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BWR Operational Chemistry and Radiochemistry:
Problem Assessment and Diagnosis

(Instruction Period: 40 Hours)


The BWR Operational Chemistry course was developed by NWT to assist plant and corporate chemistry personnel in the following areas:

  1. Identifying the presence of, or trends toward, abnormal chemistry conditions.
  2. Diagnosing problem causes.
  3. Developing timely and cost effective corrective actions.

This course has been developed by senior NWT personnel who have been involved in BWR and PWR water chemistry, corrosion, water treatment, and activity transport control for 30 or more years. Their experience base is complemented by a thorough understanding of the underlying chemistry and engineering principles in each area of instruction. Because of the nature of the course, senior NWT personnel provide all instruction (see resumes).

The course is intended for BWR chemistry personnel involved in data review, problem identification and diagnosis, and development of corrective actions. It assumes that the student is familiar with the fundamentals of BWR design, chemistry and radiochemistry.


  1. BWR Chemistry & Corrosion Overview
    1. Introduction to BWR Chemistry
      1. Hydrogen water Chemistry
      2. NMCA
      3. OLNC
    2. IGSCC Issues and Resolutions
    3. Dose Rate Issues
      1. Industry Trends
      2. Effect of Zinc
      3. Co-60 Source
    4. Fuel Issues
      1. Fuel Failure Observations
      2. Impact of Zinc
  2. Chemistry Guidelines & Related Documentation
    1. BWR Water Chemistry Guidelines
    2. Additional Chemistry Control Considerations
  3. Applications of Ion Exchange in the BWR
    1. Ion Exchange Resins
      1. Cation and Anion Ion Exchange Resins
        1. Types and Chemical Structures
        2. Characteristic Reactions
    2. Chemical and Physical Properties of Ion Exchange Resins
      1. Ion Selectivity
      2. Capacity
    3. Polisher System Designs
      1. Deep Bed
      2. Powdered Resin Precoat
    4. Kinetic Performance
    5. Stability of Ion Exchange Resins
  4. Ionic Impurity Transport
    1. Ionic Impurity Transport
      1. Mass Balance Relationships
      2. Impact of Makeup Water Input
      3. Impact of Radwaste Recycle
      4. Impact of a Condenser Leak
      5. Foreign Materials
    2. Methods of Detection and Location of Air and Cooling Water Inleakage
      1. Condenser/Hotwell Conductivity/Ionic Concentrations
      2. Helium Leak Detection
      3. SF6 Leak Detection
      4. Mechanical Techniques
  5. General Corrosion and Corrosion Product Transport
    1. Carbon and Stainless Steel General Corrosion
      1. Corrosion of Feedwater and Turbine Systems
      1. Effect of Oxygen
      2. Effect of Flow Rate
      3. Effect of Water Conductivity
      4. Flow-Accelerated Corrosion
      5. Approaches to Minimization of Corrosion
    2. BWR Guidelines for Condensate/Feedwater Chemistry
    3. Corrosion Product Transport
      1. Corrosion Product Sampling
      2. Mass Transport Calculations and Relationships
      3. Relation to Fuel Deposits and Activity Buildup
      4. Condensate Treatment Considerations
      5. RWCU System Considerations
      6. Zinc Injection Considerations
      7. Iron Control
  6. Activity Production and Transport
    1. Introduction to Radioactive Decay
    2. Fission Process and Yields
    3. Transuranics
    4. Activity Transport
      1. Coolant and Impurity Activation Products
        1. Tritium
        2. Carbon 14
        3. Oxygen and Nitrogen Products
      2. Activated Corrosion Products
        1. Overview
        2. Activation Equation
      3. Chemistry of Radioactivities in the BWR
        1. Fission Product Chemistry
        2. Iodine Chemistry
          1. Normal Chemistry
          2. Shutdown Chemistry
          3. Iodine Carryover
          4. Iodine Volatility
        3. Fission Gas Chemistry
        4. Xenon Activity in Resin Beds
        5. Steam Carryover and Turbine Contamination
  7. Fuel Status Assessment
    1. Fission Product Formation and Release
    2. Characterization of Offgas Release Distribution
      1. Recoil
      2. Diffusion
    3. Release Rate Calculations
      1. Fission Gases
      2. Iodine Isotopes
      3. Iodine Spikes on Shutdown
    4. Characterization of Iodine Release Distribution
    5. Determination of Defect Fuel Exposure
      1. Offgas Distribution
      2. Cs-137:Cs-134 Ratio
    6. Power Suppression Testing (PST)
    7. Fuel Failures
      1. Types
      2. Monitoring
    8. Charcoal System Delay Times
    9. EPRI CHIRON Code
    10. Activity Measurement Requirements
      1. INPO/WANO Fuel Reliability Indicator (FRI)
      2. NRC Technical Specifications
        1. Offgas
        2. Primary Coolant Dose Equivalent I-131 (DEI)
        3. E-Bar
        4. Effluents
    11. Recommended Sampling and Analysis Trending


