Safety Research Program - November 01, 2000
1 UNITED STATES
2 NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
4 ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON REACTOR SAFEGUARDS
6 SAFETY RESEARCH PROGRAM SUBCOMMITTEE
9 US NRC
10 11545 Rockville Pike
11 Room T2-B3
12 Rockville, MD
14 Wednesday, November 1, 2000
16 The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:30
1 P R O C E E D I N G S
2 [8:30 a.m.]
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: The meeting will now come to
4 order. This is a meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Safety
5 Research Program. I'm Dana Powers, Chairman of the
7 ACRS Members in attendance are Professor George
8 Apostolakis, Dr. Mario Bonaca, Mr. Graham Leitch, Dr. Tom
9 Kress, Dr. Robert Seale, Dr. William Shack, and Jack Sieber
10 is here.
11 As I said, Graham Wallis is out ill today and
12 Professor Uhrig had a tragedy in his family. So they won't
13 be able to join us, but they are important parts of our team
14 looking at this research program.
15 Just as a point of reminder, the members have
16 specific areas of assignment in this activity, and I think
17 we can probably give you a list of those assignments, if you
18 need them.
19 The purpose of the meeting of the subcommittee is
20 to discuss with the NRC staff the 2001 draft ACRS report to
21 the Commission regarding the NRC's Safety Research Program
22 and related matters. The subcommittee will gather
23 information, analyze relevant issues and facts, and
24 formulate proposed positions and actions, as appropriate,
25 for deliberation by the full committee.
1 Dr. Med El-Zeftawy is the cognizant ACRS staff
2 engineer for this meeting.
3 The rules for participating in today's meeting
4 have been announced as part of the notice of the meeting
5 previously published in the Federal Register on October 20,
6 year 2000.
7 A transcript of the meeting is being kept and will
8 be made available as stated in the Federal Register notice.
9 It is requested that speakers first identify themselves and
10 speak with sufficient clarity and volume so they can be
11 readily heard.
12 We have received no written comments or requests
13 for time to make oral statements from members of the public.
14 Let me remind all the members that the objective
15 of this meeting is really to have a collegial discussion
16 with the managers of the RES organization about the future
17 long-range research program that RES might be able to pursue
18 to facilitate the agency meeting its obligations as this
19 nuclear industry progresses and evolves.
20 All the members have gotten brief descriptions of
21 the ongoing research programs and it's certainly fair to
22 pose questions about those ongoing research programs for
23 purposes of clarification. But if you find you're going to
24 get into a major discussion on the ongoing research
25 programs, I'd really suggest that you'd just arrange to do
1 that on another forum.
2 We really want to focus today on what I've called
3 the five to seven year timeframe, getting beyond the current
4 planning horizon in the strategic plan.
5 This is really free-form thinking. Nobody is
6 committing to these programs, nobody is staking their life
7 and soul. It's very much speculative here. It's
8 possibilities and less on probabilities. It's a chance to
9 think without the constraints of politics and budget and
10 political correctness and a variety of other things, about
11 just what the possibilities are.
12 We're going to begin the day with a bit of an
13 overview from the head dog at RES. He's fresh from
14 conducting what I thought was a superb water reactor safety
15 meeting. You missed something if you didn't get a chance to
16 go there. It was a celebration of the 25th anniversary of
17 WASH-1400, which was the seminal first step taken by
18 Research in an area that nobody thought was possible to do
19 and out of that research has come the entire risk-informed
20 regulatory process.
21 So that was the kind of speculative step that
22 we're looking for in this brainstorming session on the
24 With that, Ashok, I will turn it over to you and
25 let you make whatever opening comments you want. Then you
1 can tell us how you want to go after that.
2 MR. THADANI: Well, thank you very much for those
3 very kind words. As I said earlier, I was quite pleased
4 with at least the feedback I got. My own views, I thought
5 the water reactor safety meeting went quite well. But we'll
6 wait and see. I want to make sure we hear from various
7 stakeholders and see what they thought.
8 We're going to try and give you our thoughts in
9 terms of what we see as challenges in a few years from now,
10 perhaps, as you said, five to seven years.
11 I would also certainly encourage that if there are
12 issues on ongoing programs, certainly we'll try and address
13 them, but it might be useful to make sure that we've had an
14 opportunity to try to explore what some of the future
15 challenges might be.
16 We're here as a team, and the team, with Margaret
17 Federline, I think you know all the members of our team,
18 focusing quite significantly in recent days almost on what
19 we see are some future challenges. Some of them may be
20 becoming more and more real almost on a daily basis.
21 So we will share with you our best understanding
22 of those challenges. Farouk Eltawila you know very well.
23 To my right, Tom King, and, to his right, Mike Mayfield.
24 And I want to recognize Joe Murphy and Jim Johnson. They
25 are very active participants in this effort.
1 Let me share with you two areas. I will touch on
2 one and perhaps not on the other as I go through my remarks.
3 The first is that NEA, under Committee for Safety
4 of Nuclear Installations and Committee for Nuclear
5 Regulatory Activities, the CSNI and CNRA, are also looking
6 at the role of regulatory research. They are planning to
7 have a joint meeting June of next year, and Jim Johnson and
8 Joe Murphy are involved and working with various countries
9 and trying to develop the content and form of that meeting.
10 I think that will be an important meeting, not
11 just for us, but for the international community.
12 Let me begin by sort of looking back a little bit.
13 A number of points that I'll make are perhaps -- you all
14 know the history, but I think it's important to go back.
15 If you look at why was the Office of Nuclear
16 Regulatory Research created, it was mandated by Congress, as
17 a matter of fact. The key there was to make sure we had the
18 ability, the capability to develop and analyze, both parts,
19 develop and analyze the safety information that would be
20 necessary for both licensing and in terms of whatever
21 regulatory decisions the agency had to make.
22 And as you know, since then, the NRC has been
23 actively engaged in both looking to see if there are new
24 challenges, new issues, and to make sure that we understand
25 those, what the resolution paths might be, and to fully --
1 to certainly reasonably understand what the uncertainties
2 and gaps in our knowledge might be, and to work in those
4 I'm not going to go through the successes of the
5 Nuclear regulatory research. I think you know them and
6 there are plenty of those.
7 The key point, in my mind, here is that it was
8 expected that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was going to
9 be a technically very strong organization, that it would
10 develop appropriate bases, the scientific bases for some of
11 the regulatory decisions.
12 DR. SEALE: There was a corollary in there or an
13 implicit resource in that allocation of responsibility;
14 namely, access to the national laboratories, which remained
15 under the Department of Energy.
16 MR. THADANI: Yes.
17 DR. SEALE: As you go along, I don't know whether
18 you're going to tell us or not, but I can certainly remember
19 from experience that there have been some rather draconian
20 reductions in capabilities in national laboratory,
21 capabilities without, at least from my perspective, an iota
22 of input from the NRC, in some cases; in some cases, perhaps
23 a bit.
24 It strikes me that in relating your tale of woe,
25 if not in deciding where you go from here, you need to keep
1 track of the lost capabilities that are no longer at your
2 beck and call if you got the money to pay for them.
3 MR. THADANI: Bob, you just -- that is my central
4 message today. If it doesn't come through, then I would
5 have failed. And as part of that message, you will see in
6 the briefings -- we want to be careful that we're not
7 talking about maintaining facilities just for the sake of
8 maintaining them. There has to be some sort of nexus to
9 what we think the future challenges might be.
10 And as part of the briefings, we will show you
11 where we were, where we are in terms of the facilities that
12 have been shut down, the relevant facilities.
13 DR. SEALE: Yes.
14 MR. THADANI: I mean, I don't mean to say all the
15 Department of Energy facilities. But then we will also
16 identify some of the facilities which we believe are at risk
17 of being shut down in the next couple of years or so.
18 And in my mind, it's not just the issue of
19 facilities. It's a much bigger issue than the facilities,
20 and I will touch on that. And then as we go through our
21 briefing, hopefully, some of the points I'm making would
22 become clearer with detailed information that we hope to
23 share with you.
24 If you go back, again, sort of looking back to
25 history, because I think -- I'm a very strong believer that
1 we need to learn from history, if you recall, pre-TMI
2 environment, focus, an inordinate amount of focus on loss of
3 coolant accidents.
4 I remember it well. Severe accidents were
5 incredible, really couldn't happen, in spite of WASH-1400,
6 the environment was still totally focused on large break
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Having lived through that era, I
9 think you're right. The focus was 100 percent on LOCA. But
10 I think it was really 95 percent, because the research
11 management sewed enough capacity that they were dabbling in
12 the severe accidents, aimed at regulatory action, but they
13 knew enough about it that they ought to go touch it and see
14 if it quivered, if it shook.
15 That proved to be extraordinarily valuable, that
16 they would at least be willing to spend some of their
17 resources and not associated directly with any licensing
18 action, but go out and press the envelope a little bit.
19 So, again, I think here it's right. It also
20 proves the value of pressing the envelope a little bit.
21 MR. THADANI: Yes. And I think there was some
22 rather useful information, as you said, that research had
23 developed. If only we had paid more attention to some of
24 that information. But there was the sense, and I use the
25 word complacency, there was a certain amount of complacency
1 and we were not prepared.
2 I was part of the first team that went to TMI with
3 Harold Denton and I can -- there is no doubt, in my mind,
4 that our views about the so-called incredibility of severe
5 accidents is squarely verified by the ad hoc things that had
6 to be done following that accident.
7 Again, as you all know, that our reaction, which
8 was, I think, probably, fair to say now, certainly, in
9 recent years, in light of our better understanding of risk,
10 that we certainly overreacted. I think many of the
11 requirements that were imposed, some of which we're now
12 looking to see if they're needed at all and perhaps they
13 should be eliminated.
14 So there was a certain amount of overreaction; to
15 a certain extent, because we were -- we didn't -- probably
16 didn't take the time to develop a good technical basis for
17 all those requirements that we imposed.
18 And certainly the Chernobyl accident, in addition
19 to the post-TMI era, really switched the research focus to
20 the whole area of severe accidents. The aging program began
21 around that time period, as well, and greater interest --
22 when I say risk analysis, I mean not just level one, but a
23 great deal of interest in trying to make sure we understand
24 the containment performance and so on.
25 So there was, as some would say, not only, I
1 think, very relevant research, but a very challenging
2 research period in the `80s and early `90s. And, again, I
3 would say since the early `90s, the direction changed once
4 again, mostly because of the advent of some of the new
5 technologies that the industry was interested in and
6 probably largely the advanced light water reactor program,
7 Electric Power Research Institute, where we worked with them
8 and then, following that, with General Electric, Combustion
9 Engineering and Westinghouse.
10 I would say that got the bulk of the attention
11 from the Office of Research and we managed to continue some
12 of the aging research work.
13 I would be remiss if I left out what I think, as I
14 said, experience, operating experience is absolutely
15 essential, critical. And as you know, approximately two
16 years ago, because of the reorganization, AEOD was dissolved
17 and the responsibility for independently looking at
18 operating experience was moved to the Office of Research.
19 It made sense to a lot of people that that was the
20 right combination for research to really be taking an
21 independent look at operating experience.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Just to inject here, Ashok, that
23 we -- you want to write a research report on the things you
24 want to say, but sometimes you have lots of people giving
25 you help on things that you ought to address in that report,
1 and one of the topics that we have to address in the report
2 is exactly that.
3 Having made this move, the AEOD into becoming part
4 of the research organization rather than having it as
5 completely separate, we're asking is that working; are we
6 still getting this kind of independent assessment of
7 operational data that, in some sense, can be used to
8 validate what goes into the probabilistic risk assessments
9 and risk arguments, in general.
10 Is it still working, and that's one of the
11 questions that, in fact, Professor Seale has the lead
12 responsibility on exactly that question.
13 MR. THADANI: There are several aspects to that
14 question, in my mind. First of all, I think we're doing the
15 independent analysis work. I think much of that work is
16 being utilized, for example, in the reactor oversight,
17 revised reactor oversight program.
18 I personally think that we are not utilizing that
19 independent analysis to the extent that I would like to see
20 it utilized, and I will give you some examples.
21 The first one is David Lochbaum, at the Water
22 Reactor Safety meeting, put up a chart on reactor core
23 isolation cooling system unreliability, unavailability, and
24 he showed what was done in the individual plant examinations
25 and what the so-called research report was showing in terms
1 of unavailability of RCIC.
2 He asked a very fair question; he said, if the
3 IPEs -- incidentally, the experience was showing that the
4 reactor core isolation cooling system unavailability was
5 significantly higher than that assumed in the IPEs. The
6 question he asked, what is the agency doing about that.
7 Now, of course, we also know from some of the
8 other research studies, such as on high pressure injection
9 systems, that we found the reverse, which was the
10 assumptions in IPEs were more conservative than what the
11 experience was showing.
12 Where I think we are lacking and we need to do
13 better is to really mind the experience and apply it in many
14 different places and not just selected areas, like the
15 revised oversight, reactor oversight program.
16 And we in research are working to make sure that
17 different parts of research are, in fact, utilizing that
18 type of information.
19 Another area where we need to do better is we have
20 been criticized by the public interest groups about the
21 non-visibility of the old AEOD reports that AEOD used to put
22 out, and certainly the annual report and so on.
23 We are -- I accept the responsibility. I think we
24 were too premature in trying to save resources and saying
25 that perhaps we shouldn't issue such a report. We are going
1 to issue such a report. It will take some resources, but
2 we'll make sure we have the necessary resources.
3 It is important. This issue came up at the last
4 stakeholders meeting that the Commission had and I
5 participated in, and so I took away the message, I listened
6 to the concerns and complaints. We are going to be
7 developing an annual report which will also be very
8 important to not just in terms of AEOD function, but to the
9 agency and NRR in assessing whether safety was maintained,
10 so-called maintain safety performance goal, or if there were
11 -- if there are some significant adverse trends from
12 operating experience, which, if they are, we're supposed to
13 report to Congress as part of our performance plan.
14 DR. SEALE: We had heard about Mr. Lochbaum's
15 revelation, if you want to call it that as a part of his
16 letter regarding the safety program and a response from the
17 committee was crafted and in the process of doing that, we
18 talked to some of the people from the old AEOD organization
19 and got a fairly concise explanation of what the Commission
20 is using and, indeed, the fact that these numbers from the
21 IPEs were flawed in a rather systematic way and were not
22 being used by the Commission for making certain kinds of
24 It strikes me, though, what we've gotten here is a
25 case where your research program or your research assets are
1 being reallocated for you, if you will, because somebody is
2 chewing on your ear and forcing you, if you will, by virtue
3 of this enhanced attention to move things around.
4 Now, when you talk about a five-year plan, and I
5 think Dr. Powers mentioned that as we started, that we're
6 looking more toward the future and so on, and as we examine
7 where we think information is going to come from that are
8 going to tell us where we're maybe skating on thin ice and
9 where we have, in fact, confirmation of the assumptions that
10 we have made in developing certain regulatory positions, and
11 I certainly hope that we've got more of the latter than the
12 former, it strikes me that the old AEOD type activities,
13 based on operating experience, are probably the richest
14 source of information for the simple reason that the basic
15 information is not being funded out of your budget.
16 It's the evaluation of what that information means
17 that's coming out of your budget. So a strong continuation
18 of the understanding of what operational experience means,
19 what it's telling us, it seems to me, has got to be a very
20 important pillar of any long-term program you have. It's
21 the only real lab you've got.
22 MR. THADANI: I couldn't agree with you more. I
23 think a related issue, and I know that's not the purpose of
24 today's meeting, but David's point, I think, is -- you can
25 look at it in a narrow way and you can look at it in a much
1 broader way, and the industry has made a lot of changes to
2 their IPEs.
3 We don't really know what those changes are, to
4 what extent these IPEs have been updated, what information
5 is publicly available. These are issues that I think we're
6 going to have to address as we move forward in the arena of
7 risk-informing our activities and regulations.
8 DR. BONACA: I like to just ask one question
9 regarding that, however, because we are talking about these
10 differences and although it's out of probably the subject of
11 the day, but it's an important issue.
12 When we looked at the effectiveness of the station blackout,
13 one issue that came clear was that the industry is counting
14 unavailabilities in different ways than the NRC is using,
15 and that ultimately brings up a bias and the bias can be
16 interpreted either that the industry willingly is defying
17 proper approaches, and I don't think it is.
18 When I saw the results that Mr. Lochbaum
19 presented, there was a systematic bias that would suggest
20 the same kind of issue. I think that before we have a
21 record with recognizing that we are not doing things right,
22 we should just go back and try to check to see if, in fact,
23 those biases are due to the fact that they're counting in a
24 different way than they should, and I think that's the
1 DR. THADANI: I think, Mario, that's right. In
2 fact, I have asked Tom King, and Pat Baranowsky, as you
3 know, works for Tom, I've asked Tom is there a document, is
4 there a place where we can all say we agree that here is how
5 you define unreliability, unavailability, and this is, in
6 fact, how the industry and NRC is conducting its business.
7 So when we talk about values and numbers, we're
8 saying the same things, rather than talking pat one another.
9 I don't know if there is a need for a standard in
10 that area. Perhaps there is. But I have asked Tom to
11 really look into this issue.
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I wrote a memo with five or six
13 definitions some time ago, which disappeared in a black hole
14 somewhere. The industry, before I wrote it, said, well,
15 gee, we'd like to have it. Then they came back a few months
16 later with the old definition.
17 There was an effort to do that, Ashok, and I guess
18 it was dismissed or failed or maybe I used an integral
19 somewhere and people got scared. But there is a
20 disagreement and in PRA we define unavailability in one way.
21 The industry, as Mario said, defines it a different way. We
22 discussed it here and then they said, well, gee, we define
23 it differently, and nothing happened.
24 This was maybe two years ago.
25 DR. BONACA: But even the station blackout was
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And then we did it again there.
3 It was in another context, first, and they just --
4 DR. BONACA: The reason is that it defies any
5 reasonable efforts. I mean, you can work for years at
6 improving understanding and capabilities, but if we don't
7 agree on the simplest terms --
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: The elementary stuff.
9 DR. BONACA: -- immediately, these biases are
10 going to be viewed as manipulation of data to presume
11 whatever, and instead, as you pointed out before, in some
12 cases, the estimates of the industry are conservative; in
13 some cases, they're non-conservative with respect to the way
14 that you are counting unavailability or reliability.
15 But it's so easy to then make an accusation of
16 that kind when you have those kind of discrepancies. Yet,
17 if I look at the data of Mr. Lochbaum, again, the consistent
18 bias is so consistent that it's telling me that there is a
19 counting issue there.
20 CHAIRMAN POWERS: If we come back to the original
21 point on the invisibility of the operational data, the
22 report, that's been of concern to this committee, even when
23 you had the AEOD as distinct, that they were issuing
24 reports, but we weren't seeing consistently the staff using
25 that in making their arguments to us.
1 That was distressing, but even within the
2 professional PRA community at large, people might
3 acknowledge that, oh, yeah, it's right on my shelf and it's
4 been there since the day it arrived. They weren't using it
5 regularly. And it's one of the challenges, I think, that
6 the research organization really faces, is to find a way so
7 that the currency of exchange throughout the country in
8 probabilistic risk assessment for reactors uses this agreed
9 upon unbiased data set as the foundations for any analysis
10 that they undertake.
11 It's one of the things you've just to work on and
12 I don't know how to do it. What I do know is issuing a
13 report in and of itself is only a first step.
14 DR. SEALE: In a way, it's almost a paralyzing
15 step because once it's in a report in black and white, it
16 has a lifetime which is entirely inappropriate to its value.
17 It's very difficult to upgrade a number that's in a report.
18 I think in another context, we talked about the
19 desirability of doing certain things in a loose-leaf format
20 and that may be of concern here; the fact that you put a
21 number out, it takes on a life of its own, and it's very
22 difficult to modify it.
23 MR. THADANI: There are two parts, it seems to me,
24 to what you've said. First is when we develop these
25 reports, in the office we have developed a process, I know
1 for a fact that for many years, there would be lots of
2 really good technical work done by the Office of Research in
3 either NUREG or NUREG-CR documents, and they were on
4 bookshelves. They looked good, but I'm not sure people use
5 the information contained in them.
6 About a year ago, I issued a memo to all our staff
7 asking that for each major effort that we have underway,
8 when we develop our documentation, that in the cover
9 memorandum or transmitting letter, we lay out what was the
10 purpose of the research that was done, briefly, what were
11 the results, how might those results be used, and being
12 interested in getting some feedback on that.
13 There's six or seven such questions that each
14 person is to address. I think the staff, by and large, is,
15 in fact, following through on that.
16 Now, in many cases, we would make recommendations,
17 suggestions, but in the end, it's the users who make certain
18 decisions on to what extent should one apply the results of
19 this research in the ongoing activities.
20 I think we need to -- as you know, we need to
21 improve in that area, both in terms of working internally
22 within the agency and with external stakeholders, and I will
23 say a few words about external stakeholders. I know I have
24 blown the time I had allotted to me.
25 But as you know, Margaret has been very active.
1 She chairs the Research Evaluation Review Board, and some of
2 these questions and concerns that many people have about the
3 use of information and making sure there is some mechanism
4 in place is part of what the board is working on, amongst
5 many other issues.
6 We have some ways to go, I think, to get there,
7 but it's something we need to make sure we focus attention
9 MR. KING: If I can add two things. There is some
10 progress being made in this area. I'll give you two
11 examples. As a result of the summer safety course at MIT,
12 Steve Mays, from Baranowsky's branch, gave a presentation on
13 operating experience. There were some utility people that
14 heard that and he got invited out to the Perry plant, he
15 went last week, and they had utility people from Perry, from
16 Beaver Valley, there were Region III people there, he gave
17 basically the presentation he gave at MIT, on this is what
18 we're doing, analyzing operating data, this is the value we
19 see it, the uses we think people can make of it, and he got
20 a very positive response back from the utility folks and
21 from the Region III folks.
22 Hopefully, more of that will -- I mean, we'd be
23 glad to go elsewhere if other people want to invite us out
24 to talk about it.
25 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Most of the participants in that
1 course are utility people and Steve's presentation is Friday
2 morning, the last day, and I must say there is a hell of a
3 lot of interest.
4 When people see actual data, and these are
5 practical guys, I mean, they got out there in the field,
6 five minutes into his talk, you can see they're animated,
7 they're asking lots of questions. So I'm not surprised that
8 he was invited to give the talk.
9 MR. KING: I think four or five Region III people
10 and about 20 utility people sat in from the two plants.
11 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Did he tell them to come to the
12 MIT course?
13 MR. KING: I'm sure he did. The other thing is
14 we've now -- we work closely with the NRR inspection folks
15 and the results from the operating experience is sent to
16 them directly with a cover letter, like Ashok said, saying,
17 hey, this is what this information means in terms of how you
18 can improve the oversight process.
19 They have now invited us to come help them
20 incorporate this into the oversight process. It's a much
21 more collaborative working relationship. So there is
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: That seems like it parallels so
24 many things. Our experience with PRA, for instance, in the
25 Department of Energy reactors at Savannah River was they did
1 they analysis, it sat on the shelf, nobody used it, until
2 the analyst said I've got to quit speaking PRA-ese and start
3 speaking maintenance-ese. So they went out to the trouble
4 to convert the results from probabilities and things like
5 that to maintenance directed activities, maintain this one
6 twice as often as you do and this other one you can do half
7 as often.
8 And suddenly the work of that PRA group was
9 totally subscribed by the maintenance organization. I think
10 that's the same thing you're saying here, is once you turn
11 these data into something that inspection and monitoring
12 people will understand, then they will make heavy use of it.
13 Maybe that's the whole trick, is to just start
14 targeting audiences for these reports and use their language
15 instead of your language, and they will quickly be able to
16 make that translation, as well, and you can move on to
17 another target audience.
18 DR. SEALE: And as we look at the impact of budget
19 limitations and so on within the utilities, and clearly
20 that's a safety-related question, too, anything that can
21 enhance the sense of ownership of a utility activity by the
22 operating people, whether they're maintenance or whatever,
23 enhances the support for doing that activity within the
25 That was certainly the experience with the
1 training programs and it would certainly be the experience
2 with the PRA-related activities, as well.
3 So there's some symbiosis here, too. If the
4 utilities can use that information more effectively, then
5 they will have more effective input in that area.
6 MR. THADANI: I'll try to move through very
8 MR. LEITCH: Just one question about the operating
9 experiences. Data from the maintenance rule factored in in
10 part of that operating experience?
11 MR. THADANI: Yes. And as you -- you know, we are
12 working -- we have an agreement with the industry, through
13 INPO, on getting what's called the EPIX, the data that we
14 get and we have, and we convert that data to reliability and
15 availability estimates ourselves.
16 And the database covers the more significant
17 safety systems. Safety, I don't mean in the context of
18 safety-related, but important safety systems. And so I
19 think we -- if we can agree on consistent basic ways of
20 converting the data to reliability and availability, I think
21 we will have had quite a bit of progress.
22 MR. LEITCH: I'm not sure, for example, that one
23 utility has information about what another utility's A1
24 systems are in the maintenance rule. I think it would be
25 interesting to somehow compile that data and be aware that,
1 hey, we're not the only ones that are having trouble with
2 RCIC, that's an across-the-board type of problem.
3 MR. THADANI: That's true. That's true.
4 MR. KING: INPO is taking the lead to have the
5 utilities input data in a consistent fashion to the EPIX
6 system and what systems and what components feed that
8 We're on sort of a management oversight group that
9 participates in that, Pat Baranowsky and so forth. A lot of
10 that data is proprietary data. In other words, we'll get
11 it, but we can't publish plant-specific data on specific
12 systems and components. We can integrate and publish
13 overall reliability trends and so forth and how much the
14 utilities, through INPO, share that among themselves, I
15 don't know. That's a good question.
16 MR. THADANI: Also, to Graham's question, at least
17 in my mind, the industry, under the maintenance rule,
18 they'll have categories A1, A2 and A3, and ultimately A4,
19 the revised rule. They are based on industry IPEs and
20 conversion of SSEs from A2 to A1 establishing goals and so
22 We are really -- we're not -- research is really
23 not engaged in that and that's something we need to think
24 about in the context of the database and so on. So I'll
25 certainly want us to give it some thought.
1 MR. LEITCH: Thank you.
2 MR. THADANI: Okay. I will try my very best. I
3 talked about pre-TMI, there was complacency, I think, and,
4 again, I hear things that, while I think they are valid
5 statements, but we have to be on guard, I think. You hear a
6 great deal about the industry's mature. Yes. However,
7 there are lots and lots of changes taking place out there
8 and there are all kinds of pressures under this deregulated
9 environment that we're in and we need to make sure that in
10 this sort of good operating experience, good performance
11 indicators, with time, that we not become overly confident
12 perhaps, is what I'm looking for; that we need to challenge
13 ourselves when we make changes in a way to be sure that we
14 have developed good technical basis for many of the changes,
15 whether they're technology-driven changes, economic factors
16 that go in changes, power up-rates and things like that,
17 that proper database and, in this case, whether it's
18 operating experience or experimental database, proper
19 database should be developed such that we have the right
20 analytical tools, ones that we have confidence in.
21 Now, with what I think is all kinds of changes
22 taking place in the industry, and I will share with you some
23 areas in a minute, the biggest concern I have is going back
24 to what Bob just said at the outset.
25 Are we slowly eroding away our infrastructure?
1 The Office of Research, as you know, the agency has
2 six-to-one ratio, over 60 versus under 30, 25 percent of
3 people in research can retire today. You will see about the
4 facilities going down.
5 DR. SEALE: I'm going to shut up in a minute, but
6 I hope there is one other thing that you mention in here,
7 and it has to do with the fact that from the very beginning,
8 the utility mixture that has been involved in nuclear power
9 has included advanced thinking utilities, sort of average we
10 buy our subscription to EPRI utilities, and what I've called
11 in the past the troglodytes. And some have been interested
12 in learning in the engineering area and so on, enhancing
13 their operations and so forth. These are the people that
14 supported the evolution of PRA activities and so on in the
15 industry and all.
16 And others have done the minimum necessary to
17 satisfy their perception of the regulatory requirements and,
18 by the way, we'll argue about that.
19 Now, at the present time, there is an enormous
20 amount of compression going on in the industry. Hopefully,
21 my optimistic side says that the consequences of that will
22 be among, other things, the ability to afford a strong
23 questioning, perceptive engineering organization in each of
24 these larger utility groups.
25 I sure hope that my optimistic perceptions are
1 correct, because if not, then we've got problems and they're
2 even bigger problems that they used to be.
3 MR. THADANI: I would hope that your optimism
4 would, in fact, become reality, but I think it's something
5 that would need watching.
6 DR. SEALE: That's the reason we need to do things
7 like experience and so forth. We need to continually
8 challenge people what that means to them.
9 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think we should also -- I want
10 to say one thing about this issue of maturity, because
11 people are using it a lot. I think it's a relative concept.
12 To say that the industry is mature doesn't mean much. You
13 have to look at the kinds of frequencies that PRAs produce.
14 If your frequency of core damage is on the order
15 of ten-to-the-minus-five every 100,000 years, the fact that
16 you've had experience on the order of a couple of thousand
17 reactor years does not make you mature.
18 So in that context, I think the argument goes
19 away, because people say we're mature now, we've been
20 working for so many years. Yes, but look the kinds of
21 things that you worry about, they are truly rare events.
22 So you can't really claim that on the basis of a
23 statistical record, now we can abandon analysis.
24 MR. THADANI: My opinion, now I'm speaking just
25 for myself, my view is that the industry business models
1 that they talk about, business models, decisions, there
2 would be a fair amount of attention given to making sure
3 that the more likely events and initiator frequency is
5 It seems to me the regulator has a responsibility
6 to poke and probe in areas of low frequencies. Those areas
7 of ten-to-the-minus-four to ten-to-the-minus-five per
8 reactor year are not going to get as much attention, I
9 believe, from the industry and the regulator has to make
10 sure that they are paying attention to those.
11 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Right, but the statistical
12 record doesn't help you there.
13 DR. BONACA: The other thing I would like to add
14 is that maturity doesn't give me comfort if we said, okay,
15 it's a mature industry, we're going to stay steady and run
16 these plants until their end of life and do that.
17 I don't see that happening. There is a paradigm
18 taking place. We are mature as an industry; therefore,
19 we're going to increase power to the reactors, we're going
20 to run for 60 years, we're going to increase the fuel cycle,
21 et cetera. I mean, these issues we have raised on synergies
22 of this -- potential synergies, it certainly is a concern.
23 It may be a mature industry, which also implies
24 some age in it, and we are squeezing out margin, and I think
25 that this issue of margin reduction is a very important one
1 that certainly we would like to talk about sometime today.
2 MR. THADANI: Yes. In fact, I think you have
3 covered probably one or two slides that I have coming up.
4 I want to emphasize this. We would -- and since
5 today's discussion is five-seven years from now issue, we
6 need to think very hard and we need to be able to look over
7 that horizon and say what are the challenges and what are
8 the implications of the direction we're headed in and is
9 there a way to make changes, what those changes are and we
10 need to be thinking and planning now.
11 That means we need to make sure we get the support
12 to be able to change certain directions. I'm very pleased.
13 I can tell you that the Commission is very strong support
14 for the Office of Research and the concerns about resources
15 and so on.
16 I will touch upon that in a minute.
17 DR. KRESS: Ashok, while you're on that subject, I
18 may be out of order here, but I'll say it anyway. One of
19 the things that concerns me is the pressures to curb or
20 limit NRC Research from various outside sources because
21 research is, quote, not needed. I think that stems from the
22 fact that the research is lumped in with the rest of NRC in
23 this full fee recovery type of funding.
24 I think that's a mistake. I think the whole
25 system would be better off if research, which benefits the
1 broad public more than just specific plants, if it were
2 separately funded by taxpayer money that doesn't come from
3 the fee recovery from the plants.
4 Now, I don't know if there's any possibility of
5 that ever happening, but if that would ever happen, to me,
6 that would cure a lot of the ills on the research program.
7 MR. THADANI: We can talk about it now. It's
8 coming up on one of the charts, because the external expert
9 group debated quite a bit on that issue of where should the
10 funds come that support research.
11 There were a number of recommendations made. One,
12 for example, suggested that 50 percent of research budget
13 should not come from licensees, but should come from general
14 revenues, for the reasons that you indicated.
15 But the panel discussion at the water reactor
16 safety meeting, Commissioner McGaffigan threw out his point
17 perhaps our research budget should come from general
19 These things need to be thought through carefully
20 and I know the Chairman is focusing on this issue, as well.
21 One thing that's very important is particularly if
22 the long-term research is to come from general revenues,
23 there has to be some sort of stability to the availability
24 of resources if you're going to plan four or five year
25 research programs.
1 And if it's coming from general revenues, there
2 are some risks in those. But I think, Tom, your views are
3 shared by many, I think, and the tide is rising, it seems to
5 We may be mature, but we're rather dynamic. So
6 power up-rates, let me tell you, you know, five, six, seven,
7 eight, nine percent, I think a great deal of good work had
8 been done that sort of paved the way for that, but I just
9 read Inside NRC the other day, Brunswick, which got about
10 six percent increase, is now talking about additional 15
11 percent for each unit, a total of 230 megawatts electric,
12 which would be about 22 percent increase in power.
13 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Take a look at the things that
14 were in the queue or proposed to be in the queue and it
15 amounts to adding eight new units for an extra five years.
16 So people say we aren't building nuclear power plants.
17 That's true, but not quite true.
18 DR. SEALE: That's true.
19 MR. THADANI: So I have asked Dr. Eltawila to put
20 his smart hat on and step back and see what safety issues
21 there might be that need to get some attention.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I find it remarkable that Mr.
23 Eltawila ever takes his smart hat off.
24 MR. THADANI: Well, you should spend your time
25 with him. There have been occasions, very few. Since
1 you're speaking after me, I suspect you're going to have a
3 On these issues, I don't really want to get into,
4 but this is why I believe, when you look to the future, you
5 really have to focus on what will be needed, why and when,
6 and plan programs.
7 So we need some help and I will tell you where we
8 need some help. We know some of the short -- we don't have
9 a -- in my mind, short-term issues usually there is not a
10 big problem. Sometimes, there may be some small issues.
11 Generally, we are able to reach agreement on those.
12 Where the difficulty comes in is looking down the
13 road, the horizon. How should we be prioritizing what we
14 work on? How should we weight what may be problems five to
15 ten years from now versus what we do now?
16 As you know, we have this 80/20, 80 percent
17 confirmatory, 20 percent anticipatory, but it really doesn't
18 end up that way. Usually it ends up probably 90 percent
19 confirmatory, because we sometimes have to -- research
20 results come in and they are actually being used in
21 confirming some decisions and so on.
22 But we also get challenges during the year and so
23 on. So when the challenges come in, you scratch your head,
24 I need resources, well, where can I go get resources.
25 Oftentimes, what you end up with is where there is
1 the least pain in the short term and so that means you go to
2 longer-term. And we need to do better in that and I -- for
3 example, when we plan ahead, we have AP-1000 potentially
4 coming in for review, non-light water reactor designs. If
5 you had asked me just a while -- some -- maybe several
6 months ago, I would have not been very optimistic, but
7 there's a lot of interest in the U.S., for example, in
8 pebble bed reactor design. PECO has contributed ten percent
9 to SCOM and we have had, as you know, dialogue with the
10 Department of Energy on Generation IV reactors and Tom is
11 going to talk about what we see some of the issues and where
12 we might need to go.
13 Things like AP-1000, non-light water reactor
14 designs, we don't have the operating experience to say even
15 what did we learn and so on. To me, that means we must make
16 absolutely sure that we understand phenomena challenges and
17 perhaps do the kinds of things Farouk has done through PIRT
18 panels and do so on to be able to identify what some of the
19 issues are going to be and to make sure that we have sound
20 -- we have developed sound technical basis for regulatory
21 decisions regarding safety.
22 Now, it's very interesting. This report, I think,
23 is either out or is about to come out. It's a
24 pre-publication copy, Strengthening Science at the U.S.
25 Environmental Protection Agency, Research Management and
1 Peer Review Practices, done by a National Research Council.
2 There was a group that was set up and I was just reading it
3 actually last night, you know, sleepless times, and I wanted
4 to read you something, because I think it really -- it has
5 -- we're not alone in some of the difficulties that we're
7 It says in the 1997 NRC -- this NRC is the
8 National Research Council -- report, building a foundation
9 for sound environmental decisions, our companion committee
10 in this study concluded that ORD, which is their research
11 group, should maintain a balance between the problem-driven
12 research and technical support for the agency's regulatory
13 programs and the core research to better understand and
14 anticipate environmental risks.
15 Our committee agrees these two functions are not
16 unrelated or incompatible. They are mutually reinforcing.
17 Core research is the indispensable offspring that prepares
18 and enables ORD to provide better problem-specific research
19 and technical assistance to the agency and the nation.
20 I read it because I think I see a parallel. That
21 applies to us equally. And core research is not as well
22 appreciated when you look at the prioritization that we go
23 through. We have to figure out a way, I think, to somehow
24 -- the agency has -- and I think I have a responsibility to
25 help us in that direction. We have to come up with, I
1 think, a better way to prioritize.
2 Our current scheme is too much driven by
3 short-term benefits. I'm guilty of that. I was part of the
4 group that worked on this prioritization. But I have
5 certainly changed in the last year because I do see the
6 different future of nuclear power in this country than I
7 perhaps saw a year ago and it's very likely going to be part
8 of the mix, an important source, and it is going to be -- I
9 think people are, again, going to be challenged in many
10 different ways technically and interest is, I think, going
11 to grow and we have a responsibility to make sure that we
12 not make that much more difficult than it ought to be, and
13 I'm afraid the direction we're going in will make it much
14 more difficult, unless we find a way to turn that around.
15 MS. FEDERLINE: Ashok, could I just say one thing
16 on that?
17 MR. THADANI: Please.
18 MS. FEDERLINE: I attended DOE's meeting with the
19 deans of the School of Engineering and it was a great
20 tragedy to see these deans really talking about how do we
21 preserve and sustain the transfer of knowledge within the
22 country, and that's something that's not popular in this
23 agency, when we say doing research for research sake. It's
24 not research for research sake. It's an effort to sustain
25 the transfer of knowledge from one individual to the other,
1 and we've always been able to do that. We've had that
2 luxury in the agency because we've had a number of solid
3 people who have worked in the same fields and we've
4 transferred knowledge.
5 We now, I think, have to face the concern within
6 the agency about how do we transfer knowledge, how do we
7 sustain our own capability over time, and any advice that
8 you can give us on how we can sell that would be much
10 MR. THADANI: Thanks, Margaret. Well, I think we
11 have covered this, but one or two points I would like to
12 make. There's been a lot of discussion about the role of
13 regulatory agency and the role of the industry in the
14 development of the information and, in fact, the external
15 expert group that looked at the role and direction of
16 research also had some statements and I will share them with
18 Some of these points that are on this chart come
19 out in the review that the external group did, so no point
20 repeating. But just very briefly, research has to reach
21 out. That's very important.
22 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Who was the expert panel? Who
23 were on the panel?
24 MR. THADANI: There it is, the list. I will get
25 you copies. It was very important to us that we work on
1 both fronts, our internal stakeholders and our external
3 We have to get out, we have to talk to people, we
4 have to tell them what we're doing and why. There has been
5 a problem of non-visibility of research, research efforts,
6 results of those efforts, and the value of those efforts.
