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February 1999 - Armenia
- Bulgaria
- Czech Republic
- Hungary
- Kazakhstan
- Lithuania
- Russia
- Slovakia
- Ukraine
- United States
- Cross-Cutting Activities
- Planned Activities
- Previous Activity Reports

The February Activity Report documents safety improvements achieved in late January and February at Soviet-designed nuclear power plants through U.S. and host-country cooperation. To request a hard-copy version or to provide comments or suggestions, send an e-mail message to

Highlights of the Month

San Onofre Hosts Workshop for Ukrainian Nuclear Power Specialists. A U.S. nuclear power plant recently served as an outage maintenance university--offering classes, instructors, and field trips in one setting. The scene was a refueling outage at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, San Clemente, California. A dozen nuclear specialists and support staff from across Ukraine gathered for a week-long workshop February 8 through 12. The specialists, including three maintenance managers, will take back safety and quality assurance lessons to Chornobyl, Zaporizhzhya, South Ukraine, and Rivne nuclear power plants (NPPs), as well as Energoatom. Workshop materials and resulting Ukraine procedures will be shared with Khmelnytskyy NPP.

Refueling outage work is critical to maintaining safety and efficiency of nuclear power plants. During an outage, maintenance staff check out the complex plant systems, upgrade equipment, and refuel the core. Careful planning and procedures guide the work so that it can be accomplished efficiently, safely, and within the limited time available before the plant is restarted. Well-planned and -executed outages mean increased attention to detail and improved safety.

The goal of the workshop was to standardize approaches for planning outages, on-line maintenance, and general maintenance work at Ukrainian NPPs. At the end of the week-long workshop, the Ukrainian participants had outlined tasks and assigned responsibilities for drafting guidelines and procedures related to planning maintenance work at their plants.

During a week-long workshop at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, participants signed a protocol that will guide efforts to improve quality assurance in maintenance activities at Ukrainian nuclear facilities. From left, Ian Seddon, British Energy; Irina Mitichkina, Energoatom; Oleksandr Kozlov, Ukraine State Scientific and Technical Center/Nuclear Power Plant Operations Support Institute; and Lief Erickson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, workshop organizer.

John Fee (second from left), San Onofre maintenance manager, discusses with Ukrainian visitors the planning of maintenance work during an outage. Here, he makes a point about how his team is organized to achieve its goals.

The three Ukrainian maintenance managers saw firsthand how U.S. maintenance managers plan and implement outage-related work. The managers took back to Ukraine observations and practices that they can implement in their plants.

The workshop group pauses during one of several tours to gain firsthand experience on aspects of maintenance work during an outage. From left, Mykola Ponomarenko, maintenance, Rivne NPP; Anatoliy Ilatovkiy, maintenance, South Ukraine NPP; Stanislov Sergeyev, quality assurance, Chornobyl NPP; Victor Ostapov, quality assurance, Rivne NPP; Larysa Veselskaya, interpreter, Chornobyl Union; Bob Babione, Scientech; Natallya Kosmataya, interpreter, Energoatom; Irina Mitichkina, Energoatom; Fred Simma, engineer, and Galina Eakins, contract engineer, San Onofre; Volodomyr Zhludenko, maintenance, Zaporizhzhya NPP; Valeriy Kotelenets, quality assurance, South Ukraine NPP; Mykhaylo Shuster, quality assurance, Zaporizhzhya NPP; Oleksandr Kozlov, SSTC/NPP OSI; and Ian Seddon, British Energy.

One area of particular importance was San Onofre's approach to assessment. Line organizations perform self-assessments rather than relying totally on quality assurance staff for assessments. Self-assessments help instill quality assurance attitudes in each worker. Ukraine will model this approach and involve the recently trained managers in the Ukraine quality assurance working council's development of maintenance planning procedures.

This workshop also introduced the concept of qualifying commercial equipment and materials for safety-related applications. In the United States, this approach has proven itself in certain areas, especially where commercial-grade equipment must replace safety-related equipment that no longer is available from original suppliers.

Various presenters contributed to the success of the workshop. San Onofre's maintenance manager opened and closed the workshop and conducted tours and discussion sessions. The plant's outage planning supervisor coordinated the week's activities. Some 20 personnel from the plant acted as presenters and assistants. An outage specialist from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (a loaned employee from Arizona Power's Palo Verde site) presented details on U.S. industry programs for outage planning, as well as specifics on Palo Verde programs. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory project manager for Ukraine quality assurance organized the workshop and coordinated activities and logistics during the week. A quality assurance representative from British Energy participated in discussions related to ongoing and new tasks for implementation of quality assurance principles throughout the Ukrainian nuclear industry. Staff of Scientech, Inc., presented planning concepts and terminology, participated in project discussions, recorded notes for the workshop, and assisted with logistics.

