Information Notice No. 89-42: Failure of Rosemount Models 1153 and 1154 Transmitters
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555
April 21, 1989
Information Notice No. 89-42: FAILURE OF ROSEMOUNT MODELS 1153 AND 1154
All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power
This information notice is being provided to alert addressees about recent
failures of Rosemount models 1153 and 1154 pressure and differential pressure
transmitters. 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:
During 1986 and 1987, five Rosemount model 1153 HD5PC differential pressure
transmitters malfunctioned at Northeast Utilities' (NU) Millstone Nuclear
Power Station, Unit 3. During power operation, the Millstone operators noted
that the signals from the Rosemount 1153 transmitters were deviating from
redundant channel signals and that the transmitters were indicating reduced
levels of process noise. The transmitters were declared out of service by
NU personnel, and the affected channels were placed in the tripped condition.
After attempts to calibrate the transmitters failed, NU returned the trans-
mitters to Rosemount and informed them that the malfunctions had occurred
with transmitters of the same model and related serial numbers. Destructive
testing performed by Rosemount determined that the failures were caused by the
loss of oil from the transmitter's sealed sensing module. However, Rosemount
indicated that the failures appeared to be random and not related to any
generic problem with Rosemount 1153 pressure transmitters. NU submitted a 10
CFR Part 21 notification to the NRC on this issue on March 25, 1988, and
provided additional information on the failures via a letter dated April 13,
After additional evaluations by NU and Rosemount, Rosemount issued a letter
to its customers on December 12, 1988, regarding the potential malfunction
of models 1153 and 1154 pressure and differential pressure transmitters. The
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April 21, 1989
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Rosemount letter was supplemented with a letter dated February 7, 1989, to
customers who had purchased transmitters from specific lots that were identi-
fied by Rosemount as being potentially defective. Rosemount issued a separate
letter dated February 16, 1989, to customers who had purchased model 1153 and
1154 transmitters from lots that were not considered suspect. Rosemount indi-
cated that transmitters from the suspect lots were susceptible to a loss of
silicone oil from the transmitter sealed sensing module and to possible fail-
ure. According to Rosemount, as the oil leaks out of the sensing module the
transmitter's performance gradually deteriorates and may eventually lead to
a detectable failure.
Some of the symptoms that have been observed during operation and before
failure include slow drift in either direction of about 1/4 percent or more
per month, lack of response over the transmitter's full range, increase in
the transmitter's time response, deviation from the normal signal
fluctuations, decrease in the detectable noise level, deviation of signals
from one channel compared with redundant channels, "one sided" signal noise,
and slow response to a transient or inability to follow a transient. Some of
the symptoms observed by NU personnel during calibration include the inability
to respond over the transmitter's entire range, slow response to either
increasing or decreasing hydraulic test pressure, and drift of greater than 1%
from the previous calibration.
Although some of the defective transmitters have shown certain symptoms before
their failure, it has been reported that in some cases the failure of a trans-
mitter may not be detectable during operation. In addition, Rosemount now
indicates that the potential for malfunction may not be limited to the speci-
fied manufacturing lots previously identified in the February 1989 letter.
It is important for addressees to determine whether any Rosemount models 1153
and 1154 pressure and differential pressure transmitters, regardless of their
manufacturing date, are installed in their facilities and to take whatever
actions are deemed necessary to ensure that any potential failures of these
transmitters are identified. Although it may not be possible to detect the
onset of failure in all instances, some transmitters have exhibited some of
the aforementioned symptoms before failure. It is important for potential
failure modes to be identified and that operators be prepared for handling
potential malfunctions. In addition, careful examination of plant data,
calibration records, and operating experience may yield clues that identify
potentially defective transmitters. Addressees may wish to contact Rosemount
for assistance in determining appropriate corrective actions whenever any of
the aforementioned symptoms are observed or if failures are identified.
On April 13, 1989, the NRC staff met and discussed this matter with Rosemount
and several industry groups. Rosemount has launched a program to identify the
root cause of the loss of oil from the sensing module and to determine recom-
mendations for its customers to address potentially defective transmitters.
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April 21, 1989
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No specific action or written response is required by this information notice.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact one of the
technical contacts listed below or the Regional Administrator of the appro-
priate regional office.
Charles E. Rossi, Director
Division of Operational Events Assessment
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
Technical Contacts: Kamal Naidu, NRR
Jaime Guillen, NRR
Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices
April 21, 1989
Page 1 of 1
LIST OF RECENTLY ISSUED
NRC INFORMATION NOTICES
Information Date of
Notice No._____Subject_______________________Issuance_______Issued to________
89-41 Operator Response to 4/20/89 All holders of OLs
Pressurization of Low- or CPs for nuclear
Pressure Interfacing power reactors.
88-75, Disabling of Diesel 4/17/89 All holders of OLs
Supplement 1 Generator Output Circuit or CPs for nuclear
Breakers by Anti-Pump power reactors.
89-40 Unsatisfactory Operator Test 4/14/89 All holders of OLs
Results and Their Effect on or CPs for nuclear
the Requalification Program power reactors.
89-39 List of Parties Excluded 4/5/89 All holders of OLs
from Federal Procurement or CPs for nuclear
or Non-Procurement Programs power reactors.
89-38 Atmospheric Dump Valve 4/5/89 All holders of OLs
Failures at Palo Verde or CPs for nuclear
Units 1, 2, and 3 power reactors.
89-37 Proposed Amendments to 4/4/89 All U.S. NRC
40 CFR Part 61, Air licensees.
89-36 Excessive Temperatures 4/4/89 All holders of OLs
in Emergency Core Cooling or CPs for nuclear
System Piping Located power reactors.
88-86, Operating with Multiple 3/31/89 All holders of OLs
Supp. 1 Grounds in Direct Current or CPs for nuclear
Distribution Systems power reactors.
89-35 Loss and Theft of Un- 3/30/89 All U.S. NRC
secured Licensed Material byproduct, source
OL = Operating License
CP = Construction Permit
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