of Entergy
to even imply that we would follow our limited resources to regulatory
requirements spinning away from these voluntary issues. But when O&M
funding comes up on an annual basis, if we have the funding that is
required to comply with the regulation versus funding that is necessary
to support a voluntary program, we can all imagine what pot's gonna get
We have talked about, in several presentations today, the
cost aspect of the updates. While we try to look at this cost as being
incurred over a large period of time, in reality, it hits one physical
year budget. And whether that's $250,000, a half-million or a million
and a half, that comes out of one physical year. And that means that
much maintenance is not going to be done that year to go do that update.
DR. POWERS: What you're saying -- I think -- is that if we
follow what you were suggesting, that money would never again be
available for updating to the code on a voluntary basis? That'd never
happen, is what you're saying?
MR. LEWIS: it would happen if there was sufficient cost
return to update on a voluntary basis.
DR. POWERS: But you're saying there that essentially that's
never gonna happen.
MR. LEWIS: I wouldn't say that. For instance --
DR. POWERS: I think you said that you had to have a
two-year return, if I remember your words.
MR. LEWIS: No. No, no. No. If we look at a ten-year
return. We have to forecast a net present value, but that dollar value
has to be amortized over ten years. What is the $250,000 today worth
ten years from now, if I have to amortize my return over ten years.
DR. POWERS: Well, I don't know that you have to. Isn't
that up to the, to the management, directly, of the utility.
MR. LEWIS: But that's the way all utilities operate.
DR. POWERS: They work on a ten-year cycle? Not to my
knowledge. I haven't seen one yet.
MR. LEWIS: No -- I'm sorry. I understand the question now.
They would evaluate the return based on when the forecasted return would
be seen, which -- that is project by project. But in the area of the
code, since the decreased burden would have to be spread over ten years
because it's a ten-year inspection cycle, we would have to look at the
return over ten years. In other words, if going to the newer code gave
the licensees reduced inspections, they wouldn't see that total
reduction until ten years. So they would have to look at the one-year
cost for developing the new program, then they wouldn't see the total
return for ten years.
DR. POWERS: But I thought you were telling me that -- this
money that right now is spent for updating to the new code now becomes a
voluntary thing, and that's the budget that always gets hit in favor of
other things that'll come along, like improved PRA capabilities or
something like that.
MR. LEWIS: It's the budget that would have to be justified
based on returns, like any other voluntary project.
DR. POWERS: Right.
MR. LEWIS: When regulations stipulated '89 code, Entergy
elected to go to the '92, and that was quite an excruciating process.
We did that because it resulted in a better product and had a better
return to it. So I think licensees will elect to go to the newer codes
when there is reason to go to the newer codes. And most of that reason
is technology. There is new technology being provided in the newer
DR. BONACA: I have a question. Your plants probably have
what I would call a life-cycle management program, where you're looking
at life-cycle issues, inspections, and for example the BWR VIP funds and
MRP, and I imagine Section XI updates right now is part of the problem,
so that you do not incur the costs for the same year, for all these
problems in one year for all the plants, but you spread it out in
So the way I see it, I mean that, the cost of the update
would be eliminated from a year, but in reality, I mean, isn't it part
of the commitment that you have and you spread it out to a number of
years, and if a year you don't do the Section XI update, you're doing
something else which you're putting there in support of the maintenance
I understand it's coming, your expense is coming in a year,
but it's one expense as part of the life-cycle management activities and
inspections that you spread out over a number of years and across the
MR. LEWIS: I think it's always used in forecast management
and looking at forecast expenditures, but the way the budgeting process
works is that money is still being carried for a fiscal year. So even
though it was looked at, that at the next ten years we're going to have
to spend these dollars, there's an O&M budget approved plant to plant,
and that would be a hit against that O&M budget.
DR. BONACA: I understand that. Yes.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: What's the meaning of your statement on
page 5, that the '89 edition is optimum since you just sort of suggested
the '92 is better and is worth the effort?
MR. LEWIS: The '89 edition appears to be optimum with
regards to when Section XI reached its peak and when establishing
requirements since the '89, most of the actions have been going through
burden reduction; they've been coming down as far as reducing
requirements. If you wanted to, to plot a peak on establishing more and
more and more requirements, '89 -- it's '86, '89, really. Somewhere in
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Well, I'd hardly call that an optimum, but
that's, I guess --
DR. POWERS: And it's a strange thing. I mean, there's
nothing wrong with reducing requirements if it's giving us better focus
DR. SEALE: Well, maybe the irksome index would be a better
way to --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Exactly.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: in fact, that might be the last code I'd
want to freeze in place.
DR. POWERS: That sounds like it.
MR. LEWIS: But the point that I think is made is, is from a
safety perspective, '89 reached that optimum point and there may be
things that we're doing in '89 that are unnecessary.
DR. POWERS: I can't, I cannot agree at all with the idea
that, that an unnecessary requirement improves safety.
