[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 186 (Thursday, September 25, 2003)]
[Notices]
[Pages 55416-55421]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-24204]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION


Notice of Availability of Model Application Concerning Technical 
Specification Improvement To Eliminate Hydrogen Recombiner Requirement, 
and Relax the Hydrogen and Oxygen Monitor Requirements for Light Water 
Reactors 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), a model no significant hazards consideration (NSHC) 
determination, and a model application relating to the elimination of 
hydrogen recombiner requirements, and relaxation of the hydrogen and 
oxygen monitor requirements for Light Water Reactors (LWRs). The 
purpose of these models is to permit the NRC to efficiently process 
amendments that propose to remove requirements for hydrogen 
recombiners, and hydrogen and oxygen monitors from Technical 
Specifications (TS). Licensees of nuclear power reactors to which the 
models apply may request amendments using the model application.

DATES: The NRC staff issued a Federal Register Notice (67 FR 50374, 
August 2, 2002) soliciting comments on a model safety SE and a model 
NSHC determination for the elimination of requirements for hydrogen 
recombiners, and hydrogen and oxygen monitors from TS. The NRC staff 
hereby announces that the attached model SE and model NSHC 
determination (which differ only slightly from the versions previously 
published) may be referenced in plant-specific applications to 
eliminate requirements for hydrogen recombiners, and hydrogen and 
oxygen monitors from TS. The staff has posted a model application on 
the NRC web site to assist licensees in using the consolidated line 
item improvement process (CLIIP) to apply for the proposed TS change. 
The NRC staff can most efficiently consider applications based upon the 
model application if the application is submitted within a year of this 
Federal Register Notice.

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.

[[Page 55417]]


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 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 NRC staff 
evaluates any comments received for a proposed change to the STS and 
either reconsiders the change or proceeds with announcing the 
availability of the change for proposed adoption by licensees. Those 
licensees opting to apply for the subject change to TS 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 will be processed and noticed in accordance with 
applicable rules and NRC procedures.
    This notice involves the elimination of requirements for hydrogen 
recombiners, and hydrogen and oxygen monitors in TS for LWRs. This 
proposed change was proposed for incorporation into the STS and is 
designated TSTF-447, Revision 1. TSTF-447, Revision 1 is supported by 
the implementation of a revision to 10 CFR 50.44, ``Standards for 
Combustible Gas Control System in Light-Water-Cooled Power Reactors.'' 
The amended standards eliminated the need for requirements for hydrogen 
recombiners and for hydrogen and oxygen monitors in TS. TSTF-447, 
Revision 1 can be viewed on the NRC Web site (www.nrc.gov).

Applicability

    This proposed change to remove requirements for hydrogen 
recombiners, and hydrogen and oxygen monitors from TS is applicable to 
LWRs (i.e., all operating plants).
    To efficiently process the incoming license amendment applications, 
the staff requests each licensee applying for the changes addressed by 
TSTF-447, Revision 1 using the CLIIP to address the following plant-
specific verifications and regulatory commitments. The CLIIP does not 
prevent licensees from requesting an alternative approach or proposing 
the changes without the requested verifications and regulatory 
commitments. Variations from the approach recommended in this notice 
may, however, 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 state: (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 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. A hydrogen monitoring system capable of diagnosing beyond 
design-basis accidents; and
    b. An oxygen monitoring system capable of verifying the status of 
the inert containment for plant designs with an inerted containment. 
(for applicable boiling water reactors)

