Information Notice No. 93-43: Use of Inappropriate Lubrication Oils in Safety-Related Applications
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555
June 10, 1993
NRC INFORMATION NOTICE 93-43: USE OF INAPPROPRIATE LUBRICATION OILS IN
All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this information
notice to alert addressees to a potential for introducing inappropriate
lubricating oils into safety-related components. 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 are not NRC requirements;
therefore, no specific action or written response is required.
Description of Circumstances
During routine surveillance of plant equipment at the Farley nuclear plant in
June-July 1992, the operations staff discovered that lubricating oils for the
outboard and inboard bearings of component cooling water pump motors were
discolored. A closer examination revealed some brown sheen on the bearing and
other indications of bearing wear. The licensee analyzed samples of the
lubricating oils and determined that the oils were not of the viscosity
specified for that application.
The licensee subsequently sampled the lubrication oils in all plant safety-
related equipment. Of 33 samples taken, 18 revealed the presence of an
inappropriate lubrication oil. In some cases, the correct oil was not
present; in others, the sample indicated that a mixture of the correct oil and
an incorrect oil was present.
The licensee determined that, because of a wrong label on a drum supplied to
the licensee by the vendor, Texaco Regal R & O 68 oil was used in safety-
related applications where Texaco R & O 32 oil was specified. The oil was
purchased as a commercial grade product. The licensee had not sampled the oil
when it was delivered to verify that it had received the oil it had ordered.
The licensee hired a consultant to evaluate the effect of having used the
R & O 68 oil instead of the R & O 32 oil. The consultant determined that no
serious problem was likely to occur in the short term, because the two oils
June 10, 1993
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differed only in viscosity. All of the additives were identical. However,
the consultant also indicated that the more viscous oil (R & O 68) would
generate more heat from higher friction. This could increase oxidation of the
oil, resulting in shorter oil lifetime. The higher viscosity might also cause
bearing distress, which could lead to increased wear on the bearing.
The licensee replaced the oil in all of the affected equipment, after assuring
that the correct oil was being used. Further, the licensee has instituted
procedures to ensure that oil is sampled upon receipt at the warehouse, before
release into the plant, and again before use.
Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 50 contains the NRC regulations for procurement
quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) for products to be used in
safety-related applications. Generic Letter (GL) 89-02, "Actions to Improve
the Detection of Counterfeit and Fraudulently Marketed Products," and
GL 91-05, "Licensee Commercial-Grade Procurement and Dedication Programs,"
discuss commercial-grade dedication and the characteristics of effective
procurement and dedication programs.
This information notice requires no specific action or written response. If
you have any questions about the information in this notice, please contact
the technical contacts listed below, or the appropriate Office of Nuclear
Reactor Regulation (NRR) project manager.
ORIGINAL SIGNED BY
Brian K. Grimes, Director
Division of Operating Reactor Support
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
Technical contacts: George Maxwell, RII
Michael Morgan, RII
Todd A. Cooper, RII
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