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Republic of Germany and Japan. Technology development activities will be curtailed in the areas of fission product transport, graphite and metals development, and advanced HTGR support for very high temperature process heat applications.
Question: Explain the extent of international participation in this program.
Answer: Cooperation with Japan was initiated in September 1985, with the signing of the "Implementing Agreement between DOE and JAERI on Cooperation in Research and Development in the Area of HTGR's." One cooperative program is underway for the testing of two Japanese fission chambers in the Fort St. Vrain reactor during the last half of FY 1987. Another major cooperative program, which is currently in the final approval phase, involves the joint testing of U.S. and Japanese HTGR fuel rods in the High Flux Isotope Reactor at ORNL under normal and accident conditions to assess their fission product retention capabilities. In addition to these activities, continuing efforts will be devoted to the development of a cooperative program in the area of graphite properties characterization.
The ongoing cooperation with the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and Switzerland (CH) will be limited to an exchange of results from U.S. and FRG fuel irradiation tests. The current cooperative activities in the areas of graphite and metals development will need to be adjusted as well. These cooperative efforts are covered by the "US/FRG/CH Umbrella Agreement for Cooperation in Gas-Cooled Reactor Development," which will reach the end of the 10-year term in February 1987.
Liquid Metal Reactor (LMR)
Question: Since the justification material contains very little information, for the record, provide a breakdown of all LMR activities with funding levels for FY 84, 85, 86, and 87.
Answer: A breakdown of all LMR activities with funding levels for FY 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987 is as shown in the following table. The LMR funding data for FY 1984 is not provided because the program was specifically oriented toward supporting Breeder technology during that fiscal year.
Question: Provide a breakdown by lab or vendor of all LMR activities in FY 85, FY 86, and FY 87.
Answer: A breakdown by lab or vendor of all LMR activities in FY 1985, FY 1986, and FY 1987 is as shown in the following table. It should be noted that LMR activities include funding for test facilities operations and maintenance at the Argonne National Laboratory, Energy Technology Engineering Center, and Hanford Engineering Development Laboratory.
Question: How much is requested in FY 1987 as compared to FY 1985 and FY 1986 for the advanced concept development effort? Explain the process used to implement the program.
Answer: Two LMR concept design contracts were selected following competitive bidding in the LMR advanced concept development program. These were for the Power Reactor Inherently Safe Module (PRISM) by General Electric and the Sodium Advanced Fast Reactor (SAFR) by Rockwell International.
These contracts provided for a three-phase design program, with DOE having the right to proceed or cancel between Phases I and II, and Phases II and III. Each phase covered a calendar year. Actual Phase I and Phase II costs are shown below along with the FY 1987 Phase III request:
The Phase III costs reflect a $550 thousand Gramm-RudmanHollings reduction.
The contractors, GE and RI, have responsibility for concept development and design decisions. In addition, these vendors are contributing approximately $900,000 of private funds to support commercialization of their designs. DOE monitors contract progress and assesses the design potential for meeting cost and safety goals through a series of technical assessments and an annual design review. Contract option renewal decisions are based on these DOE assessments. The national laboratories are conducting supporting R&D, code development, and testing needed to verify specific features of the advanced plants and their major components. Activities are also underway at universities to evaluate advanced instrumentation and controls, advanced computer systems, and automated systems for reactor operations and maintenance.
Question: Describe in detail the amount and nature of cost sharing by vendors participating in the advanced concept effort.
Answer: Both vendors participating in the advanced LMR concept effort are providing private funds to conduct studies specific to the commercialization of their designs. These commercialization efforts include interactions with utilities to obtain comments and to identify conditions that must exist for each concept to be accepted as a competitor in the energy marketplace. The General Electric cost share contribution (for the PRISM concept) is $500 thousand per fiscal year, including overhead and general and administrative costs. The Rockwell International cost share contribution (for the SAFR concept) is $400 thousand per fiscal year, (on the same basis). In addition, both vendors are working under a no fee arrangement.
Question: How much is included for LMR activities at test facilities in FY 1984, FY 1985, FY 1986, and FY 1987? (Lab by lab breakdown)
Answer: The funding for LMR activities, which includes technology R&D and facilities operation and maintenance costs, are reflected in the following table. It should be noted that FY 84 funding data is not included because the program was primarily oriented toward supporting Breeder Reactor Technology during that fiscal year.