Public Notices

    In a notice in the Federal Register dated August 2, 2002 (67 FR 
50374), the staff requested comment on the use of the CLIIP to process 
requests to delete hydrogen recombiner, and hydrogen and oxygen monitor 
requirements from TS.
    TSTF-447, Revision 1, and documents associated with the revision of 
10 CFR 50.44 may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's 
Public Document Room, located at One White Flint North, Public File 
Area O1 F1, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland. 
Publicly available records are accessible electronically from the ADAMS 
Public Library (the Electronic Reading Room) component on the NRC Web 
site (www.nrc.gov).
    The staff received one comment (from an individual licensee) 
following the notice soliciting comments about modifying the TS 
requirements regarding hydrogen recombiners, and hydrogen and oxygen 
monitors for LWRs. The comment on the model SE was offered, and is 
summarized and discussed below:
    1. Comment: A licensee recommended that the SE also include 
conclusions as to the acceptability of eliminating containment purging 
as the design basis method for post-loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) 
hydrogen control. Some licensees use containment purging as the design 
basis method for compliance with the current 10 CFR 50.44, rather than 
hydrogen recombiners. Although the containment purge requirements were 
not incorporated into the TS, as was done for hydrogen recombiners, the 
requirement for purging exists in docketed commitments to the NRC and 
in the Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR). The process of changing the 
FSAR and the docketed commitments would be simplified if the NRC SE 
included consideration of containment purging.
    Response: The NRC model SE only addresses requirements in the STS 
or plant-specific TS. In this case, the NRC model SE is for the 
elimination of the requirements of hydrogen recombiners, and hydrogen 
and oxygen monitors from TS. Since containment purging requirements are 
not in the STS, the NRC model SE did not make conclusions about the 
acceptability of eliminating containment purging as the design basis 
method for post-LOCA hydrogen control. However, the following statement 
from the Statements of Considerations was added to the model SE to 
address the comment:

    * * * the Commission eliminated the hydrogen release associated 
with a design-basis LOCA from Sec.  50.44 and the associated 
requirements that necessitated the need for the hydrogen recombiners 
and the backup hydrogen vent and purge systems.

    In addition, the staff has made some minor changes to the model SE 
as a result of internal reviews. A specific change involves the 
reference to Criterion 2 (10 CFR 50.36(c)(2)(ii)(B)) as the basis for 
retention of primary containment oxygen concentration in the TS. In the 
model SE, the staff had proposed to change the basis to Criterion 4 (10 
CFR 50.36(c)(2)(ii)(D)) since combustible gas generated from severe 
accidents was not risk significant for Mark I and II containments, 
provided that the required inerted atmosphere was maintained. Criterion 
4 is intended to capture those constraints that probabilistic risk 
assessment or operating experience show to be significant to public 
health and safety, consistent with the Commission's Probabilistic Risk 
Assessment (PRA) Policies. Upon further review by the staff, it was 
determined that the basis for the primary containment oxygen 
concentration should remain Criterion 2 since the typical Updated FSAR 
Chapter 6 analyses assume that the primary containment is inerted when 
a design basis LOCA occurs. Therefore, primary containment oxygen 
concentration is a

[[Page 55418]]

process variable, design feature, or operating restriction that is an 
initial condition of a design basis accident or transient analysis that 
either assumes the failure of or presents a challenge to the integrity 
of a fission product barrier.
    Licensees wishing to eliminate the requirements for hydrogen 
recombiners, and hydrogen and oxygen monitors from TS must submit an 
application in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements. As 
described in the model application prepared by the staff, licensees may 
reference the following model SE, NSHC determination, and environmental 
assessment in their plant-specific applications to eliminate the TS 
requirements for hydrogen recombiners, and hydrogen and oxygen 
monitors.

Model Safety Evaluation--U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of 
Nuclear Reactor Regulation, Consolidated Line Item Improvement, 
Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) Change TSTF-447, Revision 1, 
Elimination of Requirements for Hydrogen Recombiners and Change of 
Requirements for Hydrogen and Oxygen Monitors

1.0 Introduction

    By application dated [ ], [Licensee] (the licensee) requested 
changes to the Technical Specifications (TSs) for [Plant]. The proposed 
changes would delete the TS requirements associated with hydrogen 
recombiners, and hydrogen [and oxygen] monitors.
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has revised 10 CFR 50.44, 
``Standards for Combustible Gas Control System in Light-Water-Cooled 
Power Reactors.'' The amended standards eliminated the requirements for 
hydrogen recombiners and relaxed the requirements for hydrogen and 
oxygen monitoring. In letters dated December 17, 2002, and May 12, 
2003, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Technical Specification Task 
Force (TSTF) proposed to remove requirements for hydrogen recombiners 
and hydrogen and oxygen monitors from the standard technical 
specifications (STS) (NUREGs 1430-1434) on behalf of the industry to 
incorporate the amended standards. This proposed change is designated 
TSTF-447.
    The NRC staff prepared this model safety evaluation (SE) for the 
elimination of requirements regarding containment hydrogen recombiners 
and the removal of requirements from TS for containment hydrogen and 
oxygen monitors and solicited public comment (67 FR 50374, published 
August 2, 2002) 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 hydrogen recombiner and hydrogen and oxygen monitor 
requirements from TS. Licensees of nuclear power reactors to which this 
model applies were informed [FR] that they could request amendments 
conforming to the model, and, in such requests, should confirm the 
applicability of the SE to their reactors and provide the requested 
plant-specific verifications and commitments.

