[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 211 (Tuesday, October 31, 2000)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65018-65024]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-27941]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION


Notice of Availability for Referencing in License Amendment 
Applications--Model Safety Evaluation on Technical Specification 
Improvement To Eliminate Requirements on Post Accident Sampling Systems 
Using the Consolidated Line Item Improvement Process

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the staff of the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC) has prepared a model safety evaluation (SE) 
relating to the elimination of requirements on post accident sampling 
imposed on licensees through orders, license conditions, or technical 
specifications. The NRC staff has also prepared a model no significant 
hazards consideration (NSHC) determination relating to this matter. The 
purpose of these models is to permit the NRC to efficiently process 
amendments that propose to remove requirements for the Post Accident 
Sampling System (PASS). Licensees of nuclear power reactors to which 
the models apply may request amendments, in accordance with Section 
50.90 of Title 10 to the Code of Federal Regulations, confirming the 
applicability of the SE and NSHC determination to their reactors and 
providing the requested plant-specific verifications and commitments.

DATES: The period during which licensees may reference the model SE and 
NSHC determination expires October 31, 2001. Applications for 
amendments after this date must include plant-specific justifications 
for the proposed changes and an analysis about the issue of no 
significant hazards consideration.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Reckley, Mail Stop: O-7D1, 
Division of Licensing Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor 
Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001, telephone 301-415-1323.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Regulatory Issue Summary 2000-06, ``Consolidated Line Item 
Improvement Process for Adopting Standard Technical Specification 
Changes for Power Reactors,'' was issued on March 20, 2000. The 
consolidated line item improvement process (CLIIP) is intended to 
improve the efficiency of NRC licensing processes. This is accomplished 
by processing proposed changes to the Standard Technical Specifications 
(STS) in a manner that supports subsequent license amendment 
applications. The CLIIP includes an opportunity for the public to 
comment on proposed changes to the STS following a preliminary 
assessment by the NRC staff and finding that the change will likely be 
offered for adoption by licensees. The CLIIP directs the NRC staff to 
evaluate any comments received for a proposed change to the STS and to 
either reconsider the change or to proceed with announcing the 
availability of the change for proposed adoption by licensees. Those 
licensees opting to apply for the subject change to their technical 
specifications are responsible for reviewing the staff's evaluation, 
referencing the applicable technical justifications, and providing any 
necessary plant-specific information. Each amendment application made 
in response to the notice of availability would be processed and 
noticed in accordance with applicable rules and NRC procedures.
    This proposed change was proposed for incorporation into the 
Standard Technical Specifications by the Westinghouse Owners Group 
(WOG) and the Combustion Engineering Owners Group (CEOG) participants 
in the Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) and is designated 
TSTF-366. A notice of opportunity to comment on the use of CLIIP for 
the elimination of requirements for PASS and related administrative 
controls in technical specifications for plants with Westinghouse and 
Combustion Engineering designs was published in the Federal Register on 
August 11, 2000 (65 FR 49271). The nine comments submitted to the NRC 
staff in response to the solicitation are addressed later in this 
notice.

Applicability

    This application of the CLIIP to remove requirements for PASS from 
technical specifications (and other elements of the licensing bases) is 
applicable to plants with Westinghouse and Combustion Engineering 
designs.
    To efficiently process the incoming license amendment applications, 
the staff requests each licensee applying for the changes addressed by 
TSTF-366 using the CLIIP to address the plant-specific verifications 
and regulatory commitments that are identified in the model SE. The 
CLIIP does not prevent licensees from requesting an alternative 
approach or proposing the changes without the requested verifications 
and regulatory commitments. Licensees choosing to request an approach 
different than that described in this notice should submit applications 
with appropriate plant-specific justifications for the proposed changes 
and an analysis about the issue of no significant hazards 
consideration. Variations from the approach recommended in this notice 
may require additional review by the NRC staff and may increase the 
time and resources needed for the review.
    In making the requested regulatory commitments, each licensee 
should address: (1) That the subject capability exists (or will be 
developed) and will be maintained; (2) where the capability or 
procedure will be described (e.g., severe accident management 
guidelines, emergency operating procedures, emergency plan implementing

[[Page 65019]]

procedures); and (3) a schedule for implementation. The amendment 
request need not provide details about designs or procedures. Each 
licensee should verify that it has, and make a regulatory commitment to 
maintain (or make a regulatory commitment to develop and maintain):
    a. Contingency plans for obtaining and analyzing highly radioactive 
samples from the reactor coolant system, containment sump, and 
containment atmosphere;
    b. A capability for classifying fuel damage events at the Alert 
level threshold (typically this is 300 Ci/ml dose equivalent 
iodine). This capability may use the normal sampling system and/or 
correlations of sampling or letdown line dose rates to coolant 
concentrations; and
    c. The capability to monitor radioactive iodines that have been 
released to offsite environs.

