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 Re-establishing Credibility in the Nuclear Utility's Ability to Maintain the Design Basis of the Plant

July 14-16, 1997

Embassy Suites Hotel
Chicago, IL

Host: Bob Renuart, ComEd


The conference was well attended.

The 4th Annual Configuration Management Benchmarking Conference was hosted by Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) and held in Chicago from July 14 through July 16, 1997. The theme of this year's conference was:

"Reestablishing Confidence in the Nuclear Industry's Ability to Maintain the Design Bases of the Plant "

This annual conference began as a grass-roots initiative. The goal was to organize a forum for peer-level information sharing among Configuration Management (CM) professionals from the nuclear industry. The concept was a success and, as the title suggests, this was the fourth such gathering. The attendance at this conference was outstanding, with over 120 participants, versus the 26 participants at the very first conference. The 1997 conference was an international conference, with participants from Canada and Mexico in attendance. To keep the conference focused on industry peer-level information sharing, vendor organizations where only allowed to attend if they had a utility sponsor.

Monday, July 14,1997

Opening Remarks

Bob Renuart, ComEd chaired the conference.

The conference was called to order by Bob Renuart, who is ComEd's Chief Engineer for Configuration Management, and the 1997 conference chair. Bob's opening remarks reiterated this year's theme and set the tone for the conference by calling for the participants to set aside the growing competitive focus and instead work towards open and honest sharing with their peers for the overall good of the nuclear industry.

Mike Stout, Supervisor of Nuclear CM, followed Bob for Pennsylvania Power & Light, who organized the first conference and is considered to be the father of the CM Benchmarking Conference. Mike spoke briefly on the history of the conference and the grass roots' organization. He offered that, in addition to the direct benefits of the annual meeting, there is a tremendous indirect benefit from the network of CM contacts created through the attendance list. This network was used heavily during the 50.54(f) letter response period, with several multi-utility meetings assembled to discuss response approaches. Mike coined the name "Configuration Management Benchmarking Group (CMBG)" for this network of current and past conference participants and distributed a draft charter for comments. The charter calls for the creation of a steering committee to foster a consistent environment for the conference as it moves from host to host, and to maintain focus on achieving the CM goals of the group. Feedback following the conference supports the development of a charter and steering committee. This will be accomplished in November by charter members of the CMBC. Mike also currently chairs the Nuclear Information and Records Management Association (NIRMA) CM Committee, and offered it as a working arm for action items coming out of the conference.

Keynote Speaker

Dave Matthews, NRC, was the keynote speaker and 1st regulator to attend a CM Benchmarking Conference.

The keynote speaker was Dave Matthews, Branch Chief of the NRC's Generic Issues and Environmental Programs Branch, whose mission was the preparation and follow-up of the 50.54(f) letter. Mr. Matthews shared, with a relieved audience, that the initial review of all 50.54(f) responses had been completed and did not unearth a "plethora of immediate safety concerns." He also revealed that the differences of opinion over the definition of "Design Bases" that are prevalent in the industry also exist within the offices of the NRC.


Slides for all presentations were distributed at the conference. Copies may be received from Ruby Davis (630) 663-6598.

The first day's presentations included two information technology presentations and an overview of one utility's CM program benefits. ComEd presented their online approach to facilitating their design basis review program and managing the problem of maintaining integrity between the multiple overlapping and redundant sources of design bases commitments. This presentation applied the relational database term "referential integrity" to the equivalent challenge of maintaining consistency among commitments which appear in multiple design documents - a phrase that the participants repeated throughout the various breakout sessions.

Black and Veatch provided an approach to managing traditionally drawing based information through a "data-centric" approach that can greatly reduce the cost and cycle times for maintaining this information. This approach has been backfit into fossil plants with a hard dollar pay back.

Laguna Verde concluded the first day's presentation session with an overview of their CM program and the benefits they have seen now that they are in operation.

Breakout Session

A synopsis of all breakout sessions can be obtained from Ruby Davis (630) 663-6598.

Breakout sessions

This year's breakout sessions were more structured than in past conferences. All breakout sessions were chaired by a technical leader, who was assisted by a trained facilitator. The intended goal was to lead the groups through brainstorming and "10-4" voting which would culminate in a ranking of issues. For the top ranked issue(s) a problem statement was developed. The group would then establish a series of actions to address the problem statement. Each action was either assigned to volunteers from the group or associated with an industry group who would be solicited to provide resolution, such as NIRMA or NEI. Finally, survey forms collecting benchmarking information from the group's participants where used to identify those utilities who feel they have solved the problem and who were willing to share in some of their lessons learned. The ultimate intent was to provide an organized deliverable from the conference which could be used to facilitate industry improvements by the next conference.

Monday's breakout topics where:

  • Calculation Configuration Control
  • Technical Review of UFSARs
  • 50.59 Process - Lessons Learned
  • 10CFR50.54(f) Letter Response - Next Steps
  • Graded Configuration Management
  • Westinghouse Owners' Group Information Program

An Ad Hoc session was held after the conference was adjourned for the day to discuss and demonstrate design bases data management software. ComEd demonstrated their Design Basis Database application, which was discussed in their earlier presentation and EPRI demonstrated their DB Navigator prototype, which would be presented the following morning. Pacific Gas & Electric also gave a brief demonstration of their electronic document management system. Several utilities attended this session.

Tuesday, July 15, 1997

The 1997 Configuration Management Benchmarking Group


Rick Jacobs, INPO, and Ken Karr, ComEd discussed the INPO Configuration Control Process.

After gathering for the conference photo, Tuesday's session began with a presentation by South Carolina Electric and Gas on change control at the V. C. Summer Plant. EPRI followed with a presentation on their DB Navigator Project. Carolina Power & Light shared their lessons learned in implementing the EPRI streamlined Modification Process and ComEd and INPO discussed INPO's evaluation of the Configuration Control Process.

Breakout Sessions

Tuesday's breakout topics where:

  • NRC Inspections: What Have We Learned?
  • Streamlining the Design Change Process
  • Automating CM Processes
  • Work Bypassing CM: What is Our Vulnerability?
  • Managing Vendor Information
  • Maintaining Electronic Design Basis Information

Wednesday, July 16, 1997


George Bowater, Breakout Session Captain.

George Bowater, ComEd, who organized the breakout sessions and methodology, provided a summary report for each of the breakout sessions, assisted by the session chair. This summary included an overview of conference participation in each session, the final issue/problem statements, and the respective action items identified. Additionally, key items from the benchmarking surveys were featured. The complete summary of breakout sessions and benchmarking information is attached at the end of this summary.

Wisconsin Electric shared their experience with the Configuration Management Institute's CM Certification Program.

A panel session titled "What are the Major Issues Coming Out of Recent Audits in the Area of Configuration Management?" concluded the formal presentations for the conference. This panel was made up of representatives from Carolina Power & Light, Northeast Utilities, Florida Power, and ComEd. A summary transcript of the panel session is in this report.


In addition to the benchmarking conducted during the breakout sessions, two additional benchmarks were conducted. Enclosed in this report is a survey of software usage by utilities in different areas of Configuration Control. Also, Mike Shalbert, PP&L, developed an on the spot survey as part of his UFSAR review breakout session. Results will be published in September.


After brief closing statements, Bob Renuart adjourned the conference until next year. In keeping with tradition, Bob, this year's host, from the list of volunteering utilities, will select the host for next year's conference. Next year's host will be announced in November following a planning meeting.

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