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Notice

Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.; Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2; Application and Amendments to Facility Operating License Involving Proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, and Containing Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information

Action

License Amendment Request; Opportunity To Comment, Request A Hearing And Petition For Leave To Intervene, Order.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Comments must be filed by June 25, 2012. A request for a hearing must be filed by July 24, 2012. Any potential party as defined in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), Section 2.4, who believes access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information is necessary to respond to this notice must request document access by June 4, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

You may access information and comment submissions related to this document, which the NRC possesses and are publicly available, by searching on http://www.regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2010-0389. You may submit comments by any of the following methods.

  • Federal rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2010-0389 Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
  • Email comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact us at 301-415-1677.
  • Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 301-415-1101.
  • Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.
  • Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (Eastern Time) Federal workdays; telephone: 301-415-1677.

For additional direction on accessing information and submitting comments, see “Accessing Information and Submitting Comments” in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Patrick G. Boyle, Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch II-1, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555; telephone: 301-415-3936, email: Patrick.Boyle@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

I. Accessing Information and Submitting Comments Back to Top

A. Accessing Information

Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2010-0389 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may access information related to this document, which the NRC possesses and are publicly available, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2010-0389.
  • NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in the NRC Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The application for amendment dated March 22, 2012, contains sensitive unclassified non-safeguards information (proprietary) and, accordingly, those portions are being withheld from public disclosure. A redacted version of the application for amendment, dated March 22, 2012, is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML12087A307.
  • NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

B. Submitting Comments

Please include Docket ID NRC-2010-0389 in the subject line of your comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make your comment submission available to the public in this docket.

The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information.

If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

II. Introduction Back to Top

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) is considering issuance of amendments to Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-68 and NPF-81, issued to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (SNC or the licensee), for operation of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2 (VEGP), located in Burke County, Georgia.

The proposed amendments would revise VEGP's Technical Specifications (TS) associated with the “Steam Generator (SG) Program” allowing the exclusion of portions of the SG tubes below the top of the SG tube sheet from periodic SG tube inspections during the remaining licensed operations of the plant. Furthermore, the amendment requests to remove the interim SG alternative inspection criteria that had been previously approved.

Before issuance of the proposed license amendments, 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 amendments would not (1) Involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated; (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) Does the proposed change involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

Response: No.

The previously analyzed accidents are initiated by the failure of plant structures, systems, or components. The proposed change that alters the steam generator inspection criteria and the steam generator inspection reporting criteria does not have a detrimental impact on the integrity of any plant structure, system, or component that initiates an analyzed event. The proposed change will not alter the operation of, or otherwise increase the failure probability of any plant equipment that initiates an analyzed accident.

Of the applicable accidents previously evaluated, the limiting transients with consideration to the proposed change to the steam generator tube inspection and repair criteria are the steam generator tube rupture (SGTR) event and the feedline break (FLB)/steam line break (SLB) postulated accidents.Tube rupture in tubes with cracks within the tubesheet is precluded by the constraint provided by the tube-to-tubesheet joint. This constraint results from the hydraulic expansion process, thermal expansion mismatch between the tube and tubesheet, and from the differential pressure between the primary and secondary side. Based on this design, the structural margins against burst, as discussed in Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.121, “Bases for Plugging Degraded PWR Steam Generator Tubes,” (Reference 10) are maintained for both normal and postulated accident conditions.

The proposed change has no impact on the structural or leakage integrity of the portion of the tube outside of the tubesheet. The proposed change maintains structural integrity of the steam generator tubes and does not affect other systems, structures, components, or operational features. Therefore, the proposed change results in no significant increase in the probability of the occurrence of a SGTR accident.

At normal operating pressures, leakage from primary water stress corrosion cracking below the proposed limited inspection depth is limited by both the tube-to-tubesheet crevice and the limited crack opening permitted by the tubesheet constraint. Consequently, negligible normal operating leakage is expected from cracks within the tubesheet region. The consequences of an SGTR event are affected by the primary-to secondary leakage flow during the event. However, primary-to-secondary leakage flow through a postulated broken tube is not affected by the proposed changes since the tubesheet enhances the tube integrity in the region of the hydraulic expansion by precluding tube deformation beyond its initial hydraulically expanded outside diameter. Therefore, the proposed changes do not result in a significant increase in the consequences of a SGTR.

The consequences of a SLB/FLB are also not significantly affected by the proposed changes. During a SLB/FLB accident, the reduction in pressure above the tubesheet on the shell side of the steam generator creates an axially uniformly distributed load on the tubesheet due to the reactor coolant system pressure on the underside of the tubesheet. The resulting bending action constrains the tubes in the tubesheet thereby restricting primary-to-secondary leakage below the midplane.

