Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

River Bend Nuclear Power Station in Louisiana is one of the nuclear reactors which was supplied with apparently defective Schneider Electric Circuit Breakers.
Riverbend nuclear power station
River Bend was scrammed during an electrical storm and suffered a loss of coolant: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/lightening-scrammed-nuclear-reactor-lost-cooling-off-for-weeks-on-again-now-off-usnrc-inspection/ Was this related to the defective Schneider circuit breakers?
There are hundreds of them at River Bend Nuclear Power Station.

The French nuclear regulator, ASN, recently reported evidence of irregularities in the quality control of around 400 parts produced, since 1965, at Creusot Forge in Le Creusot France. 50 are known to be in use at French Nuclear Power Stations. Where are the other 350 parts? https://web.archive.org/web/20160513070812/http://www.asn.fr/Informer/Actualites/Irregularites-concernant-des-composants-fabriques-dans-l-usine-Areva-de-Creusot-Forge This seems to overlap almost 20 years, out of almost 150 years, when Creusot Forge still belonged to what is now Schneider Electric. The French Schneiders, with Alsacian roots, literally forged a military industrial complex at Le Creusot, which later morphed into a nuclear industrial complex: “In 1836, iron ore mines and forges around Le Creusot were bought by Adolphe Schneider and his brother Eugène Schneider. They developed a business in steel, railways, armaments, and shipbuilding. The Schneider empire developed much of the town itself, until it was much reduced in the second half of the twentieth century. It eventually became known as Schneider Electric.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Creusot It now belongs to French State owned AREVA.
Le Creusot Steam Hammer
Le Creusot Steam Hammer

Schneider Electric is currently responsible for having made defective replacement circuit breakers for US nuclear power stations. Although they appear to have been made in the US, the French seem to believe in centrality of corporate governance-control, as they do centrality of political governance. Since the subsidiary has belonged to Schneider since 1991, the apparent corporate insouciance, which allowed the US defects to pass through, along with the apparent ongoing insouciance at Le Creusot, may both stem from the same Schneider root at Le Creusot: “NLI [Nuclear Logistics Inc] was contracted to replace the existing GE AK-50 breakers inside the existing breaker cabinets. NLI used Schneider Electric/Square-D Masterpact breaker and cradle assemblies, which it dedicated for safety-related activities… The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) conducted this vendor inspection to verify aspects of the implementation by AZZ/Nuclear Logistics, Inc. (NLI), of its quality assurance (QA) program as required by Appendix B, “Quality Assurance Criteria for Nuclear Power Plants and Fuel Reprocessing Plants,” to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 50, “Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities,” and 10 CFR Part 21, “Reporting of Defects and Noncompliance.” This inspection specifically evaluated NLI’s dedication and modification of 480v safety-related breakers for Fort Calhoun Station in June 2009. NLI was contracted to replace the existing GE AK-50 breakers inside the existing breaker cabinets…http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1226/ML12265A100.pdf [Not all replaced parts were GE, some were ABB.]

From the US NRC:
Notification Date: 05/12/2016, Notification Time: 19:23 [ET]
Event Date: 05/10/2016, Event Time: [CDT]”
“PART 21 – INITIAL NOTIFICATION OF MASTERPACT BREAKER FAIL TO CLOSE
The following information was a licensee received facsimile;
“Pursuant to 10CFR 21.21(d)(3)(ii), AZZ/NLI is providing written notification of the identification of a potential defect or failure to comply….

