The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License No. NPF-42, issued to Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation (the licensee), for operation of the Wolf Creek Generating Station (WCGS), located in Coffey County, Kansas.
The proposed amendment would revise Technical Specification 5.5.9, “Steam Generator (SG) Program,” by Start Printed Page 41846changing the “Refueling Outage 14” to “Refueling Outage 15” in two places. This change would extend the provisions for SG tube repair criteria and inspections that were approved for Refueling Outage 14, and the subsequent operating cycle, in Amendment No. 162 issued April 28, 2005, to Refueling Outage 15, and the subsequent operating cycle. This was proposed in the licensee's application dated June 30, 2006.
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?
The previously analyzed accidents are initiated by the failure of plant structures, systems, or components. The proposed change that alters the steam generator inspection criteria do[es] not have a detrimental impact on the integrity of any plant structure, system, or component that initiates an analyzed event. The proposed change will not alter the operation of, or otherwise increase the failure probability of any plant equipment that initiates an analyzed accident.
Of the applicable accidents previously evaluated, the limiting transients with consideration to the proposed changes to the steam generator tube inspection criteria, are the steam generator tube rupture (SGTR) event and the steam line break (SLB) accident.
During the SGTR event, the required structural integrity margins of the steam generator tubes will be maintained by the presence of the steam generator tubesheet. Steam generator tubes are hydraulically expanded in the tubesheet area. Tube rupture in tubes with cracks in the tubesheet is precluded by the constraint provided by the tubesheet. This constraint results from the hydraulic expansion process, thermal expansion mismatch between the tube and tubesheet and from the differential pressure between the primary and secondary side. Based on this design, the structural margins against burst, discussed in [Nuclear Energy Institute] NEI 97-06, Revision 2, and Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.121, “Bases for Plugging Degraded PWR [Pressurized-Water Reactor] Steam Generator Tubes,” are maintained for both normal and postulated accident conditions.
The proposed change does not affect other systems, structures, components or operational features. Therefore, the proposed changes result in no significant increase in the probability of the occurrence of a[n] SGTR accident.
At normal operating pressures, leakage from primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC) below the proposed limited inspection depth is limited by both the tube-to-tubesheet crevice and the limited crack opening permitted by the tubesheet constraint. Consequently, negligible normal operating leakage is expected from cracks within the tubesheet region. The consequences of an SGTR event are affected by the primary-to-secondary leakage flow during the event. Primary-to-secondary leakage flow through a postulated broken tube is not affected by the proposed change since the tubesheet enhances the tube integrity in the region of the hydraulic expansion by precluding tube deformation beyond its initial hydraulically expanded outside diameter.
The probability of a[n] SLB is unaffected by the potential failure of a steam generator tube as this failure is not an initiator for a[n] SLB.
The consequences of a[n] SLB are also not significantly affected by the proposed change. During a[n] SLB accident, the reduction in pressure above the tubesheet on the shell side of the steam generator creates an axially uniformly distributed load on the tubesheet due to the reactor coolant system pressure on the underside of the tubesheet. The resulting bending action constrains the tubes in the tubesheet thereby restricting primary-to-secondary leakage below the midplane.
Primary-to-secondary leakage from tube degradation in the tubesheet area during the limiting accident (i.e., a[n] SLB) is limited by flow restrictions resulting from the crack and tube-to-tubesheet contact pressures that provide a restricted leakage path above the indications and also limit the degree of potential crack face opening as compared to free span indications. The primary-to-secondary leak rate during postulated SLB accident conditions would be expected to be less than that during normal operation for indications near the bottom of the tubesheet (i.e., including indications in the tube-end welds). This conclusion is based on the observation that while the driving pressure causing leakage increases by approximately a factor of two, the flow resistance associated with an increase in the tube-to-tubesheet contact pressure, during a[n] SLB, increases by approximately a factor of 6. While such a leakage decrease is logically expected, the postulated accident leak rate could be conservatively bounded by twice the normal operating leak rate if the increase in contact pressure is ignored. Since normal operating leakage is limited to less than 0.104 gpm (150 gpd) per TS 3.4.13, “RCS Operational LEAKAGE,” the associated accident condition leak rate, assuming all leakage to be from lower tubesheet indications, would be bounded by 0.208 gpm, twice the normal operational leakage. This value is well within the assumed accident leakage rate of 1.0 gpm discussed in WCGS Updated Safety Analysis Report, Table 15.1-3, “Parameters Used in Evaluating the Radiological Consequences of a Main Steam Line Break.” Hence it is reasonable to omit any consideration of inspection of the tube, tube-end weld, bulges/overexpansions or other anomalies below 17 inches from the top of the hot leg tubesheet. Therefore, the consequences of a[n] SLB accident remain unaffected.
