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Event Notification Report for September 24, 2007

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Operations Center

Event Reports For
09/21/2007 - 09/24/2007

** EVENT NUMBERS **


43650 43657 43658 43659

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General Information or Other Event Number: 43650
Rep Org: MA RADIATION CONTROL PROGRAM
Licensee: HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Region: 1
City: CAMBRIDGE State: MA
County:
License #: 44-0002
Agreement: Y
Docket:
NRC Notified By: ROBERT GALLAGHER
HQ OPS Officer: JOE O'HARA
Notification Date: 09/18/2007
Notification Time: 14:30 [ET]
Event Date: 08/30/2007
Event Time: [EDT]
Last Update Date: 09/18/2007
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
AGREEMENT STATE
Person (Organization):
PAUL KROHN (R1)
GREG MORELL (FSME)

This material event contains a "Less than Cat 3" level of radioactive material.

Event Text

AGREEMENT STATE REPORT - 23 MISSING TRITIUM EXIT SIGNS

Harvard University was replacing and recycling old exit signs. When workers arrived to remove the old exit signs and reprocess them, the signs could not be found. The licensee believes the exit signs may have went along with some old light bulbs that were being recycled. The licensee inspected the recycling chamber and found it free of contamination. Each sign originally contained 7.5 curies of Tritium. Decayed activity as of today is 93 curies. They initiated their investigation on August 30, 2007, and the investigation is on-going.

THIS MATERIAL EVENT CONTAINS A "LESS THAN CAT 3" LEVEL OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL

Sources that are "Less than IAEA Category 3 sources," are either sources that are very unlikely to cause permanent injury to individuals or contain a very small amount of radioactive material that would not cause any permanent injury. Some of these sources, such as moisture density gauges or thickness gauges that are Category 4, the amount of unshielded radioactive material, if not safely managed or securely protected, could possibly - although it is unlikely - temporarily injure someone who handled it or were otherwise in contact with it, or who were close to it for a period of many weeks.

This source is not amongst those sources or devices identified by the IAEA Code of Conduct for the Safety & Security of Radioactive Sources to be of concern from a radiological standpoint. Therefore is it being categorized as a less than Category 3 source

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General Information or Other Event Number: 43657
Rep Org: MPR ASSOCIATES, INC ENGINEERS
Licensee: BASLER ELECTRIC COMPANY
Region: 1
City: ALEXANDRIA State: VA
County:
License #:
Agreement: N
Docket:
NRC Notified By: PAUL DAMERELL
HQ OPS Officer: JOHN KNOKE
Notification Date: 09/21/2007
Notification Time: 18:23 [ET]
Event Date: 09/21/2007
Event Time: [EDT]
Last Update Date: 09/21/2007
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
21.21 - UNSPECIFIED PARAGRAPH
Person (Organization):
PAUL KROHN (R1)
BRIAN BONSER (R2)
HIRONORI PETERSON (R3)
VIVIAN CAMPBELL (R4)
VERN HODGE PART 21 (NRR)

Event Text

PART 21 - DEFECTIVE ANALOG ELECTRONIC CIRCUIT CARD (SBSR AVR)

The SBSR AVR card is manufactured by Basler Electric Company in Highland, Illinois. Basler is a supplier of generator control equipment, including generator excitation systems and protective relays. The company maintained a 10 CFR 50, Appendix B Quality Assurance program until the mid 1990s but is presently a commercial supplier with an ISO 9001:2000 certified quality program.

The basic component is an analog electronic circuit card in Basler voltage regulators used on emergency diesel generators (EDGs) in US nuclear power plants. The Basler SBSR excitation system provides closed-loop control of EDG stator voltage via an automatic voltage regulator (AVR) and an exciter. The AVR is the controller, while the exciter converts the control signal from the AVR to a field voltage that is applied to the EDG field winding. The AVR is an analog assembly. The main component of this assembly is an electronic circuit card that is referred to as the SBSR AVR card.

The SBSR AVR card contains a variety of mounted components. The defect identified within this report deals specifically with the soldered electrical connections between the L1 magnetic amplifier module (magamp) and the card. While there are many Basler SBSR AVR card part numbers, all cards perform the same function and have similar components. Further, all cards utilize the same L1 magamp and all cards mount and electrically connect the L1 magamp in a similar manner.

The nature of the defect is that over a period of many years, cracks can form in the solder joint connections between the L1 magamp and the circuit board. There are nine such solder connections at the L1 magamp, and all nine are susceptible to cracking. Cracks have been observed in five SBSR AVR cards that have been in service at two separate nuclear power plants. Also, another case (at one of the same two plants) exhibited symptoms similar to those exhibited by cards with cracked solder joints, but the card was not inspected for the presence of cracks nor retained. Accordingly, cracks are suspected but not confirmed in this other case.

It has been observed that full circumferential cracks can form. When a full circumferential crack forms, the electrical resistance at the connection can increase significantly and electrical continuity at the connection could be lost.

In four of the six cases, the observed symptom associated with the cracks is that during surveillance testing, the EDG starts and takes longer than specified to reach its rated voltage. The condition is observed to be intermittent, i.e., when the test is repeated the EDG typically starts and meets its time requirement to establish rated voltage. This intermittent nature has made troubleshooting more difficult as the symptom is typically not reproducible. This observation is consistent with the fact that a cracked solder joint may not fully and permanently lose electrical connectivity.

