United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

ACCESSION #: 9902020300


THOMAS & BETTS
16228 FLIGHT PATH DRIVE
BROOKSVILLE, FL 34609
TEL(352)799-4800
*FAX(352)799-9537

January 26, 1999

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL/RRR

Document Control Desk
United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555

Re: 10 CFR Part 21 Notification
Company: Thomas & Betts Corporation
Product: Agastat E7000 Series Timing Relay

Dear Sir/Madam:

Thomas & Betts Corporation ("Thomas & Betts Corp") recently received nput from one of our customers in the nuclear industry regarding an unanticipated application of our Agastat E7000 Series Timing Relays ("E7000 Series"). As described below, together with this customer, we promptly addressed and remedied this situation. Thomas & Betts Corp writes at this time to provide notification of this development pursuant to 10 CFR Part 21 to both the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission ("NRC") and the nuclear industry of this application issue involving the E7000 Series in the event similar applications occur in the field.

Agastat E7000 Series Timing Relays

Thomas & Betts Corp has tested its E7000 Series in accordance with the requirements of IEEE STD. 323-1974, Standard for Qualifying Class 1E Equipment for Nuclear Power Generating Stations; IEEE STD. 344-1975, Seismic Qualification for Nuclear Power Generating Stations; and referenced to ANSI/IEEE C37.98, Standard for Seismic Testing of Relays (formerly IEEE Standard 501-1978). The qualification program is reported in Wyle Test Number 43706-2 and Nuclear Environmental Qualification Test Report Number ES1000. Thomas & Betts Corp manufactures and certifies the E7000 Series to the qualified performance levels identified in these reports. Thomas & Betts Corp maintains and follows internal processes and acceptance criteria to ensure compliance to reported qualified performance levels.


THOMAS & BETTS
16223 FLIGHT PATH DRIVE
BROOKSVILLE, FL 34609
TEL(352)799-4800
*FAX(352)799-9537

Thomas & Betts Corp's quality acceptance criteria for contact continuity on the E7000 series is 100mA, 6Vdc, and is verified on all manufactured products. The low end of the qualified rating is 1A, 28Vdc as presented in the ES1000 report and our product literature.

Customer Application

It has recently come to our attention that at least one of our customers in the nuclear industry utilizes the E7000 Series in low signal level contact circuits (approximately 10mA, 6Vdc). This level is below our published qualified minimum and also below our quality acceptance criteria for contact continuity.

During December 1998 and January 1999, we investigated this customer's concern of appropriate product operation. In December 1998, we tested the E7000 Series units presented by the customer, confining that they met the product specifications. In January 1999, with additional information from the customer describing use of the E7000 Series in a low current application, we were able to duplicate application conditions which resulted in intermittent contact continuity.

In sum, in response to the customer's concerns, Thomas & Betts Corp investigated this product application, reviewed product design issues and evaluated product manufacturing. We verified that the E7000 Series units in issue passed our acceptance test protocols as outlined above and detailed in the relevant literature. Further, inspection disclosed these E7000 units as within the tolerance range for product specifications. We worked with this customer to address and resolve its low current application and needs.

Quality Assurances

Thomas & Betts Corp continues to certify its E7000 Series to the performance levels identified in the above-listed reports. Thomas & Betts Corp places each product through quality assurance and quality control measures to ensure the appropriateness of use in the nuclear industry.


THOMAS & BETTS
16223 FLIGHT PATH DRIVE
BROOKSVILLE, FL 34609
TEL(352)799-4800
*FAX(352)799-9537

Yet, Thomas & Betts Corp, has no basis to support applications requiring continuity on low level circuits less than 1A, 28Vdc. Based on information received from the customer in issue, we now understand that there exists a history of industry field use which may support the utilization of an E7000 in a low level control circuit. Nonetheless, Thomas & Betts Corp currently does not recommend or guaranty satisfactory operation of its E7000 below 1A, 28Vdc.

Please note, in response to this low current application knowledge gained from the field, Thomas & Betts Corp is investigating the feasibility of product development to address this nuclear industry need. Of course, any new product will be subject to appropriate certification protocols.

Field Notification

By copy of this submission and explanatory cover letter, Thomas & Betts Corp provides formal notice of these developments to nuclear customers regarding application of the E7000 series. This Part 21 notification will be forwarded by Certified Mail / Return Receipt Requested. In particular, this notification specifically advises that Thomas & Betts Corp's test equipment for this product uses 100mA, 6Vdc to ensure compliance to the qualification testing. Thomas & Betts Corp considers usage of the E7000 Series below that level unsupported.

Thomas & Betts Corp is not aware of other concerns or issues regarding the E7000 Series.

Please feel free to communicate with us with any questions or comments on these matters.

Very truly yours,

Robert Souden
Quality Manager


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