[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 4 (Wednesday, January 7, 2004)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 879-892]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-314]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 69, No. 4 / Wednesday, January 7, 2004 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 879]]



NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 50

RIN 3150-AH24


Industry Codes and Standards; Amended Requirements

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) proposes to amend its 
regulations to incorporate by reference the 2001 Edition and the 2002 
and 2003 Addenda of Division 1 of Section III of the American Society 
of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPV 
Code); the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of Division 1 
rules of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code; and the 2001 Edition and the 
2002 and 2003 Addenda of the ASME Code for Operation and Maintenance of 
Nuclear Power Plants (OM Code) to provide updated rules for 
constructing and inspecting components and testing pumps and valves in 
light-water cooled nuclear power plants.

DATES: Comments regarding the proposed amendment must be submitted by 
March 22, 2004. Comments received after this date will be considered if 
it is practical to do so, but the Commission is only able to ensure 
consideration of comments received on or before this date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of the following methods. 
Please include the following number RIN 3150-AH24 in the subject line 
of your comments. Comments on rulemakings submitted in writing or in 
electronic form will be made available to the public in their entirety 
on the NRC rulemaking web site. Personal information will not be 
removed from your comments.
    Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.
    E-mail comments to: SECY@nrc.gov. If you do not receive a reply e-
mail confirming that we have received your comments, contact us 
directly at (301) 415-1966. You may also submit comments via the NRC's 
rulemaking web site at http://ruleforum.llnl.gov. Address questions 
about our rulemaking website to Carol Gallagher (301) 415-5905; email 
cag@nrc.gov.
    Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 
20852, between 7:30 am and 4:15 pm Federal workdays. (Telephone (301) 
415-1966).
    Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 
(301) 415-1101.
    Publicly available documents related to this rulemaking may be 
viewed electronically on the public computers located at the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR), O1 F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland. The PDR reproduction contractor 
will copy documents for a fee. Selected documents, including comments, 
may be viewed and downloaded electronically via the NRC rulemaking web 
site at http://ruleforum.llnl.gov.
    Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC after 
November 1, 1999, are available electronically at the NRC's Electronic 
Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this 
site, the public can gain entry into the NRC's Agencywide Document 
Access and Management System (ADAMS), which provides text and image 
files of NRC's public documents. If you do not have access to ADAMS or 
if there are problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, 
contact the NRC Public Document Room (PDR) Reference staff at 1-800-
397-4209, (301) 415-4737 or by email to pdr@nrc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Tingen, Division of 
Engineering, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Alternatively, you 
may contact Mr. Tingen at (301) 415-1280, or via e-mail at: 
sgt@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
1. Background
2. Summary of Proposed Revisions to 10 CFR 50.55a
    2.1 Section III
    2.2 Section XI
    2.3 ASME OM Code
3. Section-by-Section Analysis
4. Generic Aging Lessons Learned Report
5. Availability of Documents
6. Plain Language
7. Voluntary Consensus Standards
8. Finding of No Significant Environmental Impact: Availability
9. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement
10. Regulatory Analysis
11. Regulatory Flexibility Certification
12. Backfit Analysis

1. Background

    Section 50.55a requires, in part, that nuclear power plant 
licensees--
    (1) Construct Class 1, 2, and 3 components in accordance with 
the provisions provided in Section III, Division 1, ``Requirements 
for Construction of Nuclear Power Plant Components,'' of the ASME 
BPV Code;
    (2) Inspect Class 1, 2, and 3, metal containment (MC), and 
concrete containment (CC) components in accordance with the 
provisions provided in Section XI, Division 1, ``Requirements for 
Inservice Inspection of Nuclear Power Plant Components,'' of the 
ASME BPV Code; and
    (3) Test Class 1, 2, and 3 pumps and valves in accordance with 
the provisions provided in the ASME OM Code.
    In a final rule dated September 26, 2002 (67 FR 60520), the NRC 
revised Sec.  50.55a to incorporate by reference the 1997 Addenda 
through 2000 Addenda of Division 1 rules of Section III of the ASME 
BPV Code; the 1997 Addenda through 2000 Addenda of Division 1 rules 
of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code; and the 1997 Addenda through 
2000 Addenda of the ASME OM Code.
    In this rulemaking, the NRC proposes to amend Sec.  50.55a to 
incorporate by reference the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 
Addenda of Division 1 rules of Section III of the ASME BPV Code; the 
2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of Division 1 rules of 
Section XI of the ASME BPV Code; and the 2001 Edition and the 2002 
and 2003 Addenda of the ASME OM Code. The NRC has reviewed the 2001 
Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of the ASME BPV Code, Sections 
III and XI, and the ASME OM Code, and concludes that--
    (1) Section III of the ASME BPV Code is acceptable for use 
subject to proposed modifications and limitations;
    (2) Section XI of the ASME BPV Code is acceptable for use 
subject to proposed modifications and limitations; and
    (3) The ASME OM Code is acceptable for use with no new proposed 
limitations or modifications.

2. Summary of Proposed Revisions to 10 CFR 50.55a

2.1 Section III

    The proposed amendment would revise Sec.  50.55a(b)(1) to 
incorporate by reference the 2001 Edition and the 2002

[[Page 880]]

