Thursday, October 31, 2013

OECD-NEA and SANDIA Zirconium Fire Testing

A lot has been going on and a lot has been covered up, but some of it leaks out, but it does not leak out in a timely manner.  

I have found this.

Page 1. OECD-NEA Sandia Fuel Project Jennifer Uhle, Division Director
Division of Systems Analysis Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research ... - 20k - 2012-12-01

Here is page 1 of 8 from the slide presentation by Uhle of NRC, apparently in the first half of 2009, although apparently it did not get into ADAMS until December 2012.

 OECD-NEA Sandia Fuel Project

Jennifer Uhle, Division Director
Division of Systems Analysis
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research

And here is page 8 of 8.

Very Draft Schedule
• Work at Sandia begins July 2009
– Ordering equipment, analyses
• Kick-off meeting Paris July 21-22, 2009
• Phase 1 construction January 2010• Phase 1 tests start March 2010
• Phase 1 tests complete August 2010
• Second meeting September 2010
• Phase 2 ballooning November 2010
• Phase 2 construction January 2011
• Phase 2 tests start March 2011
• Phase 2 completion December 2011
• Third meeting January 2012
• Final report June 2012

So, I'll let my Idaho Senator know that NRC lied to him about its open practices.  I'll cite the reference that reveals the NRC lies,ADAMS, ML12059A117, as I go after the details of the work at Sandia and likely elsewhere. I cited the NRC "open practices" letter in my October 5, 2013 entry to this blog and here is part of that:

Is NRC really that open? It is not.

Over a year ago, Borchardt of the NRC told my Senator Risch about NRC's openness and that I could get public information by directly contacting NRC staff instead of asking Senator Risch to get the facts.  It does not work that way, as readers may surmise from my entry of September 28, 2013.

Here is what Borchardt told Senator Risch: 

ADAMS, ML12059A117

March 1, 2012 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Zirconium Fires Oregon

Here is one:

Fire crews battle zirconium fire at rare metals plant in Millersburg

The Associated Press By The Associated Press
Follow on Twitter
on April 11, 2013 at 9:42 PM, updated April 11, 2013 at 9:47 PM
MILLERSBURG -- Fire crews have controlled a zirconium fire that posed special challenges at a rare metals manufacturing plant in Millersburg.

Albany Fire Marshal Mike Trabue says crews responded Thursday to a building at ATI Wah Chang after a report of a combustible metals fire that was extending to a building. No one was injured.
Firefighters found several stainless steel containers of zirconium sponge on fire. Trabue says zirconium metal can react violently when it comes in contact with water so fire crews couldn't use that. With the help of Wah Chang workers outside the building, firefighters used special extinguishing powders and sand to control the fire.

At one point, Trabue says crews were pulled out of the building due to concerns that the roof might fail. The fire finally subsided enough that plant workers were able to remove the smoldering containers from the building.

About 40 firefighters from Albany and nearby Willamette Valley districts responded.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. There was no immediate damage estimate.
-- The Associated Press

Here is another:

Cement smothers Prineville zirconium fire

Shovel sparks fierce fire; firm learned from previous blaze

POSTED: 12:20 PM PST November 27, 2012    UPDATED: 7:35 AM PST November 28, 2012 

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A spark from a shovel ignited a fierce fire in a pit of flammable zirconium in an industrial area west of Prineville late Tuesday morning, officials said. The blaze sent up a tall smoke plume for hours, prompting authorities to keep students in doors and urge that anyone with respiratory problems do so as well, and report any symptoms to 911.

Matt Smith, chief of Crook County Fire and Rescue, said the fire was reported around 11:20 a.m. at EnviroTech Services, a business at the Prineville Freight Depot about three miles west of town. The 2-year-old facility makes road de-icer and dust control products, according to a 2010 article on its Website.

A hazardous materials team from SMAF Environmental was called in and began pouring dry cement onto the fire to smother it.

The smoke was called an "irritant" and not a significant health threat, though officials were advising people with breathing problems to stay indoors as a precaution.

Fire Marshal Casey Kump later said a spark from a shovel or scoop on a machine (not a hand shovel) ignited the pile of metal filings, sparking the fire and smoke that "drew a great deal of concern in town," but had begun to dissipate by late afternoon.