MR. LEWIS: Now, the ability to go to the '92 code or the
'95 code should be a choice unless portions of those codes are
identified as necessary to address a needed safety issue. So when I say
optimum, I'm saying that the '89 code reaches Section XI's initial goal,
which is to provide a general overall condition to the safety-related
piping system through monitoring and selecting samples. From there,
that goal was still maintained. Prior to that, that goal may not have
been reached. We -- the '89, we've added IWE, we've added IWL, we've
added Appendix VIII. So there were a lot of things that were occurring
in the late '80s, I think, that got Section XI to their optimum point on
reaching their initial goal. '89, their goal was reached. '89, from
when what we were starting to fine-tune that. We're starting to go back
and levelize some of those requirements, reduce some of the requirements
that have been determined not to be appropriate. That's why the term
"optimum" is there. Optimum, from a financial standpoint, that's not
the intent there.
In discussions prior to this meeting and also during this
presentation, there has been several concerns expressed regarding the
effect of this on the future of Section XI. I'd advocate that it would
have no negative effect on Section XI. Section XI agendas are full and
participation is strong. And I don't think participation is there
because attendees are coming to protect their interest on what may be
regulated on them ten years from now. I think participation is there
because most of the code actions that we see today are code actions that
introduce the new technology.
We're providing mechanisms for underwater welding, we're
providing new mechansisms for repairing steam generator tubes, we're
providing new methods of doing flaw evaluations. And these are desired
technologies that the industry wants. We're seeing process improvements
in the code. We're seeing a lot of burden reduction within the code
itself by reducing some of the requirements that were established in the
early '70s and '80s.
And we're still seeing some scope expansion. The question
is, is Section XI gonna have to change with it? I don't know; that's
the question we're gonna have to asked Section XI. We have been
predominantly using this process with some administrative changes for
almost 30 years now. Could this rule change, encourage some changes to
Section XI? Possibly, but that's the decision Section XI would have to
And I think, before I do conclusions, if you'd bear with me
just a second, there were some statements, or some items presented I'd
like to comment on just a little bit. There's been a lot of discussion
on the use of code cases. They've become a way of life, would become a
norm rather than a non-norm process if we eliminate the 120-month
Typically, when an owner goes to get a code case, it's
because the code case provides a better way of doing business than he's
doing now. And they, and when, and they make these decisions when they
go to use code cases now. They look at the cost of getting the code
case approved versus the benefits of adopting a code case. Well that
wouldn't change then. I heard a dollar value of $500,000 to get a code
case approved. For example, the risk-based code cases -- three of our
Entergy sites had determined if risk, I mean, cost-beneficial to use the
risk-based code cases. Two of our Entergy sites have determined it not
to be cost beneficial to do the risk-based code cases. Whether we
maintain the 120-month update or not, that process won't change.
The concern about the code becoming a confusing document by
allowing us to, to, to enter a niche, later editions and addenda in
whole or in part was expressed. Section XI already permits that. Section
XI specifically states right now that later editions and addenda can be
used in whole or in part. 50.55a currently permits that with Staff
approval. Most utility programs are at base edition with bits and
pieces of later addenda mixed into it, and code cases incorporated.
We've lived with that for the past 30 years. That's not changing and it
In fact, it could get better because I think the programs
will stabilize. Right now, we're forced with having a program that
looks this way; ten years later, it completely changes. That means the
utility personnel we've got to get accustomed to the new program and the
new requirements. Regulatory inspectors have to get accustomed to the
new codes and new requirements. Now you're original inspectors, they
have to know --
DR. POWERS: I guess I'm a little confused. I thought,
thought your contention earlier was that it's not a big change, that all
big changes have occurred and now it's just typographical changes and
editorial changes. And reduction of requirements.
MR. LEWIS: They are. Those were the changes that were --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: '89 to '92.
DR. POWERS: Yeah, if I went to '89, '92, I wouldn't -- I
mean, I'd learn how to spell some things differently and I'd learn a few
things I'd done in the past that I just wouldn't do now, but otherwise
there wouldn't be much change. It's not a C change.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: It's not like going to risk-informed
inspection, which is a very --
MR. LEWIS: Oh, yeah. Right. The format of the reporting
requirements -- all these changes, although they're editorial or they're
administrative in nature, or there are no changes in requirements but
they, they change report forms or report time frames, they still require
licensees to go change all the procedures, retrain the personnel, and --
as you're very familiar, once a document, a Section XI is implemented,
it affects numerous, numerous plant procedures. So it is a massive
effort to go back and do that.
DR. SEALE: Could I ask you a question.
MR. LEWIS: sure.
DR. SEALE: Earlier you raised an interesting issue. And
that was with respect to the determination of whether or not a paticular
site within your company would opt to go for risk-based or risk-informed
changes, or whether they would not.
MR. LEWIS: Yes, sir.
DR. SEALE: Have you examined to see whether or not that is
in some way related to the plant type? Or does that reflect a
difference in culture at the different plants?
MR. LEWIS: For us, it turned out to be plant type and plant
vintage. The two BWRs turned out to be non-cost beneficial because we
had a large population of no break zone welds, a large population of
welds covered by 88-01, which you're not allowed currently to apply the
risk-based program to. So the cost of implementing the program, which
was an up-front cost, looked at what the return was over ten years
again, because it's a ten-year process --
DR. SEALE: Yeah.
