ASTM International recently developed its Roadmap in Support of Commercial Nuclear Power to provide a practical set of plans for updating ASTM nuclear energy standards in conjunction with the Nuclear Energy Standards Coordination Collaborative (NESCC). The ultimate goal of the roadmap, a document that spells out these plans in detail, is to ensure a safe and economical source of electricity for now and in the future.
A link to the Roadmap can be found in the ASTM Nuclear Portal at www.astm.org.portals/nuclear. The ASTM Nuclear Portal contains information on standards pertaining to the nuclear industry throughout ASTM committees. The Roadmap includes a list of ASTM standards referenced in Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Regulatory Guides.
“There are two especially important features to the roadmap,” says Stephen Byrne, a consultant based in Connecticut, and a longtime member of ASTM Committee E10 on Nuclear Technology and Applications. “One is to organize the ASTM effort so that we can use available resources effectively. The other is to use it as a communication tool within ASTM as well as with the NESCC members.”
NESCC was formed in 2008, at the instigation of the U.S. Department of Energy and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), to coordinate standards development efforts needed for currently operating plants and the design and construction of new plants. The commercial nuclear power industry has been working through NESCC to resolve technical issues and identify gaps in existing technology.
In order to gather information about the importance and status of standards to the nuclear industry, certain ASTM technical committees such as C26 on Nuclear Fuel Cycle, E10 and others were surveyed in November 2010. ASTM also sponsored a workshop, “Emerging Trends in Nuclear Energy: The Standards Component,” in June 2011. With presenters from the NRC, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and ASTM, the purpose of the workshop was to contribute to the roadmap, facilitate communications and discuss issues and priorities.
Byrne says the roadmap is a practical set of plans, though it is not intended to be a self-contained manual on what is to be done. Priorities identified by the roadmap for commercial nuclear energy include encompassing objectives of the NESCC Task Group on Standards Prioritization and building on the results of the ASTM survey and the June 2011 workshop. In addition, the roadmap will be used to manage any gaps in underlying technology and standards based on their significance for NESCC goals.
The roadmap encompasses several near-term goals for ASTM International in contributing to NESCC efforts to update NRC rules and regulations for commercial nuclear power plants. ASTM will work with the NRC to conduct workshops on emerging issues and act on the list of ASTM standards referenced in NRC documents with appropriate technical committees to determine whether cited standards are appropriate and current. In addition, ASTM will coordinate with the American Nuclear Society (ANS) with respect to standards related to nuclear fuel facilities, power plant dismantling and decommissioning. Finally, ASTM will establish areas for collaboration with the Nuclear Fabrication Consortium and with the Electric Power Research Institute that would make optimum use of EPRI and ASTM expertise.
According to Byrne, successful roadmap implementation will require participation by ASTM staff and committee members, as well as NESCC member organizations. The roadmap will be refined as work proceeds and approximate schedules for each item have been provided.
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November 5, 2012