“On the basis of our evaluation, it has been determined that there is sufficient information to determine if the subject condition is left uncorrected could potentially create a Substantial Safety Hazard or could create a Technical Specification Safety Limit violation as it relates to the subject plant applications. The plants will need to evaluate their application to determine if the identified condition could have an impact to the plant operation….
“Schneider Electric (SE) performed testing of three Masterpact NW08 breakers (operated to beyond design life) and duplicated the fail to close condition as described by the plant. It was determined that a standing close signal with a trip/open signal applied is determined to be the root cause of the fail to close issue. The SE testing confirms that the presence of this condition can cause the breaker anti-pump latch to receive excessive forward pressure. When the nose of the latch impacts the close coil plunger, it will ‘rock’ up in the rear, catching on the top of the mechanism plate. Once the close voltage is removed, and the plunger retracts, the latch may or may not let go. If the latch does not release, then application of the close coil voltage will simply activate the close coil plunger and without the latch underneath the plunger, the breaker will not close
“. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2016/20160513en.html (We have posted the entire event report at the bottom of this blog post. Note that the River Bend Nuclear Reactor, discussed further below, didn’t use the breaker beyond design life. Furthermore, none have been installed for very long and the problem appears to be in the breaker design itself.)

This Schneider breaker problem is different from the Open Phase Electrical Defect, which afflicts 98 of 99 operating reactors, and which seven US NRC electrical engineers bravely demanded immediate action on, but were ignored: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/ops-experience/open-phase-electric-systems.html

In 2014 regarding Schneider breakers:
Primary disconnect (p/n AHX30701) for Square D replacement low voltage switchgear breaker cradles (model LGSB4).
… The cradle is an adaptor between the replacement circuit breaker and the existing switchgear cubicle. Part of the interfaces is the primary disconnects (fingers). The cradle primary disconnects connect to the bus stabs in the switchgear. The cradle primary disconnects are designed to account for vertical misalignment of the stabs in the switchgear. The primary disconnect fingers have vertical flexibility (float) that maintains the finger pressure on the bus stabs when the bus stabs are not completely aligned in the vertical axis.

The fabrication drawing for the primary disconnect fingers had an incorrect tolerance. If the fingers are made with a dimension at the low end of the specified tolerance, there will be interference with a mating part. This reduces or eliminates the vertical float for the fingers. If the cradle is installed in a switchgear cubicle with vertically misaligned bus stabs, the disconnect fingers may have inadequate contact pressure. This condition may result in a higher than normal contact resistance from the cubicle stab to the cradle primary disconnect. The higher contact resistance at any one finger contact could cause an unacceptable temperature rise at that connection point. At very high temperatures, the springs that maintain the finger contact pressure could relax, which would further increase the connection resistance and cause additional overheating.http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1406/ML14069A467.pdf

US Nuclear reactor sites potentially endangered due to defective Schneider circuit breakers:
PSEG Hope Creek – Issue Identified for NW style, River Bend – Issue identified for NT style , Callaway – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated. , St. Lucie – This issue has not been identified however. the potential should be evaluated., Turkey Point – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated. , Beaver Valley – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated., Davis Besse – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated., Three Mile Island – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated. , Calvert Cliffs – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated. , Hatch -This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated. , STP – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated. , SONGS – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated. , KHNPUlchin – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated. , KHNPKor i- This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated. , Duke Oconee – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated., Duke McGuire – Non-safety (not supplied by NU), This issue has not been identified.http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2016/20160513en.html

Square D/Schneider Masterpact 480V breakers were installed at the River Bend Station to replace the obsolete General Electric Type AK and AKR breakers. The River Bend Station has 310 in-use Masterpact breakers. There are 66 safety-related 480V cubicles with 57 in-use breakers. The Schneider vendor manual for the Masterpact breakers has suggested maintenance, inspection, and replacement intervals that are also dependent upon frequency of operation and atmosphere, similar to the guidance given in the General Electric manual and the EPRI documents. The lubricant used on the Masterpact breakers is Mobilith SHC 100, which is rated for a 60+ year service life, and the breakers are rated for 12,500 lifetime operations before replacement (not refurbishment). These breakers require minimal maintenance, which mostly consists of cycling the breaker open and closed, both remotely and locally. This includes testing the electronic trip unit, inspecting the main contacts and arc chambers based upon number of cycles of operation, and then replacing the parts if they have reached their expected lifetime. Depending on the current carrying capacity and frame size of the breaker, the replacement schedule ranges from 3,000 to 10,000 electrical operations (open-close cycles). No breakers in service at River Bend Station experience this number of operations; therefore, they should require minimum maintenance over their expected 40-year life.http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1604/ML16047A268.pdf

