United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Morning Report for March 25, 1999

                       Headquarters Daily Report

                         MARCH 25, 1999

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                    REPORT             NEGATIVE            NO INPUT
                    ATTACHED           INPUT RECEIVED      RECEIVED

HEADQUARTERS        X
REGION I                               X
REGION II                              X
REGION III          X
REGION IV                              X
PRIORITY ATTENTION REQUIRED  MORNING REPORT - HEADQUARTERS MARCH 25, 1999

Licensee/Facility:                     Notification:

                                       MR Number: H-99-0029
Additional Information                 Date: 03/25/99


Subject: ABB Control Rod Blades in BWRs

Discussion:

The Hope Creek licensee recently identified a blister on an Asea Brown
Boveri (ABB) Model CR-82 control rod blade (Morning Report 1-99-0010).
This blade was installed in the core in the fall of 1992.  This problem
is currently being evaluated.  Additional historical information on
control rod blades of this design is presented below.

On March 5, 1994, during a refueling outage at Hope Creek, the licensee
found crack indications in six other CR-82 control rod blades.  At that
time, the licensee replaced these six blades with one CR-82 blade (the
last in spares inventory) and five new ABB CR-82M blades of more
crack-resistant design.

At that time, the Hope Creek licensee informed the NRC inspector that
none of the blade inspection findings were unexpected, based on previous
CR-82 experiences at other U.S. and foreign plants.  Other operating U.S.
plants using ABB CR-82 blades include: Millstone 1, Dresden 2 and 3, Quad
Cities 1, La Salle, Fitzpatrick, and Hatch 1.

On April 18, 1991, at Millstone 1, the licensee reported a 1.5-inch crack
in the cruciform edge 10 inches from the top of a control blade.  The
licensee determined that the crack was acceptable and would not degrade
the ability to shut down the reactor or maintain it in a shutdown
condition.  ABB determined that extensive cracking of such nature would
affect the mechanical integrity of the control rod blades.  Loss of
boron, being a slow process, would affect a localized region of the core;
however, loss of boron from this crack would have negligible effect on
shutdown margin.

On December 17, 1989, at Dresden 3, the licensee reported visible cracks
on 3 of 8 blades, the first time that ABB control rod blades had shown
cracking in the U.S. Previous indications were observed in Europe.  From
the European experience, such cracking had not presented any immediate
safety significance with respect to shutdown margin or mechanical
integrity.  Though not unexpected, this cracking occurred earlier than
anticipated.

Contact:    Vern Hodge
            (301) 415-1861
            E-mail: cvh@nrc.gov
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HEADQUARTERS      MORNING REPORT     PAGE  2          MARCH 25, 1999

MR Number: H-99-0030

                           NRR DAILY REPORT ITEM
                           GENERIC COMMUNICATIONS



Subject: INFORMATION NOTICE NO. 99-08 ISSUED

NRC Information Notice 99-08: Urine Specimen Adulteration, dated
March 26, 1999

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this information
notice to remind addressees of a recent attempt by an employee to
circumvent fitness-for-duty (FFD) testing.

Technical contacts: Ronald J. Albert, NRR       Dennis Gordon, NRR
                    301-415-3216                301- 415-1162
                    E-mail: rja@nrc.gov         E-mail: dxg@nrc.gov
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REGION III  MORNING REPORT     PAGE  3          MARCH 25, 1999

Licensee/Facility:                     Notification:

Northern States Power Co.              MR Number: 3-99-0021
Prairie Island 1 2                     Date: 03/25/99
Welch,Minnesota                        Company press release
Dockets: 50-282,50-306
PWR/W-2-LP,PWR/W-2-LP

Subject: MERGER

Discussion:

Northern States Power Company (NSP), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and
New Century Energies, based in Denver, Colorado, today announced that
they have entered into a definitive merger agreement. The new company, to
be named later, will be headquartered in Minneapolis and certain key
business units or operations will be based in Wisconsin, Denver, and
Amarillo, Texas. Company officials said that the merger would provide
both the combined company and its operating units the scale necessary to
remain competitive in a changing industry marketplace.

James J. Howard, President, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
of NSP, will serve as Chairman of the holding company for the first full
year of operations. Wayne H. Brunetti, vice chairman, president, and
Chief Operation Officer of New Century, will be President and CEO upon
closing and will assume the responsibilities as Chairman upon Howard's
retirement.

The merged company will serve about 3 million electrical customers and
approximately 1.5 million natural gas customers in 12 states. The company
will also serve about 2 million electrical and 400,000 natural gas
customers in the United Kingdom.

The merger is expected to take about 12 to 18 months to complete and will
require the approval of shareholders as well as approval or regulatory
review by SEC, FERC, FTC, DOJ, FCC , NRC, and state regulators in nine of
the states currently served by the companies.

Regional Action:

For information only

Contact:  Roger Lanksbury            (630)829-9631
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