From May 22 - 26, 2017, AdSTM staff conducted an On-the-Job (OJT) research reactor inspection exercise at the Penn State Breazeale TRIGA Reactor (PSBR) in State College, Pennsylvania. The participants were four nuclear regulators from the Romanian National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN), whose responsibility encompasses various aspects of research reactor inspection and oversight.
The OJT inspection exercise provided the Romanian CNCAN staff a practical application of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) inspection protocols for a typical Research and Test (RTR) reactor. The participants implemented the assigned portions of USNRC Inspection Procedure (IP) 69001, “Class II Research and Test Reactors.” They performed a combination of reactor facility examinations and walk-downs, observations of a reactor pre-start-up checkout and a unique square wave reactor startup, observations of the conduct of an experiment, observations and interviews of facility staff as they carried out their normal duties, review of the facility operating license and implementing facility procedures, and review of selected facility records. A special scenario regarding an inadequate justification to support a proposed facility activity was also created for the participants to diagnose.
During the inspection exercise, AdSTM staffers Steve Reese and Bob Gramm provided instruction, mentoring, background information, and facilitated interactive dialogues with the participants that focused on USNRC and RTR facility practices relevant to RTR inspections and regulatory oversight practices. In addition Candace Davison, Acting Associate Director of the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor at Penn State, was extensively involved throughout the week as she supported all aspects of the inspection exercise. Candace Davison was also the focal point for providing facility responses to all inspection questions raised by the participants.
The CNCAN participants were very engaged throughout the week and they were very enthusiastic about this unique opportunity. They found the overall inspection exercise, examinations of facility operations, discussions about the TRIGA reactor and USNRC inspection protocols, and the interactions with AdSTM staff to be extremely valuable.
The OJT inspection exercise was only made possible through the outstanding support provided by the PSBR management and staff, and their willingness to make the PSBR facility available for the OJT inspection team.