Kump said the fire department worked in close coordination with Crook County Emergency Management Director Dave Dethman, as well as the sheriff's office, health department, Pioneer Memorial Hospital and area schools, which kept students indoors.

No evacuations were enacted, he said, and no injuries reported.

The company makes de-icer, and "zirconium is a byproduct of their process," Smith said. "Zirconium, when it's dried in a form of metal filings, is highly flammable. If a spark or something is near it, it can catch fire."

The material is located in a "not incredibly deep" containment pit, the fire chief said, adding that "everything worked as it should have," in terms of isolating the fire in the pit and preventing more problems.

"We have had, in the last year, one other fire regarding zirconium, and we have had a fire involving an excavator," Smith said.

Fire officials say the company learned from a similar fire a year ago. After that incident, a pit was dug to hold the metal shavings of zirconium.

"The containment pit worked as it was supposed to, and the fire was contained to that," Smith said.

An Oregon OSHA official said they agency had not inspected the facility but will be looking into what happened, though a representative did not classify it as a formal investigation.

Smoke from the fire drifted toward Prineville, and an inversion also was in place Tuesday, so Smith said "what is wood smoke, what is this smoke and what's fog is hard to say."

Kump said, "If residents in the area feel that the smoke is causing medical or respiratory problems, they should call 911."

And here is another:

Zirconium fire at Wah Chang causes no injuries or monetary damage

Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald
December 01, 2010 2:59 pm  • 

At about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, Albany firefighters responded to Wah Chang, 1600 Old Salem Road N.E., on a report that a mixer and conveyor were on fire inside building.

No one was hurt and no monetary damage was reported.

Smoke could be seen coming from the plant from half a mile away.

Zirconium metal fines caught fire, said Wanda Omdahl, Albany Fire Department spokeswoman. Fires involving the rare metal cannot be extinguished with water, she said.

“With rare metals you have to protect exposures and let it burn itself out,” Omdahl said. “It becomes explosive when you have water on it.”

A malfunctioning conveyor belt caused the zirconium to catch fire, she said.

The fire was initially called out as a first alarm, but quickly downgraded. An engine, a truck and a medic unit and about eight firefighers were on the scene.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

APEX-AP1000 Confirmatory Testing To Support AP1000 Design Certification (Non-Proprietary) To Support AP1000 Design Certification (Non-Proprietary) U.S.

Today I also found this more later.  

The above link yields a highly sanitized version of NUREG-1826,  

APEX-AP1000 Confirmatory Testing
To Support
AP1000 Design Certification

Manuscript Completed: June 2005
Date Published: August 2005 

Prepared by
K.B. Welter and S.M. Bajorek
Advanced Reactors and Regulatory Effectiveness Branch
Division of Systems Analysis and Regulatory Effectiveness
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001


Jose Reyes, Jr., Brian Woods, John Groome, John Hopson,
Eric Young, John DeNoma, and Kent Abel
Department of Nuclear Engineering
Institute of Thermal-Hydraulics
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97601
Gene S. Rhee, NRC Project Manager 

 I'm not reviewing that document here, but it refers to drift-flux only twice, pages 167 and 168 of 280.

 The void fraction as a function of position in the core was obtained using the drift-flux
relationship [Ref. 15]:


The churn-turbulent drift-flux correlation was used to assess equation (A.157) for both APEX and AP1000. 

However, as I scan the document, I see no consideration of the impact of boric acid on the drift-flux considerations For example

zirconium oxidation and TRACE at Penn State

 Today I found this:


NucE431W S2013
Spent Fuel Pool Analysis of a BWR-4
Fuel Bundle Under Loss of Coolant
                          Conditions Using TRACE
                            For the period of January 7, 2013 through May 1, 2013

The Pennsylvania State UniversityDepartment of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
University Park, PA 16802