Public Notices

    The staff issued a Federal Register Notice (64 FR 66213, November 
24, 1999) that requested public comment on the NRC's pending action to 
approve topical reports submitted by the WOG and the CEOG in which they 
proposed to eliminate regulatory requirements for PASS. In particular, 
the staff sought comment from offsite emergency response organizations 
so that any impact of the elimination of PASS on their response could 
be factored into the staff's evaluation. Appendices to the staff's 
safety evaluations for topical reports submitted by the CEOG and the 
WOG contain a synopsis of the public comments received and the staff's 
evaluation of the comments. The topical reports as well as the NRC 
staff's safety evaluations for the topical reports may be examined, 
and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room, located at 
One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, 
Maryland. Publicly available records will be accessible electronically 
from the ADAMS Public Library component on the NRC Web site, (the 
Electronic Reading Room). The staff's safety evaluations that address 
the public comments about the topical reports are available on ADAMS 
(Accession Numbers ML003715250 dated May 16, 2000, for the CEOG topical 
report and ML003723268 dated June 14, 2000, for the WOG topical 
report).
    A notice soliciting comments from interested members of the public 
about the use of the CLIIP for elimination of requirements for PASS was 
published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2000 (65 FR 49271). The 
staff received nine comments (six from individual licensees, one from 
the Nuclear Energy Institute, one from a law firm that represents 
licensees, and one from a member of the public) as a result of the 
notice of opportunity to comment about the subject technical 
specification changes. Five of the letters received included general 
comments in favor of the CLIIP and its use in eliminating requirements 
for PASS. Specific comments on the model SE were offered in four of the 
comment letters. The specific comments are discussed below:
    1. A licensee suggested that the model SE include a discussion 
indicating that the contingency plans do not have to be carried out in 
emergency plans and exercises. A similar statement was included in the 
staff's SE for the topical report prepared by the WOG. The staff agrees 
with the comment and added a sentence to the model SE.
    2. A licensee stated that some plants have safety-related hydrogen 
monitors with ranges significantly above hydrogen concentrations of 10% 
that could be used for severe accident conditions. The staff believes 
that the model SE provides the necessary flexibility for plant-specific 
differences in the ranges of the monitors by stating that the 
appropriate decision-makers may determine if a grab sample is necessary 
and practical during the management of a severe accident. A contingency 
plan for sampling the containment atmosphere also serves to confirm the 
indications from the monitors and provide information on parameters 
other than hydrogen concentrations (e.g., the mix of radionuclides) and 
should, for consideration of the amendment as part of the CLIIP, be 
part of the plant-specific regulatory commitment discussed in the model 
SE. The staff did not revise the model SE in response to this comment.
    3. A licensee suggested that the Alert level threshold (typically 
300 Ci/ml dose equivalent iodine) recognize an alternative of 
2% to 5% fuel clad damage and that instrumentation such as core exit 
thermocouples or radiation monitors might also be indicative of fuel 
clad damage. The staff did not intend to preclude the use of other 
parameters as an indication of the loss of or challenge to the fuel 
clad fission product barrier. The staff included the regulatory 
commitment (item 4.2) in the model SE to address classifying certain 
types of events (such as reactivity excursions or mechanical damage) 
which could cause fuel damage without having an indication of 
overheating on core exit thermocouples. The mention of normal sampling 
or letdown line dose rates in the model SE is intended to be 
alternatives for those licensees that currently use PASS for assessing 
the 300 Ci/ml does equivalent iodine criterion for declaration 
of an Alert. The staff did not revise the model SE in response to this 
comment.
    4. A commenter suggested that the use of the CLIIP to eliminate 
PASS requirements be expanded to all licensed facilities. The staff may 
choose to use the CLIIP to address the removal of PASS from plants with 
other than Westinghouse and Combustion Engineering designs. Such a use 
of the CLIIP would follow a specific proposal and justification from 
the applicable owners groups similar to the TSTF submitted by the WOG 
and CEOG. The staff did not revise the model SE in response to this 
comment.
    This notice is announcing the availability of the model safety 
evaluation and model NSHC determination for referencing in applications 
for amendments to technical specifications for applicable plants. 
Licensees wishing to adopt the change must submit an application in 
accordance with applicable regulatory requirements. The staff will in 
turn issue for each application a notice of consideration of issuance 
of amendment to facility operating license(s), a proposed NSHC 
determination, and an opportunity for a hearing. A notice of issuance 
of an amendment to operating license(s) will also be issued to announce 
the elimination of the PASS requirements for each plant that applies 
for and receives the requested change.