Founded in 1991, NLI has established itself as a premier provider of Electrical and Mechanical components to nuclear power plants and US Department of Energy facilities.  NLI works in concert with leading equipment manufacturers to supply equipment to meet nuclear industry requirements including seismic and environmental qualification, EMI/RFI testing and software verification and validation.  NLI also has custom design and manufacturing capabilities to meet the industry specific requirements.http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/azz-incorporated-signs-agreement-to-acquire-nuclear-logistics-inc-149458875.html

Problem discussed – summarized here: http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/special-inspection-at-river-bend-the-chiller-thriller

From the US NRC:
The team identified a non-cited violation of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix B, Criterion V, “Instructions, Procedures, and Drawings,” for the licensee’s failure to accomplish an operability determination in accordance with procedure EN-OP-104, “Operability Determination Process,” Revision 8. Specifically, the licensee referenced non-conservative data, contrary to steps 5.5 and 5.11 of procedure EN-OP-104, when assessing the reduced reliability of Masterpact circuit breakers as a degraded or nonconforming condition. The licensee restored compliance by completing a design modification to eliminate the failure mode and initiated Condition Report CR-RBS-2015-03952.

This performance deficiency is more than minor, and therefore a finding, because it is associated with the equipment performance attribute of the Mitigating Systems Cornerstone, and adversely affected the cornerstone objective to ensure the availability, reliability, and capability of systems that respond to initiating events to prevent undesirable consequences. Specifically, the reliability of components powered by Masterpact circuit breakers was reduced and, by justifying operability using non-conservative data, the licensee did not recognize the actual unreliability. The team performed an initial screening of the finding in accordance with NRC Inspection Manual Chapter 0609, Appendix A, “The Significance Determination Process (SDP) for Findings At-Power.” Using Inspection Manual Chapter 0609, Appendix A, Exhibit 2, “Mitigating Systems Screening Questions,” the finding was of very low safety significance (Green) because it: (1) was not a deficiency affecting the design or qualification of a mitigating structure, system, or component, and did not result in a loss of operability or functionality; (2) did not represent a loss of system and/or function; (3) did not represent an actual loss of function of at least a single train for longer than its technical specification allowed outage time, or two separate safety systems out-of-service for longer than their technical specification allowed outage time; and (4) did not represent an actual loss of function of one or more non-technical specification trains of equipment designated as high safety-significant in accordance with the licensee’s maintenance rule program. This finding has a conservative bias cross-cutting aspect within the human performance area because the licensee failed to use decision-making practices that emphasize prudent choices over those that are simply allowable. Specifically, the licensee did not consider that the failure mechanism only occurs on a close command. Instead, the licensee included opening commands when summing the total demands and this resulted in a non-conservative failure rate [H.14]. (Section 2.6.c)

• Green. The team identified a finding for the licensee’s failure to identify and correct an adverse condition in a timely manner as required by plant procedures. Specifically, the licensee did not recognize degrading trends associated with incorrect racking of Magne Blast circuit breakers and failures of the Magne Blast circuit breaker for the Reactor Feed Water Pump Motor 1B in a timely manner. For both cases, the licensee failed to initiate corrective action in a timely manner as required by procedure EN-LI-102, “Corrective Action Program.” In response to the NRC’s conclusions, the licensee updated circuit breaker procedures, replaced the Magne Blast circuit breaker for the Reactor Feed Water Pump Motor 1B, and initiated Condition Reports CR-RBS-2015-04259 and CR-RBS-2015-03437.

