Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The "merit" of simulators

NRC has had this stuff for a long time. It is likely misleading in its LOCA training.

The caption below refers to a photograph from today's (May 5, 2010) NRC web page.

NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff (center) recently toured the agency’s Technical Training Center, established in 1980, in Chattanooga, Tenn. where nuclear plant simulators, like the one shown here, provide hands-on training for NRC engineers.

Of course, I wonder about the quality of that hands-on training for NRC engineers. Baker-Just and Cathcart-Pawel are alive and likely the 2200 Fahrenheit game is in the NRC's simulator.
The NRC engineers' time would be better spent in a study of PRM-50-93 and its associated public comments.

The above caption says the Technical Training Center was established during 1980. Following is my experience with that Center during 1984. Click to enlarge; your return arrow gets you back.

Here is an additional entry to this blog on June 29, 2010: Flying magazine, June 2010, page 38 discusses flight simulators in a discussion of a fatal crash. Anther one of the usual suspects was the lack of realism 0f flight simulators, especially at the edges of the flight envelope, and the misleading quality of flight training that emphasizes the approach to stall, but not the stall itself or the post-stall gyrations. Indeed, pilots who are trained from the onset in simulators and in turbine aircraft have very little experience with, or sense of, the natural evolution of a stall. To further mislead those pilots, one criterion of a proper recovery from an impending stall is minimum loss of altitude, whereas, as light aircraft pilots know, the essential considerations are angle of attack and airspeed. A significant loss of altitude is willingly accepted in the name of avoiding a dangerous secondary stall.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pure oxygen instead of steam for a justification to apply Baker-Just

RE: WCAP-12610, Appendix E, August, 1990
5/4/2010 9:06:10 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time
Reply To:

Robert H. Leyse,

I am responding to your inquiry, which was recently received by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Public Document Room (NRC/PDR).

The document you have inquired about, WCAP-12610, Appendix E, is not available either on the NRC Web site or in the public version of ADAMS, NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System, because it has a "Non-Publicly Available" status:

Accession Number
Document Date
Estimated Page Count
Document Type
Proprietary WCAP-12610,App E, "ZIRLO High Temp Oxidation Tests." Withheld.
Non-Publicly Available
Microfiche Address
Package Number

You can file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to try and get the document's contents released. Contact information for NRC's FOIA office follows:

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
FOIA/Privacy Officer
Mail Stop: T-5F11
Washington, DC 20555-0001
(301) 415-7169
(301) 415-5130 (FAX)

I hope you will find this information to be useful.

Adam Glazer
Technical Librarian
Public Document Room
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
(301) 415-4737
(800) 397-4209
(301) 415-3548 (FAX)
[8:00am - 4:00pm, Eastern Time, Monday - Friday]

The next ADAMS User Group meeting will be held on May 5, 2010 from 2:00pm - 3:00pm Eastern Time

The PDR uses a private contractor, Best Copy and Printing Incorporated (BCPI), to reproduce documents. On October 1, 2009, BCPI increased its prices. Reproductions from microfiche to paper increased from $0.30 per page to $0.40 per page. Additional information about fees and turnaround times is available at

ADAMS PUBLIC, available at, made its debut on February 1, 2010, replacing Citrix-based ADAMS. ADAMS PUBLIC users can now search the ADAMS Legacy Library via a Web interface. The original Web-based ADAMS, available at, is still available for searching and retrieving current ADAMS documents.

From: [] Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2010 10:38 AMTo: PDR ResourceSubject: WCAP-12610, Appendix E, August, 1990

Attention Mary Mandiola and Adam Glazer:

Thank you Mary and Adam,

Next, I am trying to retrace my steps of several years ago. Following is a letter that is in the system. Thus I need WCAP-12610, Appendix E, August, 1990, but I have not been able to find that. Again, please help.


