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Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Notice of Consideration of Issuance of Amendments to Facility Operating License, Proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, and Opportunity for a Hearing

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating Licenses Nos. NPR-39 and NPF-85 issued to Exelon Generation Company, LLC (the licensee) for operation of the Limerick Generating Station (LGS), Units 1 and 2, located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

The proposed amendment would modify technical specification (TS) requirements for a missed surveillance through revision of Specifications 4.0.1 and 4.0.3. The delay period would be extended from the current limit of “* * * up to 24 hours to permit the completion of the surveillance when the allowable outage time limits of the ACTION requirements are less than 24 hours” to “* * * up to 24 hours or up to the limit of the specified Surveillance time interval, whichever is greater.” In addition, the following requirement would be added to Surveillance Requirement 4.0.3: “A risk evaluation shall be performed for any Surveillance delayed greater than 24 hours and the risk impact shall be managed.” The proposed revision would also add a TS Bases Control Program to the LGS TS.

The NRC staff issued a notice of opportunity for comment in the Federal Register on June 14, 2001 (66 FR 32400), on possible amendments concerning missed surveillances, including a model safety evaluation and model no significant hazards consideration (NSHC) determination, using the consolidated line item improvement process (CLIIP). The NRC staff subsequently issued a notice of availability of the models for referencing in license amendment applications in the Federal Register on September 28, 2001 (66 FR 49714). The licensee affirmed the applicability of the model NSHC determination for amendments concerning missed surveillances in its application dated May 14, 2002.

Additionally, two administrative changes are proposed. The first deletes the position of “Sr. Manager—Operations” and replaces it using an overall statement referencing the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/American Nuclear Society (ANS) standard 3.1-1978 for “Operations Manager”. The second administrative change revises the LGS TS requirement for Plant Operations Review Committee (PORC) member composition replacing “Experience Assessment” with “Regulatory Assurance” to reflect the licensee's organizational changes. The licensee provided its analysis of the issue of NSHC for these proposed changes in its application.

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 NSHC. Under the Commission's regulations in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), Section 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), an analysis of the issue of NSHC is presented below:

Criterion 1—The Proposed Change Does Not Involve a Significant Increase in the Probability or Consequences of an Accident Previously Evaluated

[Missed Surveillance]

The proposed change relaxes the time allowed to perform a missed surveillance. The time between surveillances is not an initiator of any accident previously evaluated. Consequently, the probability of an accident previously evaluated is not significantly increased. The equipment being tested is still required to be operable and capable of performing the accident mitigation functions assumed in the accident analysis. As a result, the consequences of any accident previously evaluated are not significantly affected. Any reduction in confidence that a standby system might fail to perform its safety function due to a missed surveillance is small and would not, in the absence of other unrelated failures, lead to an increase in consequences beyond those estimated by existing analyses. The addition of a requirement to assess and manage the risk introduced by the missed surveillance will further minimize possible concerns. Therefore, this change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

[Administrative Changes]

The proposed TS and licensing basis changes are administrative changes to eliminate obsolete position and work group titles and incorporate the equivalent titles in use by EGC at other fleet nuclear facilities.

These changes do not involve any physical change to structures, systems, or components (SSCs) and does not alter the method of operation or control of SSCs. The current assumptions in the safety analysis regarding accident initiators and mitigation of accidents are unaffected by these administrative changes. No additional failure modes or mechanisms are being introduced and the likelihood of previously analyzed failures remains unchanged.

The integrity of fission product barriers, plant configuration, and operating procedures will not be affected by these changes. Therefore, the consequences of previously analyzed accidents will not increase because of these changes.

Based on the above discussion, the proposed TS changes do not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

Criterion 2—The Proposed Change Does Not Create the Possibility of a New or Different Kind of Accident From Any Previously Evaluated

[Missed Surveillance]

The proposed change does not involve a physical alteration of the plant (no new or different type of equipment will be installed) or a change in the methods governing normal plant operation. A missed surveillance will not, in and of itself, introduce new failure modes or effects and any increased chance that a standby system might fail to perform its safety function due to a missed surveillance would not, in the absence of other unrelated failures, lead to an accident beyond those previously evaluated. The addition of a requirement to assess and manage the risk introduced by the missed surveillance will further minimize possible concerns. Thus, this change does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

[Administrative Changes]

The proposed TS and licensing basis changes are administrative changes to eliminate obsolete position and work group titles and incorporate the equivalent titles in use by EGC at other fleet nuclear facilities. Start Printed Page 55042

The current accident analysis will remain valid following these administrative changes to TS. The changes will not alter the administrative functions that are currently in use. The qualification requirements for the individuals performing the affected TS administrative functions will remain unchanged.