MR. LEWIS: -- the net present value wasn't there.
DR. SEALE: It was related to plant type?
MR. LEWIS: Yes, sir.
DR. SEALE: Okay, it was.
MR. LEWIS: The three PWRs found it very cost-beneficial to
go forward with it. We've already talked a little bit about how the
cost is assumed in a year versus spread over ten years. I won't talk
about that anymore.
One of the benefits that's been discussed that's achieved
through the updates is it gives the licensees a chance to recalibrate
themselves against the code and identify these areas of weaknesses that
they've lived with for the past ten years.
I find it just a little bit discomforting that we would, we
would depending on updating process to achieve compliance with rules and
laws that are already there. The code was already there; it was already
mandated by law. A licensee's program has fallen weak and out of touch
with those rules, the updating process to bring it back into compliance
is not really the vehicle, the tool to go use that with.
DR. POWERS: Well, it may not be, but the fact of life is
that that's what happens. I mean, we see it with Appendix R, which is
part of the regulations. That's part of the laws of the land. And so
we go out and do a functional fire inspection, and it costs the industry
a huge amount because they have to get their program up to snuff prior
to the inspection. I mean, that's just the way these things are.
MR. LEWIS: Right.
DR. POWERS: It usually takes something to move you, or we
spend a lot of time inspecting --
MR. LEWIS: And I agree. You're right. Programs like
Section XI had the ability to become stagnant. Agreed. But using the
updating process to bring it back on queue, it may not be the right
process. There are many things that can --
DR. POWERS: There would be other ways we could do it, yes.
MR. LEWIS: Agreed. And that's the point I want to make.
Something as simple as maybe, once a year a licensee has to reassess
their program and send in an affirmation to the staff that the program's
been reassessed. That would accomplish the same thing. But there are
other vehicles to gather or eliminate stagnancy in a program like that,
other than updating to a brand new code.
DR. POWERS: I think that's a, that is a very important
MR. LEWIS: In the event we elect -- and this is a personal
opinion of myself. In the event that we elect to do away with the
120-month update and we choose the '95 edition as the base code, I would
anticipate substantial submittals from licensees under the
50.53a(a)(3)(i) to use either the '89 or the '92, with the demonstration
that it provides an equal level of safety as the '95, and that the cost
for updating it is not commensurate with any safety improvements they've
seen, or supplemented with some portions of the '95 to address areas
where safety improvement was needed. That's just a thought. I would go
back within Entergy and explore that real closely, if this were to go
forward the way it's written now.
I guess I'd like to point out that ASME's presentation
probably did a little bit better job than mine in recognizing that, that
a lot of the ASME activity now is in the area of burden reduction. And
the ability of the licensee to take advantage of that burden reduction
should be a choice of the licensee and not a mandated process through
50.55a. With that, I'll go back to my conclusions now.
Section XI does a very good job of providing a fundamental
program for ensuring the general overall conditions of safety-related
pressure boundaries. No question; no doubt. If you compare recent code
changes with industry initiatives and regulatory actions, Section XI has
reached its optimum format for addressing safety issues as a big a whole
document, as a basic program.
Elimination of the 120-month update will not have an adverse
impact on safety. Safety issues will still be addressed as in the past
-- with aggressive industry and regulatory actions commensurate with the
safety-significance and industry initiatives.
Routine updating of other industry standards -- IEEEs and
ASTMs, and there are many others -- has not been determined necessary to
There was a question of spirit of the law a little while ago
on how this would satisfy spirit of the law. If that was determined to
be an issue, then the bigger issue would be, how do we meet spirit of
the law by not requiring mandatory updates of all the other industry
standards that are also developed in a consensus process with an
industry mix to always be. We think it should be.
Of course, the NRC always has provisions to mandate changes
that are offered by Section XI that are deemed necessary to address
DR. POWERS: I guess the part of that that bothers me on
this is part of a mindset. I believe that when we can find ways to
eliminate requirements so we have the resources to focus on the things
that should be required -- but that's a net safety benefit. I can
believe that the Staff would indeed go through an update of the code and
find new requirements and do a 50.109 assessment on it and find out,
sure enough, that this was cost-effective to impose, and they would
impose it. And we'd all go along with that.
But I'm not sure that the Staff would go through and say,
hey, there's a whole bunch of savings to be gotten by eliminating a
requirement or modifying a requirement, and go through the exercise.
They might. They might honestly do it. But I don't have that guarantee
that I had. Nor do I have the guarantee that everyone of your utilities
would go through it because it might be, they don't have the manpower or
they don't have the interest -- they're too busy with other things -- to
go through and find these things that allow us to focus on safety by
eliminating unnecessary requirements.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Especially if you can do this once in a
code versus, you know, utility by utility, it makes an enormous
DR. POWERS: You see my point. It is that I'm -- if by your
characterization, and I think in fairness the previous speakers made the
same point, that an awful lot of the changes are a learning experience,
where you're finding that the requirements that you placed in the past
out of the spirit of conservatism or something or you just didn't know
now are disappearing in favor of exacting requirements of the things
that experience and science has suggested deserve more attention. We're
getting more focused on safety, and I'm not sure that we have mechanisms
that assure that to happen.
