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July 1998 - Armenia
- Bulgaria
- Czech Republic
- Hungary
- Kazakhstan
- Lithuania
- Russia
- Slovakia
- Ukraine
- United States
- Cross-Cutting Activities
- Planned Activities

Welcome to the July Activity Report, which documents safety improvements achieved in June at Soviet-designed nuclear power plants through U.S. and host-county cooperation. This report replaces the biweekly activity report and is available online or in hard-copy form. To request a hard-copy version or to provide comments or suggestions, send an e-mail message to

Vice President gets first-hand look at Chornobyl and Pripyat

On July 23, U.S. Vice President Al Gore made an inaugural visit to Chornobyl. After the visit, he told an audience of Ukrainian dignitaries at the Chornobyl Museum in Kyiv that perhaps he should have been better prepared for the emotional impact. "What happened here in Chornobyl is capable of transforming not only those who endured the tragedy itself but all of us—if we learn the lesson that we are all connected," said Gore, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the site of the world's worst nuclear accident.

Vice President Gore learns the history of Pripyat.

Following a full day of meetings in Kyiv, Gore traveled from Kyiv to Chornobyl by helicopter, flying over the ring of barbed wire marking a 20-mile exclusion zone around the plant. During the visit, Gore and Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma, who co-chair a bilateral cooperation commission, agreed to establish a joint radioecology laboratory in the exclusion zone to study radiation effects on the environment.

At Chornobyl, Gore visited the operational Unit 3 and saw first-hand the recently repaired ventilation stack between Unit 3 and the destroyed Unit 4 reactor. The United States contributed $1 million toward restoring the stack, which is still used by Unit 3, to its original design strength.

During the visit, Gore reiterated the United States' position on the continued operation of Unit 3. "It's imperative for the safety of the Ukrainian people, for the safety of Europe, [and] for the well-being of the world, for the remaining reactor to be shut down as soon as it is feasible to do so."

Ukraine has pledged to shut down Chornobyl's only operating reactor by the year 2000 in return for compensation for lost generating capacity. At a joint news conference with Kuchma on July 22, Gore said the United States "will be able to help [Ukraine] replace that power." Kuchma confirmed that Ukraine has decided to close the plant but remained noncommittal about the date.

Gore also witnessed the deteriorating condition of the Shelter that encloses the Unit 4 ruins. The United States has spearheaded efforts to raise the estimated $760 million needed to renovate the Shelter while protecting workers and the environment. Roughly $390 million has been pledged to date, with $300 million committed from G-7 nations.

A visit to the abandoned town of Pripyat was the most moving event for the Vice President. He was escorted by Andrei Glukhov, a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) employee who worked at Chornobyl and lived in Pripyat with his family at the time of the accident. Gore was touched by the personal stories of Glukhov and others whose lives were so affected by the tragedy of Chornobyl.

Andrei Glukhov (left) briefs Vice President Gore during their tour of Pripyat.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was actively involved in most aspects of the Vice President's visit. Prior to departing for the site, DOE and the U.S. Department of State briefed the Vice President and his staff about U.S. activities and successes at Chornobyl. Staff from DOE's International Nuclear Safety Program (INSP) provided background materials on safety improvements made at Chornobyl and provided radiation monitoring at the sites Gore planned to visit. The Office of the Vice President's advance team interacted extensively with INSP staff located in Ukraine.



Training Course Being Developed for Bilibino Supervisors. During the week of July 13, training experts from Balakovo nuclear power plant (NPP) and Sonalysts, Inc., met at the Balakovo plant with personnel from Bilibino NPP. They continued development work on the pilot course for Bilibino unit shift supervisors. The course will focus on the feedwater system and will consist of fundamentals, on-the-job training, and system training materials. This pilot course is scheduled to be implemented at Bilibino NPP during 1998. With the exception of Bilibino, such pilot courses now have been implemented at all participating plant sites in Russia under the U.S. project to transfer training technology. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)

VNIIAES Delivers Draft Matrices for EOI Analysis. VNIIAES, the Russian Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operations, delivered to the U.S. team draft copies of emergency operating instruction (EOI) analysis matrices for Kola and Balakovo NPPs. U.S. specialists from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and PNNL have completed reviews and responded with comments. The matrices remain incomplete due to differences in opinion on analysis methodology. Representatives of VNIIAES, Kola, and Balakovo NPPs, and Gidropress are working together to resolve the issues outlined in the PNNL/SAIC comments. (Kent Faris, PNNL, 509-372-4068)

