ABZ, Inc.

LITIGATION CASES

Introduction
ABZ has evaluated management practices at nuclear power plants. ABZ has also provided expert testimony for Federal, state and private industry clients in law suits, administrative hearings, and arbitrations.

ABZ assists the legal team with:
  • Rapid Identification and Analysis of Key Technical Issues
  • Preparation of Deposition and Trial Examinations for Technical Witnesses
  • Document Review, with a Focus on Identifying and Developing Technical Issues and Exhibits Critical to the Case
  • Obtaining Critical Evidence During the Discovery Process
ABZ also provides expert testimony in support of litigation issues. Our team of experts offers assistance with:

  • Expert Testimony on Technical Issues to Support the Fact Finder's Understanding of Complex Issues.
  • Substantial Court Testimony Experience Including Regulatory Agencies and Arbitration Panels.
The following provides a brief description of a selection of ABZ's commercial litigation case work:

Pacific Gas and Electric versus Sacramento Utility District
ABZ reviewed all aspects of the nuclear organization responsible for the Rancho Seco Station. This included a review of the performance of the organization in response to difficult technical problems, such as pressurized thermal shock, modifying the turbine control system, incorporating vendor-recommended design changes and nuclear regulatory inspections. Detailed performance criteria were developed for each functional area in the plant and comparisons were made to other facilities. These functional areas included radiation protection, quality assurance, design control, maintenance, operation and regulatory compliance.

To perform the review, ABZ reviewed the nearly eight years of plant data, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) reports, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) evaluations, design changes, utility correspondence and licensee event reports. In addition, specific relationships were developed between the plant performance and the effectiveness of the Board of Directors. The analysis was submitted as expert testimony by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Engineering Analysis Of the Salem Unit 1 Failure to Restart Following the Athos I Oil Spill
ABZ evaluated the technical aspects of a utility's claim that an oil spill caused the shutdown and delayed the startup of two nuclear power plants. ABZ evaluated the claim and its supporting documentation to understand the technical aspects of the claim. ABZ developed inquiries to obtain additional data and information needed to understand the causal relationship between the technical events described in the claim and the oil spill. Finally, ABZ evaluated and verified the causal relationship between the technical issues in the claim and the effects of the oil spill.
Diablo Canyon Rate Case
ABZ reviewed and evaluated the regulatory responsiveness of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to the changing Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requirements during the construction of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Specific emphasis was placed on PG&E's efforts to show that the plant would respond safely during an earthquake. ABZ reviewed the modifications to the plant's response spectra as the design basis earthquake changed over time from the original design to the final spectra as determined by the HOSGRI fault.

In addition, ABZ evaluated the root causes of the so-called mirror image problems on the containments. This analysis included a detailed review of the nature of the problem, its overall effect on the plant's ability to withstand a design basis earthquake and the adequacy of the design changes proposed. Finally, ABZ reviewed the effectiveness of the nuclear organization in responding to these issues to the satisfaction of the regulator and the public.
Evaluation of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant
ABZ provided Commonwealth Electric Company (CECO), a co-owner of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant (PNPP), with a comprehensive and detailed evaluation of the plant's personnel, organization, regulatory effectiveness, and improvement programs. As part of the evaluation, ABZ performed several "vertical audits" in technical areas, including design modifications, technical procedure adequacy, and implementation of the plant's test program. These audits revealed several inadequacies, which predicted the continued poor performance of the facility. The information gathered allowed CECO to renegotiate its agreement and obtain a large settlement from the plant's owner. In addition, ABZ assisted CECO in establishing a periodic review program to protect its remaining interests in the facility. Finally, ABZ provided CECO with an analysis of the plant's past performance using indicators which clearly showed fundamental changes in the organization were needed. Much of ABZ's analysis used commercial nuclear power standards and regulations as measures of performance.

Review of Hope Creek Station Start-Up
ABZ evaluated the pre-operational and start-up test program for the Hope Creek Station. This review concentrated on the overall quality of the test programs in comparison with other facilities, and the utility's response to various technical issues. Several significant safety features unique to Hope Creek were evaluated as to need, cost and impact on operations. A detailed evaluation of the solid-state emergency safety features actuation system (ESFAS) was performed to understand the effect of its unique design on plant reliability. The ESFAS review included comparison of the as-built design to applicable regulatory standards and codes. In addition, ABZ evaluated the utility's corrective action on ESFAS failures to determine its adequacy to prevent future problems.
Analysis of Worker Overexposure
ABZ analyzed the circumstances surrounding a 1985 overexposure of a former radiation protection technician at the Peach Bottom plant. The plaintiff claimed that he was overexposed to radiation during an inspection of the off-gas pipe during power operation. ABZ provided a detailed report to support the plaintiff's claim, including an estimation of his actual exposure using plant prints, operating logs and the depositions of plant managers and operators at the time of the overexposure. The litigation was settled with a substantial award made to the plaintiff.
Evaluation of Computer Codes for Heat Recovery Steam Generator
ABZ provided a detailed evaluation of a computer code used to provide design details for a heat recovery steam generator. ABZ provided engineering and technical support to the law firm of Paul, Wiess which represented Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI) in a contract dispute with an Italian firm. ABZ evaluated the code, met with the MHI designers, and provided testimony before an international panel of judges.
Expert Opinion on the Decommissioning Process for the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant
ABZ provided an expert opinion on general technical, financial, and regulatory issues related to decommissioning. ABZ evaluated those issues as they applied to the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant, including Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules, Public Utility Commission rulings, and decommissioning funding levels. ABZ's opinion assisted Fox Rothschild at hearings related to tax assessments for the Springford Area School District.
Evaluation of Decommissioning Cost Studies For Bruce A and Bruce B Nuclear Generating Stations
Bruce Power leases and operates the Bruce A and Bruce B nuclear generating stations from the owner, Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG). OPG is required to decommission the site. The lease rent may be increased based on an increase in the present value of the anticipated cost to OPG of decommissioning.

Bruce Power has challenged several aspects of the updated decommissioning cost estimate, including the use of a financial risk factor, the contingency amounts, the staffing levels during storage periods, the calculation of radioactive waste volumes, and whether certain methods ought to be employed to reduce the amount of radioactive waste disposal during decommissioning. Bruce Power has also challenged the labour escalation rates used by OPG to determine the present value amounts.

ABZ has been retained by Torys LLP on behalf of OPG to review the Bruce claims and the expert reports submitted on its behalf. ABZ reviewed the claims submitted by Bruce, the reports of LaGuardia and Associates, LLC., Energy Solutions, LLC., Management Information Services Inc. (MISI), Campbell Valuation Partners Limited, and other documents. ABZ prepared an evaluation on each aspect of the Bruce claim with backup data and summary conclusions.





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ABZ, Inc.
Corporate Office:
4451 Brookfield Corporate Drive
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Chantilly, VA 20151

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Satellite Offices:
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