The purpose of this project was to investigate the ability of TRACE to accurately model a single fuel bundle within a spent fuel pool and to determine the conditions for when a fuel bundle might initiate rapid oxidation of its zirconium cladding. Three models were developed and simulated using the TRACE thermal-hydraulics system code: a full height BWR bundle cooled by air, a partial height test composed of five BWR fuel bundles, and a full-height BWR bundle initially filled with water. The first two models represented experiments recently completed at the Sandia National Laboratory, while the third is a model of a planned experiment. Each model was used to estimate the time at which breakaway (rapid oxidation of the cladding) would begin, which is at approximately 1100 K based on experimental data. It was found from the full-scale air test that TRACE has the ability to approximately model a fuel bundle heat up within a spent fuel pool up to approximately 1073 K. The data prior to 1073 K has been determined to be an accurate representation with regards to the specified input parameters. It was found that fuel bundles will undergo ignition (the point in TRACE where the metal water reaction calculations begin and where the temperature increase jumps to several degrees per second – also known as the breakaway point) within eight hours for power levels above 4 kW for the full-scale water model. Additionally, it was found that there exists a clear direct relationship between the coolant flow rate and collapsed water height. More importantly, the TRACE results provided data indicating the ignition time as a function of bundle power.

EXECUTIVE SUMMERY   (Note by Leyse: The spelling is by Penn State.)

Initial tests conducted at the Sandia National Laboratory assumed that the worst case scenario for heat up of a fuel bundle in a spent fuel pool would be the case of complete fuel uncovery. Cooling of the bundle would occur by natural convection to air in this case, with flow entering through the bottom nozzle and exiting through the top of the bundle. This case, while a significant threat to the safety of the fuel bundles, may in fact not be the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario occurs when there exists only a small amount of water at the bottom of the fuel bundles which will cause a blockage in air flow through the bundle. This case would effectively reduce the heat transfer rates from the fuel causing the fuel to heat up at a higher rate than if natural circulation was occurring. Understanding the behavior of spent fuel bundles under beyond-design basis scenarios such as fuel bundle ignition has become important. In order to understand fuel bundle behavior in these situations, computer models and physical tests must be performed and benchmarked against one another before any one program can be considered reliable to produce accurate models.

In order to determine the modeling capabilities of TRACE two models were created and benchmarked against tests performed by Sandia National Laboratories. These models were the Full Length BWR-4 Full Bundle in Air, the 1x4 Partial Length BWR-4 Fuel Bundle Configuration in Air and the Full Length BWR-4 Fuel Bundle in Water. After determining the modeling capabilities with regards to the experimental data a third model, Full Length BWR-4 Fuel Bundle in Water, was generated based upon the original Full Length BWR-4 Full Bundle in Air model. This third model was generated in order to provide a starting point to develop a Full Scale Water ignition test at Sandia National Laboratory. The Full Scale Air test currently uses two “break” components within TRACE to create a pressure differential to drive the flow through the bundle whereas the actual test had a controlled forced flow which gives rise to some variations in the observed data from TRACE and that provided by Sandia National Laboratory.

Ultimately it was found that the bundle heat up and ignition behavior of the experiment conducted by Sandia National Laboratory is accurately modeled by TRACE. From here the water model was created by changing the working fluid from air to water and modifying the bottom “break” component in TRACE to a “fill” component to provide a controlled forced flow through the model. Varying bundle powers were examined in addition to three distinct flow rates. Relationships were generated for time to breakaway as a function of bundle power and collapsed water height as a function of flow rate. From these relationships it was found that increased powers reduce the time to breakaway and higher flow rates result in larger collapsed water heights for all examined cases which is to be expected. 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Basis for Venting Capacity

I have e-mailed the following to NRC today:

The following paragraph is from page 1 of  Basis for Venting Capacity in Order EA-13-109, “Order to Modify Licenses with Regard to Reliable Hardened Containment Vents Capable of Operation Under Severe Accident Conditions” (ML13221A011):

