[ RadSafe ] RadSafe Digest, Vol 919, Issue 1

Thompson, Dewey L DThompson3 at ameren.com
Wed Mar 21 11:36:45 CDT 2012

Hi Terry

Your comment (suggestion) for a periodic independent review causes me to wonder how much you know about the theory and practice of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO).

Following the TMI accident, the CEOs of a number of plants championed a "independent review entity" to "drive the industry to excellence".  The major player was Billy Lee, CEO of Duke Energy.

The objective was to increase safety in the industry.  The idea was "another TMI and this industry is finished".  The theory point is to provide "regulatory margin".  (If the NRC audits and holds to a "minimum standard", auditing and holding to a higher standard provides assurance of better operational history).  Again, the concept of INPO was (is) to "drive the industry to excellence".  This is accomplished in part with three main avenues:

            Operational Event database.  (The TMI accident precursors had happened earlier at ANO I believe)

            Plant evaluations.  Every two years for plant operations.  Every four years for training programs (split between operations and non operations, meaning training gets looked at every two years)

            Facilitated information flow and professional training (INPO offers a number of courses at a number of levels

The industry self funds this, providing money "on the barrelhead", and with people ("reverse loanees"). Whether or not this is actually working can be (and is) debated.  One example that can be used is capacity factors.  In the 1970s, nuclear plant capacity factors in the US were on the order of 55%.  Nowadays if you can not maintain well above 90% capacity factor, you are a really really crappy operator. Folks in the trenches (like me) rant and rave about INPO and their "excellence plans".  ALTHOUGH.  Every INPO audit that I have ever read actually had the gestalt "dead on".  I might not like some of their specifics, but on balance they get it right.  Others might point to rather major failings (for example INPO did not predict the Davis Besse head erosion event, AND you can point to their not seeing the precursors to the Fukushima accident.  INPO is transmogrifying into WANO, or World Association of Nuclear Operators).

Of course to graduating to a "World Influence", the problems are greater.  In the USA INPOs main lever is the insurance carrier.  World issues are bigger.

But again, from my view out of the mole hill, the theory seems to work.


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Staff HP

Radiation Protection Department

T 314.225.1061

F 573.676.4484

E DThompson3 at ameren.com

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Jeff Terry
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 12:34 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] RadSafe Digest, Vol 919, Issue 1

Hi Dewey,

I think that it is part of the problem that we do not know about the missing support systems at some of these facilities. I often wonder if it is our responsibility to find out what is missing. I have spent a lot of the past year familiarizing myself with the systems at the Exelon plants in Illinois. Not quite as much with Calloway and the Wisconsin plants, but I have looked into those as well since they provide power to IL.

I am beginning to think that it is a good idea to conduct independent non-regulatory reviews on something like a 5 year basis. The NRC does do a very good job, but Fukushima and Tokaimura have shown that regulators don't always get it right.

Look how close, we came to an incident at Ft. Calhoun. Their NRC flood requirements were only changed in 2010 (http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1028/ML102800342.pdf).

For example, we know Sandia tested Nuclear Containment worthiness to aircraft (F-4 Phantom) impact. Has Japan, has the UK, has France, has China? Many of us know the US standards and what US plants have  improved since 9/11 and since TMI, US -> EA-02-026, 10CFR52.80, and NEI06-12. Fukushima showed that Japan had not moved to the same level of protections.

Who should be the ones looking at things like this, Greenpeace, ANS, NEI, RadSafe? I don't know.

Just my opinion,


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