ABZ, Inc.


ABZ consults with power industry managers to improve operations, improve regulatory compliance and reduce risk. Specific areas of expertise include:
  • Analysis of Safety and Operating Practices
  • Management Audits
  • Licensing and Safety Evaluations
  • Litigation Support and Technical Experts
  • Minimizing Insurance Costs and Reducing Risk
  • Evaluation of Specific Engineering and Technical Issues
The following provides a brief description of a selection of ABZ's work:
Nuclear Safety Review & Audit Committee
ABZ staff fulfilled the responsibilities of a Nuclear Safety Review & Audit Committee (NSRAC) member in the area of operations and maintenance. NSRAC provided safety oversight of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant's performance. ABZ reviewed issues related to recirc pipe replacement, Technical Specification compliance, quality of operating procedures, etc. ABZ provided written and oral reports to NSRAC, and presentations to Boston Edison management.
Operations and Maintenance Evaluation
ABZ performed a detailed evaluation of the maintenance program at Diablo Canyon Power Plant. This included comparing the program elements with the regulations, evaluation of specific work packages and implementation of work in the field. In addition, ABZ conducted interviews with work planners, supervisors and management. ABZ developed and implemented specific recommendations.
Congressional Study of the US Nuclear Power Program
ABZ reviewed the decommissioning funding, spent fuel disposal plans and preparations for nine nuclear power plants as part of an overall study of the nuclear power plants as requested by the United States Congress. ABZ conducted interviews with upper management and technical personnel. Two panel meetings were held to review the findings of the report. The panel members included intervenors, public utility commissioners, industry representatives and university professors. The results of the report were presented to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Commissioners.
Quality Assurance Program Audit
ABZ performed a detailed, comprehensive evaluation of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) Quality Assurance (QA) Program. The evaluation included a comparison of the program objectives against the regulations, interviews with QA personnel, implementation of QA procedures and the qualifications of QA personnel. The evaluation also included the observation of safety-related work during a refueling outage. Specific recommendations were presented to the Committee for review.
Maintenance Program Review at Diablo Canyon
ABZ performed a detailed review of the maintenance program at Diablo Canyon Power Plant for Pacific Gas and Electric. This included comparing the program elements with the regulations, review of specific work packages and implementation of work in the field. In addition, interviews with work planners, supervisors and management were conducted. Specific recommendations were developed and implemented.
Nine Mile Point Nuclear Training Program Evaluation
ABZ participated with the Niagra Mohawk Quality Assurance Department in a comprehensive evaluation of the nuclear training program at Nine Mile Point, Unit 1 and 2 sites. The audit consisted of comparing the standards and regulations with the programs and procedures in place at the time of the audit. Several significant issues were noted during the audit, including problems associated with compliance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) training regulations, coordination of training and day-to-day work, insufficient detail in describing interfaces within the Department and needed technical improvements in several of the Department's lesson plans. In addition, a review of the plant's simulator training of plant operators was performed. The findings of the effort were issued to plant management.
Management Evaluation of Nuclear Organization
ABZ participated in a comprehensive evaluation and review of the Arizona Nuclear Power Project (ANPP), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arizona Public Service Company (APS). In response to increasing costs and poor performance, the APS Board of Directors and President requested an in-depth analysis of the functions, effectiveness and staffing of ANPP. ABZ reviewed and evaluated the maintenance, operations, quality assurance, and engineering as part of a team of consultants hired by APS. Several significant organizational changes were recommended and implemented, including consolidation of responsibilities in each operating unit, establishing a standardization group to assure all units operated in the same manner, and an outage/maintenance support group to review the units. The final organization was patterned after the naval reactors program and remains in place today.
Decommissioning Planning and Organizational Development
ABZ provided technical assistance to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in planning for the decommissioning of the Shoreham Nuclear Power Station (SNPS) and developing a technical organization qualified for assuming responsibility of the plant. The analysis required a detailed evaluation of SNPS's Final and Updated Safety Analysis Review, Technical Specifications, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) codes and standards. The requirements for maintaining a plant during decommissioning and performing functions, such as fuel removal, decontamination of systems and components, and monitoring potentially radioactive releases, were also reviewed. Based on the requirements, an organization and staffing plan was developed. Detailed plans were made to establish the lowest cost alternatives for decommissioning. This included an analysis of the decontamination and dismantlement (D/D), SAFSTOR and entombment alternatives. The D/D alternative was chosen and a detailed cost estimate performed. Finally, the staffing, organization and cost information were used as the basis for ABZ's development of the decommissioning plan.