Model Safety Evaluation

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Consolidated Line Item Improvement

Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) Change TSTF-366

Elimination of Requirements for Post Accident Sampling System 
(PASS)

1.0  Introduction

    In the aftermath of the accident at Three Mile Island (TMI), Unit 
2, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) imposed requirements on 
licensees for commercial nuclear power plants to install and maintain 
the capability to obtain and analyze post-accident samples of the 
reactor coolant and containment atmosphere. The desired capabilities of 
the Post Accident Sampling System (PASS) were described in NUREG-0737, 
``Clarification of TMI Action Plan Requirements.'' The NRC issued 
orders to licensees with plants operating at the time of the TMI 
accident to confirm the installation of PASS capabilities

[[Page 65020]]

(generally as they had been described in NUREG-0737). A requirement for 
PASS and related administrative controls was added to the technical 
specifications (TS) of the operating plants and was included in the 
initial TS for plants licensed during the 1980s and 90s. Additional 
expectations regarding PASS capabilities were included in Regulatory 
Guide 1.97, ``Instrumentation for Light-Water-Cooled Nuclear Power 
Plants To Assess Plant and Environs Conditions During and Following an 
Accident.''
    Significant improvements have been achieved since the TMI accident 
in the areas of understanding risks associated with nuclear plant 
operations and developing better strategies for managing the response 
to potentially severe accidents at nuclear plants. Recent insights 
about plant risks and alternate severe accident assessment tools have 
led the NRC staff to conclude that some TMI Action Plan items can be 
revised without reducing the ability of licensees to respond to severe 
accidents. The NRC's efforts to oversee the risks associated with 
nuclear technology more effectively and to eliminate undue regulatory 
costs to licensees have prompted the NRC to consider eliminating the 
requirements for PASS in TS and other parts of the licensing bases of 
operating reactors.
    The staff has completed its review of the topical reports submitted 
by the Combustion Engineering Owners Group (CEOG) and the Westinghouse 
Owners Group (WOG) that proposed the elimination of PASS. The 
justifications for the proposed elimination of PASS requirements center 
on evaluations of the various radiological and chemical sampling and 
their potential usefulness in responding to a severe reactor accident 
or making decisions regarding actions to protect the public from 
possible releases of radioactive materials. As explained in more detail 
in the staff's safety evaluations for the two topical reports, the 
staff has reviewed the available sources of information for use by 
decision-makers in developing protective action recommendations and 
assessing core damage. Based on this review, the staff found that the 
information provided by PASS is either unnecessary or is effectively 
provided by other indications of process parameters or measurement of 
radiation levels. The staff agrees, therefore, with the owners groups 
that licensees can remove the TS requirements for PASS, revise (as 
necessary) other elements of the licensing bases, and pursue possible 
design changes to alter or remove existing PASS equipment.

