UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ATOMIC SAFETY AND LICENSING BOARD PANEL
Before Administrative Judges:
Ann Marshall Young, Chair
Dr. Charles N. Kelber
Lester S. Rubenstein
In the Matter of
DUKE ENERGY CORPORATION
(McGuire Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2,
Catawba Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2)
Docket No’s. 50-369-LR, 50-370-LR,
50-413-LR, and 50-414-LR
ASLBP No. 02-794-01-LR
November 29, 2001
CONTENTIONS OF NUCLEAR INFORMATION AND RESOURCE SERVICE
Nuclear Information and Resource Service is filing these contentions, and at the same time offering a Motion to Suspend this proceeding. We find that access to the information needed to fully participate in this process has been so severely limited that in essence, our members as members of the public are being denied their hearing rights.
Nonetheless, we file these contentions. We wish to make clear however that our choice of contentions should in no way cast any judgment by us that other issues are unimportant. This document reflects overall resource issues, including the fact that key information is unavailable to us because of decisions made by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) subsequent to the September 11 attacks on New York and Northern Virginia.
1. Duke’s License Application is Not Complete
1.1 Completeness and Accuracy of Information 10CFR54.13(b)
The regulation states:
(a) Information provided to the Commission by an applicant for a
renewed license or information required by statute or by the
Commission's regulations, orders, or license conditions to be maintained
by the applicant must be complete and accurate in all material respects.
(b) Each applicant shall notify the Commission of information
identified by the applicant as having, for the regulated activity, a
significant implication for public health and safety or common defense
and security. An applicant violates this paragraph only if the applicant
fails to notify the Commission of information that the applicant has
identified as having a significant implication for public health and
safety or common defense and security…
There are a number of pieces of information that need consideration with respect to license renewal that are not included in Duke Energy’s application. They are enumerated below, with a subsection on the Environment Reports.
1.1.1 MOX Fuel Use Will Have a Significant Impact on the Safe Operation of Catawba and McGuire During the License Renewal Period and Must be Considered in the License Renewal Application
The applicant, Duke Energy, is required to demonstrate, for all structures and components within the scope of license renewal, "that the effects of aging will be adequately managed ... for the period of extended operation," 10 CFR §54.21 (a)(3). In addition, it is required to evaluate all time-limited aging analyses (TLAAs) and demonstrate that they will apply for the period of extended operation, either with or without aging management of the relevant SSC, 10 CFR §54.21(c)(1).
Duke Energy’s plan to utilize weapons-grade mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel in Catawba and McGuire will have a significant impact on these assessments and may jeopardize the safe operation of these plants in the license renewal period. Thus use of MOX will require substantial modifications to the aging management plans specified in the license renewal application as submitted, which do not consider the accelerated aging effects of MOX fuel. To avoid unnecessary duplication of work by the NRC staff and to minimize the cost and risk to U.S. taxpayers, who are paying for the MOX fuel program, it is essential that the impact of MOX fuel use on reactor aging be evaluated now in the analyses submitted for the Catawba and McGuire license renewal application.
Basis: Duke Cogema Stone & Webster (DCS), a consortium including Duke Energy, has a contract with the Department of Energy (DOE) to manufacture mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel from weapons-grade plutonium (WG-Pu) and irradiate it at the Catawba and McGuire plants, commencing in 2008 and continuing for approximately fifteen years. DCS has applied for an NRC license to construct and operate a MOX fuel fabrication plant at the Savannah River Site. It also intends to apply for license amendments to load MOX lead test assemblies in at least one of the four reactors in early 2002, and to apply for license amendments for batch irradiation in all four reactors in 2005.
Due to schedule slippage, it is likely that many of these actions will be delayed. Moreover, additional quantities of WG-Pu may be made available to DCS by DOE as a result of additional reductions in the U.S. nuclear weapon stockpile. Thus the MOX fuel campaign may extend well into the license renewal period.
The Catawba and McGuire license renewal application does not consider the impacts of MOX fuel use. However, the use of MOX fuel in these reactors will have a significant impact on the aging of many reactor structures and components within the scope of license renewal that requires detailed evaluation. The fast neutron flux (E>1.0 MeV) in a full core of WG-MOX would be on the order 20% higher at the beginning of operation than that in a core consisting only of conventional low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. At a burnup of 20 GWD/MTHM, a Westinghouse study reports that the E>1 MeV neutron flux is about 6% higher in a full WG-MOX core than in an LEU core. Gamma-ray sources are about 20% higher in full MOX cores. As currently planned by DCS, at equilibrium about 40% of the Catawba and McGuire cores would consist of MOX fuel, resulting in a proportionately smaller but still significant increase in fast neutron flux and heating rates.
A number of aging-related degradation effects of metallic core structures can be accelerated by the increased fast neutron flux and gamma heating associated with MOX fuel. These phenomena include embrittlement, irradiation-assisted stress corrosion cracking (IASCC), creep and thermal fatigue. The structures affected include the reactor pressure vessel (RPV), reactor internals and piping.
Thus a number of TLAAs in the license renewal application, including Sections 4.2, "Reactor Vessel Neutron Embrittlement," and 4.3, "Metal Fatigue," must be reevaluated using the parameters appropriate for the planned MOX core.
Duke Energy has said publicly that the license renewal of Catawba and McGuire has a higher priority than the MOX fuel program, and if it were shown that the use of MOX fuel would jeopardize the safe operation of Catawba and McGuire in the license renewal period, then it would not use MOX fuel. Given the significant taxpayer investment in the DCS MOX fuel program to date, it is irresponsible for NRC not to require that Duke Energy evaluate the MOX impact on license renewal before license renewal is granted.
It should be noted here that NIRS is not bringing all the contentions that we would bring on the question of using MOX fuel in these four reactors. We are illustrating the ways in which the question of MOX fuel use intersects with other issues of license renewal.
1.1.2 Security Concerns
The Petitioner contends that the Duke Energy license extension application has not realistically or fully analyzed and evaluated all structures, systems and components required for the protection of the public health and safety from deliberate acts of radiological sabotage. These unanalyzed systems, structures and components include but are not limited to the containment structure, fire protection systems and coolant water intake systems and electrical grid system as primary power supply to plant safety systems for the Catawba and McGuire units.