Primary-to-secondary leakage from tube degradation in the tubesheet area during the limiting accident (i.e., a FLB) is limited by flow restrictions. These restrictions result from the crack and tube-to-tubesheet contact pressures that provide a restricted leakage path above the indications and also limit the degree of potential crack face opening as compared to free span indications.

The leakage factor of 2.48 for Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2 (VEGP), for a postulated FLB, has been calculated as shown in Revised Table 9-7 of Reference 11. Specifically, for the condition monitoring assessment, the component of leakage from the prior cycle from below the H* distance will be multiplied by a factor of 2.48 and added to the total leakage from any other source and compared to the allowable accident induced leakage limit. For the operational assessment, the difference in the leakage between the allowable leakage and the accident induced leakage from sources other than the tubesheet expansion region will be divided by 2.48 and compared to the observed operational leakage.Feedline break leakage is limited by leakage flow restrictions resulting from the leakage path above potential cracks through the tube-to-tubesheet crevice. The leak rate during postulated accident conditions (including locked rotor) has been shown to remain within the accident analysis assumptions for all axial and or circumferentially orientated cracks occurring 15.2 inches below the top of the tubesheet. The accident induced leak rate limit is 1.0 gpm [gallons per minute]. The TS operational leak rate is 150 gpd [gallons per day] (0.1 gpm) through any one steam generator. Consequently, there is significant margin between accident leakage and allowable operational leakage. The FLB leak rate ratio is 2.48 resulting in significant margin between the conservatively estimated accident leakage and the allowable accident leakage (1.0 gpm).

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

(2) Does the change create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

Response: No.

The proposed change that alters the steam generator inspection criteria and the steam generator inspection reporting criteria does not introduce any new equipment, create new failure modes for existing equipment, or create any new limiting single failures. Plant operation will not be altered, and all safety functions will continue to perform as previously assumed in accident analyses.

Therefore, the proposed change does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

(3) Does the change involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?

Response: No.

The proposed change that alters the steam generator inspection criteria and the steam generator inspection reporting criteria maintains the required structural margins of the steam generator tubes for both normal and accident conditions. NEI 97-06, Revision 3, “Steam Generator Program Guidelines” (Reference 6) and RG 1.121, are used as the bases in the development of the limited tubesheet inspection depth methodology for determining that steam generator tube integrity considerations are maintained within acceptable limits. RG 1.121 describes a method acceptable to the NRC for meeting [10 CFR Part 50, Appendix A, General Design Criteria] GDC 14, “Reactor Coolant Pressure Boundary,” GDC 15, “Reactor Coolant System Design,” GDC 31, “Fracture Prevention of Reactor Coolant Pressure Boundary,” and GDC 32, “Inspection of Reactor Coolant Pressure Boundary,” by reducing the probability and consequences of a SGTR. RG 1.121 concludes that, by determining the limiting safe conditions for tube wall degradation, the probability and consequences of a SGTR are reduced. This RG uses safety factors on loads for tube burst that are consistent with the requirements of Section III of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Code.

For axially oriented cracking located within the tubesheet, tube burst is precluded due to the presence of the tubesheet. For circumferentially oriented cracking, the H* analysis, documented in section 4 of this enclosure, defines a length of degradation free expanded tubing that provides the necessary resistance to tube pullout due to the pressure induced forces, with applicable safety factors applied. Application of the limited hot and cold leg tubesheet inspection criteria will preclude unacceptable primary-to-secondary leakage during all plant conditions. The methodology for determining leakage provides for large margins between calculated and actual leakage values in the proposed limited tubesheet inspection depth criteria.

Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant reduction in any 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 by June 25, 2012 will be considered in making any final determination. You may submit comments using any of the methods discussed in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

Normally, the Commission will not issue the amendment until the expiration of days after the date of publication of this notice. The Commission may issue the license amendment before expiration of the 60-day period provided that its final determination is that the amendment involves no significant hazards consideration. In addition, the Commission may issue the amendment prior to the expiration of the 30-day comment period should circumstances change during the 30-day comment period such that failure to act in a timely way would result, for example, in derating or shutdown of the facility. Should the Commission take action prior to the expiration of either the comment period or the notice period, it will publish in the Federal Register a notice of issuance. Should the Commission make a final No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination; any hearing will take place after issuance. The Commission expects that the need to take this action will occur very infrequently.