7 So we're working on both sides to make sure that
8 we are, in fact, reaching out and learning from views that
9 other people may have. You see in front of you, we made
10 sure that we have all the interested stakeholders part of
11 this external group. Certainly, Congressional staff, public
12 interest groups, utilities, academia and so on. We tried to
13 cover the spectrum.
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Ashok, is there anything in the
15 law that stops you from sending a number of questions, say,
16 to the heads of departments, nuclear engineering departments
17 around the country asking them to comment on research?
18 MR. THADANI: Nothing, as far as I know, in the
19 law would prevent us from doing that and one of the things
20 we are trying to be sure we're doing is get external input
21 on what those future challenges might be.
22 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: See, that's my problem -- and
23 it's not a problem. The point is that perhaps we are
24 limiting the input we receive to a number of very senior
25 people and this is -- you know, their input is certainly
1 needed, but it seems to me that every now and then you
2 should hear from the guy out there who is actually trying to
3 write a paper, who is actually trying to do something.
4 Now, obviously, you cannot invite all of these
5 people to Washington, but give them a chance somehow. Don't
6 expect that people will go to the NRC web site and look for
7 it. I mean, if you have a list of e-mail addresses of
8 chairmen of departments or maybe even other organizations.
9 Now, I don't know to what extent the national lab
10 guys can do this, but you might --
11 DR. KRESS: Yes. Yes.
12 MR. THADANI: We do it all the time.
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But then you may get some -- a
14 lot of these are -- the input that you receive, I guess,
15 would be this guy's complaint about this little detail, but
16 you can dismiss those very quickly.
17 You may get something --
18 DR. SEALE: If your inquiry goes to a dean, you've
19 already very drastically pre-filtered your response.
20 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It should go to the chairmen, I
22 MR. THADANI: Now, let me make you a commitment
23 here, because I am a very strong believer in getting
24 external input to what we do, and internal. At the last
25 all-hands meeting of the research that I had with the staff
1 here, I have invited all research staff to feel completely
2 free to propose what they believe are important research
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Good.
5 MR. THADANI: In that spirit, I think you're
6 exactly right. Unless I find out there's some legal
7 problem, which I don't see why, I don't think so, we'll do
8 just what you say. It's a good idea.
9 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: The American Nuclear Society
10 already, I believe, has a list of all the chairmen and their
11 addresses and they meet as a group. NEDO, it's called, I
12 don't know. Do you know? You can go through those guys.
13 MIT will be more than happy to send you something.
14 MR. THADANI: I think even if we find one or two
15 nuggets, I think that's great.
16 CHAIRMAN POWERS: From MIT, don't anticipate too
17 much now.
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Because I will not participate.
19 MR. THADANI: Let me quickly run through and what
20 this -- this is a -- by the way, this group was put together
21 as a non-FACA group, so it's their individual views and not
22 attempt was really made to come to consensus.
23 But it was interesting. While there were
24 obviously some differences of opinions in some areas, but
25 there were also a lot of common elements that came through.
1 I'm reminded of Harold Ray's statements about he said
2 "Ashok, everything you put up there, I support you,
3 basically." I think those things ought to be done.
4 But the industry shouldn't have to pay for all of
5 that stuff. And I think to a certain extent, this whole
6 issue of 100 percent, up to now, now that the Congress
7 passed, approved the two percent per year off of fee base up
8 to ten percent in five years, but still research budget is
9 going to be coming from fee base, is going to be fee-based.
10 I think this is becoming an issue that is clearly
11 on the minds of a lot of people, is there a better way to
12 fund research or part of research. It's an issue of today,
13 I think, we have to work on.
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think all of these things make
15 sense, except the penultimate bullet. I don't know why a
16 single strong center would be beneficial. Is the idea of
17 diversity applicable here?
18 MR. THADANI: I think it was --
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Unless you want to have the
20 center in the northeast somewhere. Otherwise, I --
21 MR. THADANI: I think it really gets down to you
22 have to decide, as the budgets go down, you have to decide
23 how one can be most effective and efficient, and I think
24 this group -- and I don't -- I mean, I think this group had
25 some individuals with sort of strong views that some of the
1 research that's conducted outside of the Office of Research
2 should perhaps be brought to the Office of Research.
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think, Ashok, you know, I've
4 been on the outside for a very long time, one of the biggest
5 complaints of people outside the establishment of the NRC is
6 how hard it is to get NRC money. It's awfully hard, unless
7 -- so the law, it seems to me, creates a contradiction here.
8 On the one hand, by wanting you to be independent,
9 it puts all these constraints on you. But on the other
10 hand, it's awfully hard for people who have ideas to come to
11 you. The standard answer is we can't do that, I mean,
12 unless you have a cooperative agreement, which takes X
13 months to put together and your staff would be unwilling, in
14 general, to spend the time to do that, or a national
15 laboratory gives you a subcontract, which is an extremely
16 inefficient way of doing business.
17 There is no way, there is no way. This is a real
18 problem and people just give up. They know they cannot --
19 you are probably the only agency -- one of the very few
20 agencies in the Federal Government that does not make
21 announcements for a request for proposal in the Federal
22 Register in a regular basis. NASA does it all the time.
23 The EPA does it all the time, gives deadlines.
24 The NRC is shining by its absence. I think it's
25 not because you're bad people, it's because of all these
1 constraints that have been imposed on you. If you want
2 stakeholder input --
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: And I really question whether
4 it's a topic that we're going to delve in in the research
5 report. I mean, it's -- I mean, call your Congressman if
6 you don't like what's going on.
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: There is all the input from the
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: The panel is uninhibited.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: The research report would not
11 address that.
12 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think that's just kind of
13 outside our domain of influence. This question, though,
14 that the penultimate point brought up does strike me as an
15 interesting question to pursue, and I don't know whether
16 it's part of the research report or something else, and I'm
17 wondering is that something that maybe we should have one of
18 our fellows look into.
19 Is it -- what's the history and the utility of
20 having centers of excellence for research for particular
21 topics and clearly Nuclear Regulatory Research would be a
22 particular topic.
23 Is that something we ought to look into? Would it
24 be useful? I'm right now posing that to you, Ashok. Would
25 that b something useful for us to look at?
1 MR. THADANI: I think it would be useful. At this
2 stage, for example, high level waste research being done
3 from NMSS, we need to also recognize practicality. It's
4 been going on for many years that way, since 1996, I
5 believe, '95 or '96, and what efficiencies would be gained
6 to reconsider an earlier decision that the Commission made.
7 It is not clear to me that in our case, NRC's
8 case, that one can make any significant changes at this
9 stage. There have been some issues about the technical
10 assistance work that's done from NRR. Would that be more
11 efficiently done through research? That's what this expert
12 group was talking about. Some of the Congressional staffers
13 were asking those kinds of questions, driven, I think,
14 mostly by is there a -- you know, some people can take what
15 the Congress said every literally that the Office of
16 Research is to conduct research.
17 So if you go back, one can -- and, in fact, David
18 Lochbaum sent a letter saying that is the agency doing what
19 Congress mandated for the agency to do. Why is all research
20 not being done in the Office of Research? So I don't think
21 that -- while it may be useful to give some attention to
22 this issue, but at NRC, I'm not sure that we will accomplish
23 very much through such an evaluation.
24 But in the broader scheme of things, it might be a
25 useful study to see and maybe learn to see is there a better
1 way to structure research organization and so on.
2 I think you see the list, not a lot of this is
3 surprising. The last two bullets on this page reflect, I
4 think, general view amongst most, if not all the members of
5 this group that budget trends were very alarming about
6 research, and that the NRC was not doing enough to talk to
7 Congress and tell Congress about some of the concerns about
8 the trend and the potential implications of those trends,
9 and in that context, again, Tom, there were many, many
10 members of this group who felt at least some of research
11 budget should come from general revenues, because this is
12 public health and safety we're talking about, so unique in
13 terms of NRC versus other agencies.
14 Now that I have taken up Mike Mayfield's time, I
15 guess we'll go past -- I'm just kidding. As you know, we
16 structured these presentations for me to really give you
17 sort of overview and thoughts on what some future challenges
18 may be, and then each of the division directors will lead
19 discussions through some selected areas, not necessarily
20 that they have responsibility for everything under that
21 area, but they will have lead responsibility, with input
22 from other divisions.
23 So when Mike makes his presentation, I expect
24 others to be very active participants on the operating
25 reactors issues.
1 MR. MAYFIELD: They better be, or this will be
2 real quick. The first piece of this is looking at
3 challenges from the currently operating plants over the five
4 to seven year timeframe. We wanted to start by talking
5 about some of the underlying assumptions that we have made
6 as we look at this. The first and foremost that Ashok has
7 talked about already is the impact of deregulation, the
8 economic pressures that's bringing about on the licensees,
9 their need to get more from the existing plants.
10 At the same time, they have to balance the
11 financial bottom line against the need to maintain current
12 levels of safety.
13 DR. KRESS: Does that include reducing their
15 MR. MAYFIELD: I'm sorry, say it again.
16 DR. KRESS: Does that response to that pressure
17 include reducing staff?
18 MR. MAYFIELD: Yes, it does. We are seeing these
19 things manifest themselves as a number of things, many of
20 which have already been discussed. They are things that
21 have been before the committee. We anticipate they will
22 continue, if not increase. Ashok mentioned earlier the
23 power up-rate business.
24 The license renewal activities, we're talking some
25 85 percent of the plants are anticipated to come in for
1 license renewal. Higher burn-up fuels, going to longer
2 operating cycles, responding to economic pressures will
3 bring about human performance issues, expanded use of
4 overtime, reduction of staff, a number of things in that
5 general area that we'll have a little bit more to say about
6 as we go.
7 Continuing with some of the underlying
8 assumptions, changes in the plant design and operation are
9 likely to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary for the
10 current operating plants. Tom is going to have more to say
11 about future designs, but for the ones that are out there
12 operating today, we're anticipating some evolutionary change
13 as we go along.
14 There will be some fact of life changes made in
15 virtually all the operating plants. Expanded use of digital
16 technology, some changes in systems, materials and
17 operational to mitigate effects of aging.
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: What comes immediately into mind
19 when you mention that is the switch from INCONEL-600 to 690
20 in a steam generator. Could you give me some more examples?
21 MR. MAYFIELD: I think you're going to see some
22 concerns come out in the changes in piping materials.
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Like going from?
24 MR. MAYFIELD: The feed water line from the
25 erosion/corrosion. As we continue to go along, are we going
1 to really start changing out more piping systems. The
2 recent crack at Summer, I certainly wouldn't want to
3 pre-judge where that's going and I don't want to leave any
4 impression that I have any insights into where the failure
5 investigation will go, but will that -- pose it as a
6 question -- will that lead to some need for wider changes.
7 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think the whole point is
8 better cast in that light. It's saying I've got this good
9 example of people going from 600 to 690 with stainless steel
10 support plates and things like that. Are we going to see
11 anymore of that, and feed water erosion/corrosion issues is
12 a candidate for that; now, are there any others that might
13 come along, rather than saying it's going to happen.
14 MR. MAYFIELD: That's part of what we're looking
15 at, will there be any changes in reactor internals due to
16 radiation assisted stress corrosion cracking, particularly
17 in the PWRs. As we get to higher and higher fluences,
18 plants looking to get out to 60 years, are there going to be
19 surprises, and that's part of what we're already trying to
20 get ourselves to look at.
21 It's tough to do. The test reactor irradiations,
22 at least in Dr. Shack's lifetime, you know, it's --
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: He's willing to live forever.
24 MR. MAYFIELD: So there are certain practical
25 limitations that we face in the research program, but we're
1 looking at how to get out there and try and get ahead of the
2 issue rather than wait for us to start seeing
3 service-induced failures.
4 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think it's similarly important
5 and it's just for the reason that you said, that the kind of
6 research information that you need on these materials for
7 the NRC tend to be very different than the users. Usually
8 pretty good, from normal operating conditions, they'll get
9 that kind of data, and then you'll start asking questions
10 about, well, what about fatigue with thermal cycling and as
11 soon as you start raising that, now you're talking about
12 things that take a long time to correct, and there's no way
13 to accelerate it. You've just got to go through the number
14 of cycles.
15 MR. MAYFIELD: You've just got to be patient and
16 then you're also left with the concern about going from the
17 test specimen to the real service argument.
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: From uniaxial fatigue to biaxial
19 fatigue and things like that. That seems like a thrust area
20 that we need to spend some time talking about because the
21 long-term planning on that is really long-term. I mean, if
22 somebody came in with a new alloy today to use in steam
23 generator tubes, at what point would you think that you had
24 sufficient data to use something like an alternate repair
25 criteria on it. You would be talking about seven years or
1 something like that.
2 MR. MAYFIELD: You're talking years worth of work.
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Yes, many years worth. You raise a point
4 that really we need to communicate with the Commission about
5 this, because they need to understand that you can
6 accelerate some of it, but there's an awful lot that just
7 doesn't accelerate.
8 MR. MAYFIELD: That's right.
9 DR. KRESS: Mike, your bullet on the fact that
10 changes are going to be evolutionary rather than
11 revolutionary for operating plants, I think, is very much
12 correct, but it's a disappointment to me and I'll tell you
13 why. I've felt for a long time that the fact that we have
14 fuel clad that is chemically reactive with steam and air is
15 about 80 percent of our risk driver. It's the energy you
16 get that drives you into fuel melt and it does it quickly,
17 so you don't have time to react. It's a source of hydrogen,
18 it's a source for continued core-concrete interactions.
19 It's probably the culprit in DCH, if you have a
20 culprit. It's probably the driver for fuel-coolant
22 I haven't seen any research on new fuel designs
23 and ever sine we've had the zircalloy clad fuel. Now, this
24 may be a function for DOE to do -- in fact, I think it is --
25 or industry to do, but I think NRC has a stake in that
1 because that would drive the risk way down, if we just had
2 fuel that didn't have this chemical reaction in it. It
3 would be a real risk improvement in the whole population of
4 plants if you could do that.
5 DR. SEALE: That certainly is a confirmatory
6 research item and ought to be shopped somewhere.
7 DR. KRESS: Yes.
8 MR. MAYFIELD: I agree it ought to be shopped
9 somewhere, but maybe Farouk or Tom have --
10 MR. ELTAWILA: Actually, I'm going to discuss that
11 in my presentation, so maybe you can wait until we get to
13 DR. SEALE: Could I make another point? I've
14 raised a question with my colleagues and I've gotten an
15 unsatisfactory answer, and maybe you guys can help me a
16 little bit.
17 Your last bullet down here talks about analytic
18 and experimental support for regulatory decisions. You
19 earlier talked about evolutionary versus revolutionary.
20 There is a group of plants in this country that represented
21 a revolutionary upgrade of a design that took advantage of,
22 in quotes, a primary coolant pump design that had already
23 been used in another plant overseas.
24 The reactor internals design was somewhat
25 different, as well, and as a result, in the first test for
1 commercial operation, the 100-hour test, where you make sure
2 you got what you bought and all that stuff, they so damaged
3 the pump and the internals that Unit 1 wound up being after
4 Unit 2 in coming on line in that plant.
5 The changes that were involved were specific, but
6 relatively low profile. The changes in the phenomenon, the
7 evolutionary changes that drove that problem, in part, were
8 of the order of magnitude of the kinds of changes you're
9 talking about in some of the power upgrades.
10 I'm concerned that we may induce some vibrational
11 problems in some of these plants that have been operating
12 for a long time now without difficulty and suddenly we're
13 going to have a problem.
14 When I raise this question with people, they tell
15 me that's a balance of plant problem and not a safety issue.
16 It scares, if you'll pardon the expression, the hell out of
17 me, because if it happens, it's going to happen at a nuclear
18 power plant and all of these semantic trivial differences
19 are just going to vaporize when that happens. We're going
20 to have a nuclear power plant that was damaged because of
21 the things the industry was doing to it.
22 And is there any intent to talk about the kind of
23 intensified instrumentation that was in the 100-hour
24 upgrade, when we have these significant changes -- I mean,
25 the 100-hour qualification -- when we have these significant
1 changes in operating conditions that accompany some of these
2 upgrade proposals.
3 Now, that's an immediate problem.
4 MR. MAYFIELD: We periodically talk about being a
5 learning organization. I suspect the industry would
6 characterize itself as composed of learning organizations.
7 Have we gotten smarter as we've gone along and
8 know to watch for some of those things, to think about them
9 more carefully? I believe the answer to that is absolutely
10 yes. The distinction between primary and -- well, primary
11 and secondary, balance of plant, yes, it's there; yes,
12 responsibilities are a bit different, but we've also -- we
13 pay more attention.
14 I think the Surry feedwater rupture was one good
15 example where, yes, the primary responsibility was with
16 other organizations, principally the licensee.
17 But you saw coming out of that, I think, a fair
18 bit of interest from the staff and this agency in general to
19 those kinds of issues.
20 So yes, the distinctions are still there; yes, the
21 responsibilities are still different, but the lines are less
22 clear that they used to be. Do we ask more questions, does
23 the industry ask more questions of itself? I believe the
24 answer to that is yes.
25 Will these kind of things crop up again?
1 Probably, but we know to watch for them now and to try and
2 watch for them at least.
3 MS. FEDERLINE: That's why depth of knowledge is
4 so important, the depth of experience. If we lose that
5 experience and can't recognize it, that's an intangible that
6 we don't recognize all the time.
7 MR. THADANI: I think there is a related issue
8 here, and that is the technology issue. Mike and I have
9 been involved in this interagency working group on wire
10 safety, cables and concerns about cables, and aging effects,
11 for the country, because of some of the accidents that have
12 taken place outside of the nuclear industry.
13 Over the next several years, there will probably
14 be all kinds of smart sensors, diagnostic capability, maybe
15 even wireless environment down the road. I think that those
16 developments will have a very -- could have a very positive
17 effect on safety in that they could tell you a little bit
18 earlier about potential problems that may be creeping up.
19 I think that's an area where we, as an agency,
20 probably need to be more active than we have been. I
21 certainly learned from participation in the interagency
22 working group that the Department of Defense and
23 Transportation are doing all kinds of very interesting
24 research and some of which would be not only valuable to us
25 as a nuclear regulatory agency, but I think to the nuclear
2 So we're going to try and encourage industry to be
3 part of it, after the report goes to the President. I
4 believe that's planned for November 15, from the Office of
5 Science and Technology, but I think there's some positive
6 things that we can build on.
7 MR. MAYFIELD: And we'll come back to that basic
8 idea in another few bullets. I did want to touch on the use
9 of the PRA is going to become more routine. We've seen that
10 just in the last few years. We believe it's going to
11 continue. That brings --
12 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Within your own staff, and maybe
13 the bullet was not intended to mean your own staff, what I
14 see is a lot more use of the language of PRA, but it's
15 usually cast in terms of we learn from the IPEs or something
16 like that, and not so much from I've done a PRA analysis of
17 a particular plant using the latest model they have.
18 So I guess what I'm asking is do you really mean
19 the use of PRA or use of the language of PRA?
20 MR. MAYFIELD: It's actually both, but I really do
21 mean the use of PRA and an example I will give you from
22 current experience is the reevaluation of the PTS screening
23 criteria in 1061. Is it plant-specific? Well, yes and no.
24 It's got three or four specific plants we're looking at,
25 we're trying to use their latest and greatest models, but
1 there's also a generic spin to it because they are intended
2 to represent the fleet of PWRs.
3 So there's this mixture and it's that combination
4 of getting people more comfortable with the language of PRA
5 to think in those terms. When we've got a -- the revised
6 embrittlement model that Mark Kirk briefed you on a couple
7 of weeks ago, the notion there is to do a sufficiently
8 robust uncertainty analysis so it can be embedded in a real
9 PRA if we get around to doing vessel -- including the vessel
10 explicitly in the PRAs, but that tool will be there or will
11 be an input.
12 It will have been done in a sufficiently robust way that the
13 PRA practitioners can actually pick it up, use it without
14 having to go back in and redo a piece of work that the old
15 deterministic bar busters took and were perfectly happy
17 So the idea is to try and embed that thinking so
18 it just becomes a second nature to what the staff is doing.
19 DR. BONACA: I would like to just ask a question a
20 little bit regarding the use of PRA here, and maybe, I
21 guess, it's a different question and I don't know where to
22 place it. I would like to place it now.
23 When I look at many of the efforts and the way
24 you're going to address them and I think they're all
25 valuable, all the research seems to be focused on what's
1 happening, and, of course, it should be, in part. The
2 industry wants to go to power up-rate. We need to
3 understand what are the deterministic limits of that and do
4 research to see how we can approve it or whatever.
5 The industry wants to go to license renewal and we
6 know how much we have invested in that and we are investing
7 in that, and so on and so forth.
8 And it seems to me that if tomorrow the industry says I want
9 to fly a power plant, we will make research to see how we
10 can fly a power plant and maybe we will say it cannot be
11 done, but I'm saying that everything seems to be focused on
12 addressing each individual initiative and the changes that
13 they place there, but when you talk about a regulatory
14 decision, in the last bullet, I would expect, at some point,
15 you would want to be able to understand how all these
16 things, an eroding margin, how you enable yourself to say,
17 at some point, no, it cannot be done, because for plant X,
18 which has a very -- doesn't meet today's safety goals, I
19 mean, we should think about also that non-deterministic
20 perspective of that. This plant really would go through a
21 significant margin reduction because of aging, because of
22 life extension, because of something, and things are going
23 to be done in a certain way.
24 It would be, I think, a service. I just don't see
25 that anywhere, and maybe I'm missing it in my review of the
1 program that I've been looking at in the past few days, and
2 I don't see it here. I understand it's a very tough issue,
3 but yet this issue of synergies, for example.
4 MR. THADANI: Yes, I want to address that issue.
5 DR. BONACA: Just one last statement. The reason
6 why I'm so concerned about it is that I don't see anymore
7 anything being done about representation of aging in, for
8 example, PRA models. We really have forgotten about them
9 because we decided that the license renewal is deterministic
10 and, therefore, every effort was to attempt to simulate
11 aging into the PRA, it seems to have disappeared.
12 And maybe I'm wrong, but I would like you to point
13 me out to that as we go through the presentation.
14 MR. THADANI: I had a chart earlier and I didn't
15 go through it. I just had the list of issues. You might
16 recall it had license renewal and aging. They were shown
17 separately. There was a reason. I did that because I also
18 have this concern about synergistic effects. When we take a
19 parameter at a time and just try and understand its effects,
20 we are not doing, I think, we haven't thought through well
21 what are the implications of aging at the same time,
22 increasing power level, at the same time something else
23 being done through deregulation maybe, how does it really
24 come back.
25 The issue, in my mind, extending license is not
1 just the effects of aging, but combined impact of the
2 various changes that are made. Are we going to be
3 developing a database that will allow us, at some point, to
4 be able to do this kind of synergistic evaluation? I think
5 we have some individual research programs which are looking
6 at the effects of aging and trying to come up with some
7 better understanding of the fragility models and structure,
8 for example.
9 We're doing a little bit of work. It became an
10 issue, in my mind, when we were working on reactor vessel
11 internals and particularly in the BWRs, when there were
12 concerns about cracking, not just the core shroud, but other
13 components. We were always analyzing those with one effect
14 at a time.
15 I think in this area of aging, I think you're
16 right. We need to find a better way. How do we -- as you
17 say, it's difficult. How do we consider these synergies,
18 how can they be then converted in some probabilistic way?
19 If you have ideas, we would be very interested, because this
20 is an area that needs attention.
21 DR. BONACA: There was a lot of initiative until a
22 few years ago and then it died, because there was no drive
23 behind it. The main issue I have with all this is that like
24 in license renewal, we rely more and more on inspections.
25 We will inspect, we will inspect, but we will not inspect
1 for severe accidents, for example, or let me not call them a
2 severe accident, there's no licensing basis, and I really
3 don't want to make the distinction here.
4 You can't assess the capability of a plant to
5 withstand a severe accident from inspections. You may infer
6 some capabilities, but oftentimes performance monitoring, I
7 mean condition monitoring, for example, for cables, we are
8 seeing that now, is not really a good predictor of future
9 performance, but in certain accidents.
10 And that's why I think we have to be able to
11 understand somehow how these things all come together and
12 also have certain models that say, for example, that plant X
13 can do that and maybe plant Y cannot, because I think
14 probably it comes down to that.
15 MR. KING: The issue of aging has been a low key
16 effort. It hasn't been forgotten and we've spent effort
17 trying to figure out how to model and detail one aging
18 mechanism, I think it was flow-assisted corrosion, and we're
19 about to issue a report on that. But I have asked my staff
20 to go back now and take a broader look at the aging
21 mechanisms and maybe do a scoping study of particularly the
22 passive components, the structures, the cables, the things
23 that really aren't going to be corrected by maintenance in
24 most cases, and try and come up with an estimate of which of
25 those things really contribute most to risk and then maybe
1 we ought to go focus more on those, whether it's PRA model
2 development or inspection or whatever.
3 I would hope this year we would have that scoping
4 study done. But you're right in terms of the synergistic
5 effects. You add that along with power up-rates and new
6 fuel, high burn-ups and all that other stuff, it's an
7 important issue and I think we have had some discussions
8 internally on it and it does need some further work.
9 MR. MAYFIELD: I guess I would -- Tom's staff and
10 my staff have been talking about the aging issue in
11 particular. There has also been dialogue on how to embed
12 the digital I&C in the PRAs and to do that in a way that is
13 going to be seen as technically credible.
14 There have been a number of issues put on the
15 table, there are a lot of people talking about it, and the
16 staff's talking about it. So is it sufficiently mature that
17 you would have seen the efforts yet? Probably not, other
18 than anecdotally, but there is work ongoing, there are
19 people actively talking about this, and that's, I believe, a
20 positive improvement just in the last couple of years, that
21 people have started actively talking, that the barrier
22 between the hardware guys and the PRA guys is pretty well
23 broken down.
24 DR. BONACA: I know there are a lot of naysayers
25 about the possibilities of doing that and I would like to
1 remind you that there were a lot of naysayers before
2 WASH-1400. I mean, everything was believed impossible that
3 you could possibly model a plant, and yet that was important
4 and successful, and I think this can be done, too.
5 MR. ELTAWILA: I agree. Can I make a comment?
6 Farouk Eltawila, from Research. I agree with you. For
7 example, if you look at all our severe accident research,
8 they were done for a brand new containment, brand new
9 vessel, fresh fuel, all this information based on the plant
10 age have not aged at all.
11 If you start to take degradation in the
12 containment and the vessel and assess it for severe
13 accidents, you might come up with completely different
15 So I agree with you that the license renewal was
16 based on an inspection and not assessing the plant for
17 severe accidents, vulnerability might be weakness.
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Well, I have to add something.
19 Since we're talking about margins, and, of course, the
20 Regulatory Guide 1.174 requires that, as one input into the
21 integrated decision-making process, we have to maintain
22 sufficient margins, and the implementation, PRA
23 implementation plan that I read recently does talk about
24 common -- I mean, defense-in-depth and margins.
25 It seems to me that for defense-in-depth, PRA can
1 already do a lot, because if you have redundant systems, you
2 do that routinely. We don't seem to be paying much
3 attention to the quantification of the margins and I think
4 life would be much easier, addressing Dr. Bonaca's concerns
5 and also improving on Regulatory Guide 1.174 processes, if
6 we attempted to quantify those margins.
7 Now, there is already talk in the development of
8 the thermal hydraulic codes to demand that each code come
9 with some sort of estimate of model uncertainty, which is a
10 very important step towards that.
11 But I think approaching the problem of the
12 quantification of margins itself would be a good step
13 forward. It's not going to be something that can be done in
14 a year or two, but I think a lot of the issues that we have
15 been discussing in the implementation plan will be easier to
16 address if we had some quantitative estimate of what the
17 margins were.
18 I think the margins would include thermal
19 hydraulic analysis, fracture analysis, all the margins,
20 something like what is being done for the containment.
21 MR. THADANI: For the containment part, though, I
22 think Farouk raised some issues about aging effects, which
23 are information-based. We need to make sure we understand
24 what these things mean. Then we need to make sure we
25 understand, as we're going to this risk-informed regulation,
1 more and more, we need to make sure we understand what
2 models are used and that whatever uncertainty margins there
3 might be, we need to make sure we understand.
4 That means we need to make sure if the industry
5 analyses are based on MAAP, whatever version of MAAP, then
6 we need to understand which in MAAP, how well do the
7 analytical models in MAAP represent our base understanding
8 and where the limitations may be and so on.
9 That's an area that came to the front, if you recall, on the
10 Callaway issue when the steam generator tubes, when we
11 trying to get an understanding of what's the temperature of
12 the tubes; that means, the inlet plenum temperature, and we
13 were calculating different temperatures. We did some,
14 thanks to Bill and Argonne, we got some data on temperature
15 effects and developing the creep failure mode model.
16 That's one example where we know there are
17 differences. I don't know, sitting here, are there other
18 areas. I suspect there are. And so I think we have not,
19 I'd say, systematically looked at these issues and tried to
20 develop some plan to move forward.
21 It's another area that I think we need to do
22 better on.
23 MR. ELTAWILA: Since this is intended as an oral
24 discussion, I would like to add something to what Ashok
25 said. We made a decision on the Callaway base on this
1 RELAP-5. I'm going to be the devil's advocate here. Is the
2 MAAP calculation wrong? I don't think so. Is the NRC
3 calculation right? I have more confidence in it, but I
4 don't think it's right. I don't think we have done enough
5 calculation to make a decision and we ended up having to
6 make a decision, might be conservative, based on our own
7 information, even though that we know that the model we used
8 for the analysis lacked information about the lower plenum
9 of the steam generator.
10 Now we are doing that in a more systematic way,
11 but at the time we needed that decision, I think we have to
12 rely on our own tools, even though I'm really -- I'm not
13 saying that the industry tools were bad or even ours is
14 better, but I have more confidence in them.
15 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It all comes down, Farouk, to
16 quantification of model uncertainty.
17 MR. ELTAWILA: Absolutely.
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Because that forces you to look
19 at the assumptions behind the model and maybe some
20 applications and it takes a brave man, after he does all
21 these things, to say, well, this is my uncertainty now. But
22 there are very few brave men.
23 MR. MAYFIELD: Okay. Why don't we go to the next
24 slide? For the next three or four slides, what we want to
25 do is to talk about some of the things that we believe will
1 be challenges. This is a continuum. I don't think there is
2 anything on these slides that we're not facing today. Will
3 we face more of it? Will it be somewhat different over the
4 next five to seven years? That's what we've tried to put on
5 the table, but I don't think there's anything here that we
6 would say, oh, well, we don't have to deal with that today,
7 it's a tomorrow issue. So there is a continuum here.
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Go to your second bullet there,
9 the square. It says radiation protection guidelines,
10 recommendations are likely to change. I guess two questions
11 come to mind. Are really likely to change in that short of
12 a period of time? But more important than that is what does
13 NRC and maybe even just the Commission think their
14 responsibilities are to participate in that change or is
15 radiation protection something that gets wished upon the
16 agency by things like ICRP and NCRP and things like that?
17 In other words, I think this is a crucial research
18 question. Do you get involved in this or just wait for
19 other people to sort it out?
20 MR. KING: I think, in general, we take, for
21 example, ICRP recommendations and factor them into our
22 regulations. There's a question now, ICRP-60 has formed a
23 basis for some of the stuff in Part 20, but we haven't taken
24 everything from ICRP-60. Should we? That's been a question
25 discussed internally.
1 We also participate in things like the BIER-7
2 study that's ongoing, looking at the linear no threshold
3 hypothesis. Do we actually fund independent research, like
4 DOE is doing, for example? No. But we have people that try
5 and keep abreast of what's going on.
6 My view is primarily looking at it from the
7 standpoint of what are the implications for the way we
8 regulate based upon the results of work that others are
10 MS. FEDERLINE: There are some implications for
11 internal -- I'm sorry. Margaret Federline. There are some
12 issues for internal consistency between our regulations,
13 Part 61 use total effective dose equivalent and calculates
14 it in different ways than other regulations do. So there
15 are some internal, plus public confidence issues.
16 I think we're seeing European countries relying on
17 ICRP-60. We appear to be behind the curve on that and I
18 think there are some public confidence issues that get
19 raised in the waste arena particularly in that regard.
20 CHAIRMAN POWERS: ICRP-60 has some changes in the
21 way they do things that can be interpreted as being more
22 demanding than the old way of doing things. I can certainly
23 see the public saying, gee, maybe I ought to do these, maybe
24 the NRC ought to get with it and get in behind this.
25 Suppose that ICRP 2010 came back and said there's
1 a threshold. Would you see an outpouring of public
2 sentiment to, say incorporate a threshold in the
4 MR. KING: I'd see an outpouring of industry
5 sentiment to put a threshold in. I can't speak to the
6 public what the outcry would be. It would have major
7 implications for a lot of things we do.
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It has a lot of things to do
9 with how you handle the level waste coming out of plants and
10 individual exposures and things like that. But because you
11 put a cap on your law, it's not clear to me that it has as
12 huge an impact as it would, for instance, on DOE. ALARA is
13 unlimited. You always keep going as low as reasonably
14 achievable and it doesn't matter what the cost is.
15 MR. KING: And, clearly, one of the questions
16 would be does the way we apply ALARA today make sense if
17 there were a threshold. That would, to me, be a legitimate
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Yes, it would be a legitimate
20 question. But I've often said that the nice thing about --
21 I know it has a threshold, everything is linear. You don't
22 have to do a lot of calculations to carry out the ALARA
24 MR. KING: To me, one of the big differences in
25 ICRP-60 is regulation to cancer incidents versus cancer
1 fatalities. WE chose cancer fatalities. If we adopted
2 everything in ICRP-60, we'd go to cancer incidents. That
3 would have a major implication, as well.
4 CHAIRMAN POWERS: This committee has certainly
5 written and said you need to expand your risk metrics. I
6 don't know that the committee has strong feelings about
7 whether the Commission should change its safety goals, but
8 as far as evaluating risk, I think it's true. Not only do
9 you need to have more risk metrics, but, in fact, you do
10 have more risk metrics than just cancer fatalities.
11 MR. THADANI: I think there would be additional
12 issues, it seems to me, that as we get better understanding,
13 not only in the context of fatality and incidents of
14 cancers, but also our ability to do a better job of modeling
15 all the consequences, including environmental effects.
16 It seems to me then we may have to revisit the
17 issue of safety goals and address some of the issues, areas
18 we're not able to address today.
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It clearly has some impact, but
20 I get from your response that really research sees its role
21 as staying abreast of the field, not as a major player in
22 this ongoing debate.
23 MR. KING: It certainly is not a major player in
24 funding independent research that would contribute to
25 answering these technical questions.
1 MS. FEDERLINE: I just wanted to raise one other
2 systems issue, where I think that research can play a role,
3 and this is in the handling of spent fuel. We're making a
4 number of independent regulatory decisions, looking at spent
5 fuel pools and then looking at licensing storage and
6 transportation, and then licensing disposal.
7 One key element is to make sure that the
8 assumptions, that we understand the assumptions that are
9 being made in each of those arenas, and that we can explain
10 any inconsistencies, because that's going to have, as we get
11 deeper and deeper, a big impact on public confidence if we
12 assume that there's very conservative basis in pools and yet
13 a very realistic basis in disposal. The public is going to
14 have real questions about that.
15 So I think that's a place where research can pull
16 threads and --
17 MR. MAYFIELD: Why don't we move on, Tom, just in
18 the interest of time. If there are any questions, we can,
19 of course, go back to these things.
20 Deregulation of the supply, the electricity
21 supply, and the economic pressures, we've already talked
22 about some of those. Tom had asked a question about
23 reduction in staff, so downsizing and out-sourcing are
25 Elimination of apparently non-productive functions
1 without proper recognition of long-term contribution to
2 safety. So it's questioning changes that are being made,
3 hallowing of competency, overloading key staff. We see that
4 on our staff. We hear about it in the industry. So what's
5 the long-term overview of crucial safety activities, keeping
6 those kinds of issues in proper perspective and what does
7 research -- what can research contribute in addressing
8 those, what do we need to be doing today to be prepared for
9 the five to seven year timeframe.
10 Managers will be less tuned to technical aspects
11 of design and operation. As there is more focus on bottom
12 line, there becomes more emphasis on spending time to manage
13 changes, planning how to do more work with less resources,
14 emphasis on those kinds of issues, and to make sure that
15 there's still somebody in the plant staff that's looking at
16 maintaining the appropriate level of safety.
17 Quantification of the human reliability for severe
18 accidents, there was some talk earlier about the severe
19 accident piece of that. That's a piece of it that we
20 believe warrants some research.
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I guess I don't know what your
22 -- the language is too coded for me.
23 MR. MAYFIELD: Farouk, do you want to --
24 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I mean, in severe accidents,
25 it's -- severe accident analyses tend to be done by assuming
1 the operators took a powder someplace.
2 MR. ELTAWILA: But after the severe accident
3 occurs, what is the operator response and how the -- we did
4 not quantify these activities in the past. The simulation
5 activity and things like that focus on the design basis
6 accident and when it comes to the beyond design basis
7 accident, which has been credited in the PRA, you don't find
8 too much work done in this area.
9 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is ATHENA a part of this?
10 MR. ELTAWILA: That's in cooperation with ATHENA,
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is the agency's senior
13 management happy with ATHENA? Has it produced anything
15 MR. KING: In the trial applications, I think it's
16 produced some useful insights for the particular problem
17 they were looking at. We haven't applied it broadly. We
18 are going to apply it in the PTS, looking at the PTS issue.
19 We are going to apply it looking at dry cask storage, the
20 PRA we're doing there.
21 Right now, we're not thinking about going back and
22 re-baselining the HRA portion of a PRA using it, but --
23 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But the bullet sys
24 quantification. How can you apply something that does not
25 exist? ATHENA has not produced anything on quantification
1 of human reliability.
2 MR. KING: No. It's just produced insights into
3 things that are going to cause operators problems.
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And we all know that when a
5 project produces insights, the project has failed. Isn't it
6 time that the senior management of the Office of Research
7 questioned the value of ATHENA? I mean, they've been at it
8 for a while now.
9 MR. KING: We've been at it for a while. I think
10 it's a tool that is ready to be used for quantification. It
11 might be a little expensive to use and we haven't made any
12 decision at this point to use it, other than in PTS and in
13 the dry cask storage area.
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But, Tom, the agency staff, when
15 they talk about human performance and so on, rarely, if ever
16 cite the ATHENA models. Doesn't that tell you something
17 that your own people don't believe that ATHENA has produced
18 anything of value?
19 MR. KING: No.
20 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I mean, I looked at the
21 summaries of the various human factors projects and those
22 guys, you know, they will do this, will do that. Where is
23 ATHENA? ATHENA spent all this effort developing these
24 models. Why aren't your own people using ATHENA?
25 MR. ELTAWILA: I'm not going to defend ATHENA, but
1 sometimes what you see is not really the truth, because you
2 don't see anything in the PRA tell you that we use the
3 RELAP-5 code or the MELCOR code or any of NRC developed
4 tools, but somehow they are used, but not that visible.
5 So I think if the issue is to make more visible, I
6 think that we ought to do that in more --
7 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think what Professor
8 Apostolakis is telegraphing fairly clearly is that we're
9 going to have to discuss ATHENA and its impact on the human
10 reliability issues here in the course of today's discussion.
11 I think we really need to discuss it, because that was the
12 very clear thing to me that came through in reading your
13 ongoing program summaries in connection with human
14 performance and human performance like topics.