MR. LEWIS: Typically what happens, whenever the code as,
and I ask any of you gentlemen to elaborate on this if you would please,
whenever has been identified as being possibly over-conservative, an
action will be taken to generate a code case. So it becomes rapidly
available for the industry to get access to. So that item would track
by itself as a code case, and the organization that initiated that,
which will typically be a licensee that's looking to reduce a current
As soon as that code case gets published by ASME, assuming
that it does, then there will be communication between the licensee and
the Staff trying to get immediate approval to use that code case, rather
than waiting for regulatory guide endorsement. I think those evolutions
will take care of themselves, just by the process of how it works. And
it still requires that licensee-NRC interaction over that proposed
reduced requirement. And in that, the rules of 50.55(a)(3)(i), it has
to demonstrate that there's not a reduction in safety.
DR. POWERS: I mean, that's a good point. A good way to
look at it.
MR. LEWIS: If I, if I think about most of the actions in
the code that have, that have been taken to reduced requirements, most
of those have been initiated by licensees. Most of the changes that we
see with new technology typically come in from vendors -- vendors who
have services that are all daily trying to better serve the industry,
the company welding processes, new analytical tools. And they come in
with the new technology. As you know, licensees are not in the R&D
world. They make electricity.
DR. POWERS: That's right. I mean, but licensees have
access to people that are in the new technology business.
MR. LEWIS: Absolutely.
DR. POWERS: And this is not a small area, those
MR. LEWIS: Absolutely. I hope in no way anything that I
said here is considered condescending toward ASME, ASME members or the
ASME process. It's, I've been a part of it for 13 years and I wish to
consider being a fundamental part of it. And I don't see any effort
with Entergy to change its support, and I think that -- I can't
anticipate any utilities reducing their support of ASME, because it is
the foreground of technology coming forward to service the industry. As
these plants age, we're wrestling with new problems every day. /p I
guess I can believe that the people that are involved now in the ASME
efforts sent there by their employers, it probably won't change very
I guess the thing I worry about is the next generation. A
young engineer that is not now a part of the process but would
eventually become a part of the process for the normal road -- that may
not be a good passage, so maybe it's not a sudden drop in work, but an
atrophying of support.
MR. LEWIS: I understand.
DR. POWERS: Oh, I'm sure you can't forecast on that, but I
guess that's my concern.
MR. LEWIS: Well, I wish I had close enough contact with all
the utilities to speak on behalf of the industry, but I don't. I can
tell you what's happening within Entergy. We have worked very hard in
the last couple of years in centralizing all of our code activities into
a central office and bringing all of our plants to the same additional
addenda of Section XI so we can have common programs, common
And we do recognize that the ASME process is a career path.
It is a job description in itself. And we do go out and look for new
graduate engineers to come and work just in these code programs areas.
And it is a career in itself. So at least some utilities, I think,
recognize that that's got to continue.
DR. POWERS: That helps.
MR. LEWIS: Comment in the back.
MR. PERRY: Jim Perry, ASME. I'd like to make a comment
with respect to utility participation. I think if you were to ask
utility representatives who are actively involved in the code and
intimately knowledgeable of what's happening, what the benefits are not
only in the changes but in the interaction amongst the members that
helped solving some of the problems common to utilities, their sense
would be, they think it's worth it; we ought to continue it; we think
there's benefits to be gained and the utilities should continue to
Where I'm coming from is, I think if you look at it from a
utility executive, chief nuclear officer, who's really pressured in
terms of bottom line, and you were to send him a sheet that says for
Entergy, there's 15 people participating in the code. And he'd
translate that, how many meetings, how much money, how much time? He's
being pressured to reduce costs. He's gonna say, do we need all of
And I could tell you from experience at a utility that when
you start talking about cuts, the first place you talk about cutting is
getting rid of consultants; the second place you talk about cutting is
travel. And so, if the rules change from mandatory updates to
voluntary, I think the mindset on many chief exeuctive officers in terms
of short-term is, I'm not sure we need to do this. I'm not convinced of
the benefits. Delete it. See if we can do without it. So I think it
will have an impact.
What you said is true with respect to the next generation of
engineers. I could tell you that -- the utility where I am. Once I
retired, they didn't replace me. They didn't put another one on there.
They don't have participation from the utility in this area.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Curt, do you have --
MR. COZENS: Yeah, I have a -- can you hear me on the
microphone. I'm Curt Cozens with the Nuclear Energy Institute. I'm
responsible for this issue and managing it on behalf of the industry, to
come up with a resolution that we believe is well-founded and sound
Steve's a rough act to follow. He brings a lot of practical
experience and an understanding of the real world of how the code is
indeed worked. And I'm not gonna repeat what Steve has said, but I do
definitely support what Steve has said.
