Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
License amendment application; opportunity to comment, request a hearing, and petition for leave to intervene.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of an amendment to Combined Licenses (NPF-91 and NPF-92), issued to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (SNC), Georgia Power Company, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, MEAG Power SPVM, LLC., MEAG Power SPVJ, LLC., MEAG POWER SPVP, LLC., and the City of Dalton, Georgia (together “the licensees”), for construction and operation of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (VEGP), Units 3 and 4, located in Burke County, Georgia.
The proposed amendment departs from Tier 2* and associated Tier 2 information in the VEGP Units 3 and 4 Updated Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR) (which includes the plant specific Design Control Document Tier 2 information) to revise the application of welding codes. An initial Federal Register notice was published on June 9, 2015, providing an opportunity to comment, request a hearing, and petition for leave to intervene for a License Amendment Request (LAR) for the VEGP combined licenses. The licensee has submitted a revision to the original LAR, dated May 26, 2015. This new revision increases the scope of the original LAR.
Submit comments by August 10, 2015. Requests for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene must be filed by September 8, 2015.
You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2008-0252. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.
Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.Start Printed Page 39455
For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Chandu Patel, Office of New Reactors, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-3025; email: Chandu.Patel@nrc.gov.
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I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments
A. Obtaining Information
Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2008-0252 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:
Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2008-0252.
NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The application for amendment, dated June 29, 2015, is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15181A078.
NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.
B. Submitting Comments
Please include Docket ID NRC-2008-0252 in your comment submission.
The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC posts all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as entering the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information.
If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.
The NRC is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-91 and NPF-92, issued to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (SNC), Georgia Power Company, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, MEAG Power SPVM, LLC, MEAG Power SPVJ, LLC., MEAG POWER SPVP, LLC., and the City of Dalton, Georgia for operation of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant Units 3 and 4, located in Burke County, Georgia.
The proposed amendment departs from Tier 2* and associated Tier 2 information in the VEGP Units 3 and 4 UFSAR (which includes the plant specific Design Control Document Tier 2 information) to revise the application of American Institute for Steel Construction (AISC) N690-1994, Specification for the Design, Fabrication and Erection of Steel Safety Related Structures for Nuclear Facilities, to allow use of American Welding Society (AWS) D1.1-2000, Structural Welding Code—Steel, in lieu of the AWS D1.1-1992 edition identified in AISC N690-1994.
Before any issuance of the proposed license amendment, the NRC will need to make the findings required by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), and NRC's regulations.
The NRC has made a proposed determination that the license amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration. Under the NRC's regulations in § 50.92 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), 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 design functions of the nuclear island structures are to provide support, protection, and separation for the seismic Category I mechanical and electrical equipment located in the nuclear island. The nuclear island structures are structurally designed to meet seismic Category I requirements as defined in Regulatory Guide 1.29. The design functions of the seismic Category II portions of the annex building and turbine building are to provide integrity for non-seismic items located in the proximity of safety-related items, the failure of which during a safe shutdown earthquake could result in loss of function of safety-related items.
The use of AWS D1.1-2000 and the supplemental provisions provide criteria for the design, qualification, fabrication, and inspection of welds for nuclear island structures and seismic Category II portions of the annex building and turbine building. These structures continue to meet the applicable portions of ACI 349, the remaining applicable portions of AISC N690 not related to requirements for welding, including the supplemental requirements described in UFSAR Subsections 220.127.116.11.1 and 18.104.22.168, and the supplemental requirements identified in the UFSAR Subsection 3.8.3 for structural modules. The use of AWS D1.1-2000 does not have an adverse impact on the response of the nuclear island structures, or seismic Category II portions of the annex building and turbine building to safe shutdown earthquake ground motions or loads due to anticipated transients or postulated accident conditions. The change does not impact the support, design, or operation of mechanical and fluid systems. There is no change to plant systems or the response of systems to postulated accident conditions. There is no change to the predicted radioactive releases due to normal operation or postulated accident conditions. The plant response to previously evaluated accidents or external events is not adversely affected, nor does the change described create any new accident precursors.
Therefore, the proposed amendment 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 kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?
The proposed change includes the use of AWS D1.1-2000 and supplemental provisions to provide criteria for the design, qualification, fabrication, and inspection of welds for nuclear island structures and the seismic Category II portions of the annex building and turbine building. The proposed change provides a consistent set of requirements for welding of structures required to be designed to the requirements of ACI 349 and AISC N690. The change to the details does not change the design function, support, design, or operation of mechanical and fluid systems. The change to the welding criteria does not result in a new failure mechanism for the pertinent structures or new accident precursors. As a result, the design function of the structures Start Printed Page 39456is not adversely affected by the proposed change.