This performance deficiency is more than minor, and therefore a finding, because it is associated with the equipment performance attribute of the Mitigating Systems Cornerstone, and adversely affected the cornerstone objective to ensure the availability, reliability, and capability of systems that respond to initiating events to prevent undesirable consequences. Specifically, the licensee’s untimely corrective action contributed to the unreliability of the Magne Blast circuit breaker for Reactor Feed Water Pump Motor 1B and increased the potential for spurious trips of other Magne Blast circuit breakers during design basis events due to improper racking. The team performed an initial screening of the finding in accordance with NRC Inspection Manual Chapter 0609, Appendix A, “The Significance Determination Process (SDP) for Findings At-Power.” Using Inspection Manual Chapter 0609, Appendix A, Exhibit 2, “Mitigating Systems Screening Questions,” the finding was of very low safety significance (Green) because it: (1) was not a deficiency affecting the design or qualification of a mitigating structure, system, or component, and did not result in a loss of operability or functionality; (2) did not represent a loss of system and/or function; (3) did not represent an actual loss of function of at least a single train for longer than its technical specification allowed outage time, or two separate safety systems out-of-service for longer than their technical specification allowed outage time; and (4) did not represent an actual loss of function of one or more non-technical specification trains of equipment designated as high safety-significant in accordance with the licensee’s maintenance rule program. This finding has an avoid complacency cross-cutting aspect within the human performance area because the licensee failed to recognize and plan for the possibility of mistakes, latent issues, and inherent risk, even while expecting successful outcomes. Specifically, the licensee tolerated the adverse trends, did not plan for further degradation, and the latent conditions ultimately resulted in several Magne Blast circuit breaker failures in December 2014 before the trend was recognized [H.12]. (Section 2.6.d) …………………………………..” etc, etc, ad nauseam. http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1604/ML16047A268.pdf

More on defective Schneider breakers reported in early 2014:
A list of the cradle types, primary disconnect part numbers and affected facilities (plants) in Table 1 as follows:
Plant Name / Cradle-Breaker Type / Primary disconnect part number / Quantity / Original breaker type-Notes
OPPD-Ft. Calhoun/LGSB4 with Masterpact NW breaker/AHX30701/18/Original breakers: GE AK-50. OPPD replaced all AHX30701 with narrower disconnect p/n R300112
TVA-Browns Ferry/LGSB4 and LGSB21 with Masterpact NW breaker/AHX30701/28/Original breakers: GE AK-50.
Entergy-River Bend/LGSB9 Masterpact NW breaker/R300112/5/ Original breakers: AKR-50. Narrower disconnect.
FENOC-Beaver Valley/LGSB4 Masterpact NW breaker/AHX307O1/20/Original breakers: GE AK-50
FPL-St. Lucie/LISB2 Masterpact NW breaker/AJF30101/15/Original breakers: ABB K-1600
FPL-Turkey Point/LISB2 Masterpact NW breaker/AJF30101/12/Original breakers: ABB K-1600
SCE-SONGS/LISB2 Masterpact NW breaker/AJF30101/8/Original breakers: ABB K-1600
Nextera Energy-Seabrook/LISB2 Masterpact NW breaker/AJF30101/4/Original breakers: ABB K-1600
“Additional details:
“- This issue does not affect all of the cradles identified above. Since the issue is a result of incorrect manufacturing tolerances, it will not be present on all cradles.
“- The overheating issue could be a problem with replacement circuit breakers for GE AK-50 circuit breakers. Due to the construction of the switchgear cubicles, there can be vertical misalignment of the stabs in the switchgear. If the primary disconnect float is not adequate, the overheating issue identified above could occur.
“- The overheating issue is expected to be much less prevalent or non-existent on the replacements for GE AKR and ABB K-line circuit breakers. The construction of the switchgear cubicles results in good vertical alignment of the stabs in the switchgear, so the amount of cradle finger vertical float is not as critical.
http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1407/ML14071A477.pdf

