The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission, or the NRC) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-68 and NPF-81 to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (the licensee) for operation of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2 (Vogtle 1 and 2), which are located in Burke County, Georgia.
The proposed amendments in the licensee's application dated February 13, 2008, propose a one-time steam generator (SG) tubing eddy current inspection interval revision to the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2 (Vogtle 1 and 2) Technical Specifications (TSs) 5.5.9, “Steam Generator (SG) Program,” to incorporate an interim alternate repair criterion (ARC) in the provisions for SG tube repair criteria during the Vogtle 1 inspection performed in refueling outage 14 and subsequent operating cycle, and during the Vogtle 2 inspection performed in refueling outage 13 and subsequent 18-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval and subsequent 36-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval. These amendments request approval of an interim ARC that requires full-length inspection of the tubes within the tubesheet but does not require plugging tubes if any axial or circumferential cracking observed in the region greater than 17 inches below the top of the tubesheet (TTS) is less than a value sufficient to permit the remaining circumferential ligament to transmit the limiting axial loads. These amendments are required to preclude unnecessary plugging while still maintaining structural and leakage integrity. These amendments also revise TS 5.6.10, “Steam Generator Tube Inspection Report,” where three new reporting requirements are proposed to be added to the existing seven requirements. For TS 5.5.9, the amendments would replace the existing ARC in TS 5.5.9.c.1 for SG tube inspections that were approved in Amendment Nos. 146 and 126 issued September 12, 2006, for refueling outage 13 and the subsequent operating cycle for Vogtle 1, and for refueling outage 12 and the subsequent operating cycle for Vogtle 2.
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?
Of the various accidents previously evaluated, the proposed changes only affect the steam generator tube rupture (SGTR) event evaluation and the postulated steam line break (SLB), locked rotor and control rod ejection accident evaluations. Loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) conditions cause a compressive axial load to act on the tube. Therefore, since the LOCA tends to force the tube into the tubesheet rather than pull it out, it is not a factor in this licensing amendment Start Printed Page 10306request. Another faulted load consideration is a safe shutdown earthquake (SSE); however, the seismic analysis of Model F steam generators has shown that axial loading of the tubes is negligible during an SSE.
At normal operating pressures, leakage from primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC) below 17 inches from the top of the tubesheet 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.
For the Unit 1 SGTR event, the required structural margins of the steam generator tubes is maintained by limiting the allowable ligament size for a circumferential crack to remain in service to 214 degrees below 17 inches from the top of the tubesheet. For the Unit 2 SGTR event, the required structural margins of the steam generator tubes is maintained by limiting the allowable ligament size for a circumferential crack to remain in service to 214 degrees below 17 inches from the top of the tubesheet for the 18-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval and to remain in service 183 degrees below 17 inches from the top of the tubesheet for the 36-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval. Tube rupture is precluded for cracks in the hydraulic expansion region due to the constraint provided by the tubesheet. The potential for tube pullout is mitigated by limiting the Unit 1 allowable crack size to 214 degrees and limiting the Unit 2 allowable crack size to 214 degrees for the 18-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval and to 183 degrees for the 36-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval. These allowable crack sizes take into account eddy current uncertainty and crack growth rate. It has been shown that a Unit 1 circumferential crack with an azimuthal extent of 214 degrees and a Unit 2 circumferential crack with an azimuthal extent of 214 degrees for the 18-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval and an azimuthal extent of 183 degrees for the 36-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval meet the performance criteria of NEI 97-06, Rev. 2, “Steam Generator Program Guidelines” and the Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.121, “Bases for Plugging Degraded PWR Steam Generator Tubes.” Likewise, a best effort visual inspection will be conducted to confirm that a Unit 1 circumferential crack of greater than 294 degrees and that a Unit 2 circumferential crack of greater than 294 degrees for the 18-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval and a circumferential crack of greater than 263 degrees for the 36-month SG tubing eddy current inspection interval do not remain in service in the tube end weld metal in any tube mitigating the potential for tube pullout. Therefore, the margin against tube burst/pullout is maintained during normal and postulated accident conditions and the proposed change does not result in a significant increase in the probability or consequence of a SGTR.
The probability of a SLB is unaffected by the potential failure of a SG tube as the failure of a tube is not an initiator for a SLB event. SLB leakage is limited by leakage flow restrictions resulting from the leakage path above potential cracks through the tube-to-tubesheet crevice. The leak rate during postulated accident conditions (including locked rotor and control rod ejection) has been shown to remain within the accident analysis assumptions for all axial or circumferentially oriented cracks occurring 17 inches below the top of the tubesheet. Since normal operating leakage is limited to 150 gpd (approximately 0.10 gpm), the attendant accident condition leak rate, assuming all leakage to be from indications below 17 inches from the top of the tubesheet, would be bounded by 0.35 gpm. This value is within the accident analysis assumptions for the limiting design basis accident for VEGP, which is the postulated SLB event.