2.0  Background

    In a letter dated May 5, 1999 (as supplemented by letter dated 
April 14, 2000), the CEOG submitted the topical report CE NPSD-1157, 
Revision 1, ``Technical Justification for the Elimination of the Post-
Accident Sampling System From the Plant Design and Licensing Bases for 
CEOG Utilities.'' A similar proposal was submitted on October 26, 1998 
(as supplemented by letters dated April 28, 1999, April 10 and May 22, 
2000), by the WOG in its topical report WCAP-14986, ``Post Accident 
Sampling System Requirements: A Technical Basis.'' The reports provided 
evaluations of the information obtained from PASS samples to determine 
the contribution of the information to plant safety and accident 
recovery. The reports considered the progression and consequences of 
core damage accidents and assessed the accident progression with 
respect to plant abnormal and emergency operating procedures, severe 
accident management guidance, and emergency plans. The reports provided 
the owners groups' technical justifications for the elimination for the 
various PASS sampling requirements. The specific samples and the 
staff's findings are described in the following evaluation.
    The NRC staff prepared this model safety evaluation (SE) relating 
to the elimination of requirements on post accident sampling and 
solicited public comment (65 FR 49271) in accordance with the 
consolidated line item improvement process (CLIIP). The use of the 
CLIIP in this matter is intended to help the NRC to efficiently process 
amendments that propose to remove the PASS requirements from TS. 
Licensees of nuclear power reactors to which this model apply were 
informed [FR] that they could request amendments confirming the 
applicability of the SE to their reactors and providing the requested 
plant-specific verifications and commitments.

3.0  Evaluation

    The technical evaluations for the elimination of PASS sampling 
requirements are provided in the safety evaluations dated May 16, 2000, 
for the CEOG topical report CE NPSD-1157 and June 14, 2000, for the WOG 
topical report WCAP-14986. The NRC staff's safety evaluations approving 
the topical reports are located in the NRC's Agencywide Documents 
Access and Management System (ADAMS) (Accession Numbers ML003715250 for 
CE NPSD-1157 and ML003723268 for WCAP-14986).
    The ways in which the requirements and recommendations for PASS 
were incorporated into the licensing bases of commercial nuclear power 
plants varied as a function of when plants were licensed. Plants that 
were operating at the time of the TMI accident are likely to have been 
the subject of confirmatory orders that imposed the PASS functions 
described in NUREG-0737 as obligations. The issuance of plant specific 
amendments to adopt this change, which would remove PASS and related 
administrative controls from TS, supersede the PASS specific 
requirements imposed by post-TMI confirmatory orders.
    As described in its safety evaluations for the topical reports, the 
staff finds that the following PASS sampling requirements may be 
eliminated for plants of Combustion Engineering and Westinghouse 
designs:
    1. Reactor coolant dissolved gases
    2. Reactor coolant hydrogen
    3. Reactor coolant oxygen
    4. Reactor coolant pH
    5. Reactor coolant chlorides
    6. Reactor coolant boron
    7. Reactor coolant conductivity
    8. Reactor coolant radionuclides
    9. Containment atmosphere hydrogen concentration
    10. Containment oxygen
    11. Containment atmosphere radionuclides
    12. Containment sump pH
    13. Containment sump chlorides
    14. Containment sump boron
    15. Containment sump radionuclides
    The staff agrees that sampling of radionuclides is not required to 
support emergency response decision making during the initial phases of 
an accident because the information provided by PASS is either 
unnecessary or is effectively provided by other indications of process 
parameters or measurement of radiation levels. Therefore, it is not 
necessary to have dedicated equipment to obtain this sample in a prompt 
manner.
    The staff does, however, believe that there could be significant 
benefits to having information about the radionuclides existing post-
accident in order to address public concerns and plan for long-term 
recovery operations. As stated in the safety evaluations for the 
topical reports, the staff has found that licensees could satisfy this 
function by developing contingency plans to describe existing sampling 
capabilities and what actions (e.g., assembling temporary shielding) 
may be necessary to obtain and analyze highly radioactive samples from 
the reactor coolant system (RCS), containment sump, and containment 
atmosphere. (See item 4.1

[[Page 65021]]

