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Northern States Power Company Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2, and Prairie Island Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation; Notice of Consideration of Approval of Transfer of Facility Operating Licenses and Materials License and Conforming Amendment, and Opportunity for a Hearing

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is considering the issuance of an order under 10 CFR 50.80 and 10 CFR 72.50 approving the transfer of Facility Operating Licenses Nos. DPR-42 and DPR-60 for the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2, and Materials License No. SNM-2506 for the Prairie Island Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) currently held by Northern States Power Company (NSP), as owner and licensed operator of Prairie Island, Units 1 and 2, and Prairie Island ISFSI. The transfer would be to a newly formed company (referred to herein as “New NSP”). The Commission is also considering amending the licenses for administrative purposes to reflect the proposed transfer.

By application dated October 29, 1999, the Commission was informed that Northern States Power Company entered into an agreement on March 24, 1999, to merge with New Century Energies, Inc. (NCE). Under the agreement, NCE will be merged with and into NSP, which will be renamed Xcel Energy, Inc. At the time of the merger, NSP will transfer all of its existing electric and natural gas utility facilities and responsibility and control over operations to New NSP. New NSP would assume title to the facilities following approval of the proposed license transfers, and would become responsible for the operation, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning of Prairie Island, Units 1 and 2, and Prairie Island ISFSI. No physical changes to the Prairie Island, Units 1 and 2, or Prairie Island ISFSI facilities or operational changes other than the transfer of operating authority to New NSP are being proposed in the application.

The proposed amendment would add a footnote to the licenses to reflect their transfer from NSP to the newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary.

Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.80 and 10 CFR 72.50, no license, or any right thereunder, shall be transferred, directly or indirectly, through transfer of control of the license, unless the Commission shall give its consent in writing. The Commission will approve an application for the transfer of a license, if the Commission determines that the proposed transferee is qualified to hold the license, and that the transfer is otherwise consistent with applicable provisions of law, regulations, and orders issued by the Commission pursuant thereto.

Before issuance of the proposed conforming 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.

As provided in 10 CFR 2.1315, unless otherwise determined by the Commission with regard to a specific application, the Commission has determined that any amendment to the license of a utilization facility or the license of an independent spent fuel storage installation which does no more than conform the license to reflect the transfer action, involves respectively, “no significant hazards consideration” or “no genuine issue as to whether the health and safety of the public will be significantly affected.” No contrary determination has been made with respect to this specific license amendment application. In light of the generic determinations reflected in 10 CFR 2.1315, no public comments with respect to significant hazards considerations are being solicited, notwithstanding the general comment procedures contained in 10 CFR 50.91.

The filing of requests for hearing and petitions for leave to intervene, and written comments with regard to the license transfer application, are discussed below.

By March 1, 2000, any person whose interest may be affected by the Commission's action on the application may request a hearing, and, if not the applicants, may petition for leave to intervene in a hearing proceeding on the Commission's action. Requests for a hearing and petitions for leave to intervene should be filed in accordance with the Commission's rules of practice set forth in Subpart M, “Public Notification, Availability of Documents and Records, Hearing Requests and Procedures for Hearings on License Transfer Applications,” of 10 CFR Part 2. In particular, such requests and petitions must comply with the requirements set forth in 10 CFR 2.1306, and should address the considerations contained in 10 CFR 2.1308(a). Untimely requests and petitions may be denied, as provided in 10 CFR 2.1308(b), unless good cause for failure to file on time is established. In Start Printed Page 6643addition, an untimely request or petition should address the factors that the Commission will also consider, in reviewing untimely requests or petitions, set forth in 10 CFR 2.1308(b)(1)-(2).

Requests for a hearing and petitions for leave to intervene should be served upon Jay Silberg, Esq., counsel for NSP, at Shaw, Pittman, Potts, and Trowbridge, 2300 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037 (tel: 202-663-8063; fax: 202-663-8007; e-mail:; and the General Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555 (e-mail address for filings regarding license transfer cases only:; and the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.1313.

The Commission will issue a notice or order granting or denying a hearing request or intervention petition, designating the issues for any hearing that will be held and designating the Presiding Officer. A notice granting a hearing will be published in the Federal Register and served on the parties to the hearing.

As an alternative to requests for hearing and petitions to intervene, by March 13, 2000, persons may submit written comments regarding the license transfer application, as provided for in 10 CFR 2.1305. The Commission will consider and, if appropriate, respond to these comments, but such comments will not otherwise constitute part of the decisional record. Comments should be submitted to the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff, and should cite the publication date and page number of this Federal Register notice.

For further details with respect to this action, see the application dated October 29, 1999, 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(

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 7th day of February 2000.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Claudia M. Craig,

Chief, Section Project Directorate III, Division of Licensing Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

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[FR Doc. 00-3097 Filed 2-9-00; 8:45 am]