In the wake of the events of September 11, 2001, when the United States was violently attacked, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission appears to have increased concern about nuclear security. It must be noted that on many occasions prior to September 11, many different members of the public have attempted to bring nuclear security issues into focus. International press continues to report that nuclear power plants in the United States are explicitly targeted by Islamic extremist groups for acts of radiological sabotage and mass terrorism. The Associated Press reported on October 24, 2001 in an article "Nuclear Liability Report Left Public" that FBI testimony in the Ramzi Yousef trial in the bombing of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center that Islamic extremists are being encouraged to target U.S. nuclear power stations as a high priority targets in a campaign of terrorism. [Hardcopy Exhibit 1, Associated Press, "Nuclear Liability Report Left Public," John Solomon, October 24, 2001]
Duke must also be similarly aware of security concerns, but they have not moved to amend their license renewal application to reflect this awareness. Given the number of news reports that discuss this issue it is not credible that Duke Energy has not considered this. These reports have included a statement by Director General Mohamed El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency on November 1, 2001 that an act of nuclear terrorism is "far more likely" than previously thought. This change of conditions must be factored into this proceeding in a more direct manner than only withholding documents from the intervenors.
It is of particular concern to the Petitioner and a significant point of contention that these issues were never considered in the original licensing proceeding and as such constitutes an age-related regulatory issue adversely affecting public health and safety.
Indeed, 10CFR51(c) (3)(iv) states "the environmental report must contain any new and significant information regarding the impacts of license renewal of which the applicant is aware." Certainly a major direct attack on a nuclear reactor site would result in environmental impacts, and as stated above, there is awareness of this issue.
Certainly also this issue pertains to license renewal since the duration that a target exists impacts the probability and risk that it will be hit. This is especially true since there is ample evidence showing that not only is there an increase in terrorist activity directed at the United States, but there is an overall acceleration in terrorism, and targeting of nuclear facilities in particular. This means that the overall risks of an attack are increasing over time. As stated in NRC Regulations (10CFR54.31(c) "A renewed license will become effective immediately upon its issuance, thereby superseding the operating license previously in effect." Therefore the renewal period commences as soon as the renewal is granted.
Lacking guidance from the Commission, NIRS contends that an adequate security analysis for extending the operating licenses of these reactors must include following possibilities in order to address increasing risks to our members:
1.1.2(a) The vulnerability of the applicant units to air assaults is no longer theoretical: it is frighteningly real. (Indeed, the McGuire reactors are on the approach to the Charlotte airport. NIRS staff has been commercial passengers on very low flight directly over the McGuire site on approach to Charlotte, NC from Augusta, GA. US Airways was the carrier.)
1.1.2(b) The applicant’s units security analysis does not consider truck bombs of the scale demonstrated by the attack upon the federal building in Oklahoma City. A significantly larger amount of explosive force can be delivered by a land vehicle than is postulated under the Design Basis Threat as limited analysis for a four wheel drive vehicle no larger than a Sports Utility Vehicle. The applicants’ Environmental Report must consider larger trucks (including tractor trailers) and the associated larger explosive yields as potential weapons of sabotage in its security analysis.
1.1.2(c) Attacks via water, including the possibility of loss of the dams on Lake Norman and Lake Wylie. The NRC and Duke have not analyzed an attack on the McGuire and Catawba nuclear power stations via acts of sabotage and terrorism directed by approach from the water. Such an attack could focus on target sets to include the cooling systems of the reactors. The attack could also be directed against the dams on Lake Wylie and Lake Norman. This constitutes an unanalyzed condition for the safe operation of the reactors. It is of particular concern for the McGuire units because of their reliance on once-through cooling systems and coolant intake inventories of over two million gallons of water per minute. A precipitous drop in the water level on Lake Norman via destruction of the dam system would seriously jeopardize the cooling system for the reactor and fuel integrity.
1.1.2(d) Analysis of impacts of fire as well as direct physical destruction, including a jet plane recently fueled at Charlotte’s commercial airport, including impacts on combustible fire penetration seals. This contention is more fully outlined under the Petitioner’s contention on inadequate fire barrier penetration seal analysis and fire testing.
1.1.2(e) Impacts on outside containment structures and functions including control room, off-site power service, emergency diesel generators, fuel pool, and emergency access.
1.1.2(f) Attack by multiple coordinated teams with multiple insiders in assistance. The current Design Basis Threat unrealistically limits the applicant units station force-on-force security response capability to a small single team partially aided by a single insider limited only to providing information and not involved in active act of sabotage.
1.1.2(g) The applicant units have not analyzed and evaluated the socio-economic impact of closure of Lake Norman and / or Lake Wylie for security purposes. The Petitioner contends that new security precautions underway at other nuclear power stations must be addressed by the applicant units in context of their socio-economic impact upon communities and businesses on Lake Norman and Lake Wylie. The Petitioner is aware that such a decision has already been made by Exelon to close all public and recreational access to Lake Clinton as a security precaution for protection of the Clinton nuclear power station.
1.1.2(h) Impact of MOX fuel on attractiveness of site for attack given that unused MOX fuel made from weapons grade plutonium is attractive to those seeking weapons usable material.
1.1.2(i) Impact of MOX plutonium fuel on core breach accident scenarios whether directly from attack, or as a result of Station Blackout, factoring the findings of Dr. Edwin Lyman of the Nuclear Control Institute that a major reactor accident with weapons grade MOX in use would result in a 25% increase in latent cancer fatalities compared to the same accident with LEU fuel (http://www.nci.org/).
1.1.2(j) Impact of attractiveness of a site using MOX plutonium fuel for purposes of an attack designed to maximize human suffering and property damage.
1.1.2(k) Upgrade in the assumptions used to assess the resources available to cope with such a disaster – September 11 showed that major infrastructure pieces such as "911" were lost as a result of the attacks in New York. Analysis needs to examine possible concomitant losses from any of these attack scenarios at either reactor site. An example is analysis of catastrophic attack on the McGuire Station and possible impacts on Charlotte drinking water drawn from below Lake Norman.