The meetings during this workshop reinforced the importance of continuing coordination and collaboration among Energoatom, British Energy, and the U.S. team to implement a quality assurance system in Ukraine. (Dennis Meyers, DOE, 301-903-2370; Lief Erickson, PNNL, 509-372-4097)

Chornobyl Safety Parameter Display System Completes Site Acceptance Tests. The safety parameter display system for Chornobyl Unit 3 successfully passed site acceptance tests on January 27. Unit 3 operators will begin a trial use period when plant management restarts the reactor after its current maintenance outage. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine, restart of Chornobyl Unit 3, which has been under repairs since December15, is postponed until March 6 due to the need to complete an increased scope of work.

A control room operator checks out the computer display of data provided by the safety parameter display system installed recently in Chornobyl Unit3. The system passed site acceptance tests on January 27 and will undergo a trial use period under actual conditions when Unit 3 is restarted this spring.

The prototype safety parameter display system for plants with RBMK reactors was installed at Russia's Kursk Unit 2 in May 1997. Parsons Power Group, Inc., is the principal contractor for all safety parameter display system projects at participating plants with RBMKs. The U.S. equipment supplier and principal design organization is Westinghouse Electric Company. The Russian organization NIKIET designed the system displays, purchased the alternating-current power supply system, and developed the system-specific software. WESTRON, a Ukrainian organization, was responsible for assembly of the system. Workers at Chornobyl NPP contributed much of the installation equipment and were responsible for the physical installation of the system. (Norman Fletcher, DOE, 301-903-3275; Rich Denning, PNNL, 614-424-7412)

Insights from Probabilistic Risk Assessments Lead to Changes at Leningrad. A steering committee gave formal approval of a safety assessment project at Leningrad NPP on January 29, following week-long meetings at the Swedish International Programs offices in Stockholm. Plant staff and international partners place high confidence in the first western-style probabilistic safety assessment for a Soviet-designed RBMK within Russia. Insights from the safety assessment are leading immediately to low-capital-cost changes in plant maintenance schedules, procedures, and equipment. Future capital improvements also will be guided by the assessment.

The Leningrad NPP probabilistic and deterministic safety assessments are multilateral efforts involving Sweden, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States. Leningrad NPP is developing the in-depth assessment of Unit 2 to meet current Russian Federation requirements for a long-term operating license for the plant.

Leningrad NPP managers are using information from the recently completed probabilistic safety assessment to guide immediate changes in plant maintenance schedules, procedures, and equipment.

The United States provided technical and financial support to Leningrad NPP and other Russian safety organizations to produce plant-specific system descriptions, component failure data, and deterministic analysis to support the future activities of the probabilistic safety assessment, including production of an in-depth safety assessment.

Leningrad NPP managers have identified important near-term corrective actions:

  • development of improved operator guidance during critical plant events
  • increased testing of support system components
  • improved frontline system component cooling
  • diversification of coolant inventories and supply
  • reduction in the potential for system functional loss due to a single component failure.

In addition, Leningrad plant representatives are using insights gained during the safety assessment to evaluate the safety impact of near-term reconstruction activities at the plant. The Leningrad NPP probabilistic safety assessment has been shown to be an effective tool for guiding the plant's safety-related decisions.

The overall in-depth safety assessment for Leningrad NPP builds on the experience and technology of a more limited-scope assessment project. The in-depth safety assessment involves probabilistic, deterministic, engineering, and institutional studies designed to assess the major safety aspects of the facility. The United States is to provide management, financial, and technical assistance to Leningrad NPP throughout the in-depth assessment. (Walt Pasedag, DOE, 301-903-3628; Sam McKay, PNNL, 509-372-4059)



Physical Security Improvements Reviewed for Kalinin. In early February, an international team met to review the physical security measures at Russian nuclear power plants of concern to Rosenergoatom, in particular Kalinin NPP. The goal of the review is to identify areas for possible cooperative efforts to upgrade physical security at this and other Russian plants. The effort is part of a comprehensive assessment of security at civilian nuclear facilities in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Representatives of Rosenergoatom, Kalinin NPP, design organization Dedal, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory met and toured the plant. The team identified the following areas for possible upgrades, subject to final agreement and availability of funding: video assessment and surveillance systems, maintenance of communications systems, quality assurance for physical protection equipment, the access control system, and explosives detectors. (Andrei Glukhov, PNNL, 509-375-3961)