III. Opportunity To Request a Hearing; Petition for Leave To Intervene Back to Top

Requirements for hearing requests and petitions for leave to intervene are found in 10 CFR 2.309, “Hearing Requests, Petitions to Intervene, Requirements for Standing, and Contentions.” Interested persons should consult 10 CFR part 2, Section 2.309, which is available at the NRC's PDR, located at O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852 (or call the PDR at 1-800-397-4209 or 301-415-4737). The NRC's regulations are accessible electronically from the NRC Library on the NRC's Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/.

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 petition for leave to intervene. As required by 10 CFR 2.309, a petition for leave to intervene shall set forth with particularity the interest of the requestor/petitioner in the proceeding and how that interest may be affected by the results of the proceeding. The petition must provide the name, address, and telephone number of the requestor or petitioner and specifically explain the reasons why the intervention should be permitted with particular reference to the following factors: (1) The nature of the requestor's/petitioner's right under the Act to be made a party to the proceeding; (2) the nature and extent of the requestor's/petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding; and (3) the possible effect of any decision or order which may be entered in the proceeding on the requestor's/petitioner's interest. The petition must also identify the specific contentions which the requestor/petitioner seeks to have litigated at the proceeding.

A petition for leave to intervene must also include a specification of the contentions that the petitioner seeks to have litigated in the hearing. For each contention, the requestor/petitioner must provide a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted, as well as a brief explanation of the basis for the contention. Additionally, the requestor/petitioner must demonstrate that the issue raised by each contention is within the scope of the proceeding and is material to the findings the NRC must make to support the granting of a license amendment in response to the application. The petition must include a concise statement of the alleged facts or expert opinions which support the position of the requestor/petitioner and on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely at hearing, together with references to the specific sources and documents on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely. Finally, the petition must provide sufficient information to show that a genuine dispute exists with the applicant on a material issue of law or fact, including references to specific portions of the application for amendment that the requestor/petitioner disputes and the supporting reasons for each dispute, or, if the requestor/petitioner believes that the application for amendment fails to contain information on a relevant matter as required by law, the identification of each failure and the supporting reasons for the requestor's/petitioner's belief. Each contention must be one which, if proven, would entitle the requestor/petitioner to relief.

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 with respect to resolution of that person's admitted contentions, including the opportunity to present evidence and to submit a cross-examination plan for cross-examination of witnesses, consistent with NRC regulations, policies, and procedures. The Licensing Board will set the time and place for any prehearing conferences and evidentiary hearings, and the appropriate notices will be provided.

Non-timely petitions for leave to intervene and contentions, amended petitions, and supplemental petitions will not be entertained absent a determination by the Commission, the Licensing Board or a Presiding Officer that the petition should be granted and/or the contentions should be admitted based upon a balancing of the factors specified in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i)-(viii).

A State, county, municipality, Federally-recognized Indian tribe, or agencies thereof, may submit a petition to the Commission to participate as a party under 10 CFR 2.309(d)(2). The petition should state the nature and extent of the petitioner's interest in the proceeding. The petition should be submitted to the Commission by July 24, 2012. The petition must be filed in accordance with the filing instructions in Section IV of this document, and should meet the requirements for petitions for leave to intervene set forth in this section, except that State and Federally-recognized Indian tribes do not need to address the standing requirements in 10 CFR 2.309(d)(1) if the facility is located within its boundaries. The entities listed above could also seek to participate in a hearing as a nonparty pursuant to 10 CFR 2.315(c).

Any person who does not wish, or is not qualified, to become a party to this proceeding may request permission to make a limited appearance pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.315(a). A person making a limited appearance may make an oral or written statement of position on the issues, but may not otherwise participate in the proceeding. A limited appearance may be made at any session of the hearing or at any prehearing conference, subject to such limits and conditions as may be imposed by the Licensing Board. Persons desiring to make a limited appearance are requested to inform the Secretary of the Commission by July 24, 2012.

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.

IV. Electronic Submissions (E-Filing) Back to Top

All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with the NRC E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139, August 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve all adjudicatory documents over the Internet, or in some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in accordance with the procedures described below.

To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 10 days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the Office of the Secretary by email at hearing.docket@nrc.gov, or by telephone at 301-415-1677, to request (1) a digital identification (ID) certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or representative) to digitally sign documents and access the E-Submittal server for any proceeding in which it is participating; and (2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a request or petition for hearing (even in instances in which the participant, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding if the Secretary has not already established an electronic docket.

Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/apply-certificates.html. System requirements for accessing the E-Submittal server are detailed in NRC's “Guidance for Electronic Submission,” which is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants may attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but should note that the NRC's E-Filing system does not support unlisted software, and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer assistance in using unlisted software.

If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the document using the NRC's online, Web-based submission form. In order to serve documents through the Electronic Information Exchange System, users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC's Web site. Further information on the Web-based submission form, including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.

Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant can then submit a request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the documents are submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access to the document to the NRC Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request/petition to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the document via the E-Filing system.

A person filing electronically using the agency's adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC Meta System Help Desk through the “Contact Us” link located on the NRC's Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by email at MSHD.Resource@nrc.gov, or by a toll-free call at 1-866-672-7640. The NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.

Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) first-class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a document in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the provider of the service. A presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists.

Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at http://ehd1.nrc.gov/EHD/, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the Commission, or the presiding officer. Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, or home phone numbers in their filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of such information. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submission.

Petitions for leave to intervene must be filed no later than 60 days from May 25, 2012. Non-timely filings will not be entertained absent a determination by the presiding officer that the petition or request should be granted or the contentions should be admitted, based on a balancing of the factors specified in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i)-(viii).

Attorney for licensee: Arthur H. Domby, Esq., Troutman Sanders, Nations Bank Plaza, 600 Peachtree Street NE., Suite 5200, Birmingham, AL 35201.

Order Imposing Procedures for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information for Contention Preparation Back to Top

A. This Order contains instructions regarding how potential parties to this proceeding may request access to documents containing Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information (SUNSI).

B. Within 10 days after publication of this notice of hearing and opportunity to petition for leave to intervene, any potential party who believes access to SUNSI is necessary to respond to this notice may request such access. A “potential party” is any person who intends to participate as a party by demonstrating standing and filing an admissible contention under 10 CFR 2.309. Requests for access to SUNSI submitted later than 10 days after publication will not be considered absent a showing of good cause for the late filing, addressing why the request could not have been filed earlier.

C. The requestor shall submit a letter requesting permission to access SUNSI to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff, and provide a copy to the Associate General Counsel for Hearings, Enforcement and Administration, Office of the General Counsel, Washington, DC 20555-0001. The expedited delivery or courier mail address for both offices is: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. The email address for the Office of the Secretary and the Office of the General Counsel are hearing.docket@nrc.gov and OGCmailcenter@nrc.gov, respectively. [1] The request must include the following information:

(1) A description of the licensing action with a citation to this Federal Register notice;

(2) The name and address of the potential party and a description of the potential party's particularized interest that could be harmed by the action identified in C.(1); and

(3) The identity of the individual or entity requesting access to SUNSI and the requestor's basis for the need for the information in order to meaningfully participate in this adjudicatory proceeding. In particular, the request must explain why publicly available versions of the information requested would not be sufficient to provide the basis and specificity for a proffered contention.

D. Based on an evaluation of the information submitted under paragraph C.(3) the NRC staff will determine within 10 days of receipt of the request whether:

(1) There is a reasonable basis to believe the petitioner is likely to establish standing to participate in this NRC proceeding; and

(2) The requestor has established a legitimate need for access to SUNSI.

E. If the NRC staff determines that the requestor satisfies both D.(1) and D.(2) above, the NRC staff will notify the requestor in writing that access to SUNSI has been granted. The written notification will contain instructions on how the requestor may obtain copies of the requested documents, and any other conditions that may apply to access to those documents. These conditions may include, but are not limited to, the signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement or Affidavit, or Protective Order [2] setting forth terms and conditions to prevent the unauthorized or inadvertent disclosure of SUNSI by each individual who will be granted access to SUNSI.

F. Filing of Contentions. Any contentions in these proceedings that are based upon the information received as a result of the request made for SUNSI must be filed by the requestor no later than 25 days after the requestor is granted access to that information. However, if more than 25 days remain between the date the petitioner is granted access to the information and the deadline for filing all other contentions (as established in the notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing), the petitioner may file its SUNSI contentions by that later deadline.

G. Review of Denials of Access.

(1) If the request for access to SUNSI is denied by the NRC staff after a determination on standing and need for access, the NRC staff shall immediately notify the requestor in writing, briefly stating the reason or reasons for the denial.

(2) The requestor may challenge the NRC staff's adverse determination by filing a challenge within 5 days of receipt of that determination with: (a) The presiding officer designated in this proceeding; (b) if no presiding officer has been appointed, the Chief Administrative Judge, or if he or she is unavailable, another administrative judge, or an administrative law judge with jurisdiction pursuant to 10 CFR 2.318(a); or (c) if another officer has been designated to rule on information access issues, with that officer.