1.1.2(l) Containment structures for Catawba and McGuire Units have not been adequately analyzed. An Associated Press story dated October 24, 2001 has provided new information to the Petitioner regarding the unanalyzed condition and potential vulnerability of the Catawba and McGuire containment structures. The news story states that the NRC has known since 1982 that American nuclear power plants were susceptible to jetliner crash. [Hardcopy Exhibit 1 Associated Press article, "Nuclear Liability Report Left Public," October 24, 2001.}
In the 119-page report prepared by Argonne National Laboratory for the NRC analyzing aircraft crash into nuclear power plants, the government lab recommended that the NRC and nuclear industry pay more attention to thoroughly analyze and evaluate the effect of explosion and fire from airline crash on nuclear safety. [Provided in hard copy Exhibit , AP story]
As a result the applicant has not provide a complete application that raises a number of unreviewed issues as a result of unanalyzed structure, systems and components. Given the clear and present danger, the Duke Energy license renewal application does not provide a complete or reasonable analysis and evaluation on containment structures for the Catawba and McGuire units with regard to impact by postulated external hazard (i.e. aircraft).
As reported in the AP story, the Argonne National Laboratory report to the NRC described the exact speed at which a jetliner would begin to transfer its force into the primary containment and interior structure of a nuclear reactor. The government lab provided NRC and industry with a description of how the concrete containment would spall, scab and eventually perforate depending on the aircraft velocity.
"The breaching of some of the plants’ concrete barriers may often be tantamount to a release of radioactivity." [Hard copy EXHIBIT 1: AP Story]
By letter from Commissioner Richard Merserve to Congressman Edward Markey dated of October 16, 2001 in responding to questions regarding design criteria for protection of against an aircraft crash, the NRC has established that the Catawba and McGuire containment structures have not been analyzed and evaluated for such an attack. "The NRC has no criterion that requires nuclear power plant containment vessels to be designed to survive the crash of a Boeing 747." [NRC Commissioner Richard Meserve Letter to Congressman Edward Markey , October 16, 2001,provided in hard copy Exhibit 2, p. 4]
In fact, the NRC has not adequately or reasonably evaluated the very real threat that exists today. The NRC published NUREG/CR-5042, "Evaluation of External Hazards on
Nuclear Power Plant in the United States," in December 1987 where at Section 6.4 it provides a very limited analysis of aviation accidents on nuclear power plant safety. A "large" aircraft as defined by the NRC report weighs 12,500 pounds (approximately 6 tons) even though the report on page 6-24 observed that a loaded Boeing 727-200 has a maximum take-off weight of 209,500 pounds (approximately 100 tons). The Boeing –767 used by terrorists to effectively destroy the World Trade Center had a total take off weight of 150 tons. The disparity of analysis between a the consequences of a six ton aircraft and a 150 ton aircraft is too great to be left unevaluated for consequence to the public health and safety. [Hardcopy Exhibit 3, NUREG/CR-5042, "Evaluation of External Hazards to Nuclear Power Plants in the United States, December 1987, excerpted]]
1.1.2 (m) Potential for terrorism and an analysis of its impacts should also be factored by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a generic manner as NIRS has stated in our "Response to Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League’s Petition to Dismiss Licensing Proceeding, or in the Alternative, Hold it in Abeyance" submitted to the Commissioners on 11-05-2001. We further recommend that it be the occasion for revision of generic assumptions about license renewal and high-level nuclear waste generation (10CFR51.23(a)) since the accretion of high-level nuclear waste in both pool and dry storage on these sites considerably impacts the potential source term from a major attack and radiological release. 10CFR51.23(a) makes it clear that high-level irradiated fuel may be assumed to be at the reactor site for up to 30 years after the reactor ceases operation…indeed the license regime for on-site dry casks actually permits up to 120 years of waste on the site, therefore it should be assumed for purposes of analysis that all of the waste generated by the reactors is on the site in the event of a terrorist attack.
1.1.2(n) The application has not effectively analyzed or evaluated the vulnerability of the electrical grid systems, station switchyards to sabotage and the adverse impact on the public health and safety from terrorist attack on these primary power systems that lie outside the applicant units protected areas.
Duke Energy mentions, and affirms the now globally accepted fact that the collective activity of the human race is in the process of altering the climate of the planet (Climate Change) when suggesting that nuclear power may be a strategy to lower the impact of electrical energy generation on this process. It is also widely understood that mitigation can only change processes in the future, beyond the coming decade or two (and that is optimistic). The effects of past air emissions will govern the changes in weather patterns now documented, and those in the renewal period. The outlook globally is increasing severity in weather, particularly storms, both in number and intensity and for the Southeastern United States, increased temperature with either increased or constant precipitation.
Duke fails to analyze the multiple impacts these accelerating changes will have on reactor operations, as well as the ways that it will change the type and magnitude of impact that the reactors have on their external surroundings.
Analysis of Climate Change must include an analysis of increased potential for Station Blackout by virtue of projected increased numbers and intensity of hurricanes and tornados and other severe weather. Other factors of Climate Change impact are discussed below with respect to inadequacy of Duke’s Environmental Reports.
These factors may be seen as too complex to project and accurately analyze twenty years in the future, however they are really no more complicated than the complex interactions of Duke Energy corporation’s financial position, work force capabilities and human factors, cumulative and synergistic events in aging systems and multiple failure pathways that should be factored in the analysis of whether component aging will be successfully managed to meet an ever moving target called "current license basis."
1.1.4 New Information on Risk of (and from) Station Blackout at Catawba and McGuire
Station Blackout contributes the largest share of risk of severe reactor accidents indeed, equal to all other risk contributors combined. Therefore, it is important that every aspect of it be considered with regards to severe accident mitigation. Severe accident mitigation was found to be a site specific issue (class 2) as evaluated by the NRC in the Generic Environmental Impact Statement on License Renewal and reflected in the license renewal regulations at 10CFR51 Subpart A, Appendix B, Table B-1 "Summary of Findings on NEPA Issues for License Renewal of Nuclear Power Plants:" Severe Accidents.