Safety Maintenance Equipment Delivered to Russia's RBMK Plants. During February, partial discharge analysis equipment arrived at Kursk, Leningrad, and Smolensk NPPs and the Smolensk Training Center. The specialized instrumentation will enable plant maintenance staff to monitor and measure the condition of insulation in the windings of their plants' turbine-generators. Specialists from Power Diagnostix Instruments GmbH of Aachen, Germany, are organizing logistics and preparing to install the equipment at each site. Installation is expected to be completed by the end of April 1999. (Ray Pugh, PNNL, 509-372-4103; Tom Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)

International Team Reviews Minatom Nuclear Safety Research Plan. In 1996, the Senior Safety Analysis Review (SESAR) group of the France-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) prepared a report on the research needs associated with Soviet-designed reactors. In the report, SESAR group members recommended the preparation of a nuclear safety research and development plan for Soviet-designed reactors.

With the assistance of the U.S. International Nuclear Safety Center (INSC), the Russian International Nuclear Safety Center (RINSC) has coordinated preparation of a nuclear safety research plan for Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom). A select team of 15 Russian scientists headed by the director of VNIIAES began developing a plan in spring 1998. The SESAR group began its review of the plan, in its second draft, in October 1998. Group members, who include experts from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, presented their initial comments at a SESAR meeting in Paris in early December 1998 (see Activity Report for December 1998, "International Group Reviewing Strategic Plan for Russian NPPs").

On January 26 and 27, a nine-member team of SESAR reviewers traveled to Moscow to present their findings to the Russian authors in a two-day seminar hosted by the RINSC. Representatives of the U.S. INSC also provided an independent set of comments on the document.

The Russian authors now are preparing a third draft, which will include these comments as well as comments received from circulating the second draft throughout Russia. When finished, the plan, considered to be a historical first, will be presented to Russia's Minister of Atomic Energy for final approval. (Joe Braun, ANL, 630-252-5574)

International Nuclear Safety Centers Review Progress, Plan Future for Joint Projects. Representatives of the U.S. and Russian International Nuclear Safety Centers held their fifth semiannual meeting on January 29 in Moscow. The center representatives reviewed progress and status of joint projects and planned their strategy for the future. The following key issues were discussed:

  • expansion of the newly formed RINSC computing center
  • RINSC appointments by Minatom as custodian/manager of non-Russian nuclear safety codes
  • opportunities for new research and development cooperation related to the Minatom plan (see "International Team Reviews Minatom ...")
  • personnel exchanges between the RINSC in Moscow and the U.S. INSC in Argonne, Illinois. (Joe Braun, ANL, 630-252-5574)



Khmelnytskyy Simulator Exercise Guides Transferred to Zaporizhzhya. During the first week of February, a team of specialists in simulator training worked to adapt Khmelnytskyy NPP's simulator exercise guides to Zaporizhzhya NPP. The team consisted of training staff from Khmelnytskyy NPP, the Engineering and Technical Center for the Training of Nuclear Industry Personnel, Zaporizhzhya NPP, and a U.S. specialist from Path Training Corporation. Both Zaporizhzhya and Khmelnytskyy share the same VVER-1000 design. The exercise guides will be used for training Zaporizhzhya reactor operators using the plant's full-scope simulator. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)

Fire Safety Upgrade Equipment Provided to Chornobyl. On February 4, the Ukrainian organization Niko, with U.S. support, provided Chornobyl NPP with fire-fighting equipment, including 400 fire extinguishers and 100 fire hoses and nozzles. A safety review performed by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) in 1997 identified a number of safety deficiencies at Chornobyl NPP, particularly related to fire safety. A U.S. team already was helping Ukraine address many of the identified deficiencies. In August 1998, the team visited the plant to determine what additional fire safety measures could be taken to correct the WANO-identified deficiencies. In addition to the fire extinguishers, the United States is helping provide radios and a transmitter for the fire brigade, self-contained breathing apparatus equipment, an air compressor for the breathing apparatus, material for roof repair in critical areas, and equipment to identify electrical faults that could lead to fires. (Rich Denning, PNNL, 614-424-7412)



