The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-35 and NPF-52 issued to Duke Power Company LLC, et al., for operation of the Catawba Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2, located in York County, South Carolina, and Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-9 and NPF-17 for operation of the McGuire Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2, located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
The proposed amendment would revise the Catawba Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2, and the McGuire Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2, Updated Final Safety Analysis Reports by requiring an inspection of each ice condenser within 24 hours of experiencing a seismic event greater than or equal to an operating basis earthquake within the five (5) week period after ice basket replenishment has been completed to confirm that adverse ice fallout has not occurred.
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:
A. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?
The analyzed accidents of consideration in regard to changes potentially affecting the ice condenser are a loss of coolant accident and a steam or feedwater line break inside Containment. The ice condenser is an accident mitigator and is not postulated as being the initiator of a LOCA [loss-coolant-accident] or HELB [high-energy line break]. The ice condenser is structurally designed to withstand a Safe Shutdown Earthquake plus a Design Basis Accident and does not interconnect or interact with any systems that interconnect or interact with the Reactor Coolant, Main Steam or Feedwater systems. Because the proposed changes do not result in, or require any physical change to the ice condenser that could introduce an interaction with the Reactor Coolant, Main Steam or Feedwater systems, there can be no change in the probability of an accident previously evaluated. Start Printed Page 10303
Under the current licensing basis, the ice condenser ice baskets would be considered fully fused prior to power ascension and the ice condenser would perform its accident mitigation function even if a safe shutdown seismic event occurred coincident with or just preceding the accident. Under the proposed change, there is some finite probability that, within 24 hours following a seismic disturbance, a LOCA or HELB in Containment could occur within five weeks of the completion of ice basket replenishment. However, several factors provide defense-in-depth and tend to mitigate the potential consequences of the proposed change.
Design basis accidents are not assumed to occur simultaneously with a seismic event. Therefore, the coincident occurrence of a LOCA or HELB with a seismic event is strictly a function of the combined probability of the occurrence of independent events, which in this case is very low. Based on the Probabilistic Risk Assessment model and seismic hazard analysis, the combined probability of occurrence of a seismic disturbance greater than or equal to an OBE during the 5 week period following ice replenishment coincident with or subsequently followed by a LOCA or HELB during the time required to perform the proposed inspection (24 hours) and if required by Technical Specifications, complete Unit shutdown (37 hours), is less than 2.2E-09 for McGuire and Catawba. This probability is well below the threshold that is typically considered credible.
Even if ice were to fall from ice baskets during a seismic event occurring coincident with or subsequently followed by an accident, the ice condenser would be expected to perform its intended safety function. The design of the lower inlet doors is such that complete blockage of flow into the ice condenser is not credible during a LOCA or HELB. The inherent redundancy of flow paths into the ice condenser provide reasonable assurance that it would perform its function even if some lower inlet doors were blocked closed.
Based on the above, the proposed changes do not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated. The ice condenser is expected to perform its intended safety function under all circumstances following a LOCA or HELB in Containment.
B. Does the proposed amendment create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?
The proposed change affects the assumed timing of a postulated seismic and design basis accident applied to the ice condenser and provides an alternate methodology to confirm the ice condenser lower inlet doors are capable of opening. As previously discussed, the ice condenser is not postulated as an initiator of any design basis accident. The proposed change does not impact any plant system, structure or component that is an accident initiator. The proposed change does not involve any hardware changes to the ice condenser or other changes that could create new accident mechanisms. Therefore, there can be no new or different accidents created from those previously identified and evaluated.
C. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant reduction in the margin of safety?
Margin of safety is related to the confidence in the ability of the fission product barriers to perform their design functions during and following an accident situation. These barriers include the fuel cladding, the Reactor Coolant system, and the Containment system. The performance of the fuel cladding and the Reactor Coolant system will not be impacted by the proposed change.
The requirement to inspect the ice condensers within 24 hours of experiencing seismic activity greater than or equal to an OBE during the five (5) week period following the completion of ice basket replenishment will confirm that the ice condenser lower inlet doors are capable of opening. This inspection will confirm that the ice condenser doors remain fully capable of performing their intended safety function under credible circumstances.
The inherent redundancy of flow paths into the ice condenser provides reasonable assurance that it would perform its function even if some lower inlet doors were blocked closed. As such, the ice condenser has reasonable assurance of performing its intended function during the highly unlikely scenario in which a postulated accident (LOCA or HELB) occurs coincident with or subsequently following a seismic event.
The proposed change affects the assumed timing of a postulated seismic and design basis accident applied to the ice condenser and provides an alternate methodology in confirming the ice condenser lower inlet doors are capable of opening. As previously discussed, the combined probability of occurrence of a LOCA or HELB and a seismic disturbance greater than or equal to an OBE [operating basis earthquake] during the “period of potential exposure” is less than 2.2E-09 for McGuire and Catawba. This probability is well below the threshold that is considered credible.
Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant reduction in the margin of safety. The McGuire and Catawba ice condensers will perform their intended safety function under credible circumstances.
The changes proposed in this LAR do not make any physical alteration to the ice condensers, nor does it affect the required functional capability of the ice condenser in any way. The intent of the proposed change to the UFSARs is to eliminate an overly restrictive waiting period prior to Unit ascent to power operations following the completion of ice basket replenishment. The required inspection of the ice condenser following a seismic event greater than or equal to an OBE will confirm that the ice condenser lower inlet doors will continue to fully perform their safety function as assumed in the McGuire and Catawba safety analyses.
Thus, it can be concluded that the proposed change does not involve a significant reduction in the 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 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 person(s) may file a request for a hearing with respect to issuance of the amendment to Start Printed Page 10304the 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 their 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 Start Printed Page 10305who 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 application for amendment dated February 15, 2008, 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 20th day of February 2008.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
John F. Stang,
Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch II-1, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E8-3588 Filed 2-25-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P