and 2003 Addenda of Division 1 of Section III of the ASME BPV Code 
subject to proposed modifications and limitations.
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing modification and 
limitation for weld leg dimensions and independence of inspection in 
Sec. Sec.  50.55a(b)(1)(ii) and 50.55a(b)(1)(v), respectively, to apply 
to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of Section III, Division 1, of 
the ASME BPV Code. The modification and limitation in Sec. Sec.  
50.55a(b)(1)(ii) and 50.55a(b)(1)(v) would continue to apply to the 
2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of Section III because the earlier 
Code provisions that these regulations are based on were not revised in 
the 2001 through 2003 Addenda of Section III to address the underlying 
issues which led to the NRC to impose the modification and limitation 
on the ASME Code provisions.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(iii)--Seismic Design
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing limitation for 
seismic design in Sec.  50.55a(b)(1)(iii) to limit its application to 
the 1994 Addenda through 2000 Addenda of Section III, Division 1, of 
the ASME BPV Code. The limitation in Sec.  50.55a(b)(1)(iii) would not 
apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of Section III because 
the earlier Code provisions that this regulation was based on were 
revised in the 2001 through 2003 Addenda of Section III to address a 
number of the underlying issues which led the NRC to impose the 
limitation on the ASME Code provisions. New modifications and 
limitations proposed by the NRC on seismic design provisions in the 
2001 through 2003 Addenda of Section III are discussed in Sec.  
50.55a(b)(1)(vi) below.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(vi)--Piping Design Criteria For Reversing Dynamic 
Loads
    The proposed amendment would add modifications and limitations, 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(1)(vi)(A) through (F), that prohibit or supplement as 
discussed below the use of certain piping design criteria for reversing 
dynamic loads in the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of 
Section III of the ASME BPV Code. These provisions involve the 
alternative method for evaluating reversing dynamic loads. Reversing 
dynamic loads are defined as those loads which cycle about a mean value 
and include building filtered loads, seismic (earthquake) loads, and 
reflected wave loads.
    The alternative method for evaluating reversing dynamic loads was 
revised in the 1994 Addenda of Section III. The new provisions in the 
1994 Addenda were based, in part, on industry evaluations of the data 
from tests performed under sponsorship of the Electric Power Research 
Institute (EPRI) and NRC. After reviewing changes in the 1994 Addenda, 
the NRC determined that the alternative method was unacceptable because 
evaluation of the test data did not support the changes. An ASME 
special working group was established to reevaluate the bases for the 
alternative method for evaluating reversing dynamic loads that was 
revised in the 1994 Addenda. An NRC sponsored research program was also 
initiated to evaluate the technical issues regarding the adequacy of 
the new provisions in the 1994 Addenda. These technical issues are 
summarized in NUREG/CR-5361, ``Seismic Analysis of Piping,'' dated June 
1998. The technical issues summarized in NUREG/CR-5361 were 
subsequently evaluated by ASME committees, and Section III of the ASME 
BPV Code has been revised to resolve the technical issues in NUREG/CR-
5361. However, in the NRC's view, several technical issues in NUREG/CR-
5361 have not been satisfactorily resolved. These technical issues are 
discussed below.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(vi)(A)--Reflected Waves Caused by Flow Transients
    NB-3200, NB-3600, NC-3600, and ND-3600 of the 2001 Edition and the 
2002 and 2003 Addenda allow the alternative method for evaluating 
reversing dynamic loads to be applied to calculations for piping 
subject to loads generated by reflected waves caused by flow transients 
(sudden closure of a valve is an example of a condition that could 
create a flow transient). Members on ASME committees used data from 
tests performed under the sponsorship of EPRI and NRC that focused on 
seismic loading conditions to demonstrate that use of the alternative 
method for evaluating reversing dynamic loads for piping subject to 
loads provided acceptable design margins. As discussed in NUREG/CR-
5361, the limited amount of test data does not support a finding that 
the design margin is adequate for these types of loadings. Therefore, 
the NRC is proposing to disallow the use of the alternative method for 
evaluating reversing dynamic loads for piping subject to loads 
generated by reflected waves caused by flow transients in NB-3200, NB-
3600, NC-3600, and ND-3600.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(vi)(B)--Inelastic Analysis for Evaluating Reversing 
Dynamic Loads
    NB-3228.6 of the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda 
provides alternative provisions for performing an inelastic analysis 
for evaluating reversing dynamic loads. The NRC is proposing to 
disallow the use of NB-3228.6. As discussed in NUREG/CR-5361, the NRC's 
and industry's review of the limited amount of test data does not 
support a finding that the design margin is adequate. In addition, it 
would require validation of the nonlinear material modeling 
(constitutive relationships) in order to justify selection of the 
material models because of the high sensitivity of the dynamic analysis 
to these material models.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(vi)(C)--Level A and B Service Limit Loadings
    NC-3653.2(d) and ND-3653.2(d) of the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 
2003 Addenda provide a separate equation for evaluating reversing 
dynamic loads from other design basis loadings for Level A and B 
service limits. The NRC is proposing to disallow the use of NC-
3653.2(d) and ND-3653.2(d) because it has not been demonstrated that 
these provisions provide an adequate design margin or that the 
treatment of reversing dynamic loads separate from other design basis 
loads is acceptable. The NRC is proposing the use of NC-3653.1 and NC-
3653.2 instead of NC-3653.2(d), and ND-3653.1 and ND-3653.2 instead of 
ND-3653.2(d). Analysis using NC-3653.1 or ND-3653.1 must include 
pressure and reversing dynamic loads that are not required to be 
combined with nonreversing dynamic loads. The allowable B2` 
stress indices defined in NC-3655(b)(3) may be used in these analyses. 
The anchor motions associated with reversing dynamic loads must be 
included as an anchor displacement in the definition of MC 
when applying NC-3653.2 or ND-3653.2.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(vi)(D)--Appendix N Linear Elastic Response Spectrum 
Analysis
    NB-3656(b)(3), NC-3655(b)(3), and ND-3655(b)(3) of the 2001 Edition 
and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda provide a definition of the moment, 
ME, to be used in the evaluation of reversing dynamic loads. 
The moment definition states that reversing dynamic loads must be 
computed from a linear elastic response spectrum analysis as defined in 
Appendix N of Section III. Linear elastic response spectrum analysis

[[Page 881]]

requirements are also addressed in the licensing basis for each nuclear 
power plant. Appendix N linear elastic response spectrum analysis 
provisions may be less conservative than licensing basis linear elastic 
response spectrum analysis provisions. The proposed rule would disallow 
the use of Appendix N in applications when Appendix N linear elastic 
response spectrum analysis provisions are less conservative than 
licensing basis linear elastic response spectrum analysis provisions. A 
licensee would be required to compare the Appendix N linear elastic 
response spectrum analysis provisions to its licensing basis linear 
elastic response spectrum analysis provisions, and use the provisions 
that provide the most conservative calculation of ME.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(vi)(E)--Stress Indices for Tees and Elbows
    NB-3656(b)(3), NC-3655(b)(3), and ND-3655(b)(3) of the 2001 Edition 
and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda specify the maximum allowable 
B2` stress indices for tees and elbows when using the 
alternative method for evaluating dynamic reversing loads. The 
allowable B2` stress indices specified in ND-3655(b)(3) are 
not consistent with the allowable B2` stress indices 
specified in NB-3656(b)(3) and NC-3655(b)(3). The allowable 
B2` stress indices of 3/4 up to B2` for tees and 
elbows as specified in NB-3656(b)(3) and NC-3655(b)(3) are acceptable. 
The NRC is proposing to disallow the use of the B2` stress 
indices specified in ND-3655(b)(3), and to require that the allowable 
B2` stress indices specified in NB-3656(b)(3) and NC-
3655(b)(3) be used instead of the allowable B2` stress 
indices specified in ND-3655(b)(3). The NRC is proposing to disallow 
the use of the B2` stress indices specified in ND-3655(b)(3) 
for tees and elbows because the design margins associated with this 
application have not been established.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(vi)(F)--Anchor Motions
    The proposed amendment would allow the use of an allowable stress 
limit of 6SM in the evaluation of the range of resultant 
moment only when it is demonstrated that the global piping system 
response to the anchor movement does not create significant inelastic 
strain concentrations when using the provisions in NB-3656(b)(4), NC-
3655(b)(4), and ND-3655(b)(4). The proposed amendment would not require 
a demonstration that the anchor movement does not create significant 
inelastic strain concentrations if an allowable stress limit of 
3SM is used instead of 6SM in the evaluation of 
the range of resultant moment. NB-3656(b)(4), NC-3655(b)(4), and ND-
3655(b)(4) of the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda provide 
provisions for evaluating anchor motions when using the alternative 
method for evaluating reversing dynamic loads. The allowable bending 
stress limit of 6SM in NB-3656(b)(4), NC-3655(b)(4), and ND-
3655(b)(4) is used in conjunction with the elastic analysis of the 
piping system. However, significant inelastic strains in the piping 
system could occur at the 6SM stress limit. The elastic 
analysis of the piping system will ensure that the inelastic piping 
strains will remain within acceptable limits as long as the global 
piping system behaves elastic. However, if a significant strain 
concentration exists in the piping system, the maximum strain may be 
much greater than would be predicted by an elastic analysis. These 
larger strains could result in failure of the piping. The use of an 
allowable stress limit of 3SM instead of 6SM is 
acceptable because the adequacy of the 3SM stress limit has 
been satisfactorily demonstrated by operating experience for thermal 
loads.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(vii)--Subsection NH
    The proposed modification, Sec.  50.55a(b)(1)(vii), would not 
approve the use of Subsection NH of the 2001 Edition through 2003 
Addenda of Section III of the ASME BPV Code, and withdraw the current 
approval of Subsection NH of the 1995 through 2000 Addenda of Section 
III of the ASME BPV Code. The scope of Subsection NH includes Class 1 
components that function in water, steam, sodium, helium, or any other 
fluid. The special design provisions in Subsection NH apply to Class 1 
components that are required to function at elevated metal temperatures 
where creep and relaxation effects may be significant and for which the 
stress limits and design provisions in Subsection NB of Section III are 
not applicable. These stress limits and design provisions of Subsection 
NB are applicable only to service conditions where creep and relaxation 
effects are negligible. The elevated temperature provisions in 
Subsection NH--applicable to certain Class 1 components in future 
advanced reactor designs such as liquid metal, sodium, and high-
temperature gas-cooled reactor designs--have not been reviewed by the 
NRC for technical adequacy because the design provisions in Subsection 
NH are not applicable to any currently operating nuclear power plant 
nor to any currently approved standard advanced light water reactor 
plant design. For these reasons, the NRC is proposing not to approve 
the use of Subsection NH. Future reactor designs may not employ the 
special design methodologies for high temperatures described in 
Subsection NH absent specific approval by the NRC.