In the past year (2000) new information concerning station blackout and early containment failure has been published by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a report entitled "Assessment of the DCH [Direct Containment Heating] Issue for Plants with Ice Condenser Containments," NUREG/CR-6427. Duke’s Catawba and McGuire reactors are featured in the findings of this report. Dr. Edwin Lyman of the Nuclear Control Institute summarized these findings in his document entitled: "PLUTONIUM FUEL AND ICE CONDENSER REACTORS: A DANGEROUS COMBINATION."
Dr. Lyman states:
"Earlier this year , the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released a report that analyzed the risk of containment failure during severe accidents at reactors with "ice condenser" containments. The report, entitled Assessment of the DCH [Direct Containment Heating] Issue for Plants with Ice Condenser Containments, NUREG/CR-6427, finds that "no ice condenser plant is inherently robust to all credible hydrogen combustion events in a SBO accident." It also concludes that "ice condenser plants are at least two orders of magnitude [one hundred times] more vulnerable to early containment failure than other U.S. PWRs" as a result of hydrogen explosions during core melt accidents. This study, which was performed by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in Albuquerque, calculated that for accidents in which the hydrogen igniters were not available, such as SBOs, the probability that the containment would rupture as a result of hydrogen combustion is 34% for Catawba and 58% for McGuire. Using the same methodology, previous NRC studies found that the risk of containment failure at large dry containments is less than 0.1%.
"SNL found that certain SBO accidents --- namely, those in which the reactor coolant system remains at high pressure at the time that the reactor vessel is breached by molten fuel --- the probability of early containment failure as a result of detonation of pre-existing hydrogen is nearly 100% for both Catawba and McGuire. This means that if one of these sequences were to occur, there would be little difference between the ice condenser plants and nuclear plants without containments like Chernobyl."
1.1.4 (a)Duke’s license renewal application fails to mention NUREG/CR-6427, nor to provide an analysis of the findings of this report with regard to these four ice-condenser reactors.
1.1.4 (b) The risk factors of intentional acts of terror, inadvertent acts of war in the event of armed conflict within the U.S. have not been analyzed with respect to station blackout.
1.1.4(c) The contribution of increased risk of station blackout from acceleration in severe weather associated with Global Climate Change has not been evaluated.
1.1.5 (d) If MOX plutonium fuel is to be used in these reactors, the interaction of MOX and station blackout must also be analyzed, both from the perspective of increased chances of SBO due to sabotage, as well as increased likelihood of accidents and also the consequences of SBO and containment failure with MOX fuel in the core which the Department of Energy has acknowledged in their Final Supplemental EIS on Surplus Plutonium Disposition would lead to a significant increase in latent cancer fatalities compared to a LEU core, supporting the findings of Dr. Edwin Lyman at Nuclear Control Institute.
1.1.5 Alternative Mitigation of Station Blackout Caused Accidents Omitted
Mitigation of severe accidents is considered a site-specific issue under the GEIS on Renewal, and 10CFR51.53(c)(3)(ii)(L) states that "If the staff has not previously considered severe accident mitigation alternatives for the applicant’s plant (in this case plants) in an EIS or related supplement or in an environmental assessment, a consideration of alternatives to mitigate severe accidents must be provided."
An alternative mitigation for Station Blackout (shown in item 1.1.4 to be a highly significant factor for these Duke reactors compared to all other in the United States) would be to provide a dedicated electrical line from the hydroelectric generating dams adjacent to each reactor site (these dams are owned by Duke, on Lake Norman and Lake Wylie).
Emergency diesel generator reliability was studied by NIRS in preparation for the Y2K computer roll over with the arrival of the year 2000. It was found that diesel generators have many problems, and that the NRC’s stated 95 % reliability rate is not good enough. Indeed in the last 10 years of the 20th century, diesel generator failure contributed to station blackout at 3 reactor sites and near blackout at several more. It would appear that margins of safety have been sufficient to prevent a severe accident due to station blackout to date, however, the compounding factors of terrorism and climate change may reduce this margin into the danger zone.
1.1.5 (a) Given the vulnerability of these reactors as documented in NUREG/CR-6427 and given the preponderance of new factors (terrorism and climate change) that increase the probability of station blackout, it is vital to consider this alternative to reliance solely on emergency diesel generators at Catawba and McGuire. Since these hydro generation units are also owned by a subsidiary of Duke Power, and there are switchyards adjacent to both reactor sites as well, this would not pose a great challenge, and should be analyzed.
1.1.5(b) Further given the possibility of MOX plutonium fuel use that would significantly increase the consequences of a loss of containment accident, addition of more back-up of power is warranted.
1.1.6 New Information on the Probability and Consequences of Fuel Pool Fires
New information on fuel pool fire has been offered in a current license action on the Millstone Nuclear Power Station No. 3, Facility Operating License NPF-49 (Docket No 50-423-LA-2) is subject to intervention by two citizens organizations, Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone (CCAM) and the Long Island Coalition Against Millstone (CAM). The "Declaration of 31 October 2001 by Dr. Gordon Thompson in Support of A Motion by CCAM/CAM is offered here in the appended Exhibit document. Dr. Thompson gives new information showing that there is an increased risk of fuel pool fire from a partial pool drain-down that has not been previously factored in analysis of fuel pool accidents and further, that the state of the world is a significant contributing factor to increased risk of such an event, particularly due to sabotage. We also contend that climate change is another accelerating factor that could contribute to conditions leading to a fuel pool fire. Acceleration would result in increasing hazard over the renewal period.
10CFR51.23(a) indicates that high-level irradiated fuel may be assumed to be at the reactor site for up to 30 years after the reactor ceases operation. The license regime for on-site dry casks actually permits up to 120 years of waste on the site; therefore it should be assumed for purposes of analysis that all of the waste generated by the reactors is on the site in the event of a fuel pool fire. Even waste that is transferred to dry storage would be impacted by such an event, if only by severe external contamination, impeding routine maintenance and inspection.