2.0 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 CLIIP 
is intended to improve the efficiency of NRC licensing processes. This 
is accomplished by processing proposed changes to the 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 NRC staff evaluates any comments received for a proposed 
change to the STS and either reconsiders the change or proceeds with 
announcing the availability of the change for proposed adoption by 
licensees. Those licensees opting to apply for the subject change to TS 
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.
    The Commission's regulatory requirements related to the content of 
TS are set forth in 10 CFR 50.36. This regulation requires that the TSs 
include items in five specific categories. These categories include (1) 
Safety limits, limiting safety system settings and limiting control 
settings, (2) limiting conditions for operation (LCO), (3) surveillance 
requirements, (4) design features, and (5) administrative controls. 
However, the regulation does not specify the particular TSs to be 
included in a plant's license.
    Additionally, 10 CFR 50.36(c)(2)(ii) sets forth four criteria to be 
used in determining whether an LCO is required to be included in the 
TS. These criteria are as follows:
    1. Installed instrumentation that is used to detect, and indicate 
in the control room, a significant abnormal degradation of the reactor 
coolant pressure boundary.
    2. A process variable, design feature, or operating restriction 
that is an initial condition of a design-basis accident or transient 
analysis that assumes either the failure of or presents a challenge to 
the integrity of a fission product barrier.
    3. A structure, system, or component that is part of the primary 
success path and which functions or actuates to mitigate a design-basis 
accident or transient that either assumes the failure of or presents a 
challenge to the integrity of a fission product barrier.
    4. A structure, system or component which operating experience or 
probabilistic risk assessment has shown to be significant to public 
health and safety.
    Existing LCOs and related surveillances included as TS requirements 
which satisfy any of the criteria stated above must be retained in the 
TSs. Those TS requirements which do not satisfy these criteria may be 
relocated to other licensee-controlled documents.
    As part of the rulemaking that revised 10 CFR 50.44, the Commission 
retained requirements for ensuring a mixed atmosphere, inerting Mark I 
and II containments, and providing hydrogen control systems capable of 
accommodating an amount of hydrogen generated from a metal-water 
reaction involving 75 percent of the fuel cladding surrounding the 
active fuel region in Mark III and ice condenser containments. The 
Commission eliminated the design-basis loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) 
hydrogen release from 10 CFR 50.44 and consolidated the requirements 
for hydrogen and oxygen monitoring to 10 CFR 50.44 while relaxing 
safety classifications and licensee commitments to certain design and 
qualification criteria. The Commission also relocated without change 
the hydrogen control requirements in 10 CFR 50.34(f) to 10 CFR 50.44 
and the high point vent requirements from 10 CFR 50.44 to 10 CFR 
50.46a.

3.0 Evaluation

    The ways in which the requirements and recommendations for 
combustible gas control 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 Three Mile 
Island (TMI), Unit 2 accident are

[[Page 55419]]