Nuclear Program Oversight for the Board of Directors
Two members of ABZ's staff participated as members of the Maine Yankee Nuclear Oversight Committee (MYNOC). MYNOC was chartered to identify problems at the Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Station (MYNPS) and report them to the Board of Directors. The committee met quarterly at the station, interviewed members of the plant staff, toured the station, met with the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company (MYAPC) President, and prepared a detailed report. An overall assessment of the station performance was made and important safety issues identified. The ABZ experts possessed the background and experience to know to what depth a particular issue needed following before it would be found satisfactory. In addition, the reviewers had a "sense", based on experience, where potential problems could be found. The Committee obtained consensus on the issues based on knowledge of the station, its people and the standards imposed on the station.
Functional Total Loss Study
ABZ determined the events that would lead to a total loss of the nuclear power plant. ABZ evaluated data from previous losses and studies performed by government agencies. ABZ considered accidents that have occurred in the past, both nuclear and non-nuclear related. ABZ determined the activities needed to restart the plant based on current regulations and recent restarts for plants shutdown for equipment and management problems. An evaluation of the likelihood of restart from a range of accidents was determined. ABZ's evaluation included comparing the level of effort and cost needed to restart against the type of accident. ABZ then made a determination of those events which were likely to make restart impossible and therefore result in a total functional loss.
Safety Assessment Model for Nuclear Power Plant Management
ABZ assisted the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in developing a quantitative model for evaluating nuclear power plant organizations and the effect of the organization on plant risk. For several years, the NRC had attempted to define more clearly the relationship between the management of the plant and the plant's probabilistic risk assessment (PRA). In addition, the NRC had attempted to understand the depth of technical knowledge beyond the requirements in the regulations needed to safely operate and maintain a nuclear power plant. ABZ provided a framework entitled the Work Process Analysis Model (WPAM) for making the connection between work performed in a power plant and the effect of that work on risk. In addition, ABZ provided a "straw man" for defining the "deep technical" knowledge required by nuclear power plant staffs. A deep technical knowledge matrix consisting of each power plant position and the depth of knowledge required underwent peer review.
Outage Budgeting and Tracking Improvement
ABZ assisted SCE as an independent consultant to the Business and Financial unit to provide a review, evaluation and development of a more meaningful budgeting process for outages. ABZ developed a plan for addressing the problem, interviewed numerous plant staff and provided recommendations for improvement. In addition, ABZ visited several other nuclear utilities to provide comparisons with the SCE process and obtain lessons learned.
Independent Assessment of the United States Nuclear Services Market
British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) requested that ABZ perform an independent assessment of the nuclear services market in the United States. BNFL was about to enter the US services market with a German firm and needed to assess the reasonableness of spending resources in competing against US nuclear services vendors. ABZ evaluated the services market, estimated its size, identified the companies with predominate market shares, and summarized the prospects of BNFL's entry.
Risk Analysis of Tertiary Steam System
ABZ performed a comprehensive risk analysis of a proposed process steam system modification to the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant. The modification would provide process steam to the neighboring Cargill Corn Milling facility. ABZ analyzed the risk resulting from a failure in operation of the process steam facility on the operation of Fort Calhoun. Using preliminary design information for the proposed facility and risk assessment data on Fort Calhoun, ABZ developed a comprehensive risk model. ABZ concluded the overall effect of providing process steam to Cargill would be minimal risk to electric production at Fort Calhoun.
Design Basis Evaluation
ABZ provided in depth analysis and review of power plant design basis as part of a comprehensive program to update design calculations, drawings and instrumentation setpoints. The evaluation included detailed cross-checking of as-built and operating data with the underlying design basis and federal regulations. ABZ provided the plant owner with an assessment of any design deviations and the actions necessary to correct them. The scope of the program included fluid systems important to plant safety and governed by federal regulations. ABZ reviewed procedures, Technical Specifications, regulatory documents, and design basis calculations. The effort also included the development of procedures for conduct of design basis work.




ABZ, Inc.
Corporate Office:
4451 Brookfield Corporate Drive
Suite 107
Chantilly, VA 20151

Regional Office:
100 Main Street
Suite 110
Dover, NH 03820

Satellite Offices:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Rockaway, New Jersey
Wells, Maine