VNIIAES Data to be Transferred to Russian Reliability Database. A task order has been issued to allow the transfer of historical nuclear plant data at VNIIAES, which have been converted into Microsoft Access format, into the Russian reliability database format. The transfer will facilitate the population of the Russian reliability database with this historical data. This activity is expected to be completed by September 15. Additional tasks have been issued for software and network administrator training for VNIIAES personnel, as well as for computer equipment for the pilot plants—Kursk, Balakovo, and Kola—that initially will be linked to the Russian reliability database. (Thomas Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)



Simulator-Training Course Integration Evaluated at Khmelnytskyy. In mid-July, a training expert from General Physics Corporation worked with Khmelnytskyy NPP training staff to evaluate the effectiveness with which the plant trainers are using plant simulators in conjunction with training courses. The evaluators examined the relationship between the refueling and control room simulators and training courses previously developed for the refueling floor operators and control room reactor operators. Written results from the evaluation will be available in August. Preliminary results indicate that integration is occurring. Requests for assistance are being evaluated. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)

Ukrainian Regulators Building EOI Capabilities. Representatives of Ukraine's State Scientific and Technical Center (SSTC) and the Nuclear Regulatory Administration (NRA) Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety were in the United States July 20 through 24 to discuss the regulation of VVER and RBMK EOIs. The visit followed the drafting of EOI regulation for VVER NPPs in Ukraine. In Washington, D.C., the Ukrainian representatives attended a lecture on EOI flowcharting. The three regulators then toured Salem and Hope Creek NPPs in New Jersey and Seabrook NPP in New Hampshire. Because each of these NPPs presents its EOIs in a different format, the visitors received three different practical EOI demonstrations on full-scope simulators. EOI validation, which plays an important role in the EOI regulation process, also was discussed. The U.S. team expects a single integrated Ukrainian EOI regulation affecting both RBMKs and VVERs as a result of these efforts. (Larry Sherfey, PNNL, 509-372-4080)

Ukrainian Reliability Database Structure Completed. The first three tasks associated with this project have been completed, including the design of the database structure. Two new tasks for determining the equipment to be listed in the database and the standards for data collection at the pilot plants have been issued to INIT. (Grigory Trosman, DOE, 301-903-3581; Thomas Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)

Strategic Plan Outlined for Safety Infrastructure Support. U.S. contractor Scientech, Inc., met with representatives of Ukraine's Nuclear Power Plant Operational Support Institute (NPP OSI) on July 9 and 10 in Kyiv. During those meetings, participants developed an outline for a strategic plan to ensure adequate infrastructure to support the NPPs. Agreement has been reached on a contract with NPP OSI for development of the strategic plan. A draft of the plan is due by early September and a final plan by the end of December. The plan will be the basis for funding future activities related to the safety infrastructure. (Lief Erickson, PNNL, 509-372-4097)

SPDS Installations Ahead of Schedule for Ukraine VVER-1000s. Installation of the safety parameter display system (SPDS) for South Ukraine Unit 1 was completed one year ahead of schedule during a recent plant outage. The system successfully completed Phase 1 operational testing and should complete Phase 2 testing with the plant at power later this calendar year. Phase 3, final upgrades, primarily involves expanding the software capability of the system and will be performed during the short winter outage in early 1999.

Factory acceptance tests have been completed for the Zaporizhzhya Unit 5 and Khmelnytskyy Unit 1 SPDSs, and installation at both plants is in progress. The systems are expected to be site-tested prior to the plants returning to power at the end of the current outages. The final upgrade of each system consists of the addition of lower-level displays, which will be accomplished during the one-week outage late this fall. Electric isolators for safety-class system interfaces will be installed at Zaporizhzhya Unit 5 during that outage. The signals from safety-class systems currently are being taken from a plant computer that is considered unreliable. It is expected that operational testing of the equipment will be completed by the end of this calendar year, at which time the systems will be officially released for use. Three more SPDSs are scheduled for installation in 1999 at South Ukraine Unit 2, Zaporizhzhya Unit 3, and Rivne Unit 3. (Rich Denning, PNNL, 614-424-7412; Frank Panisko, PNNL, 509-372-4472)

