Some plants are starting to crack down on these requirements. . . .
There are two important editorial guides that engineers in the nuclear power industry should be following in their technical writing. One is published by the NRC, the other by INPO:
- INPO Technical Writing Manual
Both manuals are helpful and establish reasonable technical writing guidelines. They are generally consistent with classic writing guides like Strunk and White.
The NRC NUREG is free. Some plants are starting to become more insistent in their adherence to its standards. There are two common problem areas. They are very hard habits to break — that is why self-checks are important, especially when writing mod packages.
TWO COMMON MISTAKES
The biggest mistakes have to do with proper (or improper) capitalization.
Section 3.15 of NUREG-1379 says this: “Do not capitalize the names of systems at nuclear facilities.” Violations of this editorial rule even slip into the UFSAR from time to time.
The two examples of correct capitalization (none) provided refute most common cases:
- residual heat removal system
- emergency core cooling system
Another common editorial mistake violates Section 3.17 of NUREG-1379: “Do not capitalize a common noun followed by a letter or number identifying a component of a nuclear power plant.” Examples given are as follows:
- train A
- valve PRV–22
It may seem natural to emphasize the importance of a particular piece of equipment that has an alphanumeric designator attached to it, such as in the following example:
The offsite power connects to Station Service Transformer 1A, which in turn supplies power to Bus 2.
As it often goes, many impulses that may seem to arise naturally are just plain wrong — and so it is in this case. Corrected, the sentence should look like this:
The offsite power connects to station service transformer 1A, which in turn supplies power to bus 2.
If we aren’t allowed to capitalize specific pieces of equipment that have been elevated in stature by the nature of their appended alphanumeric designator, then even less so are we allowed to capitalize the namess of generic equipment. Here’s an example of what not to do:
Therefore, these three design features provide the necessary protection to minimize to the extent practical the likelihood of the simultaneous failure of the Common Station Service Transformers under operating and postulated accident conditions…Common Station Service Transformer D and CCW Cooling Tower Transformers A and B are also connected to the switchyard.
The INPO guide sheds additional light. Section 2.1.3 says “Plant Systems and Equipment – Names of plant systems and equipment are lowercased except when identified with a trade name.”
So, to correct this example, it needs to be rewritten like this:
Therefore, these three design features provide the necessary protection to minimize to the extent practical the likelihood of the simultaneous failure of the common station service transformers under operating and postulated accident conditions…Common station service transformer D and CCW cooling tower transformers A and B are also connected to the switchyard.
These two editorial rules are commonly violated. Fix them, and you are likely to correct a majority of the editorial problems.