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Notice

Tennessee Valley Authority; 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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Start Preamble

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License No. NPF-90, issued to Tennessee Valley Authority (the licensee), Docket No. 50-390, Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, Unit 1, Rhea County, Tennessee.

The proposed amendment would provide a one-time change to Function 4a, “Reactor Coolant System (RCS) Hot Leg Temperature Indication,” of Technical Specification (TS) Table 3.3.4-1. The proposed amendment would allow Watts Bar Unit 1 to continue operating until the next refueling outage (scheduled for the spring of 2005) with one out of four RCS hot leg temperature indications inoperable in the Auxiliary Control Room.

The reason for the exigency is the unanticipated failure of Temperature Indicator (TI) 1-TI-68-65C that provides indication in the Auxiliary Control Room (ACR) for the hot leg temperature of RCS Loop 4. Upon discovery of this condition, TVA entered Action A of TS 3.3.4. The 30-day allowed outage time for Action A of TS 3.3.4 will expire on November 20, 2004, at approximately 2:27 p.m. e.s.t. Based on the actions taken, the problem most likely exists in the instrumentation (transmitter or thermocouple) located within the Reactor Building's Polar Crane Wall. While the plant is operating, the radiological conditions in this area prohibit access by plant personnel. Therefore, the repairs cannot be safely implemented until the unit is shut down. If the proposed amendment is not granted, TS 3.3.4 would require that plant to be shut down by November 20, 2004, as repairs to the Loop 4 TI cannot be made while operating. The shutdown of the plant would result in an unnecessary operational transient since the indication parameters that remain available in the ACR are adequate to safely shut down the plant should an emergency arise.

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?

No. The proposed TS change to allow operation with only 3 of 4 loop remote shutdown indications for Reactor Coolant System hot leg temperature until the Spring 2005 refueling outage is only applicable to the following conditions:

1. Fire or smoke in the Main Control Room (MCR),

2 An evacuation of the MCR due to some other (non-fire) unspecified reason, and

3. The design basis flood.

The inoperability of the one T(hot) indicator does not change the probability of occurrence for these events since it is not an accident initiator. The T(hot) indicators on the four loops are non-safety related equipment. During safe shutdown for a MCR evacuation event, design basis flood or fire related event, no fuel damage is postulated to occur, nor is the integrity of the reactor coolant pressure boundary or containment barriers postulated to be lost. Sufficient redundancy exists with the operational instrumentation to ensure that decay heat removal functions are not adversely impacted by this change. 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?

No. The proposed TS change does not alter the function of the Remote Shutdown System which is to achieve and maintain safe reactor shutdown from outside the MCR. The TS instrumentation and controls required will be such that sufficient capability is retained for Start Printed Page 64597decay heat removal via the Steam Generators (SGs) to provide the indication required for safe shutdown capabilities. The change will not result in the installation of any new equipment or system. The T(hot) instrument is used for indication only and has no automatic control functions. No new operations procedures will be created by this change. Appropriate operational procedures will be updated to clarify that the Loop 4 T(hot) indication in the Auxiliary Control Room (ACR) is not available during the remainder of Cycle 6. No new operating conditions or modes will be created by this proposed change. 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 margin of safety?

No. The radiological dose consequences are not impacted since this change is only applicable to the following conditions:

1. Fire or smoke in the Main Control Room (MCR),

2 An evacuation of the MCR due to some other (non-fire) unspecified reason, and

3. The design basis flood.

During safe shutdown for a MCR evacuation event, design basis flood or fire related event, no fuel damage is postulated to occur, nor is the integrity of the reactor coolant pressure boundary or containment barriers postulated to be lost. Sufficient redundancy exists with the operational instrumentation to ensure that decay heat removal functions are not adversely impacted by this change. 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 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.

Within 60 days after the date of publication of this notice, 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 2.309, which is available at the Commission's PDR, located at One White Flint North, Public File Area 01F21, 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/​doc-collections/​cfr/​. (Note: Public access to ADAMS has been temporarily suspended so that security reviews of publicly available documents may be performed and potentially sensitive information removed. Please check the NRC Web site for updates on the resumption of ADAMS access.) If a request for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene is filed by the above date, the Commission or a presiding officer designated by the Commission or by the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, will rule on the request and/or petition; and the Secretary or the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will issue a notice of a hearing or an appropriate order.

As required by 10 CFR 2.309, 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 general requirements: (1) The name, address and telephone number of the requestor or petitioner; (2) the nature of the requestor's/petitioner's right under the Act to be made a party to the proceeding; (3) the nature and extent of the requestor's/petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding; and (4) the possible effect of any decision or order which may be entered in the proceeding on the requestor's/petitioner's interest. The petition must also identify the specific contentions which the petitioner/requestor seeks to have litigated at the proceeding.

Each contention must consist of a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted. In addition, the petitioner/requestor 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/requestor must also provide references to those specific sources and documents of which the petitioner/requestor is aware and on which the petitioner/requestor intends to rely to establish those facts or expert opinion. The petitioner/requestor 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/requestor to relief. A petitioner/requestor who fails to satisfy 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.

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 Start Printed Page 64598when 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.

Nontimely requests and/or petitions and contentions will not be entertained absent a determination by the Commission or the presiding officer of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board that the petition, request and/or the contentions should be granted based on a balancing of the factors specified in 10 CFR 2.309(a)(1)(i)-(viii).

A request for a hearing or a petition for leave to intervene must be filed by: (1) First class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; (2) courier, express mail, and expedited delivery services: Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; (3) e-mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, HEARINGDOCKET@NRC.GOV; or (4) facsimile transmission addressed to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff at (301) 415-1101, verification number is (301) 415-1966. 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 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 General Counsel, Tennessee Valley Authority, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, ET 11A, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902, attorney for the licensee.

For further details with respect to this action, see the application for amendment dated October 29, 2004, which is available for public inspection at the Commission's Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White Flint North, Public File Area O1 F21, 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.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 in Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of November 2004.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

James J. Shea,

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

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. 04-24806 Filed 11-5-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P