The purpose of this course is to provide regulatory staff with the requirements, expectations, and qualifications of inspecting research and test reactors in the United States.
This course provides an introduction to the unique aspects involved with inspection of RTRs. These facilities differ substantially from traditional nuclear power plants in terms of thermal power, equipment, and risk. As such, inspection programs for RTRs take on a distinct approach in the US. This course provides the audience with information on the foundations (both in law and regulation) and technical justification of this approach. Topics covered include background on the regulatory environment, differences in inspection programs for large (> 2 MWth) and small (< 2 MWth) RTRs (USNRC Inspection Procedures 69001 through 69013), guidance on the conduct of inspections, review of the format of inspection reports, discussion of the process for determining noncompliance and the process for determining the consequence of a violation. Specific examples of the types of records and information reviewed include the emergency plan, procedures, staffing, limiting conditions of operation, radiation protection, review and audits, logs and records, design changes, maintenance, ageing management, and fuel handling. Also covered is the process for qualification of the inspectors themselves (USNRC Inspection Manual Chapter 1245), including discussion of the mastery of material expected (inspector competencies), the process for on-the-job training, examination, and post- qualification education. Additionally, the course is structured to provide interaction with the audience by roleplaying inspection interviews as well as reviewing fabricated records, the accumulation of which results in an inspection report delivered by the end of the course.
A mock walk down/inspection is performed in collaboration with the local regulator and licensee, if the host country has a research reactor that is available for this exercise. The walk down/inspection is carried out in the same manner as a US RTR inspection including entrance interview, records review, facility inspection, observation of operations (if possible), interviews with staff and exit interview all subject to time permitting.