Information Notice No. 90-36: Apparent Falsification of State of Connecticut Weight Certificates

                                UNITED STATES
                           WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                                May 24, 1990

Information Notice No. 90-36:  APPARENT FALSIFICATION OF STATE OF 
                                   CONNECTICUT WEIGHT CERTIFICATES 


All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power 
reactors, and 10 CFR 70 licensees. 


This information notice alerts addressees to the need for ensuring that 
certifications of master weights to be used for the calibration of torque 
wrenches, dynamometers, and other devices are not outdated, thereby 
precluding the potential for invalid and inaccurate calibrations.  The event 
cited in this notice received local media and press attention and also 
resulted in inquiries from licensees for any information NRC may have on 
this matter.  It is expected that recipients will review the information for 
applicability to their facilities and consider appropriate actions to avoid 
similar problems.  However, suggestions contained in this information notice 
do not constitute NRC requirements, since no specific action or written 
response is required. 

Description of Circumstances: 

During a source inspection of AKO, Incorporated, Enfield, Connecticut, by 
Northeast Utilities on July 19-20, 1989, the utility determined that the 
certification of standard weights used to calibrate torque wrenches, torque 
multipliers, and dynamometers for use in safety-related activities at 
Northeast Utilities' nuclear power plants had apparently been falsified.  
AKO test reports and copies of certificates issued by the State of 
Connecticut, Department of Consumer Protection, Division of Weights and 
Measures (WM) given to Northeast Utilities by AKO stated that the weights 
used to calibrate these devices were accepted by WM and could be traced to 
the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  However, the documents 
that the vendor claimed were official certifications of weights were 
determined by Northeast Utilities and confirmed by the State to have been 
altered to extend their expiration dates. 

Test reports supplied by AKO to Northeast Utilities for 52 devices 
calibrated on March 17, 1988; April 7, 1988; September 22, 1988; January 5, 


                                                            IN 90-36 
                                                            May 24, 1990 
                                                            Page 2 of 3 

April 17, 1989; and July 19, 1989, refer to WM certifications that had 
expired in March 1986 or that did not exist.  The licensee arranged for 
another firm to recalibrate all the suspect devices.  This firm determined 
that all the devices had been calibrated within their required tolerances 
and that no corrections were necessary.  The licensee indicated that the 
tolerance requirements for their devices are of the order of +/- 3 to 5
percent.  Some of the AKO standard weights were condemned for use by the
State of Connecticut using +/- 0.01 percent tolerance limits.  These limits are
generally well within most licensee tolerance requirements as noted above.
Nevertheless, licensees should be aware that the calibration of measuring 
devices can only be considered accurate if the certification of calibrated 
weights has not been allowed to expire.

The NRC conducted an inspection at AKO and reviewed pertinent AKO records. 
Based on this review, the following licensees were identified as procuring 
calibration services or calibration equipment or both from AKO during the 
period in question:  

Alabama Power Company
Arizona Public Service
Boston Edison Company
Combustion Engineering
Duke Power Company
General Electric Company
Illinois Power Company
Louisiana Power and Light Company
Northeast Nuclear Energy Company
Public Service Electric and Gas Company
Southern California Edison Company
Tennessee Valley Authority
Texas Utilities Generating Company
UNC Naval Products Division 
Virginia Electric Power Company
Washington Public Power Supply System
Westinghouse Electric Corporation

The above list may not be all inclusive in that other companies may have 
used AKO services, but were not identified in the NRC record review.  During 
the NRC inspection in December 1989, the NRC was informed by AKO that they 
have now purchased a new set of master weights which are certified to 
nationally recognized standards.  Although this specific matter may not have 
high safety significance, licensees should view this occurrence as 
application-dependent and consider this experience in future reviews and 
audits of calibration service companies and other vendors.


                                                            IN 90-36 
                                                            May 24, 1990 
                                                            Page 3 of 3 

This information notice requires no specific action or written response.  If
you have any questions about the information in this notice, please contact 
one of the technical contacts listed below or the appropriate NRR project 

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

Technical Contacts:  H. Wescott, NRR
                     (301) 492-3216

                     W. P. Haass, NRR
                     (301) 492-3219

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices

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