S. G.SAWOCHKA: Dr. Sawochka currently is President of NWT Corporation. He has been involved with consulting and R&D projects in the fields of water chemistry, water treatment, corrosion, and radwaste processing in BWR and PWR systems for over 35 years. He previously was Manager of Water Chemistry Development for General Electric’s BWR Systems Department. Dr. Sawochka has authored numerous publications in the referenced areas and has been an active member of EPRI committees that have developed guidelines for BWR and PWR chemistry control.

H. R.HELMHOLZ: Mr. Helmholz began his nuclear industry career in 1951 at Hanford. He subsequently joined the Case Institute of Technology where he organized the radiochemistry program and taught courses in nuclear chemistry. After several years at KAPL and at NRTS at Idaho Falls, where he supervised the S5G chemistry laboratory, he joined GE-Vallecitos and assumed responsibility for design and performance of chemical test programs at operating BWRs. Since joining NWT in 1981, he has had responsibility for numerous projects in the chemistry and radiochemistry areas including development of radioanalytical procedures, laboratory and plant reviews, training course development and presentation, and assessments of solid waste radioassay techniques, radwaste dose rate to curie conversions, ventilation monitoring, and fuel failure modes. He has been a primary author of the EPRI Fuel Integrity Monitoring and Failure Evaluation Handbooks and recent EPRI reports on C-14 generation and transport.


CLASS SCHEDULE: Classes will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday with one hour for lunch and 8:15 to noon on Friday.

ENROLLMENT: Course enrollments are limited to 12. Reservations can be made by phone 408-281-1100, fax 408-578-0790 or e-mail. If you prefer, discuss your interests with the Program Director.

FEE: The $1,900 course fee covers the notebook, program materials, break refreshments, lunches (4) and one scheduled dinner. Lodging and other meals NOT INCLUDED. A Certificate of Participation is presented to each registrant.

REFUNDS AND CANCELLATIONS: If you cancel your registration at least 3 weeks prior to the program start date, your fee minus a $50 administrative fee will be refunded. If you cancel less than 3 weeks prior, you will be liable for the full fee. Unfortunately, there can be no exceptions to this policy. Enrollment substitutions may be made at any time.

NWT reserves the right to cancel this class within two weeks of start date if fewer than six students are enrolled.

LOCATION/LODGING: The class will be held at the NWT offices in San Jose, California. Information on San Jose area hotels will be provided with enrollment confirmation.

ON SITE TRAINING SESSIONS: For information about holding this workshop at your site, please contact the Program Director.

COMPLEMENTARY COURSES: The following NWT courses also are intermittently offered at our San Jose offices:

PWR Operational Chemistry and Radiochemistry (4½ days)

PWR Operational Chemistry: Problem Assessment and Diagnosis (4½ days)

BWR Operational Chemistry: Problem Assessment and Diagnosis (4½ days)

These courses also can be customized for specific plants and held at the plant site or corporate office. One or two day seminars on specific subjects or directed at specific utility personnel also can be developed.


Dr. S. G. Sawochka (Program Director)
at (408) 281-1100, fax (408) 578-0790 or
E-Mail: Sawochka@nwtcorp.com


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