likely to have been the subject of confirmatory orders that imposed the 
combustible gas control functions described in NUREG-0737, 
``Clarification of TMI Action Plan Requirements,'' as obligations. The 
issuance of plant specific amendments to adopt these changes, which 
would remove hydrogen recombiner and hydrogen and oxygen monitoring 
controls from TS, supersede the combustible gas control specific 
requirements imposed by post-TMI confirmatory orders.
3.1 Hydrogen Recombiners
    The revised 10 CFR 50.44 no longer defines a design-basis LOCA 
hydrogen release, and eliminates requirements for hydrogen control 
systems to mitigate such a release. The installation of hydrogen 
recombiners and/or vent and purge systems required by 10 CFR 
50.44(b)(3) was intended to address the limited quantity and rate of 
hydrogen generation that was postulated from a design-basis LOCA. The 
Commission has found that this hydrogen release is not risk-significant 
because the design-basis LOCA hydrogen release does not contribute to 
the conditional probability of a large release up to approximately 24 
hours after the onset of core damage. In addition, these systems were 
ineffective at mitigating hydrogen releases from risk-significant 
beyond design-basis accidents. Therefore, the Commission eliminated the 
hydrogen release associated with a design-basis LOCA from 10 CFR 50.44 
and the associated requirements that necessitated the need for the 
hydrogen recombiners and the backup hydrogen vent and purge systems. As 
a result, the staff finds that requirements related to hydrogen 
recombiners no longer meet any of the four criteria in 10 CFR 
50.36(c)(2)(ii) for retention in TS and may be relocated to other 
licensee-controlled documents for all plants.
3.2 Hydrogen Monitoring Equipment
    Section 50.44(b)(1), the STS, and plant-specific TS currently 
contain requirements for monitoring hydrogen. Licensees have also made 
commitments to design and qualification criteria for hydrogen monitors 
in Item II.F.1, Attachment 6 of NUREG-0737 and Regulatory Guide (RG) 
1.97, ``Instrumentation for Light-Water-Cooled Nuclear Power Plants to 
Assess Plant and Environs Conditions During and Following an 
Accident.'' The hydrogen monitors are required to assess the degree of 
core damage during a beyond design-basis accident and confirm that 
random or deliberate ignition has taken place. If an explosive mixture 
that could threaten containment integrity exists during a beyond 
design-basis accident, then other severe accident management 
strategies, such as purging and/or venting, would need to be 
considered. The hydrogen monitors are needed to implement these severe 
accident management strategies.
    With the elimination of the design-basis LOCA hydrogen release, 
hydrogen monitors are no longer required to mitigate design-basis 
accidents and, therefore, the hydrogen monitors do not meet the 
definition of a safety-related component as defined in 10 CFR 50.2. RG 
1.97 recommends classifying the hydrogen monitors as Category 1. RG 
1.97 Category 1, is intended for key variables that most directly 
indicate the accomplishment of a safety function for design-basis 
accident events and, therefore, are items usually addressed within TS. 
As part of the rulemaking to revise 10 CFR 50.44, the Commission found 
that the hydrogen monitors no longer meet the definition of Category 1 
in RG 1.97. The Commission concluded that Category 3, as defined in RG 
1.97, is an appropriate categorization for the hydrogen monitors 
because the monitors are required to diagnose the course of beyond 
design-basis accidents. Hydrogen monitoring is not the primary means of 
indicating a significant abnormal degradation of the reactor coolant 
pressure boundary. Section 4 of Attachment 2 to SECY-00-0198, ``Status 
Report on Study of Risk-Informed Changes to the Technical Requirements 
of 10 CFR Part 50 (Option 3) and Recommendations on Risk-Informed 
Changes to 10 CFR 50.44 (Combustible Gas Control),'' found that the 
hydrogen monitors were not risk-significant. Therefore, the staff finds 
that hydrogen monitoring equipment requirements no longer meet any of 
the four criteria in 10 CFR 50.36(c)(2)(ii) for retention in TS and, 
therefore, may be relocated to other licensee-controlled documents.

    [Note: The elimination of Post-Accident Sampling System 
requirements from some plant-specific TS (and associated CLIIP 
notices) indicated that during the early phases of an accident, 
safety-grade hydrogen monitors provide an adequate capability for 
monitoring containment hydrogen concentration. The staff has 
subsequently concluded that Category 3 hydrogen monitors also 
provide an adequate capability for monitoring containment hydrogen 
concentration during the early phases of an accident.]