2.2 Section XI

    The proposed amendment would revise Sec.  50.55a(b)(2) to 
incorporate by reference the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda 
of Division 1 of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code subject to proposed 
modifications and limitations.
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing modifications and 
limitations for quality assurance, Class 1 piping, underwater welding, 
reconciliation of quality requirements, certification of nondestructive 
examination personnel, substitution of alternative method, and Table 
IWB-2500-1 examination requirements in Sec. Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(x), 
50.55a(b)(2)(xi), 50.55a(b)(2)(xii), 50.55a(b)(2)(xvii), 
50.55a(b)(2)(xviii), 50.55a(b)(2)(xix), and 50.55a(b)(2)(xxi), 
respectively, to apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of 
Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code. The modifications and 
limitations in Sec. Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(x), 50.55a(b)(2)(xi), 
50.55a(b)(2)(xii), 50.55a(b)(2)(xvii), 50.55a(b)(2)(xviii), 
50.55a(b)(2)(xix), and 50.55a(b)(2)(xxi) would continue to apply to the 
2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of Section XI because the earlier 
Code provisions that these regulations are based on were not revised in 
the 2001 through 2003 Addenda of Section XI to address the underlying 
issues which led the NRC to impose the modifications and limitations on 
the ASME Code provisions.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)--Footnote 10
    The proposed amendment would add Footnote 10 to Sec.  50.55a(b)(2) 
to indicate that the NRC has issued Order EA-03-009 which imposed 
enhanced reactor pressure vessel (RPV) head inspections at pressurized 
water reactors (PWRs). In February 2003, the NRC issued EA-03-009 to 
licensees of PWRs to establish interim inspection requirements that 
would ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, based in 
part, on the information gathered from NRC Bulletins 2001-01 and 2002-
02. The Order imposes enhanced requirements for PWR licensees that 
supplement areas of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code to ensure the 
structural and leakage integrity of the reactor coolant pressure 
boundary. The requirements imposed by the Order do not conflict with 
the requirements in Section XI of the ASME

[[Page 882]]

BPV Code but are needed to enhance Code requirements. Since issuing the 
Order, the NRC issued Regulatory Issue Summary 2003-13 on July 29, 
2003, which summarizes the information gathered from Bulletin 2002-01 
and the South Texas Project inspection related to cracking and leaks 
associated with Alloy 600/82/182 materials; and Information Notice 
2003-11 on August 13, 2003, which describes the leakage found on the 
bottom of the South Texas vessel. In the near future, the NRC plans to 
institute rulemaking to incorporate the provisions of the Order into 
NRC rules and regulations. Until that time, licensees are required to 
meet the requirements in the Order as a supplement to the requirements 
in the 2001 Edition with the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of Section XI of the 
ASME BPV Code. Licensees of PWRs using editions and addenda of Section 
XI of the ASME Code earlier than the 2001 Edition are currently 
required to apply the requirements in the Order to supplement the use 
of their applicable Code of record. The NRC anticipates that the 
Backfit Rule will not apply to the proposed rulemaking incorporating 
the provisions of the Order because the rulemaking will not impose any 
new requirements beyond that required by the Order.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(viii)--Examination of Concrete Containments
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing modification for 
examination of concrete containments in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(viii) to 
apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of Section XI, Division 
1, of the ASME BPV Code. The modification in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(viii) 
would continue to apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of 
Section XI because the earlier Code provisions that this regulation was 
based on were not revised in the 2001 through 2003 Addenda of Section 
XI to address the underlying issues which led the NRC to impose the 
modification of the ASME Code provisions. The existing modification for 
examination of concrete containments in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(viii) also 
would be revised to require that a new modification, Sec.  
50.55a(b)(2)(viii)(G), which is discussed below, would apply to the 
2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of Section XI, Division 1, of the 
ASME BPV Code.
    The proposed modification, Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(viii)(G), would 
require that corrosion protection medium (CPM) be restored in 
accordance with the quality assurance program requirements specified in 
IWA-1400 following IWL-4000 repair and replacement activities conducted 
on concrete containment post-tensioning systems when using the 2001 
Edition through 2003 Addenda of Section XI. IWL-4110 of Section XI 
defines the scope of the repair and replacement activities associated 
with concrete containments. IWL-4110(b) specifies those items that are 
exempt from repair and replacement activity requirements. A new 
provision, IWL-4110(b)(3), was added in the 2002 Addenda exempting the 
removal, replacement, or addition of concrete containment post-
tensioning system CPM from repair and replacement requirements. Prior 
to the 2002 Addenda, IWL-4000 specifies that the CPM must be restored 
following a concrete containment post-tensioning system repair and 
replacement activity.
    CPM is applied to containment post-tension system components to 
prevent corrosion. The function of the containment post-tension system 
is to retain pressure and CPM is relied upon to maintain the integrity 
of the containment post-tension system. Therefore, the restoration of 
concrete containment post-tensioning system CPM is important to ensure 
that the containment integrity and load capacity satisfy design basis 
requirements under accident conditions. For example, the acceptable 
concentration of water soluble chlorides, nitrates and sulfides of the 
replacement CPM must be verified. The amount of CPM to be installed and 
the method used to apply the CPM must be specified.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(ix)--Examination of Metal Containments and the 
Liners of Concrete Containments
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing modification for 
examination of metal containments and the liners of concrete 
containments in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(ix) to apply to the 2001 Edition 
through 2003 Addenda of Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code. 
With the exception of the visual examination requirements specified in 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(ix)(B), the modification in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(ix) 
would continue to apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of 
Section XI because the earlier Code provisions that this regulation was 
based on were not revised in the 2001 through 2003 Addenda of Section 
XI to address the underlying issues which led to the NRC to impose the 
modification on the ASME Code provisions. The minimum illumination and 
distance visual examination provisions in Table IWA-2210-1 in Section 
XI were revised in the 2003 Addenda and are equivalent to the minimum 
illumination and distance visual examination requirements in Sec.  
50.55a(b)(2)(ix)(B). Therefore, the modification for examination of 
metal containments and the liners of concrete containments in Sec.  
50.55a(b)(2)(ix) would also be revised to specify that the existing 
modification in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(ix)(B) would not apply to the 2003 
Addenda of Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xiii)--Flaws in Class 3 Piping
    The proposed amendment would revise Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xiii) to 
eliminate the authorization to use Code Case N-513. The existing 
regulation in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xiii) authorizes the use of Code Cases 
N-513 and N-523-1. The authorization of Code Case N-513 was added to 
Regulatory Guide 1.147, ``Inservice Inspection Code Case Acceptability, 
ASME Section XI, Division 1,'' in Revision 13. Revision 13 to 
Regulatory Guide 1.147 was incorporated by reference into Sec.  50.55a 
in a final rule dated July 8, 2003 (68 FR 40469). Thus, it is no longer 
necessary to authorize the use of Code Case N-513 in Sec.  
50.55a(b)(2)(xiii) because this code case is included in Regulatory 
Guide 1.147. Section 50.55a(b)(2)(xiii) would continue to authorize the 
use of Code Case N-523-1, because Code Case N-523-1 is currently not 
included in Regulatory Guide 1.147.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xiv)--Appendix VIII Personnel Qualification
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing modification for 
Appendix VIII personnel qualification in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xiv) to 
apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of Section IX, Division 
1, of the ASME BPV Code. The modification in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xiv) 
would continue to apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of 
Section XI because the earlier Code provisions that this regulation was 
based on were not revised in the 2001 through 2003 Addenda of Section 
IX to address the underlying issues which led to the NRC to impose the 
modification on the ASME Code provisions. The proposed rule would also 
revise Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xiv) to correct an oversight. The existing 
regulation incorrectly states that the annual practice requirements in 
VII-4240 of Supplement VII of Section XI may be used. The reference to 
Supplement VII is incorrect; it should be Appendix VII. Therefore, 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xiv) would be revised to state that the annual 
practice requirements in VII-4240 of Appendix VII of Section XI may be 
used.