1.1.7 New Information on Impact of Radiation
10CFR51(c ) (3)(iv) "The environmental report must contain any new and significant information regarding the impacts of license renewal of which the applicant is aware." While myths about the safety of ionizing radiation at low levels are perpetuated broadly by the nuclear industry, there is ample information available to the contrary. Recent breakthroughs in medicine that are based on the power of extremely low doses of radiation to impact the body. One such report was published by Dr. David A Scheinberg of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York in the Journal Science on November 16 and reported in the New York Times the same day. The findings showcase the impact of extremely low doses of radiation: even a single atom of actinium-225 has the capacity to kill a cancer cell. If one atom of a radionuclide kills cancer, certainly it has the potential to harm or kill healthy cells as well, leading to a number of results, including cancer. This new and significant information that is nonetheless in the public realm must be factored in all impacts of license renewal on human health and the environment.
Additionally, the cumulative effects and health impacts of loading the environment with persistent radioactivity from ongoing releases must be evaluated with respect to other environmental parameters that are currently changing in an accelerated manner – i.e. they are parameters for which each year increases each year in the potential for their impact. These factors will, therefore, be in greater force during the renewal period than today.
Most factors under acceleration today would have required mitigation in previous decades in order to change the projected impacts that are likely during the renewal period. These include, but are not limited to: ozone depletion (and UVB increase), climate change (changes in water levels, up or down, including drought stress and flood releases of temporarily sequestered radionuclides, change in micro organisms, disease vectors), air emissions resulting in acid rain and other stresses, toxic substance accumulation, and human population as it exacerbates all of these. Each of these factors must be evaluated in the assessment of radiation and health impacts, and were not considered in the applicant’s environment report, nor in the Generic Environmental Impact Statement on License Renewal.
1.1.8 All These Factors Must Be Considered
If the factors of terrorist attack, MOX, climate change, new information on fuel pools, station blackout and radiation impacts are excluded from the matter of license renewal of Duke’s four ice condenser units, then the provisions in 10CFR51.103(a)(5) that juxtapose environmental impacts with energy planning and "preserving" the options of decision makers become an automatic rubber stamp for nuclear power and license renewal. The fulcrum of future energy demand will in every case appear to outweigh the types of environmental factors currently considered. Nonetheless our member’s interests of life, health, livelihood, family and property are threatened by license renewal and extended operation precisely because of these accelerating factors. The longer these reactors operate, the more likely these factors will disrupt those operations. Indeed, 10CFR54.31(d) offers the specter of eternal operation with the option of renewal of the renewed license. It is not credible that future energy demand can only be supplied by nuclear power, nor is it credible to do an evaluation that excludes factors that are likely to determine the outcome of this situation.
1.2 Duke Environmental Reports Not Complete
10CFR51(c ) (3)(iv) "The environmental report must contain any new and significant information regarding the impacts of license renewal of which the applicant is aware.
1.2.1 Environmental Reports Do Not Consider Ozone Depletion
Ozone depletion is no secret. It has the potential to greatly impact the Southeastern bioregion, particularly with respect to increased UVB radiation. This is of particular concern since it may impact plants and animals and microbes that are also impacted by discharges of heat, toxic substances and ionizing radiation from Duke’s reactors. This is of greatest concern for all endangered and threatened species but should be factored in general as well. Duke Energy fails to mention ozone depletion in their Environmental Reports submitted for Catawba and McGuire license renewal.
1.2.2 Environmental Reports Do Not Adequately Consider Climate Change
As referenced above, Duke mentions Climate Change once in each of the Environment Reports for Catawba (page 8-29) and McGuire (page 8-32) with regards to their supposition that nuclear power would help reduce climate change. However, they fail to analyze the impact of change in temperature and precipitation on species distribution and habitat factors for the region in general and for endangered and threatened species in particular.
The evaluation of aquatic impacts of the operation of the McGuire reactor and its once through cooling system also lacks any consideration of climate change. Such an evaluation should consider both the changes in precipitation as well as thermal impacts. Since climate change is an accelerating factor in (and of) our environment, the renewal period will be substantially different than the present. Each of these factors has the capacity to change the impact that operation of the McGuire reactors will have on Lake Norman and its biota. Duke has failed to assess these factors in their consideration of entrainment of fish, impingement of fish, and heat shock.
1.2.3 No Biological Assessment for Georgia Aster or Schweinitz's Sunflower in Duke’s Environmental Reports
The Fish and Wildlife Service reference the Georgia Aster and Schweinitz's Sunflower as two species of concern on or impacted by the reactor sites. Their letter is provided in the "Exhibits" document appended to these contentions, marked "Exhibit 1.2.3." Duke should include these endangered and challenged species in their analysis, as well as considerations of how Duke Energy might act to ensure their survival and recovery. A complete analysis should consider the synergisms that will result from the combination of reactor releases and discharges, ozone depletion and stresses associated with Climate Change.
MOX plutonium fuel use would result in a core that has a significantly greater fraction of plutonium throughout the fueling cycle than a reactor using conventional fuel. Further, as the fuel is irradiated, a higher percentage of actinides will be formed. These changes in the composition of the core will translate into increased plutonium and actinides in all forms of discharge from the reactor. This must be considered in the environmental analysis at every step. An analysis of MOX fuel on thermal discharges should also be done.
