Information Notice No. 83-61: Alleged Use of Stand-ins for Welder Qualification Tests
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555
September 26, 1983
Information Notice No. 83-61: ALLEGED USE OF STAND-INS FOR WELDER
All nuclear power facilities holding an operating license (OL) or a
construction permit (CP).
This information notice is provided to bring to the attention of licensees
and construction permit holders the alleged practice of using stand-ins for
welder qualification tests. It is expected that recipients will review the
information for applicability to their facilities. No other action or
response is required.
Description of Circumstances:
On June 29, 1983, The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, Chairman, Committee on Labor
and Human Resources, United States Senate, held an oversight hearing.
Witnesses testified that some local branches of the International
Brotherhood of Boilermakers Union were illegally selling membership "books."
The membership book indicates that a welder has completed his
apprenticeship, which enables him to work as a journeyman welder. The
witnesses also indicated that qualified welders have been taking the
qualification test on behalf of people who had purchased union membership
"books" but did not have adequate training to pass the test. Their testimony
indicated that this use of stand-ins may be most prevalent at fossil fuel
plants. However, the witnesses also testified that use of stand-ins for
welder qualification tests has occurred at nuclear power plant construction
sites and specifically alleged that this practice existed during the
construction of the Three Mile Island nuclear plants.
Section IX, "Welding and Brazing Qualifications" of the ASME Boiler and
Pressure Vessel Code, requires that welders be qualified by test. This test
is to be conducted under the full supervision and control of the
manufacturer, contractor, assembler, or installer during the production of
the test weldment.
It is a fundamental principle that the responsibility for adequate
construction and operation of nuclear facilities rests upon the licensee.
The NRC inspection program can examine only a small sample of activities and
records of activities. Recent NRC review of utility practices for
establishing welder identity during qualification testing has indicated that
in addition to requiring the welder's signature and social security number
for identification, some utilities also require a current photograph. The
photo system appears to offer distinct advantages in preventing the alleged
practices of using stand-ins for welder qualifications.
September 26, 1983
Page 2 of 2
The combined practices of certified training, stringent qualification
testing with verified identity, and appropriate production weld inspections
are necessary to assure the quality of welds in nuclear power plants. The
NRC has initiated a request to the ASME to provide a code requirement for
positive identification of the individual taking the welder qualification
If you have any questions regarding 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 Inspection and Enforcement
G. B Georgiev
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