[[Page 883]]

10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xv) and (xxiv)--Appendix VIII Qualification and 
Coverage Requirements
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing modification for 
Appendix VIII specimen set and qualification requirements in Sec.  
50.55a(b)(2)(xv) to apply to the 2001 Edition of Section XI, Division 
1, of the ASME BPV Code. The modification in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv) 
would continue to apply to the 2001 Edition of Section XI because the 
earlier Code provisions that this regulation was based on were not 
revised in the 2001 Edition of Section XI to address the underlying 
issues which led the NRC to impose the modification of the ASME Code 
provisions. A new limitation, Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xxiv), is discussed 
below that would prohibit the use of Appendix VIII and the supplements 
to Appendix VIII, and Article I-3000 in the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of 
Section XI of the ASME BPV Code.
    The proposed amendment would also revise the existing regulation in 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv)(C)(1) to specify that the flaw depth sizing 
provisions in Subparagraph 3.2(c) of Supplement 4 to Appendix VIII are 
not applicable when Appendix VIII is implemented in accordance with 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv). Section 50.55a(b)(2)(xv) currently provides an 
alternative method that licensees may use for implementing Appendix 
VIII and the supplements to Appendix VIII. The existing regulation 
specifies that the flaw depth sizing provisions in Subparagraph 3.2(a) 
of Supplement 4 to Appendix VIII are not applicable when using the flaw 
depth sizing provisions specified in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv)(C)(1). This 
revision is needed to correct an oversight that the flaw depth sizing 
provisions in Subparagraph 3.2(c) of Supplement 4 to Appendix VIII also 
do not apply when using the flaw depth sizing provisions specified in 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv)(C)(1). Thus, the flaw depth sizing provisions in 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv)(C)(1) would be revised to also reference 
Subparagraph 3.2(c) of Supplement 4 to Appendix VIII.
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing regulation in 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv)(J) to eliminate the authorization to use Code 
Case N-522. The regulation in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv)(J) authorizes the 
use of Code Case N-552. The authorization of Code Case N-552 was added 
to Regulatory Guide 1.147, ``Inservice Inspection Code Case 
Acceptability, ASME Section XI, Division 1,'' in Revision 13. Revision 
13 to Regulatory Guide 1.147 was incorporated by reference into Sec.  
50.55a in a final rule dated July 8, 2003 (68 FR 40469). Thus, it is no 
longer necessary to authorize the use of Code Case N-552 in Sec.  
50.55a(b)(2)(xv)(J) because this code case is included in Regulatory 
Guide 1.147.
    The proposed limitation, Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xxiv), would prohibit 
the use of Appendix VIII and the supplements to Appendix VIII, and 
Article I-3000 in the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of Section XI of the ASME 
BPV Code. The elements of the Performance Demonstration Initiative 
(PDI) program was added to Appendix VIII and its supplements in the 
2002 Addenda of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code. The PDI is an 
organization formed for the purpose of developing efficient, cost-
effective, and technically sound ultrasonic (UT) performance 
demonstration methods to meet Appendix VIII requirements. The PDI 
program has evolved as programs were developed for each Appendix VIII 
supplement. Article I-3000, Examination Coverage, was also added in the 
2002 Addenda to provide UT examination coverage criteria for certain 
welds.
    The final rule dated September 22, 1999 (64 FR 51370), requires 
licensees to implement Appendix VIII and its supplements. The essential 
elements of the PDI program were added to the final rule as Sec.  
50.55a(b)(2)(xv). Section 50.55a(b)(2)(xv) also provides UT examination 
coverage criteria. Licensees are currently implementing Appendix VIII 
and its supplements in accordance with Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv). Although 
the NRC, ASME, and PDI have made considerable progress in the 
development of UT qualification and inspection requirements, the 
addition of the PDI program and UT examination coverage criteria into 
Section XI are not complete at this time. As a result, conflicts exist 
between the modifications in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv), and the provisions 
in Appendix VIII and its supplements and Article I-3000 in the 2002 and 
2003 Addenda of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code. Therefore, Appendix 
VIII and its supplements can not be implemented in accordance with 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv) when using the 2002 and 2003 Addenda. 
Consequently, the proposed rule prohibits the use of Appendix VIII and 
its supplements and Article I-3000 beyond the 2001 Edition. The NRC 
plans to endorse Appendix VIII and its supplements and Article I-3000 
when the addition of the PDI program and the addition of UT examination 
coverage criteria into Section XI are complete.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(xx)--System Leakage Test
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing modification for 
system leakage tests in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xx) to limit its application 
to the 1997 Addenda through 2001 Addenda of Section XI, Division 1, of 
the ASME BPV Code. The modification in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xx) would not 
apply to the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of Section XI because the earlier 
Code provisions that this regulation was based on were revised in the 
2002 Addenda of Section XI to address the underlying issues which led 
to the NRC to impose the modification of the ASME Code provisions. The 
system leakage test provisions in IWA-5213(a) were revised in the 2002 
Addenda of Section XI and are equivalent to the existing requirements 
in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xx).
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xxii)--Surface Examinations
    The proposed modification, Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xxii), would prohibit 
the use of a new provision in IWA-2220. The provisions of Code Case N-
615, ``Ultrasonic Examination as a Surface Examination Method for 
Category B-F and B-J piping Welds,'' were incorporated into IWA-2220 in 
the 2001 Edition of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code. Code Case N-615 
and IWA-2220 (2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda) allow a 
surface examination to be conducted using a UT examination method. The 
UT examination is conducted from the inside surface of certain piping 
welds. Other allowable surface examination methods (magnetic particle 
or liquid penetrant) are conducted from the outside surface of certain 
piping welds. The purpose of the these surface examinations is to 
identify flaws in the outer surface of the weld. The NRC disallowed the 
use of Code Case N-615 and is proposing to prohibit the use of the same 
type of UT examination specified in IWA-2220 because there are no 
provisions in Section XI that address qualification requirements and 
performance demonstration criteria and requirements to ensure proper 
consideration of flaws in the outer surface of a piping weld when 
conducting a UT examination from the inside surface of the piping weld.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xxiii)--IWA-4461.4.2 Evaluation of Thermally Cut 
Surfaces
    The proposed modification, 50.55a(b)(2)(xxiii), would supplement 
the use of the new provisions in IWA-4461.4.2 to require that the tests 
and