    However, because the monitors are required to diagnose the course 
of beyond design-basis accidents, each licensee should verify that it 
has, and make a regulatory commitment to maintain, a hydrogen 
monitoring system capable of diagnosing beyond design-basis accidents.
3.3 Oxygen Monitoring Equipment (for applicable plants)
    STS and plant-specific TS currently require oxygen monitoring to 
verify the status of the inert containment. Combustible gases produced 
by beyond design-basis accidents involving both fuel-cladding oxidation 
and core-concrete interaction would be risk-significant for plants with 
Mark I and II containments if not for the inerted containment 
atmospheres. If an inerted containment was to become de-inerted during 
a beyond design-basis accident, then other severe accident management 
strategies, such as purging and venting, would need to be considered. 
The oxygen monitors are needed to implement these severe accident 
management strategies. Oxygen concentration also appears extensively in 
the emergency procedure guidelines/severe accident guidelines of plants 
with inerted containment atmospheres.
    With the elimination of the design-basis LOCA hydrogen release, the 
oxygen monitors are no longer required to mitigate design-basis 
accidents and, therefore, the oxygen monitors do not meet the 
definition of a safety-related component as defined in 10 CFR 50.2. RG 
1.97 recommends that, for inerted containment plants, the oxygen 
monitors be Category 1 which is intended for key variables that most 
directly indicate the accomplishment of a safety function for design-
basis accident events. As part of the rulemaking to revise 10 CFR 
50.44, the Commission found that Category 2, as defined in RG 1.97, is 
an appropriate categorization for the oxygen monitors, because the 
monitors are required to verify the status of the inert containment. 
Oxygen monitoring is not the primary means of indicating a significant 
abnormal degradation of the reactor coolant pressure boundary. Oxygen 
monitors have not been shown by a probabilistic risk assessment to be 
risk-significant. Therefore, the staff finds that oxygen monitoring 
equipment requirements no longer meet any of the four criteria in 10 
CFR 50.36(c)(2)(ii) for retention in TS and, therefore, may be 
relocated to other licensee-controlled documents.
    However, for plant designs with an inerted containment, each 
licensee should verify that it has, and make a regulatory commitment to 
maintain, an oxygen monitoring system capable of verifying the status 
of the inert containment. In addition, separate requirements for 
primary containment oxygen concentration will be retained in

[[Page 55420]]

TS for plant designs with an inerted containment. The basis for 
retention of this requirement in TS is that it meets Criterion 2 of 10 
CFR 50.36(c)(2)(ii) in that it is a process variable, design feature, 
or operating restriction that is an initial condition of a design basis 
accident or transient analysis that either assumes the failure of or 
presents a challenge to the integrity of a fission product barrier. 
This is based on the fact that calculations typically included in 
Chapter 6 of Updated Final Safety Analysis Reports assume that the 
primary containment is inerted, that is, oxygen concentration < 4.0 
volume percent, when a design basis LOCA occurs.
    [The deletion of the requirements for the hydrogen recombiner and 
hydrogen [and oxygen] monitors resulted in numbering and formatting 
changes to other TS, which were otherwise unaffected by this proposed 
amendment. The NRC staff has confirmed that the related changes are 
appropriate and do not affect the technical requirements.]

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, a hydrogen monitoring system capable of 
diagnosing beyond design-basis accidents.
    The licensee has verified that it has a hydrogen monitoring system 
capable of diagnosing beyond design-basis accidents. The licensee has 
committed to maintain the hydrogen monitors within its [specified 
document or program]. The licensee has [implemented this commitment or 
will implement this commitment by (specific date)].
    4.2 For plant designs with an inerted containment, each licensee 
should verify that it has, and make a regulatory commitment to 
maintain, an oxygen monitoring system capable of verifying the status 
of the inert containment. (for applicable plants)
    The licensee has verified that it has an oxygen monitoring system 
capable of verifying the status of the inert containment. The licensee 
has committed to maintain the oxygen monitors within its [specified 
document or program]. The licensee has [implemented this commitment or 
will implement this commitment by (specific 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 ] 
State official was notified of the proposed issuance of the amendment. 
The State official had [(1) no comments or (2) the following comments--
with subsequent disposition by the staff].

6.0 Environmental Consideration

    The amendment changes 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 changes surveillance 
requirements. The NRC staff has determined that the amendment involves 
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 amendment involves no significant hazards 
consideration, and there has been no public comment on such finding (FR 
[citation and date]). Accordingly, the amendment meets 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 amendment.