15 I didn't see the word ATHENA once in the -- in
16 everything that I read. It has other impacts that we're
17 going to need to discuss and one of those impacts is you're
18 participating heavily in the Halden project. They produce
19 information on human performance. I mean, their lab is -- I
20 mean, you can't get away from it. As soon as you go up
21 there, they're throwing viewgraphs and pretty pictures and
22 stuff like that, but we don't see a lot of transfer of that
23 data showing up anywhere, least of all in ATHENA. So we
24 need to discuss that.
25 MR. THADANI: Yes, I think we do need to and it's
1 an issue of very significant safety implications. And when
2 you go to quantification, particularly, George, we've been
3 talking about the same issues for a long, long time, it
4 seems, and I just received a letter from Mr. Lochbaum and he
5 looked at our evaluation of anticipated transients without
6 scram and the analyses, I guess, in the IPEs, the PRAs that
7 were done, and he pointed out that for ATWS, where you have
8 to reduce the water level and then inject boron in minutes,
9 that there were quantification values that ranged by, I
10 think he said by three or four orders of magnitude.
11 So maybe you have pointed out an area that we need
12 to really see what is the real value to ATHENA and how is
13 that value, in fact, being realized.
14 So we can come back and talk about that.
15 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Ashok, I may sound a little bit
16 harsh, but I really want us to prevent these issues from
17 reaching Mr. Lochbaum and other people. We should ourselves
18 resolve some of these things before somebody else from the
19 outside points out to us that -- and I really think we have
20 a problem there.
21 MR. THADANI: I think we have been reactive,
22 generally. We have not been proactive. That's the central
23 issue here for today's meeting. How can we be proactive and
24 what are those areas for future that we need to be
1 MR. MAYFIELD: Unless there's some --
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And one -- yes, there is.
3 MR. MAYFIELD: I knew it wasn't going to be that
5 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: The emphasis --
6 CHAIRMAN POWERS: George, maybe in the interest of
7 keeping to some schedule, we could break at this point and
8 then come back with this slide firmly in mind and we could
9 resume our discussion. I don't feel any particular need to
10 stay exactly on schedule, because we're bouncing around on
11 topics that need to be discussed and my entire objective is
12 to have a very collegial discussion here and let topics come
13 as they will, and without -- because we're not trying to
14 resolve a specific point. We're trying to understand --
15 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Unless we have a time limit, I
16 don't know. Are you constrained in time?
17 MR. THADANI: No. But I agree with you. What I
18 don't want to do is to be defensive, try to be protecting
20 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: No, you don't have to be.
21 MR. THADANI: So I want to make sure that we have
22 this open dialogue.
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: What we have to do is have no
24 surprises in our research report to you guys. Maybe the
25 rest of the agency will be a little surprised, but among us,
1 this will just be a frank discussion of what we think we
2 ought to be discussing and not discussing in our research
3 report. But it's very clear that this area of human
4 performance is a crucial issue for this agency. It's a real
5 part of the whole safety strategy, and so we have to be very
6 careful what we're doing here.
7 What I would like to do is take about a 15-minute
8 break and stretch lets, whatnot. Then we'll come back.
9 Before we break, I'm happy to mention that Jack Sorenson is
10 sitting here. He is Mr. Human Reliability for the research
11 report. He is our fellow and if you have not had a chance
12 to read his paper on organizational factors in PRA, you
13 ought to. It's pretty good reading, and he has a longer
14 topical report that's going to appear one of these days.
16 MR. SORENSON: Yes.
17 DR. KRESS: Is he a reliable human?
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: He's very reliable.
19 DR. SEALE: And he may be at high risk for a fresh
20 cold, the way my head is feeling right now.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Mike, you're still on.
23 MR. MAYFIELD: Actually, the human performance and
24 human reliability issues are, by and large, the providence
25 of Farouk and Tom, so Dr. Apostolakis --
1 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: You are smiling.
2 MR. KING: I think your points are legitimate
3 points. I think the two programs haven't gotten together
4 and had the interaction they should. I think the future
5 plans for the use of ATHENA haven't been worked out yet and
6 I think that's an action item we need to take away from this
8 MR. THADANI: Let me ask at this point, just since
9 we're still on the issue. I want to be absolutely sure that
10 the idea, George, you raised, it's so fundamental that if
11 we're not doing it, then we better be doing it.
12 But I want to make sure that Jack Rosenthal or
13 Jay, if they have any comment to make, it might be
14 appropriate to make that comment now in terms of the
15 integration of the information that comes out of ATHENA with
16 our plans in terms of quantification of human reliability
18 If there is any comment you want to make, it may
19 be worth making it now, and then we can move on.
20 MR. PERSENSKY: Jay Persensky, Office of Research.
21 Tom did say that, in fact, historically, we have worked as
22 close together as we should. But I will say that currently
23 we are in a lot of discussions, Nathan Siu and I have been
24 working together almost weekly on trying to bring these
25 programs better together, both in terms of how we could
1 better use ATHENA and how we can provide information to
3 If you remember, in the human performance program,
4 we talked about primarily about use of operational data in
5 assessing the risk to look at our programs. ATHENA didn't
6 have much of that. We went back to the ASP and the SPAR
7 analyses, but we're looking as to how we can better improve
8 on both ways in terms of how we can provide information to
9 them from a data standpoint, from places like Halden.
10 Jack is going to Halden next week and one of his
11 main topics is going to be on use of the data that has come
12 out of their simulator experiments.
13 The other thing is how we can say, hey, here's
14 some information that's missing from the models or modeling
15 that we're not being able to show based on our operational
17 So we are having a lot of sharing in that area
18 right now.
19 MS. FEDERLINE: If I could just add one thing
20 about the Halden project. I'm Chair of the Halden
21 Management Board this year and one thing we're trying to do
22 is do a focused top-down look at what the member country
23 needs are, and one of the needs that we've expressed from
24 the U.S. perspective is this tie between the man-machine
25 data and the risk assessment technology.
1 One thing we've been kicking around is how could
2 Halden serve as a central clearinghouse for man-machine
3 interface data from all the countries, not necessarily just
4 from the experimental efforts.
5 So we are aware of the concerns and we're at least
6 taking some steps to move in the direction we think it needs
7 to go.
8 DR. SEALE: That reminds me of something, if I
9 may. In previous reports, we've made great -- well, we've
10 referred to the fact that for the amount of money that the
11 NRC actually now has or even this country has in
12 international programs, that actually the NRC has had an
13 unusually significant amount of influence in planning of a
14 lot of these programs, primarily because of the history of
15 activities and so on.
16 I think if you could, in the interactions where
17 there have been international inputs from NRC that, in the
18 planning effort and so forth, if you could make us aware of
19 that, that would be helpful as we put together some of our
20 comments on any of the programs.
21 MR. THADANI: I think we have been fortunate,
22 because of the many past accomplishments. We still enjoy, I
23 think, extremely good reputation in the international
24 community. But I will also share with you that this
25 external group that was looking at research programs, one of
1 the members was from the international community, from
2 France. He reflected a concern that if NRC research is
3 going to come to the table with only one dollar and save two
4 dollars, you will get one dollar's worth of information
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I don't want to get into the
7 details of the models, because this is not the appropriate
8 place, but it just strikes me as a little odd that according
9 to the memo I received back from Mark Cunningham, the staff
10 plans to review existing methods used by other HRA
11 development activities, for example, EDFs, and the
12 industrial, Maryland's dynamic -- what they were -- dynamic
14 Is anyone asking the question why is this
15 happening now after all these years and is this consistent
16 with the idea of the error forcing context which was
17 advertised so much as being a revolution in the field? Are
18 these methods consistent with the idea of context? I mean,
19 this committee was supportive of ATHENA, when we were told
20 that we will identify the context and then we'll quantify
21 the probability that the context will exist, and it seems
22 that this promise has not been kept.
23 I don't recall seeing the word context in the
24 papers I've seen from France or from Maryland. So
25 essentially you are starting anew and you may still want to
1 call it ATHENA or call it something else, but this kind of
2 thing, it seems to me, should have taken place six years
4 And another point --
5 MR. KING: Don't take that as starting anew.
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think it is. De facto, it is,
7 Tom. I mean, of course, people are more experienced now,
8 they have these ideas about context and so on, but maybe it
9 was a little harsher than it should have been.
10 MR. KING: I mean, we're trying to keep abreast of
11 what others are doing. There's a lot of international
12 interest in --
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: My problem, Tom, is that you are
14 starting to keep abreast too late. There are written
15 criticisms of ATHENA that are a few years old now that were
16 completely ignored by the people who are doing ATHENA. It's
17 beyond me why, but anyway, that's getting now dangerously
18 close to the management of the project.
19 Why are you interested only in operator
20 misunderstandings and so on, when there is evidence from the
21 field that the operators have acted very smartly in some
22 cases, saving the day? Shouldn't that be part of what we're
23 trying to do here or it's the safety approach that things
24 that can save you we don't include?
25 MR. ELTAWILA: I think you are absolutely right.
1 I think we should include both the positive attribute of the
2 operator as well as the negative attribute.
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Also, it seems to me there is
4 extraordinary emphasis on human actions after the initiating
5 event has occurred and the ACRS letter of last December
6 pointed out that there had been instances where crew actions
7 have actually started initiating events and I haven't seen
8 that being addressed anywhere.
9 Anyway, I don't have anything else to say on this.
10 MR. MAYFIELD: Why don't we move to the next
11 slide? The first three bullets here address fuels related
12 issues. We think there will be continuing emphasis on both
13 the storage and transportation of spent fuel. There is
14 increasing dialogue on that even today. We don't see that
15 going away in the near term.
16 A lot of interest in the long-term storage of higher burn-up
17 fuels than have been in the demonstration programs today.
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: When I looked at the planning
19 programs for the future, I saw something that smacked of
20 setting up a storage cask and monitoring and whatnot. Can
21 you tell more about that? Let me predicate that by saying,
22 first of all, the scenario that Dr. Kress is in charge of
23 and that when he and I looked that brief summary, we were
24 both singularly enthusiastic about that.
25 In fact, words like "this is the best damned
1 program I've seen that group plan in a long time."
2 MR. MAYFIELD: There has been a demonstration
3 program out at Idaho over the last 15 or so years, where
4 they had or have four different cask designs with fuel from
5 various plants in them.
6 The burn-up on the fuel was representative of what
7 you saw coming out of the plants 15-20 years ago. The one
8 cask that we have done some detailed examination on, we
9 pulled the cask in, pulled all the fuel assemblies out,
10 looked at them, looked at the cask, both internally and
11 externally. We have no extracted 12 rods, had them shipped
12 from Idaho.
13 So there were 12 individual rods that were pulled
14 from an assembly, shipped off to Argonne West, although they
15 don't call themselves that these days, I think, where they
16 will do profilometry and that part comes into Farouk's
17 program on fuels, but they'll do profilometry, they're going
18 to do puncture tests.
19 They will ultimately section -- what is it, Farouk
20 -- five of the rods and ship those sectioned pieces off to
21 Bill's folks in Chicago, where they will do the destructive
22 examinations, getting material properties on the cladding,
23 the whole bit.
24 CHAIRMAN POWERS: What do you monitor while the
25 fuel is sitting in these casks?
1 MR. MAYFIELD: What they were monitoring were
2 temperatures and pulling some periodic gas samples. Now,
3 the program that we've started talking about will involve
4 higher burn-up fuels than you -- the level that you would
5 anticipate seeing coming out today and going into
6 representative casks, and the long-term -- I wouldn't want
7 to say too definitively today what would be in the program,
8 because it's still in the early planning stages, which is
9 why it didn't have a lot more definition in the write-up you
11 But the intention would be to monitor the
12 environment inside the cask and cask temperatures.
13 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Do you monitor galvanic fields?
14 MR. MAYFIELD: Monitor what? I'm sorry.
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Galvanic fields.
16 MR. MAYFIELD: Galvanic fields.
17 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Corrosion.
18 MR. MAYFIELD: Corrosion. You're in basically an
19 inerted environment and unless you manage to get some gas,
20 some air intrusion --
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I guess my real reaction is how
22 inert is inert.
23 MR. MAYFIELD: They're helium environments, I
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Trying to maintain a helium
1 environment for 30 years is a challenge.
2 DR. SEALE: It sure is.
3 MR. MAYFIELD: So there is an issue in terms of
4 long-term degradation. One of the other interesting ones
5 was potential for the zinc chromate coatings to interact
6 with the cladding at higher temperatures. That one was
7 probably more interesting, and there is some ongoing work,
8 in fact, at Argonne now. We had some initial work at NIST,
9 which said if you've got a lot of zinc available, then it
10 degrades the cladding material.
11 The question is, is it possible to have that much
12 zinc available. So the follow-on testing is to have a more
13 representative zinc source and representative temperatures
14 to see is this a realistic concern.
15 I think you have to also look at what would happen
16 if you had more severely degraded cladding, degraded in the
17 sense of higher burn-ups.
18 DR. KRESS: Are these casks fully loaded?
19 MR. MAYFIELD: The ones that are on the pad today
20 are fully loaded. They -- because of some additional
21 instrumentation that you wouldn't see in service casks, the
22 clearances in the one we have opened, the clearances were
23 much tighter between the assemblies and the support
24 structure and they actually got -- and temperatures were a
25 bit higher than they had anticipated.
1 So you ended up with some cracking in the dividers
2 that you wouldn't -- it was clearly related to the very
3 close tolerances and the higher than anticipated
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Do you monitor natural
6 convection within the casks?
7 MR. MAYFIELD: That's what they were trying to do
8 and at some point, the program ran out of money, so the
9 level of monitoring over the whole experiment varied with
10 time. The intent here would be to try and get enough money
11 put together up front that you wouldn't get ten years into
12 the demonstration and say, ah, well, this is too expensive
13 to do.
14 So that's what we're trying to lay out, going to
15 the higher burn-ups and set these on a pad somewhere and
16 keep an eye on them.
17 This is somewhat like watching grass grow. Not a
18 whole lot happens real quick. But--
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: You hope.
20 MR. MAYFIELD: We hope. But that's the intent of
21 the program.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: When you do that, you have a
23 cask, maybe you have a couple of casks, relatively small
24 number of casks. Are the kinds of things that you're
25 looking for sufficiently stochastic that you won't see them?
1 MR. MAYFIELD: Well, that's a potential. We don't
2 think so. We think -- well, first of all, we're not
3 expecting to see a lot, but we feel like it's important to
4 at least look.
5 You have to -- well, there is an element of risk
6 that you will miss something, yes. The other side of it is
7 to try and plan the experiment to look far enough downstream
8 to try to anticipate the kinds of things you might see and
9 then include enough variability in the experiment.
10 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I get the impression from your
11 response about the helium inerting that you're looking at
12 kind of a representative case and not looking at the worst
13 case and things like that.
14 MR. MAYFIELD: That's correct.
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Is there merit in thinking about doing a
16 parallel experiment and say, okay, I've put all these
17 restrictions on these guys, let me relieve a bunch of them
18 and see if it really makes any difference?
19 MR. MAYFIELD: I don't think we've rolled that
20 into the thinking today. It's a take-away from this
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It seems to me that -- I'm
23 thinking five to seven years, I'm not thinking about this
24 particular program. But maybe that's what the Commission is
25 really looking for, is saying, okay, we've got a whole bunch
1 of regulations here, how many of them are really buying
2 anything for us, and this might be a good object example to
3 say, okay, we've got this thing and it's been going on for a
4 few years here, and we kind of know how those requirements
5 are behaving, now let's throw away the ones that seem, on
6 the face of it, to be the least efficacious and see if that
7 makes any big difference and whatnot.
8 DR. SEALE: You're still on the front end of the
9 expenditure curve, really, in that area.
10 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It's an interesting approach,
11 Ashok, and maybe we could get some of the Commissioners to
12 sign up on this one, because otherwise, how do you know.
13 You now your regulations did okay, you just don't know that
14 -- they were certainly sufficient. Were they all necessary?
15 Unlike nuclear reactors, where you would be kind of
16 reluctant to throw things away, just in case they were
17 important, here it might be okay.
18 MR. MAYFIELD: This is an area where we've --
19 there are a lot of ideas coming up. This is one that
20 obviously we hadn't thought about much. We have, just in
21 the last few months, put together a program looking at a PRA
22 for storage. It brings about some interesting thoughts.
23 This is perceived as a pretty low risk issue, to
24 begin with, and so what other things does that bring about,
25 other concerns, how low does the risk have to be before you
1 quit thinking about it.
2 CHAIRMAN POWERS: The first concern you have is
3 what do you use as a risk metric; I mean, how many people
4 can you possibly kill with one cask falling off and doing
5 things like that. Well, maybe several, but most likely it's
6 going to be site workers and things like that that you don't
7 -- but that's not the risk metric you want to use on these
9 MR. MAYFIELD: And that's some of the dialogue
10 that's ongoing.
11 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Sure.
12 MS. FEDERLINE: Dr. Powers, we're taking that
13 approach in our approach to burn-up credit for
14 transportation. Farouk can talk better than I can talk
15 about the details, but we're trying to systematically look
16 at the existing limitations that are placed, look at where
17 it makes a difference through some sensitivity analysis and
18 understand where we can back off and what experiments are
19 needed to prove the concept of --
20 CHAIRMAN POWERS: If you have anything written on
21 that systematic evaluation, it would be useful, because I
22 think that's the kind of question that Commissioner Diaz is
23 asking a lot, is are there requirements that are burdensome
24 without a benefit commensurate with the burden, and, boy, is
25 that an area where research could shine, if you could come
1 in and persuade all parties involved that you've looked at
2 it now and you have some quantitative data, it's not
3 speculation and it's not whining about how much it costs,
4 here's cause, effect, now you can compare that against
5 whatever burden you associate with it and do you really want
6 to do this.
7 It seems to me that that would be as big a feather
8 in your cap as you could get here.
9 MR. THADANI: I started out early on about really
10 the importance of doing good technical work, developing good
11 technical basis, and I refer to the concept of, in some
12 areas, the approach of doing PIRTs as being very, very
13 useful way to go forward.
14 This may be an area where it may well be
15 appropriate to collect a group of very knowledgeable people,
16 identify the key areas, and then do some sort of
17 perturbation evaluation and see if there is a way to -- I
18 personally think it should not be too difficult to be able
19 to home in and see if there are actually requirements that
20 we're imposing that may not be yielding a big value in terms
21 of safety.
22 So this could well be an approach we might
24 DR. SEALE: The second and third bullets you have
25 there both are areas where there is potentially need for
1 additional criticality data as you go to higher burn-ups and
2 to mixed oxides and different claddings and a variety of
3 other things.
4 I know that the French have been doing work in
5 these areas for quite some time now at Valduc and I also
6 know that both the French and the Japanese, competitive as
7 they area, have been very careful in how much of those data
8 they release for public consumption, and my experience has
9 been that you don't buy those data, you trade those data.
10 If you've got something that's worthwhile, they
11 will talk to you about swapping it. Now, I don't know what
12 the internationalization of the fuel cycle community is
13 going to do to the availability of these data, but it
14 strikes me that we ought to look very carefully at
15 maintaining the capability to trade.
16 MR. THADANI: Yes.
17 DR. SEALE: Now, the other thing is that our
18 friends up in downtown in the Defense Nuclear Facility
19 Safety Board have told DOE that they need to maintain the
20 capability to do criticality safety measurements. I wonder
21 if the NRC couldn't help them define a program that would be
22 the necessary ingredient to maintain a program that's -- a
23 capability that's viable that might also address some of our
25 MR. THADANI: That's correct. Farouk just came
1 back -- I mean, not just, but he was in France talking to
2 the French. He might be able to give you some information.
3 MR. ELTAWILA: I think you hit on the facilities
4 and the data that's available now about burn-up credit and
5 we have discussed that with the French and our contact is
6 willing to give us this information, except for one thing,
7 this information is called on by COGEMA, too. So they have
8 to give their permission.
9 Their feeling that they are getting, that COGEMA
10 will give us this information, because we are cooperating in
11 a lot of areas.
12 DR. SEALE: And the internationalization of fuel
13 cycle, also.
14 MR. ELTAWILA: That's correct.
15 DR. SEALE: For a while, it wasn't available, I
17 MR. ELTAWILA: And since the criticality issue is
18 not on the agenda today, I might want to add that we are
19 part of another program and that's conducted by
20 Belgonucliare, called the REBUS project, and that's going to
21 take an assembly and put it in around subcriticality test
22 and calculate the net worth reduction of reactivity between
23 fresh fuel and burn-up fuel, and from that, we can use that
24 for validation of our computer codes.
25 But with regard to DOE or the Defense energy, I
1 would like definitely to get -- this is new information for
2 me and I think we'll get together.
3 DR. SEALE: Maybe we ought to get together.
4 MR. MAYFIELD: Okay. One thing that Dr. Powers
5 had mentioned, the water reactor meeting, one of the
6 sessions we had dealt with this, the general cask and fuels
7 criticality issues, and the burn-up credit issue was one
8 area that pretty loudly was characterized as something where
9 it's ripe for more work, as well as more collaborative work.
10 DR. SEALE: Lots of those.
11 MR. MAYFIELD: Lots of feedback, echoing the same
12 theme from different approaches. The last bullet on the
13 page is one that we've spent a good bit of time on early on
14 as the evaluation of operating experience and how that gets
15 rolled back into all of these issues for the current
16 operating plants.
17 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Let's go back to the ultra high burn-up
18 and use of MOX fuel. I think we know that MOX is coming
19 down from the DOE side. That will play out as it does.
20 Let's talk about high burn-up. There was a lot of talk four
21 or five years ago about the industry wanting to go to, say,
22 75 gigawatt days per ton, but they were uninterested in
23 going above five percent initial enrichment.
24 Have things changed in that front?
25 MR. ELTAWILA: From the industry point of view,
1 that is still their position, but DOE is a sponsoring
2 program to look at developing different types of fuel with
3 high enriched uranium. So their effort is mainly DOE.
4 There is another program that Ashok will tell you that if I
5 don't have a single complaint per day, he will send me day
6 because of sick or something like that.
7 CHAIRMAN POWERS: You're doing well. That's what
8 your job is. His job is to listen to it. You're doing
10 MR. ELTAWILA: So the industry has their own
11 program that we are not privy to it, and really for
12 commercial reasons, they are keeping it secret. So there
13 might be activities that are conducted by the industry that
14 we are not aware of it, but this definitely -- one of their
15 goals is to eliminate any limit on burn-up. That's what we
16 call ultra high burn-up. But the information is very few to
17 come by to make a decision really.
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: What I think you're saying is
19 because of the unclear nature of where the industry is
20 going, all you can say for sure is that you need to maintain
21 competence and expertise in the fuels area.
22 MR. ELTAWILA: That's correct, yes. It's even
23 more than that.
24 DR. SEALE: Is there a limit on the extent of the
25 plutonium content in mixed oxide?
1 MR. ELTAWILA: Right now, the European experience
2 indicates that up to one-third of the core is the limit.
3 DR. SEALE: You mean one-third of the enrichment?
4 MR. ELTAWILA: Oh, you're talking about the
6 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Specific rod enrichments. You
7 run into a problem, control problems above seven percent or
9 DR. SEALE: Okay. But that's --
10 CHAIRMAN POWERS: You can go higher, if you want
12 DR. SEALE: But that's more than five percent, the
13 equivalent of more than five percent.
14 MR. KING: I think they put in enough plutonium to
15 be equal reactivity to the U02 fuel. But as Farouk said,
16 only a third of the assemblies are MOX assemblies because of
17 metal problems.
18 DR. SEALE: That's equal reactivity relative to K
19 equal one, not equal reactivity relative to what the dollar
21 MR. THADANI: Farouk has -- really there is a big
22 issue there. This is just an example of what we're talking
23 about, and that issue has to do with we have agreements with
24 the Electric Power Research Institute and Department of
25 Energy and others to pursue cooperative research, where it's
2 For us to be timely and not be sort of a bump
3 along the way, we need to really have a clear vision of
4 where the industry is going. At these expert group
5 meetings, there has been a fair amount of criticism that NRC
6 should have increased cooperation with the industry and
7 generation of data, perhaps, and then we can do what we wish
8 and the industry could do what it wishes to do.
9 But Farouk's point is that the industry has to be
10 very forthcoming in identifying up front what direction they
11 are going into, so we have an early opportunity to sit down
12 and design what sort of information would be needed, and
13 it's easy to say increase cooperation. It's harder to sit
14 down and really come to grips with which direction you are
15 headed in, how can we make sure that we're actually moving
16 jointly, and, yet, maintaining our independence in terms of
17 the technical decisions that we have to make.
18 Now, I am pretty sure that I will work harder with the
19 industry, particularly the Electric Power Research
20 Institute, to see if there are other areas, but it cannot
21 work unless there is some fairly transparent way the public
22 also understands what we're doing and why and how we might
23 use the information.
24 That means the industry has to be forthcoming and
25 has to recognize that some of the information will have to
1 be made publicly available, and that may not be as easy as
2 it might appear.
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: The challenge that we face in
4 the fuels area remains kind of the same, that the industry
5 is pretty good at collecting operational data on these
6 fuels. It's easy for one to do and put a few lead test
7 assemblies in and collect some operational data and compile
9 But the NRC's interest is always in what happens
10 in off-normal situations, which is much more challenging to
11 obtain the data, and the industry is much more willing to
12 address that question with a pencil and paper rather than
13 with a reactor experiment.
14 DR. SEALE: And aren't you kind of falling into a
15 trap whenever you agree that you will do a margins analysis
16 rather than a detailed analysis of what's involved in a
17 particular burn-up or whatever? A margins analysis limits
18 the input from these somewhat more esoteric and longer time
19 dependent problems and as long as you're not going to do
20 anymore than a margins analysis, you're accepting your
22 MR. THADANI: I'll give you my -- maybe I'm
23 misunderstanding your point. When I talk about margins, to
24 me, it means, first and foremost, I must understand the
25 fundamental issues and the fundamental challenges before I
1 can even come to grips with what are the limits and what the
2 margins might be in the limits.
3 So it seems to me that for me to better understand
4 what the margins are requires a lot more information to be
5 gathered than for me to say, well, I can make some
6 conservative decision.
7 So for margins, I think you have to actually get
8 more information, not less.
9 DR. BONACA: Just as a point of reference, from
10 the perspective if the fuel efforts, from the industry
11 effort, there is a major program and it was called robust
12 fuel. I remember how that was initiated. It was initiated
13 for two years. One is that there were events where there
14 were fuel failures, particularly in Westinghouse plants, due
15 to a number of issues. The other issue was data that came
16 from France regarding the fact that burned fuel had less
17 capability, for example, if you had enthalpy depositions
18 above a certain criteria have been standardly used in rod
19 rejection accidents.
20 And the plan at the time was we will fund
21 sufficient research and development to improve the fuel, but
22 then what target are we going to set for it; is it going to
23 be 60,000 mega day for per metric ton, which is what really
24 the industry had believed to the point, and they said, well,
25 let's make a stretch goal of 75,000 and that will be an
1 objective of design in the redesign of this fuel.
2 Now, all I know is I don't think the industry was
3 ready to come up with answers, because this has been a major
4 effort. It's been going on for years. And I believe they
5 have spent -- I know it was funded at some point in excess
6 of $10 million, but it kept adding money for that.
7 So I believe it's pretty extensive, but I don't
8 think the industry is ready to yet say we have sufficient
9 information to propose a burn-up limit.
10 MR. ELTAWILA: They actually sent an NRR recently
11 to NEI a proposal for extension of the burn-up and we asked
12 a copy of that proposal.
13 DR. BONACA: So there is already --
14 MR. ELTAWILA: They are already moving in that
15 direction, but the robust fuel program is funded at $50
16 million and we finally got EPRI to agree, under a
17 consortium, to agree to participate in the French Cabri
18 reactor on the reactivity insertion accident to address the
19 concern that you mention.
20 But in addition to the robust fuel program, which,
21 incidentally, NRC did not attend the meeting of that
22 program, so we have no idea what is going on in this, they
23 have another program they call the NFIR, I think, I don't
24 know the exact -- what this acronym stands for, but that's
25 an extensive program and that is where they are trying to
1 extend the state-of-the-art and try to develop new cladding
2 and new criteria and so on.
3 That is where we feel that we are in the dark,
4 because what will happen, exactly like what happened right
5 now, they will make a proposal to NRC. NRC might look at
6 the data and find that it's acceptable and grant approval
7 and then we have to run a confirmatory test of the program.
8 The same thing happened with M5. NRC just
9 extended the burn-up for M5. We don't have even a single
10 sample of M5 to test it in our national lab. Same thing
11 with zirlo. We don't have any sample to test.
12 So we are always falling behind the industry
13 because we are not informed or have the fuel to be able to
14 run the test.
15 DR. BONACA: I understand that. My only comment
16 was to point out that there was not a minor effort. It was
17 a major undertaking and you're confirming by the figures
18 you're talking about that the industry realizes they had a
20 MR. THADANI: I think there is a related issue
21 that relates to this whole idea of cooperation between NRC
22 and industry. As I said early on, the regulator has a
23 responsibility to poke and probe at the fringes, so to
24 speak, and understand safety implications, and the industry
25 probably is not going to be as active in that area.
1 It took us 20 months, probably 21 months by the
2 time we actually got there, to get agreement for EPRI
3 through the robust fuel program to agree to participate in
4 the Cabri program, because this was an example where we did
5 not have enough resources ourselves.
6 We wanted to make sure that as a country, the contribution
7 that we had to make to the Cabri program we could come up
8 with, and we thought working together with industry would be
9 a pretty good way. We can use data as we see fit and the
10 industry can use the same database as they see fit.
11 The arguments were around what -- the probability
12 is pretty low. I continue to push to say that probability,
13 in fact, may well be low. The large uncertainties, as
14 George said earlier, we have some experience base, but we
15 are not able to get to ten-to-the-minus-five and
16 ten-to-the-minus-six. So my view was, and is, that it may
17 be appropriate to change some design base accidents.
18 However, before we do that, we better fully
19 understand the consequences. Until we understand
20 consequences to rely on probability argument alone, is, I
21 think, somewhat inconsistent with what the Commission has
22 been saying.
23 So it took us 20 months to come to an agreement
24 for EPRI to participate and I want to increase cooperation
25 with the industry, but we've got to come up with a somewhat
1 more efficient mechanism.
2 MR. KING: I agree with everything Ashok said, but
3 there is a flip-side to that. In my position, looking at
4 risk-informed regulation, one of the regulations we have on
5 our plate to look at is the reactivity insertion accident,
6 which is the rod ejection accident today.
7 That's the accident that's driving the test
8 programs worldwide and it's driving the failure mechanism
9 that's being looked at, the pellet-clad mechanical
11 If risk information says, well, there are other
12 reactivity insertion accidents that are certainly more
13 likely, certainly may have more risk, they're not going to
14 have the narrow pulse like the rod ejection accident and
15 they're probably not going to have pellet-clad mechanical
16 interaction as the failure mechanism, they're probably going
17 to have D&B, should we be considering some D&B type tests on
18 high burn-up fuel, particularly since the current test
19 program is driving people to high ductility, low oxidation
20 cladding. That may not be the best cladding to have when
21 you're into a D&B type failure mode.
22 So there's these kinds of interactions we have to
23 think about, as well.
24 CHAIRMAN POWERS: In that regard, the fuels
25 research program engaged in an experiment where they were
1 taking technology and approaches that had been fairly well
2 developed in the thermal hydraulic community to develop
3 these PIRT processes and from that, even going on to scaling
4 experiments. I think the fuel program has a scaling
5 problem, per se, but in an experiment, those kinds of --
6 that kind of an approach where you get a lot of expertise
7 focused in and developing these phenomena and identification
8 and ranking tables, looks like it would be applicable to a
9 lot of things.
10 I'm thinking, for instance, in connection with the
11 spent fuel pool fire, that one could apply those kinds of
12 same technologies.
13 I guess my question is how is the experiment going
14 and does it look like it has a broader applicability to the
15 experimental efforts and even analytic efforts that the
16 agency is undertaking in the research program.
17 MR. ELTAWILA: The effort of the PIRT on high
18 burn-up fuel just concluded last week and we really gained a
19 lot of insight. I think the reports are available, we'd
20 like to send you copies of them.
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Please do.
22 MR. ELTAWILA: It's a massive amount of
23 information that was developed. We entered into the process
24 thinking that there are few phenomena that's controlling the
25 fuel behavior. We came out with much more phenomena and
1 defined by industry, not by the staff, by the industry
2 themselves. They are scientists, they know what is
4 So we really gained a lot out of it and they -- in
5 certain cases, we found that some phenomena that we thought
6 that might be important, now they are not important. As a
7 result of that, we are going to direct, redirect our
8 research program.
9 As I mentioned earlier, one of the issues that
10 came very loud and clear, that you cannot take the cladding
11 properties from one cladding, zircalloy-4, and apply the
12 results blindly to M5 and zirlo. So we have -- part of this
13 stage, they need to get M5 and zirlo for the program at
14 Argonne, because we don't have this information.
15 So there a lot of insights. One of the other
16 insights that we were thinking about, trying to do more of
17 an analysis and relayed reactivity insertion accident to the
18 rod worth itself, and the indication from the people that
19 are doing this work for the industry, that is not a proper
20 word, because that would be cycle specific, fuel specific,
21 core geometries. So it enters a lot of variables in it,
22 that it will be very difficult to have a criteria in this
24 So the exchange of information was very good and I
25 think we should be using it more and we actually are using
1 it in the burn-up credit that Ashok mentioned.
2 As far as the spent fuel pool, I really think if
3 we had our way of doing the decommissioning work right now,
4 we should have started this way, but unfortunately, we were
5 driven by schedule and every time, just we'll do an
6 incremental piece of work and we came to you.
7 Unfortunately, you raised a couple of very important issues.
8 We went back and we looked at them and if we do the PIRT
9 process for that work, we might -- I think we are focusing
10 on the wrong issue all together right now.
11 It's not thermal hydraulics, it's not the
12 consequences analysis. We can do these in details. It's
13 the onset of the oxidation fire; that if we don't have the
14 initial assumption correctly, it doesn't matter, everything
15 we do, and that's why we're continuing to struggle with that
17 If we started earlier, we could have saved
18 ourselves a lot of headaches and maybe time.
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think the discovery, to my
20 mind, first of all, I give you all the credit in the world
21 for having this brilliant idea to take this PIRT technology
22 out of the thermal hydraulics and apply it to the fuel.
23 Nobody had ever done that before. And I'm delighted to hear
24 that you actually learned new stuff out of it. That makes
25 the lesson all the better, because there certainly was the
1 potential to find out all the conventional wisdoms about
2 these things, where you say, well, this PIRT idea wasn't too
3 insightful. But it has proved to be insightful.
4 And now I think it sets the stage to say maybe
5 this is a pretty good idea on any kind of complicated
6 experimental program or analytic program that we're
7 undertaking, because just for the reasons that you said, you
8 find some things that you thought were important weren't so
9 important and some things that you had never heard of before
10 are important, and, of course, it's entirely possible for
11 the experts to be completely wrong, but at least you can say
12 I've gotten the best minds to look at this from a wide range
13 of backgrounds.
14 And you'll recall, what was it, three years ago,
15 we, the committee wrote on the research program that it was
16 important to, on complex, new complex issues, to solicit a
17 variety of inputs, and I think this PIRT concept that you
18 came up with is just an excellent framework for soliciting
19 those in some sort of discipline, so you don't get a lot of
20 disconnected ideas.
21 DR. SEALE: Particularly if one of the products is
22 an industry buy-in, because that's another three years after
23 you finish normally and then convincing the other guy that
24 it's worth doing. And if that comes out of it --
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It seems to me that we ought to
1 -- I will just toss this out for all concerned. It seems to
2 me that in talking to the Commission about research, we need
3 to make an object lesson out of this experiment that's gone
4 on and say, hey, we've learned a way of doing this, because
5 just as Bob says, not only is it a way to get a lot of
6 expert opinion, but it's a good vehicle for getting buy-in
7 from licensees and from the people who get called
8 stakeholders, but may have an objection to some of the
9 things that are taking -- for instance, MOX and stuff like
11 DR. SEALE: And it's that stakeholder community
12 that we've had the biggest problem with; namely, the
13 technical people in that field who are otherwise
15 MR. THADANI: And I can tell you that I fully
16 agree with what you said. That's a lesson I have learned.
17 That's why I have been pushing the concept of PIRT really
18 ought to be utilized for any major program we initiate.
19 Only some caution, I would add, would be that in
20 the PIRT, the membership is technically renowned people. We
21 still have a challenge to make sure that the industry, truly
22 the industry is, in fact, supportive of the results that
23 come out of the PIRT panel, and that's not a small --
24 CHAIRMAN POWERS: There's another codicil on it
25 that maybe is implicit in what Farouk said, is that you
1 can't straightjacket yourself and say I'm going to do
2 exactly what the thermal hydraulics crowd does.
3 You've got to tailor it a little bit. But the
4 general idea of getting all of these -- and the panel they
5 assembled is just a who's who of fuel research around the
6 world, came up with so many ideas and things like that, that
7 it really makes for a very, very defensible research
8 program, once you're completed with it.
9 DR. SEALE: Moving right along.
10 MR. ELTAWILA: I think Mike finished with his
11 presentation and he focused mainly on the future challenges
12 for currently operating facilities. I would like now to
13 focus --
14 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Whoa, whoa, whoa.
15 MR. ELTAWILA: Not that fast, huh?
16 DR. SEALE: The digital I&C and the use of PRA.
17 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Like you said, expanded use of
18 PRA and you didn't want Apostolakis to read that.
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Has there been any progress in
20 incorporating digital I&C possible failures into PRA? I
21 know you guys have been working on this.
22 MR. KING: Not any substantial progress.
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: What I see in the write-ups for
24 the future program, and, admittedly, they're abbreviated
25 things, but I see these words like qualitative risk
1 assessment and whatnot, and, quite frankly, I haven't a clue
2 how I put high, low and medium into a PRA and get anything
3 useful out of it.
4 I mean, I see that just as orthogonal to
5 incorporating digital I&C technology into the PRA.
6 MR. KING: I'm not sure we apply that to digital
7 I&C. We certainly applied it -- if you remember
8 risk-informed ISI, there were two methods. There was a
9 quantitative and a qualitative method and you identified
10 things high, medium or low in the qualitative method by
11 could the failure cause failure of other equipment and so
12 forth. There were some criteria you went through.
13 So the application of a qualitative technique is
14 accepted in some places -- for some applications, I should
15 say. Now, digital I&C, I think we're still struggling with
16 how to do that.
17 I think we're still struggling with how to do that
19 MR. MAYFIELD: I would say that there are people,
20 at least in the digital I&C community, that are talking with
21 the PRA folks, Carol Schmidt in Maryland, Barry Johnson at
22 UVA, there are some differing ideas. I wouldn't want to
23 suggest to you that anybody has -- at least the people that
24 I deal with, that have clear answers on how to do it, but
25 the dialogue is ongoing and I think that's positive.
1 So it goes beyond just high, medium and low kind
2 of rankings.
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: When I see the programs, I see
4 the qualitative, I don't see the quantitative in them.
5 MR. MAYFIELD: And at this stage, at least from
6 what I'm seeing, it hasn't progressed to the point where I
7 would go spend a lot of money on a single program that would
8 rise to the level you would see it.
