Meeting the demand for well-trained RP technicians to provide support during nuclear utility outages has become more challenging as this work force has been steadily decreasing. This scarcity has driven up the cost of staffing outages for nuclear utilities that are already at a disadvantage in our current economically competitive energy marketplace. Professionals at EPRI have been investigating ways to reduce the cost of mobilizing the nuclear industries’ temporary mobile workforce of RP technicians, and identified site specific training for industry-wide maintenance tasks as an area that could be improved upon. To streamline the training requirements for outage RP technicians, EPRI developed a standardized system for assessing their training and qualifications through the Standardized Task Evaluation (STE) Program.
EPRI developed a series of evaluations that have been vetted by industry groups, such as the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators (INPO), that can be used for standardized testing of RP technicians. A set of guidelines for administering performance evaluations, the Administrative Protocol for Portable Practicals (AP3), was developed to ensure the consistent appraisal of RP technician’s skills. This standardized approach was developed to give nuclear utilities confidence in the skill sets of their temporary work force, and to reduce the cost of redundant site training for routine maintenance tasks that are common to all utilities.
As a provider of RP technicians, RSCS engaged EPRI to participate in administering task evaluations as an AP3 provider. On October 17, 2018, as the final step in a process that has taken nearly one year to complete, a quorum of EPRI members made up of nuclear operators, international unions, and nuclear supply and services vendors voted unanimously to assign RSCS AP3 Certification. This certification recognizes RSCS as one of a very limited group of companies who have demonstrated the appropriate administrative controls, processes and expertise to implement STEs. The AP3 process included an “on-site” assessment by a team of five EPRI and industry observers, who attended a STE demonstration conducted by RSCS at the University of Massachusetts Lowell reactor site, using our SIM-Teq training simulator equipment. The execution of the evaluation with the SIM-Teq equipment was noted by observers as a positive resource in support of this program. The successful completion of STEs, which may only be conducted by AP3 Certified organizations, allows RP Technicians to attain various task qualifications that will be accepted throughout the nuclear industry. This certification enhances RSCS’ status as a vendor-of-choice for RP technician support, as our capacity to offer pre-qualified RP technicians, reduces in-processing time and related costs. The attainment of this AP3 Certification is one more example of RSCS’s commitment to delivering the nuclear promise.
Eric Darois and Jay Tarzia exhibited this past week at the Nuclear Decommissioning and Used Fuel Strategy Summit in Charlotte NC. This industry forum brought together professionals from the nuclear power industry as they work to address complex decommissioning projects at several sites in the process of being placed into SafStor or undergoing full decon.
RSCS enjoyed participating in this meeting as were able to share best practices and lessons learned over the past 20 years while decommissioning several sites. Currently, as a contractor working on the SONGS decommissioning project, RSCS discussed with our colleagues the current status of the site and how it has progressed. While working as a member of the SONGS decommissioning advisory services team, we have provided technical consulting in the areas of end-state planning, 3D site modeling, groundwater support, and other major preparatory areas including an advanced risk management system for the site to manage schedule risks for decommissioning. We also were able to discuss our work decommissioning and providing waste management consultancy services at several UK sites that are part of the Magnox South complex.
RSCS has extensive experience in decommissioning nuclear power plants, at all stages, including providing decommissioning cost estimates, conducting HSAs, developing ODCMs, providing full radiological support for decommissioning efforts, performing final status surveys and developing license termination plans. As several end of life sites are now in shutdown are moving towards decommissioning, we are ready to share our expertise to ensure that these complex projects are planned and managed safety while ensuring that radiological operations are conducted efficiently and cost effectively.
RSCS will exhibit at the Mirion Connect 2018 Users’ Conference in Bonita Springs FL from August 6-10, where we will demonstrate our SIM-Teq training simulator product line. Several new models will be available for demonstration, including the RDS-31TD and the TelepoleTD. These latest models to be added to the SIM-Teq product line, which includes other model survey meters and dosimeters, are built with OEM hardware, providing the functionality of the real radiation survey instruments as they detect and respond to our simulated TWR “live” sources of radiation.
SIM-Teq is a wireless interconnected system composed of a variety of simulated radiation detection instruments, simulated gamma/beta sources, and support hardware all controlled and configured using a simple, intuitive Simulation Control Center (SCC) software application running on any Windows 10 based PC or tablet. Through an innovative mix of manual and automatic control capability, the SIM-Teq system enables training instructors to create a realistic training environment which includes high fidelity simulated instruments and “live” detectable sources. This unique combination of capabilities allows the instructor the freedom to teach, observe, and assess trainees while retaining the ability to remotely manage or control any SIM-Teq device using the SCC at any time.
RSCS made several presentations this week at the Radiological Effluents and Environmental Workshop (REEW) in New Orleans, LA organized by the Nuclear Energy Institute. This meeting provides professionals in the nuclear power industry the opportunity to share innovated methods for environmental monitoring. Our staff was invited to present to this forum to share insights and approaches that have been developed over several decades of working with operational and decommissioning nuclear facilities, providing environmental monitoring services that measure and characterize radioactivity in liquid and airborne effluents, soils, subsurface structures and groundwater.
Eric Darois presented on “Industry Issues Related to Radiation Monitoring Instrumentation: and, Where Have We Been?” that drew upon his involvement in the implementation of the accident monitoring requirements of NUREG 0737 in the 1980’s, including remote monitoring system design and use for offsite dose projections using post-accident source terms for all accident release pathways for BWRs and PWRs. His presentation reviewed the regulatory history for post-accident monitoring for effluents prior to and following the TMI accident. The requirements for effective noble gas monitors was examined, along with a survey of available equipment, including an interim noble gas monitor developed by RSCS.
In addition, Eric Darois presented on “Decommissioning Highlights and Lowlights”, leveraging the significant experiences gained in decommissioning since the 1990’s running several decommissioning projects. His presentation addressed the many regulatory changes that occur throughout the decommissioning process, beginning with changes to design-base accidents, regulatory commitments for operations, ODCM changes, procedure changes, staff reorganizations and many more. His presentation described the major phases of decommissioning with an emphasis on the implementation of the regulatory criteria prescribed in 10CFR20 Subpart E, the development of the site’s License Termination Plan (LTP), and the options that may be considered for the site’s end-state.
Matthew Darois presented on “Analysis of Empirical In-Situ Corrosion Rates with Co-Located Soil Corrosivity Chemistry Parameters at Nuclear Power Facilities” to share insights gained from the data collected at several operational nuclear utilities while implementing soil corrosivity, in-situ corrosion rate and electrical potential monitoring assessments at nuclear power facilities since 2013 as part of the NEI 09-14 Buried Pipe and Tank Inspection Initiative. Data presented demonstrated that industry standard soil corrosivity assessments performed along buried pipelines at nuclear power facilities may under-predict, or over-predict outside diameter corrosion rates of buried pipes and tanks, potentially resulting in incorrect maintenance projections, leaks and environmental contamination, license renewal delays and incorrect cost projections in a plant’s extended period of operation.