The proposed TS changes do not affect plant design, hardware, system operation, or procedures; therefore, based on the above discussion, the proposed TS changes do not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

Criterion 3—The Proposed Change Does Not Involve a Significant Reduction in the Margin of Safety

[Missed Surveillance]

The extended time allowed to perform a missed surveillance does not result in a significant reduction in the margin of safety. As supported by the historical data, the likely outcome of any surveillance is verification that the LCO [Limiting Condition for Operation] is met. Failure to perform a surveillance within the prescribed frequency does not cause equipment to become inoperable. The only effect of the additional time allowed to perform a missed surveillance on the margin of safety is the extension of the time until inoperable equipment is discovered to be inoperable by the missed surveillance. However, given the rare occurrence of inoperable equipment, and the rare occurrence of a missed surveillance, a missed surveillance on inoperable equipment would be very unlikely. This must be balanced against the real risk of manipulating the plant equipment or condition to perform the missed surveillance. In addition, parallel trains and alternate equipment are typically available to perform the safety function of the equipment not tested. Thus, there is confidence that the equipment can perform its assumed safety function. Therefore, this change does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

Based upon the reasoning presented above and the previous discussion of the amendment request, the requested change does not involve a significant hazards consideration.

[Administrative Changes]

The proposed TS and licensing basis changes are administrative changes to revise current position titles to reflect equivalent position titles in use by EGC at other fleet nuclear facilities.

The revision of the collective experience of the PORC membership to include Regulatory Assurance experience is equivalent to the current requirement for Experience Assessment experience. The functions of the Regulatory Assurance group remain essentially unchanged due to merger initiatives. The Regulatory Assurance group is the site process owner for the corrective action process (CAP), the self assessment process, the PORC process, the commitment tracking process, the operating experience process, support of NRC inspections and issue closure. Therefore, there is no reduction in PORC member qualification requirements due to this change.

The requirement for the “Operations Manager” to hold a senior reactor operator license is equivalent to the requirement for the Sr. Manager—Operations or an Operations Manager to hold a senior reactor operator license.

Based on the above discussion, the proposed TS changes do not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's incorporation by reference of the analysis for missed surveillances which is part of the CLIIP, and the licensee's analysis of the administrative changes. 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 NSHC.

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 NSHC. 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. 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 September 26, 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,[1] which is available at the Commission's Public Document Room, located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland, or electronically on the Internet at the NRC Web site http://www.nrc.gov/​reading-rm/​doc-collections/​cfr/​. If there are problems in accessing the document, contact the Public Document Room Reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-Start Printed Page 55043415-4737, or by e-mail to pdr@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 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 a hearing is requested, the Commission will make a final determination on the issue of NSHC. The final determination will serve to decide when the hearing is held.

If the final determination is that the amendment request involves NSHC, 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 (PDR), located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland, by the above date. Because of the continuing disruptions in delivery of mail to United States Government offices, it is requested that petitions for leave to intervene and requests for hearing be transmitted to the Secretary of the Commission either by means of facsimile transmission to 301-415-1101 or by e-mail to hearingdocket@nrc.gov. A copy of the petition for leave to intervene and request for hearing should also be sent to the Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, and because of continuing disruptions in delivery of mail to United States Government offices, it is requested that copies be transmitted either by means of facsimile transmission to 301-415-3725 or by e-mail to OGCMailCenter@nrc.gov. A copy of the request for hearing and petition for leave to intervene should also be sent to Mr. Edward Cullen, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Exelon Generation Company, LLC, 300 Exelon Way, Kennett Square, PA 19348, 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 May 14, 2002, which is available for public inspection at the Commission's PDR, located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be accessible from the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System's (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.

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of August 2002.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

John P. Boska,

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

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Footnotes

1.  The most recent version of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, published January 1, 2002, inadvertently omitted the last sentence of 10 CFR 2.714(d) and subparagraphs (d)(1) and (2), regarding petitions to intervene and contentions. Those provisions are extant and still applicable to petitions to intervene. Those provisions are as follows: “In all other circumstances, such ruling body or officer shall, in ruling on—(1) A petition for leave to intervene or a request for hearing, consider the following factors, among other things:

(i) The nature of the petitioner's right under the Act to be made a party to the proceeding.

(ii) The nature and extent of the petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding.

(iii) The possible effect of any order that may be entered in the proceeding on the petitioner's interest.

(2) The admissibility of a contention, refuse to admit a contention if:

(i) The contention and supporting material fail to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (b)(2) of this section; or

(ii) The contention, if proven, would be of no consequence in the proceeding because it would not entitle petitioner to relief.”

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[FR Doc. 02-21749 Filed 8-26-02; 8:45 am]

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