9 Is it embedded in tasks, is it implicit in some of the
10 sub-tasks? The answer to that is yes. So we can talk about
11 it, bring you some additional details at some point in the
12 future, if you'd like. I think we were anticipating coming
13 back and talking about digital I&C in the next few months
15 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I thought the University of
16 Virginia was doing it for you already.
17 MR. MAYFIELD: Yes. Barry Johnson and his people
18 at UVA.
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Have you -- go ahead.
20 MR. MAYFIELD: Their scheme is somewhat different
21 from the traditional event tree approach or fault tree
22 approach and there is dialogue. Nathan Siu has been talking
23 with Johnson. So there is some dialogue on exactly how to
24 marry the approaches, how to make this thing consistent, and
25 do it in a quantitative fashion.
1 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Have they produced any reports?
2 MR. MAYFIELD: They have produced a number of
3 reports. I don't know that they have one -- at least in
4 terms of the dialogue, they have some notions on how to deal
5 with it.
6 We can go back and take a look at what they've got
7 to provide.
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I'd like to see something on the
9 quantitative part. Regarding the use of PRA, I think there
10 is an issue -- there is a very interesting project that you
11 have had for a number of years now, that's the common cause
12 failure project, which raises an important question.
13 When do you declare success and terminate a
14 project? I think, as an industry, we have been successful
15 at reducing the rate of occurrence of common cause failures
16 and we all remember the figure that we saw some time ago. I
17 believe it was in a memo from Rich Barrett to -- I don't
19 But it showed a clear decline of the rate of
20 common cause failures over the years. So we have this
21 project now that keeps adding data from the last three-five
22 years, which apparently is already obsolete, because now we
23 are doing a much better job.
24 The methods have not been touched in quite some
25 time. There is an international participation, where I
1 don't know what we're learning from things that happened in
2 Sweden, but when do you decide that something has been
3 successful and maybe we should take it easy for a while and
4 revisit the issue maybe in a few years in case there is
5 something else that we need to do?
6 Is there any -- do you have any criteria? Because
7 this would seem to be a prime project to say, well, gee, you
8 know, let's declare success and stop it, which is not going
9 to please the people who do it, but when do we do that?
10 DR. SEALE: And can you do it in such a way that
11 the better common cause failure numbers that you're enjoying
12 continue to be upgraded as you get more and more experience
13 in the program?
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I agree. I agree.
15 DR. SEALE: That's the hard part. The trouble is
16 if you shut it down, then that number is engraved in what
17 amounts to granite until you get back to the research table.
18 MR. THADANI: I think there has to be a mechanism
19 in place where my own sense of sunsetting a program would be
20 some low level of effort at maintenance.
21 Now, what I mean by maintenance is continuing to
22 look at operational experience in this country, common cause
23 failure likelihood is fairly low, and that's good, and so
24 hopefully we're not going to get large amounts of data.
25 And as you correctly noted, that those failures
1 have been going down, because you learn from experience, you
2 make improvements, so that's the correct direction, it seems
3 to me.
4 And in addition to some low level of maintenance,
5 I think it is important to look at these on an international
6 basis. The CSNI effort in this area, I think, is fairly
7 important. I can't tell you the level of resources we're
8 spending and as a result of your comment, I will take a look
9 at the level of resources to see if it is close to what at
10 least I think should be maintenance level and not
11 significant expenditures.
12 But I think you have to be also careful that you
13 don't send the wrong signal to people about areas which have
14 potentially large safety significance. Random failures are
15 very unlikely to come together to cause you a big problem.
16 I suspect it's going to be more the common cause
17 type of problems or failures. One has to balance that part.
18 Have we reached the right balance on common cause
19 failures? I don't know the answer at this minute, but I'll
20 look into it, but I can give you my views that I would not
21 want to terminate the program because I think that we open
22 ourselves up to a potentially significant issue.
23 So there has to be some sort of balance there.
24 MR. KING: To me, this is a valuable area. It's
25 evaluation of operating experience. As plants age, maybe
1 you're going to get some new mechanisms for common cause
3 We spend about 500 K a year in this area, between
4 the national and the international efforts. So that's the
5 level of effort.
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I fully agree with both you and
7 Ashok, especially the words maintenance level. I like that.
8 If I had $1,000 maintenance level, I don't know. For me, it
9 would be paradise. For you guys, it's maintenance, it's
11 MR. THADANI: By the way, for me, too, okay?
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But I think the issue is broader
13 than just the particular project. Now, since we are in this
14 area, we're not going to come back to PRA, I suppose. There
15 are issues that come up every now and then that the agency
16 doesn't seem to respond the way perhaps one would expect.
17 The Fussel-Vessely and RAW importance measures have become,
18 in my view, as important as Regulatory Guide 1.174. They
19 really are, because there are many important situations
20 where we cannot quantify the delta CDF and delta LERF for
21 certain contributors.
22 Yet, the industry, and rightly so, points out that
23 that's where we're spending a lot of money, like special
24 treatments. And yet, you know, there was an ACRS letter
25 listing a number of problems with these. Then there is a
1 utility, in fact, that comes here with a methodology, the
2 top event prevention methodology, and there is nothing
3 really that's happening.
4 I mean, I talk to people in private and they tell
5 me, yeah, sure, but the expert panel will take care all of
6 all these problems.
7 I think we should be a little bit more responsive
8 than that and I know for a fact that when people who are
9 proposing advocating the top event prevention methodology
10 are very discouraged by the reluctance of the staff to take
11 it seriously.
12 Not necessarily your staff, Ashok. Shouldn't we
13 do business a little differently? I mean, here is a
14 fundamental tool that is being used in very important
15 regulatory decisions. There are questions being raised
16 about its validity, because after all, when Bill Vessely
17 worked on his thing, he never dreamed that it would be used
18 to that extent. That was done way back.
19 Why is this happening? And the expert panel -- is
20 it the pressure that is on the staff to produce a rule by a
21 certain time and we can't afford to open up methodological
22 issues at this time? We have enough problems deciding what
23 to put in the matrix, like RISC-1, 2, 3, 4.
24 If we open up the problem now of what does
25 Fussel-Vessely mean, well, gee, we'll never finish.
1 DR. SEALE: Don't ask if we're turning the wrong
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Right. So is that part of it?
4 MR. THADANI: First of all, let me be sure that I
5 think research has an obligation on the methodology issues
6 to be sure that what methods are being used are appropriate.
7 And I'm sensitive to some of the issues about the importance
8 measures that have been utilized and your concerns and some
9 earlier issues, when actually I was at NRR then, I had asked
10 that we take a harder look and I know Dr. El Basioni is
11 actively -- he's in Tom's organization -- is actively
12 engaged. Perhaps Tom can give you a status of where we are,
13 either now or later.
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Dr. El Basioni is doing this
16 MR. THADANI: He's been with us working on it for
17 a while.
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I didn't know that.
19 MR. KING: Actually, he just went back to NRR. He
20 was over with us for about seven months and he has produced
21 a report, taking a look at Fussel-Vessely and RAW and the
22 other traditional measures and came up with a recommendation
23 for what he thought was an approach for importance
24 techniques that ought to be applied. We haven't -- in fact,
25 we owe Ashok a briefing on it.
1 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And maybe to some other people.
2 MR. KING: And maybe to some other people.
3 MR. THADANI: Yes. I'll tell you, I happen to
4 agree that that's -- we sometimes -- people talk about
5 thermal hydraulic codes being used in regimes that they were
6 not developed for. I think we have to be sensitive to the
7 probabilistic techniques equally.
8 MR. KING: And he's also included the top event
9 methodology in his study.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: By the way, just as a piece of
11 information, I had a journal and I saw the last few months
12 an explosion in the number of papers that I receive on
13 importance measures, from France, from Korea, from Taiwan,
14 form the United States. Something is going on. I don't
15 think these people have read the regulatory guide.
16 But there is really a lot of interest
17 internationally and I hope you guys are keeping abreast of
18 these developments.
19 MR. KING: We have done another thing, and that is
20 because option two is using the traditional measures and
21 they're normally applied using mean values of CDF and so
22 forth, we've taken a look at the effect of uncertainties on
23 ranking of things and there is a nice report being prepared
24 by University of Maryland that did this work, Olly Mosley
25 and Muhammad.
1 The bottom line is the uncertainties don't make
2 much difference. They shift things a little bit, but there
3 are no drastic shifts in the ranking of things due to
4 uncertainties, if you believe the method that was used.
5 I think we may want to talk about that at some
6 point in the future, too.
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I took at a look at that, too.
8 MR. KING: Okay.
9 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And the interesting conclusion,
10 independently of the methods, is that instead of saying that
11 SSCK is in RISC-2, now you have a probability that it is in
13 MR. KING: Yes. And you want to make the boxes to
14 -- you know, what confidence level do you want to have if
15 you're making the right ranking, and this kind of
16 information would be useful.
17 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Speaking of problems in
18 risk-informing special requirements, now, that's all we need
19 to have a probability that the SSC belongs in a group.
20 MR. THADANI: Now, for your information, again, I
21 think George certainly knows this and others perhaps do,
22 too, that CSNI has -- one of the working groups is on risk
23 assessment. Joe Murphy chairs that group and I don't know
24 if you want to comment about what CSNI may be doing in the
25 area of importance measures, but you may want to touch on
2 MR. MURPHY: We don't have anything active in the
3 importance measure area directly at the moment.
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: The problem with international
5 groups, since you raised it, Ashok, is that very often they
6 produce reports that say in the U.K. we do this, in France
7 we do that, and in the United States we do this other thing.
8 And there is no way you can force consensus. In fact,
9 people sometimes take it as a national pride to defend what
10 they're doing, but I've read -- I'm not necessarily
11 attacking the CSNI thing, but I've seen their report on fire
12 risk assessment and some of the approaches in some of the
13 countries, those people should be shot.
14 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Gee, I wish I knew where you
15 stood, George.
16 MR. THADANI: But we do it this way, who are you
17 to tell us to do it different.
18 But you look at it the other way. Where CSNI
19 could do better is where this Office of Research could do
20 better, which is to make sure that those results are getting
21 to people who are making decisions.
22 And I think I can tell you there are many times I
23 learn from those reports and I think there are things we can
24 do better as a result of some of the work.
25 Similarly, safety cause is better served, in a
1 way, worldwide, if the same information gets to those
2 countries that you're talking about.
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: In fact -- I don't know. I
4 wanted to praise the NRC, but --
5 MR. THADANI: We're waiting.
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I've had opportunities to work with
7 international groups the last year or so and the same people
8 who three years ago were saying, oh, you Americans do it
9 this way, we're doing it differently, are paying a price now
10 for doing it differently. The approach of the U.S. NRC was
11 a sound one.
12 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I have a sense that my committee
13 is getting hungry. Maybe the presenters are getting hungry,
14 as well. Should we go ahead and take a break for lunch and
15 come back at, say, 1:00, and launch on a -- I'm sure we're
16 not covering everything that the plan was covered, but I get
17 the feeling that the conversation is going very well.
18 So let's come back at 1:00 and keep charging
20 [Whereupon, at 12:05 p.m., the meeting was
21 recessed, to reconvene at 1:00 p.m., this same day.]
1 A F T E R N O O N S E S S I O N
2 [1:00 p.m.]
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: We are still on Farouk, right?
4 MR. ELTAWILA: Just to put my presentation in
5 perspective, Mike may feel focused on the future challenges
6 for currently operating facilities, and I'm going to focus
7 on the for the future, maybe future design more than the
8 evolutionary design, revolutionary design, and Tom King is
9 going to eventually talk about the future design.
10 Like Mike indicated, there are some -- I call them
11 licensing issues, but these are assumptions for the
12 planning, and one of the assumptions that I made here in
13 order to develop the thought is that the public was still
14 concerned with the issue of safety and severe accident.
15 So regardless of the words that are coming out of
16 the industry inherently we receive and there is no chance of
17 severe accident and all this stuff, I think we will have to
18 address severe accidents regardless because of the issue of
19 public confidence.
20 There will be a pressure at NRC to -- one of the
21 discussions that took place during the water reactor safety
22 meeting, that they indicated that the utility will be
23 interested in buying nuclear power plants right now, if the
24 capital cost is reduced below a certain level. And some
25 executives are already indicating that they are willing to
1 buy for a certain number, I don't remember.
2 So there would be a lot of pressure how to make the nuclear
3 power -- generation of a nuclear power plant competitive
4 and, at the same time, how to make them safe.
5 Some of the lessons learned from the current
6 activities, the decommissioning cost is very excessive, so
7 that in the future, the design will keep the decommissioning
8 option as part of the design or even replacement of
9 equipment and things like that, so there will be no long
11 All this will create some kind of challenge for us
12 in terms of how we write our own regulation. I made an
13 assumption, too, collectively, we made an assumption that
14 the mix of nuclear power plants in the United States is not
15 going to be only for producing electricity.
16 I think the new generation will ask us to -- you
17 created these stockpiles of plutonium, get rid of it. So
18 there will be a design that's uniquely to burn the
19 plutonium, not the MOX, current MOX for operating plants. I
20 don't think that will get rid of all the stockpiles. So
21 there might be a need for a design to burn only plutonium.
22 The transmutation of long-lived, highly active
23 nuclides, that might be part of the mix of the design that
24 would be put forth in front of NRC and there would be
25 emphasis on minimization of the waste if we don't have a
1 solution for the Yucca Mountain by then.
2 Again, we believe that the agency will maintain
3 its defense-in-depth. We are not going to get rid of that.
4 I think the four barriers will likely to be maintained. The
5 requirement for each barrier might be different.
6 So if you have a plant that has extremely low
7 likelihood of channeling or producing load that can
8 challenge containment integrity, you still might have a
9 containment, but it might have a different requirement than
10 from what we have right now, but we will continue, I think,
11 the challenges are the same, that we're going to maintain
12 the defense-in-depth.
13 DR. SEALE: In talking about decommissioning
14 measures and things like that, have you given any
15 consideration in your analysis to the value of a site?
16 People talk about decommissioning and walking away and so
17 on, but if past is prologue, then if it's been hard to find
18 sites -- if it was hard to find sites 20 years ago, it's
19 going to be like real hard 20 years from now or ten years
20 from now, and the fact that you got a site and the water
21 that goes with it for cooling is -- that has value and you
22 can't minimize that value.
23 And if the utility has that asset, then it seems
24 to me that's part of any consideration they have to make for
25 the future.
1 Has there been any thought about that in any of
2 your assessments?
3 MR. ELTAWILA: No.
4 DR. SEALE: It might be an interesting thing.
5 MR. ELTAWILA: The next viewgraph, I'm talking
6 about the use of the PRA technique is going to be continued
7 through the design process, and that's not unique, because
8 Ashok indicated, we have followed that in the AP-600.
9 But I think we will be looking at different types
10 of reactors or pebble bed. We don't know what the design is
11 going to be.
12 So that would create an additional challenge in
13 developing the PRA technology and database for these new
15 So although the concept is not unique, the
16 application will be different.
17 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Farouk, we have -- in the area
18 of risk-informing the regulations, we had these option two,
19 option three activities going on. With option three, which
20 is part of research, you're kind of going in and looking at
21 particular regulations, seeing how to risk-inform them,
22 which is fine if you're thinking about the current fleet of
23 existing plants and you're not -- because you don't abandon
24 all the stuff that has showed up in the FSAR.
25 Now, when you think about a new plant coming along
1 that's not a water-cooled plant, it's something different,
2 all of a sudden you've got a challenge, because the
3 regulations just don't fit.
4 Does Research have anybody looking at the idea of
5 let's take out a clean sheet of paper and if nuclear
6 technology just showed up yesterday and we were trying to
7 figure out how to safety regulate it, what would we put into
8 it, that safety regulation?
9 MR. THADANI: Let me ask you to hold that thought,
10 if you will, because we're going to come back to it.
11 I would like to make sure Tom has an opportunity.
12 He's going to talk about the future designs issues. He will
13 give you a sense of our absolutely about as fresh as it can
14 get, our thinking, and the steps that we would hope to go
16 We do not have agreement with the Commission yet
17 on those steps, but we do have agreement generally that
18 Research will initiate early interactions with the
19 Department of Energy and probably with SCOM and the idea
20 behind that would be to just go through what I would say is
21 up-front and unencumbered thinking about what's the best way
22 to proceed.
23 In parallel, as you know, there is an initiative which is
24 looking at the whole idea of risk-informed regulations, not
25 necessarily for light water reactors, and we are staying in
1 touch with that group.
2 But Tom will give you a little more information
3 about where we are and where we think we may be going in the
4 near term.
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I will certainly wait for that
6 presentation. I'll comment, in regard to the paper from
7 that NARY program review the other day, the question I posed
8 back to them was, okay, how do you guarantee I design the
9 core with a negative void coefficient.
10 Their approach won't get -- I can put in a
11 positive void coefficient. I also pointed out to them, the
12 Commission doesn't say you can't do that. We don't do that
13 very often. We really don't like positive void
15 MR. THADANI: We know what happened on CANDU.
16 DR. SEALE: You can do it, but, boy, are you
17 asking for trouble if you do.
18 MR. THADANI: Yes.
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Okay. Go ahead, Farouk.
20 MR. ELTAWILA: Again, we do not have any
21 experience in licensing any of the procedures of any
22 avertive technology. And I think it will create a challenge
23 for NRC people that have been thinking light water reactor
24 all these years, will be having a hard time adjustment to
25 these new technologies.
1 So we really need to start developing the safety
2 codes you need for that and I think your question, and
3 hopefully Tom will be addressing that.
4 Again, things that will be a mistake, if we just
5 take all the initiating events that we learn from current
6 generation of operating plants and try to apply them blindly
7 for the new design.
8 So it's almost like I'm endorsing starting with a
9 clean sheet of paper about how to do the PRA, how to develop
10 our review procedure and things like that.
11 Although the next star here is not unique to
12 future challenges, but it's actually a challenge right now.
13 If we are going to be truly risk-informed, we really should
14 be able to model the accident or the operator interaction
15 with the machine and the PRA and the analysis to see what
16 situation he exacerbated the accident, which is the
17 situation he will prevent things from getting worse, if we
18 really want to quantify that.
19 So our cause right now does not have this
20 interactive capability and we need to develop them to be
21 able to do this work.
22 There has been a lot of work in this area in the
23 past and started and stopped and things like that. So we
24 really are not going to propose a very extensive program. I
25 think the first thing is to try to look at what exists out
1 there and identify any gaps and if the gaps can be filled in
2 a timely fashion, we'll do that or we'll look for
4 So really it's not a very extensive research
5 program. And the next few viewgraphs, I'm going to just
6 talk about issues that we expect to be seeing different from
7 the current generation.
8 I think Tom -- Dr. Kress indicated earlier that he
9 was disappointed that the new cladding does not consider
10 different type of cladding that will prevent these accident
11 different from zircalloy.
12 The only other cladding I remember was introduced
13 as aluminum cladding for the production reactor, which is
15 DR. KRESS: Yes, that's worse.
16 CHAIRMAN POWERS: You have to be very careful with
17 saying that aluminum is worse. I mean, it has some good
18 features and bad features. The one thing you know about
19 aluminum clad fuel or aluminum matrix fuel is that the core
20 melt temperature is relatively low.
21 MR. ELTAWILA: And fuel-coolant interaction would
22 become very interesting.
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Well, it's spirited. You want
24 your coolant to be gas.
25 MR. ELTAWILA: So we really -- I'm almost certain
1 that the industry is facing that challenge right now and
2 some of the work that they are doing to have that edge, that
3 there will be new cladding material that have an improved
4 response to accidents.
5 So it is vital for their survival. The issue of
6 ultra high burn-up fuel for U02 and higher burn-up for MOX,
7 I think we discussed that earlier, but that will be one of
8 the design requirements in the future.
9 Burnable poison instead of the boron core, that
10 they delete the use of boron all together and rely more on
11 the actual design of burnable poison in the core.
12 The issue of high level waste I think might be one
13 of the important issues and the use of ultra high burn-up
14 definitely will minimize the waste, but there are other
15 things that people are looking at. It's not necessarily
16 here in this country, but in other places, so different fuel
17 cycle and so on.
18 The use of thorium cycle, which has the potential
19 of reduced production of actinides, have been discussed by
20 different people. So we expect in the future maybe one of
21 the designs would be using this information.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Do you think that people will
23 think about future designs with metal fuels?
24 MR. KING: If it's a sodium reactor, definitely.
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I'm thinking about --
1 MR. KING: You're thinking about a water reactor?
2 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Well, gas or water.
3 MR. KING: I doubt if it would be in water and I
4 doubt if it would be in gas. But definitely, if it's a
5 sodium reactor, it would go metal fuel.
6 DR. SEALE: The IFR concept.
7 MR. ELTAWILA: Ashok indicated that -- I
8 mentioned, also, before, the plutonium burning potential and
9 so for this type of reactor, we'll have to look at how to
10 control excessive reactivity for this design.
11 Again, we're not really coming with any major
12 design shift here, but I think we need to pay attention to
13 it because some of the information that might be generated
14 in in the past either disappeared or is about to disappear,
15 it might not be in a condition that we can utilize it. But
16 I think we have to start to pay attention to it, try to get
17 this information in-house and so when it's needed, we'll
18 start using it.
19 Ashok indicted that there would be the pebble bed reactor
20 design and that they are looking at coated particle, but all
21 their work has been focused only on low burn-up.
22 Eventually, for it to become competitive and things like
23 that, they have to consider high burn-up. So we have to
24 start looking at this issue.
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Just for your information, next
1 week I'm attending a meeting specifically devoted to new
2 coatings for ultra high temperature fuels for gas reactors.
3 MR. ELTAWILA: Okay.
4 CHAIRMAN POWERS: And the ones that they're
5 looking at in particular is zirconium carbide and niobium
6 carbide, I think.
7 MR. ELTAWILA: That's the DOE project.
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Yes. I guess saying it's DOE is
9 a little bit of a stretch. It's one of these things that's
10 like for the NARY program, only I don't think it's exactly
11 NARY. But it's like that.
12 MR. ELTAWILA: The next viewgraph is on thermal
13 hydraulics. I think the challenge is for light water
14 reactors will continue to be improve the physical model of
15 the two-phase flow and, again, if we really want to take
16 advantage of all the conservatism in the code, we have to
17 develop models that can better predict the phenomena.
18 As you know, right now, our codes rely on a flow
19 regime map. So which really does not represent what's
20 happening in the plants, but we started in the area of
21 developing dynamic flow regime, but this is a very long-term
22 effort. We're trying to replace the guts of the thermal
23 hydraulic work that was developed over the past 20 to 30
24 years with a completely different concept.
25 And we are not spending a tremendous amount of
1 money on that. We're keeping it at a very small level and
2 we are capitalizing on international cooperation with Japan
3 and France. So we're just moving it at a very even level,
4 but this is one of the things that we're continuing to work
6 DR. SEALE: Our experience in the advanced
7 reactors, the ABWR, the System 80+, and the AP-600,
8 indicated that it was -- we didn't have time to do a
9 rational examination of what the differences were in the
10 thermal hydraulics regimes that brought into suspect
11 previous computational methods which were strictly margin
12 oriented rather than best estimate oriented.
13 And there was an awful lot of hours spent in this
14 room and other places with Westinghouse particularly and
15 others arguing about the use of PIRT and things like that to
16 try to figure out whether or not -- or what would be
17 required to get those old codes to have an acceptable
18 measure of completeness.
19 It strikes me that as you go down this thing, one
20 of the things you might want to look at is at least for
21 these various kinds of coolants and performance regimes,
22 that is, temperatures, single or multi-phase and so on, you
23 might want to ask yourself what at least the initial
24 elements of a PIRT analysis would be for that particular
1 So that you would have that in pocket and you
2 wouldn't get steamrollered like we were with these other
3 things and to using what you already have rather than what
4 you know you really need in order to have an analysis you'd
5 have confidence in.
6 That might be a very appropriate component of this
7 kind of looking.
8 MR. ELTAWILA: Those are very good comments and I
9 agree with you. We will keep that in mind, definitely.
10 There has been a lot of interest in computation of
11 fluid dynamics and as you know, that this work is right now
12 focused on the single phase and we are not going to develop
13 our own code. I think industry -- the general industry,
14 general user of CFD are developing very good tools, but they
15 will not develop the two-phase model, because the nuclear
16 industry is very small and you don't see any value of
17 putting these models.
18 So I think that we will be able -- we would like
19 to develop the two-phase flow modeling for the CFD code,
20 because the issue that is challenging us right now are going
21 to become very important in the future design, too, because,
22 again, we'll be looking at risk-informed, we'll be looking
23 at shaving margin here and there.
24 So we won't be able to be in a position to try to
25 resolve some of the existing issues right now and the CFD
1 code will be the tools to be used in this regard.
2 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It seems to me the way we cast
3 -- we discussed this issue. See if this tracks. We've got
4 a whole bunch of these synergistic -- activities with lots
5 of synergistic things potentially possible within the
6 nuclear industry there that sound like they're chipping away
7 at the margins we thought we had based on these conservative
8 bounding thermal hydraulic models we used for 50.46.
9 There was some margin in there, we kind of knew
10 what it was. These things are chipping away at that and if
11 you go out into the public and say the plants are still
12 safe, you have to admit that based on those old codes, you
13 have reduced that margin.
14 What we know is there was probably more margin
15 than you thought there was when you only had the very
16 conservative codes to use.
17 What you're trying to do now is develop models
18 that allow you to say what the real margin is, even after
19 you've made these changes.
20 MR. ELTAWILA: I think I agree with you and that's
21 what we're really trying to do and sometimes the margin that
22 we thought that we have has shrunk tremendously right now
23 over the past few years, with the power rate increase and
24 things like that, and one of the experiences that we had
25 with looking at just one parameter only, the decay heat in
1 the Appendix K require 1.2 multiplier on the decay heat, and
2 we tried to take -- get rid of that 20 percent multiplier
3 and we started looking at analysis and we discovered a
4 phenomenon that was not modeled in any of our code.
5 We started getting a boiling in the downcomer.
6 That boiling -- having that conservatism in the Appendix K
7 suppressed that phenomenon completely and what you end up
8 that this information becomes very crucial if you are going
9 to rely on accident management, because when you have a
10 boiling core, you don't know where is the level going to be
11 and at the same time, so you can activate your automatic
12 system and so on, and at the same time, it will delay the
13 injection of safety injection system and so on, because it
14 will keep the pressure high in the downcomer.
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: That particular example is worth
16 its weight in gold, isn't it?
17 MR. THADANI: I want to add to what Farouk is
18 saying, because we want to be sure that that is, in fact,
19 the case about boiling in the downcomer. It illustrates to
20 me, again, the risk, in a way, in sort of not having enough
21 information to know what realism is and thinking that we are
22 ending up with something that's quite conservative.
23 In most cases, I think that's perhaps pretty
24 straightforward, but there are cases, and this is an
25 example; in my mind, over the years, we have pared away and
1 now, I mean, the simplest thing, and you sent a letter on
2 this, on the decay heat issue, we thought that was going to
3 be simple.
4 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Piece of cake.
5 MR. THADANI: We could be there soon. And why
6 wait for Tom to take his time on 50.46. Maybe we can do
7 something quickly.
8 And now we have potentially a very significant
9 issue on our hands and I think what it tells me for all the
10 thermal hydraulic improvements in codes that we talk about,
11 we really have to make sure and say what will it take to be
12 able to say we have reasonable confidence that this is a
13 realistic assessment.
14 Any future code development efforts, I think we're
15 going to have to make sure we're paying attention.
16 MR. ELTAWILA: As Dean indicated, it's realistic
17 and to be able to quantify the margin correctly this time
18 and not rely on conservatism, because conservatism leads to
19 non-conservative situations.
20 CHAIRMAN POWERS: What's conservative changes as
21 you move from application to application. So what you
22 thought was conservative before may be non-conservative, as
23 you say in your accident management planning strategy, if
24 you're based on a simplistic view of core heat-up. Maybe
25 that's not conservative when you -- apparently it's not.
1 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: When you two gentlemen say
2 quantify the margins, what do you mean?
3 MR. ELTAWILA: The margin is -- if you're talking
4 the true margin to getting, for example, in the situation
5 that you lose your coolable geometry, that can eventually
6 lead into a core melt accident.
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But what is the margin? I mean,
8 when you say quantify.
9 MR. ELTAWILA: Between what is the --
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: So you don't speak in terms of
12 MR. KING: I think a good example is 50.46
13 calculations. It's a prescribed conservative calculation
14 now and you have to be below 2,200 degrees. If you did a
15 realistic calculation, you'd have a lot of temperature
16 difference between, and that would be more like your real
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: For me, margin is the
19 probability that the temperature, the actual temperature in
20 a particular accident will exceed the melting point or the
21 damage point and that is not what you mean by quantifying
22 the margin.
23 MR. THADANI: I think we are talking about a piece
24 of the whole process that you're addressing. You are
25 exactly right. In the end, a margin has to be in the
1 context of the safety limit that you want to understand how
2 close or how far you are from that limit.
3 There are two parts to that. The first part is
4 the foundation, the analyses that you use to calculate the
5 temperatures, are there some -- understand what the
6 limitations might be and early on I think you used the term
7 in terms of model uncertainties or some sort of
8 uncertainties, and they may be driven by just our lack of
9 information base.
10 The second part, and if you can understand that,
11 then the second part is going to be to carry through the
12 whole accident sequence in a probabilistic manner.
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Right.
14 MR. THADANI: And that would include the
15 assumptions we make, which is, for example, with large loss
16 of coolant accidents, simultaneous loss of off-site power,
17 unavailability of A/C power source, the worst conditions for
18 -- initial conditions for analysis.
19 I think there is a lot of places we can look to
20 get rid of some of those requirements. But the point Farouk
21 was making we thought we had a simple place we could really
22 get rid of unnecessary conservatism and now we find that the
23 model that we had used for analysis didn't predict
25 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Right.
1 MR. ELTAWILA: So I think foundation has to be
2 strong. Once you have that, then you carry the whole
3 process in a probabilistic manner.
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I agree. Earlier today, we said
5 that we will try to talk about things that you want to have
6 five-seven years from now. So is the quantification of the
7 safety margins in the sense that you just described
8 something that you want to start working on right now, maybe
9 do some exploratory studies first, because it's not an issue
10 that can be done in two years. There's no question about
12 MR. THADANI: I was trying to convince my
13 colleague here on the same point.
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Because, you know, we get in the
15 PRA, we do the event trees, we get the acceptance criteria,
16 somebody comes from the mountain and says this is it.
17 Well, in this new regime, now, you will have to
18 bring the probabilities from these criteria into the event
19 sequences, and, again, that's not an easy task.
20 But I think a lot of the concerns that Dr. Bonaca
21 raised recently and others can be better addressed if you
22 try to quantify that. Then it will have a true -- and then
23 1.174 will be better served.
24 MR. KING: We take an attempt to sort of
25 qualitatively define safety margin in the framework document
1 we're going to talk about tomorrow.
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And I would make the same
3 comment tomorrow.
4 MR. KING: We have a probabilistic piece to that
5 in the definition, as I remember it, but when we go
6 risk-inform something like 50.46, we've got to ask ourselves
7 what -- you now, one of our principles is maintain
8 sufficient safety margin, what does that mean.
9 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Exactly. Exactly. That's a
10 question I'm going to ask tomorrow.
11 MR. KING: Thank you for the warning.
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: See, as I said earlier, we've
13 done a lot on the defense-in-depth side. You know, if I
14 have three trains or if I have two trains, whether I have
15 three or two makes a difference in the PRA, because it's
16 within the traditional reliability type methods.
17 But when it comes to the margins we're talking
18 about, I don't think we've done this much.
19 MR. ELTAWILA: And that might be the area where
20 the industry might get the maximum benefit out of it,
21 because they can increase power.
22 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Sure.
23 MR. ELTAWILA: Look at the AP-600. They are
24 asking for a 40 percent power increase without any --
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Which would be great, except
1 they also want --
2 MR. ELTAWILA: I think 60 percent, I'm sorry.
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Inside NRC, didn't they report something
4 in a recent issue that the French were surprised to find
5 that -- you discussed it already -- that some rods were
6 damaged at temperatures significantly higher than what they
8 MR. ELTAWILA: In the Phebus project, yes, that's
9 correct, which is good information, but we have to
10 understand the way they have run the test and things like
11 that before we -- but all this information will factor in
12 our decision-making.
13 Some of the issues, again, related to the CFD code
14 is the modeling of turbulence. I think everybody thinks
15 that CFD codes are based on first principals, but when it
16 comes to turbulence, it's not.
17 So this is an area that needs additional work.
18 DR. KRESS: But there are, with the K-epsilon,
19 there are really no first principal turbulence.
20 MR. ELTAWILA: No first principal in this regard.
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: But K-epsilon is like the dark
23 DR. KRESS: That's going back pretty far,
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It only works for isotropic
1 turbulence. Have you really got isotropic turbulence in
2 these situations that you have interest in?
3 MR. ELTAWILA: But that's what we are using right
4 now in our calculation. So we need to look at the issue of
5 turbulence. I'm not saying that we are going to develop the
6 K-epsilon. I think we have to look at the application that
7 we have and we'll try to see what kind of model will be
8 needed to address our need.
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think you'd want to -- and I
10 don't think this is too difficult. I don't think you don't
11 know it, but I think as a point of fact, we want to have
12 models that can accept any of the common approaches to
13 modeling turbulence, empirical though it may be, not
14 restrict ourselves to K-epsilon, because every time people
15 do that, they end up throwing a code away.
16 MR. ELTAWILA: That's what I'm saying that
17 everybody is focusing on. That is what we are using right
18 now and that is not the right way. So we need to devote
19 some effort in addressing the turbulence right now.
20 Although that we believe that the TRAC-M code is
21 going to be the future horse at NRC and it's really
22 developed -- I think Jennifer will be coming in front of you
23 in November to discuss the advancement that we made to the
24 code. Again, it's still going to be, regardless of how the
25 improvement, it's going to be a slow code for the type of
1 analysis that Tom King would be needing.
2 He will be asking for hundreds and hundreds of
3 analyses and --
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: He always does that.
5 MR. ELTAWILA: He better be asking me for hundreds
6 of analyses.
7 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I see how this works.
8 MR. ELTAWILA: Seriously, because if he is going
9 to make a decision to relax a regulation or get rid of
10 margin or our perceived margin or something like that, as
11 Ashok indicated, we have to be certain what we're doing and
12 the only way is to run a lot of sensitivity analysis. We
13 cannot just rely on two or three analyses and we'll say we
14 know everything that we know about how the plants are going
15 to behave under these conditions.
16 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I was trying to raise the issue
17 at the very end, but since you have used the words
18 decision-making several times, maybe this is appropriate.
19 MR. ELTAWILA: Maybe I should not use that word.
20 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Well, you did already.
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: You're going to learn to regret
23 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It seems to me that we have paid
24 very little attention to the decision-making methodologies.
25 We focused almost exclusively in the last 25 years on
1 quantifying the input to the decision-making process, which
2 is PRA and so on, but the decision-making process itself is
3 largely ad hoc.
4 Take 1.174. There will be increased management
5 attention. There is an integrated decision-making process.
6 Well, at some point, we have to start making that a little
7 bit more formal and what I would like to suggest is that
8 perhaps we start thinking about exploring the possibility of
9 using some more formal methods.
10 In fact, right now, my students come all the time
11 to me and say, well, this package does not influence
12 diagrams and you press a few buttons and you get the answer.
13 So that tells me that these methodologies have
14 reached a level of maturity that they can be marketed now in
15 computerized days.
16 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Do we have examples of where
17 people have used formalized decision-making processes
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes. What do you mean
20 successfully? Because you can always make a decision. See,
21 that's the perennial problem.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Usually, I mean, what I'm thinking of,
23 there was something in the Harvard Business Review that
24 essentially pointed out that every time they had gone
25 through formalized decision-making, they ended up with a
1 Worldcomm or something like that that -- a failed company
2 out of these things, and that their essential point was that
3 you really can't use these formalized -- a complete -- you
4 can't use a computer to make a decision, that there are too
5 many unquantifiable facts that have to be borne in mind.
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Right, and that's exactly why
7 the National Academy recommended the analytic deliberative
8 process, which is a different name for what we're doing here
9 with the expert panel and the quantitative analysis.
10 In other words, the decision will not be made by
11 the computer. This will be like your PRA results that will
12 be fed into the human decision-makers, who will have to
13 ponder these unquantifiable issues and so on.
14 So the process is there and we are familiar with
15 it. All I'm saying is that perhaps we can formalize a
16 little better the part of it and then give it to the expert
17 panel, who will make the decision, just as we do with
18 importance measures or with everything else.
19 We have used it in severe accident management
20 under the sponsorship of this agency, when I was at UCLA,
21 and one of the successes, if you want to call that success,
22 is that Ivan Catton was extremely hostile the first time he
23 saw it and he loved it at the end, because he saw a way of
24 putting all the dependencies between the various phenomena
25 on a single diagram and maybe convince others.
1 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It looks like a Chef Boyardee
2 factory. It doesn't clarify anything, except that I don't
3 understand things.
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I completely disagree.
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I know you completely disagree.
6 MR. THADANI: Just a comment. We could discuss
7 this for a long time. But we're not doing very much, you're
8 correct, Office of Research. But I'm pretty sure you are
9 familiar with what DOE is doing. Victor Reese has been
10 having a number of workshops in terms of the whole -- the
11 models of influencing diagrams, and then trying to simplify
12 them to be able to turn them into what I would call a little
13 easier to use.
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: With that inference diagram, we
15 did some sensitivity studies using reasonable ranges of the
16 parameters from NUREG-1150 and we identified regions where
17 the preference order of the options changed.
18 I mean, that would be of tremendous value to
19 someone who wants to make a decision. Tremendous value.
20 You had a number of options at the end, accident management
21 strategies, and then you did it on the basis of the point
22 value and you got one ranking. Then you did it in terms of
23 mean values of distributions and you got one ranking.
24 Then you said, well, gee, let's see what happens
25 if these parameters are in this region and a lot of this
1 stuff is computerized. They call them tornado diagrams,
2 where you see regions and the order changed.
3 Now, what kind of insight does that give you?
4 Okay. You have to sit down and think about it. The computer
5 will not tell you that. The computer will just tell you
6 that if these numbers go there, what you thought was the
7 best decision is no longer the best decision.
8 MR. THADANI: This work, SAIC work, actually, I
9 think DOE was supporting it, my point simply is what it
10 does, in my view, is up front it forces you to do a lot of
11 thinking of what are the key elements that you need to be
12 paying attention to and it does it in a fairly -- I think
13 it's impressive, actually. Once you get done, you realize
14 that a lot of very complex things, you can get down to some
15 potentially manageable number of elements.
16 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: All you have to do is go back 20
17 years ago when people were arguing that PSA has no value and
18 use the same arguments that people used. It's exactly the
19 same thing. It helps you structure the problem. It's
20 exactly the value of the former decision-making methods is
21 the value of fault trees, event trees, for PRA.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: The value that you see is making
23 distinctions, which is the hallmark of the academic
24 community, whereas anybody designing procedures and
25 processes wants consistency, not distinctions.
1 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And the methods -- that's what
2 they do. They guarantee consistency.
3 MR. KING: But, in effect, the revised plant
4 oversight process has a decision process in there, with its
5 greens and yellows.
