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Notice

Southern California Edison Company; Notice of Consideration of Issuance of Amendment to Facility Operating Licenses, Proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, and Opportunity for a Hearing

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Start Preamble

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is considering issuance of amendments to Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-10 and NPF-15, issued to the Southern California Edison Company (SCE/the licensee), for operation of the San Onofre Generating Station (SONGS), Units 2 and 3 located in San Diego County, California.

The proposed amendment would revise Technical Specification 5.5.2.11.f.1.h, “Steam Generator (SG) Tube Surveillance Program,” to more clearly delineate the scope of the SG Start Printed Page 38151tube inspection required in the tubesheet (TS) region.

Recent conference calls were held between NRC staff members and SCE to discuss the planned SONGS SG tube inspections. During the teleconferences, the NRC staff asked questions on the extent of the tube inspections that were being planned with a rotating probe within the TS region. SCE stated that the extent of its rotating plus point probe inspections in the TS region would cover 5 inches (as a minimum) below the top of the hot leg TS. SCE also stated it will repair or plug on detection any tubes with indications of cracking. The NRC requested that SCE clarify the tube inspection criteria within the TS for this region of the tube. Consequently, SCE is proposing a technical specification change to clarify the extent of the current SONGS technical specification tube inspections. For SONGS Unit 2, the technical specification change is needed by June 12, 2002, to support entry into Mode 4 from the current refueling outage. Therefore, SCE has requested an exigent technical specification change to clarify the SG inspections to be performed so that the plant can be restarted.

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:

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

Southern California Edison (SCE) proposes to modify the San Onofre Units 2 and 3 Technical Specifications to define the SG tube inspection scope. The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS)-specific analysis takes into account the reinforcing effect the TS has on the external surface of an expanded SG tube.

Tube-bundle integrity will not be adversely affected by the implementation of the TEA [tube engagement area] tube inspection scope. SG tube burst or collapse cannot occur within the confines of the TS; therefore, the tube burst and collapse criteria of draft Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.121 are inherently met. Any degradation below the TEA length is shown by analyses and test results to be acceptable, thereby precluding an event with consequences similar to a postulated tube rupture event.

Tube burst is precluded for cracks within the TS by the constraint provided by the TS. Thus, structural integrity is maintained by the TS constraint. However, a 360-degree circumferential crack or many axially oriented cracks could permit severing of the tube and tube pullout from the TS under the axial forces on the tube from primary to secondary pressure differentials. Testing was performed to define the length of non-degraded tubing that is sufficient to compensate for the axial forces on the tube and thus prevent pullout.

In conclusion, incorporation of the TEA inspection scope into San Onofre Units 2 and 3 Technical Specifications maintains existing design limits and does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

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

Tube-bundle integrity is expected to be maintained during all plant conditions upon implementation of the proposed tube inspection scope. Use of this scope does not induce a new mechanism that would result in a different kind of accident from those previously analyzed. Even with the limiting circumstances of a complete circumferential separation of a tube occurring below the TEA length, SG tube pullout is precluded and leakage is predicted to be maintained within the Final Safety Analysis Report limits during all plant conditions. Therefore, a possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated is not created.

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

Upon implementation of the TEA inspection scope, operation with potential cracking below the TEA length in the explansion region of the SG tubing meets the margin of safety as defined by RG 1.121 and RG 1.83 and the requirements of General Design Criteria 14, 15, 31, and 32. Accordingly, the proposed change does 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 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. Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room, located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland.

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

By July 1, 2002, 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 available electronically on the Internet at the NRC Web site http://www.nrc.gov/​reading-rm/​doc-collections/​cfr. If a Start Printed Page 38152request 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 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 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 Douglas K. Porter, Esquire, Southern California Edison Company, 2244 Walnut Grove Avenue, Rosemead, California 91770, 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)(is)-(v) and 2.714(d).

For further details with respect to this action, see the application for amendment dated May 22, 2002, which is available for public inspection at the Commission's Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be accessible electronically from the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Public Electronic Reading Room on the Internet at the NRC Web site http://www.nrc.gov/​reading-rm/​adams.html. Persons who do not have access to ADAMS or who encounter problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, should contact the NRC PDR Reference staff by telephone at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737 or by e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov.

Start Signature

Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of May, 2002.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Alan Wang,

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

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 02-13655 Filed 5-30-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P