Therefore, the proposed amendment does 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 AWS codes are consensus standards written, revised, and approved by industry experts experienced in welding and weld design. The proposed change adds AWS D1.1-2000 to the list of applicable codes and standards in the UFSAR and adds supplemental provisions consistent with AWS D1.1-2010. The 2000 edition includes criteria that consider directionality in the weld, which allows for an increase factor on structural fillet weld strength relative to the angle of load direction. Supplemental provisions are added to the provisions in AWS D1.1-2000 for the application of directionality for linear fillet weld groups concentrically loaded in-plane to the axis of the weld that include elements oriented both longitudinally and transversely to the direction of applied load to address deformation of the welds. The change also specifies extension of the application of directionality provisions to linear and concentrically loaded rectangular and circular fillet weld groups loaded out-of-plane to the axis of the weld to supplement the conditions specified in AWS D1.1. These changes are supported by tests that provide the justification for criteria that consider the directionality. These changes can be similarly applied to welds in the AP1000 to continue to provide the necessary safety margin.
Therefore, the proposed amendment does not involve a significant reduction in a 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 license amendment request involves a No Significant Hazards Consideration.
The NRC is seeking public comments on this proposed determination that the license amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration. 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 notice period if the Commission concludes 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.
II. Opportunity To Request a Hearing and Petition for Leave To Intervene
Within 60 days after the date of publication of this Federal Register notice, any person whose interest may be affected by this proceeding and who desires to participate as a party in the proceeding must file a written request for hearing or a petition for leave to intervene specifying the contentions which the person seeks to have litigated in the hearing with respect to the license amendment request. Requests for hearing and petitions for leave to intervene shall be filed in accordance with the NRC's “Agency Rules of Practice and Procedure” in 10 CFR part 2. Interested person(s) should consult a current copy of 10 CFR 2.309, which is available at the NRC's PDR. The NRC's regulations are accessible electronically from the NRC Library on the NRC's Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/.
As required by 10 CFR 2.309, a request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene must 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 hearing request or petition must 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 hearing request or petition must also include the specific contentions that the requestor/petitioner seeks to have litigated at the proceeding.
For each contention, the requestor/petitioner must provide a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted, as well as a brief explanation of the basis for the contention. Additionally, the requestor/petitioner must demonstrate that the issue raised by each contention is within the scope of the proceeding and is material to the findings that the NRC must make to support the granting of a license amendment in response to the application. The hearing request or petition must also include a concise statement of the alleged facts or expert opinion that support the contention and on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely at the hearing, together with references to those specific sources and documents. The hearing request or petition must provide sufficient information to show that a genuine dispute exists with the applicant on a material issue of law or fact, including references to specific portions of the application for amendment that the petitioner disputes and the supporting reasons for each dispute. If the requestor/petitioner believes that the application for amendment fails to contain information on a relevant matter as required by law, the requestor/petitioner must identify each failure and the supporting reasons for the requestor's/petitioner's belief. Each contention must be one which, if proven, would entitle the requestor/petitioner to relief. A requestor/petitioner who does not satisfy these requirements for 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 with respect to resolution of that person's admitted contentions, including the opportunity to present evidence and to submit a cross-examination plan for cross-examination of witnesses, consistent with NRC's regulations, policies, and procedures. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will set the time and place for any prehearing conferences and evidentiary hearings, and the appropriate notices will be provided.
Hearing requests or petitions for leave to intervene must be filed no later than 60 days from the date of publication of this notice. Requests for hearing, petitions for leave to intervene, and motions for leave to file new or amended contentions that are filed after the 60-day deadline will not be entertained absent a determination by the presiding officer that the filing demonstrates good cause by satisfying the three factors in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i)-(iii).Start Printed Page 39457
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, then any hearing held would take place before the issuance of any amendment unless the Commission finds an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, in which case it will issue an appropriate order or rule under 10 CFR part 2.
III. Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)
All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with the NRC's E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve all adjudicatory 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 an exemption in accordance with the procedures described below.
To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least ten 10 days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the Office of the Secretary by email at email@example.com, or by telephone at 301-415-1677, to request (1) a digital identification (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 (2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a request or petition for hearing (even in instances in which the participant, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding if the Secretary has not already established an electronic docket.
Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/getting-started.html. System requirements for accessing the E-Submittal server are detailed in the NRC's “Guidance for Electronic Submission,” which is available on the agency's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants may attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but should note that the NRC's E-Filing system does not support unlisted software, and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer assistance in using unlisted software.
If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the document using the NRC's online, Web-based submission form. In order to serve documents through the Electronic Information Exchange System, users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC's Web site. Further information on the Web-based submission form, including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.
Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant 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's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the documents are submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing 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 email notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access to the document to the NRC's 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 using the NRC's adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC Meta System Help Desk through the “Contact Us” link located on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by email to MSHD.Resource@nrc.gov, or by a toll-free call at 1-866-672-7640. The NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.
Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, 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. A presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists.
Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in the NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at http://ehd1.nrc.gov/ehd/, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the Commission, or the 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, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of such information. However, in some instances, a request to intervene will Start Printed Page 39458require including information on local residence in order to demonstrate a proximity assertion of interest in the proceeding. 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 submission.
For further details with respect to this action, see the application for license amendment dated May 26, 2015.
Attorney for licensee: Ms. Kathryn M. Sutton, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLC, 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004-2514.
NRC Branch Chief: Paul Kallan.
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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 1st day of July 2015.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Acting Branch Chief, Licensing Branch 4, Division of New Reactor Licensing, Office of New Reactors.
[FR Doc. 2015-16796 Filed 7-8-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P