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Notice

Public Service Electric and Gas Company; Notice of Consideration of Issuance of Amendment To Facility Operating License, Proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, and Opportunity for a Hearing

 

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License No. DPR-75 issued to Public Service Electric and Gas Company (the licensee), for operation of the Salem Nuclear Generating Station, Unit No. 2 (Salem Unit No. 2), located in Salem County, New Jersey.

The proposed amendment would modify the requirements contained in the Salem Unit No. 2 Technical Specifications regarding the operation of the movable incore detector system. The proposed change would be a one-time change to allow use of the movable incore detector system for measurement of core peaking factors with less than 75% and greater than or equal to 50% of the detector thimbles available. The licensee has submitted this request in response to degradation of the Salem Unit No. 2 movable incore detector system. There are currently 75.8% of the detector thimble locations available for use. The proposed changes would allow continued operation of Salem Unit No. 2 through the remainder of Cycle 11.

Before issuance of the proposed license amendment, the Commission will have made findings required by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act) and the Commission's regulations.

The Commission has made a proposed determination that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration. Under the Commission's regulations in 10 CFR 50.92, this means that operation of the facility in accordance with the proposed amendment would not (1) involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated; or (2) create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated; or (3) involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety. As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

1. The proposed changes do not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

The movable incore detector system is used only to provide confirmatory information on the neutron flux distribution of the core. This system does not provide any automatic control functions or protective functions for the operation of the plant. The only accident that the movable incore detector system could be involved in is the breaching of the detector thimbles which is bounded by the small break loss of coolant accident (LOCA) analysis. As the proposed changes do not involve any changes to the physical equipment or operation of the system, there is no increase in the probability of an accident previously evaluated.

The movable incore detector system provides a monitoring function that is not used for accident mitigation. The small break LOCA analysis continues to bound potential breaching of the system's detector thimbles. With less than 75% but greater than or equal to 50% of the detector thimbles available, core peaking factor measurement uncertainties will be increased. This can impact core peaking factors and as a result could affect the consequences of certain accidents. However, any changes in the core peaking factors resulting from increased measurement uncertainties will be compensated for by conservative measurement uncertainty adjustments in the Technical Specifications to ensure that pertinent core design parameters are maintained. Sufficient additional penalty is added to the power distribution measurements such that this change will not impact the consequences of any accident previously evaluated.

Therefore, the proposed changes will not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

2. The proposed changes do not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously analyzed.

There are no changes to the physical plant or operation of the movable incore systems as a result of the proposed changes. Since no changes are being made to the way the system is operated and no changes are being made to the system equipment, no new accidents or different accidents than previously analyzed are introduced by the proposed changes.

Therefore, the proposed changes will not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously analyzed.

3. The proposed changes do not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

The reduction in the minimum complement of equipment necessary for the operability of the movable incore detector system only impacts the monitoring and calibration functions of the system. Reduction of the number of available moveable incore detector thimbles to the 50% level does not significantly degrade the ability of the system to measure core power distributions. With less than 75% but greater than or equal to 50% of the detector thimbles available, core peaking factor measurement uncertainties will be increased but will be compensated for by conservative measurement uncertainty adjustments in the Technical Specifications to ensure that pertinent core design parameters are maintained. Sufficient additional penalty is added to the power distribution measurements such that this change does not impact the safety margins that currently exist. Also, the reduction of available detector thimbles has negligible impact on the quadrant power tilt and core average axial power shape measurements and will not adversely affect excore detector calibration. Sufficient detector thimbles will be available to ensure that no quadrant will be unmonitored.

Based on the above, the proposed changes will not result in a reduction in the margin of safety.

The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

The Commission is seeking public comments on this proposed determination. Any comments received within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice will be considered in making any final determination.

Normally, the Commission will not issue the amendment until the expiration of the 30-day notice period. However, should circumstances change during the notice period such that failure to act in a timely way would result, for example, in derating or shutdown of the facility, the Commission may issue the license amendment before the expiration of the 30-day notice period, provided that its final determination is that the amendment involves no significant hazards consideration. The final determination will consider all public and State comments received. Should the Commission take this action, it will publish in the Federal Register a notice of issuance and provide for opportunity for a hearing after issuance. The Commission expects that the need to take this action will occur very infrequently.

Written comments may be submitted by mail to the Chief, Rules and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, and should cite the publication date and page number of this Federal Register notice. Written comments may also be delivered to Room 6D59, Two White Flint North, 11545 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Federal workdays. Copies of written comments received may be examined at the NRC Public Document Room, the Gelman Building, 2120 L Street, NW., Washington, DC.