Based on the above, the performance criteria of NEI-97-06, Rev. 2 and draft Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.121 continue to be met and 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 changes or mechanisms that create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident. Tube bundle integrity is expected to be maintained for all plant conditions upon implementation of the interim alternate repair criterion. The proposed change does not introduce any new equipment or any change to existing equipment. No new effects on existing equipment are created nor are any new malfunctions introduced.
Therefore, based on the above evaluation, the proposed changes do not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.
(3) Does the proposed change involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?
The proposed change maintains the required structural margins of the steam generator tubes for both normal and accident conditions. NEI 97-06, Rev. 2 and RG 1.121 are used as the basis in the development of the limited 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 staff for meeting General Design Criteria 14, 15, 31, and 32 by reducing the probability and consequences of an SGTR. RG 1.121 concludes that by determining the limiting safe conditions of tube wall degradation beyond which tubes with unacceptable cracking, as established by inservice inspection, should be removed from service or repaired, the probability and consequences of a SGTR are reduced. This RG uses safety factors on loads for tube burst that are consistent with the requirements of Section III of the 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 in a tube or the tube-to-tubesheet weld, Reference 3 defines a length of remaining tube ligament that provides the necessary resistance to tube pullout due to the pressure induced forces (with applicable safety factors applied). Additionally, it is shown that application of the limited tubesheet inspection depth criteria will not result in unacceptable primary-to-secondary leakage during all plant conditions.
Based on the above, it is concluded that the proposed changes do not result in any reduction of margin with respect to plant safety as defined in the Updated Safety Analysis Report or bases of the plant Technical Specifications.
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 Federal Register notice. Written comments may also be delivered to Room 6D59, Two Start Printed Page 10307White 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 person(s) may file a request for a hearing with respect to issuance of the amendment to the subject facility operating license and any person(s) whose interest may be affected by this proceeding and who wishes to participate as a party in the proceeding must file a written request via electronic submission through the NRC E-filing system 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 person(s) 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.
A request for hearing or a petition for leave to intervene must be filed in accordance with the NRC E-Filing rule, which the NRC promulgated on August 28, 2007 (72 FR 49139). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve documents over the internet or in some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek a waiver in accordance with the procedures described below.
To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least five (5) days prior to the filing deadline, the petitioner/requestor must contact the Office of the Secretary by e-mail at HEARINGDOCKET@NRC.GOV, or by calling (301) 415-1677, to request (1) a digital ID certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or representative) to digitally sign documents and access the E-Submittal server for any proceeding in which it is participating; and/or (2) creation of an electronic docket for the proceeding (even in instances in which the petitioner/requestor (or its counsel or representative) already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Each petitioner/requestor will need to download the Workplace Forms ViewerTM to access the Electronic Information Exchange (EIE), a component of the E-Filing system. The Workplace Forms ViewerTM is free and is available at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/install-viewer.html. Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/apply-certificates.html.
Once a petitioner/requestor has obtained a digital ID certificate, had a docket created, and downloaded the EIE viewer, it can then submit a request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance available on the NRC public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the filer submits its documents through EIE. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the EIE system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an e-mail notice confirming receipt of the document. The EIE system also distributes an e-mail notice that provides access to the document to the NRC Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or Start Printed Page 10308their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request/petition to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the document via the E-Filing system.
A person filing electronically may seek assistance through the “Contact Us” link located on the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html or by calling the NRC technical help line, which is available between 8:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. The help line number is (800) 397-4209 or locally, (301) 415-4737. Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file a motion, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted 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; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a document in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the provider of the service.
Non-timely requests and/or petitions and contentions will not be entertained absent a determination by the Commission, the presiding officer, or the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board that the petition and/or request should be granted and/or the contentions should be admitted, based on a balancing of the factors specified in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i)-(viii). To be timely, filings must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date.
Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at http://ehd.nrc.gov/EHD_Proceeding/home.asp, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the Commission, an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, or a Presiding Officer. Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, or home phone numbers in their filings. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, Participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submissions.
For further details with respect to this license amendment application, see the letter dated February 13, 2008, from the Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., 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 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/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 19th day of February 2008.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Siva P. Lingam,
Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch II-1, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E8-3581 Filed 2-25-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P