UCS presentation to NRC Commission on PWR containment sump problem resolution options

Good Day:
UCS has been invited to participate in a briefing of the Commission on the proposed closeout options for Generic Safety Issue 191, the PWR containment sump problem. The briefing is scheduled to begin this Wednesday, September 29th, at 1pm eastern time at the NRC's headquarters in Rockville, MD. The meeting is scheduled to be webcast. See online info at http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/webcast-live.html
The slides prepared by UCS, industry representatives, an ACRS representative, and the NRC staff are available from this webpage by clicking on the slides link.
The UCS slides are attached.
As our title slide indicates, Wednesday will mark 5,132 days (a mere 14 years) since the NRC staff initiated GSI-191 back in September 1996. The NRC staff determined that the problem made it "VERY LIKELY" (their label) that the emergency core cooling systems (ECCSs) would not work at 25 of the nation's 69 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) in event of an accident. The NRC staff determined that the ECCSs would probably not work at another 12 PWRs.
About half of the 69 PWRs have taken steps to fully address the problem. The rest have taken some steps,  but the NRC staff cannot accept that work to date.
On Wednesday, the Commission will hear the industry's pleas for "close enough" and to forego any further work at the lagging PWRs. The NRC will hear the NRC staff outline a two-phase approach to resolve the remaining issues. The NRC will hear ACRS and UCS essentially endorse the NRC staff's approach.
UCS qualified its endorsement. All of the options, save for the industry's "do absolutely nothing else to resolve this serious safety problem" one, entail many more years. UCS recommends that the NRC staff factor in known risk factors -- such as GSI-191 being unresolved at certain plants -- when it makes risk-informed safety decisions.
Dave Lochbaum

David Lochbaum
Director, Nuclear Safety Project
Union of Concerned Scientists
PO Box 15316
Chattanooga, TN 37415