[[Page 884]]

inspections and the analysis specified in IWA-4461.4.2(a)(1) through 
(5) be considered by an evaluation. Sub-section IWA-4461.4.2 was added 
in the 2001 Edition to allow the elimination of mechanical processing 
of a thermally cut surface when, due to field conditions, mechanical 
processing is deemed impractical. Thermal cutting is a process for 
removing metal from a weld or base metal. Thermal cutting includes 
processes such as oxy-acetylene cutting, plasma-arc cutting, laser-beam 
cutting, and air-carbon arc gouging. These processes can leave cracks, 
stress risers, very rough surfaces, or heavy oxidation on the cut 
surface that can seriously degrade the material toughness or corrosion 
resistance of the material or leave large residual stresses in the 
material. If the thermally disturbed surface is not mechanically 
processed, such as, grinding, machining, or filing, or properly 
evaluated, these defects could be incorporated into the final weld, 
possibly compromising the integrity and quality of the weld.
    The provisions in IWA-4461.4.2 allow the elimination of mechanical 
processing of thermally cut surfaces provided that the tests and 
inspections and the analysis specified in IWA-4461.4.2(a)(1) through 
(5) are considered by an evaluation. It is unclear if Code provisions 
that state that specific items that must be considered by evaluation 
are intended to be mandatory or optional requirements. The provisions 
specified in IWA-4461.4.2(a)(1) through (5) specify the appropriate 
tests and inspections and analysis for eliminating the mechanical 
processing of thermally cut surfaces provided that all these actions 
are performed. These actions are necessary to ensure proper evaluation 
of cracks, stress risers, oxidation, or other contamination of cut 
surfaces that could exist in the final weld which would seriously 
degrade the material toughness or corrosion resistance of the material. 
Therefore, proposed paragraph (b)(2)(xxiii) would explicitly require 
that the tests and inspections, and the analysis specified in IWA-
4461.4.2(a)(1) through (5) be performed whenever a thermally cut 
surface is not mechanically processed.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xxv)--Mitigation of Flaws
    The proposed modification, Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xxv), would prohibit 
the use of the provisions in IWA-4340 when using the 2001 Edition and 
the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code. IWA-4340 
was added in the 2000 Addenda to provide requirements for the 
mitigation of defects by ``modification.'' Paragraph IWA-4340 allows a 
defect to remain in a component provided that the defect can be 
eliminated from the pressure boundary by ``modification.''
    The scope of the activity envisioned or permitted by this 
subsubarticle is not clear. The subsubarticle does not provide 
limitations on the applicability of its provisions to specific ASME 
Classes or components. As written, this provision could be used in 
applications with widely varying safety significance and levels of 
difficulty in implementation, ranging from the elimination of a defect 
in a Class 1 item or component, such as a penetration of the lower head 
of the reactor vessel to the encapsulation of a defect on a straight 
section of Class 3 moderate energy piping. IWA-4340 has no prohibition 
on the number of times it can be used to mitigate the same defect. 
Therefore, if the flaw propagated ``beyond the limits of the 
modification'' implemented under the provisions of IWA-4340, a licensee 
could, for example, encapsulate the previous modification with another 
larger modification. This could result in unusual and unforeseeable 
design configurations.
    IWA-4520(b)(2) exempts piping, pump and valve welding or brazing 
that does not penetrate the pressure boundary from any pressure test. 
Since the modification to mitigate the defect will become the new 
pressure boundary and the modification may be attached to the pressure 
boundary by welds that do not penetrate the pressure boundary, pressure 
testing may not be required. The NRC does not accept the elimination of 
pressure testing requirements for a modification that will function as 
a pressure boundary.
    Since this subsubarticle does not provide specificity for the types 
of modifications or limitations on the applicability of its provisions 
to specific ASME Classes or items, the NRC is unable to determine 
whether the ``modifications'' under the provisions of this paragraph 
would maintain safety and ensure the protection of public health and 
safety.
    IWA-4340(c) requires that each licensee define the successive 
examinations to be performed after the completion of the 
``modification.'' As currently stated, the purpose of the successive 
examinations is to monitor the flaw to detect propagation of the flaw 
beyond the limits of the modification and, when practicable, to 
validate the projected growth. The terminology ``beyond the limits of 
the modification'' needs to be more specifically defined. For example, 
it is not clear by these words if a flaw would be permitted to 
propagate outside the physical boundary of the ``modification'' if it 
had not reached the level of a defect. The NRC also does not agree with 
the inclusion of the ``when practicable'' limitation in IWA-4340(c). 
The flaw propagation must be validated to accurately predict when, or 
if, the flaw will become unacceptable. IWA-4340(c), as written, does 
not require that a licensee's examination program predict propagation 
of the flaw such that the licensee would be able to identify, in 
advance, a flaw that is expected to propagate outside the area 
physically modified such that corrective action could be taken. In IWA-
4340, each licensee would be responsible for determining the method and 
frequency of examinations to be performed. In addition, each licensee 
would be permitted to define the acceptance criteria for these 
examinations. The ASME Code currently contains rules for successive 
examination of flaws left in service, as addressed in IWB-2420, and 
requirements for that more stringent examinations for defects left in 
service. However, IWA-4340(c) does not define an examination process 
which would require examinations at a frequency, based on flaw 
propagation rate, that would require a licensee to identify in advance 
when a flaw is projected to propagate outside the physical 
configuration of the ``modification.'' Therefore, the NRC is unable to 
determine whether the examinations and acceptance criteria prepared by 
each licensee under the provisions of this paragraph would ensure the 
protection of public health and safety because the acceptance limits 
specified as ``beyond the limits of the modification'' are ambiguous. 
Furthermore, the provisions of IWA-4340(c) could result in inconsistent 
examination requirements and acceptance criteria being applied at 
different facilities for the same type of mitigating action.
    For the reasons stated above, the NRC is proposing to prohibit the 
use of IWA-4340 when using the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 
Addenda.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xxvi)--Pressure Testing Mechanical Joints
    The proposed modification, 10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xxvi), would 
supplement the test provisions in IWA-4540 of the 2001 Edition and the 
2002 and 2003 Addenda of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code to require 
that Class 1, 2, and 3 mechanical joints be pressure tested in 
accordance with IWA-4540(c) of the 1998 Edition of Section XI. The 
requirements to pressure test Class 1, 2, and 3 mechanical joints 
undergoing

[[Page 885]]

repair and replacement activities were deleted in the 1999 Addenda of 
Section XI. Therefore, pressure testing of mechanical joints is no 
longer required by Section XI when performing IWA-4000 repair and 
replacement activities. The NRC is proposing to retain the pressure and 
testing requirements in IWA-4540(c) of the 1998 Edition when using the 
2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda because there is no justification for 
eliminating the requirements for pressure testing Class 1, 2, and 3 
mechanical joints. Pressure testing of mechanical joints affected by 
repair and replacement activities is necessary to ensure and verify 
structural and leakage integrity of the pressure boundary. The NRC is 
requesting that comments on the proposed rule provide additional 
information that can be used to justify the elimination of the pressure 
tests requirements in IWA-4540(c) of the 1998 Edition of Section XI.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xxvii)--Removal of Insulation
    The proposed modification, Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xxvii), would 
supplement a new provision in IWA-5242(a) to require that insulation be 
removed when conducting visual examinations on bolting susceptible to 
stress corrosion cracking. The purpose of the provisions in IWA-5242 is 
to periodically examine bolted connections for evidence of boric acid 
leakage. The 17-4 PH stainless steels and the 410 stainless steels 
installed in borated systems are susceptible to stress corrosion 
cracking when aged at a temperature below 1100 [deg]F or have a 
hardness above Rc 30. A-286 stainless steel studs or bolts 
are also susceptible to stress corrosion cracking when preloaded to 
100,000 pounds per square inch or higher. Thus, the insulation must be 
removed to visually examine these bolting materials. Code Case N-616, 
``Alternative Requirements for VT-2 Visual Examination of Classes 1, 2, 
and 3 Insulated Pressure Retaining Bolted Connections Section XI, 
Division 1,'' included, among other things, a provision allowing that 
bolted material to be examined without removing the insulation, which 
could prevent identification of signs of degraded bolting and boric 
acid leakage. Code Case N-616 and IWA-5242(a) (2003 Addenda) allow 
periodic VT-2 examinations be performed without having to remove 
insulation from corrosion resistant bolting that has a chromium content 
greater than or equal to 10 percent installed in borated systems. The 
NRC conditionally accepted the use of Code Case N-616, by requiring 
that insulation must be removed to examine 17-4 PH stainless steel or 
410 stainless steel studs or bolts aged at a temperature below 1100 
[deg]F or with a hardness above Rc 30; and A-286 stainless 
steel studs or bolts preloaded to 100,000 pounds per square inch or 
higher. The proposed modification in (b)(2)(xvii) would impose the same 
examination requirements on IWA-5245(a). Code Case N-616 was ultimately 
incorporated into IWA-5242(a) in the 2003 Addenda of Section XI of the 
ASME BPV Code.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(2)(xxviii)--Reconciliation of Quality Assurance 
Requirements
    The proposed modification, Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xxviii), would 
supplement a new provision in IWA-4226.1 to require that repair/
replacement components be manufactured, procured, and controlled as 
safety-related under a quality assurance program meeting the 
requirements of Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 50. The purpose of IWA-4226.1 
(2003 Addenda) and Code Case N-554-2, ``Alternative Requirements for 
Reconciliation of Replacement Items and Addition of New Systems, 
Section XI, Division 1,'' is to provide requirements for reconciling 
design requirements when using later editions of a construction code or 
Section III. However, IWA-4226.1 and Code Case N-554-2 do not require 
reconciliation of the quality assurance requirements for certification, 
Code symbol stamping, data reports, and authorized Inspection. For 
example, a component manufactured in a commercial shop that does not 
have a quality assurance program could be used in a safety-related 
application without having to reconcile quality assurance requirements. 
The NRC conditionally accepted the use of Code Case N-554-2, by 
requiring that repair/replacement components be manufactured, procured, 
and controlled as safety-related under a quality assurance program 
meeting the requirements of Appendix B to 10 CFR Part 50. The proposed 
modification in (b)(2)(xviii) would impose the same quality assurance 
requirements on IWA-4226.1.

