United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Morning Report for May 14, 1999

                       Headquarters Daily Report

                         MAY 14, 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 MAY 14, 1999

Licensee/Facility:                     Notification:

                                       MR Number: H-99-0044
River Bend                             Date: 05/14/99


Subject: General Electric Fuel Issues

Discussion:

On May 12, 1999 members of NRR and Region IV staffs participated in a
conference call with members of the River Bend and General Electric (GE)
organizations on the status of licensee's investigation of fuel failures
that occurred last cycle.

Preliminary results indicate that the failures were caused by deposition
of a unusually thick layer of crud on the fuel in areas of particularly
high heat flux. For reasons not yet fully understood, the thickest
depositions and all the cladding failures occurred in first cycle fuel.
These depositions were different from those previously seen at River Bend
or other GE facilities, in that the coating was less adherent, of much
lower density hence the greater thickness and more porous. At the most
affected locations the crud thickness on adjacent fuel rods was such that
the open flow channel between the rods was significantly reduced.

Licensee intends to replace all the affected fuel and to identify the
oxide deposition mechanism prior to restart. Samples of the crud and of
fuel rods are being transferred to GE facilities at Wilmington and
Vallecitos for further examination.

Contacts:   Margaret Chatterton, NRR
            (301) 415-2889
            Email: msc1@nrc.gov

            Edward Goodwin, NRR
            (301) 415-1154
            Email:  efg@nrc.gov
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