Skip to Content

Notice

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

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License No. NPF-81, issued to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, et al. (SNC, the licensee), for operation of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Unit 2, located in Burke County, Georgia.

The proposed amendment would extend the surveillance interval for the Memories Test portion of the ACTUATION LOGIC TEST for: (1) Power Range Block (Switch position 1), (2) Intermediate Range Block (Switch position 2), (3) Source Range Block (Switch positions 3 and 4), (3) Safety Injection (SI) Block, Pressurizer (Switch positions 5 and 6), (4) SI Block, High Steam Pressure Rate (Switch positions 7 and 8), (5) Auto SI Block (Switch position 9), and (6) Feedwater Isolation on P14 or SI (Switch positions 10 and 11). In addition to the functions listed above, the licensee is requesting an extension of the surveillance interval for the portions of the ACTUATION LOGIC TEST for Feedwater Isolation on P14 or SI that pass through the memories circuits and the Power Range block of the Source Range Trip test for the Unit 2 Train B Solid State Protection System to the next refueling outage at the end of Cycle 10 or the next Unit 2 shutdown to MODE 5, whichever comes first.

Because the above-described surveillances will become due multiple times before the end of the current fuel cycle, and the Memories Test Switch is not functioning, the licensee is requesting an exigent Technical Specification change in accordance with 10 CFR 50.91(a)(6) to extend the surveillance interval of the above-described tests. SNC is requesting that the surveillance interval be extended to the end of the current cycle (Cycle 10) or the next Unit 2 shutdown to MODE 5, whichever comes first.

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:

1. Does the proposed change involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

The proposed change does not physically alter any plant structures, systems or components. The SSPS [Solid State Protection System] at VEGP [Votgle Electric Generating Plant] has a history of high reliability. In addition, similar changes to the surveillance interval for actuation logic testing for Westinghouse SSPS actuation logic has been approved by the NRC with their approval of WCAP-15376 and Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) 411. Therefore[,] there will not be a significant increase in the probability of an accident previously evaluated. There will not be a significant increase in the consequences of any accident previously evaluated as a result of this Technical Specification amendment because the incremental condition large early release probability is very small in accordance with the criteria of Regulatory Guide 1.177. Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

2. Does the proposed change create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

The proposed change involves an extension of a previously determined acceptable surveillance interval. The proposed change does not introduce any new equipment, create new failure modes for existing equipment, or create any new limiting single failures. In addition, compensatory actions will be in place which will offset the very small increase in risk. Therefore, the requested Technical Specification amendment does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

3. Does the proposed change involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

The extended surveillance interval for the SSPS ACTUATION LOGIC TEST has been shown to have a very small impact on plant risk using the criteria of Regulatory Guides 1.174 and 1.177. In addition, compensatory actions in place will be in place in the case of a failure of the functions listed above. Therefore, the enforcement discretion does not involve a significant reduction in a margin to 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 Start Printed Page 65093a.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 December 2, 2003, 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 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 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, Public File Area O1F21,11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland, by the above date. Because of 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 request for hearing and petition for leave to intervene 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. Arthur H. Domby, Troutman Sanders, NationsBank Plaza, Suite 5200, 600 Peachtree Street, NE., Atlanta, Georgia 30308-2216, 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 November 4, 2003. The NRC staff has granted on November 4, 2003, and issued in writing on November 6, 2003, a Notice of Enforcement Discretion which is available for public inspection at the Commission's Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White Flint North, Public File Area O1F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be accessible electronically 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 Start Printed Page 65094do 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 10th day of November, 2003.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Frank Rinaldi,

Project Manager, Section 1, Project Directorate II, Division of Licensing Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 03-28750 Filed 11-17-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P