2.3 ASME OM Code

    The proposed revision to Sec.  50.55a(b)(3) would incorporate by 
reference the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of the ASME OM 
Code.
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing modifications and 
limitations for quality assurance, motor-operated valve testing, 
Subsection ISTD, and exercise interval for manual valves in Sec. Sec.  
50.55a(b)(3)(i), 50.55a(b)(3)(ii), 50.55a(b)(3)(v), and 
50.55a(b)(3)(vi), respectively, to apply to the 2001 Edition through 
2003 Addenda of the ASME OM Code. The modifications and limitations in 
Sec. Sec.  50.55a(b)(3)(i), 50.55a(b)(3)(ii), 50.55a(b)(3)(v), and 
50.55a(b)(3)(vi) would continue to apply to the 2001 Edition through 
2003 Addenda of ASME OM Code because the earlier Code provisions that 
these regulations are based on were not revised in the 2001 through 
2003 Addenda of the ASME OM Code to address the underlying issues which 
led to the NRC to impose the modifications and limitations on the ASME 
Code provisions.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(3)(i)--Quality Assurance
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing quality assurance 
requirements in Sec.  50.55a(b)(3)(i) to state that ISTA-1500 is 
applicable when using the 1998 Edition and later editions and addenda 
of the ASME OM Code. Subsections of the ASME OM Code were renumbered in 
the 1998 Edition; therefore, Sec.  50.55a(b)(3)(i) would be revised to 
account for the renumbering. The proposed revision does not change 
requirements in a substantive manner.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(3)(iii)--Code Case OMN-1
    The proposed amendment would revise Sec.  50.55a(b)(3)(iii) to 
eliminate the authorization to use Code Case OMN-1. The existing 
regulation in Sec.  50.55a(b)(3)(iii) authorizes the use of Code Case 
OMN-1. Code Case OMN-1 is now authorized by Regulatory Guide 1.192, 
``Operation and Maintenance Code Case Acceptability, ASME OM Code.'' 
Regulatory Guide 1.192 was incorporated by reference into Sec.  50.55a 
in a final rule dated July 8, 2003 (68 FR 40469). Thus, it is no longer 
necessary to authorize the use of Code Case OMN-1 in Sec.  
50.55a(b)(3)(iii) because this code case is now included in Regulatory 
Guide 1.192.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(3)(iv)--Check Valve Monitoring Program
    The proposed amendment would revise the existing modification for 
the check valve monitoring program in Sec.  50.55a(b)(3)(iv) to limit 
its application to the 1995 edition through 2002 Addenda of the ASME OM 
Code. The modification in Sec.  50.55a(b)(3)(iv) would not apply to the 
2003 Addenda of the ASME OM Code because the earlier Code provisions 
that this regulation was based on were revised in the 2003 Addenda of 
the ASME OM Code to

[[Page 886]]

address the underlying issues which led to the NRC to impose the 
modification of the ASME Code provisions. The check valve monitoring 
program requirements in Appendix II of the 2003 Addenda of the ASME OM 
Code are equivalent to the check valve monitoring program requirements 
in Sec.  50.55a(b)(3)(iv).