I'd like to now turn to the regulatory issues at hand. I'm
not going to talk about technical; I'm gonna talk more about the
regulatory, why are we here? We're dealing with an anomaly. Out of the
thousands of standards and codes that are available that are referneced
in NRC documents, whether they be reg. guides or rules, there's three or
four that are mandated by regulation. ASME code happens to be one of
those. It is the only code, to my understanding, that has a mandated
Steve highlighted quite well that in 1970 -- maybe this made
very good sense -- we were on our learning curve of what it took to
operate these plants. But since 1970, we've gained a lot of years of
operating experience, a lot of practical knowledge. Technology in
general has advanced. And the code has grown accordingly. And with the
best effort, it has brought great value to industry. I believe that the
code has brought great value, and I believe it will continue to bring
value. But as Steve has said, it is one part of the entire mix of
managing these plants and regulating these plants.
DR. POWERS: But there's the primary pressure boundary. So
I mean, the fact that it's special -- yeah. It's special. And
deservedly so, it's special. And we would maintain that one needs to
assure that the pressure boundary is able to perform its intended
DR. SEALE: You're monkeying with defense in-depth when you
play with that.
MR. COZENS: Where we are looking at it is coming back to
the main focus and purpose, the mission, literally, of the NRC Staff is
to protect public health and safety. I don't think anybody around the
table will disagree with that. And the question that's on the table is,
why the proposed change to the rule of eliminating the 120-month update?
Do we believe that we will be challenging the ability to protect the
public health and safety?
A little sanity check, looking at what are we really talking
about in terms of practical implementation. I just did a recent survey
of industry -- and I won't say that I got a hundred percent return. I
probably got, oh, about thirty percent return. And I asked them, where
are you right now on your update to the 50.55a, specifically Section XI,
IWE -- excuse me -- ISI and IST? And it was interesting to note that
four or five of these plants, of these bodies that did respond to me
have an update that's going to occur before November 22nd, 2000. Now
that's a very significant date. That's the date that, one, a plant must
implement the current referenced code that's listed in 50.55a. That
would be, in this case, the '95-'96 addenda for ISI and IST.
These plants, by regulatory responsibility, can update to
the previous edition, the 1989. Now that's four or five plants. What
about the other plants that are scheduled to update in the next ten
years? So we've got, picked up here four or five here that definitely,
by regulatory compliance could indeed update to the '89.
You're gonna have a large population that in anywhere from
one to ten years will come upon their time to update these things.
Here's the question: are these plants unsafe now? I think the Staff
has answered that question. And I quote from their SECY 99-017, which
implemented this rule. And this is a quote: "The Staff believes that
the use of the 1989 edition of the ASME code by all licensee will
provide an adequate baseline." That is a statement.
I believe when the Staff wrote that believed it was true,
otherwise I'd question why they would put it in here. I believe they
probably believe it's true today, because they're going to be permitting
a large number of plants to operate to the '89 edition, for basically
the next ten years, progressively lesser and lesser of course, the way
the current regulation is written, but the fact is that as the ten-year
interval cycle over, these plants will update to whatever the
requirement is in the regulation. So I have to conclude that Staff
believes that the '89 edition provides an adequate level of public
health and safety.
I was not knowing what I was going to hear today. I have
not seen the Staff's write-up on the proposed rule. I was indeed
pleased to see the recommendation that they're passing in to eliminate
the 120-month update, and I'll presume that will indeed occur unless
something drastically causes them to believe that that's the wrong thing
I believe that the decision has been made on sound
regulatory practices of what is the mission of the NRC. And if they
deem necessary to assure that people update to later editions of the
code to maintain public health and safety, not only does the Staff have
provisions to make it possible to mandate the licensees live to new
requirements, it's a requirement that the Staff would do that. No, it's
part of your basic mission. So it's not like we're removing anything
from the standards by doing this.
The real question is, have we demonstrated that we are
adequate, for right now, and that we have a justification for imposing
new requirements on licensees? And that's been the whole debate that's
gone on with this particular issue. I believe the Staff has come up
with the right conclusion and we indeed support that.
However, I am disturbed by one aspect of it. The Staff is
proposing as part of its recommendation as presented today the
baselining to the '95 edition, '96 addenda. And I ask myself why? What
is the safety-significance that now invalidates the quote that I read to
you that the '89 edition is indeed an adequate basis for baselining, to
assure that an a level of safety is adequate to protect public health
and safety. I was unable to, in my own mind, extract out from the
presentation and Staff data that while some things have changed, the
ASME code is a tremendous place to locate new technology, and that they
should indeed continue to evaluate the new technology, and it's a great
place to have a common ability to manage this new technology.
But that is not the same thing as replacing the regulatory
decision, whether or not it's essential to mandate it on licensees to
assure that we have an adequate level of public health and safety.
DR. KRESS: What is your measure of that -- adequate level
of public health and safety?
MR. COZENS: At this point, I will rely upon the technical
expertise of. They've done the job properly. But I would also maintain
that the ASME code, when they wrote that, believed that it was adequate
for it. And I haven't seen anything that would say that they have
concluded that it was incorrect to do it. There may be enhancements out
I hope that there always will be technical enhancement,
going over that. We are developing the science of engineering,
inspection, and all the functions that operating these plants.
