United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 83-12: Incorrect Boron Standards

                                                            SSINS No.: 6835 
                                                            IN 83-12 

                                UNITED STATES
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 

                               March 18, 1983 

Information Notice No. 83-12:   INCORRECT BORON STANDARDS 


All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license (OL) or 
construction permit (CP). 


This information notice is provided as a notification of a potentially 
significant problem pertaining to incorrect boron standards supplied by the 
J. T. Baker Chemical Company of Phillipsburg, New Jersey. An incorrect and 
non-conservative determination of the actual boron concentration of a 
pressurized water reactor's primary coolant system could result from the use
of these incorrect standards. Since boiling water reactor (BWR) licensees 
are required to periodically determine boron concentration in their 
emergency, backup chemical shutdown systems, BWR licensees may use similar 
standards. It is expected that recipients will review this information 
notice for applicability to their facilities. No specific action or response 
is required at this time. 

Description of Circumstances: 

Consumers Power Company, Palisades Plant, received an order consisting of 
twentythree 500-ml bottles of 1000-ppm boric acid solution in water, to be 
used in its chemistry laboratory as standards. The principal use of these 
standards is for the standardization of sodium hydroxide solutions which are
in turn used to determine the concentration of boron in the primary coolant 
system. Before using any of these standards, a verification test was 
performed on one of the twenty-three bottles. This titration analysis of the
1000-ppm standard indicated the boron concentration was 896 ppm. Two 
additional bottles were then analyzed, with chemistry supervision present, 
and these were found to contain 898 ppm, and 896 ppm of boron, respectively.
All twenty-three bottles were then placed in hold in the facility store 

The safety significance is that the boron standard is used for 
standarization of sodium hydroxide which is in turn used to determine the 
boron concentration in the primary coolant system. Use of sodium hydroxide 
standardized with a lower-than-expected boron concentration would 
overestimate the boron concentration in the primary coolant system. 
Overestimation of the primary system boron concentration could reduce the 
capability to shut down the reactor and maintain the plant in a safe 


                                                           IN 83-12  
                                                           March 18, 1983 
                                                           Page 2 of 2 

The Palisades plant supplier, the J. T. Baker Chemical Company, has been 
contacted about the concentration deficiency of the boron standard of Lot 
No. 133107 by both Consumers Power Company and by the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission. Consumers Power Company issued a 10 CFR 21 report on December 
22, 1982. The NRC asked the J. T. Baker Chemical Company to identify how Lot 
No. 133107 was distributed. According to J. T. Baker Company personnel in 
the Phillipsburg, N.J. office, all distributions are made to individual 
supply houses and cannot be traced beyond that point. They have identified 
all individual supply houses receiving more than one bottle of the boron 
standard from Lot No. 133107. These are as follows: 

     o    J. T. Baker Chemical Company Sales Office, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, 
          twenty-three 500-ml bottles (these are the bottles which were 
          ultimately sent to the Palisades Plant). 

     o    V. W. R. Scientific, Bridgeport, New Jersey, twenty-four bottles. 

     o    V. W. R. Scientific, Batavia, Illinois, twelve bottles. 

     o    V. W. R. Scientific, Brisbane, California, twelve bottles. 

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the Regional 
Administrator of the appropriate NRC Regional Office, or this office. 

                              Edward L. Jordan, Director  
                              Division of Emergency Preparedness 
                                and Engineering Response  
                              Office of Inspectipn and Enforcement 

Technical Contact:  J. E. Wigginton, IE 

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