2.1 Reactor Aging Analysis Not Adequate
2.1.1 Stud Bolt Contention: Applicant's ignoring of the essential role of stud bolts and stud bolt condition invalidates its Application
The Applicant's submission for extension of the licenses for McGuire and Catawba nuclear stations from 40 to 60 years contains sections concerned with Aging Management Programs, 3.1.2; Time-Limited Aging Analysis, 4.0; Reactor Vessel Neutron Embrittlement, 4.2; and Metal Fatigue, 4.3. A Reactor Vessel Integrity Program is referred to as part of the Aging Management Program, p. 3.1-4. "Reactor Vessel and CRDM (control rod drive mechanism) Pressure Boundary Components" are listed in Table 3.1-1. The first components listed, p. 3.1-11. are "closure head dome, flange, ring and vessel flange". Sixteen more groups of components are listed in the remainder of this part of the table. No reference is made to the bolts that attach the closure head dome to the reactor vessel. Time-Limited Aging Analyses are described as to content, p. 4.1.1. Definitions are given, p. 4.1.2. The analyses are to involve components, the effects of aging, the time-limited assumptions, matters relevant to making a safety determination, and conclusions related to the capability of the components to perform intended functions, p. 4.1-2. The analyses should show that the effects of aging will be adequately managed to the end of the extended period of operation, p. 4.1-3. Reactor Vessel Neutron Embrittlement is considered in section 4.2. It is required that fracture toughness, pressure-temperature and material surveillance requirements be met and that fracture toughness requirements protect against pressurized thermal shock. Data are provided for Beltline Region Materials, Table 4.2-5. No data are presented for stud bolts. There is no reference to stud bolts in section 4.2.3 on Pressure-Temperature (P-T) Limits. Nor is there such reference in section 4.3, Metal Fatigue. There is a Thermal Fatigue Management Program, 188.8.131.52.
There is no section concerned with stress fatigue although stress changes, and fatigue, can result from thermal fluctuations. Similarly in the final section, Fatigue Environmental Effects, 184.108.40.206, there is no reference to stud bolts. This omission is of critical importance. Applicant's ignoring of the essential role of stud bolts and stud bolt condition invalidates its Application.
The interior of a McGuire or Catawba reactor vessel is exposed to a pressure of about 1000 psi at a temperature of about 550 degrees F during normal operation. The reactor vessel is like a huge cup. It is covered with a lid, which bears 78 nozzles (and four other penetrations, Application) that contain the control rods and carry the control rod drive mechanisms. The peripheral part of the lid is a flange with about 20 holes through which the stud bolts fit. The top of the reactor vessel has a matching flange. It similarly contains threaded holes that receive the stud bolts.
The local public document room was closed in 1999. The NRC public document room, contacted by telephone Nov. 19, 2001, did not have the FSAR's for McGuire or Catawba. The NIRS caller was referred to NRC Project Manager Martin. He referred the caller to Roni Franovitch who is assigned to this license extension project. She was asked for reactor dimensions and the number and size of the stud bolts which attach the reactor lid to the reactor vessel. She conferred with other staff members and was told that it would be necessary for NIRS to request the ASLB to obtain this information.
As it was desirable, though not necessary, to have this information, reasonable assumptions have been made.
Let us assume that the inside diameter of the reactor is 7 feet (2 x 42 inches); that the radius of stud bolt centers is 3 feet 9 inches (45 inches); that there are 24 stud bolts and that the diameter of the threaded part of the stud bolt is 4 inches. The pressure loading on the stud bolts will be: pi x r x r x p, pi x 42 i x 42 i x 1000 psi which equals 5,541,769 p. The area of the stud bolts bearing this load is pi x 24 x 2 i x 2 I, or 301.6 square inches. The bolt loading is a minimum of the quotient of load by bolt area, 18,474 psi. The load at reactor beltline is r x p / thickness, 42 l x 1000 / 6 or 7000 psi. The bolt load is two to three times that of the pressure vessel. In placing a bolt it is tightened to load it, the preload. I do not know the torque used in tightening the bolts and therefore cannot calculate the preload but it necessarily must exceed the expected load. It is reasonable to assume that the tensile stress, loading, per unit area of the stud bolts during reactor operation is about an order of magnitude greater than that of the vessel body, bottom, and lid.
NIRS contends that this most heavily stressed part of the reactor vessel will be increasingly subject to failure with continued operation. It was designed for about 30 years of operation (it was after the initial proceedings that the operating license was extended to 40 years) and will, hopefully, attain that goal. The finding of unanticipated types of serious damage to reactor lid penetration nozzles at Oconee raises the question of unanticipated types of damage to stud bolts.
NIRS recognizes that any information regarding the embrittlement of stud bolts (and other reactor pressure boundary components) provided by the testing of fluence-exposed capsules will be misleading. The stud bolts are exposed to metal fatigue, due to repetitive loading and unloading resulting from internal pressure changes and temperature changes, which the capsules are not. Stretching of stud bolts in service has been demonstrated by the reduction in preload after operation (Application).
NIRS contends that it is in our interest and in the public interest to avoid another 20 years of operation based on a misleading capsule test and the optimistic assumption that no other factor, such as stress corrosion cracking, will affect the stud bolts.
A meeting of NRC staff on November 8, 2001, 1:00 to 5:00 PM was open to interested parties via teleconference. The subject was the stress corrosion cracking, particularly the unforeseen circumferential-all-the-way-through cracking of a reactor pressure vessel head penetration nozzle. (At about 4:55 PM teleconference listeners were given the opportunity to ask questions. Jess Riley, a NIRS member, asked if there were similar concerns about the cracking of stud bolts. J. I. Zimmerman, who apparently chaired the meeting, replied that this had been an agenda item that was not reached.)
2.1.2 MATERIALS CONTENTION: Duke has not adequately factored unforeseen aging
The findings of the condition of the reactor lid penetration nozzles at two Oconee reactors presented the NRC and Duke Power with occurrences that were unanticipated and not considered in the licensing process. The most dramatic occurrence found to date, and one not only not anticipated but previously thought to be unlikely (if not impossible) is circumferential stress corrosion cracking through the entire thickness of the nozzle wall.
It is apparent that events occur over longer time periods, say 30 years, which are not encountered in the shorter periods of planning, licensing, construction and initial operation. Events have occurred which neither Duke nor NRC foresaw.