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes, and what is the basis for
8 MR. KING: Well, I'm not going to explain the
9 basis for it, but there is supposedly a decision logic
10 behind that, so that you know -- plants know and the agency
11 knows where a plant stands in terms of its performance
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: In terms of providing guidance,
14 yes. That's what I would like to see at the end. I don't
15 want the --
16 MR. KING: You're thinking of something along
17 those lines.
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes. I don't want the
19 practitioner to start formulating inference diagrams, for
20 heaven's sakes, no, but the decision-making methodologies
21 will help you develop matrixes like this and have a
22 rationale behind it. That will be more convincing.
23 It's one package, guys. You can't have benefits
24 by doing the PRA, from doing the PRA and not having benefits
25 from the decision-making approach. It's the same thing.
1 I remember experienced engineers telling us I
2 don't need your event trees. A good guy can figure it out.
3 Who won? Okay.
4 It's the same thing with decision-making. A good
5 man can make a perfect decision. Now, all you have to do is
6 go find him.
7 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Move ahead.
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It's very unexpected of these
9 meetings. I thought the resistance was going to be from in
10 front of me, it came from my right. But that's okay.
11 CHAIRMAN POWERS: If I could put up an influence
12 diagram, you'd get resistance from everybody.
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Again, I'm not talking about
14 giving that to the practitioner.
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: No.
16 MR. ELTAWILA: The point that I was trying to make
17 is that we really need to increase the speed of our codes to
18 be able to produce --
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: That's exactly right. I mean,
20 you've got to be able to produce lots of calculations. But
21 it seems to me that it's more than that.
22 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I would like to ask a question
23 at this point. Does the operating experience show any
24 accidents that are due to the fact that the codes were not
25 very quick, very fast? Why is the agency spending money on
2 MR. ELTAWILA: You are going to analyze hundreds
3 of scenarios. You don't have a single scenario that would
4 be dominating.
5 And you need to analyze these in a timeframe that
6 will be able to produce the answer that you will be inserted
7 in the risk-inform of the regulation itself. So that is one
9 The other element that quite often that we -- when
10 we are in the incident response center, that you will be
11 called upon to respond to what if situations. So we will
12 try to give them this answer.
13 Investment in these things, the computer
14 technology itself is moving too fast right now that you want
15 to take advantage of these machine.
16 The worst thing to have is to have an engineer
17 that -- the cost actually is the engineer that you're paying
18 the salary. The worst thing is to have an engineer sitting
19 in his workstation or her workstation waiting for two or
20 three days to get a single answer.
21 That's not practical. So if you look at it from
22 that perspective, if you only worry about do we need the
23 answer today, no, I don't need the answer today. But how
24 much money I'm wasting through an engineer that cannot do
25 the analysis or -- I will give you an example. During the
1 electrosleeve issue, we made a decision based on
2 insufficient information. We did not run enough sensitivity
3 analysis to see if the design that was proposed is adequate
4 or not.
5 We took a conservative number, because we had a
6 decision to make, we did not have the time to do the
7 analysis, we ended up with a very limited number of
9 So it comes to haunt us every now and then that
10 the inflexibility of our codes and the slowness of these
12 CHAIRMAN POWERS: There can be no question that
13 the approach we adopt toward resolving particular questions
14 is always influenced by if we have to do a bunch of
15 calculations to get the kind of data we'd like to have, it
16 takes too long. The window we have to keep somebody happy
17 on making the decision is too short to accommodate this.
18 And so in speeding things up, it becomes -- it
19 allows you to use better data to make your decisions.
20 But it seems to me that the problem is even bigger
21 than that. Its' that right now, if I want to do a thermal
22 hydraulics analysis using the new integrated code, I've got
23 to go over and get Jennifer and I've got to twist her arm
24 and beg and plead to fit it into her schedule and whatnot.
25 What you would like to do is have a code that is
1 sufficiently easy to use, sufficiently fast, that the guy
2 that's having to make the decisions can, in fact, do the
3 calculations himself.
4 Maybe he needs a little help, especially if it's a
5 very innovative thing, he needs a little help, but basically
6 he has a tool that is readily available to him that he can
7 say, okay, look on the NRC internal web page, it says I need
8 a thermal hydraulic tool, he can pull it, there it is, and
9 there's instruction on how to use it and it's
10 straightforward enough that he can run 50 calculations and
11 get an intuition on how the thermal hydraulics are sensitive
12 to whatever he's making a decision about, without having to
13 schedule it through Research.
14 It seems to me your goal is very big over there.
15 DR. SEALE: If we're going to really begin to
16 honor the implied commitment to risk-informed regulation for
17 making the kind of choices that are covered in 1.174, then
18 we're going to have to start being able to make the
19 calculations that tell us what the differences and the
20 options are.
21 Right now, we're hand-waving all that stuff and
22 so, George, I guess you're the last guy that could possibly
23 ask the question you just asked, except that it was
24 undoubtedly in the rhetorical sense.
25 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Which question? About the
2 DR. SEALE: Yes.
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Let me ask you another question,
4 Farouk. I just sat through three days of presentation in
5 which people told me the horrors of a blow-down accident,
6 with vibrating structures and sonic booms and things like
8 When are you going to have a code that's going to
9 be able to calculate those things?
10 MR. ELTAWILA: When I have a code that can
11 calculate the simplest stuff first.
12 These are serious questions. I think a lot of
13 flow vibration induced issues are the ones causing fuel
14 failures and fatigues and pipes and liquid and pumps and so
15 on. Even without an accident, just change in the flow
16 condition in the reactor itself, based on the thermal
17 hydraulic condition, you can introduce a lot of problems.
18 One of the future -- although it's not really
19 unique things, that there will be more load following kinds
20 of production in this country. We have not used it for a
21 long time and I think from the point of view of economics, a
22 lot of utilities will be interested in that.
23 What the type this load following, what kind of
24 stress and effect it will have on the different component,
25 on the fuel itself. These are issues that we are not used
1 to it. We just assume that we are running at steady-state
2 power during the whole accident.
3 So when you start reducing and increasing power
4 continuously for demand and things like that, that is going
5 to introduce different challenges for us.
6 CHAIRMAN POWERS: We've got to get this stuff down
7 in writing, because here is the challenge I see we're facing
8 here. A few years ago, Research went in front of the
9 Commission and said give us five years and we will create
10 this magical code for you that will bring these multiple
11 codes that we've been using all together in one consistent
13 A pretty good idea, and the Commission bought off
14 on it. The challenge we face is convincing them that -- and
15 that's not the end of the story here, that there is a lot
16 more we have to do, and so we have to communicate a vision
17 on the kinds of things we're going to need and the ones you
18 bring up that we've got different modes of operation that
19 can affect things, we've got different sets of questions
20 coming up for us here, plus what we would really like to
21 have the people in the decision-making capacity, the line
22 organizations able to do in thermal hydraulics, we've got to
23 get that all across to the Commission, because I'm not
24 persuaded that they all understand that.
25 I'm pretty sure Commissioner Diaz does, but I'm
1 not sure all the Commissioners understand that this
2 pervasiveness with which thermal hydraulics has in the
3 reactor regulation area and that it's not a case of we're
4 just running at steady power and nothing ever changes on
5 these plants.
6 Somehow we've got to get this across.
7 MR. THADANI: I think you're exactly right. In my
8 periodics, once in a while, the whole issue of thermal
9 hydraulic models and our commitments to deliver something in
10 five years has come up and I have always maintained that
11 there are -- I mean, that's not nirvana. We need to
12 understand that and recognize that for what it is, but it's
13 a giant step forward, it really is.
14 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It is. This committee has done
15 everything but applaud every time Farouk comes in front of
16 us. The way we applaud, by the way, is just harassing the
17 hell out of him.
18 MR. THADANI: But I wanted to add to that, and I
19 think we also have to think about analytical tools beyond
20 thermal hydraulics, what we do. I think there's -- I
21 suppose the emphasis on thermal hydraulic codes.
22 There is under-emphasis, I think, in other areas
23 and now we're going to potentially go into non-light water
24 reactor technology.
25 And what does it mean in terms of the development
1 of the necessary tools that we would need? I would
2 certainly -- you're going to hear a little bit about it, but
3 we have a long way to go pull our thinking together. So I
4 think perhaps collectively we can share our views and so on.
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: This is just an area that we've
6 got to spend some time on in the research report, it seems
7 to me, because I think these ideas that are coming forward,
8 coupled with a vision, really needs to be communicated
9 carefully here, because there's a milestone sitting there
10 that's coming up very closely that's going to be reached and
11 reached rather well, based on what Jennifer has been sending
12 to us.
13 But that's not the end of the story there and
14 there's a lot more that we need to be thinking about just
15 for the existing reactors.
16 MR. ELTAWILA: It's unfortunate that we set a goal
17 that we are going to meet and everybody thinks that's going
18 to be the end of that. I hate to get George on my bad -- be
19 on his bad side here, but I think the things that make
20 things difficult for any deterministic kind of analysis is
21 the assumption that's made by a lot of PRA practitioners
22 that you can do back of the envelope calculations and you
23 finish and you put it in your PRA model and see what is the
24 effect on risk, and that is the danger that I am trying to
25 get Tom, although that he understands it, but some people in
1 his organization that truly PRA can think that they can do
2 everything based on risk alone, without doing any
3 deterministic analysis. And that's what will be the
4 dangers, that can be the Achilles' heel of risk-informed
6 If we make a mistake because of removing a piece
7 of equipment or reducing margin here or eliminating
8 procedures or something like that, based on risk information
9 that was not supported by a deterministic calculation.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Sure.
11 CHAIRMAN POWERS: All the good PRA practitioners
12 that I have ever spoken to will testify to you and they will
13 actually foam at the mouth over it and they will say that no
14 PRA begins without having a good deterministic analysis of
15 the situation. I mean, that's why this committee is so
16 anxious to see a good deterministic analysis of the spent
17 fuel fire issue, because we see that as the first step in
18 being able to do probabilistic decommissioning studies.
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: That's the reason why we've had
20 so much trouble with human reliability models. The
21 beginning - I'm serious -- the beginning, maybe you can go
22 back to the human reliability handbook, there was just a
23 curve, it was somebody's opinion, using only time, and then
24 people realized that the deterministic model was not there
25 to justify it.
1 So they started looking more deeply into it and
2 this idea of latent errors and all that kind of stuff came
3 as a result of that. This is equivalent in that field of
4 the deterministic mechanistic calculations that you make.
5 Mike mentioned earlier the efforts on the I&C
6 side. Again, in that field, they are developing the
7 mechanistic models that would allow you to go to the
8 probabilistic calculations.
9 So PRA really builds on the mechanistic models and
10 does not exclude them. However, if there is a very good PRA
11 analyst, the same guy who makes decisions perfectly without
12 any support, he can take your back of the envelope
13 calculation and put the right uncertainty distribution and
14 it will be perfect.
15 MR. THADANI: Let me make sure. I just want to be
16 sure that that same issue of having good sound technical
17 basis before one starts to assign probabilistic estimates
18 applies to structures and materials and particularly the
19 kinds of mechanisms that we're seeing, if, in fact, those
20 are reasonably accounted for, or do we understand the
21 impacts on failure rates, either -- when I say failure
22 rates, I mean particularly under some demanding environment
23 and so on.
24 So I have -- I have been pushing Mike, as well,
25 that he's got to get actively engaged, and I know you've
1 been talking to some people, Mike, about this, that we need
2 to get, as these plants age and a certain amount of
3 degradation takes place, we need to go at it from all sides,
4 not just from analysis point of view, but also from what are
5 the underlying assumptions in the database and so on.
6 I think it's going to take us a while, to this
7 risk-informed regulation, where we really change the
8 fundamental fabric, it's going to take a long time.
9 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes. And I hate to be on
10 Farouk's bad side, but it seems to me that just as there are
11 PRA guys who are willing to use simplified models,
12 simplistic models to do their calculations, I think there is
13 a bigger problem with the mechanistic guys who refuse to put
14 uncertainties on their models.
15 MR. ELTAWILA: I agree with you 100 percent.
16 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: The problem is worse there.
17 MR. ELTAWILA: I agree. But let me just go -- I'm
18 sorry, I know I've taken longer time, but let's debate this
19 issue a little bit longer.
20 Look at how some decisions at NRC are made. When
21 somebody proposes something, I can't think about something
22 right now, the first question that comes to you, but
23 NUREG-1150 did not show that as a risk significant issue.
24 Let's look at -- now, we start extrapolating
25 NUREG-1150 to every plant. We start using NUREG-1150 as a
1 gospel, knowing that it was based on expert elicitation. It
2 was not based on specific analysis, and we tend to make
3 decisions based either on the IPE or based on the NUREG-1150
5 So the PRA has to help promote the work by trying to
6 identify some of the limitations in their approach to it.
7 MR. THADANI: I think George was saying -- I don't
8 think you would disagree. I have met many, many people who
9 are actually entrenched in only deterministic thinking and,
10 by God, I do a calculation with this code and that result is
11 correct and you're trying to hide beyond numbers and so on.
12 I think you're right, there are a lots of people
13 like that. What we must do, and I think this is what Farouk
14 is trying to say, is as we move in the environment that
15 we're moving towards, that we do it in a very sound and
16 thoughtful way.
17 And I agree with him. I have seen also many PRA
18 analysts, and I've had some heated discussions with them,
19 about the kind of simplified thinking that they go through
20 to make some potentially significant safety decisions.
21 And it's dangerous. I think that's where I
22 believe Farouk is coming from.
23 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And, in fact, it is hurting the
24 whole field, in particular, digital I&C, I guess, when they
25 were writing the report from the National Academy, some of
1 the members of the committee who come from the computer
2 science community found a few examples of cases where people
3 assigned ten-to-the-minus-four probability to this piece of
4 software failing. Ever since, wherever they go, they say
5 PSA is garbage, look what they do.
6 So that's what we do. All the PRA guys were
7 assigning ten-to-the-minus-four to software. But it can
8 hurt a lot, in other words.
9 MR. ELTAWILA: That's the point, really. I think
10 that the two approaches will compliment each other better
11 and would be -- will make a better decision this way.
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: You don't need to convince me.
13 MR. ELTAWILA: Okay. Last bullet on this is I
14 really think we should be open-minded and even consider the
15 retention of multi-reactor material, might include somebody
16 that will propose a core-capture something like that.
17 I know it's a bad word here at NRC, but there has
18 been work done in Europe dealing with this issue. They are
19 spending a lot of resources. Somebody might come with a
21 So we should not really, because it's core-capture
22 technology, we dismiss it, we are not interested. I think
23 we should stay abreast with these kinds of designs and
25 DR. SEALE: The day after Halloween.
1 MR. ELTAWILA: The day after Halloween.
2 CHAIRMAN POWERS: An executive from one of the
3 nuclear steam supply companies talked to me about -- the
4 subject of core captures came up and he said, no, he was not
5 opposed to them. He said I don't think they'll do any good,
6 but, boy, what an advertising token that would be.
7 So you're right. They may actually think of it.
8 They may not think of it as particularly enhancing safety,
9 but it might enhance public confidence.
10 MR. ELTAWILA: Public confidence issue, that's
12 CHAIRMAN POWERS: One of the issues we're going to
13 have to address in the research report, is you have some
14 studies going on with retention of molten material in the
15 vessel and vessel head failure.
16 That was an issue that had some currency when we
17 were doing the AP-600 review, because they at least came in
18 with the idea that they were going to draw their safety line
19 there rather than ex-vessel.
20 They quickly abandoned that when they got some
21 substantial resistance.
22 What's the research -- I mean, why do it now?
23 What is the carry-on there for us?
24 MR. ELTAWILA: I don't think that the -- when the
25 AP-600 came, I don't think we had all the information that
1 we had from the RESPLF program, and although the RESPLF
2 identifies certain areas that we still need to do more work
3 on, the intermetallic phases and things like that, it
4 indicates for lower power reactor, like the AP-600, you
5 might be able to cool the core from the outside, because the
6 issue that caused the separation is the carbon which does
7 not exist in AP-600. But having said that, but we did not
8 look at other material, control rod.
9 There is carbon if you use P4C, for example. So
10 we cannot dismiss that completely offhand. It depends. You
11 have to look at the whole design and what is the
12 constituents of the melt that would be interactive with the
14 CHAIRMAN POWERS: That's what I'm asking you, do
15 you think anybody else is going to come in and try to draw a
16 line at the vessel head?
17 MR. ELTAWILA: There is no doubt that most
18 probably all the advanced designs, that they won't save on
19 containment issue, that they are going to say that they will
20 retain the molten material in the vessel.
21 MR. THADANI: If you sort of think ahead, based on
22 what we're hearing, that the need to cut capital costs for
23 new construction, the numbers that have been floating around
24 are somewhere in the range of 30 to 35 percent reduction in
25 capital costs.
1 Probably that means one has to start paying
2 attention to large structures, civil structures, and so on
3 and the concrete --
4 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Concrete's damn cheap.
5 DR. SEALE: That's right.
6 MR. THADANI: Pre-stressed concrete containments
7 are not that cheap.
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: They are still damn cheap. They
9 are cheap. What costs you money is complexity and in
10 containments, what costs you money are penetrations.
11 MR. THADANI: Penetrations are expensive.
12 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Concrete doesn't cost you
14 MR. THADANI: It seems to me that they're going to
15 have to start looking at major cost areas, capital cost I'm
16 talking about, and then that may well influence them to
17 pursue certain types of approaches, and I tend to agree with
18 Farouk that I think there will at least be some pressure to
19 try and make sure we understand in-vessel retention.
20 DR. KRESS: The trouble with in-vessel retention
21 is I don't think it buys you very much. By the time you get
22 there, you've released a good fraction of all your volatiles
23 anyway and a molten pool doesn't release very much anyway,
24 unless you've got sparging gases going through it.
25 So let it fall on the right kind of concrete with
1 the spreading and cooling down there, it's probably superior
2 than to sit there and hold it inside the vessel, in terms of
4 I'd never propose that if I was --
5 MR. THADANI: Don't misunderstand me. I would
6 think that dual approaches will be considered. It's very
7 clear to me, and Farouk can tell you, that under the severe
8 accident research program, the top priority issue was the
9 coolability issue. It's the most important issue that still
10 needs attention.
11 DR. KRESS: And I think it certainly does.
12 MR. KING: I think the long-term cleanup after the
13 accident. If you can keep it in the vessel, you're in much
14 better shape.
15 DR. KRESS: That may be well worth it. If that's
16 your objective, then I may change my mind.
17 MR. KING: Otherwise, you're going to end up with
18 a sarcophagus like Chernobyl has got.
19 DR. KRESS: But still I wouldn't give much risk
20 reduction potential to it. In fact, I would invoke
21 defense-in-depth and say I need a .1 containment anyway,
22 probably, because the uncertainties -- there's huge
23 uncertainties in that retention mechanism.
24 MR. THADANI: The next slide --
25 DR. SEALE: Moving right along.
1 MR. THADANI: Farouk, a comment. You have 13 more
2 charts before we get to Tom.
3 MR. ELTAWILA: No, no. Okay. I am going to go
4 very fast here. One of the reasons --
5 MR. MAYFIELD: Just as you get to the good stuff.
6 MR. ELTAWILA: The good stuff, yes. There will be
7 some challenging in the material issue that we were just
8 talking about here, that there would be maybe a requirement
9 for consideration of material that can withstand the severe
10 accident temperature.
11 Some of the equipment or material that will be
12 used have to be able to withstand the harsh environment
13 conditions for the severe accident. There might be
14 interest, and I think Mike alluded to it, that look for
15 material that has the potential of reducing the aging
16 degradation, corrosion and embrittlement effects.
17 There might be a tendency to use a material that
18 is commonly used by other industries, but does not have
19 nuclear record. All these are new challenges in the
20 material area that we need to be prepared to address, and I
21 don't know if Mike wants to add something.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: No, no, let's -- because he'll
23 turn to humans again.
24 MR. ELTAWILA: I think one of the important issues
25 that we'll be dealing with is the instrumentation and the
1 control, and the bottom line that I think we have to keep
2 our pulse on what's happening in the industry, this area is
3 moving so rapidly that trying to predict how a control room
4 is going to look 10-20 years from now is going to be very
6 But there would be a tendency for -- in the new
7 design, to have more instrumentation, non-intrusive kinds of
8 instrumentation, maybe wireless, smart sensor and things
9 like that that can perform diagnostic as the plant is
10 running, so they can minimize the maintenance outage and so
12 So these are some of the thoughts that will be
13 happening in the future, and we need to keep an eye on them,
14 that we don't have any specific program right now.
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: This has always been part of the
16 I&C program that I've never understood, the research
17 program. There's always this component that says keep an
18 eye on what's going on within that highly dynamic area.
19 Just because somebody might use it.
20 And I've always questioned that, because I said by
21 the time somebody makes a decision that I'm going to use
22 radar-based transmission of signals through wave guides or
23 something really different makes a decision to do that,
24 designs a system, starts talking about it.
25 Isn't there adequate time in there for the NRC to
1 spin itself up?
2 MR. MAYFIELD: That's been exactly the problem,
3 Dana. The technology and its implementation, the pace at
4 which it goes from concept of people talking about it to
5 hardware that people are wanting to use in an application,
6 that time window is narrowing every day.
7 I was in the Air Force in '67 and at that point,
8 we were dealing with radar systems that were vacuum tube
9 technology. In the few years I was in the service, they had
10 gone from vacuum tube technology with a few transistors
11 thrown in just for good measure to replacing whole chassis
12 with large-scale integration.
13 Today, those same radar systems that took up two
14 40-foot trailers now will on this desktop. But the time for
15 implementing these changes is narrowing every day and we
16 need the ability to move quickly to have the review
17 guidance, so that when a licensee shows up with the next
18 great idea, they're not held up waiting on us to decide what
19 the review guidance should be.
20 So that's the part where we need to be looking
21 ahead and we're not trying to get out on the real cutting
22 edge, because that's not the technology that's probably
23 going to show up in the nuclear plants. This is more at the
24 applied technology and to make sure we know what kind of
25 things are out there, so that we can help our colleagues in
1 NRR understand what the review issues are and make sure we
2 have the technical basis to support their reviews.
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Some of my difficulty is this,
4 that yesterday I sat in on a discussion of the Seimens and
5 the Westinghouse digital, electronic control systems. There
6 was nothing in there that I hadn't known about for five
8 Five years ago, I knew that they were going to
9 start putting these into -- that's a long time. It's not
10 the digital folks that live in Silicon Valley and up in
11 Massachusetts and I guess even around here. I mean, they're
12 dealing with things that I don't know anything about.
13 But by the time the nuclear industry gets around
14 to saying, hey, this is a good idea and actually creates an
15 implementation for it, there's a big lead time there.
16 MR. MAYFIELD: There is a big lead time on things
17 like full reactor protection systems. There is not so much
18 lead time on smart sensor, smart devices embedded in other
19 things, auto transformers, relays, the software reuse
21 So rather than the whole reactor protection system
22 -- and I agree, there's a time window that will always be
23 there, but the problem is the individual sensors that are
24 being embedded in other things.
25 Some of the examples, we had motor control
1 centers, the auto-step transformers, and so on. Those
2 things are showing up more and more and we think with time,
3 particularly by the time you go to the new, the next
4 generation of reactors, it's going to be widespread.
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: That's where I was making the
6 mistake. But now let me ask this question. The fellow gets
7 up and he's describing one of the systems, I think it was
8 the Westinghouse system, and he says, okay, here are all the
9 NRC requirements that we complied with and there were lots
10 of them and he came down and there's an IPEEE standard on
11 MI/RFI things, and I think it was Jack said, well, how about
12 smoke. And he said, no, we didn't do anything with smoke,
13 there's no regulatory requirements about smoke.
14 And Research had done experiments and whatnot. I
15 mean, what's happening? Why aren't research results going
16 over and showing up somewhere in the requirements?
17 MR. MAYFIELD: That is another aspect of the work
18 that we've been taking on with NRR, and it's very much a
19 joint activity.
20 If I had Jack Strosnider sitting here at the
21 table, he would be saying the same kinds of things. Are we
22 there yet? No. Those kinds of issues, smoke is one where,
23 yes, we'd like to get that incorporated, we've got requests
24 from NRR to help them develop and update the review guidance
25 to pick up exactly those kinds of issues.
1 One of the other ones is whether the EMI/RFI
2 guidelines are appropriate and what needs to be done there.
3 So there is -- and that's really what underlies
4 what we're trying to do with the research program, at least
5 big pieces of the research program, is to make sure we're
6 providing the technical basis for the review guidance so
7 that they're picking these things up more rapidly and
8 picking them up on a pace consistent with the implementation
10 So there are some disconnects today, absolutely,
11 and I think Jack Strosnider and his guys would agree
12 wholeheartedly. There are some disconnects. We're trying
13 to get them fixed as we go along, but at the same time, this
14 also is evolutionary. We're not going to do it overnight.
15 MR. THADANI: Since this discussion is five to ten
16 years what we might be faced with, I think it was last
17 October, I was -- John Taylor gave a talk, I believe it had
18 to do with digital technology and information technology,
19 saying, nuclear industry, get on with it, join the
20 bandwagon, get on with it.
21 Do we have, A, the capability ourselves and the
22 environment that would be conducive to the industry more
23 aggressively moving in that direction? I expect, in spite
24 of the slowness that you described, which is true, and, as
25 Mike said, when you get to engineered safety features,
1 actuation systems, and protection systems, it's slow.
2 But I'm fairly sure that in five to ten years, and
3 as more and more plants go for license extension, I believe
4 you're going to see radically different control rooms. I
5 believe that. I think you're going to see big changes.
6 People are going to push and go to these more multi-train
7 safety systems. I just think it's going to move faster with
8 time, the change.
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: We're still going to rely on
10 qualitative risk assessments for these new systems.
11 MR. THADANI: Well, I'll tell you, when it comes
12 to software reliability for these protection systems and
13 SFAS, I agree. The process -- I don't know that we can
14 actually come up and say it's ten-to-the-minus-X minus four.
15 The kind of testing and so on that that would entail is
17 On the other hand, for many of the other systems, in my
18 mind, that includes certainly feedwater control system,
19 sequencers for diesels, and other areas, it seems to me that
20 we have an obligation to pay very close attention to, A,
21 from the design, try to get best understanding of what the
22 reliability might be, but also to collect data and to
23 analyze data and understand so that in terms of risk
24 analysis, I believe, in some cases, we ought to be able to
25 make quantitative assessments.
1 But when it gets to areas such as protection
2 system, I think we're going to be limited by the difficulty
3 of trying to quantify errors in software. It's not a random
4 process, to begin with. So I don't really know how -- one
5 has to characterize it appropriately. But qualitative in
6 some areas may not be so bad, until we get better
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: This is an issue of design
9 error. We don't do that in hardware either.
10 MR. THADANI: That's right.
11 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: We don't handle it.
12 MR. THADANI: I don't know how to do that.
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It's the same thing.
14 MR. THADANI: That's right.
15 MR. MAYFIELD: The one encouraging thing, at least
16 in the software testing, is there are a lot of other
17 industries that have had safety critical applications that
18 have very similar interests and there's a lot of coordinated
19 activity ongoing and looking at that issue.
20 The one point, and I know I'm going to regret
21 having brought this up, but I'm going to do it anyhow, in
22 the water reactor meeting, when we were talking about the
23 digital I&C area and where are the weak spots, things that
24 need more work, the human interaction with the new digital
25 systems and equipment was an area that was identified
1 repeatedly and how that goes into the PRAs once we figure
2 out how to do a quantitative PRA.
3 So that was an area that the people from the
4 industry that were in the meeting identified as a weakness.
5 There was a fellow that was a licensing examiner for the
6 nucs that was in there, he identified it as a weak spot, the
7 human interaction with the digital equipment.
8 The operators tend to see it as a black box,
9 without a lot of appreciation for what it does and how it
10 goes about doing it, and the other things that it could end
11 up doing to them.
12 So there was a lot of interest in how the human is
13 going to interact with this new technology and how you go
14 about getting them trained and making -- what level of
15 understanding do they need to have and how that goes into
16 the risk assessments.
17 CHAIRMAN POWERS: We went up and investigated an
18 incident that was held at one of the DOE reactors. They had
19 had a transient over-power situation and the operator had
20 just sat there while the reactor went over its power limits
21 by quite a bit.
22 I was over there because they had installed a
23 digital I&C system in parallel with the analog system,
24 because they were going slow on this process, and the
25 operator was so distracted, paging through things, that he
1 didn't notice that it was on a power up ramp that went up
2 and went to like 500 times power or something like that,
3 till it alarmed out and scrammed itself.
4 So the operator interaction with these things can
5 be unusual.
6 MR. MAYFIELD: I think it also goes -- there is an
7 element at the designer stage and the engineering stage
8 where as you're transitioning folks from analog technology
9 to digital technology, there are some things along that line
10 that can get lost in the translation.
11 So it's a good thing, but it has some caveats that
12 need to go along with it.
13 MR. ELTAWILA: I think that was a good lead for
14 the next issue, human factors, and I --
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Before we go there, could we
16 come back to the materials that we skipped over a little
18 MR. ELTAWILA: Okay.
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: This is an issue that I think we
20 need to discuss just a little bit.
21 A guy comes in and says I want to use a new
22 material anywhere, something that fatigues a lot. I want to
23 use a new material someplace in the reactor to get rid of a
24 particular problem.
25 What does the NRC say to this fellow, come back
1 and give me all your -- give me fatigue data over the
2 lifetime of this or does NRC say, no, I've got to go
3 initiate a research program and I get the fatigue data on
5 It says here new reactor designs may rely on
6 materials that have industrial experience, but no nuclear
7 experience. I guess my reaction to that is, yes, okay, if
8 you guys want to use those materials, go get the experience
9 from them.
10 MR. MAYFIELD: There was a specific example that
11 -- actually, there were several, but one in particular that
12 caught my attention was some interest from some of the
13 industrial folks to use HY-80 for the next reactor pressure
14 vessel, if there ever is one.
15 That's a very interesting material, it's been
16 great for submarines, but I'm not sure how it would perform
17 under light water reactor conditions, the radiation
18 environment and so on.
19 So who would bear the responsibility? At least in
20 my opinion, I think it's consistent with what the agency has
21 been saying for some time, is the person that wants to use
22 it bears the responsibility for providing the data. We
23 would almost certainly do confirmatory testing along the way
24 to make sure that we believed what showed up, but the basic
25 database would be the responsibility of the folks wanting to
1 use the material.
2 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I guess that's what I want to
3 pursue just a little bit. Suppose it's HY-80 and he came in
4 and he says, okay, I hired the good folks at Oak Ridge and
5 they irradiated this thing for a long time and I got all
6 this data, and it comes up and it has certain scatter and he
7 maybe has ten data points along this whole curve, gets him
8 up to ten-to-the-22nd kind of fluence numbers and whatnot.
9 Would the NRC feel an obligation to do a lot of
10 confirmatory research on this or is the technology well
11 enough developed for these things that you could look at his
12 test protocols and say, yeah, you did a good job here or,
13 no, go get some more?
14 MR. MAYFIELD: I think you'd almost have to see
15 the specifics of it. It's always dangerous to climb into
16 these hypotheticals, but I'll do it anyhow.
17 If they came in, they were using a capsule design
18 that we knew, a test reactor design that we knew, and a test
19 lab that we knew, where we have experience with them, and it
20 wouldn't have to just be Oak Ridge, but your example was
21 using Oak Ridge.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Let's not do that. Let's go the
23 other way. Let's take it the other way. I went off to
24 Russia and actually I went off to Kazakhstan and I had those
25 guys get these data and here they are.
1 MR. MAYFIELD: Now I think we'd want to see a lot
2 more inter-lab comparability, so that we have some reason to
3 -- some confidence that, in fact, those data are consistent
4 with our understanding of the effects of test reactor
5 radiation on the materials and, by inference, power reactor
6 irradiation on materials.
7 I don't think we would go into it blindly and it
8 doesn't just have to be new materials. When we start
9 straying off and introducing new variables now that may stem
10 from just laboratory variability, we want some confidence
11 how it's going to go.
12 MR. THADANI: I'd say more than some confidence.
13 It's got to be driven by what's the price you pay if you
14 make a mistake, what's the potential consequence and if it's
15 the reactor pressure vessel itself, then I think we have to
16 have very high confidence that the material we rely on we
17 understand the fundamental basis.
18 And if it came from Kazakhstan, I would think that
19 would have to be factored in because of the potential
20 consequences if we're wrong, and we have to have -- now, if
21 the application were something else, where you have
22 additional protection and so on, maybe you have to take a
23 different tact.
24 So I agree with Mike. It's very difficult a
25 priori layout ground rules that say if the information comes
1 from a certain place, by God, we would have to do
2 independent testing or whatever, but I think we would
3 certainly want to push for new concepts if the consequences
4 are significant, think hard about, as a regulatory agency,
5 what is the expertise we have, what is the knowledge base we
6 have, and sometimes that deep understanding comes from
7 actually doing some work, not reviewing somebody else's
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: That's really the issue I'm
10 getting into here a little bit, because the question is when
11 have we built up enough understanding of something that I
12 don't need guys that are actually doing research in the
13 field to review these things, because the knowledge is
15 Another example. You've got a guy who comes in
16 and says I don't want to inspect my welds because I've done
17 this probabilistic fracture analysis of this thing and it's
18 ten-to-the-minus-45th per year probability that this thing
19 is going to break.
20 Is that something that you have to look at with
21 experiments and independent analyses or are we in a position
22 we could review that and either bless it or reject it?
23 MR. MAYFIELD: Right up until two, maybe three
24 weeks ago now, I would have said we got that in hand. Then
25 we had a crack in the Summer pipe that we don't quite
1 understand. So I think today I would say I'm going to want
2 to look at that real hard.
3 Now, it could be that we discover something out of
4 Summer that perfectly explains this and it all makes perfect
5 sense. The problem is something caused that crack to go
6 through the wall and we weren't anticipating it, because all
7 of our prior fracture analyses had postulated large cracks.
8 We weren't relying on the notion that they didn't
9 initiate. We postulated large cracks and we couldn't
10 identify a mechanism to cause them to grow through the wall.
11 Something caused that crack to grow through the
12 wall. And that's the part we don't understand. So I got to
13 tell you, I've lost some confidence and you're talking to
14 somebody that did those calculations. So I've lost some
15 confidence in my ability and my colleagues' ability to guess
16 at all the damage mechanisms.
17 So just because I got a low probability number, I
18 think we still need to ask some more questions, but I also
19 think Ashok's characterization of it would depend on what
20 happens if we're wrong, potential consequences.
21 So it's right now a bit mixed, I think.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I'm just trying to understand.
23 There is this question that we really have to address at
24 some time. We're maintaining expertise in areas that we
25 know we use and we need, but maybe we don't need them right
1 today and are there limits to that sort of thing and where
2 are they, and this is just one area I need to understand
3 better about.
4 MR. MAYFIELD: I think that the Summer experience,
5 we have given away most of our pipe fracture capability.
6 We're on the verge of losing our last big facility for
7 breaking pipes. Do I still need that? Well, probably not,
8 because we've broken a lot of pipe over the last 15 years.
9 So I know pretty well how it breaks. What causes
10 cracks to grow through? Well, yeah, we've got a handle on
11 that. Now, coupling that bit of -- bits of information with
12 what really goes on in a plant, actual fabrication
13 histories, actual operating histories, that link we still
14 need the people that can go from the research data to the
15 in-plant experience and that's a piece of expertise that I'm
16 going to fight right up to the bitter end that we don't lose
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Good.
19 MR. ELTAWILA: I think the issue of human factors,
20 again, will -- as Mike indicated, with the new trends in the
21 control room and use of smart sensors, there will be --
22 considering that in conjunction with the reduction in
23 capital costs, there will be less operator running plant and
24 there will be more reliance on automatic systems and things
25 like that, and the interaction between these few operators
1 and the complex system that they might be running several
2 plans at the same time, that needs to be looked at.
3 There will be -- in the area of artificial
4 intelligence and fuzzy logic, there are people who are
5 talking about being able to try to predict the overall
6 system behavior, from their point of view, and to try to
7 come up with a way to be able to manage the plant and to try
8 to identify, if the problem happened somewhere else, what
9 will be the consequence.
10 So there will be use of these technologies and we
11 are not really there right now.
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Fuzzy logic. For Heaven's
13 sakes. It took PRA to get into the regulations 25 years. I
14 don't know. Networks, I think, has a promise, but fuzzy
15 logic. And don't tell me the Japanese run their trains
16 using fuzzy logic.
17 DR. SEALE: Well, they'll come up with a different
18 name for it, so they won't be so -
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It's a qualitative method, like
20 anything else.
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Let me ask this question,
22 Farouk. You mentioned the control room. I expect to have
23 glaciers in New York before I see NRC changing the
24 requirements of control room staffing.
25 But what I would see is there will be the
1 out-of-control room staffing is going to take a quantum
3 MR. ELTAWILA: That's correct.
4 CHAIRMAN POWERS: There I can -- and, in fact,
5 when I go in and look at the numbers of people in the
6 chemical part of the plant, chemical sampling and whatnot,
7 typically 20-30 people in those organizations, I'm just
8 stunned it would be that high nowadays. I would expect that
9 number to -- I mean, that's one of the areas that, if I was
10 a plant manager, I'd go how can I think that crop down.
11 Those are the areas that I would expect real major
12 changes in the staffing, people outside the control room
14 MR. ELTAWILA: I think it's both of them. Ashok
15 and I were in Japan actually and visited the advanced ABWR,
16 I forgot the name of the plant, and it was amazing that you
17 walk for a long time and you don't see a human being.
18 So these are all -- I don't think the United
19 States can stay behind that long. So you might see the
20 glacier in New York City, but I think that it will change.
21 MR. KING: In future plants, they're going to run
22 multi-module type plants from one control room with three
23 people. They've already done it. Ten years ago, DOE, when
24 they were working on the MHTGR, had that in front of us.
25 MR. ELTAWILA: They are doing it in Japan now.
1 MR. THADANI: Just for the record, it was
2 Kashazaki Karina plant that we visited, and Farouk is right.
3 And I don't know about timing in terms of glaciers
4 in New York. I think we're going to be faced with the
5 issues. We're going to have to deal with it.
6 Now, whether we end up with disagreeing and
7 saying, no, you need to have the same compliment of people
8 in the control room and the same number of shifts and so on
9 and so forth, I don't know how it will come out, but as the
10 research organization, I think we have an obligation, if
11 that's a reasonable future challenge, that we need to make
12 sure technically we're developing the right information
14 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think I can see this, that the
15 research organization knows that 30 percent of the cost of
16 running a plant is manpower. So after you have refined down
17 your fuel costs and everything else, the manpower clearly is
18 one of the areas to go look, that a clear responsibility of
19 the research organization is to make sure that there is a
20 strong technical basis for any resistance that the line
21 organizations might want to throw up by reducing that
23 It seems to me that makes perfect sense, to me.
24 MR. ELTAWILA: It does. You want to say
1 MR. ROSENTHAL: Rosenthal, Research. I'm biting
2 my tongue to some extent, but to some extent, I'm also proud
3 of some of the work that we've been doing. Dana, you
4 brought up the idea of management interface and how much
5 time do you spend looking at the computer displays versus
6 running the plant, and, in fact, we've been doing some work
7 and some of that's indicated in the human performance
8 program plan in that very area of interface allocation.
9 So that's an area that we anticipated. We did do
10 some work in conjunction with Halden and are publishing a
11 report -- right now it's at the printer -- on the size of
12 the crews that you need and as you get more and more
13 automated control rooms, you actually -- an optimal number
14 will be somewhat less.
