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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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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License No. 50-328, issued to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA, the licensee), for operation of the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, Unit No. 2, located in Hamilton County, Tennessee.

The proposed amendment would incorporate a one-time change to technical specification Limiting Condition for Operation 3.6.1.9 to allow an increase to the annual limit for operation of the containment ventilation system with purge isolation valves open from 1000 hours to 1400 hours during calendar year 2007.

The licensee has been experiencing an accumulation of gaseous formaldehyde in the containment atmosphere, which has necessitated more than normal purging in order to provide protection for personnel entering the containment to perform maintenance or surveillance activities during operation. This increase in gaseous formaldehyde began during 2007. The licensee has installed High-Efficiency Particulate Air and charcoal filters in the upper containment, which has been effective in reducing the overall concentration of formaldehyde, but additional purging is still necessary to allow required containment entries. The licensee has identified three potential sources of the formaldehyde, but positive identification and corrective action cannot be completed with the plant in operation. The limit on purge hours has been in effect since 1982 and typically has not been exceeded. However, based on the current need for purging, the licensee projects that the 1000-hour limit will be exceeded around October 15, 2007. Approval of the increase in containment purge hours will avoid an unnecessary unit shutdown and allow the licensee to perform detailed leak identification and corrective action in the spring 2008 refueling outage. Based on the preceding discussion, the Commission concludes that exigent circumstances exist.

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 Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (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. The proposed amendment does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

TVA's proposed change is not considered to be a significant departure from the current requirements. The containment purge and ventilation system is qualified and designed to isolate in the event of a design basis accident. The probability of occurrence of an accident is not increased as the increase in purge/ventilation system operation does not affect the system's capability for purge valve closure or containment isolation. The increase in system operation for the remainder of calendar year 2007 would continue to be governed by the limits of 10 CFR 20. In addition, purge system isolation capability remains unchanged. Consequently, Start Printed Page 54692the 10 CFR 100 limits for site boundary dose would not be exceeded in the event of an accident during containment purge operation. Therefore, the proposed amendment does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

2. The proposed amendment does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

The possibility for a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated does not exist as a result of the proposed increase in purge/ventilation system operation time. The system design remains unchanged for performing isolation of containment for accident mitigation and does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

3. The proposed amendment does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

The proposed increase in purge system operation is an increase that does not affect existing safety margins. Additional purge operation time will also continue to comply with effluent release limits in 10 CFR 20. In addition, the proposed change does not increase the risk for an accident because no physical changes to the plant are being made and design features associated with purge system isolation remain unchanged. Accordingly, TVA concludes that the margin of safety has not been reduced.

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, 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 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.

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 and Issuance of Orders” 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 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/​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 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 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 Start Printed Page 54693determination 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 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 September 17, 2007, 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 or (301) 415-4737, or by e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov.

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 20th day of September 2007.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Brendan T. Moroney,

Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch II-2, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

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[FR Doc. E7-19008 Filed 9-25-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P