DR. POWERS: I'm pretty sure that if I look hard enough, I
could probably find a document in which the Staff said by compliance
with the 1981 version of the code, that it would be adequately safe.
MR. COZENS: Sure.
DR. POWERS: I'm pretty sure it must exist. And I'll bet I
can find another one that says the 1984 version. And yet, you, by your
own admission, say that from those times to the 1989 version, there were
substantial changes that affected safety.
I mean, why are the statements of the Staff that a
particular version at one time is adequate safety -- do you want to be
MR. COZENS: I don't believe we will be stagnant. I believe
that if there is really a safety issue that is identified that comes out
through the ASME code, that if licensees are not voluntarily
implementing, the Staff will need to impose it upon us. There are
provisions in the regulations to mandate that.
Now the approach that the industry and the Staff are taking
nowadays about waiting for Staff to mandate things on us has been
radically changed. We are taking many more industry initiatives and
proposing solutions that, one, are acceptable to Staff, but are also
acceptable to industry. And I would maintain that that will indeed
That's part of the mix that Steve talked about, that
presently the ASME code does not typically address emerging safety
issues. They may at some point capture the solution for them at a later
date, but they are usually not at the forefront of addressing safety
DR. POWERS: Nor would we expect them to be.
MR. COZENS: That's right.
DR. POWERS: Because it's a consensus -- I mean, it's a very
MR. COZENS: It's a consensus, slow process that, it does
indeed take time. It's not to say that there's a tremendous expertise
that isn't consulted along the way, that participates with the ASME
code. But we would maintain that, you know, the burden of demonstrating
whether or not a new requirement should be imposed on licensees should
not be taken lightly, and it should be to address a needed safety issue.
In the same breath, we would contend that there's many
things that are in the ASME code, even by the ASME code's own
admissions, by the document that Steve had submitted to the NRC, that
they proved there were many more editorial, other activities that the
licensees were required to implement as part of their update, because it
was part of the overall ASME code. And to automatically assume that
these should be imposed mandatorily on a licensee doesn't meet the
burden of good regulations, but they are necessary for public health and
But if there are some, they ought to be imposed upon
industry and more importantly, we probably ought to be adopting them
ourselves. The vast majority of the things we're seeing now are a
better understanding of a requirement that might have been in the ASME
code and the appropriateness of that requirement. And sometimes they
are indeed adjusted, sharpened a little bit more to make more rational
sense as to what the appropriate criteria is.
And as those things occur -- and there is a benefit to doing
those because that's why the initial code activity was started. I would
expect that licensees, seeing the benefit of them, will incorporate them
into their process.
And coming back to the '95, you know, again, we believe that
elimination of the 120-month update is the appropriate move, the
appropriate decision for the Staff to recommend to the Commission. But
we find it a little arbitrary to impose the '95 edition and the '96
DR. POWERS: Is that any more or less arbitrary if they'd
picked the 1989 or '88 version?
MR. COZENS: No, both --
DR. POWERS: They're both gonna be arbitrary.
MR. COZENS: Both -- I would contend that both would provide
an adequate level of public health and safety.
DR. POWERS: All right. Following your rationale on that,
yes. And it's gonna be arbitrary no matter which one you pick.
MR. COZENS: So our position is the letter that we wrote to
NRR about this, is this will require one more ten-year update of
licensees. Oh, but I think three or four licensees are presently to the
'89. If we are providing an adequate level of public health and safety
through the '89, and we do want to standardize to some level on a given
code edition as adequate for public health and safety, why not choose
the '89 edition, which the Staff had indeed concluded does satisfy that
need? So it's a matter of practicality, not a matter of safety. Both
would provide an adequate level of public health and safety.
So, we remain concerned with that part of the
recommendation, although we think that the Staff indeed has made the
proper general recommendation to eliminate the 120-month update
I -- you know, I ask the Staff if I could borrow their
slide. This came out of the Staff presentation. But if the strategic
goals of the NRC -- maintaining safety is first; increasing public
confidence, second; reducing unnecessary regulatory burden -- I presume
that means both on Staff and licensees; and making NRC activities and
decisions more efficient, effective, efficient and realistic.
DR. POWERS: And wouldn't they use that just to say, here's
the, here is the bases on which I have chosen the '95 edition. I don't
want to put words in the Staff's mouth, but I'm going to --
DR. POWERS: -- and say, gee, if I'm gonna increase public
confidence, I want to use the most modern standard I've got. If I'm
gonna reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, I know that between '89 and
'95, a lot of things were changed to reduce requirements that were
unnecessary. And to make NRC activities and decision more effective,
efficient and realistic, is, this is a more up-to-date version. My
Staff is much more knowledgeable about it; things are passed out of
their memory. They'll be able to operate in a more effective and
efficient manner by going with '95 as opposed to '89.
MR. COZENS: One might draw that conclusion, but in the same
vein, I believe it is possible to draw the same conclusion that I am
indeed maintaining safety by using the '89 edition.
