Wednesday, August 22, 2012

UHI Ultra High Risk, October 3, 1984, Led to an Abnormal Occurrence Report to Congress

This is my seventh consecutive entry in matters stemming from my EPRI-NSAC Memorandum, UHI Ultra High Risk, October 3, 1984.

Yes, my NSAC Memorandum, UHI Ultra High Risk, led to an Abnormal Occurrence Report to Congress.  Here it is, click on it to enlarge and back arrow to get back here.
So, on January 28, 1985, Denton as Director of the Office of Nuclear Regulation, reports, "This condition is beyond the design bases for the plant and is not specifically analyzed in the safety analysis report."  Denton continues: "The effect of nitrogen in the reactor during a LOCA has not yet been analyzed, however, NRR is placing a work order with Sandia National laboratory (SNL) to assess the effect of isolation valve failure during a large LOCA in a UHI plant."

A year later, Sandia submitted its analysis to NRC, but noted that the report had information proprietary to Westinghouse, and NRC did not make the report available to the public. 

I  left the matter alone for about 10 years, but then I went after the NRC for the report.  Nothing was producing results, so I faxed the following to the Chairman, NRC on May 30, 1994.

And on June 17, 1994 I was sent the following reply.  It reveals that NRC had not even had a copy of the Sandia report and that "extraordinary measures" were required to "locate and acquire" a copy of the letter report.  What in the world did  NRC do with this Sandia report that was highlighted in the Abnormal Occurrence Report to Congress?  We will never know.  Moreover, I was not promptly sent the report once NRC found it. 

After a while, I was sent a somewhat illegible copy of the report. Following is from page 13 or is it 15? It is not obvious from the poor copy. This Sandia letter report suggests that failure of the UHI isolation valves to close may be beneficial because of the addtitonal water that is injected into the upper head. 

About six years ago I was not successful in getting NRC to perform evaluations of the UHI situation that prevailed during 1984.  Following is an e-mail exchange that I had with Dean Dobranich of Sandia who had performed the analyses of UHI for the NRC during 1985.   Work at Sandia proceeded during 1985 and was reported to NRC in periodic contacts during 1985 and in a letter report during January 1986.

NRC did not adequately fund Sandia for the UHI analyses and the scope of work was far too narrow.  For example, with four out of four liquid level detectors reverse connected there was no way of determining the amount of water that would be injected.  In the extreme, but not improbable case, there would be no water injected.  More likely, there would be some water available, however, the amount would likely be substantially less than 1800 cubic feet.  Instead of 1800 cubic feet of water, there might be 400 cubic feet of water and 1400 cubic feet of high pressure nitrogen.
Moreover, the water would be saturated with dissolved nitrogen which would be released during the injection.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

UHI Ultra High Risk, October 3, 1984: Inside Stuff, EPRI & NRC

This is my sixth consecutive entry that documents the turmoil that followed my memorandum, UHI Ultra High Risk, October 3, 1984.

This entry jumps ahead of a lot of documentation that I have and that I guess I'll have to place in book if I ever get around to writing that.  On November 7, 1984, Rossin and Breen told me my position was being eliminated, but that I'd have a few months to look for work elsewhere.  So, I looked elsewhere with no immediate success.  I talked to Jim Keppler of the NRC and showed him my memorandum, UHI Ultra High Risk, October 3, 1984, as part of several illustrations of my experience and capabilities.  Keppler asked if he could send this elsewhere in NRC and I agreed, however, I blanked out the source of the document as well as my name.

So, the following two pages are an interesting document that reveals very secret relationships between EPRI and the NRC that I was never aware of.  It also reveals turmoil.  I do not recall how I gained access to the following document; it most certainly was not sent to me.  I am inclined to doubt that Rossin was aware of it, but I do not know that.  I suspect that Layman and Lang were not aware that my position had been eliminated.  On the other hand,
Rossin may have encouraged this documentation in order to justify getting rid of Leyse. Click to enlarge and back arrow to return.

I'm certainly pleased that EPRI (Layman and Lang) documented the above. This is a clear report of a basically secret set of arrangements between EPRI and the NRC and I suspect that those have continued in various forms over the years and are really intense in today's post-Fukushima world. 

The second page is "interesting" as it describes the "running around" in generating a response to Keppler.  The very last paragraph is also revealing as EPRI apologizes to the NRC for my contact with Keppler.  Well, it is a fact that I was never a party to contacts with the NRC regarding our analyses of operating experience at nuclear power plants.  It is also a fact that others who analyzed operating experience were not very adept at that work.

More later.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

UHI Ultra Risk, October 3, 1984: EPRI and Duke Followup

This is my fifth consecutive entry that documents the actions and turmoil that were in response to my NSAC memorandum, UHI Ultra High Risk, October 3, 1984.

Sugnet was a trusted expert in PRA studies and Breen assigned him to discuss UHI with Duke Power Company who operated several plants having UHI.  Here is Sugnet's brief memo following his discussions with Duke.  Click on it for enlargement.

It is interesting Sugnet described his contact as an "... informal discussion ... ."
Sugnet does not say that Leyse regarded UHI as Ultra High Risk.  Sugnet focuses on the assertion that UHI was essentially eliminated from the Duke PRA for McGuire. He concludes that, "We can probably obtain more detailed information from Duke Power if it becomes necessary."

