Information Notice No. 89-23:Environmental Qualification of Litton-Veam CIR Series Electrical Connectors

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

                                  March 3, 1989

                                   CIR SERIES ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS


All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power


This information notice is being provided to alert addressees to a potentially
generic safety problem involving CIR series electrical connectors manufactured
by the Veam Division of Litton Industries.  These connectors have been 
supplied to numerous commercial nuclear plants by Combustion Engineering, Inc. 
(CE), and have been obtained by at least three plants through other channels. 

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:

Litton-Veam CIR series multi-pin electrical connectors are used in core exit
thermocouple (CET) and reactor vessel level monitoring (RVLM) systems supplied
to numerous plants by Combustion Engineering, Inc., and are used in other ap-
plications in at least three additional plants.  A proprietary qualification
test report (CE NPSD-230-P) has been used to document environmental qualifi-
cation of the connectors for loss of coolant accident (LOCA) conditions in the 
CE-supplied systems.  During LOCA testing, the connector face seal gasket was 
completely degraded and elastomeric inserts interacted with simulated contain-
ment spray solution which leaked into the connector.  Insulation resistances 
near 1,000 ohms were measured.  CE has performed analyses to show that 
resultant errors are acceptable in CE-supplied CET and RVLM system 
thermocouple circuits.  However, the moisture ingress and resultant low 
insulation resistances are not acceptable for heater circuits in the RVLM.  
For that application, CE developed two remedies; one is a clamp, and the other 
is a new connector design.  CE has advised that one of these remedies has been 
used for all of the RVLM heater circuits.  Unmodified CIR connectors are 
believed to be still in use in other applications. 

.                                                            IN 89-23
                                                            March 3, 1989
                                                            Page 2 of 2

Details of this concern, including a list of plants believed to be affected, 
are contained in NRC Inspection Report 99900401/88-01, dated January 10, 1989.


CE LOCA-tested the Litton-Veam connectors only in thermocouple circuits, which
tolerate relatively poor electrical characteristics.  In other applications 
such as transmitter and solenoid valve circuits, licensees are cau-tioned that 
CE's testing (1) does not establish qualification and (2) strongly suggests 
qualification problems.  Connector failures could result in the loss of the 
func-tions of connected qualified equipment.

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 C. Wilson, NRR
                    (301) 492-0997

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices
.                                                            Attachment 
                                                            IN 89-23
                                                            March 3, 1989
                                                            Page 1 of 1

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

89-22          Questionable Certification    3/3/89         All holders of OLs
               of Fasteners                                 or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors.

89-21          Changes in Performance        2/27/89        All holders of OLs
               Characteristics of Molded-                   or CPs for nuclear
               Case Circuit Breakers                        power reactors.

88-73,         Direction-Dependent Leak      2/27/89        All holders of OLs
Supplement 1   Characteristics of Contain-                  or CPs for nuclear
               ment Purge Valves                            power reactors.

89-20          Weld Failures in a Pump       2/24/89        All holders of OLs
               of Byron-Jackson Design                      or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors.

89-19          Health Physics Network        2/23/89        All holders of OLs
                                                            or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors, and
                                                            the following fuel
                                                            Nuclear Fuel 
                                                            Services of Erwin, 
                                                            General Atomic, UNC
                                                            Montville, B&W LRC
                                                            Lynchburg, and B&W

89-18          Criminal Prosecution of       2/22/89        All holders of OLs
               Wrongdoing Committed by                      or CPs for nuclear
               Suppliers of Nuclear                         power reactors.
               Products or Services

89-17          Contamination and Degra-      2/22/89        All holders of OLs
               dation of Safety-Related                     or CPs for nuclear
               Battery Cells                                power reactors.

89-16          Excessive Voltage Drop        2/16/89        All holders of OLs
               in dc Systems                                or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors.

OL = Operating License
CP = Construction Permit 

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