Computers, Operating Systems, and Local Area Network Installed at Khmelnytskyy. Computer equipment and software, including a local area network, were delivered, installed, and checked out at Khmelnytskyy NPP during the week of July 13. This new capability will support the in-depth safety assessment now beginning at that plant. The newly installed system will enable plant specialists to perform analyses with the RELAP5 thermal-hydraulics code and run other modern safety computer programs and codes. (Charles Dickerman, ANL, 630-252-4622)

Rivne Signs Order for Design Basis Analysis Task. In early July, Rivne NPP representatives signed the task order to perform the design basis analysis. The analysis is part of the Rivne Unit 1 in-depth safety assessment project. (Charles Dickerman, ANL, 630-252-4622)

Khmelnytskyy Signs Order for First In-Depth Safety Assessment Task. In June, representatives of Khmelnytskyy NPP signed the task order for Phase 1 planning, the first NPP task under the Khmelnytskyy in-depth safety analysis. (Charles Dickerman, ANL, 630-252-4622)

Zaporizhzhya's Multiassembly Baskets Clear Ukrainian Customs. In December 1997, two multiassembly sealed baskets were shipped to Ukraine for use at Zaporizhzhya NPP. The baskets have been in a customs holding area ever since they arrived in Ukraine. In July, the baskets cleared customs. They will be shipped to Zaporizhzhya NPP where they will be used for the dry storage of spent fuel. These baskets (combined with ancillary equipment that was shipped previously and the three ventilated concrete casks that were poured recently) complete the U.S. team's contribution of hardware to the dry storage system at Zaporizhzhya NPP. The overall project will be completed when the U.S. team receives documentation of loading of the first cask with spent fuel. Initial fuel loading is expected by the end of 1998. (Mike McKinnon, PNNL, 509-373-9863)


Chornobyl Initiatives

Radiation Protection Course Development Continues for Chornobyl Shelter Workers. From July 27 through 31, U.S. and Khmelnytskyy training specialists worked with training staff from the Chornobyl Shelter to continue development of the radiation protection technician pilot course for Shelter workers. Developed materials were reviewed, and training in instructor skills was provided. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)

Chornobyl To Get Electrical Safety Upgrades. Statements of work for the electrical safety upgrade work to be performed at Chornobyl Unit 3 have been issued to Chornobyl NPP for bid and comment. The actual scope of work will be determined by data collected using the infrared thermography camera being provided by the U.S. team (see related article below). (Grigory Trosman, DOE, 301-903-3581; Francis Buck, PNNL, 509-372-4102; Ray Pugh, PNNL, 509-372-4103)

Infrared Thermography Camera Ready for Delivery to Chornobyl. The infrared thermography camera for Chornobyl is ready for shipment. The training course and equipment baseline are being scheduled and should be completed by the end of August. (Ray Pugh, PNNL, 509-372-4103; Thomas Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)

Chornobyl SPDS Shipped to Unit 3. The SPDS for Chornobyl Unit 3 was shipped to the plant on July 29. The system had undergone its factory acceptance tests at the Westron facility in Kharkiv during the last week in June. Westinghouse Electric Corporation specialists conducted the tests. On June 29 and 30, technical experts from Parsons Power Group examined the SPDS, reviewed the test results, and performed verification tests to ensure that the system satisfied the design specifications. In addition, a Ukrainian commission chaired by a Chornobyl NPP representative reviewed the factory acceptance test results and identified some further documentation requirements. During July, all deviations were resolved, and the system was shipped to the plant at the end of the month as planned. At the plant itself, much of the preliminary installation work for the SPDS has been completed. Installation and site acceptance testing for the system will be completed during the next scheduled outage, now planned for November 1 to December 31, 1998. (Rich Denning, PNNL, 614-424-7412)



Courses in Management and Supervisory Skills and Safety Culture Presented at Kozloduy. A U.S. training expert conducted a two-day management and supervisory skill course for upper-level managers at Kozloduy NPP on July 24 and 25. The course included such modules as total quality management, managing teams, communicating, and decision making. On July 30 and 31, the Kozloduy managers were presented a pilot course on safety culture development and implementation. (Peter Kohut, BNL, 516-344-4982)