DR. POWERS: That's what we're --
MR. COZENS: Staff is going to permit '95 or '96 plants for
some extended period of time permission to use it, so therefore they've
concluded that it indeed does maintain adequate public health and
Public confidence -- that's a little more difficult. One
might conclude that newer is better. Well, some of the IWE/IWL criteria
that when it was published in the '92 edition, I believe, it was -- you
might say it increased public health and confidence because it was new
and better, yet when it went to actually be used, I think there were
eight generic relief requests that were proposed to the Staff because
there was difficulty in using that newer requirement. It wasn't all
that we had hoped it might be, and as with increased knowledge and
learning, we came back to that basis.
So I mean, the sword cuts two ways on public confidence. I
think that the NRC needs to assure that technically whatever we're doing
is being proposed as the right thing, and we want to do the best we can
on public confidence. Steve?
MR. LEWIS: I think you just brought up a good point, and I
thnk ASME representatives can also comment on this. Typically when a
brand new requirement comes out in the code, an extensive requirement
like Appendix VIII or IWE/IWL, it takes a time period for that to adjust
to be a workable requirement.
IWE/IWL's been published now since '86; Appendix VIII's been
published since, what, '89? You know, we're seeing major rewrites to
both of those to make them usable and workable. So for a, for the whole
industry to come up to a '95 code that hasn't had time to be worked a
little bit, it could frustrate a lot of submittals in ferreting out
those, some of those brand new issues. '89 -- we've got --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: On the other hand, it's fixed a lot of
things that were wrong with that crappy '89 edition.
MR. LEWIS: Well, but I would be willing to bet that the
majority of those fixes were also in code cases an those utilities have
already adopted those code cases. Probably 95 percent of everything
that the '95 fixed were previously fixed for the published code cases.
DR. POWERS: So it's really no problem for them at all to go
from the, from '89 to the '95 edition because they've already done it.
MR. LEWIS: For the reduction --
DR. POWERS: I mean, I can't have it both ways.
MR. LEWIS: No.
DR. POWERS: I can't have it -- yes, this is a horrible
burden, but no, they've already done it.
MR. LEWIS: For the reduction in requirements and those
things, but not the increases in requirements and not those things that
they did pursue the change --
DR. POWERS: I think that we've already agreed that there
were relatively few of those. I think you and the, uh, presenters from
the ASME agreed that the increase in requirements was relatively small.
MR. LEWIS: Well --
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Dana, do you need to pursue this? We're
running pretty late here.
DR. POWERS: No.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: I thinks it's probably time to wrap up.
MR. COZENS: We need to let Jim speak. He's --
MR. PERRY: I just wanted to make one comment on this
business of increasing public safety. I think that the point that I'd
like to make is piggybacking our IWE/IWL -- I think even the Staff
mentioned. Until it was mandated by the NRC, it wasn't looked at quite
as rigorously. There were things that were impractical. And the latest
edition now fixed those problems. Okay. And it's not yet endorsed.
Secondly, with respect to IWE -- with respect to Appendix
VIII, very significant. The performance demonstration that's been going
on at EPRI in working with ASME has found problems with it that need to
be resolved to make it practical. And so there's another good example
that the latest edition of the code resolves many of those difficulties
and problems and makes it more practical. So if you don't use the
latest ones -- I don't think the increase in public confidence here if
you aren't picking up the benefits of what you learn by running the
MR. COZENS: There are sometimes benefits and sometimes
drawbacks. But we believe -- and this has been validated through
documentation that I've had with the industry -- that licensees are not
necessarily wanting to automatically adopt all the burdens associated
with the new edition because so many of them have nothing to do with
public health and safety.
We're looking at the third strategic goal of reducing
unnecessary regulatory burden. And the focus here was not elimination
of the 120-month update, but which baseline edition is appropriate.
This seems -- the adoption of the '95 edition versus the '98 will both
provide an adequate level of public health and safety. It seems to fly
in the face of reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens.
For those plants that are just coming up within the next
twelve months to update their programs, they will have to probably
update, once or twice at least. For everybody else, at least once will
they have to update it. Is that necessary to assure public health and
safety? If the overall scope and purpose of this rulemaking was to
eliminate unnecessary regulatory burden, I'm not quite certain we've
achieved that, at least for the next ten years. And I believe that this
is an admirable goal. It is part of the strategic goals of the NRC
that the adoption of the '95 -- I'm not certain has measured up to that
We believe that the adoption of the 120-month update will
indeed make the -- excuse me, the adoption of the elimination of the
120-month update will make NRC activities and decisions more efficient,
effective and realistic. This leaves in the hands the assurances for
the Staff that public health and safety is maintained. But it gives the
licensee the option of deciding when and where things are beneficial for
the operation of their plant. But it still leaves in the hands of the
Staff if it is necessary for public health and safety, the ability to
mandate those things that it deems appropriate.
And if we look over -- Steve had a slide in his presentation
that identified three significant actions recently that the Staff had
mandated on industry. One of the three -- I'm gonna talk about two of
them at least, because I'm not positive of the third one. Appendix VIII
-- it was not, as I understand, adopted via the ten-year update. It was
a new section.