Question: What is the current status of the TMI cleanup efforts?
Answer: All of the accident-related waste has been processed and the resultant waste concentrated and shipped to DOE laboratories. The reactor head and plenum have been removed and reactor defueling was initiated in October 1985. To date approximately 20,000 lbs. of core debris has been placed in canisters and transferred to the spent fuel storage pool. The process of defueling has been slowed pending solution of a reduced visibility problem caused by the growth of micro-organisms inside the vessel.
Question: Please give the Committee an update on the severity of the accident particularly the melted fuel situation which has received some publicity.
Answer: The DOE research program has been under way for about 6 years. However, DOE has only had access to the core region since late 1983. At that time, DOE acoustically mapped the upper voided region of the core and obtained samples from the debris bed presently located on top of the degraded core.
Since that time, further work has provided many indications of the severity of core damage, including current observations that (1) approximately 30 percent of the upper core region is now a void (see attached figure), (2) a continuum of materials exist in the reactor vessel that were exposed to a wide range of temperatures, including previously molten fuel, and (3) as much as 20 percent of the core may have relocated to the bottom of the reactor vessel.
A very preliminary estimate based on sparse data was made that a substantial amount of the total material in the core may have become liquid during the course of the accident, such as stainless steel and other materials. However, the amount of fuel that melted is expected to be relatively small. A definitive statement regarding the amount of fuel that melted during the TMI-2 accident will have to await the completion of the DOE TMI-2 core examination program.
Question: What is the status of and timetable for the proposed transportation of the damaged core to INEL?
Answer: Equipment for the loading of casks at TMI has been procured by GPUN and is under test. All preparations for receipt of the core have been completed at INEL. Shipments are expected to begin in June 1986 and last approximately 2 years.
Question: What type of cask will be used and when will certification from NRC be received?
Answer: Two new double-containment rail cases designed and constructed by Nuclear Packaging will be utilized.
Each cask will transport seven canisters of core debris. It is our understanding that all issues relative to certification have been resolved and that NRC certification is expected by the end of March 1986.
Question: With regard to cleanup at TMI and the federal R&D effort, what is the current estimate of total costs for R&D and for cleanup?
Answer: The federal R&D effort has an estimated total cost of approximately $187 million. GPU's estimate for total cleanup cost is $985 million.
Question: What is the current funding status of the project?
Answer: Approximately $167 million of federal R&D funding will be applied by the end of FY 1986. The FY 1987 budget request contains $12 million for TMI funding. Federal R&D funding is planned to be completed in FY 1988.
Question: Is the federal role still limited to research and development?
Answer: Yes. The federal role is still to perform R&D to enhance plant safety and regulation and to develop technology for recovery from a serious accident.
Question: How much is GPU obligated to reimburse DOE at this time? In total?
Answer: GPUN is obligated to reimburse DOE for non-research activities, primarily associated with waste disposal. Presently identified reimbursements from GPUN total approximately $9.4 million. It is possible that this total may increase by $1-3 million as the total scope of reimbursable waste management activities is identified.
Question: Has there been any reimbursement for those nonresearch activities? When is reimbursement expected?
Answer: Approximately $2 million in GPU payments have been made to date, primarily associated with EPICOR disposal and abnormal waste disposal. $7.4 million in reimbursement will be made as the core debris is shipped to INEL. An additional $1-3 million will be paid as costs are incurred for further abnormal waste disposal activities.
Reduced Enrichment Research and Test Reactors (RERTR)
Question: How much has been spent on this program in the past?
Answer: To date, approximately $28 million has been spent on the Reduced Enrichment Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) Program.
Question: Explain the purpose and benefits of this program. Why should we use LEU in research reactors?
Answer: The program is designed to develop alternate fuel systems (for research and test reactors) that will provide the basis for converting reactors from highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU) and thus reduce the international traffic in HEU. This reduced traffic should have a corresponding reduction in potential proliferation threats associated with this weapons-capable material. LEU fuel, that is fuel containing uranium enriched to less than 20 percent U-235, is not a weapons grade material. Program results to date indicate LEU fuels can be used without significantly altering the performance or testing parameters of essentially all of these reactors.