United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 88-64: Reporting Fires in Nuclear Process Systems at Nuclear Power Plants

                                  UNITED STATES
                          NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                             WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                                 August 18, 1988

Information Notice No. 88-64:  REPORTING FIRES IN NUCLEAR PROCESS 
                                   SYSTEMS AT NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS 


All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power 


This information notice is being provided to alert addressees to the 
importance of prompt reporting to the NRC of fires in nuclear process systems 
at nuclear power plants.  These incidents involve ignition, detonation, burns, 
combustion, explosion, and the like, of solid, liquid, or gaseous material in 
safety and nonsafety related nuclear process systems.  It is expected that 
recipients will review the information for applicability to their facilities 
and consider actions, as appropriate, to avoid similar problems.  However, 
suggestions contained in this information notice do not constitute NRC 
requirements; therefore no specific action or written response is required.

Description of Circumstances:  

On February 27, 1988, a fire lasting more than ten minutes occurred in the 
off-gas system charcoal beds at Grand Gulf while the plant was at 100 percent 
power.  A hydrogen detonation caused the fire.  The charcoal beds were 
isolated and power was reduced to 55 percent to reduce off-gas radiation 
release levels, although no radioactive materials were released as a result of 
this fire.  A nitrogen purge was used to extinguish the fire.  

On June 20, 1986, a test of the temperature reducing capability of the non-
safety related off-gas vault refrigeration system was performed at the Perry 
plant.  External radiant space heaters were used to raise the temperatures of 
the charcoal bed vessel and equipment.  Dry instrument air was blown through 
the charcoal beds to simulate system gas flow.  The test was stopped when the 
charcoal beds caught fire.  A nitrogen purge of the charcoal beds was used to 
extinguish the fire.  The test resumed on July 6, 1986.   The charcoal beds 
again caught fire, and the test was stopped.  A nitrogen purge was again used 
to extinguish the fire.  No radioactive releases resulted from either fire. 

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                                                            August 18, 1988 
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For each of the fires at the Perry plant, the licensee declared an Unusual 
Event and notified the NRC Operations Center.  However, the fire at Grand Gulf 
was not reported to the NRC Operations Center, because Grand Gulf defines an 
unusual event as a fire lasting more than ten minutes in a safety related 

Various NRC documents refer to fires that should be reported to the NRC 
Operations Center.  NUREG-0654, Revision 1, "Criteria for Preparation and 
Evaluation of Radiological Emergency Response Plans and Preparedness in 
Support of Nuclear Power Plants," lists a fire within the plant lasting more 
than 10 minutes as an example of a condition that would require notifying the 
NRC of an Unusual Event.  Accordingly, fire in a process system lasting more 
than 10 minutes would be an adequate criterion for declaring an Unusual Event 
in accordance with the Emergency Plans of most licensees.

NUREG-1022, "Licensee Event Report System," and Supplement No. 1 thereto 
provide information and guidance on notifying the NRC Operations Center per 10 
CFR 50.72 and on preparing licensee event reports per 10 CFR 50.73.  These 
documents contain examples of potentially reportable events, several of which 
deal with various aspects of fires.  

It is important that recipients notify the NRC Operations Center of events in-
volving fires in nuclear process systems at nuclear power plants in a timely 
manner.  Timely reporting of events ensures that the NRC can properly respond, 
including alerting or informing other governmental agencies of the potential 
or resultant consequences, as appropriate.  

No specific action or written response is required by this information notice.
If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the technical 
contact listed below or the Regional Administrator of the appropriate regional 

                              Charles E. Rossi, Director
                              Division of Operational Events Assessment
                              Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation 

Technical Contact:  Richard J. Jolliffe, AEOD 
                    (301) 492-7159 

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices 

.                                                            Attachment 
                                                            IN 88-64 
                                                            August 18, 1988 
                                                            Page 1 of 1

                             LIST OF RECENTLY ISSUED
                            NRC INFORMATION NOTICES 
Information                                  Date of 
Notice No._____Subject_______________________Issuance_______Issued to________

88-63          High Radiation Hazards        8/15/88        All holders of OLs
               from Irradiated Incore                       or CPs for nuclear
               Detectors and Cables                         power reactors, 
                                                            research reactors 
                                                            and test reactors.

88-62          Recent Findings Concerning    8/12/88        All holders of NRC
               Implementation of Quality                    quality assurance 
               Assurance Programs by                        program approval 
               Suppliers of Transport                       for radioactive 
               Packages                                     material packages.

88-61          Control Room Habitability -   8/11/88        All holders of OLs
               Recent Reviews of Operating                  or CPs for nuclear
               Experience                                   power reactors. 

88-60          Inadequate Design and         8/11/88        All holders of OLs
               Installation of Watertight                   or CPs for nuclear
               Penetration Seals                            power reactors. 

88-04,         Inadequate Qualification      8/9/88         All holders of OLs
Supplement 1   and Documentation of Fire                    or CPs for nuclear
               Barrier Penetration Seals                    power reactors. 

88-59          Main Steam Isolation Valve    8/9/88         All holders of OLs
               Guide Rail Failure at                        or CPs for nuclear
               Waterford Unit 3                             power reactors. 

88-58          Potential Problems with       8/8/88         All holders of OLs
               ASEA Brown Boveri ITE-51L                    or CPs for nuclear
               Time-Overcurrent Relays                      power reactors. 

88-57          Potential Loss of Safe        8/8/88         All holders of OLs
               Shutdown Equipment Due to                    or CPs for nuclear
               Premature Silicon Controlled                 power reactors. 
               Rectifier Failure 

88-56          Potential Problems with       8/4/88         All holders of OLs
               Silicone Foam Fire Barrier                   or CPs for nuclear
               Penetration Seals                            power reactors. 
OL = Operating License
CP = Construction Permit 
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 22, 2015