As I understand, there's, I believe it's the 1986 OGC memo
to Staff that says when new sections of the code are imposed -- these
are sections that did not exist before, such as Appendix VIII -- they
need to go through the backfit consideration. What are the three
criteria for backfit? Compliance with existing regulations; public
health and safety is essential; or the cost benefit. I believe that the
Staff concluded that it was a compliance question of backfit and, when
they adopted Appendix VIII. And if I'm wrong, you can correct me on
And that was the basis for saying that Appendix VIII would
be mandated on licensees, whereas the schedule of mandating it on
licensees is the, initially I think it was six months and now I think
it's spread over a three-year period. That was a backfit evaluation
that was again deemed necessary, I believe on -- was it compliance?
Am I incorrect in my understanding?
NORRIS: Wally Norris, Staff. The compliance argument had
nothing to do with implementing Appendix VIII. Appendix VIII passed the
backfit on its own merit. The compliance argument had to do with
whether it would be six months to a three-year implementation, or
whether it would be in the normal 120-month cycle.
MR. COZENS: But the backfit 50.109 rule was part of the
consideration of whether it would be used at all, was that correct?
Mr. NORRIS: No.
MR. COZENS: Okay. I -- was it not also, but in IWE and
IWL, the new sections? Was that used, the backfit?
MR. NORRIS: Yes.
MR. COZENS: Okay. The point is that the backfit rule is a
provision that when the Staff has deemed that there is a sufficient
public health and safety issue that it can be imposed upon licensees, or
if it's a compliance issue I think might have been the basis on that.
But the point is, the means to impose things that are
necessary to assure public health and safety are present in the current
regulations. The Staff has guidance on how to do that. And we really
are dealing with the things that are not essential to public health and
safety. And that's why we support the Staff's conclusions and
recommendations that the 120-month update is appropriate. We would
propose using the 1989 edition. And I guess that concludes my -- oh no,
I would like to make one more statement.
There is one area that we have violent agreement with the
ASME code, and I think a lot of support on Staff too. And I just want
to drive home again the, our support for this. Regardless of the
outcome of this rulemaking, the need to expedite the adoption of new
editions of the ASME code is essential. I know the Staff is working on
it. I have not personally seen the path on how they will achieve that.
I know they've done some concurrence, changes now that
concurrences are done. But I'm not certain that alone is enough to
assure that the expedited adoptions, whether mandated or voluntary, will
happen in a timely fashion, so I want to encourage the continued work in
that area and say that we think that's a very important feature of what
the Staff is presently. With that, that concludes my remarks.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: Thank you very much.
Uh, we have a presentation tomorrow at the full Committee,
and I guess we'll have the Staff, ASME, and NEI back. Obviously their
presentations will have to be considerably condensed to fit the --
there's a slot from 8:45 to 10:15. I'm not sure I have any particular
guidance or suggestions as to exactly what can be eliminated, but they
definitely will have to be condensed.
DR. KRESS: Well, I'd certainly say the Staff ought to
present the options and then present their recommendation and why they
chose that, and the advantages and disadvantages. That's the main
MR. WESSMANN: If -- yeah, if I may make a couple of
comments and offer a suggestion on that, because I know I think we're
all getting hungry. As far as some specifics for tomorrow, we owe you
an answer on the risk-informed ISI/IST and its relationship and we'll
bring that to you.
I would like to suggest that perhaps we focus a little bit
more on the pros and cons of those four strategic goals. We did not
treat that quite so thoroughly. But at the price of having to defer
some of the detailed discussion on those public comments, you know --
we've got more than half the ACRS right here; I think we've covered that
well. And that information is certainly available on the viewgraphs for
your other members. But I think if we adjust our presentation slightly
in that direction, that would be constructive.
To wrap up, and just bring us back around the full circle
very briefly is, I think what we've all seen here today a little bit is
a microcosm of the public meeting we that we had in April. There
clearly are some challenging views and there are some differing views,
and we've put them in front of us and we've had a very healthy dialog in
the last couple hours on that.
I think we need to remind ourselves that, regardless of the
baseline, the idea of a baseline in the, in the replacement of the
120-month update is obviously the area that the Staff is proposing. And
of course we have proposed on the '95. I think it's important to
remember to remember that we continue to participate in the code process
and continue to have that vehicle to where utilities, as the years go
forward, can voluntarily incorporate later versions of the code, so that
value will always remain there.
The other fundamental value of is the issue of safety. If
the code provisions bring about something that passes the genuine safety
test, the Staff's going to do the work and it's going to be imposed on
the proper basis and proper schedule, you know, commensurate with what
the timing is.
The timeliness is something we all recognize. We didn't do
well in the last ten years. Right now all I can do is promise, but
certainly expect to do far better as we go forward. On balance, not an
overwhelming story in one direction or another -- and I think we've seen
that a little. But on balance, the recommendation of Option 1.b is the
direction that we're encouraging you all to consider.
I think that covers it for the Staff.
CHAIRMAN SHACK: I think we'd better adjourn since at least
some of our members have another meeting to go to.
[Whereupon, at 11:53 a.m., the meeting was concluded.]
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