15 You can't have seven guys all crowded around the
16 same CRT and then arguing on what it means. So that from a
17 safety standpoint, some optimal number may be somewhat less
18 than you have now.
19 But the point is that we're trying to anticipate
20 that sort of thing.
21 And then we did do some work on deregulation and
22 consolidation and I will tell you that you used to see $160
23 million on a dual-unit site for non-fuel L&M. The current
24 number is about 120 million and the goal is about 100
25 million, and that's all fewer people on the site and that's
1 a real issue.
2 Now, should we regulate it? Maybe not. Should we
3 understand the ramifications? Yes. And so I'm glad that we
4 are doing the kinds of things that you --
5 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Would this argument apply to
6 other things? Shall we regulate it, no, but should we
7 understand it, yes?
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It applies to everything except
9 for safety culture.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Okay. Jack wants to say
12 MR. SORENSEN: I'm interested in the fact that the
13 human performance issues or human factors issues are all
14 driven by something very specific, a change in design, a
15 change in instrumentation, and no where in this program is
16 there any mention of a general approach or general interest
17 in improving human performance.
18 You've got some preliminary data from INEL, EEL, I
19 guess it is now, that says the contribution, the human
20 contribution to core damage frequency is in the range of ten
21 to 50 percent in certain instances.
22 We are current spending about three percent of our
23 research budget on human factors related issues. That
24 doesn't seem like the right balance to me.
25 It would seem to me that we have to give some
1 consideration to the interaction between the regulatory
2 process and improving human performance and I see that
3 nowhere here.
4 MR. THADANI: I think your observation is valid in
5 terms of contribution certainly to core damage frequency in
6 the range of ten to 50 percent and research budget being
7 three percent.
8 It doesn't mean it needs to be 50 percent, but
9 three percent does seem a bit low, if it's about ten to 50
10 percent contribution to core damage.
11 This is an area where various experienced people
12 have different views. We have had significant cuts over the
13 last few years in human factors research and we have some
14 constraints imposed by the Commission that we must live by
15 and we also -- and let me just say, just speak for myself,
16 and I think generally I speak for the office, I think there
17 is a concern that our attention to human issues perhaps
18 ought to be greater than it is in the context of when you
19 think of potential impact on safety.
20 But there are lots of different views. Some
21 people think that we can really -- we probably couldn't
22 influence that risk or core damage frequency contribution
23 very much by what we do, but it's largely what the utilities
24 have to do.
25 So there are some differences of views there as to
1 how much influence or impact we can have in that area.
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But, Ashok, a lot of the stuff
3 that's on this viewgraph are the utilities' responsibility
5 MR. THADANI: Yes. Yes. Yes.
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: So if you're improving
7 human-systems interface, for example, really there is what
8 we're trying to understand.
9 MR. THADANI: Yes.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Would someone tell me what the
11 human factor issue is, what the human factor is? What is
12 human factors?
13 MR. KING: It's a general term that covers a lot
14 of things. It's human performance, what things drive human
15 performance, either good or bad.
16 DR. SEALE: And what things are driven by human
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I guess the question that would
19 come up, to me, is what is the Fussel-Vessely or RAW for a
20 human being in the plant.
21 MR. KING: If you assume he always makes the wrong
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Yeah.
24 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: No, no.
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: The way you have to do it is
1 does he always fail to take the actions that are caused --
2 that are in the event tree that you've set out and that
3 would give you something about his risk achievement worth
4 and if he is all -- that would be the risk reduction.
5 Then what happens if he is 100 percent reliable, I
6 mean, he's the greatest operator in the world, do we have
7 those numbers for the operators?
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: They should be part of the --
9 MR. KING: I don't recall ever seeing them.
10 MR. ROSENTHAL: Yes, we've done them and we did
11 present that information to you and we took it out of both
12 classical PRAs and we've also done that work based on the
13 operating experience in the ASP and written reports on it,
14 presented it.
15 And the numbers are -- risk achievement worths can
16 be quite large for people. And then we've -- and then
17 you'll see it again on such an issue like ATWS, where you
18 ask the operators to reduce the core water level in a
19 perhaps oscillating situation.
20 The IPEs have a range of success likelihood --
21 well, failure of between .5 and
22 ten-to-the-minus-umpthasquat, depending on whose IPE. It's
23 a major source of uncertainty and knowing whether we've been
24 successful in implementing -- in achieving the desired
25 outcome from the ATWS rule.
1 So yes, we've done that more than once.
2 MR. THADANI: There is another part, Jack, that at
3 least I've been interested in getting some information on,
4 and hopefully we will, and that has to do with taking the
5 sequences rather than ten to 50 percent in the end, take
6 sequences and do just what you said.
7 Let's use RAW for humans, for the sake of
8 argument, and see what the results come out. So now you're
9 only looking at hardware failures not induced by operators
10 and so on.
11 And let's see now which systems and components
12 turn out to be more significant. There are several
13 sequences where 97 percent of the reliance may well be on
14 the performance of the human and we need to make sure we
15 understand what those are and how well those elements are,
16 in fact, addressed, through looking at database, and so on,
18 We have -- Jack, you may correct me -- it's an
19 area that we have been wanting to get some information
20 pulled together. I don't think we have it yet, or do we?
21 Because that's another component that needs to be looked at,
22 I think.
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It seems to me -- I would love
24 to see what Jack's information is. He says he's presented
25 it to us, but I just don't remember it, Jack.
1 MR. ROSENTHAL: I'm basing it on the INEL work and
2 the work that we did in support of the human performance
3 program plan, SECY-00-53, but it's not the SECY, but the
4 documents. But fair, enough, we'll drag this --
5 MR. SORENSEN: That's what I was quoting from.
6 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think then you look at those
7 numbers and you say, now, is that what I want it to be, I
8 mean, is that good enough for me, and if it's not, then you
9 ask the question of what should I do about it.
10 I mean, you can't very well tell the licensees to
11 get better operators.
12 MR. THADANI: You made your call. Tom has defined
13 some key attributes of defense-in-depth in the paper that
14 Joe referred to earlier.
15 One element in that was -- I forget the words, but
16 some sort of excessive reliance on programmatic aspects.
17 It's exactly the same point; is there excessive reliance on
18 humans in terms of their actions.
19 I think that's a very good question. I'm not sure
20 that we really have a good answer.
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: If we can take that logic,
22 beginning with what do they achieve and what do we want
23 then, is it excessive, or there may be the situation that
24 was mentioned over here, it's basically okay, except there
25 are these three or four sequences where, now, your operators
1 are nothing and then you formulate your human factors
2 research following that kind of logic. Then I think it
3 becomes much more palatable to the people that are basically
4 very suspicious of human factors research.
5 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: No, I think there is a problem
6 with that approach. You cannot rely on Fussel-Vessely and
7 RAW when it comes to humans. The reason is what Farouk
8 said. You don't have a good mechanistic model, you don't
9 know the dependencies yet. So by finding the RAW of an
10 individual action, I'm not learning very much because there
11 may be a latent condition that affects 16 actions and that
12 is not in the PRA. Therefore, you will never be able to
13 find its Fussel-Vessely and RAW, because it's not there.
14 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Then put those things into the
15 model. It's the same thing that your Stan Kaplan says. If
16 you're trying to make a decision and you have a quantity of
17 information, quantify it.
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But the problem is that -- well,
19 that's not the problem. I think a good first step was this
20 INEL work, which looked for latent conditions, and so I
21 would do that first and try to identify possible
22 dependencies through latent conditions and then find the RAW
23 and Fussel-Vessely of the latent condition, which seems to
24 me would be a good place here to say ATHENA a few times, to
25 talk about contexts several times.
1 That's exactly what these guys are supposed to do
2 and the other thing is when I read in Nuclear News that Duke
3 improved its operations tremendously by doing a number of
4 things, I want to know what these things are.
5 Now, these things are not these. Then Duke did
6 other things, which, for some reason, this agency doesn't
7 care about; namely, organizational issues. That's what they
8 did. I'm sorry. You go and read it. They organized
9 themselves better and in that new context, their people
10 function better.
11 So you might say, again, ATHENA, the context is
12 important. But for some reason, we worry about man-machine
13 interface, we worry about whatever, but we don't worry about
14 the processes that are going on, the management issues.
15 Now, Ashok mentioned that we have to live by what
16 the Commission says. But have we made a good case to the
17 Commission that human performance depends a lot on these
18 things and you don't really have to go out to management and
19 find out what the vice president knows, but that's what the
20 industry is telling us.
21 I mean, there are cases after case after case where the
22 changes have not been in improving the man-machine
23 interface, they have been in doing other things.
24 MR. THADANI: George, I think we could have
25 probably made a better case than we did. However,
1 nevertheless, the Commission really gave us not only general
2 direction, but rather firm direction and it was effective
3 immediately direction.
4 I am willing, and I think you know me enough that
5 sometimes I'm foolish and keep pushing in areas when I
6 should say I learned my lesson. But let me tell you the
7 other thing the Commission has also told us is that when the
8 Commission has made a decision, it don't try to come back
9 periodically arguing with that position.
10 Now, maybe this is the right time for us to
11 rethink that issue.
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes.
13 MR. THADANI: But I do want to make sure and let
14 you know both pieces. First, the Commission made a firm
15 decision. Second, the Commission also has sensitized us in
16 the past that we went back and we were not really listening
17 to the direction that we were being given.
18 Now, here is an area, enough time has gone by and
19 maybe we need to take a hard look.
20 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But at the same time,
21 Commissioner Merrifield read James Reason's book, got
22 excited by it, and urged everybody to be vigilant not to
23 have latent conditions.
24 Maybe I think it has to do with -- it has to do
25 with the terminology.
1 MR. THADANI: I agree.
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: If you say management, you're
3 dead before you even go there.
4 MR. THADANI: Yes.
5 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But if you approach it from the
6 latent condition point of view and try to see what factors
7 contribute to that, then I think you have -- in other words,
8 you are limiting yourself to the technical aspects. The
9 Commissioner got excited, so there must be something to it.
10 MR. THADANI: We had an opportunity to do a little
11 better job than I think we had done initially, and you're
12 exactly right. We tripped over ourselves by improper and
13 incorrect terminology, actually.
14 We did talk about competence, we did talk about
15 management, when, in fact, that isn't really what we were
16 planning to work on.
17 But even though we explained that what the program
18 was to look at was at lower level information than that, I
19 think the minds were made up. It was very difficult to
21 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But let's look at it from a
22 purely technical perspective. I mean, it's fruitless to
23 ignore by fiat what may be a very significant contributor to
24 latent errors and look at other things because we're allowed
1 MR. THADANI: Let me take that message back from
2 you and we will --
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Back where?
4 MR. THADANI: Back to the 10th floor and then we
5 will see how we are going to --
6 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I understand that the
7 Commission's advisory committee has one of the freedoms of
8 advising and we have the freedom of advising them on things
9 we think they ought to hear, whether they want to hear it or
11 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes.
12 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Sometimes the Chairman gets to
13 hear things that he would just as soon not have to hear
14 about that advice, but I don't think the committee feels
15 itself constrained on that.
16 I want to take about a 15-minute break at this
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: We'll come back into session
20 here. I'm just doing planning exercise right now. And, of
21 course, it's never the problem of Farouk being slow.
22 DR. KRESS: It's us.
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: But all that does is reflect how
24 much interest there is on these subjects. So let's do come
25 back into session. Dr. Kress, you wished to make a floor
1 statement on --
2 DR. KRESS: Human factors, and this is partly just
3 to see what kind of reaction I get from George.
4 I have been known to have defense-in-depth as one
5 of my hobby horses and when I invoke defense-in-depth in my
6 thinking is when we have things that are not well calculated
7 or not even included very well in PRAs, and what parts are
8 included have very large uncertainties in them.
9 It seems to me like it perfectly characterizes the
10 human factors we're talking about and the question of how
11 much is over-reliance on human actions is going to be a
12 tough one to decide, because that ought to depend on those
13 particular things.
14 And it seems to me like the scenario where you
15 ought to get the human factor contribution to risk so low
16 that it hardly matters anymore, because it's a huge
17 uncertainty in it. You ought to be able to either get the
18 risk level low enough that the large uncertainty doesn't
19 matter or get him out of the equation somehow. I just
20 wanted to see how that -- what the reaction to that is.
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It certainly resonates with me
22 as a possible strategy; that is, what we were talking about
23 earlier, you go in and you do the Fussel-Vessely evaluation
24 and whatnot and you get the number and you come away saying,
25 well, it's important, maybe not in the integral, but in at
1 least isolated instances.
2 And one of your strategies for addressing that
3 would be to get that down to the point that it's no longer
4 recording numbers that are bothersome to you.
5 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think the new designs are
6 trying to do that. The pebble bed reactor is advertised as
7 one where you can just walk away. The advanced reactors, if
8 you remember, one of the requirements in the utility
9 requirements document was that for a number of hours, there
10 should be no need for operator action after the initiating
12 So yes, but for the current generation reactors,
13 let me give you an example. In the small LOCA sequence, at
14 some point, you have to worry about bleed-and-feed, which is
15 now a decision left up to the crew.
16 Would you automate that?
17 DR. KRESS: I wouldn't automate that particular
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: That's the thing, that you have
20 certain situations with a current design where you really
21 are reluctant to take the human out of the equation. On the
22 other hand, there may be other things you might be able to
23 do, which I can't think of right now. But these are the
24 kinds of issues that -- it's clear that the industry is
25 sensitive to it. So even with that document, it is the
1 requirements document -- is that the name?
2 MR. THADANI: Yes.
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Which was issued a number of
4 years back.
5 MR. THADANI: '88, I think.
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes. They had that as a
8 MR. THADANI: Yes. That's correct. But I might
9 note, even on that issue, the AP-600, in that design, you,
10 for many cases, you do go open up, depressurize, open up
11 stage four, so you could have long-term cooling.
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And let's not forget that the
13 PRA does not have in it the good things that the operators
14 have done and if you take them out completely, are they
15 going to still act in such an intelligent way as they did in
16 Brown's Ferry or in other places if they are told that they
17 are not needed.
18 So there is the downside of it, too, that they
19 have acted very, very intelligently in certain situations.
20 MR. KING: But the PRAs take credit for operator
22 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: That are expected of them.
23 MR. KING: That are expected.
24 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Not initiatives.
25 MR. KING: But not things they make up, innovative
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And that's what I'm referring
4 MR. KING: That's true.
5 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: As I recall, using the control
6 rod drive pumps to cool the reactor in Brown's Ferry was not
7 part of the procedures and so on.
8 So this kind of thing you're not going to see in
9 the PRA.
10 DR. SEALE: And those generally got you out of --
11 if you'll pardon the expression -- hot water before you got
12 to to the point to where you had to have your emergency full
13 capability and all. Dissuading these guys is a risky
15 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But, you know, this business of
16 extending the time where no action is required, I think it's
17 an excellent example of a solution where you're looking at
18 the models that people have developed for human performance
19 and they are all over the map.
20 I mean, you have ATHENA, you have the human
21 reliability model, you have all sorts of things that take
22 different factors into account. But an engineering solution
23 was to look at -- they didn't do it that way, but that's
24 what happened -- to look at what are the common factors that
25 all these models consider as important, and one is, of
1 course, the time.
2 So they say let's try to engineer it in such a way
3 that you have much longer time. Then all these models will
4 show some improvement, even though they will be all over the
5 place again, but the whole thing will move. And I thought
6 that was a very good solution.
7 Maybe that's defense-in-depth.
8 DR. KRESS: That is.
9 MR. THADANI: I think allowing time for
10 understanding and taking action is very -- certainly a very
11 important factor. There is, I believe, a design, I think on
12 some VVR-1000 design, that there is actually a restriction
13 on operators intervening in the first 30 minutes and they
14 have to go out of the control room to disable certain
15 interlocks, to be able to take actions when parameters
16 exceed some criteria.
17 My own reaction was, my God, you know, operators
18 can do wonderfully good things, you're tying their hands up,
19 is that the right thing to do.
20 DR. SEALE: That's right. Isn't there a
21 wonderfully appropriate story about the sailor who saved his
22 ship, but had to be hung because he did something that was
23 against regulations to do it?
24 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is that a movie or what?
25 DR. SEALE: No, I think it's a classic story.
1 MR. THADANI: Farouk.
2 MR. ELTAWILA: I will take a few minutes to
3 address the test facilities, because that's important topics
4 to the office, and Ashok personally has a strong interest in
6 I gave you a colored copy because there is a
7 scheme here. The blue color mean that the facility are
8 operational and there is a program to support them right
10 MR. THADANI: He didn't give me a color copy.
11 MR. ELTAWILA: So I have to keep looking back
12 here. And the red one is that the facility is shut down and
13 the orange one, which does not look orange on the screen
14 here, is the facility in eminent threat of being shut down.
15 So the need for experimental facilities bound.
16 There are a lot of issues, from the issue of electrosleeve
17 and the test that we ran at Argonne, Bill Shack can tell you
18 about that, help us make decisions.
19 People can argue all the time about is it going to
20 fail or not to fail, but the only way is to do the
22 The use of new fuel, all these are the limitation
23 in our codes. Some of these questions are in page 31, but
24 I'm not going to go over this, but I am going to give you
25 the status of each facility.
1 In the fuel cladding area, I grouped them based on
2 the different barrier that NRC tried to protect or the
3 industry has tried to protect. In the fuel cladding area,
4 in the LOCA, we have a very good program, and in the
5 international community, there are program in France, Japan,
6 Russia, and the Halden.
7 What's the problem here, and I have to -- is that
8 we are dependent on the industry. If they don't give us the
9 fuel, we cannot try and test the program. So we have to
10 keep that in mind in order to -- and it was a struggle
11 getting the fuel from the industry and we still have a
12 problem, we have not received the fuel.
13 In the area of, also, cladding, the reactivity
14 insertion accident there, we used to have two facilities,
15 the TREAT and PBF. I missed the PBF in here. Both of them
16 are shut down.
17 We are relying on data from Cabri in France and
18 SRR in Japan and IGR in Russia. There are efforts underway
19 to try to restart the TREAT reactor. I think that will be
20 -- I will give you the pros and cons of it, and I hope you
21 don't -- the pros, I think we need the facility in this
22 country to test the reactivity insertion accident,
23 particularly if Tom King come up with a different kind of
24 scenario from the scenario that we are testing right now in
1 The use of MOX fuel, we will not be able to ship
2 MOX fuel to Europe to be able to test it. The use of
3 advanced cladding material, it would be proprietary. There
4 is no way we can send proprietary cladding or the vendor
5 will not allow us to do that, to send the cladding overseas
6 to be tested.
7 All these are reasons why -- BWR oscillations.
8 All these are reasons why we should have a test facility in
9 this country. I think what we need your help in, it will be
10 if we start a program like the three-track, you have some
11 costs at the beginning, very expensive.
12 So if the trends to sink all these money initially
13 and you come later on and you cancel the program, it will be
14 wasted money. It has to be a long-term commitment to
15 maintain that facility. Otherwise, don't go there.
16 In the area of thermal hydraulic, I think we have
17 the APEX facility. The Puma, I'm struggling year after year
18 to try to justify its existence.
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Farouk, will you tell us what
20 the code is with the colors?
21 DR. KRESS: He told us.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: He told us?
23 MR. THADANI: Yes.
24 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I guess I wasn't paying
1 MR. THADANI: You're on Farouk's bad side now.
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Because I was trying to absorb
3 the comments.
4 MR. ELTAWILA: The APEX facility, we have
5 immediate use for it. One of the things that we were
6 discussing with the Chairman yesterday, for example, and I
7 think Graham Wallis made the briefing to the Commission,
8 that there are a lot of tendency for people to use the code
9 outside their assessment base, and we've seen it here at
11 We are working on the PTS with Mike Mayfield and
12 Tom King and we need to do thermal hydraulic analysis. We
13 never assess the codes for these scenarios. We're lucky to
14 have the facility right now to be able to run these
15 scenarios, get the data, assess the codes, so when we do
16 analysis, we will have some confidence in the analysis.
17 DR. SEALE: How well does APEX scale to existing
19 MR. ELTAWILA: As it happens, it scales very well
20 to the Palisades plant and we are trying for -- because
21 that's one of the plants that has an immediate concern with
22 the PTS.
23 The ROSA facility is about the only other
24 international facility that's currently operating and PKL,
25 if international support is not available, it will be
1 shutting down, although I hear that the Japanese might
2 consider -- they are questioning their support for the ROSA
4 In the area of fuel degradation, I think thermal
5 hydraulics address the up to the time of you get to phase
6 boiling in the core and things like that and the core
7 uncovery, but does not extend beyond that because of
8 limitation on the heater rods.
9 The only facility in the world that addresses what
10 will happen if you flood a degraded core is the quench
11 facility in Germany and that facility is going to be shut
13 Again, in the area of fuel degradation, fission
14 product release, we used to have the hot cell at Oak Ridge
15 and HI and we are a test program that provided most of the
16 information that is in use internationally right now and we
17 are going to have this information. We are getting
18 information from Phebus and the VEGA and VERCORS facilities.
19 Again, we have a need to look at some of the
20 issues that you raised yourself in terms of the situation
21 when you have a core melt in the air environment and the
22 effect of that on ruthenium release and different fission
24 Again, if we have to start the Oak Ridge facility,
25 again, we should have, because there will be an initial cost
1 associated with that, we have to have a viable program so we
2 can attract the right researcher to do the work, not just to
3 have funds to start the facility and next year somebody will
4 cut it immediately and we will waste our money this way.
5 There is the issue of the steam generator tube
6 failure is a very important issue and we've seen what
7 happened at Indian Point. For that minor tube leak, I think
8 the whole world was up in arms about it. And we don't have
9 any facility to look at the fission product or aerosol
10 deposition in the steam generator tube, and we are relying
11 on the ARTIEST program to get some information in this
13 This, we're going to have to have that capability,
14 but I'm just showing that there are international facilities
15 that we are relying on and we don't have to have a facility
16 in each area. Correct me if you disagree with me.
17 Again, for the thermal loading and corrosion, I
18 think the facility at ANL came very handy. If we did not
19 have that facility either, NRC would have made a wrong
20 decision and approved the electrosleeve, or we could have
21 continued to debate the issue indefinitely about is it
22 really -- would it withstand the severe accident condition
23 or not.
24 For the reactor pressure vessel and internal
25 material, irradiation and the environmental excessive
1 cracking, the work -- let me look at the color.
2 The Oak Ridge facility, I think it's supported.
3 Do you want to add anything, Mike, about it?
4 MR. MAYFIELD: Well, the Oak Ridge hot cells are
5 supported by about a third each us, basic energy sciences,
6 and the fusion program. If any one of the three programs
7 loses funding, the hot cells will likely be shut down.
8 So we're very much contingent on those other two
9 programs and without those, the only other cells we've got
10 to do that kind of fracture testing would take us to
11 Argonne, which not necessarily be a bad thing, but they
12 don't have the size facilities that we already have up and
13 running and have had for a good many years.
14 DR. SHACK: What is FNR?
15 MR. MAYFIELD: Foreign nuclear reactor. It's the
16 test reactor at University of Michigan.
17 MR. THADANI: Let me go back to the previous issue
18 that Farouk was talking about, just to let you know another
19 challenge, and Farouk and Mike are working on it, is going
20 to be the steam generator tube issues are going to be with
21 us for some time to come.
22 Effects of degradation on the performance of the
23 tube material under severe accident conditions. What we
24 have not done is to really do a pretty good assessment of
25 the whole reactor coolant pressure boundary. There are
1 different materials, surge line, pump seals, and I could go
2 on, to see there is going to be a race, so to speak, as to
3 what is the first part that fails.
4 We have done some analyses and so on, but what we
5 don't have are some data that would help us better assess
6 the whole pressure boundary, and it could be that our
7 assumptions about going to steam generators is fairly maybe
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: One of the things that emerged
10 during the DPO effort that the subcommittee there, which
11 four of the members here were attending, was a spokesman for
12 NRR said, yeah, we've seen these analyses that Research
13 produces of failure of the surge line or the nozzle or the
14 steam generator tubes, depending on timing and things like
15 that, but what we have not seen from Research is an
16 examination of all the other places where failure could --
17 and he cited about six of them that came to his mind
19 I thought that was -- it was certainly not something that
20 had dawned on me, that, yeah, when they did that work-up at
21 INEL, they just picked three, three obvious ones. They
22 didn't go through and do a survey of here are the things
23 that are hottest at what time. And so you're right.
24 MR. THADANI: That's an area where we're going to
25 have to pay attention, because I think it's going to be
2 DR. KRESS: Except when you fail the steam
3 generator tubes, you are outside containment. When you fail
4 any of these others, you're in containment. And since the
5 finding was generally that you fail the in-containment ones
6 first, all you're going to find out is maybe a little
7 cushion in that, if it fails somewhere else earlier.
8 MR. THADANI: I think I wouldn't conclude what you
9 did. I've seen the same analyses. I wouldn't conclude that
10 the surge lines would fail first.
11 MR. ELTAWILA: There is some margin.
12 MR. THADANI: I would say the time difference is
13 small, but more importantly, those cases had clean tubes.
14 No initial flaws and degradation and so on.
15 If you start to assume a certain amount of
16 degradation, I don't think we can say that.
17 DR. KRESS: And besides, it would be a lot more
18 comfortable if that time was --
19 MR. ELTAWILA: Is longer, yes. That's within the
20 uncertainty of the calculation.
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: The other thing is what else do
22 we discover when we find something else fails first.
23 Failing the surge line may be a fairly benign thing, but
24 suppose the thing that fails is the seals on the pressure
25 vessel. Maybe it's a different story there.
1 MR. MAYFIELD: One of the other complicating
2 factors is if you, for example, lose the seals on the steam
3 generator manway, that may actually exacerbate the
4 temperatures that the tubes see.
5 So that's one of the other reasons it gets to be
6 important to sort these other things out, to look at timing,
7 and then to feed that into the thermal hydraulics analyses.
8 DR. KRESS: You could get a small failure that
9 could lead to a big failure in the steam generator.
10 MR. MAYFIELD: If you blow the cover, if you blow
11 the manway, that's one thing. If you just lose the seal,
12 which is a good bet, that could actually make it worse.
13 Losing all the CRDM seals, how much leakage does that give
14 you out of the top of the vessel, and is it enough. So
15 those are some of the things we're starting to ask, reactor
16 cooling pump seals, how credible is that, operability of the
17 safeties, operability of the continued cycling of the safety
18 through the PRVs, how credible is that.
19 So some of those things are issues that we're
20 wanting to pick up as part of this program.
21 MR. ELTAWILA: Continuing with that, the lower
22 head failure mode and the timing and so on, we have the only
23 facility is the Sandia OECD cooperative program, and by the
24 time we're finished the test program, I think two more tests
25 are left, I don't see any interest in continuing this work.
1 So, again, another facility that's been producing
2 good results is going to be shut down.
3 The MASCA program is a follow-up to the ROSPELOF
4 program and the emphasis, hopefully they are listening to
5 us, will be initially on the separate effect tests and, at
6 the end, if there is a good -- got good information about
7 the material properties and the interaction between the
8 different material and so on, and there is a need for an
9 integral experiment, we will run it over there.
10 But the emphasis on a year-by-year right now to go
11 over the separate effect small-scale test.
12 For containment integrity, the only remaining unresolved
13 issue is the debris coolability and we -- regardless of the
14 -- although that it has not produced any good results up to
15 now, I think it's the only facility that can melt and look
16 at the issue of core-concrete interaction with overlaying
17 pool of water on top of it, and the facility after this test
18 is in jeopardy of being shut down, although that there are
19 indications that member countries might be interested in
20 pursuing additional tests as a cooperative program under
21 OECD umbrella.
22 The program proposed by ANL is expensive, it's
23 $1.2 million per year, which means that U.S. has to pay
24 $600,000 to be shared equally between NRC and DOE, and we'll
25 try to maybe get EPRI involved in that program, too, so the
1 cost to NRC will be less.
2 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I guess the question that comes up,
3 Farouk, I've just got to ask on this, when they did the MACE
4 test, they did a bunch of calculations, said this one is big
5 enough, we'll either see fragmentation or it doesn't occur.
6 They did the test, they did not see fragmentation, and now
7 they're saying they need another test, a bigger test, or --
8 MR. ELTAWILA: Again, it's a bigger test and I was
9 on the committee that met in France to discuss the test
10 program and they came with a bigger test and I refused to
11 accept that. I said go back to the drawing board, come up
12 with a proposal that can solve the problem, bigger and
13 bigger, every time they go to a bigger test and we see the
14 outcome, I was not about to endorse that.
15 So ANL is working on coming up with a proposal for
16 OECD and NRC. I have not seen the details of the proposal,
17 but, again, it will include a lot of separate effect tests
18 before we go into a major integral test.
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It seems to me that we have
20 satisfied ourselves that a water pool overlying core debris
21 does a substantial attenuation of the fission product
22 release; that if somebody wants to make a case on its
23 ability to cool the debris, isn't it their responsibility to
24 present that test data?
25 There's nowhere in our regulations that say you've
1 got to be able to cool the core debris ex-vessel.
2 DR. KRESS: I don't think I'm satisfied that the
3 overlying water will --
4 MR. ELTAWILA: The water has to be very deep, if I
5 remember correctly, and the temperature, too. You have to
6 have sub-cooled water to get the attenuation that you were
7 looking for and both of them, if you have a very hot molten
8 pool, you will not get that attenuation.
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Well, I have poured more water
10 on top of melts than most people, I suspect, and I am here
11 to attest to you that it doesn't take much water and it
12 shuts the source term off like crazy.
13 DR. KRESS: Well, I think it depends on the
14 internal conditions of the water. If it's boiling and gases
15 are hot enough that it creates boiling into the bubbles, I
16 think that's sort of a reverse --
17 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think that if you only look at
18 things like diffusion and interception, that you will come
19 to that conclusion.
20 DR. KRESS: I think --
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: If you also look at the fact
22 that the bubbles are oscillating like crazy under vigorous
23 boiling, that you will find that you get a substantial
24 amount of attenuation.
25 DR. KRESS: But I think also if the water is
1 relatively shallow, which it generally is, you get sort of a
2 channeling, it bypasses. So I'm not sure that it's all been
3 delineated yet on this issue.
4 CHAIRMAN POWERS: But that's not what they're
5 going to do in this experiment.
6 DR. KRESS: No. They're not going to look at
7 fission products or anything coming off at all.
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: They look at it kind of
9 incidentally, but they're not going to try to characterize
10 things like you're talking about, the channeling issue.
11 MR. ELTAWILA: I can assure you, if we're going to
12 have a program that it has the potential of addressing all
13 the lessons learned from the previous test program and how
14 this test program is going to be different and going to
15 address the issue, we're not going to support the program.
16 But I would like maybe to answer your question in
17 a different way. From usually -- I remember from TMI, and
18 I'm not trying to invoke it to scare people or anything like
19 that, one of the first questions that was asked for Harold
20 Denton, I believe, have we reached a stable condition, and
21 his answer was yes, and I think at that time, the public had
22 a good confidence that NRC is on top of the issue.
23 If we have a situation that the core is going to
24 melt and it will have a core-concrete interaction, and the
25 question comes to NRC, do we have a stable configuration or
1 have we reached a stable condition, I don't think anybody at
2 NRC would be able to assure the public, yes, we arrested the
4 And so for looking at the public confidence issue,
5 we really need to resolve that issue. If the cost is too
6 expensive, I have to delegate the decision to my boss; he
7 makes more money than me, so he can make the decision.
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Yes, but he's not nearly as
9 good-looking, so.
10 Another issue that you -- in thinking about these
11 collaborative tests, and I've spent a little while talking
12 to individual Commissioners on this subject, is there may
13 well be things that, yeah, if I have to justify this
14 collaborative test on specific regulatory needs now and
15 foreseen at the NRC, I have a little hard time, but if I
16 integrate over the entire international collaborative
17 effort, I justify it based on I've got to do -- the U.S. has
18 to do something besides just participate in other people's
19 programs and we've got to bring something to the table,
20 because of the way the funding thing is.
21 It's 50 percent for the home country plus all the
22 other countries kick in. Well, if you're always a
23 kick-in-ee, people start being not so anxious to have you
25 So is there that kind of thinking here that --
1 lots of people in Europe are very interested in the precise
2 question that MACE is addressing, for their own purposes.
3 MR. ELTAWILA: That's correct, yes.
4 CHAIRMAN POWERS: And the U.S. started this
5 program and so that just makes it easier for us to
6 participate in other joint exercises.
7 MR. THADANI: Absolutely. In fact, I said
8 earlier, I used words like if you keep bringing one dollar
9 to the table, we're sorry, and pretty soon --
10 CHAIRMAN POWERS: And pretty soon you're not
12 MR. THADANI: Exactly, you're not going to be
13 invited to the table. So it's a real, real issue and
14 worldwide, it seems to me, we are okay. What Farouk didn't
15 say, also, is that sometimes we are slaves to the priorities
16 of those countries, because they are footing the majority of
17 the bill.
18 If I had my way, I would like to see Cabri results
19 a lot sooner than the current plants. TREAT, if it were to
20 be activated, I suppose, we could get data in a much more
21 timely fashion for us, because I think the industry is going
22 to move fairly fast here. They're not going to wait for
23 five, six, seven years to go to higher burn-up levels. I
24 think they will go sooner.
25 So the two factors, number one, we must bring
1 something to the table, and, number two, there are just
2 times when we need to lead the way because those are the
3 needs that we have.
4 DR. KRESS: On this MACE issue, I hate to keep
5 coming back to it and don't want to solve the problem here,
6 but the problem, when I was associated with that program a
7 little bit, was that as you got bigger and bigger, it cost a
8 heck of a lot more and you had to have a whole lot more melt
9 and you never did reach a state where the melt didn't tend
10 to -- I mean, the crust didn't tend to bridge and then give
11 you problems.
12 It seems to me like the issue is how thick the
13 crust gets before it can no longer carry up the heat that's
14 brought up from below. So it's really a heat transfer
15 problem and those kind of problems, in my mind, are amenable
16 to small scale separate effects experiments.
17 You want to know what the heat transfer is, you
18 want to know what the thermal conductivity of the crust is.
19 You can make these things artificially and answer questions
20 like that and then you ask the question of how strong is
21 this crust, will it bridge over a given time, and you can
22 even talk about how the effect of gases going through would
23 affect that.
24 I think you could do every one of those things on
25 a small thing, separate effects, and is anybody thinking
1 along those lines?
2 MR. ELTAWILA: But use reactor material. I think
3 we are thinking along the same line, but using reactor
4 material, and we are going to address each part separately,
5 exactly, as you mentioned. We look at the effect of gas
6 sparging, we're going to look at the heat transfer.
7 I think I am going to make an assumption that
8 there will be things in the cavity that will bridge the
9 crust. It will bridge. There are walls here, there are
10 different elevation of boxes and things like that, that will
11 -- the crust will anchor to it.
12 So let's make that assumption and let's proceed
13 about calculating it along the way that you are talking
14 about, and I think that's direction we mentioned to the
15 Argonne people, to propose a separate effect program and
16 after we get enough data to see the need, if we need an
17 integral test program.
18 And the ex-vessel fuel-coolant interaction, there
19 is no facility operating right now. In the area of
20 hydrogen, we don't have any work in the United States.
21 There are some work overseas. In the cable area, I think
22 there are still work facilities at Sandia and BNL. Wyle is
23 still operational.
24 DR. KRESS: But, Farouk, on the ex-vessel FCI, at
25 one time, I remember Ivan and I went over to Germany a few
1 years ago and they had a very ambitious ex-vessel FCI
2 program. Has that been shut down?
3 MR. ELTAWILA: The ALPHA program?
4 DR. KRESS: Yes, the ALPHA.
5 MR. ELTAWILA: That's after they had that
7 DR. KRESS: It was shortly after that.
8 MR. ELTAWILA: That's completely scrubbed.
9 DR. KRESS: That's scrubbed now.
10 MR. ELTAWILA: Yes. The only facility that was
11 available is the FARO facility in Italy and the European
12 Commission decided not to fund it anymore.
13 For subcriticality, we do not have any work in
14 this country and we are relying on data from France and
15 other countries in this regard.
16 Decommissioning, do you want to say something
17 about this?
18 MR. KING: We do have some field sites where we
19 look at radiated nuclide transport through actual on-site
21 DR. KRESS: Is this during the cleanup process?
22 MR. KING: These are either simulated fission
23 products or I think one of them had some actual natural
24 uranium in the ground.
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Ask the DOE to give you the data
1 on Fernald.
2 MR. KING: We could get that, too. But these are
3 sites where there's holes drilled and there's
4 instrumentation where you can actually measure, and I forget
5 exactly who runs some of these sites. I think the Naturita
6 is owned by USGS and we get information from it. Alligator
7 Rivers was in Australia and it was an international program.
8 That's no longer -- that program is over.
9 Apache Leap, I think, is run by the University of
11 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Why don't you just go up and get
12 the data that they collect up at Hanford? Lord knows,
13 they've got every fission product. They've got cesium,
14 strontium, technetium, and they got it in the ground, it's
15 leaking right out of the tanks.
16 MR. KING: Well, we can try and get that, too, but
17 part of this is to look at different geologies. I mean,
18 Hanford is one geology. These are other different
19 geologies, so we can test our models and our codes. There's
20 also some work at NIST looking at the long-term behavior of
21 buried concrete for things like low level waste disposal or
22 entombment, if that ever gets used by anybody.
23 There is infiltration and lysimeters. That has to
24 do with groundwater motion, measuring where does the
25 groundwater go in various types of geologies, how fast does
1 it go down to the ground, does it spread out, does it go
2 straight down and so forth.
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: You guys must have -- the Y-12,
4 those guys must have data like crazy on uranium in the
6 DR. KRESS: I don't know what they do with Y-12,
7 but you're probably right.
8 DR. SEALE: And mercury, too.
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Mercury they got in space, but
10 these guys probably don't care about that. But they buried
11 more uranium around that site than you can -- than I'd care
12 to think about.
13 DR. KRESS: They can probably have some data.
14 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I mean, there are fields that I
15 have seen that are practically yellow out there from all the
16 uranium that's been turned into the trioxide.
17 DR. KRESS: We use it to pave roads.
18 MR. ELTAWILA: What I would like to do, just to
19 save time, let me summarize. I really think the situation
20 with the facilities is critical and I don't think anybody
21 here is advocating that we have to have facilities in every
22 area and as you mentioned and Ashok indicated, too, we have
23 to have some experimental program in a critical area when we
24 need it, and in order to help us exchange information with
25 the rest of the world.
1 To save some time and allow Tom to give his
2 presentation, the information on maintain readiness is just
3 questions and answers, why do we need facilities, why we
4 need independent codes and so on, and I think you can read
5 this. So I'll finish my talk and I will be happy to answer
6 any questions.
7 MR. KING: I propose we go to slide 37 next and
8 talk about future reactors. As Ashok mentioned in his
9 opening comments, a year or two ago, there probably wouldn't
10 have been three slides at the end of this presentation on
11 future reactors. Now, instead of three slides, there may be
12 13 slides. Things are moving fast.