under Licensee Verifications and Commitments.) These contingency plans 
must be available to be used by a licensee during an accident; however, 
these contingency plans do not have to be carried out in emergency plan 
drills or exercises. The contingency plans for obtaining samples from 
the RCS, containment sump, and containment atmosphere may also enable a 
licensee to derive information on parameters such as hydrogen 
concentrations in containment and boron concentration and pH of water 
in the containment sump. The staff considers the sampling of the 
containment sump to be potentially useful in confirming calculations of 
pH and boron concentrations and confirming that potentially unaccounted 
for acid sources have been sufficiently neutralized. The use of the 
contingency plans for obtaining samples would depend on the plant 
conditions and the need for information by the decision-makers 
responsible for responding to the accident.
    In addition, the staff considers radionuclide sampling information 
to be useful in classifying certain types of events (such as a 
reactivity excursion or mechanical damage) that could cause fuel damage 
without having an indication of overheating on core exit thermocouples. 
However, the staff agrees with the topical reports' contentions that 
other indicators of failed fuel, such as letdown radiation monitors (or 
normal sampling system), can be correlated to the degree of failed 
fuel. (See item 4.2 under Licensee Verifications and Commitments.)
    In lieu of the information that would have been obtained from PASS, 
the staff believes that licensees should maintain or develop the 
capability to monitor radioactive iodines that have been released to 
offsite environs. Although this capability may not be needed to support 
the immediate protective action recommendations during an accident, the 
information would be useful for decision makers trying to limit the 
public's ingestion of radioactive materials. (See item 4.3 under 
Licensee Verifications and Commitments.)
    The staff believes that the changes related to the elimination of 
PASS that are described in the topical reports, related safety 
evaluations and this proposed change to TS are unlikely to result in a 
decrease in the effectiveness of a licensee's emergency plan. Each 
licensee, however, must evaluate possible changes to its emergency plan 
in accordance with 10 CFR 50.54(q) to determine if the change decreases 
the effectiveness of its site-specific plan. Evaluations and reporting 
of changes to emergency plans should be performed in accordance with 
applicable regulations and procedures.
    The staff notes that redundant, safety-grade, containment hydrogen 
concentration monitors are required by 10 CFR 50.44(b)(1), are 
addressed in NUREG-0737 Item II.F.1 and Regulatory Guide 1.97, and are 
relied upon to meet the data reporting requirements of 10 CFR Part 50, 
Appendix E, Section VI.2.a.(i)(4). The staff concludes that during the 
early phases of an accident, the safety-grade hydrogen monitors provide 
an adequate capability for monitoring containment hydrogen 
concentration. The staff sees value in maintaining the capability to 
obtain grab samples for complementing the information from the hydrogen 
monitors in the long term (i.e., by confirming the indications from the 
monitors and providing hydrogen measurements for concentrations outside 
the range of the monitors). As previously mentioned, the licensee's 
contingency plan (see item 4.1) for obtaining highly radioactive 
samples will include sampling of the containment atmosphere and may, if 
deemed necessary and practical by the appropriate decision-makers, be 
used to supplement the safety-related hydrogen monitors.
    [Note 1--Each licensee should specify a desired implementation 
period for its specific amendment request. The implementation period 
would be that period necessary to develop and implement the items in 
4.1 through 4.3 and, as necessary, to make other changes to 
documentation or equipment to support the elimination of PASS 
requirements. As an alternative, the licensee may choose to have a 
shorter implementation period and include the scheduling of items 4.1 
through 4.3 as part of the regulatory commitments associated with this 
amendment request. Amendment requests that include commitments for 
implementation of the items in Section 4 within 6 months of the 
implementation of the revised TS will remain within the CLIIP.]
    [Note 2--There may be some collateral changes to the TS as a result 
of the removal of the administrative controls section for PASS. The 
following paragraphs address three potential changes that the staff is 
aware of (editorial changes, mention of PASS as a potential leakage 
source outside containment, and revision of the bases section for post 
accident monitoring instrumentation].
    (A) The elimination of the TS and other regulatory requirements for 
PASS would result in additional changes to TS such as [e.g., the 
renumbering of sections or pages or the removal of references]. [If 
applicable: The elimination of PASS requirements requires the 
(elimination or modification) of Condition [2.C.x] in the operating 
license.] The changes are included in the licensee's application to 
revise the TS in order to take advantage of the CLIIP. The staff has 
reviewed the changes and agrees that the revisions are necessary due to 
the removal of the TS section on PASS. The changes do not revise 
technical requirements beyond that reviewed by the NRC staff in 
connection with the supporting topical reports or the preparation of 
the TS improvement incorporated into the CLIIP.
    (B) The TS include an administrative requirement for a program to 
minimize to levels as low as practicable the leakage from those 
portions of systems outside containment that could contain highly 
radioactive fluids during a serious transient or accident. The program 
includes preventive maintenance, periodic inspections, and leak tests 
for the identified systems. PASS is specifically listed in TS [5.5.2] 
as falling under the scope of this requirement. The applicability of 
this specification depends on whether or not PASS is maintained as a 
system that is a potential leakage path. (Note that several options 
(see following) exist for handling the impact that eliminating PASS 
requirements would have on the specification for the program to control 
leakage outside containment.)
    (i) The licensee has stated that a plant change will be implemented 
such that PASS will not be a potential leakage path outside containment 
for highly radioactive fluids (e.g., the PASS piping that penetrates 
the containment would be cut and capped). The modification will be made 
during the implementation period for this amendment such that it is 
appropriate to delete the reference to PASS in TS [5.5.2]. Requirements 
in NRC regulations (e.g., 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix J) and other TS 
provide adequate regulatory controls over the licensee's proposed 
modification to eliminate PASS as a potential leakage path.
    (ii) The licensee has stated that a plant change might be 
implemented such that PASS would not be a potential leakage path 
outside containment for highly radioactive fluids (e.g., the PASS 
piping that penetrates the containment might be cut and capped). The 
modification will not, however, be made during the implementation 
period for this amendment. The licensee has proposed to add the 
following phrase to the reference to PASS in TS [5.5.2]: ``(until such 
time as a modification