Potential Physical Security Improvements Reviewed. In late January, an international team reviewed the physical security measures at Armenia NPP. The goal of the review was to identify areas for possible cooperative efforts to upgrade physical security at Armenia NPP, as part of a comprehensive assessment of security at civilian nuclear facilities in the New Independent States. Representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Authority, Armenia NPP, design organization Elbrus, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory met and toured the plant. The team identified the following areas for possible upgrades, subject to final agreement and availability of funding: the access control system, internal alarm system and central alarm station, communications system, video assessment systems, material surveillance systems, dry fuel storage area protection, and perimeter upgrades. (Andrei Glukhov, PNNL, 509-375-3961)



Drafts Completed for Kozloduy Emergency Operating Instructions: Thermal-Hydraulic Analysis Under Way. A complete set of draft emergency operating instructions (EOIs) now is complete for each of the reactor types (VVER-1000 and VVER-440/230 units) at Kozloduy NPP. The EOI analytical team for Kozloduy NPP met in Sofia, Bulgaria, the week of February 15. Energoproekt hosted the meeting. In attendance were representatives from Kozloduy NPP, the Institute of Nuclear Reactors and Nuclear Energy (INRNE, Bulgarian scientific institute involved in nuclear research and development, safety analysis work for Bulgarian reactors), Energoproekt, the Bulgarian regulatory agency, Science Applications International Corporation, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. INRNE and Energoproekt presented the results from the thermal-hydraulic analysis performed for the first 6 of 13 bounding modes that will validate operator actions for the VVER-1000 EOIs. The analysis is being done utilizing the code RELAP5.

The team accepted the results from the three anticipated-transient-without-scram bounding modes completed by Energoproekt specialists. Those modes deal with the situation in which a nuclear reactor receives a signal to trip or shut down but instead continues to produce power because the control rods fail to insert.

The review team found some deficiencies in the remaining three calculations performed by INRNE. Therefore, additional work must be done on the analysis for these calculations (steam generator header rupture, loss of all alternating current power, and large-break loss-of-coolant accident) prior to its approval. It is hoped that all thermal-hydraulic analyses for the VVER-1000 EOIs can be completed by late summer 1999.

Preparatory work continues for the analysis that will validate the EOIs for the VVER-440/230 units. A team has been organized that will develop supporting documents for quality assurance, data collection, scenario development, and model validation. (Kent Faris, PNNL, 509-372-4068)



Safety Centers Plan Personnel Exchanges, Other Collaborations. The directors of the U.S. and Russian International Nuclear Safety Centers and key representatives of the fledgling Kazakhstan Nuclear Technology Safety Center held discussions in Moscow on January 29. Talks covered start-up activities, possible areas of collaboration, and information and personnel exchanges between the INSCs and the Kazakhstan center. The spokespersons for the three centers agreed to cooperate on computer networking and database developing, and laid initial plans for personnel exchanges. (George Imel, ANL-West, 208-533-7559)



Ignalina Developing Improved Training Methods and Expertise. Training specialists from Sonalysts, Inc., and the International Atomic Energy Agency worked with Ignalina NPP trainers from February 1 through 12 to finalize and implement a pilot course for control room reactor operators at the plant. Ignalina trainers had sought assistance in developing the course for reactor operators based on the Systematic Approach to Training. As plant trainers help develop the course, they also will increase their knowledge and understanding of the Systematic Approach to Training, which will help them develop future training materials and programs at Ignalina NPP. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)


Cross-Cutting Activities

Database Compatibility Reviewed at Workshop. Developers of the Russian and Ukrainian reliability databases gathered at the offices of VNIIAES in Moscow in mid-February to exchange information about their respective database structures and other technical details of the developmental efforts. They spent one day tracing through the various diagrams and reviewing user interfaces. This meeting was important to ensure that the developers have a clear understanding of each other's database format and construction so that the two databases will be compatible when they are completed. Database compatibility is essential to ensure the success of compilation efforts and future plans to share this information among plant personnel at all Soviet-designed nuclear power plants in all host countries. (Grigory Trosman, DOE, 301-903-3581; Thomas Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)

Russia and Ukraine Represented at International Fire Safety Conference. The U.S. Department of Energy sponsored the participation of two representatives from Russia and three from Ukraine at Fire Safety '99, the third international conference on fire safety organized by Nuclear Engineering International. The conference took place February 8 through 10 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Several presentations on fire protection programs and upgrades at Soviet-designed reactors in Slovakia and Ukraine were of great value to the Russians, who are performing a deterministic safety analysis for Smolensk NPP. Seeing the results of this process used by others on similar plants brought home the value of performing the analysis.