NSAC management was satisfied with the Sugnet document.  Now, I believe that Sugnet's discussion with Duke generated some interest in Duke in looking further into the operational aspects of UHI at McGuire as well as its other UHI units.  I infer this because on October 31, 1984, (six days following the Sugnet memo) McGuire Unit 1 was shut down in order to correct a condition of excessive dissolved nitrogen in the UHI accumulator water.  Excessive dissolved nitrogen was also found in the UHI accumulator water at McGuire Unit 2, and the UHI system was isolated from the primary system and the operating power was reduced to 45 percent of the rated power in order to compensate for the loss of UHI capability.  At Unit 1, it was found that all four UHI level transmitters were improperly installed (apparently about 6 months earlier) and that UHI valves would fail to isolate on low level!

Following are three pages that document the above.  The third page is the Duke PNO, November 2, 1984, that reports the problems with UHI.

Friday, August 17, 2012

UHI Ultra High Risk and ACRS Ohi-1 and Ohi-2

This is my fourth consecutive entry regarding UHI-Ultra High Risk, my NSAC Memorandum of October 3, 1984. Below is a note that I received from the planet's top reporter of nuclear power matters:

The above references an ACRS Subcommittee on March 7, 1985 - about 5 months following my infamous memorandum of October 3, 1984. However, it took more than another year before the Full ACRS issued its letter condoning the removal of the UHI system from nuclear power plants having an ice condenser containment. 

And as I have documented in my first entry of this series, Kansai Electric Power was apparently never alerted by Westinghouse or our NRC about the dangers of UHI.  Kansai did not seek authorization to
remove UHI from Ohi-1 and Ohi-2 until November 1990.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

UHI Ultra High Risk EPRI NSAC NRC Ohi

This is the third consecutive entry in my UHI series.   Here are three uploaded pages that document part of the turmoil that followed my October 3, 1984, memorandum, UHI-Ultra High Risk.    Click on the page to enlarge for easier reading and access to the right side that is partially obscured.

As I said in earlier, my October 3, 1984 memo let to a lot of turmoil.  The heat was on. I was fighting for survival, so I worked on the day after Thanksgiving and it was an advantage to have no others around.

The above memorandum was addressed to Lang who had been assigned to monitor (to control) the UHI investigations.  So, I worked within the system, and addressed all correspondence to Lang, but I worked independently. I stayed under control because I intended to continue working for EPRI, however, my above contact with the NRC Training Center was effective and there was no way that NSAC could reprimand me for pursuing that credible source even though it alarmed Rossin and very likely others.

Rossin was apparently concerned that Taylor would think Leyse was out of control, hence his note of 11/30 (1984) in which he stopped distribution to J. J. Taylor, the head of the EPRI Nuclear Power Division. 

I'll have further documentation of the very revealing UHI  turmoil that raged within NSAC and EPRI. Several outside organizations became involved including at least three within the NRC. The SANDIA National Laboratory was drawn into the turmoil as a consultant to the NRC.  The ACRS wrote a letter to the Commissioners of the NRC and I'll also post that later.  EPRI even hired an outplacement service, Ward Associates on the famous Sand Hill Road, and later you read how that action intensified the turmoil, although I believe it worked to my advantage.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Upper Head Injection (UHI) Ultra High Risk

For some reason, parts of the right side of my uploaded memorandum are cut off in today's earlier entry.  Here are the two pages in reduced size. The larger earlier entry is more readable, however, for the record this reduced size includes all of the right side including J. J. Tayor's handwritten remark,   "nothing wrong with this approach."  And as I mention in the earlier entry, the yellow highlighting is also courtesy J. J. Taylor as is the remark in the left column, "speculation."

(I've recently determined that if the reader clicks on the page an enlarged version appears.  Then click the back arrow to get back here.)

Ohi Nuclear Power Plant and Upper Head Injection

Fukushima led to the shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan.  Recently, the two nuclear power plants, the Ohi Units 3 and 4, operated by Kansai Electric Power Company have been allowed to resume operation.  However, Ohi Units 1 and 2 remain shut down.

Following is an excerpt from a document from November 1990 that I have kept on file:

On October 3, 1984, I documented threats from the Upper Head Injection System, UHI, that is referred to as "upper core spray system" in the Ohi plants.  Following is the two page memorandum.

The above memorandum of October 3, 1984, led to substantial turmoil within the Nuclear Safety Analysis Center (NSAC), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and elsewhere. UHI systems were removed from all installations in the USA, (Duke Power Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority). However, in spite of all of the international programs at NRC, EPRI, INPO, and WANO, the word obviously never got to Kansai Electric Power Company until very much later, six years following my memorandum. 

Somewhat as an aside, the above copy is the copy that J. J. Taylor, the boss of the EPRI Nuclear Power Division routed to A. D. Rossin who was running NSAC.  The yellow highlighting is Taylor's as are also the two handwritten notes in the margins, "nothing wrong with this approach" and "speculation."

I have loads of documents in my file.  Maybe I'll write a book.  I worked at EPRI for another 10 years, until late 1994, but I was not in NSAC following my reporting of threats from UHI. My new assignment was in the Coal Combustion Systems Division where I managed to get EPRI to fund my  exploratory research in microscale heat transfer to pressurized water at ultra high heat fluxes. 

As I left EPRI about ten years following my UHI work,I negotiated the release of the files of my exploratory research and the apparatus. As an aside, I then I had time to reduce and report the fantastic results:

And, I took my ideas and apparatus to UCLA where my results were confirmed: