The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Commission) is considering an application dated December 15, 2003, for a materials license under the provisions of 10 CFR part 72, from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (the applicant or PG&E) to possess spent fuel and other radioactive materials associated with spent fuel in an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) located on the site of the Humboldt Bay Power Plant (HBPP). Start Printed Page 6702If granted, the license will authorize the applicant to store spent fuel from HBPP in a dry storage cask system at the ISFSI which the applicant proposes to construct and operate on the site of HBPP. This application was docketed under 10 CFR part 72; the ISFSI Docket No. is 72-27. The HBPP ISFSI will be located in Humboldt County, California. If granted, the license will authorize the applicant to store spent fuel for a term of twenty (20) years.
Prior to issuance of the requested license, the NRC will have made the findings required by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), and by the NRC's rules and regulations. The issuance of the materials license will not be approved until the NRC has reviewed the application and has concluded that issuance of the license will not be inimical to the common defense and security and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of the public. The NRC will complete an environmental evaluation, in accordance with 10 CFR part 51, to determine if the preparation of an environmental impact statement is warranted or if an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are appropriate. This action will be the subject of a subsequent notice in the Federal Register.
Pursuant to 10 CFR 2.105, within thirty (30) days from the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register, the applicant may file a request for a hearing; 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 with respect to the subject materials license in accordance with the provisions of 10 CFR 2.714. If a request for 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. In the event that no request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene is filed by the above date, the NRC may, upon satisfactory completion of all required evaluations, issue the materials license without further prior notice.
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 that 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 the 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 a petition, without requesting leave of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, up to fifteen (15) days prior to the holding of the first pre-hearing conference scheduled in the proceeding, but such an amended petition must satisfy the specificity requirements described above.
Not later than fifteen (15) days prior to the first pre-hearing conference scheduled in the proceeding, a petitioner shall file a supplement to the petition to intervene which must include a list of 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 for 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 action 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.
A request for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene must be filed with the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudication Staff or may be delivered to the Commission's Public Document Room, One White Flint North Building, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD, by the above date. Where petitions are filed during the last ten (10) days of the notice period, it is requested that the petitioner promptly so inform the NRC by a toll-free telephone call (800-368-5642 Extension 415-8500) to E. William Brach, Director, Spent Fuel Project Office, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, with the following message: petitioner's name and telephone number; date petition was mailed; plant name; and publication date and page number of this Federal Register notice. A copy of the petition should also be sent to the Assistant General Counsel for Materials Litigation and Enforcement, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, and to Lawrence F. Womack, Vice President, Nuclear Services, Humboldt Bay Power Plant, P.O. Box 56, Avila Beach, California 93424.
Non-timely 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).
The Commission hereby provides notice that this is a proceeding on an application for a license falling within the scope of section 134 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA), 42 U.S.C. 10154. Under section 134 of the NWPA, the Commission, at the request of any party to the proceeding, must use hybrid hearing procedures with respect to “any matter which the Commission determines to be in controversy among the parties.”
The hybrid procedures in section 134 provide for oral argument on matters in controversy, preceded by discovery under the Commission's rules and the designation, following argument, of only those factual issues that involve a genuine and substantial dispute, together with any remaining questions of law, to be resolved in an adjudicatory hearing. Actual adjudicatory hearings are to be held on only those issues found to meet the criteria of section 134 and set for hearing after oral argument.Start Printed Page 6703
The Commission's rules implementing section 134 of the NWPA are found in 10 CFR part 2, subpart K, “Hybrid Hearing Procedures for Expansion of Spent Fuel Storage Capacity at Civilian Nuclear Power Reactors' (published at 50 FR 41662 dated October 15, 1985). Under those rules, any party to the proceeding may invoke the hybrid hearing procedures by filing with the presiding officer a written request for oral argument under 10 CFR 2.1109. To be timely, the request must be filed within ten (10) days of an order granting a request for hearing or petition to intervene. The presiding officer must grant a timely request for oral argument. The presiding officer may grant an untimely request for oral argument only upon a showing of good cause by the requesting party for the failure to file on time and after providing the other parties an opportunity to respond to the untimely request. If the presiding officer grants a request for oral argument, any hearing held on the application must be conducted in accordance with the hybrid hearing procedures. In essence, those procedures limit the time available for discovery and require that an oral argument be held to determine whether any contentions must be resolved in an adjudicatory hearing. If no party to the proceeding requests an oral argument, or if all untimely requests for oral argument are denied, then the proceeding shall be conducted in accordance with 10 CFR part 2, subpart G.
For further details with respect to this application, see the application dated December 15, 2003, which is available for public inspection at the Commission's Public Document Room (PDR), One White Flint North Building, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD or from the publicly available records component of NRC's document system (ADAMS). ADAMS is accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html (the Public Electronic Reading Room). 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.Start Signature
Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of February, 2004.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Stephen C. O'Connor, Sr.
Project Manager, Spent Fuel Project Office, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 04-2934 Filed 2-10-04; 8:45 am]
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