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Notice

Tennessee Valley Authority; 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 Licenses No. DPR-52, issued to the Tennessee Valley Authority (the licensee), for operation of the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 2, located in Limestone County, Alabama.

The proposed amendment would approve a change to the licensee's schedule for withdrawal of the reactor pressure vessel material surveillance capsules. The change would permit the second capsule to remain in the vessel for an operating additional cycle.

The licensee's request cites exigent circumstances for this request. BWRVIP-86, BWR Integrated Surveillance Program Implementation Plan, Final Report was submitted to NRC on December 22, 2000. The December 2000 issuance of BWRVIP-86 revised the Integrated Surveillance Program test program to designate the second Browns Ferry Unit 2 RPV surveillance capsule as a representative capsule. The revised test schedule proposed withdrawal in 2007 to allow for increased fluence which is expected to provide better shift data. Approval of this request prior to March 18, 2001, the beginning of the Unit 2, Cycle 11 refueling outage, is needed to prevent the withdrawal and analysis of the second capsule at an accumulated fluence which is not expected to yield useful results.

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.

Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.91(a)(6) for amendments to be granted under exigent circumstances, the NRC staff must determine 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:

A. The proposed amendment does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

Pressure-temperature (P/T) limits are imposed on the reactor coolant system to ensure that adequate safety margins against nonductile or rapidly propagating failure exist during normal operation, anticipated operational occurrences, and system hydrostatic tests. The P/T limits are related to the nil-ductility reference temperature, RTndt. Changes in the fracture toughness properties of Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) beltline materials, resulting from the neutron irradiation and the thermal environment, are monitored by a surveillance program in compliance with the requirements of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix H. The effect of neutron fluence on the shift in the nil-ductility reference temperature of pressure vessel steel is predicted by methods given in Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.99, Revision 2. The Browns Ferry Unit 2 current P/T limits were established based on adjusted reference temperatures developed in accordance with the procedures prescribed in RG 1.99, Revision 2. Calculation of adjusted reference temperature by these procedures includes a margin term to ensure upper-bound values Start Printed Page 12819are used for the calculation of the P/T limits. Revision of the second capsule withdrawal schedule will not affect the P/T limits, because they will continue to be established in accordance with RG 1.99, Revision 2. This change is not related to any accidents previously evaluated. The proposed change will not affect reactor pressure vessel performance because no physical changes are involved and the RPV vessel P/T limits will remain in accordance with RG 1.99, Revision 2 requirements. The proposed change will not cause the reactor pressure vessel or interfacing safety systems to be operated outside of their design or testing limits. Also, the proposed change will not alter any assumptions previously made in evaluating the radiological consequences of accidents. Therefore, the probability or consequences of accidents previously evaluated will not be increased by the proposed change.

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

The proposed change defers the second RPV material surveillance capsule withdrawal for one fuel cycle. This proposed change does not involve a modification of the design of plant structures, systems, or components. The proposed change will not impact the manner in which the plant is operated as plant operating and testing procedures will not be affected by the change. The proposed change will not degrade the reliability of structures, systems, or components important-to-safety because equipment protection features will not be deleted or modified, equipment redundancy or independence will not be reduced, supporting system performance will not be downgraded, the frequency of operation of equipment important-to-safety will not be increased, and more severe testing of equipment important-to-safety will not be imposed. No new accident types or failure modes will be introduced as a result of the proposed change. Therefore, the proposed change does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from that previously evaluated.

C. The proposed amendment does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

Appendices G to 10 CFR 50 describes the conditions that require P/T limits and provide the general bases for these limits. Until the results from the reactor vessel surveillance program become available, RG 1.99, Revision 2 is used to predict the amount of neutron irradiation damage. The use of operating limits based on these criteria, as defined by applicable regulations, codes, and standards, provide reasonable assurance that nonductile or rapidly propagating failure will not occur. The P/T limits are not derived from Design Basis Accident (DBA) analyses. They are prescribed during normal operation to avoid encountering pressure, temperature, and temperature rate of change conditions that might cause undetected flaws to propagate and cause nonductile failure of the reactor coolant pressure boundary (RCPB). Since the P/T limits are not derived from any DBA, there are no acceptance limits related to the P/T limits. Rather, the P/T limits are acceptance limits themselves since they preclude operation in an unanalyzed condition. The proposed change will not affect any safety limits, limiting safety system settings, or limiting conditions of operation. The proposed change does not represent a change in initial conditions, or in a system response time, or in any other parameter affecting the course of an accident analysis supporting the Bases of any Technical Specification. The proposed change does not involve revision of the P/T limits, but rather a revision of the withdrawal time for the second surveillance capsule. The current P/T limits were established based on adjusted reference temperatures for vessel beltline materials calculated in accordance with RG 1.99, Revision 2. P/T limits will continue to be revised, as necessary, for changes in adjusted reference temperature due to changes in fluence when two or more credible surveillance data sets become available. When two or more credible surveillance data sets become available, P/T limits will be revised as prescribed by RG 1.99, Revision 2, or other NRC-approved guidance. Therefore, the proposed changes do not involve a significant reduction in any margins 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 14 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 14-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 14-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. 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 30, 2001, 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, located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland, 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 a 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 12820subject 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 the amendment is issued before the expiration of the 30-day hearing period, the Commission will make a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration. If a hearing is requested, 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, located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland, 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 General Counsel, Tennessee Valley Authority, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, ET IOH, Knoxville, Tennessee 3790, 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 5, 2001, 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).

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of February 2001.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

William O. Long,

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

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[FR Doc. 01-4858 Filed 2-27-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P