Over the years a number of studies have been completed related to generation of energy within
the reactor core and subsequent decay heat once the reactor has shutdown. The American
Nuclear Society Standard (ANS) 5.1 (Reference 1) which was approved by the ANS standards
committee in August 1979 provides a method to calculate decay heat power in light water
reactors. In 1980’s, the NRC sponsored further studies under a program known as Severe
Accident Consequences Mitigation. In one of the reports, NUREG/CR-3908 (Reference 2),
Figure 2-1 provides decay heat rate and heat accumulation curve with time. It shows that after
3 hours, the decay heat is about 1 % (values shown in that figure were based on 3440 MWT
BWR plant at 80 % power, but they show power at or below the 1% of thermal power history
value at 3 hours). Generic Letter 89-16 (Reference 3) related to installation of hardened wetwell
vents was issued in September 1989 and stated that the system installed by Boston Edison
Company at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and associated analysis was acceptable. The
design analysis included a vent design objective of venting approximately 1 % of decay heat for
a 56 psi saturated steam conditions in the torus. In July 1996, in Information Notice (IN) 96-39
(Reference 4), the NRC staff provided additional clarification in selecting input parameters for
estimating decay heat using methodology provided in ANS 5.1. The IN also included results
using various available computer codes (MELCOR, RELAP, TRAC, etc...). On the international
level, Swiss standard HSK-R-40/d (Reference 5) issued in March 1993 noted in Section 3.2 that
the design capacity should be based on a guiding value for steam production of 1% of the
thermal reactor power. References 6 and 7 provide additional information on decay heat
estimates and compares different methods and results.

The following sentence from the above paragraph is erroneous:The design analysis included a vent design objective of venting approximately 1 % of decay heat for a 56 psi saturated steam conditions in the torus.”

The NRC should issue a corrected version of ML13221A011 that removes the above erroneous sentence.

That corrected version of ML13221A011 should clarify reference 3 by adding ML13017A234 or ML031140220 or both.  As it is now, the reference is incomplete.   3. Generic Letter 89-16, “Installation of a Hardened Wetwell Vent.” September 1, 1989.

In addition, that corrected version of ML13221A011, should replace the erroneous date on page 3 with the correct date.

Finally, the corrected version should acknowledge that the original version was produced in response to an e-mail inquiry by Robert H. Leyse,, to on 7/25/2013.  The corrected version should also acknowledge that the corrections were requested by Robert H. Leyse,,  via this e-mail dated 10/14/2013.

Robert H. Leyse

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hardened Vent Links Pilgrim Boston Edison

The NRC PDR has e-mailed the following links.  


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spent Fuel Fires Some links

Here are some links:
In this link, go to Publications and select Gordon Thompson Declaration to NRC on Spent Nuclear Fuel, 8-13. pdf

Here is another link:  or go to BING and enter GAO-12-797, below is the cover page.

Quantities at
Commercial Reactors
Present Storage and
Other Challenges

Here is the link 

Waste Confidence Generic
Environmental Impact
Draft Report for Comment

And here is the opportunity to comment which ends on November 27, 2013:
The NRC is also planning to hold ten public meetings around the country and two webcast
meetings nationally. Information about the meetings is available on the Waste Confidence Web
site at

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Spent Fuel Pool Fires and Official Use Only (OUO)

Here is a useful reference: 

The following chain of e-mails  is copied from the above link.  It is no wonder that I have not been provided with information regarding the Sandia work that I have requested.  

From: Gibson, Kathy
Sent: Wednesday, March 16,2011 2:17 PM
To: Zigh, Ghani
Subject: Re: Spent Fuel Experiments
We have multiple requests from multiple parties for a plethora of information. This request is in the que. Will talk with you about this when I can.

From: Zigh, Ghani
To: Gibson, Kathy; Scott, Michael
Sent: Wed Mar 16 14:01:31 2011
Subject: FW: Spent Fuel Experiments
What is our decision on sharing the BWR zirc fire data with GE and NEI.
They are classified as OUO documents.

From: Durbin, Samuel []
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:57 PM
To: Zigh, Ghani
Subject: FW: Spent Fuel Experiments

From: Saito, Earl F. (GE Power & Water) [mailto:EarI.SaitoqCanf.com1
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:35 AM
To: Durbin, Samuel; Rochau, Gary; Lindgren, Eric; Gauntt, Randall 0
Cc: Bonano, Evaristo Jose; Sorenson, Ken B
Subject: RE: Spent Fuel Experiments