H. Review of Grants of Access. A party other than the requestor may challenge an NRC staff determination granting access to SUNSI whose release would harm that party's interest independent of the proceeding. Such a challenge must be filed with the Chief Administrative Judge within 5 days of the notification by the NRC staff of its grant of access.

If challenges to the NRC staff determinations are filed, these procedures give way to the normal process for litigating disputes concerning access to information. The availability of interlocutory review by the Commission of orders ruling on such NRC staff determinations (whether granting or denying access) is governed by 10 CFR 2.311. [3]

I. The Commission expects that the NRC staff and presiding officers (and any other reviewing officers) will consider and resolve requests for access to SUNSI, and motions for protective orders, in a timely fashion in order to minimize any unnecessary delays in identifying those petitioners who have standing and who have propounded contentions meeting the specificity and basis requirements in 10 CFR part 2. Attachment 1 to this Order summarizes the general target schedule for processing and resolving requests under these procedures.

It is so ordered.

Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of May 2012.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Annette L. Vietti-Cook,

Secretary of the Commission.

ATTACHMENT 1—General Target Schedule for Processing and Resolving Requests for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information in This Proceeding Back to Top

Day Event/activity
0 Publication of Federal Register notice of hearing and opportunity to petition for leave to intervene, including order with instructions for access requests.
10 Deadline for submitting requests for access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information (SUNSI) with information: supporting the standing of a potential party identified by name and address; describing the need for the information in order for the potential party to participate meaningfully in an adjudicatory proceeding.
60 Deadline for submitting petition for intervention containing: (i) Demonstration of standing; (ii) all contentions whose formulation does not require access to SUNSI (+25 Answers to petition for intervention; +7 requestor/petitioner reply).
20 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff informs the requestor of the staff's determination whether the request for access provides a reasonable basis to believe standing can be established and shows need for SUNSI. (NRC staff also informs any party to the proceeding whose interest independent of the proceeding would be harmed by the release of the information.) If NRC staff makes the finding of need for SUNSI and likelihood of standing, NRC staff begins document processing (preparation of redactions or review of redacted documents).
25 If NRC staff finds no “need” or no likelihood of standing, the deadline for requestor/petitioner to file a motion seeking a ruling to reverse the NRC staff's denial of access; NRC staff files copy of access determination with the presiding officer (or Chief Administrative Judge or other designated officer, as appropriate). If NRC staff finds “need” for SUNSI, the deadline for any party to the proceeding whose interest independent of the proceeding would be harmed by the release of the information to file a motion seeking a ruling to reverse the NRC staff's grant of access.
30 Deadline for NRC staff reply to motions to reverse NRC staff determination(s).
40 (Receipt +30) If NRC staff finds standing and need for SUNSI, deadline for NRC staff to complete information processing and file motion for Protective Order and draft Non-Disclosure Affidavit. Deadline for applicant/licensee to file Non-Disclosure Agreement for SUNSI.
A If access granted: Issuance of presiding officer or other designated officer decision on motion for protective order for access to sensitive information (including schedule for providing access and submission of contentions) or decision reversing a final adverse determination by the NRC staff.
A + 3 Deadline for filing executed Non-Disclosure Affidavits. Access provided to SUNSI consistent with decision issuing the protective order.
A + 28 Deadline for submission of contentions whose development depends upon access to SUNSI. However, if more than 25 days remain between the petitioner's receipt of (or access to) the information and the deadline for filing all other contentions (as established in the notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing), the petitioner may file its SUNSI contentions by that later deadline.
A + 53 (Contention receipt +25) Answers to contentions whose development depends upon access to SUNSI.
A + 60 (Answer receipt +7) Petitioner/Intervenor reply to answers.
>A + 60 Decision on contention admission.

[FR Doc. 2012-12758 Filed 5-24-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P

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1. While a request for hearing or petition to intervene in this proceeding must comply with the filing requirements of the NRC's “E-Filing Rule,” the initial request to access SUNSI under these procedures should be submitted as described in this paragraph.

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2. Any motion for Protective Order or draft Non-Disclosure Affidavit or Agreement for SUNSI must be filed with the presiding officer or the Chief Administrative Judge if the presiding officer has not yet been designated, within 30 days of the deadline for the receipt of the written access request.

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3. Requestors should note that the filing requirements of the NRC's E-Filing Rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007) apply to appeals of NRC staff determinations (because they must be served on a presiding officer or the Commission, as applicable), but not to the initial SUNSI request submitted to the NRC staff under these procedures.

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