From September 6-8, 2021, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) International Regulatory Development Partnership (IRDP) conducted a virtual workshop for the Romanian National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN). The 3-day workshop focused on potential changes to a nuclear power plant’s licensing basis. It consisted of presentations conducted by experts Dr. Richard Barrett and Mr. Michael Scott from NRC’s contractor, Advanced Systems Technology and Management, Inc. (AdSTM), along with multiple interactive exercises that enabled participants to gain additional familiarity with the subjects presented and to share perspectives with the presenters. Participants included staff from both CNCAN and the licensee for the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant.
On the first day, the presenters described NRC’s regulatory document hierarchy and demonstrated how to effectively use the NRC’s public website. Then the first of three case studies in the workshop was presented. The case study focused on amending an NRC license, using an actual license amendment for a U.S. nuclear power plant as an example. Interactive exercises allowed participants to assume the role of licensee or regulator reviewer of the proposed amendment, to identify appropriate safety questions to ask, and to develop a draft request for additional information.
Presentations on the second day focused on a case study involving the 2003 electric grid blackout in the United States that impacted multiple nuclear power plants. Initial presentations described the regulatory framework regarding emergency AC power supplies at nuclear power plants and provided background on the blackout event. Subsequent presentations expanded the actual event to include a fictitious nuclear power plant that for exercise purposes experienced challenges to its safety systems during event response. The presentations laid the basis for exercises that allowed participants to consider potential regulatory actions, including backfits and orders.
The third day included a case study related to aging management for safety-related service water systems. The presentation provided background on the NRC’s experience and regulatory framework for aging management of service water systems, as well as the relationship between aging management and license renewal. Interactive exercises used an actual license renewal application for a U.S. nuclear power plant.
The interactive exercise format of the workshop resulted in outstanding immersion of the participants in the subject matter. Participants made insightful comments and asked several challenging questions.