[[Page 65022]]

eliminates the PASS penetration as a potential leakage path).''
    The above phrase makes clear that TS [5.5.2] remains applicable to 
the PASS as long as it is a possible leakage path and reflects that the 
actual modification of the piping system may be scheduled beyond the 
implementation period for this amendment. Requirements in NRC 
regulations (10 CFR Part 50, Appendix J) and other TS provide adequate 
regulatory controls over the licensee's modification to eliminate PASS 
as a potential leakage path. Following the modification to eliminate 
PASS as a potential leakage path, the licensee may elect (in order to 
maintain clarity and simplicity of the requirement) to revise TS 
[5.5.2] to remove the reference to PASS, including the phrase added by 
this amendment.
    (iii) The licensee has stated that the configuration of the PASS 
will continue to be a potential leakage path outside containment for 
highly radioactive fluids (e.g., the PASS piping will penetrate the 
containment with valves or other components in the system from which 
highly radioactive fluid could leak). The licensee has [not proposed to 
change TS (5.5.2) or has changed TS (5.5.2) to revise the reference to 
this system from PASS to ( )]. The staff agrees [that TS 5.5.2 is not 
affected or that the change to revise the reference from PASS to ( )] 
is acceptable. A separate amendment request will be required if the 
licensee, subsequent to this amendment, decides to modify the plant to 
eliminate this potential leakage path and proposes to change the 
requirements of TS (5.5.2)].
    (C) [Note-optional section if licensee provides markup of affected 
Bases pages] The elimination of PASS affects the discussion in the 
Bases section for TS [3.3.3, ``Post Accident Monitoring 
Instrumentation''].
    The current Bases mention the capabilities of PASS as part of the 
justification for allowing both hydrogen monitor channels to be out of 
service for a period of up to 72 hours. Although the licensee's 
application included possible wording for the revised Bases discussion 
for TS [3.3.3], the licensee will formally address the change to the 
Bases in accordance with [the Bases Control Program or its 
administrative procedure for revising Bases].