3. Section-by-Section Analysis

    Paragraph (b)(1). This paragraph would require new applicants for a 
nuclear power plant submitting an application for a construction permit 
under 10 CFR part 50 or design certification under 10 CFR part 52 after 
the effective date of this rule, to use the 2001 Edition and the 2002 
and 2003 Addenda of Section III, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code for 
the design and construction of the reactor coolant pressure boundary 
and Quality Group B and C components. This paragraph would also require 
that existing modifications and limitations for weld leg dimensions and 
independence of inspection in Sec. Sec.  50.55a(b)(1)(ii) and 
50.55a(b)(1)(v), respectively, apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 
Addenda of Section III, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code.
    Paragraph 50.55a(b)(1)(iii). This paragraph would specify that the 
existing limitation for seismic design in Sec.  50.55a(b)(1)(iii) 
applies only to the 1994 Addenda through 2000 Addenda of Section III, 
Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code. It would not apply to the 2001 
Edition and 2002 and 2003 Addenda.
    Paragraph 50.55a(b)(1)(vi). This paragraph would allow the use of 
the alternative method for evaluating reversing dynamic building 
filtered loads and seismic loads in the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 
2003 Addenda of Section III Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code subject to 
modifications and limitations. Paragraph (b)(1)(vi)(A) would disallow 
the use of the alternative method for evaluating reversing dynamic 
loads for piping subject to loads generated by reflected waves caused 
by flow transients in NB-3200, NB-3600, NC-3600, and ND-3600. Paragraph 
(b)(1)(vi)(B) would disallow the use of the alternative provisions for 
performing an inelastic analysis for evaluating reversing dynamic loads 
in NB-3228.6. Paragraph (b)(1)(vi)(C) would disallow the use of the 
equation for evaluating reversing dynamic loads from other design basis 
loadings for Level A and B service limits in NC-3653.2(d) and ND-
3653.2(d). Paragraph (b)(1)(vi)(D) would disallow the use of Appendix N 
in applications when Appendix N linear elastic response spectrum 
analysis provisions are less conservative than licensing basis linear 
elastic response spectrum analysis provisions. Paragraph (b)(1)(vi)(E) 
would disallow the use of the B2` stress indices specified 
in ND-3655(b)(3), and require that the allowable B2` stress 
indices specified in NB-3656(b)(3) and NC-3655(b)(3) be used instead of 
the allowable B2` stress indices specified in ND-3655(b)(3). 
Paragraph (b)(1)(vi)(F) would allow the use of an allowable stress 
limit of 6SM in the evaluation of the range of resultant 
moment only when it is demonstrated that the global piping system 
response to the anchor movement does not create significant inelastic 
strain concentrations when using the provisions in NB-3656(b)(4), NC-
3655(b)(4), and ND-3655(b)(4). A demonstration that the anchor movement 
does not create significant inelastic strain concentrations would not 
be required if an allowable stress limit of 3SM is used 
instead of 6SM in the evaluation of the range of resultant 
moment.
    Paragraph 50.55a(b)(1)(vii). This paragraph would not approve the 
use of Subsection NH of the 2001 Edition and 2002 and 2003 Addenda of 
Section III, and also withdraw the prior NRC approval of Subsection NH 
of the 1995 through 2000 Addenda of Section III. Future reactor designs 
may not employ the special design methodologies for high temperatures 
described in Subsection NH absent specific approval by the NRC.
    Paragraph (b)(2). This paragraph would require licensees of nuclear 
power plants to use the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of 
Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code when updating their 
inservice inspection programs in their subsequent 120-month interval 
under Sec.  50.55a(g)(4)(ii). Existing modifications and limitations 
for quality assurance, Class 1 piping, underwater welding, 
reconciliation of quality requirements, certification of nondestructive 
examination personnel, substitution of alternative method, and Table 
IWB-2500-1 examination requirements in Sec. Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(x), 
50.55a(b)(2)(xi), 50.55a(b)(2)(xii), 50.55a(b)(2)(xvii), 
50.55a(b)(2)(xviii), 50.55a(b)(2)(xix), and 50.55a(b)(2)(xxi), 
respectively, would apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of 
Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code. This paragraph would also 
add Footnote 10 which states that enhanced reactor pressure vessel head 
inspections have been imposed by order at pressurized water reactors, 
and that the NRC will determine the need for supplemental inspection 
requirements to be imposed through rulemaking.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(viii). This paragraph would require that the 
existing modification for examination of concrete containments in Sec.  
50.55a(b)(2)(viii) apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of 
Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code, and that a new 
modification, Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(viii)(G), apply to the 2001 Edition 
through 2003 Addenda of Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(viii)(G). This new paragraph would require that 
corrosion protection medium be restored in accordance with the quality 
assurance program requirements specified in IWA-1400 following IWL-4000 
repair and replacement activities conducted on concrete containment 
post-tensioning systems when using the 2001 Edition through 2003 
Addenda of Section XI.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(ix). This paragraph would require that the 
existing modification for examination of metal containments and the 
liners of concrete containments in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(ix) apply to the 
2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda of Section XI, Division 1, of the 
ASME BPV Code with the exception that the visual examination 
requirements specified in the existing modification Sec.  
50.55a(b)(2)(ix)(B) would not apply to the 2003 Addenda of Section XI.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xiii). This paragraph would eliminate the 
authorization of Code Case N-513.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xiv). The paragraph would require that the 
existing modification for Appendix VIII personnel qualification in 
Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xiv) apply to the 2001 Edition through 2003 Addenda 
of Section IX, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code. The paragraph would 
also correct an oversight by clarifying that the annual practice 
requirements in VII-4240 of Appendix VII of Section XI may be used.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xv). This paragraph would require the existing 
modification for Appendix VIII specimen set and qualification 
requirements in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv) to apply to the 2001 Edition of 
Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xv)(C)(1). This paragraph would specify that the 
flaw depth sizing provisions in Subparagraph 3.2(c) of Supplement 4 to 
Appendix VIII are not applicable when Appendix VIII is implemented in 
accordance with the provisions in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv).
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xv)(J). The paragraph would eliminate the 
authorization of

[[Page 887]]

Code Case N-552. Paragraph (b)(2)(xv)(J) would be reserved for future 
use.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xx). This paragraph would limit the existing 
modification for system leakage tests in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xx) to 
apply to the 1997 Addenda through 2001 Addenda of Section XI, Division 
1, of the ASME BPV Code.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xxii). This new paragraph would prohibit the use 
of IWA-2220 of Section XI, 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda, 
which allows the performance of a surface examination using an 
ultrasonic examination method. Licensees would be required to continue 
to conduct surface examinations using a magnetic particle, liquid 
penetrant, or eddy current method.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xxiii). This new paragraph would require that the 
tests and inspections and the analysis specified in IWA-4461.4.2(a)(1) 
through (5) be considered by an evaluation when the mechanical 
processing of thermally cut surfaces is eliminated in accordance with 
IWA-4461.4.2 of Section XI, 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xxiv). This new paragraph would prohibit the use 
of Appendix VIII and the supplements to Appendix VIII and Article I-
3000 of the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code. 
Licensees would be required to implement Appendix VIII and its 
supplements in accordance with either the 1995 through 2001 Edition of 
Section XI, or the alternative provided in paragraph (b)(2)(xv).
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xxv). This new paragraph would prohibit the use of 
IWA-4340 of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code, 2001 Edition and the 2002 
and 2003 Addenda, that allows the mitigation of defects by 
modification.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xxvi). This new paragraph would require that the 
Class 1, 2, and 3 mechanical joint pressure and test provisions in IWA-
4540(c) of the 1998 Edition of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code be used 
when repair and replacement activities are conducted in accordance with 
the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of Section XI of the 
ASME BPV Code.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xxvii). This new paragraph would require that the 
insulation be removed from 17-4 PH or 410 stainless steel studs or 
bolts aged at a temperature below 1100[deg]F or having a hardness above 
Rc 30, and from A-286 stainless steel studs or bolts 
preloaded to 100,000 pounds per square inch or higher when performing 
visual examinations in accordance with IWA-5242 of the 2003 Addenda of 
Section XI of the ASME BPV Code.
    Paragraph (b)(2)(xxviii). This new paragraph would require that 
repair/replacement components be manufactured, procured, and controlled 
as safety-related under a quality assurance program meeting the 
requirements of Appendix B to 10 CFR part 50 when using IWA-4226.1 of 
the 2003 Addenda of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code.
    Paragraph (b)(3). This paragraph would require licensees of nuclear 
power plants to use the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of 
the ASME OM Code when updating their inservice test programs in their 
subsequent 120-month inspection intervals under Sec.  50.55a(f)(4)(ii). 
This paragraph would also require the existing modifications and 
limitations for quality assurance, motor-operated valve testing, 
Subsection ISTD, and exercise interval for manual valves in Sec. Sec.  
50.55a(b)(3)(i), 50.55a(b)(3)(ii), 50.55a(b)(3)(v), and 
50.55a(b)(3)(vi), respectively, to apply to the 2001 Edition through 
2003 Addenda of the ASME OM Code.
    Paragraph 50.55a(b)(3)(i). This paragraph would reconcile the 
different subsection and paragraph numbers of the ASME OM Code that 
were renumbered in the 1998 Edition and subsequent editions and 
addenda. There are no substantive changes in this paragraph.
    Paragraph (b)(3)(iii). This paragraph rule would eliminate the 
authorization Code Case OMN-1. Paragraph (b)(3)(iii) would be reserved 
for future use.
    Paragraph (b)(3)(iv). This paragraph would limit the existing 
modification for the check valve monitoring program in Sec.  
50.55a(b)(3)(iv) to apply to the 1995 edition through 2002 Addenda of 
the ASME OM Code.