DOCKET(6 1 F 511 s3 )December 14, 2002Petitioner's Responses to Comments by Wstinghouse and NEIDOCKETEDUSNRCDecember 16, 2002 (4:30PM)OFFICE OF SECRETARY RULEMAKINGS AND ADJUDICATIONS STAFFOn page 2 of the attachment to its comments dated October 22, 2002, Westinghouse states, "More recently, Westinghouse conducted tests with pure oxygen instead of steam." With difficulty, the Petitioner located a reference that apparently describes this work, WCAP-12610, Appendix E, August, 1990. Only a limited portion of the report is available to the public and it is classified by Westinghouse as a proprietary report. The high temperature oxidation tests were performed by Nuclear Electric, plc in the United Kingdom. Twenty four ZIRLO alloy and six Zr-4 samples were tested at temperatures ranging from 1832F to 2372F. The cylindrical tubing specimens were approximately 0.6 inches long and were from production grade 17x1 7 tubing.Appendix E candidly discloses: "Since, particularly at high temperatures, the self heating of the specimen results in its being at a higher temperature than its surroundings, any temperature measured will be equal to or lower than that of the test specimen." In other words, in order for the investigators at Nuclear Electric to prevent runaway from the heat of reaction at high temperatures (self heating) it was necessary to maintain the surroundings at a substantially lower temperature than the specimen. In this manner, the heat loss by radiation to the relatively cold surroundings compensated for the heat produced by chemical reaction with the pure oxygen. This then leads to the question: What if Nuclear Electric had conducted the investigation with a 17x 17 arrangement of ZIRLO or Zr-2 tubes captured within a Zircaloy-4 structural grid with ZIRLO thimbles as depicted in FIGURE 2-1 of WCAP-12610? The answer is that the assembly would have rapidly been destroyed in runaway if a sufficient flow of oxygen had been maintained.The oxidation tests of the ZIRLO alloy and Zr-4 samples were conducted within a very "quiet" oxygen atmosphere. The apparatus was extremely delicate. The investigators reported, "Pure oxygen gas was used as the oxidant rather than steam. It is believed that, if steam were used, condensation on the suspension wire could invalidate the weight gain measurements." From this it may be inferred that the apparatus was certainly insufficiently robust to accommodate the turbulent thermal hydraulic conditions of LOCA. The oxygen supply system and flow rates are not disclosed in Appendix E, but it must have been a very tender application of oxygen to not upset the suspension wire and the weight gain apparatus.Next the Petitioner responds to comments from Westinghouse and NEI that cover another matter. In its October 22, 2002, set of remarks Westinghouse asserts, "The conditions of FLECHT Run 9573 were extremely severe and from a LOCA standpoint should be considered beyond the design basis for ECCS. Despite the severity of the conditions and the observed extensive zirconium water reaction, the oxidation was within the expected range and runaway oxidation occurred beyond 2300F." The comments from NEI dated October 25, 2002, also refer to FLECHT Run 9573 and runaway as follows, "The test, FLECHT Run 9573, has not been ignored. The test was performed under very severe, beyond design basis conditions. Post test evaluations showed that oxidation was withinTˇmeIOˇSCCYu..O67Sec' I ,-OCz);4.the expected range and "runaway" oxidation did not occur until the temperature was well beyond 2300F."Westinghouse asserts that the temperature of the cladding at start of reflood was excessive in Run 9573. Westinghouse says nothing about the impact of the severe fouling on fuel elements that has been observed at several nuclear power reactors. Of course, severe fouling means that the fuel cladding will likely reach substantially higher temperatures during LOCA than was the case in Run 9573. Run 9573 was designed with no allowance for the severe fouling that characterizes today's nuclear power plant operations within technical specifications.Westinghouse submitted the report WCAP-1261 0 to the NRC with a two page cover letter (NS-NRC-90-3519) on June 13, 1990. The opening sentence is, "Westinghouse has developed an advanced fuel assembly design which provides increased corrosion resistance (allowing for increased flexibility in coolant chemistry operations), enhanced fuel reliability, and the capability to support discharge bumups up to a lead rod average bumup of 75,000 MWD/MTU." The so-called increased flexibility in coolant chemistry operations is likely among the sources of the mindset that severe fouling of nuclear fuel elements is an acceptable operating condition that is well within technical specifications. As the Petitioner has already stated: Run 9573 was designed with no allowance for the severe fouling that characterizes today's nuclear power plant operations within technical specifications.So:What actions should the Commission pursue that would provide a rational basis for the regulation of emergency core cooling systems?One required action is the performance of more experiments with zircaloy cladding on the scale necessary to overcome (or confirm) the impression left from run 9573. The experiments must include the severe fouling that has characterized the operations of several LWRs.Robert H. LeyseP.O. Box 2850Sun Valley, ID 83353