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 to maintain hydrogen 
recombiners and hydrogen [and oxygen] monitors. Licensees were 
generally required to implement upgrades as described in NUREG-0737, 
``Clarification of TMI [Three Mile Island] Action Plan Requirements,'' 
and Regulatory Guide (RG) 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 combustible gas control 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. The revised 10 CFR 50.44, ``Standards for 
Combustible Gas Control System in Light-Water-Cooled Power Reactors,'' 
eliminated the requirements for hydrogen recombiners and relaxed safety 
classifications and licensee commitments to certain design and 
qualification criteria for hydrogen and oxygen monitors.
    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 revised 10 CFR 50.44 no longer defines a design-basis loss-of-
coolant

[[Page 55421]]

accident (LOCA) hydrogen release, and eliminates requirements for 
hydrogen control systems to mitigate such a release. The installation 
of hydrogen recombiners and/or vent and purge systems required by 10 
CFR 50.44(b)(3) was intended to address the limited quantity and rate 
of hydrogen generation that was postulated from a design-basis LOCA. 
The Commission has found that this hydrogen release is not risk-
significant because the design-basis LOCA hydrogen release does not 
contribute to the conditional probability of a large release up to 
approximately 24 hours after the onset of core damage. In addition, 
these systems were ineffective at mitigating hydrogen releases from 
risk-significant accident sequences that could threaten containment 
integrity.
    With the elimination of the design-basis LOCA hydrogen release, 
hydrogen [and oxygen] monitors are no longer required to mitigate 
design-basis accidents and, therefore, the hydrogen monitors do not 
meet the definition of a safety-related component as defined in 10 CFR 
50.2. RG 1.97 Category 1, is intended for key variables that most 
directly indicate the accomplishment of a safety function for design-
basis accident events. The hydrogen [and oxygen] monitors no longer 
meet the definition of Category 1 in RG 1.97. As part of the rulemaking 
to revise 10 CFR 50.44 the Commission found that Category 3, as defined 
in RG 1.97, is an appropriate categorization for the hydrogen monitors 
because the monitors are required to diagnose the course of beyond 
design-basis accidents. [Also, as part of the rulemaking to revise 10 
CFR 50.44, the Commission found that Category 2, as defined in RG 1.97, 
is an appropriate categorization for the oxygen monitors, because the 
monitors are required to verify the status of the inert containment.]
    The regulatory requirements for the hydrogen [and oxygen] monitors 
can be relaxed 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. Classification of the hydrogen 
monitors as Category 3, [classification of the oxygen monitors as 
Category 2] and removal of the hydrogen [and oxygen] monitors from TS 
will not prevent an accident management strategy 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 the hydrogen recombiner requirements 
and relaxation of the hydrogen [and oxygen] monitor requirements, 
including removal of these requirements from TS, does not involve a 
significant increase in the probability or 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 the hydrogen recombiner requirements and 
relaxation of the hydrogen [and oxygen] monitor requirements, including 
removal of these requirements from TS, will not result in any failure 
mode not previously analyzed. The hydrogen recombiner and hydrogen [and 
oxygen] monitor equipment was intended to mitigate a design-basis 
hydrogen release. The hydrogen recombiner and hydrogen [and oxygen] 
monitor equipment are not considered accident precursors, nor does 
their 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 hydrogen recombiner requirements and 
relaxation of the hydrogen [and oxygen] monitor requirements, including 
removal of these requirements from TS, 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.
    The installation of hydrogen recombiners and/or vent and purge 
systems required by 10 CFR 50.44(b)(3) was intended to address the 
limited quantity and rate of hydrogen generation that was postulated 
from a design-basis LOCA. The Commission has found that this hydrogen 
release is not risk-significant because the design-basis LOCA hydrogen 
release does not contribute to the conditional probability of a large 
release up to approximately 24 hours after the onset of core damage.
    Category 3 hydrogen monitors are adequate 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 intent of the 
requirements established as a result of the TMI, Unit 2 accident can be 
adequately met without reliance on safety-related hydrogen monitors.
    [Category 2 oxygen monitors are adequate to verify the status of an 
inerted containment.]
    Therefore, this change does not involve a significant reduction in 
the margin of safety. [The intent of the requirements established as a 
result of the TMI, Unit 2 accident can be adequately met without 
reliance on safety-related oxygen monitors.] Removal of hydrogen [and 
oxygen] monitoring from TS will not result in a significant reduction 
in their functionality, reliability, and availability.
    Based upon the reasoning presented above and the previous 
discussion of the amendment request, the requested change does not 
involve a significant hazards consideration.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 12th day of September 2003.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Herbert N. Berkow,
Director, Project Directorate IV, Division of Licensing Project 
Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 03-24204 Filed 9-24-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P