The filing of requests for hearing and petitions for leave to intervene is discussed below.

By June 22, 2000, the licensee may file a request for a hearing with respect to issuance of the amendment to the subject facility operating license and any person whose interest may be affected by this proceeding and who wishes to participate as a party in the proceeding must file a written request for a hearing and a petition for leave to intervene. Requests for a hearing and a petition for leave to intervene shall be filed in accordance with the Commission's “Rules of Practice for Domestic Licensing Proceedings” in 10 CFR Part 2. Interested persons should consult a current copy of 10 CFR 2.714 which is available at the Commission's Public Document Room, the Gelman Building, 2120 L Street, NW., Washington, DC, and accessible electronically through the ADAMS Public Electronic Reading Room link at the NRC Web site (http://www.nrc.gov). If a request for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene is filed by the above date, the Commission or an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, designated by the Commission or by the Chairman of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, will rule on the request and/or petition; and the Secretary or the designated Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will issue a notice of hearing or an appropriate order.

As required by 10 CFR 2.714, a petition for leave to intervene shall set forth with particularity the interest of the petitioner in the proceeding, and how that interest may be affected by the results of the proceeding. The petition should specifically explain the reasons why intervention should be permitted with particular reference to the following factors: (1) The nature of the petitioner's right under the Act to be made party to the proceeding; (2) the nature and extent of the petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding; and (3) the possible effect of any order which may be entered in the proceeding on the petitioner's interest. The petition should also identify the specific aspect(s) of the subject matter of the proceeding as to which petitioner wishes to intervene. Any person who has filed a petition for leave to intervene or who has been admitted as a party may amend the petition without requesting leave of the Board up to 15 days prior to the first prehearing conference scheduled in the proceeding, but such an amended petition must satisfy the specificity requirements described above.

Not later than 15 days prior to the first prehearing conference scheduled in the proceeding, a petitioner shall file a supplement to the petition to intervene which must include a list of the contentions which are sought to be litigated in the matter. Each contention must consist of a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted. In addition, the petitioner shall provide a brief explanation of the bases of the contention and a concise statement of the alleged facts or expert opinion which support the contention and on which the petitioner intends to rely in proving the contention at the hearing. The petitioner must also provide references to those specific sources and documents of which the petitioner is aware and on which the petitioner intends to rely to establish those facts or expert opinion. Petitioner must provide sufficient information to show that a genuine dispute exists with the applicant on a material issue of law or fact. Contentions shall be limited to matters within the scope of the amendment under consideration. The contention must be one which, if proven, would entitle the petitioner to relief. A petitioner who fails to file such a supplement which satisfies these requirements with respect to at least one contention will not be permitted to participate as a party.

Those permitted to intervene become parties to the proceeding, subject to any limitations in the order granting leave to intervene, and have the opportunity to participate fully in the conduct of the hearing, including the opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.

If a hearing is requested, the Commission will make a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration. The final determination will serve to decide when the hearing is held.

If the final determination is that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration, the Commission may issue the amendment and make it immediately effective, notwithstanding the request for a hearing. Any hearing held would take place after issuance of the amendment.

If the final determination is that the amendment request involves a significant hazards consideration, any hearing held would take place before the issuance of any amendment.

A request for a hearing or a petition for leave to intervene must be filed with the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff, or may be delivered to the Commission's Public Document Room, the Gelman Building, 2120 L Street, NW., Washington, DC, by the above date. A copy of the petition should also be sent to the Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, and to Jeffrie J. Keenan, Esquire, Nuclear Business Unit—N21, P.O. Box 236, Hancocks Bridge, NJ 08038.

Non-timely filings of petitions for leave to intervene, amended petitions, supplemental petitions and/or requests for hearing will not be entertained absent a determination by the Commission, the presiding officer or the presiding Atomic Safety and Licensing Board that the petition and/or request should be granted based upon a balancing of the factors specified in 10 CFR 2.714(a)(1)(i)-(v) and 2.714(d).

For further details with respect to this action, see the application for amendment dated April 10, 2000, which is available for public inspection at the Commission's Public Document Room, the Gelman Building, 2120 L Street, NW., Washington, DC, and accessible electronically through the ADAMS Public Electronic Reading Room link at the NRC web site (http://www.nrc.gov).

Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 17th day of May.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Robert J. Fretz,

Project Manager, Section 2, Project Directorate I, Division of Licensing Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

[FR Doc. 00-12963 Filed 5-22-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P

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