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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.364

Introduced by   Committee on Finance

Date:

Subject:  Vermont Yankee, authority to operate; comprehensive vertical audit

Statement of purpose:  This bill would require that a comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment be conducted of the Vermont Yankee nuclear facility by an audit inspection team of qualified consultants, experts, and technicians empaneled by the department of public service; and overseen by a public evaluation panel of three people with expertise in nuclear technology and regulation appointed by the speaker of the house and president pro tempore of the senate.  The results, findings, and evaluations of the audit shall be available to the public and the general assembly to inform the public engagement process established by No. 160 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) for determining whether the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant shall be authorized to operate beyond the expiration of its current license on March 21, 2012.  The results, findings, and evaluations of the audit shall also be available to the department of public service, and if deemed appropriate by the department, used by the director of public advocacy to represent the interests of the public in any proceedings before the public service board relating to the restructuring, decommissioning, or operation of Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

AN ACT RELATING TO A COMPREHENSIVE VERTICAL AUDIT AND RELIABILITY ASSESSMENT OF THE VERMONT YANKEE NUCLEAR FACILITY

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

* * * Comprehensive Vertical Audit * * *

Sec. 1.  COMPREHENSIVE VERTICAL AUDIT AND RELIABILITY

               ASSESSMENT

(a)  Legislative intent and purpose.  No. 160 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) vested the general assembly with the obligation and authority to examine the reliability of the nuclear power station of Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee (ENVY) in order to determine if it should be authorized to operate in this state beyond the expiration of its current operating license on March 21, 2012.  Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee has had the highest percentage power increase of any plant in the country and now is applying for a 20-year life extension beyond its 40-year design.  It is the intent of the general assembly to determine on behalf of the people of the state of Vermont the reliability issues associated with operating ENVY for an additional 20 years after its scheduled closure in 2012.  It is therefore the intent of the general assembly to assess thoroughly the reliability of the systems, structures, and components of Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee facility by requiring and making public the results of an independent comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment in the manner provided in this act.

(b)  The goals and objectives of an independent comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment are to:

(1)  Assess the conformance of the facility to its design and licensing bases, for operating at both 100 percent and 120 percent of its originally intended power production level, including appropriate reviews at the plant's site and its corporate offices;

(2)  Identify all deviations, exemptions, or waivers, or any combination of these from any regulatory requirements applicable to Vermont Yankee and from any regulatory requirements applicable to new nuclear reactors, and verify whether adequate operating margins are retained despite the cumulative effect of any deviations, exemptions, or waivers for both the present licensed power level and under the proposed extended power uprate, and for the proposed period of license extension;

(3)  Assess the facility's operational performance, giving risk perspectives where appropriate;

(4)  Evaluate the effectiveness of licensee self-assessments, corrective actions, and improvement plans; and

(5)  Determine the cause or causes of any significant operational shortcomings identified and draw conclusions on overall performance.

(c)  Methodology.  A comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment shall include a vertical slice audit of specific systems integral to the plant’s operations in order to compare and contrast the original plant design with changes in hardware, engineering, procedures, and maintenance, and in order to ascertain whether the plant is more or less reliable when generating electricity following uprate to 120 percent of its design capacity, and to certify the critical operational systems needed to hold harmless the people of Vermont will perform as designed.  A comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment requires a complete vertical slice inspection and analysis of at least seven whole plant systems as described in subsection (e) of this section.  Each shall be examined and evaluated according to the five objectives set out in subsection (b) of this section and the specific audit inquiries set out in subsection (d) of this section.

(d)  Specific audit inquiries.  To achieve the goals and objectives of a comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment, the audit shall commence with an examination of the initial start-up conditions of the Vermont Yankee plant and examine the subsequent history of its modifications, maintenance, and repairs, and current operations.  The audit shall include physical and documentation examination of seven entire systems, including all of each system’s individual components.

(1)  Initial conditions.  What were the codes and standards with which the system was designed to comply and what was the design basis?  Is the design of the system in keeping with the expected initial conditions and its design basis?