From: Durbin, Samuel rmailto:sdurbin0sandia.gov1
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:20 PM
To: Rochau, Gary; Lindgren, Eric; Gauntt, Randall 0
Cc: Saito, Earl F. (GE Power & Water); Bonano, Evaristo Jose; Sorenson, Ken B
Subject: RE: Spent Fuel Experiments
Attached are Mhe three relevant papers that were published in the ANS Transactions – Winter Meeting 2006 I Volume 95.
Your will note that the two papers based on the Sandia testing were heavily redacted at the instruction of the NRC. The test information is generally considered Official Use Only. We will need to receive permission from the NRC to release more substantial reports.
Samuel Durbin II
Sandia National Laboratories
Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle Technologies, Organization 6223
PO Box 5800 – MS 0747
Albuquerque, NM 87185-0747 •a
Office: (505) 284-7850A
Fax: (505) 844-2348

iau, Gary
esday, March 16, 2011 10:32 AM
, Samuel; Undgren, Eric; Gauntt, Randall 0
tito Ph. D. (’; Bonano, Evansto Jose
Spent Fuel Experiments
Sam, Eric, and Randy,
Earl Saito of GE-Hitachi has contacted me regarding some information on your Spent Fuel experiments, in particular, the BWR experiments. GE, as you can imagine, is trying to gather information on spent fuel pool issues for BWRs.
Can you please send the publically released papers you have written to “prime the pump”? I am sure there is material that you cannot share at this time, but I am looking at our NDA agreements to determine what latitude we may have, if any.
Gary E, Rochau, Manager
Advanced Nuclear Concepts
Nuclear Energy and Global Security Technologies Center
6585/2104, Organization 6771
P.O. Box 5800, MS-1136
Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87105-1136
Phone: (505)845-7543
Fax: (505)284-4276


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Is NRC really that open? It is not.

Over a year ago, Borchardt of the NRC told my Senator Risch about NRC's openness and that I could get public information by directly contacting NRC staff instead of asking Senator Risch to get the facts.  It does not work that way, as readers may surmise from my entry of September 28, 2013.

Here is what Borchardt told Senator Risch: 

ADAMS, ML12059A117

March 1, 2012

The Honorable James E. Risch
United States Senator
1411 Falls Avenue E, Suite 2
Twin Falls, ID 83301

Dear Senator Risch:

On behalf of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), I am responding to your letter of January 30, 2012, and a subsequent email from Kari Emond of your staff, both of whichforwarded correspondence from your constituent, Robert Leyse. Mr. Leyse raises additional issues on matters addressed in earlier correspondence with you or directly with the NRC in the  past. Responses to Mr. Leyse’s latest inquiries are enclosed.

The NRC has a long history of, and commitment to, transparency, participation, and collaboration in our regulatory activities. As discussed with your staff, we would like to clarify and re-emphasize that your constituent and other members of the public have ample opportunity to make comments on public rulemakings and obtain technical information from the NRC’s Public Document Room. In the past, Mr. Leyse has raised issues of technical interest and issues regarding availability of information. As a result, a number of documents have been made available at his request. Mr. Leyse can fully participate in the NRC’s activities through direct contact with the agency, as he has in recent years. For example, in 2002, he submitted a Petition for Rulemaking to which the NRC responded. All of the questions he submitted in his most recent correspondence can be accommodated in the normal manner in which the NRC does business.

In addition to public participation in our regulatory processes, we welcome the opportunity to respond to public concerns regarding safety or security. If he has any such concerns, Mr. Leyse can raise them directly to the NRC by contacting any NRC employee or by calling the NRC’s toll-free Safety Hotline at 1-800-695-7403. Calls to this number are answered 24 hours a day.

We appreciate you sharing this information with Mr. Leyse and urging him to contact the NRC directly in the future should he have additional questions.


R. W. Borchardt
Executive Director for Operations
As stated 

Following is from my entry of September 18, 2013. 

Subject: RE: Please assist (again)
Date: 10/1/2013 8:00:32 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time

Thank you for contacting the NRC’s Japan Lessons-Learned Project Directorate. Your comments will be considered to the extent possible.

Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
Nuclear Regulatory Commission

So, I will have to again contact Senator Risch in order to get the data that I seek regarding hardened venting at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

Flocculation of zirconium

I wonder who (else) knows?