4.0  Verifications and Commitments

    As requested by the staff in the notice of availability for this TS 
improvement, the licensee has addressed the following plant-specific 
verifications and commitments.
    4.1  Each licensee should verify that it has, and make a regulatory 
commitment to maintain (or make a regulatory commitment to develop and 
maintain), contingency plans for obtaining and analyzing highly 
radioactive samples of reactor coolant, containment sump, and 
containment atmosphere.
    The licensee has [verified that it has or made a regulatory 
commitment to develop] contingency plans for obtaining and analyzing 
highly radioactive samples from the RCS, containment sump, and 
containment atmosphere. The licensee has committed to maintain the 
contingency plans within its [specified document or program]. The 
licensee has [implemented this commitment or will implement this 
commitment by (specified date)].
    4.2  Each licensee should verify that it has, and make a regulatory 
commitment to maintain (or make a regulatory commitment to develop and 
maintain), a capability for classifying fuel damage events at the Alert 
level threshold (typically this is 300 Ci/ml dose equivalent 
iodine). This capability may utilize the normal sampling system and/or 
correlations of sampling or letdown line dose rates to coolant 
concentrations.
    The licensee has [verified that it has or made a regulatory 
commitment to develop] a capability for classifying fuel damage events 
at the Alert level threshold. The licensee has committed to maintain 
the capability for the Alert classification within its [specified 
document or program]. The licensee has [implemented this commitment or 
will implement this commitment by (specified date)].
    4.3  Each licensee should verify that it has, and make a regulatory 
commitment to maintain (or make a regulatory commitment to develop and 
maintain), the capability to monitor radioactive iodines that have been 
released to offsite environs.
    The licensee has [verified that it has or made a regulatory 
commitment to develop] the capability to monitor radioactive iodines 
that have been released to offsite environs. The licensee has committed 
to maintain the capability for monitoring iodines within its [specified 
document or program]. The licensee has [implemented this commitment or 
will implement this commitment by (specified date)].
    The NRC staff finds that reasonable controls for the implementation 
and for subsequent evaluation of proposed changes pertaining to the 
above regulatory commitments are provided by the licensee's 
administrative processes, including its commitment management program. 
Should the licensee choose to incorporate a regulatory commitment into 
the emergency plan, final safety analysis report, or other document 
with established regulatory controls, the associated regulations would 
define the appropriate change-control and reporting requirements. The 
staff has determined that the commitments do not warrant the creation 
of regulatory requirements which would require prior NRC approval of 
subsequent changes. The NRC staff has agreed that NEI 99-04, Revision 
0, ``Guidelines for Managing NRC Commitment Changes,'' provides 
reasonable guidance for the control of regulatory commitments made to 
the NRC staff. (See Regulatory Issue Summary 2000-17, Managing 
Regulatory Commitments Made by Power Reactor Licensees to the NRC 
Staff, dated September 21, 2000.) The commitments should be controlled 
in accordance with the industry guidance or comparable criteria 
employed by a specific licensee. The staff may choose to verify the 
implementation and maintenance of these commitments in a future 
inspection or audit.

5.0  State Consultation

    In accordance with the Commission's regulations, the [ ] State 
official was notified of the proposed issuance of the amendments. The 
State official had [(1) no comments or (2) the following comments--with 
subsequent disposition by the staff].

6.0  Environmental Consideration

    The amendments change a requirement with respect to the 
installation or use of a facility component located within the 
restricted area as defined in 10 CFR Part 20 and change surveillance 
requirements. The NRC staff has determined that the amendments involve 
no significant increase in the amounts and no significant change in the 
types of any effluents that may be released offsite, and that there is 
no significant increase in individual or cumulative occupational 
radiation exposure. The Commission has previously issued a proposed 
finding that the amendments involve no significant hazards 
consideration, and there has been no public comment on such finding 
(FR). Accordingly, the amendments meet the eligibility criteria for 
categorical exclusion set forth in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(9). Pursuant to 10 
CFR 51.22(b) no environmental impact statement or environmental 
assessment need be prepared in connection with the issuance of the 
amendments.

[[Page 65023]]

7.0  Conclusion

    The Commission has concluded, based on the considerations discussed 
above, that: (1) There is reasonable assurance that the health and 
safety of the public will not be endangered by operation in the 
proposed manner, (2) such activities will be conducted in compliance 
with the Commission's regulations, and (3) the issuance of the 
amendments will not be inimical to the common defense and security or 
to the health and safety of the public.