13 You heard of the DOE Generation IV program.
14 That's a long-term program for advanced reactor development.
15 It's in the initial stages now of trying to look at
16 requirements and goals. There is the pebble bed project in
17 South Africa. There's AP-1000, even though that's a
19 DR. KRESS: Is Gen IV likely to be a PBMR? Is Gem
20 IV likely to end up being a PBMR?
21 MR. KING: There could be a PBMR concept in
22 Generation IV. It's not clear to me that Generation IV is
23 limited to one concept. Generation IV maybe limited to
24 several concepts that look like they would meet all the
1 It's still too early to tell. We've had some
2 people attend a couple of the Generation IV meetings, more
3 as an observer than a participant, but Ashok also mentioned,
4 Bill Magwood from DOE has been in to try and work out a
5 little more formal arrangement as to what our role would be
6 in Generation IV, and that's one of the things we're going
7 to be working on over the next year or two.
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I've heard Magwood is interested
9 in funding the NRC to have a guy stay on top of the pebble
11 MR. KING: Funding was discussed, as I understand.
12 MR. THADANI: We did discuss the issue of funding
13 and you are correct. Bill Magwood has said that they can
14 support NRC involvement in this effort.
15 We are now, and I don't know, Tom, if you were
16 going to say this, but we are preparing a piece of paper to
17 go to Commission in the next few days. It's very early,
18 very early thinking, and after that, we will try and
19 understand the DOE road map and to see where we fit in, how
20 we fit in, and the function of time to identify technical
21 issues relevant to safety.
22 Bill Magwood has indicated that as soon as we are
23 able to tell him what kind of effort we can afford to put in
24 this as a function of time, he indicated he has the
25 resources to support us.
1 MR. KING: Generation IV is basically setting
2 goals and criteria in four areas; safety, economics,
3 proliferation resistance, and waste.
4 Clearly, it's the safety area that we would be
5 interested in, but there is interrelation among all of them.
6 Dr. Powers, you mentioned, in your opening
7 remarks, about should we start with a clean sheet of paper,
8 given the fact that what we have on the books today is
9 pretty much LWR-specific. I've been thinking about that, as
10 well, and I think the answer is, to me, a lot of what we
11 have on the books today is not going to apply. There might
12 be a few pieces that apply, for example, the reactor safety
13 goals, when you start with the QHOs, they're generic, they
14 could apply to any plant.
15 But then you look at the licensing framework, the
16 requirements, the infrastructure, like the thermal
17 hydraulics codes and the PRA tools and so forth, the risk
18 guidelines, they're all LWR-specific and if you want to
19 develop something that's generic for a different kind of
20 plant or if you want to develop something for even an
21 advanced LWR, I think you need to start re-thinking all that
23 Even things like the regulatory analysis
24 guidelines that we have are based upon LWR accident
25 analysis. So there's a lot of work if we're going to
1 prepare ourselves to license a very different design in the
2 future. Research has a role to take a look and prepare the
3 agency for that kind of activity.
4 That includes sort of the first step of figuring out what is
5 coming down the road, what are the safety issues we're going
6 to have to deal with, what would this licensing framework
7 look like.
8 In the past, we had done pre-application reviews
9 for some of these advanced concepts under what the
10 Commission's advanced reactor policy statement, which still
11 is out there in effect, and that encourages NRC to have
12 these early interactions with designers to identify issues,
13 to do pre-application reviews, to develop a framework for
14 licensing, and I think what we're thinking about now is
15 basically what do we need to do to implement the
16 Commission's desires in that policy statement on these
17 future designs.
18 You look at these future designs and even look at
19 the designs we looked at ten years ago, the LMR designs and
20 the MHTGR designs, there's a lot of new things we're going
21 to have to deal with. They make heavy use of inherent and
22 passive safety features, they try and reduce or eliminate
23 reliance on human actions, they reduce staff. I mentioned
24 the old MHTGR concept was ten modules on one site, one
25 control room, three people. Certainly, non-LWR technology,
1 which new coolants, new fuel, different temperature range,
2 different materials, source term issues, what are the
3 accidents that could occur in these types of plants,
4 non-traditional approaches to defense-in-depth.
5 The old MHTGR didn't have a containment and neither does the
6 pebble bed design. Emergency planning was one -- at least
7 off-site emergency planning was one of the goals of the
8 advanced designs ten years ago. I suspect it will probably
9 be a goal for the ones coming down the road in the future.
10 DR. KRESS: I guess we've come far enough that we
11 wouldn't dismiss the concept of no containment out of hand
12 at this point. At one time, five or ten years ago, we'd say
13 you're going to have a containment regardless.
14 MR. KING: I don't think we dismissed it out of
15 hand ten years ago.
16 DR. KRESS: Well, maybe not.
17 MR. KING: I think we proposed some criteria by
18 which we would make that decision and we were going to use
19 those at least the MHTGR concept to get the Commission to
20 make a policy decision.
21 DR. KRESS: You had some criteria on how to make
22 that decision?
23 MR. KING: We had some criteria on how to make
24 that decision. The program at DOE got canceled before the
25 Commission ever got the opportunity to make the final call.
1 DR. KRESS: I guess I'd like to see what that
2 criteria was. I wasn't aware of it.
3 MR. KING: There were some SECY papers that went
4 up probably 12 years ago that had some proposed criteria in
6 DR. KRESS: Maybe you'll resurrect those.
7 MR. KING: Maybe.
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Now, when you say potential key
9 safety issues, you really don't mean that. You mean
10 potential -- actually, they're not even potential. There
11 are differences from the current systems, so that you have
12 to look at them, but they are not necessarily key safety
14 MR. KING: I think they're both.
15 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Why would the use of less
16 reliance on human actions, that's not a safety issue. When
17 people read this, they think that there is a concern and
18 that's not what you mean. You mean that this is
19 sufficiently different from what we are doing today so that
20 we really have to do something about it.
21 MR. KING: That there is a concern. You're
22 stepping out of your comfort zone of where you've been for
23 the past 20 years and you're saying, okay, here is a new way
24 of doing business, am I comfortable with that, is there a
25 basis for that.
1 MR. THADANI: These charts, I think, are giving
2 mixed signals. I think you're right. Some of these reflect
3 differences and, therefore, we need to understand. Others
4 are actual concerns. For example, reduce staffing may turn
5 out to be a safety concern. On the other hand, reduce
6 reliance on humans, you just have to make sure you
7 understand that that is really what is going on.
8 So I would sort of say it's sort of a mixed signal
10 MR. KING: Non-traditional missions. Farouk
11 mentioned some of those, waste reduction, continuing to burn
12 MOX, weapons grade plutonium, enhanced proliferation
13 resistance kinds of things, new core design issues that
14 would need to be looked at that we haven't looked at today.
15 Again, these are just examples based upon what we
16 know about the programs today and some of the things we
17 faced ten years ago.
18 I mentioned the modular design seismic isolation,
19 at least one of the designs ten years ago had the whole
20 primary system on these mounts that they called seismic
21 isolators, that the ground would shake and --
22 DR. KRESS: That was the liquid metal reactor.
23 MR. KING: Yes. It as the Prism design. Those
24 are kinds of things that may come back. These new designs,
25 what accidents should they be designed for, what is the
1 licensing basis of these designs.
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Actually, the first question is
3 does the question make sense. In other words, that implies
4 design basis accidents and a lot of people are questioning
5 whether, for the new designs, the Generation IV, if you want
6 to have a truly risk-informed system, whether you should
7 have design basis accidents to begin with.
8 DR. KRESS: If you can't do a PRA because it's
9 such a new system, you better fall back on design basis.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: That is a counter-argument, but
11 all I'm saying is that people have put that on the table,
12 because you may be able to look at the PRA and do other
13 things. I think people are a bit optimistic regarding the
14 amount of review, because they think that if you eliminate
15 design basis accidents, you look at the accident sequences,
16 the review from the staff would be less than before.
17 But I think you can make a good case that if that
18 is what the staff if supposed to do, then they will question
19 every single assumption that's behind the accident
20 sequences, which then you conserve the amount of effort.
21 MR. KING: But at some point, I don't think the
22 two are inconsistent. At some point, you've got to decide
23 I'm designing my plant for this size earthquake, this size
24 pipe break or whatever, and you use PRA to help make that
25 decision certainly.
1 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But you are not necessarily
2 going to have a large LOCA as the --
3 MR. KING: No, this doesn't --
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: -- design basis event that
5 covers a spectrum of accidents.
6 MR. THADANI: Not at all. That's why, George, I
7 think the key words here are accidents. I hope we are going
8 to get away from one or two or three key sort of design base
9 accidents and devote all our energies to those.
10 Presumably, it will be some spectrum that we would
11 have to look at and pay attention to. So internally, when
12 we have discussed this, we never really got to the point, by
13 God, follow the same traditional philosophy. No. In fact,
14 I think we ought to think hard about some alternate
16 MR. KING: What startup testing should be
17 required? There were some concepts, the old MHTGR, ten
18 years ago, and I think, to some extent, the pebble bed is
19 planning to build that first module and demonstrate its
20 inherent safety characteristics through testing that first
21 one. How reasonable is that as a licensing approach?
22 DR. BONACA: About designs, going back to
23 accidents, I mean, I would expect -- you know, in the past,
24 the single failure criteria had been a keystone of every
25 analysis you make and you make a thousand different
1 variations to address which one is the worst.
2 Now, here, the likelihood of a single failure to
3 occur would be driving. So that's where PRA, I think, comes
4 in so powerfully.
5 MR. THADANI: Absolutely. But even there, Mario,
6 early on, there was implicit probabilistic thinking because
7 it considers single active failures, not passive. There was
8 that thinking.
9 DR. BONACA: True.
10 MR. THADANI: We have matured. Now I can say
11 mature. And we can do better than that.
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Are you including anywhere in
13 here this concept of license by test, which I don't know
14 much about?
15 MR. KING: What startup testing should be
17 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: That's part of the --
18 MR. KING: That is intended to cover that. If you
19 recall, Part --
20 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: When you reach startup, you have
21 already licensed it, though, haven't you? No?
22 MR. KING: No, but the -- the idea, at least on
23 the MHTGR ten years ago, and I think it's the same on the
24 pebble bed they're talking about in South Africa, is build
25 one module, use it to demonstrate the safety of the design
1 through some pre-approved testing, and then if the testing
2 goes well, then that would be the data that you would use to
3 certify the design and allow construction of other --
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: So this is license by test only?
5 MR. KING: No, not only.
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: You will do some analysis, as
8 MR. KING: There would have to be analysis and you
9 can't test to the point where you ruin the fuel and ruin the
10 whole module, but you can probably test to the point where
11 you've got enough data to validate your codes to show that
12 if it went further, that things would be okay.
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Maybe they would be willing to
14 destroy the module if that would be convincing evidence to
15 you and you would not review anything else. You never know.
16 MR. KING: You never know. But 10 CFR Part 52
17 sort of encourages testing of these unique designs and using
18 that information to help support certification, and I think
19 people are thinking about taking advantage of that.
20 DR. KRESS: It's certainly a good idea, but you
21 wouldn't want to do one test and destroy the thing, because
22 these things are stochastic and you've got one data point
23 then. You want to do a lot of testing of different types of
24 upset conditions, I think.
25 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Defining the test, I think, is
1 the problem.
2 DR. KRESS: Defining the test would be a real hard
3 thing to do here.
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And also understanding the
5 difference between epistemic and --
6 DR. KRESS: Absolutely.
7 MR. KING: I think it's a possibility that in the
8 future, there will be more reliance on that kind of approach
9 versus what is done today.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And it has to be combined with
12 MR. KING: It has to be combined with risk. I
13 mean, risk in the design is going to be -- risk assessment
14 in the design process is going to be iterative. On the
15 MHTGR ten years ago, they came in with a risk assessment.
16 They made certain assumptions on fuel performance,
17 on the performance of some of the other equipment that they
18 really had no experience with, and then their goal was to
19 say okay, to make this PRA come true, I've got to go develop
20 and prove that my circulators have this reliability, my
21 control rod drives have this reliability and so forth, my
22 fuel can perform up to this level, and they ran into trouble
23 on some of that.
24 DR. KRESS: Particularly on the fuel performance.
25 MR. KING: But one can drive the other. You make
1 certain assumptions that you need in your PRA and you set up
2 a program, research development program to see if you can do
3 that, and if you can't, you've got to go back and adjust
4 your PRA.
5 So, again, it's an iterative process. Some of
6 these issues, what I call key issues, I think are going to
7 have to be policy issues the Commission is going to settle.
8 The containment is issue is one, emergency planning would be
10 And then there's infrastructure issues. What
11 tools does this agency need to be able to review and license
12 one of these designs? I just yesterday dug out, back when
13 we were doing the SAFR and Prism, and even Clinch River, we
14 used a code called Super Systems code for analysis.
15 DR. KRESS: I remember that.
16 MR. KING: This was Super Systems code. It was a
17 1D lump parameter, very crude model. It was probably good
18 enough to look at the end state of the transient, where you
19 would end up, but certainly is not anywhere near the kind of
20 tools you would need to look at some of the details of an
21 accident in Farouk's thermal hydraulic area.
22 What does this agency need to do to take some code
23 like this and improve it, expand it, to meet our needs to
24 actually do a review that would cover all the points we
25 think ought to be covered.
1 So there's a lot of internal work, as well.
2 CHAIRMAN POWERS: That raises the question.
3 Presumably, the licensee would have developed a code of some
4 sort for either his safety analysis or even for his design
5 work. Why not just take his code?
6 DR. KRESS: There certainly would be one for the
7 pebble bed reactor.
8 MR. KING: That's a possibility.
9 DR. SEALE: The Argonne people have done a lot of
10 code development.
11 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Say we just take his code.
12 DR. KRESS: I think you have to do a peer review
13 of it or something.
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: What happens to the independent
16 CHAIRMAN POWERS: You take his code and you fix
17 what you don't like.
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: What happens to the independent
20 DR. KRESS: Yes. That's why I think you need a
21 peer review.
22 MR. THADANI: Should we go revisit history and if
23 these are new designs, and truly new designs, where we don't
24 have experience and so on, I think that NRC having had the
25 independent capability has been invaluable for safety and I
1 would think extremely hard before just saying why don't I
2 use industry tools.
3 I think the value of the agency's independent
4 capability is well documented. Before we walk away from
5 that, for new designs, without any experience, I would think
6 pretty hard.
7 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Look at it this way. A typical
8 code is going to have a balance on the mass and a balance on
9 the energy and then a bunch of other stuff. If I say,
10 Ashok, you can change any of the other stuff you want to, I
11 presume you wouldn't want to change the balance on the
12 energy and the balance on the mass, you can change it any
13 way you want to, but at least this saves you from having to
14 do all those little nitty-gritty details and whatnot. But
15 if you don't like our heat transfer correlations, change
16 them, put anything you want to in there.
17 Why not?
18 DR. KRESS: Some of these codes, the ones I'm
19 familiar with, the ones that would apply to the pebble bed
20 reactor were developed at national laboratories and you
21 might make a case that this is not industry-specific,
22 although the funding probably came from DOE in this case
23 rather than NRC, it's a little bit different animal than an
24 industry code, I think.
25 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But if the South Africans are
1 going to build the first module and they have their own --
2 DR. KRESS: They'll use this code, probably.
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: You will use this code, they
5 DR. KRESS: They will purchase -- they've got it.
6 DR. SEALE: They've got it and they're using it.
7 DR. KRESS: And they're using it.
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: They've got which code?
9 DR. KRESS: It's a code that Oak Ridge created.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: An Oak Ridge code. I see.
11 DR. KRESS: And I forget the name of it, but --
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It's an American code.
13 DR. KRESS: Yes. They'll probably --
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: If it's a national lab, you're
16 DR. KRESS: They'll have to modify it to fit the
17 pebble bed code set, but --
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: This strikes me as an issue
19 we've got to really think hard about here on where we stand
20 on this, because suppose it's purely an industry code, they
21 developed it, they've used it.
22 DR. KRESS: That's a good issue.
23 CHAIRMAN POWERS: They're going to give it to you.
24 They may put some strings on it, but they really don't mind
25 if you want to go in and change the things that get changed.
1 DR. KRESS: In my thinking, that makes it an NRC
2 code, if they do that correctly. If they do it in such a
3 fashion that they're satisfied with the final result, then
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Suppose that they come in with a
6 nice lump parameter code and NRC says we think we ought to
7 go to a CFD on this.
8 DR. KRESS: As long as they can justify what they
9 do and validate it and give it the peer reviews and so on.
10 on the issue of --
11 MR. KING: We didn't come here to answer these
12 questions today. I just think there's a lot of questions
13 out there.
14 DR. KRESS: They're real questions.
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: This is a question I'm going to
16 have to answer.
17 MR. KING: CANDU, we started that review using the
18 Canadian codes. They gave us their codes and we exercised
19 them to look at the various events of interest to us.
20 Whether we would have gone on and developed our own, I don't
21 know, but maybe Ashok knows.
22 MR. THADANI: I think we were not planning to.
23 MR. KING: But we were using their codes.
24 DR. KRESS: You raised two issues about new
25 reactor design. One of them was containment and the other
1 one was emergency response.
2 It might be useful to look at the decommissioning
3 reactor's spent fuel pool risk study, because there is a
4 case where you had the risk equivalent to operating reactors
5 and there's no containment and they want to relax the
6 emergency response, and they have bases, criteria and bases
7 for doing that, and it may be possible, because basically
8 they're doing it there.
9 DR. BONACA: I have a question that comes to you
10 really gave us a convincing list of needs. I mean, one
11 could envision $200 million here rather than 50. But you
12 are confronted with a budget and you gave us, in the
13 morning, your presentation on the short-term needs,
14 essentially it's operating reactors and what they need to
15 support the immediate challenges.
16 And then you have the future need is really the
17 ten-year plan, looking at the future. How do you apportion
18 this limited budget every year to -- how do you prioritize
19 it? I mean, clearly, I view operating plants right now
20 aging, all the issues that come from that, the capability of
21 structures to sustain challenges as a driving force that
22 really challenges the NRC now, because you have all these
23 initiatives of the industry to use the margin that there is
24 for their own purposes.
25 Then you have this challenge of the -- how do you
1 go about that? I'm trying to understand how you do that.
2 That's not an easy task.
3 MR. THADANI: Well, we developed a prioritization
4 scheme for initiating any new work that considered things
5 like if we didn't do this research, what would be the impact
6 on core damage frequency or what would be the impact on
7 containment performance, does it impact a large number of
8 plants, is there some reasonable likelihood of success if we
9 initiate the research program and so on.
10 And what I believe now is that that prioritization
11 scheme is somewhat flawed in at least the environment I see
12 today. I am going to show you a chart, and it was actually
13 Marty Gant from Sandia National Laboratory -- or Randy,
14 Randy Gant from Sandia --
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I will quickly inject that as
16 soon as he puts this chart up, that I have an organizational
17 conflict of interest on this chart, which I've never seen
18 before, but I have an organizational conflict of interest.
19 MR. THADANI: There was only one point I was
20 trying to make. Let me tell you why I'm re-thinking our
21 prioritization scheme, but to answer your question,
22 typically, we have been using some guidelines of not going
23 above 20 percent of our budget on anticipatory or
24 longer-term issues and 80 percent on short-term issues.
25 What has been happening lately is that 20 percent is
1 diminishing in two different ways. The fact that the
2 absolute value is going down, that means the amount that
3 goes towards forward-looking research is going down.
4 The second way it's been going down has been that
5 we have to justify in the budget process, planning,
6 budgeting and monitoring our efforts, we have to justify
7 every little project, no matter how small it is, it's got to
8 be justified, tied to one of the four performance goals.
9 Generally, it's harder to do when you're looking
10 at longer-term research. So during the year, new challenges
11 come up from operating experience or someplace else. So
12 we're looking for resources to deal with those issues.
13 There are only two options we have at that point.
14 One is what we call mid-year allocations. We can
15 go to our chief financial officer and say, well, you know,
16 the money you've been saving on the side, we need some of
17 that and sometimes we're successful, other times we're not
18 successful. That can help.
19 And the other mechanism we use is to see if we
20 can't take some resources out of longer-term research to
21 deal with the shorter-term.
22 In the end, what seems to be happening is that 80
23 percent seems to have crept up many times to 90 percent in
24 terms of addressing short-term issues.
25 Now, I want to show this chart for a reason and
1 because I think the environment around us is changing. I
2 like this chart. I saw it at the water reactor safety
4 I may quibble with details, but the big picture
5 was what he talked about was periods of optimism, guarded
6 views about nuclear power, and pessimistic views about
7 nuclear power.
8 In the early `60s, there was still a lot of
9 optimism about nuclear power, perhaps up to the early `70s,
10 but you can see there were some reasons for some sort of
11 concerns and guarded views about the nuclear power until we
12 had accidents, both at TMI and then later on at Chernobyl,
13 when there were really pessimistic views about the role of
14 nuclear power.
15 We now seem to have turned the corner now. It
16 appears from everything that I see there is a great deal of
17 optimism out there about the role of nuclear power in the
18 next 30 to 50 years in the nation's mix of energy supply
20 This, of course, is partially because of the
21 environmental concerns, but mostly I think because of the
22 economic situation.
23 In this environment that we're in, Joe Colvin said
24 at the water reactor safety meeting, just last week, that
25 don't be surprised if the industry comes to NRC with not
1 just one application, but maybe ten applications, six or ten
2 applications in five years, and he said I may have to revise
3 that, it may be sooner than five years.
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Really?
5 MR. THADANI: Yes. That's what Joe said at the
6 meeting. Now, as you know, and I said this earlier, that
7 PECO is providing some resources to SCOM, ten percent. We
8 have had meetings with Department of Energy here.
9 All indicators are pointing to optimism and that's
10 not reflected in any way in terms of the way we prioritize
11 our work and the role of research that's in our vision
12 statement preparing the agency for the future to be able to
13 make sound decisions in a timely fashion.
14 So we have to look at that process, how we
15 prioritize. We have to make sure that there is an agency
16 buy-in in that process and that's going to be what we'll be
17 working on.
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I guess I'd feel a little bit
19 more comfortable if I didn't know that Joe Colvin retires in
20 a year and a half or something like that.
21 DR. KRESS: That shouldn't make any difference.
22 That doesn't cloud your crystal ball.
23 MR. THADANI: I would hesitate to comment on that,
24 because I know a lot of people who might be retiring in the
25 next several years.
1 CHAIRMAN POWERS: And my point is that we've got
2 one individual saying, okay, there are going to be five or
3 -- I'd like to hear all five of them before I started
4 getting too excited about this, because speaking of
5 anecdotes, I had a distressing -- I had the most distressing
6 experience, I think, in my professional career the other
7 day. I was called in to talk to a vice president of Sandia
8 who is supposed to think about the future.
9 And he said here's -- we'll bring some people in
10 and you tell us about why nuclear power is so great, because
11 he's thinking about a future in terms of Amory Lovins kinds
12 of things, whatnot, and I said, well, no trouble at all.
13 I went in there and the first thing I discovered is
14 reasonably intelligent people, I thought were reasonably
15 intelligent, I'm revising my thinking real quickly here,
16 seemed to be able to recall for me every LER and newspaper
17 article on some egregious error from memory.
18 I mean, they just pulled these things, well, 1972,
19 some plant -- like Ducane Power or something, did some
20 egregious thing, and --
21 DR. KRESS: Like we do these guys?
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I mean, they could go through
23 Maine Yankee just -- I don't know, just story after story.
24 Just every time I opened my mouth, they'd say, ah, but. And
25 to my mind, with that, if I have these people who think
1 about energy with this kind of hostility toward nuclear
2 power, it takes a lot to cause me to turn those red things
3 into even yellow things in forecasting.
4 One swallow does not a spring make, I think.
5 DR. KRESS: Can we get a copy of that slide, by
6 the way?
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes, I'd like to have it.
8 MR. THADANI: I'd be happy to.
9 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is it possible to e-mail it?
10 CHAIRMAN POWERS: We can probably get Randy to.
11 DR. BONACA: I would like to follow-up on another
12 question, however, on that.
13 DR. KRESS: That one takes TID-14.844.
14 DR. BONACA: I was looking at the work that the
15 RES is doing and there are many tasks there. I'm trying to
16 understand the priority driving those tasks.
17 When I asked for priority, I was given essentially
18 the four general categories, safety, regulatory
19 effectiveness, public confidence and so on and so forth.
20 Now, that doesn't give me a priority still,
21 because there are so many things important to safety, but
22 some of them are pressing and some of them are not so
23 pressing, and maybe I could also say that the probability of
24 something is going to drive my assessment of how pressing it
25 is and which one I'm going to put forward first.
1 So I look at this on the structural work and I see
2 three categories. One is driven by assessing the capability
3 of structures and components that are being degraded, and
4 I'm saying this is -- especially for me, this is number one,
5 because it's challenging us now, and that's very important
7 Then I see work to assess the capability of a new
8 containment. Not a new design. I'm saying just a
9 containment, not degraded. And there I begin to lose a
10 sense of what is driving his assessment.
11 There is a concrete structure and also steel
12 structures and there's quite an amount of work going on, and
13 I was trying to understand is it for new designs, for new
14 plants, and then there is a third category that says seismic
15 work, and it's substantial and I really wasn't aware that
16 seismic was such a big issue right now still.
17 And when I look at them, I really don't get a good
18 feeling for what is driving the priorities that where you
19 put the money in these categories.
20 MR. THADANI: Let me say a few words and then I'm
21 sure Mike would want to also give you his sense.
22 DR. BONACA: And I just provide it as an example.
23 MR. THADANI: I understand the point you're
24 making. We obviously didn't give you a lot of detailed
25 evaluations that we do in prioritizing various activities.
1 We go beyond just the four performance goals. We have
2 weighting factors for various goals. We do weight safety,
3 maintain safety higher than reducing unnecessary burden, for
5 And we developed, under each -- it was sort of a
6 hierarchical approach to prioritization. We developed,
7 under each goal, certain attributes and -- well, for
8 example, under safety, would it -- how does it impact core
9 damage frequency. If it's a certain fraction, then it gets
10 certain weighting factor; if it's very small, it will get a
11 lower weighting factor.
12 So there were some -- under each goal, there were
13 between three and four tiers that we looked at and we
14 provided some weighting factors.
15 And then we used a simple tool to integrate all of
16 that information and come up with a number. And last year,
17 when we went through this process, I learned my lesson that
18 that process is pretty good for what is really pretty
19 important to safety, pretty high, it's pretty good for
20 what's pretty low.
21 But there's a lot in between. They come out
22 pretty close. So you struggle through as to which way do
23 you go and so on.
24 Now, as for the structures, there are some very important,
25 in my view, international programs, testing programs,
1 sponsored by NUPEC on containments, as you referred to
3 I think if we're going to go to a risk-informed
4 regulation truly on sound basis, and I will keep saying
5 this, because I strongly believe that's the right thing to
6 do, to be risk-informed, but to do it in the correct way
7 with enough information base.
8 We have, as you know, used, in the past, some
9 models for using ultimate capacity of the containments to
10 try and understand what the fragilities would be and how we
11 might model those in risk analyses.
12 Tom would say, well, these are just single data
13 points and so on and that's true. Nevertheless, they are
14 very valuable. They are very useful to know how high you
15 can really go in terms of let's say pressures.
16 What are some of the locations which might fail
17 first? We know what happened with the steel containment,
18 but for the reinforced concrete containment, there are
19 different issues. And we are very, very fortunate in that
20 our resource input is pretty small as compared to the total
21 cost of the program.
22 And it is consistent with the direction the agency
23 should be going in, but I'm sure Mike wants to add.
24 MR. MAYFIELD: Let me take them in the order you
25 had them. The degraded structures and components, that's
1 one that we've felt like even though it had limited user
2 office support, it was one of the areas that Ashok agreed
3 was good as anticipatory work.
4 We felt like it was important and we've continued
5 to pursue that. Of the three areas, we felt like that was
6 also the highest -- the most important of the three.
7 I would also tell you that subsequently, just this
8 last year, we have gotten more user office interest in the
9 outcomes from that piece of work, or the outputs that they
10 have seen where they could, in fact, use that information.
11 So that was our ranking of those three areas.
12 That one came in the sort of middle group that Ashok was
13 talking about.
14 DR. BONACA: Middle group.
15 MR. MAYFIELD: In the overall office ranking, that
16 one sort of fell in the middle of where a lot of things had
17 very similar looking rankings.
18 The testing of the new design really had two
19 purposes, and Sher Bahadur is sitting back here, he is the
20 Branch Chief in that branch. So if I say something that is
21 wrong, correct me here. But that work had two goals.
22 One was to sort of look at how much could you pump
23 up a pre-stress concrete containment, just the ultimate
24 pressure you could get to, but perhaps more importantly was
25 to push the computer codes. We know that they do pretty
1 well up to sort of the design pressure, but how far can you
2 push them and still rely on them.
3 WE had seen with the steel containments that it
4 was a design detail that ultimately led to the failure and
5 that wasn't picked up in the modeling.
6 So with the pre-stress concrete, we wanted to see
7 the same kind of thing and, in fact, that appears to be the
9 That was one of the programs where if we were
10 paying for it ourselves, we wouldn't have done it. But
11 because we had some significant international financial
12 leverage, and I don't know want to put a number on it, it
13 was a significant leverage.
14 The third area is actually to the seismic work.
15 There's actually two pieces. One is looking at how the
16 earth moves given a seismic event and then lumped in that
17 same heading is given that the earth moves, what happens to
18 the structure, and those two things get mixed.
19 The piece of the work that looks at how the earth
20 moves is at a maintenance level. If we're going to cut that
21 any further, we're out of the business. We are down -- it's
22 a small number and I don't recall it, off the top of my
23 head, but it's basically with USGS and we're at the minimum
24 level. The project managers came back and said if you're
25 going to cut it, just get out.
1 So Ashok and Margaret looked at it and said, no,
2 that's not a technology we're prepared to just get out of.
3 So that piece is maintained at literally a maintenance
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Why did they come to this
6 conclusion? I mean, a lot of people studying how the earth
7 moves in the earthquake, why can't you just -- I mean,
8 California, it's a major growth industry.
9 MR. MAYFIELD: Well, this is with USGS and you
10 have to gain access to the detailed database, just saying,
11 oh, gee, --
12 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It's a public institute. You
13 can get it anyway. It's a public institution.
14 MR. MAYFIELD: Sher, why don't you come to the
15 microphone over here?
16 DR. BAHADUR: This is Sher Bahadur, from Office of
17 Research. Whatever Ashok has mentioned on this program and
18 Mike has said, I don't have very much to add, but I just
19 want to emphasize a couple of things.
20 Seismic research has been misunderstood from the
21 beginning because it has been lumped with a number of other
22 projects that we are doing in this field.
23 For example, the seismic work that we do for
24 geology and in major earthquakes is a very small portion of
25 what you see in the budget.
1 Most of it is spent in how these structures behave
2 in terms of the seismic loading and the normal design and
3 Mike alluded to that.
4 The work we are doing in the seismic right now is
5 a very small amount that we bring with us to the table with
6 USGS, so what we can delve into their database, and it takes
7 millions of dollars to maintain that network all over the
9 We are just getting it for a couple of thousand
11 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It's a public institution. You
12 ought to be able to get it for free.
13 DR. BAHADUR: The information that you can get
14 free, and we are getting free, is more like where the
15 earthquake took place and where was the epicenter or what
16 was the density of it, what was the --
17 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: If it's a couple thousand
18 dollars, why are we talking about it?
19 DR. BONACA: But I didn't see -- I lumped together
21 MR. MAYFIELD: What you'll see out of the
22 information you get was the lumped.
23 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Let me propose something,
24 because it's true that in most PRAs that are doing external
25 events, I think the seismic contribution to risk is up
1 there, it could be number one, number two, number three, but
2 it's among the dominant contributors for most plants.
3 And I don't recall this committee being briefed on
4 the activities of your office in that important area, and
5 perhaps some of the questions you're getting now is that
6 people all of a sudden see this major activity and they say
7 what is this, why are we worrying about this.
8 Maybe we ought to schedule a briefing of the full
9 ACRS on the program and where we are trying to go and so on,
10 because I really think the committee should be on top of
11 what is going on, and I believe the issue is important also
12 to the spent fuel pool.
13 CHAIRMAN POWERS: The challenge we face right now,
14 George, is that they couldn't break into our agenda between
15 now and March.
16 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: That's fine. I'm talking about
17 long-term, not about this particular --
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: We've got to write on the
19 seismic research program next month.
20 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: When I made that proposal, I
21 didn't mean that that would be critical to our research
22 report. I'm talking about long-term, that we never seem to
23 discuss earthquakes in this committee.
24 MR. MAYFIELD: I think as a general matter, we
25 would like to come brief you on that program. I agree, we
1 haven't been down in a long time to talk about the seismic.
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Regarding the report, though,
3 that worries Dana, perhaps that can be done -- Dr. Bonaca
4 can make a trip up there and understand it a little better.
5 MR. MAYFIELD: We'd be happy to come and talk to
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Because I don't see how else we
8 can do it.
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Right now, we've got the seismic
10 research that involves the earth moving. That's the USGS
11 and a couple K and --
12 MR. MAYFIELD: Then you've got the soils
13 structures piece, which is how the building moves given that
14 the earth moved, and then the internal structures inside.
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: And there are literally jillions
16 of people working on that. It's a major growth industry in
17 California, as well. What is it that you're going to do
18 that's so unique?
19 DR. BAHADUR: I may add a few things here. The
20 cooperative programs that we have with a number of countries
21 are focused on a number of things. We are working on the
22 seismic response of the nuclear piping. We are doing that
23 with Battelle Columbus Laboratory.
24 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Is there something unique about
25 the nuclear piping that's not covered by all the other work
1 in piping?
2 DR. BAHADUR: It may not be unique in the sense of
3 the structural integrity of piping, but when you start
4 looking at the literature, there aren't that many people who
5 have concentrated on looking at the response of piping to
6 the seismic loading.
7 You will see that there are a lot of industrial
8 buildings that have been researched to see as how would they
9 behave due to seismic loading, but when you look at the
10 containment design, then you see that it would be difficult
11 for you to extrapolate that information onto the containment
13 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I guess what I'm really
14 struggling with is you guys come back and you say you've got
15 a couple of rules. Say, the plant's got to survive the safe
16 shutdown earthquake and a design basis earthquake. Okay.
17 You, licensee, show me that you can do this.
18 Is there anything they're going to show you that
19 you don't know so much about that you can't say yeah, they
20 proved it to me well enough? Can you not evaluate seismic
21 analyses that licensees submit to you now?
22 DR. BAHADUR: You approach this from a different
23 angle. Approach it from an angle when the licensee is
24 coming to you with an application where the structures
25 aren't pristine and it's not new, and now you have to
1 evaluate its fragility and you have to determine as to how
2 much of a credit you're going to give to the licensee.
3 Our research right now in this area is, for
4 example, the model that we are testing at Sandia, is not
5 only testing the seismic behavior of the structure under
6 seismic loading. What we have done is in a round-robin
7 test, we have had a pre-test analysis, whereby 14 different
8 countries came up with a different failure mechanism that
9 would take place under this loading.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Let me play the devil's advocate
11 here. If I look at the results of PRAs, the uncertainty in
12 the frequency of the seismic contribution is huge, but it
13 comes form the seismically, in part, and the ground motion.
14 The models for propagating the ground motion, not from the
16 And for those two, I don't know what you can do
17 about them. First of all, it's a much bigger issue than
18 just for nuclear facilities, and then if I look at it that
19 way, why am I spending money on the structures when my
20 uncertainties will be large anyway because of that other
21 part I can do nothing about.
22 MR. MAYFIELD: You've got an uncertainty in how
23 the earth moves, but you also have the uncertainty in how
24 the structure is going to react, and there is a piece of the
25 work that looks at precisely that.
1 Then Dana's questions about, well, the piping,
2 everybody analyzes piping, well, the industrial piping codes
3 differ substantially from nuclear piping design codes, at
4 least once you get into the primary and secondary systems.
5 You get out into balance of plant, it starts looking a bit
7 MR. THADANI: George, I think maybe using the same
8 points you made, I come to a different conclusion, that you
9 said, and I agree with you, by the way, that seismic is for
10 many studies is a pretty significant contributor.
11 And an important element in that is the
12 uncertainty in the hazard part. Now, it makes it even more
13 important, in my mind, to try and make sure that we, at
14 least to the extent we can, better understand the
15 conditional probability of the response and how well -- you
16 know, I can --
17 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I understand that point, Ashok.
18 MR. THADANI: But what I think we didn't really
19 address, I don't think -- I think we need to address is the
20 issue of participation in USGS. The dialogue that I have
21 heard so far does not answer the question that Dana has
22 asked, and we need to respond to that.
23 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: If you're only spending $2,000
25 DR. BAHADUR: It's not 2,000, it's 200,000.
1 DR. BONACA: That's why I said at the beginning I
2 could see $200 million for this program and it deserves it.
3 And I'm not saying that seismic -- all these plans are no
4 worthwhile. I was talking about prioritizing. And I can
5 see the first category, where you are looking at issues even
6 of seismicity with the Japan collaboration effort and you
7 are addressing the performance of degraded equipment,
8 equipment that is aging.
9 That is so current, that is a very important
10 question, because all the seismicity studies were made and
11 the effects on plants have been assuming the plant was new
12 and capable to the design capability.
13 And now we would like to understand, in fact, how
14 that is affected by seismicity. So that portion of seismic
15 studies being done is very important for that, and I can see
16 priority one for me, not in the middle. I would see it
18 But when I see just simply getting a better
19 understanding, for example, collaborating with NUPEC on
20 seismic structure engineering, that's more like, it's very
21 important, I think, but maybe in a restricted budget, it
22 would not come to make the cut. And, again, for me, it's a
23 much rougher judgment than you are bringing in. I don't
24 have all the other programs.
25 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: From my experience with PRAs,
1 you don't see anything happening unless you go significantly
2 higher than the SSC, is that true? I mean, I saw design and
4 MR. THADANI: I think that is true. I think that
5 is true.
6 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Significantly higher.
7 MR. THADANI: You have to go significantly above.
8 I can also tell you that if it weren't for the work that was
9 done, we would have had extremely tough time on Maine
10 Yankee. You might recall, we used the seismic design
11 margins approach to solve what was a really difficult issue
12 of the design base for Maine Yankee, seismic design base,
13 and ability to deal with --
14 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: My point was that you are
15 talking about really rare earthquakes when you go to that
17 MR. THADANI: That's true.
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And another thing that I know,
19 you don't want to worry about it, but you're not going to
20 have anybody around to get killed by the nuclear accident by
21 that time, but anyway, that's not your responsibility,
22 because you're the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
23 There would not be a Chicago or a New York to
24 worry about. But the frequency comes primarily from that
25 part, so I don't know that I need to understand the
1 structural response if I --
2 MR. MAYFIELD: There is one other aspect of this
3 that goes back to the first piece. In doing the PRAs, you
4 have to go very high in the earthquake loading for virgin
5 structures. As they degrade, you don't have to go quite so
6 high before you start seeing it. But that's part of the
7 issue that --
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It's an aging --
9 MR. MAYFIELD: It's an aging phenomenon, but
10 that's --
11 CHAIRMAN POWERS: If it's bad enough to make that
12 a significant thing, we've got a problem in Part 54.
13 MR. MAYFIELD: That's right. Ed Jordan was
14 recounting the story of when he had gone in and was walking
15 down a plant and found hangers with the bolts missing.
16 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Then that's a Part 54 problem.
17 MR. MAYFIELD: That's a different issue, but it's
18 the real world, and so we want to start looking at some of
19 these things.
