March 16th, 2011 – NRC internally frustrated by lack of better response to ‘biased (MSNBC) report’

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From: Beasley, Benjamin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:05 PM
To: Burnell, Scott
Subject: FW: Article on GI-199

Scott,

Shall I leave this for you to handle?

Ben

From: KEITHLINE, Kimberly Fmailto:kakanei.org]
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:47 PM
To: Beasley, Benjamin
Subject:, RE: Article on GI-199

Ben,

Has NRC provided any comments back to MSNBC?

Kimberly

From: Beasley, Benjamin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:31 PM
To: Burnell, Scott; Manoly, Kamal; Hiland, Patrick; Skeen, David; Stutzke, Martin
Cc: Ferrante, Fernando; Laur, Steven; Chokshi, Nilesh; Coyne, Kevin; Ake, Jon
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

Scott,

I have received no concerns or corrections regarding the MSNBC article. The only item potentially worth bothering over is a mischaracterization of why some plants did a PRA and others did a Seismic Margins analysis. An excerpt from the article and my observation are provided below.

Ben

Article:

“One problem is a lack of data about the nuclear reactors themselves. The NRC task force said the agency has detailed data on what it calls plant fragility – the probability that the expected earthquake would damage the reactor’s core – for only one-third of the nation’s nuclear plants. That’s because only the plants that had been thought to be in areas of higher seismic risk had done detailed studies. For the rest, the scientists had to estimate from other information submitted by plant operators.”

Correction:

The NRC task force had more information for some plants than for others. The difference is based on the type of analysis the plant operator chose to use. Two thirds of the plant operators used a bounding analysis while the other third performed a more detailed analysis. The choice of analysis method was not connected to an area of higher seismic risk.

From: Burnell, Scott
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:11 AM
To: Manoly, Kamal; Hiland, Patrick; Skeen, David; Stutzke, Martin; Beasley, Benjamin
Cc: Ferrante, Fernando; Laur, Steven; Chokshi, Nilesh
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates
Importance: High

Folks;

The expected calls are coming in – We need a better response ASAP! Thanks!

Scott

From: Beasley, Benjamin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:54 AM
To: Burnell, Scott
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

Can you give me a quick call? 251-7676

From: Beasley, Benjamin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:50 AM
To: Burnell, Scott
Subject: Re: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

We have found no inaccuracies yet. I am checking one last thing.

Benjamin Beasley
Sent from an NRC Blackberry.

From: Burnell, Scott
To: Beasley, Benjamin
Sent: Wed Mar 16 11:48:53 2011
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

Ben;

Just another nudge – I really need a staff response to forward to other OPAs – can’t leave OPS CTR. Thanks.

Scott

From: Beasley, Benjamin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:19 AM
To: Laur, Steven; Burnell, Scott; Manoly, Kamal; Hiland, Patrick; Skeen, David; Stutzke, Martin
Cc: Ferrante, Fernando; Chokshi, Nilesh; Coyne, Kevin; Coe, Doug
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

Of course. Scott Burnell has been involved and we are only talking to him, not any reporters.

Ben

From: Laur, Steven
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 10:54 AM
To: Burnell, Scott; Beasley, Benjamin; Manoly, Kamal; Hiland, Patrick; Skeen, David; Stutzke, Martin
Cc: Ferrante, Fernando; Chokshi, Nilesh; Coyne, Kevin; Coe, Doug
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

I have not looked at the article, but would recommend you get OPA involved at once (and not talk to this reporter without OPA involvement).

Note the timing of this article about seismic risk vis-a-vis the Japanese experience at Fukushima Daiichi and also our Ops Center e-mail saying we will NOT provide information on the Japanese event. While GI-199 is not the Japanese event, we should tread carefully!

Steven A. Laur
NRR Division of Risk Assessment
OWFN 10-C15
(301) 415-2889
[email protected]

From: Burnell, Scott
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 9:59 AM
To: Beasley, Benjamin; Manoly, Kamal; Hiland, Patrick; Skeen, David; Stutzke, Martin
Cc: Ferrante, Fernando; Laur, Steven; Chokshi, Nilesh; Coyne, Kevin; Coe, Doug
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

I’m waiting for a technical critique – may hand this off to other OPA once I see it. Thx.