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 accident from any accident previously evaluated?
The proposed change does not introduce any new equipment, create [any] new failure modes for existing equipment, or create any new limiting single failures. Plant operation will not be altered, and all safety functions will continue to perform as previously assumed in accident analyses. Therefore, the proposed changes do 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?
The proposed changes maintain the required structural margins of the steam generator tubes for both normal and accident conditions. Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) 97-06, “Steam Generator Program Guidelines,” and RG 1.121, “Bases for Plugging Degraded PWR Steam Generator Tubes,” are used as the bases in the development of the limited hot leg tubesheet inspection depth methodology for determining that steam generator tube integrity considerations are maintained within acceptable limits. RG 1.121 describes a method acceptable to the NRC for meeting General Design Criteria (GDC) 14, “Reactor coolant pressure boundary,” GDC 15, “Reactor coolant system design,” GDC 31, “Fracture prevention of reactor coolant pressure boundary,” and GDC 32, “Inspection of reactor coolant pressure boundary,” by reducing the probability and consequences of a[n] SGTR. RG 1.121 concludes that by determining the limiting safe conditions for tube wall degradation the probability and consequences of a[n] SGTR are reduced. This RG uses safety factors on loads for tube burst that are consistent with the requirements of Section III of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code.
For axially oriented cracking located within the tubesheet, tube burst is precluded due to the presence of the tubesheet. For Start Printed Page 41847circumferentially oriented cracking, Westinghouse letter LTR-CDME-05-82-P, “Limited Inspection of the Steam Generator Tube Portion Within the Tubesheet at Wolf Creek Generating Station,” defines a length of degradation free expanded tubing that provides the necessary resistance to tube pullout due to the pressure induced forces, with applicable safety factors applied. Application of the limited hot leg tubesheet inspection depth criteria will preclude unacceptable primary-to-secondary leakage during all plant conditions. The methodology for determining leakage provides for large margins between calculated and actual leakage values in the proposed limited hot leg tubesheet inspection depth criteria.
Therefore, the proposed changes do not involve a significant reduction in any 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 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 60 days after the date of publication of this notice. The Commission may issue the license amendment before expiration of the 60-day period provided that its final determination is that the amendment involves no significant hazards consideration. In addition, the Commission may issue the amendment prior to the expiration of the 30-day comment period should circumstances change during the 30-day comment period such that failure to act in a timely way would result, for example, in derating or shutdown of the facility. Should the Commission take action prior to the expiration of either the comment period or the notice period, it will publish in the Federal Register a notice of issuance. Should the Commission make a final No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, any hearing will take place 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 (PDR), 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.
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 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/doc-collections/cfr/. 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 requestors/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 is aware and on which the petitioner intends to rely to establish those facts or expert opinion. The petition must include 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/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 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.
Nontimely requests and/or petitions and contentions will not be entertained absent a determination by the Commission or the presiding officer of Start Printed Page 41848the 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(c)(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 the Jay Silberg, Esq., Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, 2300 N Street, NW., Washington, DC 20037, attorney for the licensee.
For further details with respect to this action, see the application for amendment dated June 30, 2006, which is available for public inspection at the Commission's PDR, located at One White Flint North, File Public Area O1 F21, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.Start Signature
Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 14th day of July 2006.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Senior Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch IV, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E6-11672 Filed 7-21-06; 8:45 am]
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