20 The other thing we discovered when they did the
21 seismic tests in the HDR is that piping supports don't work
22 exactly like the designers anticipate them working. They
23 saw a significant historesis in the way the supports moved
24 and, oh, by the way, that affected the analysis.
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Well, you're armed now with some
1 questions that you can really pose to the licensees when
2 they come to you about their seismic issues. But you
3 haven't got anybody lined up to come to you, because you've
4 already approved them.
5 So now what are you going to do with the results
6 of this research?
7 MR. MAYFIELD: What you see is people coming in
8 with substantial modifications to the plants and they still
9 have to redo their seismic analysis. If we see some new
10 license applications, then presumably there will be seismic
11 questions associated with the structures.
12 We see seismic issues associated with siting of
13 non-power reactor facilities, some of the fuel cycle
14 facilities. So this work has application for some of our
15 NMSS customers.
16 You also have siting issues associated with the
17 dry storage sites.
18 MR. THADANI: I think it's very important that you
19 not -- I mean, much of these points that Mike is making are
20 -- the work is driven by requests and we -- all of us,
21 including -- I do the same thing. I keep thinking reactors
22 and forget there are many other areas, and I can tell you
23 that there is significant issue in people's minds,
24 particularly in fuel fabrication facilities and so on, and
1 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But the earthquakes are not so
3 MR. MAYFIELD: The earthquakes are not so rare.
4 MR. THADANI: That's true, that's true.
5 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think the fundamental problem
6 is that this committee has not been briefed on that. I know
7 there is a real issue with the research report, but I think
8 most of this stuff is new to us and --
9 MR. MAYFIELD: Again, I think that's a fair point.
10 MR. THADANI: And really I didn't want to tell
11 discussion on this, it's just an example of what we're all
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I have another one that's
15 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I will have to say, I come away
16 very uncertain what the research does for us, because it
17 seems to me that either you've got a fairly well established
18 technology you can tap into or you've got no requests.
19 I just don't see where you get anything.
20 MR. MAYFIELD: Let me give you one concrete
21 example of where the research contributed. We had the ASME
22 revise its piping design codes to significantly change the
23 allowable seismic stress.
24 It was the research that said no, that's gone too
25 far. It didn't say no, you can't make a change, it said,
1 no, that change has gone too far.
2 Now, if we hadn't done the research, we wouldn't
3 have had the independent look at it. We wouldn't have known
4 the questions to be asking.
5 So when the argument goes, well, why don't you
6 simply pose these things to licensees, and, Dana, I've got
7 to tell you, we hear that in a lot of areas and it's a very
8 legitimate question.
9 The issue in this area, as in many of those
10 others, is you have to know enough about it to be able to
11 ask the questions.
12 CHAIRMAN POWERS: That's absolutely true.
13 MR. MAYFIELD: And that's really where we are with
14 this piece of work, is knowing enough and staying
15 sufficiently involved to be able to ask the questions to
16 challenge --
17 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It's a core competency.
18 MR. MAYFIELD: It's a core competency and that's
19 really what we're talking about. We're not off looking to
20 break new ground, no pun intended. But it is something
21 where we do believe it is a core competency, it is one of
22 those areas where we have to stay smart enough and it's not
23 enough to simply send a couple of guys to conferences
24 periodically. You have to keep your hands in.
25 DR. SEALE: And wouldn't Mr. Lochbaum have fun if
1 he was able to shoot arrows at the NRC about not being
2 involved in the modern assessment of seismic behavior. He'd
3 make the PRA thing look like duck soup.
4 MR. MAYFIELD: I've got to tell you, when we
5 rattled the west coast a few years ago, we got a lot more
6 support for and interest in our ability to answer questions
7 about seismic and why it looked different from the
8 traditional earthquake assumptions.
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I'd come back to George's point.
10 If I've got a factor of ten in my seismic return frequency,
11 I can be awful uncertain about everything else.
12 MR. THADANI: I'm going to disagree with you.
13 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I know you already --
14 MR. THADANI: I tell you, I am troubled by this
15 discussion because it is a very fundamental in safety, I
16 think, and we're treating it a little too casually, I think.
17 I agree with George's suggestion. I mean, I'm the
18 first one to say if we're doing something that's not really
19 yielding value, cut it, but cut it after you understand what
20 it's all about and not because of an opinion.
21 I feel strongly that I look to you for ideas,
22 suggestions, and I like this collegial discussion, but if
23 you - maybe some of us at the table can answer some
24 questions. I believe we have not answered the question
25 about USGS that you raised.
1 On the other hand, I disagree strongly if you say
2 just because there's uncertainty in the hazard function of
3 order of magnitude or more, you don't need to worry. I
4 think that's the wrong way to look at safety, in my view.
5 Recognize that even the Livermore and the EPRI
6 curves have come a lot closer together. We're not talking
7 about ten years ago when there were big differences and it
8 was a big driver then.
9 It's not as big a driver now. So I think we are
10 maybe over-simplifying the issue a little bit.
11 But on this issue, I think the best thing is to
12 brief you, perhaps talk to Mario first and then whenever
13 it's convenient for the committee.
14 But I hope the recommendations that you make about
15 our programs would be based on first making sure there is an
16 understanding of what it is we're doing and why and if
17 that's not good enough, you say disagree, that's fine.
18 DR. BAHADUR: I would like to add one more thing
19 about USGS. The USGS actually annual collects the data and
20 it processes that data to a frequency which is applicable to
21 similar structures. What our dollars do, when we take the
22 dollars and join the program, is that then it gets the range
23 extended so that it can be applicable and handed to our
25 So it's the millions of dollars of program that
1 USGS maintains, but they are maintaining mostly in a
2 bandwidth which is applicable to the similar structures
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think there is another area --
5 are we done with earthquakes?
6 MR. MAYFIELD: Can I ask one question?
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Sure.
8 MR. MAYFIELD: Tell us, if not now, in the near
9 future, what we can do to support you and what additional
10 information we can give you.
11 DR. BONACA: It's more understanding how you
12 prioritize this and clearly I was using my judgment and
13 saying this is number one and this is -- where does it fit.
14 That was more my question there regarding -- and because the
15 prioritization process is not transparent in identification
16 of these issues, of course.
17 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: There is another major program,
18 at least the little summaries I've seen, that deals with
19 improved PRA methods and tools and just human reliability,
20 fire risk analysis, digital system risk analysis, and that's
21 all I know.
22 It seems to me that that is a major undertaking.
23 On the basis of the --
24 MR. THADANI: I hope it includes aging effects,
25 also. You didn't read that.
1 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It doesn't. What I have doesn't
2 say that. I can check again. But here is -- I don't know.
3 We have reviewed parts of the program, fire research and so
4 on, in different contexts, but I don't know the details of
5 this and -- well.
6 I don't know what to say about it, but it's
7 heavily funded.
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: What is it? I guess that's what
9 you're asking, what's in it.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes.
11 MR. KING: And you want some more information on
12 what are we doing, what's the schedule --
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes.
14 MR. KING: Okay. We can get you that.
15 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I have a number of other
16 questions. Can I go through them? Not detailed. Real-time
17 decision-making using PRAs. You know, with the monitors
18 now, people are beginning to use them more and more. In
19 fact, I think there is a situation where -- I forget now --
20 when they go up to power, where they are asking that they be
21 allowed to go to other -- that's a minor use really. But do
22 you think that's something that you ought to worry about?
23 The original PRAs were not developed for real-time
24 applications. They're sort of averaging a lot of things
25 over time. But in a real situation, of course, you know
1 that this pump doesn't work. I mean, you're not going to
2 work with the unavailability of the pump.
3 So do you think that's something you may want to
4 start maybe at a low level at this point, but to be ready?
5 I bet you San Onofre is going to come here in a couple of
6 years and say now we want to use this, because they are very
7 proud of their --
8 MR. THADANI: They are. And this is probably what
9 the future is going to look like beyond.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: So you agree that maybe you
11 ought to think about it.
12 MR. THADANI: Something we need to.
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Low power shutdown. Let's see.
14 Mario has already preempted this. I think I have one or two
16 DR. BONACA: You and I have lost some hair on it.
17 DR. SEALE: His is more evident than yours.
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Thank you very much, Bob.
19 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I guess as long as we're asking
20 questions. One of the things that I noticed about the
21 program plans with respect to probabilistic risk assessment,
22 the first thing I noticed was indeed there was, over the
23 period from 1999 to the projections for 2003, an evolution,
24 more and more of the programs became connected with
25 probabilistic risk assessment.
1 It was very clear in the way things evolved. One
2 of the things that surprised me was that research work on
3 fire protection or fire risk assessment as opposed to fire
4 protection seemed to come to an abrupt conclusion as though
5 you would have solved the problem.
6 Is that the intention? Is that the belief, that
7 you would have solved all of our fire risk analysis problems
8 by --
9 MR. KING: No, that's a wrong impression. We had
10 put together a fire risk research plan a year or so ago that
11 carried us through the end of this fiscal year and at that
12 point in time, we had hoped to have a lot of the modeling
13 issues resolved and then we were going to decide where to go
14 from here.
15 Now, Nathan Siu was working on where do we go from
16 here based upon today's knowledge and, in fact, we're
17 increasing the funding starting in 2002 in the fire area to
18 get into not just risk assessment, but maybe some true fire
19 protection research kinds of issues.
20 CHAIRMAN POWERS: One of the things that Nathan
21 mentioned to us in the -- he came down and talked to us a
22 little bit about his research program at the Fire Protection
23 Subcommittee meeting and I guess they had been going through
24 and hand-analyzing circuits, but they come to whatever
25 conclusions they come to.
1 And he allowed -- he said it was tremendously
2 manpower intensive to do that, and we asked him are they
3 computerizable, and he said he thought so.
4 It struck me -- one of the industry guys came up
5 and presented a hand analysis that he had done on looking at
6 hot shorts and things like that and circuits and it was very
7 clever what he had done, and so we asked him, is that
8 computerizable, and he said, oh, yeah, you can do this, and
9 you can imagine being one of these graphical user interface
10 kinds of computer programs, where you draw out the circuit
11 and then you can go in and say, okay, if the short occurs
12 here, what does it affect and things like that.
13 That seemed like a very good idea to me.
14 MR. KING: That's the kind of thing we'll have to
15 think about. Do we want to spend some money to computerize
16 the methods that Nathan has developed in circuit analysis.
17 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It just struck me as to why was
18 he doing inspections of plants with respect to circuit
19 analysis, and I know we don't inspect on circuit analysis
20 right now, but maybe we'll get back to it.
21 MR. SIEBER: Wait till you read my letter.
22 CHAIRMAN POWERS: But having that kind of a tool
23 would be a tremendous asset.
24 MR. KING: Another thing Nathan is thinking about
25 is should we take a plant that's done a fire PRA in the past
1 and rebaseline it using the upgraded methods, circuit
2 analysis, whatever the current understanding is and see what
3 difference does it make, where are the big differences,
4 where is --
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: You and Jack may want to work
6 together a little bit so that we -- right now, to us, fire
7 protection comes to an end at 2001.
8 MR. KING: No. No. The budget goes up, actually.
9 CHAIRMAN POWERS: So we may want to understand and
10 work out what the plans are in the future, if they aren't
11 worked out yet.
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Speaking of computer tools,
13 SAPHIRE is a major project that has been going on for years,
14 and I have a couple of questions.
15 First of all, it is claimed somewhere there that a sample of
16 plants from each region have been loaded, the PRAs of these
17 plants have been loaded on the SAPHIRE database.
18 Why isn't SAPHIRE the central tool that is used
19 and that will be used in the oversight process? Why don't
20 we have all the PRAs there? Why are we developing the
21 significance determination processes if SAPHIRE did not
23 I mean, either it is a major product of the Office
24 of Research that is going to help us use the PRAs in
25 risk-informed regulation or it isn't. And is there a
1 problem with SAPHIRE?
2 MR. KING: No, and it's not a major expenditure
3 right now.
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Right, no, it isn't, but it's
5 been for a number of years.
6 MR. KING: Development, originally, years ago, was
7 expensive, but now the tools themselves in terms of what you
8 use to develop fault trees and event trees are pretty much
9 in the maintenance boat.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Right.
11 MR. KING: The money that's being spent is to add
12 plant specific PRAs to the database.
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: And why are we happy with a
14 sample of those and not all of them? Why not have all of
15 them? The IPEs, you guys have the authority to request
16 them, don't you? I mean, you are not at the mercy of the
18 MR. KING: There is nothing that gives us the
19 right to go out and require those things be submitted. Some
20 licensees have submitted them voluntarily. We have no basis
21 for going out and saying you must submit it.
22 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: So what is the basis then of the
23 significance determination process? If you don't have
24 access to the plant specific PRA, I don't understand how the
25 inspectors can assess the significance of a finding which
1 was a finding at this plant using some sort of guidance that
2 is not based on the plant's plant specific PRA.
3 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I know what the mechanics are.
4 The mechanics are that they make -- in phase two, they make
5 an assessment and then they give it to the licensee and ask
6 him to go use his particular tools to see if they agree or
7 disagree and if they disagree --
8 MR. KING: There is a phase three of the
9 significance determination process, where we will do
10 analysis and we can do the SPAR model analysis or if we have
11 the actual plant PRA, we could put it on SAPHIRE and do that
13 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But wouldn't it be a powerful
14 argument to go to the licensee and say look, if you give us
15 your PRA, we will do a better job when we do this
17 It seems to me that would be a -- it is beyond me
18 how we can have a risk-informed regulatory system without
19 risk models for the licensee facilities. I just don't
20 understand that.
21 DR. SEALE: Burden reduction ought to cut both
22 ways, too.
23 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I just don't understand it.
24 DR. KRESS: I agree, George.
25 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: We want the benefits of
1 risk-informed regulation without risk information.
2 This is a real issue here. Maybe we can bring it
3 up with the Commission. What is this business that we don't
4 have access to the PSAs?
5 MR. SIEBER: They don't even have to have one.
6 They don't have to have one.
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But it's a voluntary system,
8 Jack. The whole thing is voluntary.
9 MR. SIEBER: If you were on the staff and I was
10 back in my job as a licensee, we would have a real
11 interesting discussion about how much I would give you and
12 why. That's the way licensees basically react.
13 DR. KRESS: You could make it a requirement of
15 MR. SIEBER: You have to have a reason to do that.
16 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Jack, in the old days, you
17 didn't have a risk-informed oversight process.
18 DR. KRESS: That's right.
19 MR. SIEBER: That's right.
20 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Now you probably would have a
21 higher incentive to be more cooperative.
22 MR. SIEBER: That's right. If we were into an
23 enforcement mode, we certainly would perform whatever it is
24 we had to do to make our case.
25 MR. KING: WE have SPAR models for every plant in
1 the country. Those were developed by us using some
2 consistent guidelines in terms of the scope and depth and
3 the modeling assumptions that went in, how the data is
5 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: These are for sequence precursor
7 MR. KING: Used for ASP, but they're also used for
8 the significance determination process. If a licensee comes
9 in and says no, that inspection finding is low risk and
10 here's my PRA results, we can pull out our SPAR model and
11 say --
12 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Okay.
13 MR. KING: We can say, no, our SPAR model says
14 it's high risk, and then the negotiation starts of why does
15 your model come up with this number and our model comes up
16 with that number and on a case by case basis, you settle
17 which assumptions do you accept and which ones don't you
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: If I were an intervenor, I would
20 love this situation. It gives me so much ammunition to
21 write a report that the NRC doesn't know what it's doing.
22 MR. KING: It's easy to say, well, let's just get
23 all the licensee PRAs and we use those, but then you've got
24 to go in and ask yourself how good are those PRAs. And
25 that's a lot of work.
1 MR. SIEBER: It gets even worse because the plant
2 keeps changing and it's keeping it up to date and things
3 like that.
4 MR. KING: If it's ours, we've got some
5 consistency. We know the basis for how they were developed
6 and we can use them to start asking the right questions.
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: So why then is the significance
8 determination process good enough if it is not based on some
9 sort of reliable information? Is it very conservative? Is
10 it a very conservative process?
11 MR. KING: The first step when you get the
12 inspection results is there is some qualitative process by
13 which you categorize something high, medium or low, and if
14 that isn't good enough or there is a disagreement, you go
15 into the quantitative and that's where you get into
16 comparing what the licensee calculated versus what we
17 calculated and why is there differences and settle on -
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: So the licensee might tell you I
19 looked at my PRA and this is my number or do you actually
20 want to see the PRA?
21 MR. KING: You actually can ask to see the PRA
22 results that he used to calculate that number.
23 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: So if you do that maybe 50
24 times, you get to see the whole PRA.
25 DR. SEALE: It's what you really call man to man
2 MR. THADANI: George, what you are saying is
3 efficient way of dealing with issues, go straight to what
4 really may, in the end, be the real good basis for
5 determining how significant whatever the finding may be.
6 I think we have two issues that I would like to
7 think we can get to where you would like to get to. But we
8 have two issues. Issue number one is to get to a point
9 where we can say yes, these PRAs today, updated PRAs, have a
10 good enough quality and that's number one.
11 Number two, we have to make sure --
12 DR. SHACK: Whose PRAs, yours or the licensee's?
13 MR. THADANI: The licensee's.
14 DR. SEALE: How do you know, unless you know
15 what's in them?
16 MR. THADANI: That's clearly -- we will not -- and
17 I think Tom was saying that, that we won't know that they
18 have the right quality until we have an opportunity to look
19 at them, and Tom said that will take a lot of resources,
20 which is true.
21 However, I think let's leave the issue of
22 resources aside for a moment. We have another challenge
23 which is industry has indicated at the last steering
24 committee meeting that I had with the industry steering
25 committee meeting, they said they would like to make these
1 PRAs publicly available.
2 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: That's an issue they are
3 discussing now among themselves.
4 MR. THADANI: But we're not there yet. Now, if we
5 could get to those two points, number one, we have some
6 confidence in the quality of the PRAs, number two, they
7 would be available for public, whatever decisions we make
8 are scrutable, then I think what you say, to me, makes a lot
9 of sense, why do we beat around the bush in a number of
10 different ways, why don't we go straight to the tool itself,
11 because we agree that the plants in this country are
13 There are lots of plant specific features that
14 play an important part whether something is significant or
16 So I just think that we are now doing about as
17 well as we can given the situation we have. I hope it will
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Okay. Two comments. The first
20 is a question actually. There is a number of licensees who
21 are at the cutting edge of this technology.
22 MR. THADANI: Yes.
23 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Have they volunteered to you
24 their PRAs? South Texas Project, San Onofre, do you have
25 those PRAs? They are very proud of their PRAs.
1 MR. KING: I think we have South Texas. I'd have
2 to check on San Onofre. I could get you the list of the
3 ones we have.
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Okay.
5 MR. SIEBER: Are they on the docket when you get
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: No, not the docket. That's an
8 issue that's being discussed, Jack.
9 MR. SIEBER: So they are not public documents yet.
10 That's where the licensee problem comes from. Once you make
11 them public documents, they take on a life of their own and
12 you're obviously updating them. They're good ammunition for
14 DR. BONACA: I think Jack has an important point.
15 I think there is a true paradigm shift in the way you
16 regulate. Before, there was a prescriptive approach or
17 recipe. If you write your SAR, you complete it this way,
18 you design the plant and then you ran it by the tech specs,
19 then you're responsibility for safety. You have to live by
20 these rules.
21 But then you know how you're running your plant
22 and all you're going to check is that you live by these
23 rules, which is really this boundary of rules of tech specs
24 and so on.
25 Now, here, once you have a full-blown model of
1 every single component in the plant, assuming that you could
2 have that, which you'll never have anyway, now you're going
3 to say I can make the same -- I can evaluate every decision
4 you make. I can look -- every time you make any decision, I
5 am going to look at it and check it and running the plant
6 with you.
7 It's a real different -- it's a true paradigm
8 shift in the way that they're running the plants and I don't
9 think it's just an evolution.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: But we like paradigm shifts. We
11 did it with ATHENA.
12 DR. BONACA: But I'm not sure that people
13 appreciate that almost at any level. Once you have that,
14 that relationship there was between regulator and regulatee
15 is very much changed.
16 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes.
17 DR. BONACA: And there is an exposure, as Jack
18 says, because everything is there in the open and it can be
19 questioned and everything is going to be the basis for
21 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Why are you guys resisting the
22 notion of having SAPHIRE be peer reviewed? Shouldn't it go
23 through the normal peer review? I don't understand that.
24 We raised the issue, what, a year or so ago. There was sort
25 of reluctance to do it. Now we are raising it again and we
1 are told that people are using it, that's peer review.
2 I mean, would you do the same to a code like MAACS
3 or say, gee, you know, this other laboratory used it once,
4 so it must be pretty good.
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: We certainly accepted that
6 justification with open arms in the case of RETRAN, haven't
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes. And the third point on the
9 same thing is every time I have a student use SAPHIRE, he
10 finds something wrong with it. Now, wrong not in the sense
11 that, boy, the code is wrong, but certain things are not
12 done the way they should be done.
13 And, you know, why not subject it to this process
14 and say, well, look, this is what needs to be done and then
15 we have really the best tool in the industry and when we
16 load these PRAs, we really know what we're doing.
17 MR. KING: I don't know of any reason why we would
18 resist a peer review of it. That's news to me.
19 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think we came out a year ago
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think we can pull out the
22 EDO's response to us that essentially said we had the
23 national labs look at it and --
24 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Sandia has used it.
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: -- a bunch of people used it and
1 they loved it and so that's peer review. Quite frankly,
2 what you guys have done on some of the contractor-developed
3 codes, like SKEDAP and MELCOR, maybe VICTORIA, for peer
4 review, where you get this panel together, they work the
5 hell out of the code, they go through kind of a structured
6 thing that Kevin Boyack set up and whatnot, and then they
7 publish a report with here is all our troubles and then the
8 guy that developed it, here is his response, yeah, we agree
9 with this, these guys are all wet here.
10 I think that is so good, that is so wonderful. I
11 mean, I can look at that and say, okay, read that, and it's
12 better than the code users manual, because now I know what
13 the strengths of the code are, its weaknesses, what to
14 trust, not to trust. It is so nice.
15 You get no credit for that, by the way, but you
16 get credit for me, because I -- even though I have been on
17 the receiving end of that stuff, I think that's just the
18 slickest best advertising you can do for your codes. The
19 Europeans are just stunned that anybody would do this, but
20 they love it, as well.
21 And it seems to me that these codes that you use,
22 that the agency uses for its work, the SAPHIRE code and the
23 one you use upstairs for dispersal --
24 DR. KRESS: Atmospheric transport.
25 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Atmospheric transport. If you
1 had that sort of thing, it must be the greatest public
2 relations tool in the world to say, yeah, we've had all
3 these experts look at it, here is what they said, here's
4 what we did to what they said, and you can read it yourself
5 and if you don't like the code, you can figure out how you
6 want to modify it.
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: SAPHIRE is playing a unique role
8 here, because as you know, other industries, like NASA,
9 other activities, are getting into this. Also, I teach, at
10 MIT, courses to non-nuclear people on risk benefit and so
12 The moment that you tell you people that you can
13 get a code that does fault tree analysis and all you have to
14 do is log onto the INEL web site and download it for free,
15 they do it overnight.
16 So all these non-nuclear people now are using a
17 product of this agency. If they start finding things that
18 are not good, I don't think it helps us. This is a unique
19 situation, because other codes are really nuclear code, but
20 this one, because of its wide applicability, really affects
21 the way an important group of stakeholders think about this
23 MR. THADANI: Frankly, I'm at a loss to know why
24 we say no.
25 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Great. So we don't disagree.
1 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Do we have other comments that
2 people would like to make? Go ahead, Graham.
3 MR. LEITCH: We sort of left early on the topic of
4 operational experience and how that fits into the budgeting
5 process wasn't really discussed.
6 I assume there's a base there that handles that
7 kind of work for the analysis of operating data.
8 DR. SEALE: I have an outline that Steve Mays gave
9 me that outlines the specific topics in that effort and
10 identifies the areas where as yet they have no funding,
11 they're not supported, and I was going to use that to put
12 together --
13 CHAIRMAN POWERS: That sounds good, because we
14 really need to address this particular issue for the
15 Commission and --
16 DR. SEALE: Yes, in some detail and that's what I
17 plan to do.
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: What we had recommended in our
19 previous report was that the offices be kept separate. They
20 didn't go with our decision. But that was neither here nor
22 The question is are we still getting that kind of
23 data and the stuff we've been presented suggests that that
24 activity is going on still pretty well.
25 DR. SEALE: Yes, and it's got like what does it
1 turn into in the equilibrium situation where we're touching
2 all the bases, but we're still accumulating more and more
3 experience, so that the overall product gets better and
4 better as time goes on.
5 MR. THADANI: Graham, you notice the history of
6 when AEOD was created and what was one of the motivating
7 factors behind that, there was a lot of push within Congress
8 to create an independent board to look at the events that
9 are happening at nuclear power plants, independent of the
10 Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
11 And the Commission argued against creation of yet
12 another independent board and the Commission proposed to
13 create the independent office, called analysis and
14 evaluation of operational data.
15 Its initial charter was to be independent of the
16 line organizations to look at operational data, to do
17 analysis of the data to make sure there is understanding and
18 learning and what is working well, what may not be working
20 And so when almost two years ago, when the
21 decision was made to eliminate the Office of Analysis and
22 Evaluation of Operational Data, we had a lot of discussions
23 when that function, this particular function was moved to
24 the Office of Research, that it has to be independent, that
25 the staff working on that part has to have direct access to
2 Anytime they have a concern or problem, they
3 should be able to come and not have to get slowed down by
4 the chain, I guess.
5 The reason I am going into that is to say that I
6 am -- I think what we are doing is very pertinent. We have
7 scaled down what we're doing, particularly in the area that
8 Jack Rosenthal was involved in, until about two years ago,
9 there were additional significant resources devoted to
10 special studies of operational experience, very in-depth
11 studies, like the service water system, air systems and so
13 And it's an issue that's on my mind that we have
14 drastically cut back on and I have asked Jack to come to me
15 and go over what are some areas where we should be doing
16 special studies and we're not doing and how do we go about
17 this delta, given the resources have been reduced.
18 I don't -- Jack has not yet come to me with that
19 discussion as yet, but it is something that Pat Baranowsky's
20 branch function is smooth. I mean, that is really smooth.
21 It's been that way, it's continuing, and I think that's very
22 good work.
23 On the other hand, Jack's branch, that also came
24 from -- at least part of his branch that came from AEOD has
25 really shrunk very significantly and it's something that I
1 think I have to pay a little more attention to.
2 MR. ROSENTHAL: Rosenthal, RES. As the lumpy
3 part, we did do a somewhat feisty report on air operated
4 valves and working with the joint owners group on AOVs this
5 year. We did a report on design basis events that the ACRS
6 was briefed on, longitudinal study of what you saw and you
7 were very complimentary on that report, so I thank you.
8 We've cranked -- just because of my inclination --
9 a lot of operating experience into the human performance
10 area by doing all of the accident sequence precursor work at
11 INEL that you heard about earlier.
12 So there is some synergy. You were briefed on the
13 effectiveness of the blackout rule, which is both an
14 engineering study and also an operational study, because we
15 looked at that aspect. That's been a success. And we just
16 put out for peer review a report on the effectiveness of the
17 ATWS rule, which, again, makes use of operating experience,
18 but within the context of the effectiveness of the ATWS
20 Would we like to do more? Yes. Would we like to
21 be smoother rather than lumpy? Yes. But we are working, we
22 are doing work and we are putting out reports.
23 MR. LEITCH: For example, one of the areas that's
24 interesting to me is the number of plants where a reactor
25 trip results in loss of normal heat removal, for example.
1 Is that an area where you might do a study looking at that?
2 MR. ROSENTHAL: Sure, although I'll tell you,
3 Pat's --
4 MR. LEITCH: And I'm not asking for a commitment.
5 I'm just saying --
6 MR. ROSENTHAL: That would be the kind of thing --
7 MR. LEITCH: -- that just organizationally, that's
8 where it would fit.
9 MR. ROSENTHAL: Right. Now, that, actually, Pat
10 just put out an initiating event study. We might look at
11 where the electrical grid didn't do what it was supposed to
12 do, given that a plant came off-line, because that's more of
13 a new issue created by the changing structure of the
14 electrical utilities.
15 So Pat tends to be more in the data area and I
16 tend to be more into are there new phenomenological or
17 systems issues in the way we split our work. But, in
18 general, yes.
19 MR. LEITCH: But I guess my question is really
20 might some of these other research activities draw resources
21 from this former AEOD activity or are those funds, to coin a
22 political phrase, they had a lockbox that this much is
23 devoted to former AEOD activities?
24 MR. THADANI: We are -- our resources are devoted
25 on the basis of prioritization process.
1 I can assure you that most, if not all of the
2 operating evaluation experience evaluation we do we think is
3 of high priority.
4 I am trying to find some resources to respond to
5 criticism, valid criticism, I think, that some of that AEOD
6 function, once it has moved to the Office of Research, is
7 not visible. AEOD used to issue reports, certain reports,
8 which integrated a lot of information at the end of the year
9 and they were very well -- they were very good and the
10 public interest groups were very interested in seeing what
11 they said.
12 I have been criticized that since the function
13 moved to Research, they don't see that. I made a commitment
14 that we will go back and we will prepare those reports,
15 integrate the operational experience, and make them publicly
16 available and I'm trying to see where I'm going to get the
18 CHAIRMAN POWERS: And I think I would be really
19 disturbed if the Director of Research was giving
20 responsibility for this former AEOD function, but the money
21 were in a lockbox. I mean, he should be able to prioritize,
22 just like he does everything else. That's what we're paying
23 the big bucks for.
24 What are we paying the little bucks for? Okay.
25 MR. THADANI: Thank Congress this year.
1 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Any other questions that people
2 would like to pose?
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Yes. There is a project here
4 entitled Root Cause Investigation Improvements, and my
5 information is that there is a substantial increase in
6 funding for fiscal year 2001.
7 I wonder who is doing this and whether the work
8 that was presented by INEL on latent errors is part of this.
9 MR. ROSENTHAL: Yes.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: So yes is --
11 MR. ROSENTHAL: Let me go on just a little bit,
12 and that is you have the reactor oversight process, as
13 given, and with user needs from NRR, one of the areas that
14 we would like to quantitatively explore is does the reactor
15 oversight process address root cause adequately, what might
16 it miss, what should be included, because the root cause
17 analysis is a cornerstone and what -- the issue was brought
18 up about how could you or should you combine findings and
19 the idea was that it was very clear Commission direction
20 that you shouldn't stack little findings up into a big
21 enforcement action.
22 That's clear. But technically, are there small
23 greens that you find that when you put together properly
24 become a yellow or a red.
25 And so we're doing some exploratory work along
1 that line. Now, I also have an activity to look at, at how
2 is human performance picked up in the reactor oversight
3 process, also. To what extent, et cetera.
4 Both of those projects build on the work on latent
5 failures that we briefed you on that was done at INEL and
6 then these two subsequent efforts. One is actually now
7 another task in INEL and one is a task at Brookhaven.
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Who is doing this?
9 MR. ROSENTHAL: Me.
10 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: It says P.S. and H.A.I. Who is
12 MR. ROSENTHAL: That's still another contract.
13 It's Val Barnes and I will think of what P.S.H. and A.N.I.
14 stand for.
15 MR. KING: Small outfit out of State College,
17 MR. ROSENTHAL: And we have used her and --
18 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I didn't hear you.
19 MR. KING: It's a small outfit out of State
20 College, Pennsylvania, and P.I. -- I forget what the
21 initials --
22 MR. ROSENTHAL: And then we've used Bill Vessely
23 as a sub on that work and, again, there, we have gone from,
24 in the reactor oversight process, from a mode in which we
25 look at the root cause analysis that a licensee does, that's
1 what we did in the past, to now a four-course inspection of
2 how well they do their own root cause analysis and this is
3 generating guidelines on how we would do that work.
4 And, again, the issue of how should you sum up
5 little findings, maybe you don't sum, you multiply, you use
6 a PRA to do it actually, should you accrete small findings
7 is, again, an issue there.
8 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: All right.
9 DR. KRESS: I have one other seismic question.
10 Not to belabor it, but I would like to --
11 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Which we will anyway.
12 DR. KRESS: There are two sets of seismic hazard
13 curves out there that are still markedly different. NRC has
14 stated that because each of these were developed by an
15 expert elicitation process that made use of appropriate
16 elicitation procedures, that they can't rule one out over
17 the other, because the one is -- they have no valid reason
18 to say one is better than the other.
19 Therefore, when they go to make a decision that
20 has to do with seismic hazards, it seems to me like they
21 have a condition in which they have an ad hoc bias toward
22 the one that's most conservative, because that's the way you
23 do it.
24 If you end up with a result where one of them
25 tells you yes and the other one tells you no, you're going
1 to go with the one that tells you no.
2 So on an ad hoc basis, you have basically said
3 we'll choose one over the other one, even though, in
4 reality, there is no basis for that.
5 It seems to me like when you have such a
6 situation, that you need a way to consolidate these two
7 curves. There are ways to do that that have been explored,
8 but I don't see this being pursued at all and it seems to me
9 like it's a point that you -- it's a condition you wouldn't
10 want to live with very long. You need to somehow get these
11 two curves together.
12 I didn't see anything in the research stuff that I
13 looked at that said you had plans to do that.
14 MR. MAYFIELD: There's a good reason you didn't
15 see anything there. There is a reason you didn't see
16 anything there. It's because we don't have plans to deal
17 with that. I think your comment is something that we'll go
18 back and talk about a bit and when we come to brief the
19 committee, we can come prepared to address that.
20 But the reason -- and I don't mean to be flip
21 about it, but the reason you didn't see it there, it wasn't
22 an oversight. We do not have plans today to deal with it.
23 But we will take it back and when we come talk to the
24 committee, we'll -- we may no end up agreeing, but we'll at
25 least come prepared to lay out our rationale.
1 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Well, I want to thank you guys
2 for coming down and giving us a very thorough understanding
3 of thinking about the future and what your planning is. We
4 have a good understanding of what your ongoing programs are.
5 I think we will try to maintain the dialogue over
6 the course of the next month, as we try to put together our
7 draft. We'll probably chat with you on this more as things
8 go on.
9 I will certainly communicate with you if I think
10 there are things that you need to know about as we go along
11 on this and ask that you do the same if you think there are
12 things that we need to know as we prepare this.
13 We will have some discussion of this going on at
14 the December meeting.
15 Right now, my intention is to not ask you come
16 give a briefing, but if there are things that you would like
17 to tell us at the December meeting, we will make some time
19 MR. THADANI: Okay. And let me also offer you an
20 opportunity, at any point, if there are any issues you need
21 some information on, I think we'll be pleased to do that.
22 We have been -- each of the last, I guess, two
23 years, as you well know, I suspect, that there's been a lot
24 of interest in this whole issue of sunsetting and sunsetting
25 could be just totally eliminating doing something versus
1 what we defined in our core capabilities paper as
2 maintenance level, was basically sunsetting a research
4 Now, we've done that in several areas. I have --
5 and we can provide you whatever information you need for
6 those areas, if you are interested, because I go through
7 that as part of the PBPM process with the Program Review
9 I think one area where I feel very inadequate and
10 I would really like your help on, and that is that for so
11 many years, we have been so constrained by planning
12 assumptions that we have allowed ourselves not to think the
13 big picture and we have allowed our staff maybe not to think
14 the big picture, also.
15 And with the trends that we have in front of us, I
16 believe it is time for us to really focus on those issues.
17 What are the big things that we're not paying attention to
18 that are going to be with us down the road, and that's a
19 challenge that I know the Chairman has given me, to look
20 over the horizon, see what the challenges are, are we
21 prepared for those challenges.
22 And I tell you, we have become smart thinkers, in
23 a way, and I worry about that and this is a time for us to,
24 I think, speak up, and that's why I'm also making sure that
25 we hear from external stakeholders.
1 I thought George's point was also a good one. You
2 solicit input from universities and other places as to what
3 they might see what some of the future challenges might be,
4 or maybe small, but nevertheless could be important issues.
5 And I would really seek your advice in what you
6 think the direction ought to be and where the emphasis
7 should be.
8 CHAIRMAN POWERS: I think to give you the two areas of
9 feedback that I am almost certain are going to appear in the
10 report is synergisms among the various licensing initiatives
11 that are going on, power up-rates, high burn-up fuel, things
12 like that, the synergisms are things that we need to wrestle
13 with there, rather than looking at each one in isolation.
14 The other one is tools needed by the line
15 organizations, be they thermal hydraulic or risk assessment
16 tools, and it's really what is the vision for what those
17 guys should have available to them as opposed to coming to
18 you as a service organization to get things like thermal
19 hydraulic analyses and stuff like that.
20 I think those are the two things I'm almost
21 certain are going to show up in the report as directions for
22 the future.
23 DR. SEALE: Operating experience data.
24 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Well, I think we can assure them
25 that we're going to be looking at that and that we feel a
1 need to report directly to the Commission on that particular
2 issue, because they made some management changes and they
3 need -- and they deserve to know if that's working or not
4 working or whatnot.
5 DR. SEALE: Yes.
6 CHAIRMAN POWERS: And I get the impression, it's
7 just my personal impression now, that it's sort of working,
8 but there may be things that need to be worked out in it,
9 but it's sort of working.
10 This issue of the visibility of the product is one
11 that's independent of where it's located. We had the same
12 problem with the AEOD studies in the past and so I'm
13 delighted to hear that you're working it out. We will
14 probably comment on that, that we need to work that issue.
15 I've often stated that this agency has the most
16 remarkable capability of avoiding any opportunities of
17 gaining any praise for the wonderful things it does and it's
18 one thing that -- it's just a characteristic.
19 MR. THADANI: And I tell you what, Dana, we're
20 paying the price.
21 CHAIRMAN POWERS: Yes, you are. Yes, you are.
22 And George brought up to us the other day that there's a
23 seminar being held up at Harvard on innovations in
24 government. What bigger innovation can there possibly than
25 a wholesale change of the regulatory philosophy than what's
1 going on in this agency? I mean, it has to be the biggest
2 change that anybody has ever seen, but it's not going to be
3 represented up there.
4 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Ashok, are you familiar with
6 MR. THADANI: I know about it.
7 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: Is the agency planning to send
9 MR. THADANI: I don't know the answer.
10 CHAIRMAN POWERS: It's a golden opportunity to
11 advertise yourself, because you've really got -- I mean, you
12 could well be -- as I said at the water reactor meeting, you
13 could well be setting the example that public regulation is
14 going to follow in the next 50 years, 100 years.
15 This could be the way things are done in the
16 future and you deserve credit for those kinds of things.
17 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: I think you should go there in
18 full force.
19 MR. KING: There's another one the week of
20 December 4th by the Society of Risk Analysis.
21 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: No. We're talking about the
22 Kennedy School of Government here.
23 MR. KING: I understand, but there is another one
24 that NRC is not participating in that has a lot of
25 interesting papers.
1 CHAIRMAN POWERS: To my mind, what I would do is
2 every opportunity.
3 DR. APOSTOLAKIS: This other one really is a big
4 level thing.
5 CHAIRMAN POWERS: You guys pay for not advertising
6 yourself, when I think you're doing some remarkable stuff,
7 truthfully remarkable stuff.
8 With that, I will bring this session to a close
9 and thank everyone again.
10 [Whereupon, at 5:51 p.m., the meeting was
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