Also, several presenters highlighted the use of the Reactor Core Protection Evaluation Methodology (RCPEM) developed in 1996 with U.S. Department of Energy support. A member of the Russian team noted how at Balakovo NPP, a safe-shutdown analysis used some of the RCPEM steps and identified several fire vulnerabilities, including the need to move some cables and sensors that in a fire could result in inadvertently opening the main steam relief valves. As a result of these findings, plant personnel have moved some sensors and are moving the cables.

Other items of value to the Russian and Ukrainian participants were discussions of equipment reliability, fire brigade response at nuclear power plants, fire detection and suppression methodologies, and fire protection during decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities. (Andy Minister, PNNL, 509-376-4938)


Planned Activities

* indicates the event is a new item or has been changed from the last report.

* March 1-12 -- Ignalina NPP, Lithuania

Training. Training specialists from Sonalysts, Inc., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Ignalina NPP will hold the first of four working sessions in support of the transfer of a pilot training program for senior foremen for the reactor equipment maintenance shop. During this session, the training specialists will analyze the tasks associated with the senior foreman position and begin designing the training program. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)

March 15-26 -- Armenia NPP, Armenia

Training. Training specialists from Sonalysts, Inc., the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Armenia NPP will continue working to develop teaching materials for a radiation protection technician course being transferred to the plant. The specialists also will begin developing a maintenance training program for Armenia NPP workers. During this time, they will produce a job and task analysis and develop the initial course for the program. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)

March 17-26 -- Kyiv, Ukraine

Plant Safety Assessment. U.S. experts from Argonne National Laboratory will conduct a workshop at Kyiv State University to train Ukrainian experts on the use of CONTAIN, a reactor safety assessment code. CONTAIN calculates the capability of reactor containments to prevent the release of radioactivity. Ukrainian organizations scheduled to participate are Khmelnytskyy, Rivne, South Ukraine, and Zaporizhzhya NPPs; Energoatom Engineering Services Company; Energorisk; and Kyiv Energoprojekt. (Igor Bodnar, ANL, 630-252-8336)

* March 29-April 2 -- Khmelnytskyy NPP, Ukraine

Training/Simulators. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, Path Training Corporation, and a U.S. utility will facilitate a workshop on the use and management of full-scope simulators. Training specialists from nuclear power plants in Ukraine, Lithuania, and Bulgaria are expected to participate. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)

* March 29-April 2 -- Budapest, Hungary, and Prague, Czech Republic

Hungary Human Factors. Initial tasks completed for this project will be reviewed and a protocol established for the remainder of the project. Participants will include representatives of VEIKI, Paks NPP, and the U.S. team. (Thomas Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)

April 5-9 -- Kyiv, Ukraine

Plant Safety Assessment. U.S. experts from Argonne National Laboratory will conduct a workshop at Kyiv State University to train Ukrainian experts on the use of ORIGEN, a reactor analysis code. ORIGEN calculates the inventory of radioactive elements resulting from reactor operation. Ukrainian organizations scheduled to participate are Khmelnytskyy, Rivne, South Ukraine, and Zaporizhzhya NPPs; Energoatom Engineering Services Company; Energorisk; and Kyiv Energoprojekt. (Igor Bodnar, ANL, 630-252-8336)

* April 5-9 -- Khmelnytskyy NPP, Ukraine

Training. Individuals from Rivne, South Ukraine, Zaporizhzhya, and Khmelnytskyy NPPs will participate in a training course for simulator instructors. Training specialists from Sonalysts, Inc., assisted by training specialists from the Engineering and Technical Center for the Training of Nuclear Industry Personnel, will present the course. The course will focus on improving skills for Ukrainian training specialists who will be responsible for conducting training using full-scope simulators at their home plants. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)

* June 14-18 -- Vienna, Austria

Cross-Cutting. The International Atomic Energy Agency's International Conference on the Strengthening of Nuclear Safety in Eastern Europe will review the results of national and international programs to enhance the safety of VVER and RBMK nuclear power plants. Additional specific information about the conference is available at

* October 12-14 -- Slavutych, Ukraine

Chornobyl Initiatives. The International Chornobyl Center will hold its annual conference, to facilitate the exchange of information on scientific and technical international cooperation at the Chornobyl site and on nuclear and radiation safety issues. The conference also seeks to coordinate and integrate efforts of the World Community. Abstracts are due June 1, 1999. (Elena Tolkach, Secretary of the Organizing Committee, P.B. 151, Slavutych, Kyiv Region, 255190, Ukraine, telephone: 38-(044)-79-23016; fax 38-(044)-79-28144; e-mail


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