None of the parties to this proceeding knows what further adverse changes may take place in the subject reactors in the proposed 20 year period of extended operation. We do not know if an event that gives warning before potentially catastrophic failure, like the accumulations of boric acid on nozzle surfaces that led to the discovery of multiple instances of stress corrosion
cracking, will occur. Considering the possible consequences of a major loss-of-coolant-accident that would result from a simultaneous failure of the reactor vessel stud bolts, there should be no extension of the operating license. The instantaneous release of the reactor lid, driven by 3,000
tons of steam pressure, may breach the containment. It is likely that the massive steam release in such a LOCA would exceed the condensation capacity of the ice condensers resulting in a pressure in excess of the containment capability. In any event there would be a fuel meltdown. It is not possible to detail the consequences, but it is likely that Charlotte would become the American Chernobyl. Let us bear in mind that the reactor lid is held in place by about 20 stud bolts. These stud bolts bear about 3 times the stress of any other part of the reactor vessel. They are subject to neutron radiation which all parties involved know embrittles metal, that is reduces its strength. Moreover it is subject to metal "fatigue", another familiar weakening factor that results from cyclic loading. The initial licensing, recognizing the fatigue factor, restricted operation to 200 fuel cycles. There are also questions about weakening the weld metal in the reactor vessel, as at Yankee Rowe, again with fluence and fatigue being recognized factors.
In view of these major uncertainties, and as yet unencountered failure mechanisms, and considering the consequences of a LOCA, which exceeds the design capability for handling LOCAs, NIRS contends that the NRC should not permit the dangerous experiment of 20 years additional operation of the McGuire and Catawba nuclear plants.
3.1 Duke Energy Fire Barrier Penetration Seal Analysis and Qualification Testing Is Incomplete and Inadequate and Therefore Constitutes Degraded Fire Protection Defense-In-Depth for the Applicant Units
3.1.a The Petitioner contends that the as-built and originally installed fire penetration seals in all four applicant units have not been adequately analyzed and evaluated as qualified rated fire barrier penetration seals in context of fire endurance age-related degradation for the requested license extension.
Each nuclear power station unit has thousands of through-wall penetrations in containment and non-containment walls. These penetrations provide for the passage of a number of structures, systems and components to include electrical penetrations for safe shutdown power, control and instrumentation cables in a wide variety of configurations and sizes of conduits and trays, mechanical penetrations for water and condensate pipes, structural members and seismic gaps. These penetrations must be properly fitted with rated fire barrier penetration material to prevent the passage of fire and hot gas from one fire zone to another zone thereby providing protection to redundant safety systems for safe shut down capability in the event of fire.
The technical basis for NRC regulations governing fire barrier penetration seals is covered under 10 CFR Appendix R Section III.M, the General Design Criteria 3 for "Fire Protection" and Branch Technical Position Auxiliary Power Conversions Systems Branch 9.5-1. The Commission's implementing requirements in 10CFR 50.48 and 10 CFR 50 Appendix R provide that fire barrier penetration seals shall qualify as rated barriers to be properly tested, configured, installed and maintained.
[Exhibit NRC Final Rule, "Elimination of the Requirement for Noncombustible Fire Barrier Penetration Seal Materials and Other Minor Changes," Federal Register: June 20, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 119, Page 38182-3819/
The Petitioner contends that Duke Energy originally installed a fire-barrier penetration sealant material by the brand name "Firewall 50" and other brand name penetration seal materials manufactured by Western Chemical in all four applicant units.
The Petitioner contends that Duke Energy has not provided fire tests to qualify and demonstrate the one-hour and three-hour fire endurance capability of installed "Firewall 50" penetration seals and other brand name fire barrier sealant material manufactured by Western Chemical as one hour and three-hour rated fire barriers.
The Petitioner contends that Duke has not analyzed nor provided the life expectancy of its "Firewall 50" fire barrier penetration seals.
The Petitioner contends that over the current operational life of the four applicant units Duke Energy has repaired "Firewall 50" penetration seals without providing fire tests to qualify the repaired penetration seals as qualified fire-rated barriers.
The Petitioner, therefore, contends that Duke Energy can not provide an adequate fire safety analysis without first providing the number of the original as-built and/or repaired "Firewall 50" penetrations that remain in the applicant units in unanalyzed aged-condition and also unevaluated by fire test for fire endurance capability as pertains to the susceptibility of safe shutdown capability to fire for the requested license extension.
3.1.b The Petitioner contends that Duke fire barrier penetration seal fire qualification tests have not adequately evaluated fire barrier penetration seals in all four applicant units for field installed seals that have been replaced.
[Exhibits "Duke Power Cure Time Fire Test Analysis Project Number 00003.23.0084"/ADAMS ML003729033 and Omega Point Laboratories "Experimental Penetration Seal Fire Resistance Test -3 Hour Qualification/ADAMS ML003729114]
The Petitioner contends that Duke has been replacing "Firewall 50" penetration seals with a Dow-Corning RTV silicone foam fire penetration seal material.
The Petitioner contends that Duke has not provided an evaluation for the effective removal of aged "Firewall 50" material from replacement penetration seals.
As provided by Duke Power, Omega Point Laboratory fire tests were performed on new penetration configurations using Dow Corning RTV silicone foam materials rather than simulating a fire test of penetrations previously filled with Firewall 50 material as repaired or replaced. The Petitioner contends that fire tests on new RTV seals do not provide an adequate analyze of actual installed replacement penetration seals in the applicant units. The Duke fire tests do not provide any analysis of how RTV silicone foam material performs after installation into penetrations previously using unanalyzed and unevaluated "Firewall 50" materials. The Duke Power representative fire tests therefore do not give an adequate analysis of representative fire seals as re-installed in the applicant units.
The Petitioner therefore contends that Duke has not presented an adequate fire test evaluation of as-installed replacement fire barrier penetration seals in the applicant units.
3.1.c The Petitioner contends that after Duke Power performed the three-hour fire tests at Omega Point Laboratories they utilized a hose stream test in accordance with requirements of EEEI 634. The referenced test standard is used exclusively for electrical penetrations using a light shower of a fog nozzle hose stream test. The test required for all other penetrations seals (mechanical, seismic, etc.) is ASTM-E and requires a hose stream test that uses a standardized one and a half inch nozzle at 30 psi.
The Petitioner contends that the Duke Power fire test does not provide an adequate test for standard fire fighting techniques likely to be utilized in the event of fire at the applicant units. The much gentler fog nozzle hose stream test provides for a preserving shower of water and does not simulate the pressure rating behind a standardized play pipe hose stream.