Rather ironically the Schneider blog says that circuit breakers are important during lightening strikes. The author makes fun of people not understanding lightening. https://web.archive.org/web/20150901081227/http://blog.schneider-electric.com/power-management-metering-monitoring-power-quality/2013/02/26/arresting-the-surges-in-lightning-strikes/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_breaker

The current head of Nuclear Logistics used to work for ABB: “ABB (ASEA Brown Boveri) is a Swedish-Swiss multinational corporationheadquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, operating mainly in robotics and the powerand automation technology areas. It ranked 158th in the Forbes Ranking (2013).https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABB_Group

https://web.archive.org/web/20160513122918/http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=5993766&privcapId=4596628

Square D: “In 1991, the company was acquired and became a subsidiary of Schneider Electric.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_D

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schneider_Electric#1981-2000_.E2.80.93_De_Schneider_.C3.A0_Schneider_Electric

Entire notification:
Part 21
Event Number: 51923
Rep Org: AZZ – NUCLEAR LOGISTICS, INC.
Licensee: AZZ – NUCLEAR LOGISTICS, INC.
Region: 4
City: FORTH WORTH State: TX
County:
License #:
Agreement: Y
Docket:
NRC Notified By: TRACY BOLT
HQ OPS Officer: VINCE KLCO
Notification Date: 05/12/2016
Notification Time: 19:23 [ET]
Event Date: 05/10/2016
Event Time: [CDT]
Last Update Date: 05/12/2016
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
21.21(d)(3)(i) – DEFECTS AND NONCOMPLIANCE
Person (Organization):
ART BURRITT (R1DO)
JAMIE HEISSERER (R2DO)
ERIC DUNCAN (R3DO)
VIVIAN CAMPBELL (R4DO)
PART 21/50.55 REACT (EMAI)
Event Text
PART 21 – INITIAL NOTIFICATION OF MASTERPACT BREAKER FAIL TO CLOSE

The following information was a licensee received facsimile;

“Pursuant to 10CFR 21.21(d)(3)(ii), AZZ/NLI is providing written notification of the identification of a potential defect or failure to comply.

“On the basis of our evaluation, it has been determined that there is sufficient information to determine if the subject condition is left uncorrected could potentially create a Substantial Safety Hazard or could create a Technical Specification Safety Limit violation as it relates to the subject plant applications. The plants will need to evaluate their application to determine if the identified condition could have an impact to the plant operation.

“The following information is required per 10CFR 21.21(d)(4):

“(i) Name and address of the individual or individuals informing the Commission.
Tracy Bolt, Director of Quality Assurance
Nuclear Logistics, Inc.
7410 Pebble Drive
Ft. Worth, TX 76118

“(ii) Identification of the facility, activity, or the basic component supplied for such facility or such activity within the United States which fails to comply or contains a defect.

“Masterpact NT and NW style circuit breakers.
-The failure of the breaker being ready to electrically close after being subjected to an ‘Anti-Pump condition’.
Note: The specific application where the failures have occurred is when the breaker is being utilized as a starter for closing into an inductive load like a fan motor.

“(iii) Identification of the firm constructing or supplying the basic component which fails to comply or contains a defect.
AZZ/ Nuclear Logistics
Fort Worth, Texas 76118

“(iv) Nature of defect or failure to comply and the safety hazard which is created or could be created by such defect or failure to comply.

“Possible ‘failure to close’ condition of Masterpact breakers NT and NW style, that are being used with specific logic schemes that are subjected to ‘anti-pump’ conditions during normal operation. These breakers have a higher susceptibility to not return to the ready to close position after the close signal has been removed.

“PSEG reported approximately 14 instances with different breakers in different cubicles where they initiated an electric close order, and the breakers failed to close. All of the 14 instances were in applications of being used to start an inductive load.