In one of the six cases, the observed symptom was that during surveillance testing, the voltage regulator failed to properly control output voltage of the EDG. The EDG had to be shut down, and it may not have been capable of powering its design basis loads.

In one of the six cases there were no symptoms or deficiencies during surveillance testing. Rather, the cracks were seen during a visual observation.

For SBSR AVR cards that have been supplied by MPR, MPR has not specified maintenance requirements related to inspection or replacement. Accordingly, there are no supplier-specified actions that would ensure that degraded cards are detected or avoided.

The safety hazard is that when electrical continuity is lost at L1 magamp soldered connections, the voltage regulator does not perform as intended, and the EDG could fail to deliver emergency AC power as intended. Analyses and testing by MPR in conjunction with Basler Electric confirmed that, although various symptoms can be observed, loss of electrical connectivity at some combinations of L1 magamp soldered connections could render the voltage regulator unable to control voltage. In such a case, the associated EDG would not be able to provide emergency AC power as intended. Because EDGs are important safety-related components at nuclear power plants that are relied upon for safety-related functions, the cracked solder joints could be a substantial safety hazard.

MPR has provided SBSR systems, including AVR circuit cards and spare AVR cards to the following nuclear plants: Beaver Valley, Millstone, Davis-Besse, Pilgrim, Cooper Nuclear, Ginna.

US Nuclear plants believed by MPR to utilize the SBSR excitation system are: ANO, Beaver Valley, Calvert Cliffs, Cooper, Crystal River, Davis-Besse, Diablo Canyon, Duane Arnold, Farley, Fermi, FitzPatrick, Ginna, Hatch, Indian Point, Kewaunee, McGuire, Millstone, North Anna, Palisades, Peach Bottom, Pilgrim, Prairie Island, Robinson, Salem, Sequoyah, and Vermont Yankee.

For SBSR AVR cards that MPR has supplied, MPR will issue a maintenance bulletin to advise SBSR AVR owners that an inspection and repair program should be established. The inspection program should periodically inspect for L1 magamp solder joint cracks. The inspections should occur on a fuel cycle periodicity after 15 years of service. If cracks are found, the card should be replaced, or the joints repaired by remaking the solder connections.

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Power Reactor Event Number: 43658
Facility: HATCH
Region: 2 State: GA
Unit: [1] [2] [ ]
RX Type: [1] GE-4,[2] GE-4
NRC Notified By: EDWEN URQUHART
HQ OPS Officer: STEVE SANDIN
Notification Date: 09/22/2007
Notification Time: 03:52 [ET]
Event Date: 09/22/2007
Event Time: 03:15 [EDT]
Last Update Date: 09/22/2007
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(3)(xiii) - LOSS COMM/ASMT/RESPONSE
Person (Organization):
BRIAN BONSER (R2)

Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode
1 N Y 100 Power Operation 100 Power Operation
2 N Y 100 Power Operation 100 Power Operation

Event Text

LOSS OF JACKSONVILLE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAND LINES

"Jacksonville National Weather service has notified Plant Hatch that the capability to broadcast prompt notification messages is NOT available at this time. Plant Hatch security notified the Operations Shift Manager at 0315 hours to notify the NRC. Also, site Emergency Preparedness on call person has been contacted and he in conjunction with security has notified the state and local agencies. Information Technology (IT) has been notified of problem with 'land lines.'"

Compensatory measures are in effect. There is no estimate at this time for restoration of the Jacksonville "land lines."

The licensee will inform the NRC Resident Inspector.

* * * UPDATE PROVIDED BY EDWEN URQUHART TO JASON KOZAL AT 0514 ON 9/22/07 * * *

The licensee received notification from the Jacksonville National Weather service that the 'land lines' have been restored. Plant Hatch has regained the capability to broadcast prompt notification messages.

The licensee will inform the NRC Resident Inspector.

Notified R2DO (Bonser).

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Power Reactor Event Number: 43659
Facility: BROWNS FERRY
Region: 2 State: AL
Unit: [ ] [ ] [3]
RX Type: [1] GE-4,[2] GE-4,[3] GE-4
NRC Notified By: JOE BENNETT
HQ OPS Officer: BILL HUFFMAN
Notification Date: 09/22/2007
Notification Time: 16:35 [ET]
Event Date: 09/22/2007
Event Time: 12:45 [CDT]
Last Update Date: 09/22/2007
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(3)(ii)(A) - DEGRADED CONDITION
Person (Organization):
BRIAN BONSER (R2)

Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode
3 N N 0 Hot Shutdown 0 Hot Shutdown

Event Text

PRESSURE BOUNDARY LEAKAGE DISCOVERED DURING DRYWELL INSPECTION

"As part of a planned outage for Browns Ferry Unit 3, initial drywell leak inspections were performed after shutdown (mode 3). This inspection identified a weld defect in Residual Heat Removal (RHR) piping. The defect was in a one inch test line near manually operated valve 3-74-638B. This is classified as pressure boundary leakage and the piping is rated as ASME code class 1. The leak rate was estimated by visual observation at less than 0.25 gpm. Investigation is continuing into the cause of the weld defect. Unit 1 and 2 remain at full power and are not affected by this event.

"This event is reportable within 8 hours under 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(ii)(A) and 10 CFR 50.73(a)(2)(ii)(A) as 'Any event or condition that results in the condition of the nuclear power plant, including its principal safety barriers, being seriously degraded.'"

The licensee plans to continue to Mode 4 (Cold Shutdown) as required by Tech Specs for pressure boundary leakage.

The NRC resident inspector has been notified.

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