Bulgarian Specialists Complete First Deliverable for EOI Analysis; Kozloduy Drafting Analysis Scenarios. The Bulgarian analytical organizations, Energoproekt and INRNE, submitted their first deliverable related to analysis of EOIs for VVER-1000 reactors. On July 28, U.S. specialists received a guideline defining the necessary scope and format of the EOI analysis for the VVER-1000 reactors at Kozloduy Units 5 and 6. The U.S. team reviewing the deliverable found it met expectations. In addition, specialists at Kozloduy NPP have drafted the first 4 of 14 scenarios that will be analyzed. The remaining 10 are under development. That work is now under review by U.S. team members. (Kent Faris, PNNL, 509-372-4068)



Work Begins on Hungary Human Factors Project. Six statements of work (SOWs) were prepared and issued to the primary contractor, VEIKI, based on the task outline and schedule agreed to at the meeting in Budapest in June. These SOWs cover all project work through the end of the calendar year. VEIKI has agreed to the SOW and the proposed costs and has commenced work. The U.S. subcontractor's contract has been issued, and the subcontractor will begin work next week. (Thomas Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)



Compensatory Control and Protection System Delivered to Ignalina. The factory acceptance test for the four-channel class 1E compensatory control and protection system (DAZ) was completed on June 27 at the Foxboro factory in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Representatives of Parsons Power Group, Ignalina NPP, and Lithuania's nuclear regulatory agency, VATESI, participated in the test. The equipment arrived at Ignalina NPP on July 3. The site acceptance test is scheduled for September 15. The startup of Ignalina Unit 1 is scheduled for the middle of October 1998. (Ron Wright, PNNL, 509-372-4076)



Dukovany Simulator Data Collection Continues. The first two subtasks are complete that deal with methodology analysis and determination of how the Paks NPP data collection project relates to the Dukovany project. In July, the U.S. project manager met with NRI-Rez representatives to identify the preparatory tasks needed to collect the initial data on the Trnava simulator this fall. In addition, the impact of the transition from event-based to symptom-based EOIs at Dukovany was discussed. (Thomas Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)


Cross-Cutting Activities

RBMK Plants Receiving Insulation Testing Equipment. Installation of and training on insulation testing equipment have been completed satisfactorily at Ignalina and Chornobyl NPPs. Installation and training will be completed at the Russian RBMKs as soon as customs clearance can be obtained for delivery of the equipment. (Ray Pugh, PNNL, 509-372-4103; Thomas Vehec, PNNL, 509-372-4072)


Planned Activities

*September 7-11 -- Bratislava, Slovakia.

Plant Safety Assessment. "Optimization of Resource Allocation Effectiveness for Controlling Risk Associated with the Operation of NPPs" will be held at the request of the Slovakia Nuclear Regulatory Authority. The workshop will address reducing (regulatory and operational) burdens while maintaining or improving the level of safety. The workshop will offer topical lectures, case studies (from both the U.S. nuclear utility industry and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission), and work sessions in which hands-on computer-based exercises will be aimed at solving actual operational problems. Participants will be primarily from the Slovak Nuclear Regulatory Authority and the Slovakian nuclear industry. (Jan Van Erp, ANL, 630-252-3381)

*August 17-23 -- Energodar, Ukraine.

In-Depth Safety Assessment. U.S. team members from Argonne National Laboratory, PNNL, and Scientech, Inc., will meet with staff of Zaporizhzhya NPP, Energorisk, Ltd., and Joint-Stock Company EIS to discuss the in-depth safety assessment for Zaporizhzhya Unit 5. Project status and accomplishments will be reviewed. Task orders for the next two tasks (data collection/data analysis and the Level 1 internal events probabilistic risk assessment) will be discussed to reach agreement on scope, effort level, deliverables, and cost. (Christian A. Kot, ANL, 630-252-6151)

*August 2-7. Zaporizhzhya NPP and Kyiv, Ukraine.

In-Depth Safety Assessment. Ukrainian experts from Khmelnytskyy NPP and their contractor Kyiv Energoprojekt will meet with U.S. experts to begin detailed work on the newly signed Khmelnytskyy in-depth safety assessment Phase 1 planning task. Technical experts from the ongoing Zaporizhzhya in-depth safety assessment project, which serves as the "lead" project for Khmelnytskyy, will participate in some of the discussions, describing the status of their project and lessons learned. (Charles Dickerman, ANL, 630-252-4622)


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