“NLI inspected three of the breakers (all NWs) that were returned by PSEG and could not fully replicate the problem as described by the plant. NLI was only able to repeat the failure to close when performing an ‘anti-pump’ test. The failure to close was intermittent, but could be duplicated. When the anti-pump condition was not present, NLI could not duplicate a failure to close. Visual inspections of the tested breakers did not reveal any visible damage to the breaker linkages, latches, shunt close or shunt trip assemblies.

“Schneider Electric (SE) performed testing of three Masterpact NW08 breakers (operated to beyond design life) and duplicated the fail to close condition as described by the plant. It was determined that a standing close signal with a trip/open signal applied is determined to be the root cause of the fail to close issue. The SE testing confirms that the presence of this condition can cause the breaker anti-pump latch to receive excessive forward pressure. When the nose of the latch impacts the close coil plunger, it will ‘rock’ up in the rear, catching on the top of the mechanism plate. Once the close voltage is removed, and the plunger retracts, the latch may or may not let go. If the latch does not release, then application of the close coil voltage will simply activate the close coil plunger and without the latch underneath the plunger, the breaker will not close.

“PSEG performed extensive troubleshooting at the Hope Creek plant and discovered that all of the affected breakers were in an anti-pump condition when the breakers failed to close.

“(v) The date on which the information of such defect or failure to comply was obtained.

“This revised notification is being submitted based on the information gathered on 5/10/2016 after additional testing, at the request of River Bend, was performed. This additional testing was requested following the notification that was provided to the plants listed below, in the original issue of this letter in February 2016.

“The evaluation of the condition was originally completed in September of 2012. The issue was originally determined at that time to not be a reportable condition based on the breaker not containing a defect and the condition was believed to be attributed to the specific logic scheme at the plant. To date, this issue has only been reported to NLI from the following plants, PSEG Hope Creek and River Bend Station. No other plants have reported this specific fail to close condition. NLI was in direct communication with the plants when this issue was first being evaluated and the failure analysis were being conducted. The two affected plants were knowledgeable of the condition.

“(vi) In the case of a basic component which contains a defect or fails to comply, the number and location of these components in use at, supplied for being supplied for, or may be supplied for, manufactured or being manufactured for one or more facilities or activities subject to the regulations In this part.

“Plants which have been supplied the Masterpact circuit breakers.

“PSEG Hope Creek – Issue Identified for NW style
River Bend – Issue identified for NT style
Callaway – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
St. Lucie – This issue has not been identified however. the potential should be evaluated.
Turkey Point – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
Beaver Valley – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
Davis Besse – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
Three Mile Island – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
Calvert Cliffs – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
Hatch -This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
STP – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
SONGS – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
KHNPUlchin – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
KHNPKor i- This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
Duke Oconee – This issue has not been identified however, the potential should be evaluated.
Duke McGuire – Non-safety (not supplied by NU), This issue has not been identified.

“(vii) The corrective action which bas been, is being, or will be taken; the name of the individual or organization responsible for the action; and the length of time that has been or will be taken to complete the action.

“NLI originally created a technical bulletin to address the issue and recommendations. However, since new information has been recently identified, NLI TB-12-007 will be revised, as the proposed solution will not reliably solve the problem for all postulated events. Upon completion of the revised
technical bulletin, it will be re-submitted to the plants which have been supplied the Masterpact breakers from NLI.

“(viii) Any advice related to the defect or failure to comply about the facility, activity, or basic component that has been, is being, or will be given to purchasers or licensees.

“NLI is currently working with the OEM of the circuit breaker to determine the permanent solution to correct the possible failure to close event after the breaker is subjected to an Anti-Pump condition.

“Advice for plants with breakers currently installed: Evaluate the applications where the breakers may be potentially subjected to an Anti-Pump condition; where the close coil will be energized for an extended period of time.

“The circuit breaker will continue to operate if this condition is present however there may need to be human interaction with the circuit breaker by manually pressing the trip/open button on the front of the circuit breaker to free the mechanism.

“Please contact NLI with any questions or comments.
Sincerely,
Tracy Bolt
Director of Quality Assurance

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2016/20160513en.html