From: Beasley, Benjamin
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 9:58 AM
To: Burnell, Scott; Manoly, Kamal; Hiland, Patrick; Skeen, David; Stutzke, Martin
Cc: Ferrante, Fernando; Laur, Steven; Chokshi, Nilesh; Coyne, Kevin; Coe, Doug
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

We are checking the numbers. If you are working on a review on checking it, please let me know. I will coordinate our efforts to prevent duplication and assure we cover all the bases.

Ben

From: Burnell, Scott
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 9:55 AM
To: Manoly, Kamal; Hiland, Patrick; Skeen, David; Stutzke, Martin; Beasley, Benjamin
Cc: Ferrante, Fernando; Laur, Steven; Chokshi, Nilesh
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

Very probably so – but we can only provide factual corrections. We need to point to specific documents whenever possible to avoid a “that’s just your opinion” sort of response.

From: Manoly, Kamal
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 9:53 AM
To: Hiland, Patrick; Skeen, David; Stutzke, Martin; Beasley, Benjamin; Burnell, Scott
Cc: Ferrante, Fernando; Laur, Steven; Chokshi, Nilesh
Subject: FW: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

It seems that he spun the information provided to support a biased point of view he already has and to make the story sensational!

From: Bill Dedman [mailto: [email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 6:44 AM
To: Manoly, Kamal; Sheron, Brian; Hiland, Patrick; OPA Resource
Subject: RE: NBC deadline question for NRC on seismic hazard estimates

This story is online now. If you see any error, please let me know right away.

Thanks,
Bill

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42103936/ns/world news-asiapacific/

Good morning,

My name is Bill Dedman. I’m a reporter for NBC News and msnbc.com, writing an article today about: SAFETY/RISK ASSESSMENT RESULTS FOR GENERIC ISSUE 199, “IMPLICATIONS OF UPDATED PROBABILISTIC SEISMIC HAZARD ESTIMATES IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN UNITED STATES ON EXISTING PLANTS”

I reached out to NRC Public Affairs yesterday but have not heard back, and my deadline is end-of-day today. I’m hoping to get on the phone today with someone from NRC to make sure I’m conveying this information accurately to the public. If nothing else, I’m hoping one of the technical people can help clarify the points below. My telephone number is 203- 451-9995.

I’ve read Director Brian Sheron’s memo of Sept. 2, 2010, to Mr. Patrick Hiland; the safety/risk assessment of August 2010; its appendices A through D; NRC Information Notice 2010-18; and the fact sheet from public affairs from November 2010.

I have these questions:

1. I’d like to make sure that I accurately place in layman’s terms the seismic hazard estimates. I need to make sure that I’m understanding the nomenclature for expressing the seismic core-damage frequencies. Let’s say there’s an estimate expressed as “2.5E-06.” (I’m looking at Table D-2 of the safety/risk assessment of August 2010.) I believe that this expression means the same as 2.5 x 10^-06 , or 0.0000025, or 2.5 divided by one million. In layman’s terms, that means an expectation, on average, of 2.5 events every million years, or once every 400,000 years. Similarly, “2.5E-05” would be 2.5
divided by 100,000, or 2.5 events every 100,000 years, on average, or once every 40,000 years. Is this correct?

2. These documents give updated probabilistic seismic hazard estimates for existing nuclear power plants in the Central and Eastern U.S. What document has the latest seismic hazard estimates (probabilistic or not) for existing nuclear power plants in the Western U.S.?

3. The documents refer to newer data on the way. Have NRC, USGS et al. released those? I’m referring to this: “New consensus seismic-hazard estimates will become available in late 2010 or early 2011 (these are a product of a joint NRC, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) project). These consensus seismic hazard estimates will supersede the existing EPRI, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and USGS hazard estimates used in the GI-199 Safety/Risk Assessment.”

4. What is the timetable now for consideration of any regulatory changes from this research?

Thank you for your help.

Regards,
Bill Dedman

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