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Notice

Northeast Nuclear Energy Company; Notice of Consideration of Issuance of Amendment to Facility Operating License, Proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, and Opportunity for a Hearing

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-49 issued to Northeast Nuclear Energy Company for operation of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station, Unit No. 3 (Millstone 3) located in New London County, Connecticut.

The proposed amendment request dated February 1, 2000, would revise limiting conditions for operation (LCOs) 3.0.1 and 3.0.2 and add LCO 3.0.5 to the Technical Specifications (TSs) for Millstone 3. LCO 3.0.5 establishes allowances for restoring equipment to service under administrative controls when the equipment has been removed from service or declared inoperable to comply with actions in the TS. LCOs 3.0.1 and 3.0.2 would be revised by adding an exception that states “except as provided in Specification 3.0.5.” The Bases to the TS would also be changed.

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 Start Printed Page 11093significant 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 amendment does not] involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

The addition of Technical Specification 3.0.5 allows restoration of equipment to service under administrative controls when it has been removed from service or declared inoperable to comply with action requirements [of the TS]. The potential impact of temporarily returning the equipment to service is considered to be insignificant since the equipment has been restored to a condition which is expected to provide the required safety function. As stated in Generic Letter 87-09, “The vast majority of surveillances do in fact demonstrate that systems or components are operable.” Also, returning the equipment to service for testing will promote timely restoration of the equipment and reduce the probability of events that may have been prevented or mitigated by such operable equipment. Therefore, the proposed changes do not involve a significant increase in the probability of an accident previously evaluated.

Since the equipment to be restored is already out of service, the availability of the equipment has been previously considered in the evaluation of consequences of an accident. Temporarily returning the equipment to service in a state [in] which [the equipment] is expected to function as required to mitigate the consequences of a previously analyzed accident will promote timely restoration of the equipment and restore the capabilities of the equipment to mitigate the consequences of any events previously analyzed. Therefore, the proposed changes do not involve a significant increase in the consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

2. [The proposed amendment does not] create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any previously evaluated.

The proposed changes do not introduce a new mode of plant operation and do not involve [a] physical modification to the plant. Operation with the inoperable equipment temporarily restored to service is not considered a new mode of operation since existing procedures and administrative controls prevent the restoration of equipment to service until it is considered capable of providing the required safety functions.

Performance of the surveillance is considered to be a confirmatory check of that capability which demonstrates that the equipment is indeed operable in the majority of the cases. For those times when equipment which may be temporarily returned to service under administrative controls is subsequently determined to be inoperable the resulting condition is comparable to the equipment having been determined to be inoperable during operation, with continued operation for a specified time allowed to complete required actions. Since this condition has been previously evaluated in the development of the current Technical Specifications, the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated is not created.

3. [The proposed amendment does not] involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

Temporarily returning [previously declared] inoperable equipment to service for the purpose of confirming operability, places the plant in a condition which has been previously evaluated and determined to be acceptable for short periods. Additionally, the equipment has been determined to be in a condition which provides the previously determined margin of safety. The performance of the surveillance simply confirms the expected result and capability of the equipment. Therefore, the proposed changes do not involve a significant reduction in a 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 March 31, 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 from the ADAMS Public Library component on the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov (the Electronic Reading Room). 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 Start Printed Page 11094subject 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 Lillian M. Cuoco, Esq., Senior Nuclear Counsel, Northeast Utilities Service Company, P.O. Box 270, Hartford, Connecticut, 06141-0270, attorney for the licensee.

Nontimely 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 February 1, 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 from the ADAMS Public Electronic Reading Room link at the NRC Web site (http://www.nrc.gov).

Start Signature

Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of February 2000.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

James W. Clifford,

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

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 00-4884 Filed 2-29-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P