(2)  Procurement.  If there were procurement changes, was a new set of review calculations completed for those procurement changes and were those procurement changes compared against the original design and all of its calculations?

(3)  Installation - “as built.”  Do plant records adequately represent the as-built condition of the plant?  Are all changes reflected in all documents from the design basis through as-built and through current operations?

(4)  Operation.  What changes or compensations have been made to accommodate unanticipated operations outcomes?  Have those changes, compensations, and accommodations been duly noted in procedural manuals and logs?  Have root cause analyses been conducted to reflect unanticipated outcomes?  If root cause analyses were not conducted in any particular instance, why not?  If root cause analyses were not conducted in any particular instance, have any unanticipated system operations outcomes been duly compensated in all safety and reliability operations and procedures?

(5)  Testing.  When systems have undergone periodic tests, what have been the results?  Are resulting corrective actions reflected in all documents from design through as-built through current operations? 

(6)  Inspection.  When systems have undergone periodic inspections, have those inspections been successful?  Are resulting changes reflected in all documents from design through as-built through current operations?

(7)  Maintenance.  Has the aging management system been adequately maintained to assure it will meet its design basis?  Is there a track-change system in place to determine what components have been reviewed, repaired, or replaced?  Is there an accurate system in place to record when those reviews and repairs were completed?  Is there a program of operations or a schedule of operations that specifically delineates what aging management systems, as identified in the industry-wide database, are being reviewed and when?  Is adequate time allowed in each outage for aging management review and adequate maintenance?  Are the aging factors discovered actually being repaired in a timely manner?

(8)  Repairs.  Have repairs been performed which assure the system will operate as expected?  Are all repairs completed as soon as possible?  Are repairs sufficiently in-depth to really invest in the plant and its operational safety?

(9)  Modifications.  Do all modifications to the system also comply with the system's original design basis?  Have all procedure manuals and operations manuals been updated to reflect the impact of any modifications made to any system?

(10)  Redesign.  Have changes made to the plant since its original construction been reviewed to ensure that safety margins have not been reduced?  Has each component modified for uprate been reviewed to assure that operational margins have not been reduced and to assure that design basis redundancy has not been compromised?   Have any repairs, maintenance, or modifications impacted the original design of the redundant safety systems?  Are all systems still “single failure proof?

(11)  Seismic analysis.  When was the most recent modern,

computer-generated, finite element seismic analysis been performed on each of the seven vertical slice systems examined in the audit?  Does ENVY remain capable of withstanding design basis events beyond the original 40-year design life of the plant to reflect the age-related changes in the plant and weight changes from all modifications during the first 35 years of operation?

(12)  Training.  Has an adequate review and evaluation of operator training and operating procedures been conducted as a method of determining if the design criterion has been met?  Has each change been adequately reflected in the operations procedures?  Have operations personnel been adequately trained in all modifications to all systems?  Are operations personnel frequently updated and trained regarding any troublesome issues other plants have uncovered which may compromise operations and safe shutdown?

(13)  Corrective action programs.  What corrective action programs have been established for each of the systems audited? Have the  corrective actions taken been properly integrated in the corrective action program?  Have corrective actions been taken in a timely manner?  Where recorded items have been deferred, have they been appropriately evaluated for risks and potential consequences of deferral and appropriately tracked while awaiting resolution?

(e)  Plant systems to be evaluated.  The following systems, together with related structures and components, shall be subject to a comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment.  The comprehensive vertical audit shall examine each system from the time it was designed, through the present, to the end of its life.  The whole systems to be examined are:

(1)  One electrical system:  the back-up or stand-by electrical system, including but not limited to the diesel generators, batteries, the Vernon dam tie, and all associated electrical connections and controls.

(2)  One emergency system:  the emergency core cooling system, including but not limited to both high- and low-pressure injection systems.

(3)  One mechanical system:  the condensate feed water system, including the condenser.

(4)  One structure:  the primary containment system, including all associated systems, structures, and components, such as dry well shell, torus supports, residual heat removal system, isolation valves, containment spray, and adequate suction.

