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Notice

Entergy Operations, Inc., System Energy Resources, Inc., South Mississippi Electric Power Association, and Entergy Mississippi, Inc.; 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 No. NPF-29 issued to Entergy Operations, Inc., System Energy Resources, Inc., South Mississippi Electric Power Association, and Entergy Mississippi, Inc. (Entergy) for operation of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Unit 1 (GGNS), located in Claiborne County, Mississippi.

By letter dated December 5, 2003, Entergy submitted a revised application for amendment to GGNS Technical Specification (TS) 3.3.6.1, “Primary Containment and Drywell Isolation Instrumentation,” to add a provision to the applicability function that will eliminate the requirement that the Residual Heat Removal (RHR) System Isolation, Reactor Vessel Water Level-Low, Level 3, be operable under certain conditions during refueling outages. Specifically, the proposed change requested in the original application dated May 12, 2003, would remove the requirement for this isolation function, specified in Table 3.3.6.1-1, when the upper containment reactor cavity is at the High Water Level (HWL) condition specified in TS 3.5.2, “Emergency Core Cooling Systems (ECCS) Shutdown.” The revised application adds a new surveillance requirement (SR) (SR 3.3.6.1.9) to verify the water level in the upper containment pool is ≥ 22 feet 8 inches above the reactor pressure vessel flange every four hours, and adds a footnote to Table 3.3.6.1-1, Item 5.b, for MODE 5 that states that the function is not required when the upper containment reactor cavity and transfer canal gates are removed and SR 3.3.6.1.9 is met. The proposed SR and footnote are only applicable in MODE 5. The May 12, 2003, application was previously noticed in the Federal Register on June 10, 2003 (68 FR 34665).

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 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), 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?

Response: No.

The proposed change revises the applicability requirement for the Residual Heat Removal (RHR) System Isolation function of the Primary Containment and Drywell Isolation Instrumentation during MODE 5 and adds a surveillance requirement that is invoked when specific conditions exist. The proposed surveillance requirement only enhances the ability of operating personnel to detect inventory loss associated with a draindown event. The change removes the requirement that the instrumentation be operable during certain conditions (high water level) during refueling outages. The isolation function is intended to mitigate reactor vessel draindown events by isolating the residual heat removal flow path at low reactor water level. Although draindown events during refueling operations are not specifically evaluated in the Updated Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR), these events were evaluated in support of licensing actions for the Alternate Decay Heat Removal System. An additional evaluation supporting this change established that the RHR system automatic isolation was not needed to mitigate a draindown event given the possible drain paths and the time available for operators to terminate the draindown event. The probability that a draindown event will be initiated is unrelated to operability requirement for this Start Printed Page 69727instrumentation, the associated isolation valves or the proposed surveillance. The evaluation determined that mitigating actions can be taken to identify and terminate all postulated draindown events prior to fuel uncovery. As a result, the probability of draindown events causing fuel uncovery and the potential for radiological releases has not significantly increased. The operation or failure of the shutdown cooling suction isolation does not contribute to the occurrence of an accident. No active or passive failure mechanisms that could lead to an accident are affected by the proposed change.

The consequences of a vessel drainage event are not significantly increased by the proposed change. Entergy has evaluated various draindown and pumpdown events through the shutdown cooling flow path and determined that adequate time is available for operations personnel to identify and take action to mitigate such events such that adequate core cooling is maintained and a radiological release does not occur.

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?

Response: No.

Entergy has evaluated various draindown events through the shutdown cooling flow path and determined that adequate time is available for operations personnel to identify and take action to mitigate any events such that adequate core cooling is maintained. The proposed surveillance requirement only enhances the ability of operating personnel to detect inventory loss associated with a draindown event. With the containment refueling cavity flooded, sufficient inventory is available to allow operator action to terminate the inventory loss prior to reaching a low water level in the reactor. Installed equipment is not operated in a new or different manner; no new or different system interactions are created, and no new processes are introduced. No new failures have been created by the proposed changes.

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

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

Response: No.

The proposed changes do not introduce any new setpoints at which protective or mitigative actions are initiated. No current setpoints are altered by this change. The design and functioning of the containment and drywell isolation function is also unchanged. The change simply modifies the applicability of the TS by removing the requirement that the RHR system isolation on low reactor vessel level be operable with the upper containment cavity flooded in MODE 5. During MODE 5, the RHR system isolation mitigates postulated draindown events through the RHR system. The proposed surveillance requirement only enhances the ability of operating personnel to detect inventory loss associated with a draindown event and does not impact a margin of safety. Entergy has evaluated various draindown events through this flow path and determined that adequate time is available for operations personnel to identify and take action to mitigate such events such that adequate core cooling is maintained.

Therefore, 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 30 days after the date of publication of this notice will be considered in making any final determination.

This notification is based on the revised license amendment request dated December 5, 2003, and supercedes the original notification based on the request dated May 12, 2003, published in the Federal Register on June 10, 2003 (68 FR 34665).

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. Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room, located at One White Flint North, Public File Area O1 F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland.

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

By January 14, 2004, 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, 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, 301-415-4737, 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 Start Printed Page 69728leave 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 (PDR), located at One White Flint North, Public File Area O1F21, 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 [insert attorney name and address], 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 12, 2003, as supplemented by letter dated December 5, 2003, which is available for public inspection at the Commission's PDR, located at One White Flint North, File Public Area O1F21, 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.

Start Signature

Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 10th day of December, 2003.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Bhalchandra K. Vaidya,

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

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 03-30961 Filed 12-12-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P