The Petitioner therefore contends that the Duke qualifying fire tests do not provide the appropriate bounding hose stream test for fire barrier penetrations seals in the applicant units to include all mechanical seals.
3.1.d The Catawba and McGuire units also utilize Dow-Corning RTV silicone foam penetration sealant material throughout the units to prevent the spread of fire and hot gases from passage between fire zones within containment and other safety related areas of the plants. The Petitioner contends that RTV silicone foam is a combustible material and when exposed to a postulated fire not only chars but also can harbor a deep-seated fire that can then burn through the penetration.
According to the Associated Press article based on the reading of the Argonne National Laboratory, government lab analysis concluded "It appears that fire and explosion hazards have been treated with much less care." The news story excerpted from the report that "If just 1% of a jetliner's fuel ignited after impact, it would create an explosion equivalent to 1,000 pounds of dynamite inside a reactor building already damaged by the impact." The report goes on to conclude that the ignition of fuel "could create a rather violent explosion environment."
The report has since been removed from public access through the NRC Public Document Room microfiche archive.
[EXHIBIT AP story, October 24, 2001 story]
Contrary to concerns and issues raised by the suppressed Argonne National Laboratory analysis, the NRC has stated that it "believes that it is highly unlikely that fire barriers in a nuclear power plant would be exposed to fires of sufficient temperature and duration such that the silicone fire seals that fail before their rated 1- or 3-hours." [Exhibit NRC Final Rule Changing the Noncombustibility Requirement for Fire Barrier Penetration Seals, Federal Register June 20, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 119 [[Page 38183]]
The Petitioner contends that the fire penetration seals in all four Duke applicant units up have not been rigorously tested and evaluated for the explosive environment and transient combustibles as delivered by deliberate act of sabotage using an commercial jetliner aircraft as identified in the Argonne National Laboratory study and recommendations provided to the NRC (i.e. jet fuel).
NRC fire protection regulations were changed (June 20, 2000) to provide that "combustible" materials can now be used in qualified fire barrier penetration seals. This relaxation of the non-combustibility requirement for fire barrier penetration seals came inspite of the information and analysis provided by Argonne National Laboratories to NRC in 1981 by study recommending that agency seriously analysis the nuclear safety implications of a jet crash explosion and fire on safety of nuclear power plants.
Duke fire barrier penetration seal fire tests for the McGuire and Catawba units were provided by letter to the Commission on June 28, 2000 as industry analysis to qualify and bound the combustible barriers for three hour fire endurance test. On March 02, 2000 Duke Energy conducted fire endurance tests at Omega Point Laboratories on 14 fire seal assemblies. Five of the 14 assemblies failed with burn-through. The Duke failure analysis develops a clear correlation between test furnace pressure and burn-through rate of the Dow Corning silicone foam fire seals.
[Exhibit -Duke Fire Test Summary/ADAMS ML003728958]
The Petitioner contends that increased positive pressure on these combustible penetration seals will accelerate burn through times.
In light of the Argonne National Laboratory study, the Petitioner contends that the Duke fire analysis does not adequately qualify and bound its combustible fire barrier penetration seals to withstand the positive pressure equivalent from an explosion and fire as a result of a postulated jet airliner crash.
4.1 Socioeconomic Impact Analysis Is Not Adequate
Over the last two decades since the McGuire and Catawba reactors were sited, the population density around the reactors has changed dramatically. Indeed, this is particularly true around the McGuire reactors, where the population density within 20 miles of the reactor site is more than double the density level in at 50 miles from the site (even though this includes portions of metropolitan Charlotte). The same is nearly true of the community around Catawba. The report does not mention that the development leading to this population on Lake Norman was accomplished by a subsidiary of Duke, Crescent Resources.
4.1.1The concerns brought by NIRS pertaining to the inadequacy of Duke’s application with regards to security, aging, severe accident mitigation and plutonium fuel use have not been addressed with respect to these new communities that Duke has actively created around their reactor sites.
4.1.2 Emergency plans, including evacuation, should no longer rest upon the original license basis.
4.1.3A socio-economic analysis should include the potential for closure of Lakes Norman and Wylie to public access for security reasons.
4.1.4 A full evaluation should be given of new technologies available to notify the public of emergency situations, with far greater capacity for transmitting information than sirens alone.
5.1 Assumptions on High-Level Nuclear Waste Are Flawed
10CFR51.23(a) states: "…Further, the Commission believes there is reasonable assurance that at least one mined geologic repository will be available within the first quarter of the twenty-first century, and sufficient repository capacity will be available within 30 years beyond the licensed life for operation of any reactor to dispose of the commercial high-level waste and spent fuel originating in such a reactor and generated up to that time."
NIRS would like to point out that the use of the term "belief" is appropriate since there is no basis in fact for this generic finding. This belief clearly assumes that the Yucca Mountain repository will open and that either an expanded capacity will be mandated for that site (currently capped at 77,000 MTU while the base-case scenario used by the Department of Energy projected 85,000 MTU from this generation of reactors with no license renewal), or more repositories will be built. Indeed, since there are a great many reactors contemplating license renewal, if they are successful in overcoming terminal aging factors, the total waste generated from existing reactors might well exceed 100,000 MTU. This would almost certainly require multiple repositories since the Yucca site is only rated for about 25,000 MTU under the cool repository regime [ insert cite] that is most likely to succeed.
Meanwhile Yucca Mountain is far from an assured site. Legal challenges to new regulations are under way. A license application will certainly be met with intervention. Even if approved, the site and the program are so fraught with technical difficulties, let alone terrorist concerns or actions that it is likely to fail under the weight of one or more accidents or unaccounted expenses.
NRC should provide a basis for their assumptions and consider a revision to this section of the regulations. In any case it is clear that this statement by NRC assumes that the waste generated by any reactor may well reside at the reactor site for up to 30 years after the reactor ceases operation. This assumption should be factored into any analysis of a terrorist strike to the site.
Director of the Southeast Office
Nuclear Information and Resource Service