(5)  One heat removal system:  cooling towers and alternate cooling system, including both cooling tower cells used for normal cooling and those that are emergency-related towers.  This system shall include the emergency alternate cooling system, including dedicated cells, piping, pumps, valves, controls, water supply, make-up supply, power supply, fans, and motors.

(6)  One cooling system dependent upon Connecticut River water:  alternate cooling system and emergency service water.

(7)  One generic issue:  cable separation — separation of safety systems, including physical and electrical separation.

     (f)  Horizontal investigation and assessment.  At any point in the audit at which an emergency-related function, operability, design, performance, aging issues, or other unanalyzed or nonconforming conditions are encountered, a thorough horizontal or lateral exploration shall be conducted to determine extent-of-condition and root cause with attention to evaluating licensee performance in problem identification and resolution, testing, engineering,

in-service inspection, and maintenance.

* * * Audit Inspection Team * * *

Sec. 2.  AUDIT INSPECTION TEAM

(a)  The department of public service shall empanel a team of a sufficient number of qualified consultants, experts, and technicians to conduct the comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment required by this act.   The inspection team shall be composed of employees of or consultants under contract with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, if upon request of the department, the commission consents to participate in the audit and reliability assessment.  Members of the inspection team who are employees or contractors of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shall be unaffiliated with the regional office of the commission in the region in which the plant is located.  The inspection team shall also include independent contractors selected by the department who have not worked for or at the Vermont Yankee facility, Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, or any other nuclear power plant owned and operated by Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee or any of its affiliates.

(b)  The audit inspection team shall periodically submit a report of its findings to the public evaluation panel and submit its final report of the comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment of the audit to the public evaluation panel before January 7, 2009.

* * * Public Evaluation Panel * * *

Sec. 3.  PUBLIC EVALUATION PANEL

(a)  The comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment required by this act shall be conducted with the maximum amount of transparency, public oversight, and involvement.  To that end, a public evaluation panel is created to include three representatives of the Vermont general public with a demonstrated expertise in nuclear technology or nuclear regulation appointed by the speaker of the house and president pro tempore of the senate.

(b)  The public evaluation panel shall oversee the work of the audit inspection team established by Sec. 2 of this act.  The audit inspection team shall make available to the public evaluation team a record of all documents consulted and generated in developing and executing the comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment, and shall report its progress and findings to the public evaluation panel at such times as requested by the panel.

(c)  The public evaluation panel shall review and report publicly its evaluation of the findings and report of the audit investigation team together with any solutions proposed.  The public evaluation panel shall submit documentation and findings to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction of the general assembly and the joint energy committee.

* * * CVA and Public Engagement * * *

Sec. 4.  PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT PROCESS

The evaluation and recommendations of the public evaluation panel and the report and findings of the audit investigation team shall be made available to the public and the general assembly for the purpose of informing the public engagement process directed by No. 160 of the Acts of the 2005 Adj. Sess. (2006) directed toward determining whether the Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee plant should be authorized to operate in the state beyond the expiration of its current license on March 21, 2012. 

* * * CVA and Certificate of Public Good * * *

Sec. 5.  CERTIFICATE OF PUBLIC GOOD

     The evaluation and recommendations of the public evaluation panel and the report and findings of the audit investigation team shall be made available to the director of public advocacy of the department of public service, and may be used by the director of public advocacy as deemed appropriate by the department to represent the interests of the public in any proceedings before the public service board relating to a certificate of public good for relicensing ENVY for operation beyond March 21, 2012 or for decommissioning, or other related proceedings.

Sec. 6.  Expenses and Costs

(a)  The members of the public evaluation panel shall be entitled to receive compensation on a daily basis as determined by the speaker of the house and president pro tempore of the senate, and reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses related to the performance of their duties.  The costs incurred by the evaluation panel in overseeing and evaluating the comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment shall be charged to the petitioner for a license extension under the provisions of 30 V.S.A. §§ 20 and 21.

(b)  The costs incurred by the inspection team and other expenses incurred in the conduct of the comprehensive vertical audit and reliability assessment shall be charged to the petitioner for a license extension under the provisions of 30 V.S.A. §§ 20 and 21.

Sec. 7.  EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect from passage.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us