Model No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination

    Description of Amendment Request: The proposed amendment deletes 
requirements from the Technical Specifications (and, as applicable, 
other elements of the licensing bases) to maintain a Post Accident 
Sampling System (PASS). Licensees were generally required to implement 
PASS upgrades as described in NUREG-0737, ``Clarification of TMI [Three 
Mile Island] Action Plan Requirements,'' and Regulatory Guide 1.97, 
``Instrumentation for Light-Water-Cooled Nuclear Power Plants to Assess 
Plant and Environs Conditions During and Following an Accident.'' 
Implementation of these upgrades was an outcome of the lessons learned 
from the accident that occurred at TMI, Unit 2. Requirements related to 
PASS were imposed by Order for many facilities and were added to or 
included in the technical specifications (TS) for nuclear power 
reactors currently licensed to operate. Lessons learned and 
improvements implemented over the last 20 years have shown that the 
information obtained from PASS can be readily obtained through other 
means or is of little use in the assessment and mitigation of accident 
conditions.
    The NRC staff issued a notice of opportunity for comment in the 
Federal Register on August 11, 2000 (65 FR 49271) on possible 
amendments to eliminate PASS, including a model safety evaluation and 
model no significant hazards consideration (NSHC) determination, using 
the consolidated line item improvement process. The NRC staff 
subsequently issued a notice of availability of the models for 
referencing in license amendment applications in the Federal Register 
on [ ] (65 FR). The licensee affirmed the applicability of the 
following NSHC determination in its application dated [ ].
    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration 
determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), an analysis of the issue 
of no significant hazards consideration is presented below:
Criterion 1--The Proposed Change Does Not Involve a Significant 
Increase in the Probability or Consequences of an Accident Previously 
Evaluated
    The PASS was originally designed to perform many sampling and 
analysis functions. These functions were designed and intended to be 
used in post accident situations and were put into place as a result of 
the TMI-2 accident. The specific intent of the PASS was to provide a 
system that has the capability to obtain and analyze samples of plant 
fluids containing potentially high levels of radioactivity, without 
exceeding plant personnel radiation exposure limits. Analytical results 
of these samples would be used largely for verification purposes in 
aiding the plant staff in assessing the extent of core damage and 
subsequent offsite radiological dose projections. The system was not 
intended to and does not serve a function for preventing accidents and 
its elimination would not affect the probability of accidents 
previously evaluated.
    In the 20 years since the TMI-2 accident and the consequential 
promulgation of post accident sampling requirements, operating 
experience has demonstrated that a PASS provides little actual benefit 
to post accident mitigation. Past experience has indicated that there 
exists in-plant instrumentation and methodologies available in lieu of 
a PASS for collecting and assimilating information needed to assess 
core damage following an accident. Furthermore, the implementation of 
Severe Accident Management Guidance (SAMG) emphasizes accident 
management strategies based on in-plant instruments. These strategies 
provide guidance to the plant staff for mitigation and recovery from a 
severe accident. Based on current severe accident management strategies 
and guidelines, it is determined that the PASS provides little benefit 
to the plant staff in coping with an accident.
    The regulatory requirements for the PASS can be eliminated without 
degrading the plant emergency response. The emergency response, in this 
sense, refers to the methodologies used in ascertaining the condition 
of the reactor core, mitigating the consequences of an accident, 
assessing and projecting offsite releases of radioactivity, and 
establishing protective action recommendations to be communicated to 
offsite authorities. The elimination of the PASS will not prevent an 
accident management strategy that meets the initial intent of the post-
TMI-2 accident guidance through the use of the SAMGs, the emergency 
plan (EP), the emergency operating procedures (EOP), and site survey 
monitoring that support modification of emergency plan protective 
action recommendations (PARs).
    Therefore, the elimination of PASS requirements from Technical 
Specifications (TS) (and other elements of the licensing bases) does 
not involve a significant increase in the consequences of any accident 
previously evaluated.
Criterion 2--The Proposed Change Does Not Create the Possibility of a 
New or Different Kind of Accident From Any Previously Evaluated
    The elimination of PASS related requirements will not result in any 
failure mode not previously analyzed. The PASS was intended to allow 
for verification of the extent of reactor core damage and also to 
provide an input to offsite dose projection calculations. The PASS is 
not considered an accident precursor, nor does its existence or 
elimination have any adverse impact on the pre-accident state of the 
reactor core or post accident confinement of radionuclides within the 
containment building.
    Therefore, this change does not create the possibility of a new or 
different kind of accident from any previously evaluated.
Criterion 3--The Proposed Change Does Not Involve a Significant 
Reduction in the Margin of Safety
    The elimination of the PASS, in light of existing plant equipment, 
instrumentation, procedures, and programs that provide effective 
mitigation of and recovery from reactor accidents, results in a neutral 
impact to the margin of safety. Methodologies that are not reliant on 
PASS are designed to provide rapid assessment of current reactor core 
conditions and the direction of degradation while effectively 
responding to the event in order to mitigate the consequences of the 
accident. The use of a PASS is redundant and does not provide quick 
recognition of core events or rapid response to events in progress. The 
intent of the requirements established as a result of the TMI-2 
accident can be adequately met without reliance on a PASS.
    Therefore, this change does not involve a significant reduction in 
the margin of safety.
    Based upon the reasoning presented above and the previous 
discussion of the amendment request, the requested

[[Page 65024]]

change does not involve a significant hazards consideration.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 25th day of October 2000.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
William D. Beckner,
Chief, Technical Specification Branch, Division of Regulatory 
Improvement Programs, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 00-27941 Filed 10-30-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P