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Notice

[Docket No. 50-414]

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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-52 issued to Duke Power Company, LLC. (the licensee) for operation of the Catawba Nuclear Station, Unit 2 located in York County, South Carolina.

The proposed amendment would revise the Catawba Nuclear Station, Unit 2, Technical Specification Section 5.5.9 concerning modifications to the steam generator tube repair criteria. 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), Part 50, 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:

First Standard

A. Does operation of the facility in accordance with the proposed amendment involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

Response: No.

The previously analyzed accidents are initiated by the failure of plant structures, systems, or components. The proposed change that alters the SG [steam generator] tube repair criteria does 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 change to the SG tube repair criteria, are the SG tube rupture event and the steam line break event.

During the SG tube rupture event, the required structural integrity margins of the SG tubes will be maintained by the presence of the SG tubesheet. SG tubes are hydraulically expanded in the tubesheet area. Tube rupture in tubes with cracks in the tubesheet region of the tube 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 the differential pressure between the primary and secondary side. Based on this design, the structural margins against burst, discussed in the TS 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 SG tube rupture event.

At normal operating pressures, leakage from stress corrosion cracking below the proposed limited tube repair 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 a SG tube rupture 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 steam line break event is unaffected by the potential failure of a SG tube, as this failure is not an initiator for a steam line break event.

The consequences of a steam line break event are also not significantly affected by the proposed change. During a steam line break event, the reduction in pressure above the tubesheet on the shell side of the SG 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 steam line break event) 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 from tube degradation in the tubesheet region during postulated steam line break event conditions will be no more than twice that allowed during normal operating conditions when the pressure boundary is relocated to the 17-inch depth. Since normal operating leakage is limited to 75 gallons per day through any one SG per the proposed license condition, the associated accident condition leak rate, assuming all leakage to be from lower tubesheet indications, would be limited to 150 gallons per day per SG. This is the value that is assumed in the steam line break dose analysis.

Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

Second Standard

B. Does operation of the facility in accordance with the proposed amendment create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

Response: No.

The proposed change does not introduce any new equipment, create 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 be performed as previously assumed in accident analyses. Therefore, the proposed change does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any previously evaluated.

Third Standard

C. Does operation of the facility in accordance with the proposed amendment involve a significant reduction in the margin of safety?

Response: No.

The proposed change maintains the required structural margins of the SG tubes for both normal and accident conditions. NEI [Nuclear Energy Institute] 97-06 and the Catawba TS are used as the bases in the development of the limited tubesheet tube repair depth methodology for determining that SG tube integrity considerations are maintained within acceptable limits. Regulatory Guide 1.121 describes a method acceptable to the NRC for meeting General Design Criterion (GDC) 14, “Reactor coolant pressure boundary,” GDC 15, “Reactor Start Printed Page 45273coolant 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 SG tube rupture event. By determining the limiting safe conditions for tube wall degradation, the probability and consequences of a SG tube rupture event are reduced. Safety factors are used for 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 circumferentially oriented cracking, the analysis referenced in support of this proposed amendment 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 tubesheet tube repair depth criterion (17 inches) will preclude unacceptable primary-to-secondary leakage during all plant conditions.

Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant reduction in any 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.

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, Rulemaking, Directives and Editing 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 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 Start Printed Page 45274the 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(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 Ms. Lisa F. Vaughn, Associate General Counsel and Managing Attorney, Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, 526 South Church Street, EC07H, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202, attorney for the licensee.

For further details with respect to this action, see the application for amendment dated April 30, 2007 (ADAMS Accession No. ML071280284), which is available for public inspection at the Commission's 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 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 6th day of August 2007.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

John F. Stang,

Senior Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch II-1, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. E7-15766 Filed 8-10-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P