4. Generic Aging Lessons Learned Report

    In July 2001, the NRC issued ``Generic Aging Lessons Learned (GALL) 
Report,'' NUREG-1801, Volumes 1 and 2, for use by applicants in 
preparing their license renewal applications. The GALL report evaluates 
existing generic programs, documents the bases for determining when 
generic existing programs are adequate without change, and documents 
when generic existing programs should be augmented for license renewal. 
Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code is one of the generic 
existing programs in the GALL report that is evaluated as an aging 
management program (AMP) for license renewal. Subsections IWB, IWC, 
IWD, IWF, IWE, and IWL of the 1995 Edition up to and including the 1996 
Addenda of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code for inservice inspection 
were evaluated in the GALL report and the conclusions in the GALL 
report are valid for these edition and addenda.
    In the GALL report Sections XI.M1, ``ASME Section XI Inservice 
Inspection, Subsections IWB, IWC, and IWD,'' XI.S1, ``ASME Section XI, 
Subsection IWE,'' XI.S2, ``ASME Section XI, Subsection IWL,'' and 
XI.S3, ``ASME Section XI, Subsection IWF,'' describe the evaluation and 
technical bases for determining the adequacy of Subsections IWB, IWC, 
IWD, IWE, IWL, and IWF, respectively. In addition, many other AMPs in 
the GALL report rely in part, but to a lesser degree, on the 
requirements in the ASME Code, Section XI (i.e., XI.M3, XI.M4, XI.M5, 
XI.M6, XI.M7, XI.M8, XI.M9, XI.M11, XI.M12, XI.M13, XI.M14, XI.M15, 
XI.M16, XI.M18, XI.M24, XI.M25, and XI.M32).
    The NRC has completed an evaluation of Subsections IWB, IWC, IWD, 
IWE, IWF, and IWL of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code (2001 Edition and 
the 2002 and 2003 Addenda) as part of the Sec.  50.55a amendment 
process to determine if the conclusions of the Gall Report are also 
applicable for AMPs that rely upon the ASME Codes edition and addenda 
which are proposed to be incorporated by reference into Sec.  50.55a by 
this proposed rule. NRC finds that the 2001 Edition and 2002 and 2003 
Addenda of Sections III and XI of the ASME BPV Code are acceptable and 
the conclusions of the GALL report remain valid. Accordingly, an 
applicant may use Subsections IWB, IWC, IWD, IWE, IWF, and IWL of 
Section XI of the ASME BPV Code (2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 
Addenda) as acceptable alternatives to the requirements of the 1995 
Edition up to and including the 1996 Addenda of the ASME Code, Section 
XI, referenced in the GALL AMPs without the need to submit these 
alternatives for NRC review in its plant-specific license renewal 
application. Similarly, a licensee approved for license renewal that 
relied on the GALL AMPs may use Subsections IWB, IWC, IWD, IWE, IWF, 
and IWL of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code (2001 Edition and the 2002 
and 2003 Addenda) as acceptable alternatives to the AMPs described in 
the GALL report. However, a licensee must assess and follow applicable 
NRC requirements with regard to changes to its licensing basis.
    The GALL report identified areas of the 1995 Edition with the 1996 
Addenda of Section XI of the ASME Code that require augmentation for 
license renewal. A license renewal

[[Page 888]]

applicant may either augment their AMPs in these areas as described in 
the GALL report or propose alternatives for NRC review in its plant-
specific license renewal application. The GALL report's conclusions 
with respect to augmentation in connection with a license renewal 
application also apply when implementing the 2001 Edition and the 2002 
and 2003 Addenda of Section XI of the ASME Code.

5. Availability of Documents

    The NRC is making the documents identified below available to 
interested persons through one or more of the following methods as 
indicated.
    Public Document Room (PDR). The NRC Public Document Room is located 
at 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland.
    Rulemaking Web site (Web). The NRC's interactive rulemaking Web 
site is located at http://ruleforum.llnl.gov. These documents may be 
viewed and downloaded electronically via this Web site.
    NRC's Public Electronic Reading Room (PERR). The NRC's public 
electronic reading room is located at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/
adams.html.
    NRC Staff Contact. Single copies of the proposed Federal Register 
Notice, proposed Regulatory Analysis, and proposed Environmental 
Assessment can be obtained from Stephen Tingen, Division of 
Engineering, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001. Alternatively, you 
may contact Mr. Tingen at (301) 415-1280, or via e-mail at: 
sgt@nrc.gov.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Document                       PDR      Web                  PERR                  NRC staff
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Order EA-03-009...............................       X        X   ML 030380470....................            X
SECY-03-0078..................................       X        X   ML 030700408....................            X
Proposed Federal Register Notice..............       X        X   ML 031740349....................            X
Proposed Regulatory Analysis..................       X        X   ML 031740373....................            X
Proposed Environmental Assessment.............       X        X   ML 031740388....................            X
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Plain Language

    The Presidential memorandum dated June 1, 1998, entitled, ``Plain 
Language in Government Writing,'' directed that the Federal 
government's writing must be in plain language. This memorandum was 
published on June 10, 1998 (63 FR 31883). The NRC requests comments on 
this proposed rule specifically with respect to the clarity and 
effectiveness of the language used. Comments should be sent to the 
address listed under the ADDRESSES caption above.

7. Voluntary Consensus Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, Pub. 
L. 104-113, requires agencies to use technical standards that are 
developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies unless the 
use of such a standard is inconsistent with applicable law or is 
otherwise impractical. Public Law 104-113 requires Federal agencies to 
use industry consensus standards to the extent practical, it does not 
require Federal agencies to endorse a standard in its entirety. The law 
does not prohibit an agency from generally adopting a voluntary 
consensus standard while taking exception to specific portions of the 
standard if those provisions are deemed to be ``inconsistent with 
applicable law or otherwise impractical.'' Furthermore, taking specific 
exceptions furthers the Congressional intent of Federal reliance on 
voluntary consensus standards because it allows the adoption of 
substantial portions of consensus standards without the need to reject 
the standards in their entirety because of limited provisions which are 
not acceptable to the agency.
    The NRC is proposing to amend its regulations to incorporate by 
reference a more recent edition and addenda of Sections III and XI of 
the ASME BPV Code and ASME OM Code, for construction, inservice 
inspection, and inservice testing of nuclear power plant components. 
ASME BPV and OM Codes are national consensus standards developed by 
participants with broad and varied interests, in which all interested 
parties (including the NRC and licensees of nuclear power plants) 
participate. In a staff requirements memorandum dated September 10, 
1999, the Commission indicated its intent that a rulemaking identify 
all portions of an adopted voluntary consensus standard which are not 
adopted and to provide a justification for not adopting such portions. 
The portions of the ASME BPV Code and OM Code which the NRC proposes 
not to adopt, or to partially adopt, are identified in Section 2 of the 
preceding section and the draft regulatory analysis. The justification 
for not adopting portions of the ASME BPV Code, as set forth in these 
statements of consideration and the draft regulatory analysis for this 
proposed rule, satisfy the requirements of Section 12(d)(3) of Pub. L. 
104-113, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119, and the 
Commission's direction in the staff requirements memorandum dated 
September 10, 1999.
    In accordance with the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 and OMB Circular A-119, the NRC is requesting public 
comment regarding whether other national or international consensus 
standards could be endorsed as an alternative to the ASME BPV Code and 
the ASME OM Code.

8. Finding of No Significant Environmental Impact: Availability

    The Commission has determined, under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969, as amended, and the Commission's regulations in 
subpart A of 10 CFR part 51, that this rule, if adopted, would not be a 
major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human 
environment, and therefore, an environmental impact statement is not 
required.
    The proposed rulemaking will not significantly increase the 
probability or consequences of accidents; no changes are being made in 
the types of effluents that may be released off-site; there is no 
increase in occupational exposure; and there is no significant increase 
in public radiation exposure. Therefore, there are no significant 
radiological impacts associated with the proposed action. The proposed 
rulemaking does not involve non-radiological plant effluents and has no 
other environmental impact. Therefore, no significant non-radiological 
impacts are associated with the proposed action.
    The determination of this draft environmental assessment is that 
there will be no significant off-site impact to the public from this 
action. However, the NRC is seeking public comment of the draft 
environmental assessment. Section 5 of this notice describes how to 
obtain a copy of the draft environmental assessment. Comments may be 
submitted to the NRC as indicated under the ADDRESSES heading.

[[Page 889]]

    The NRC has sent a copy of the draft environmental assessment and 
this proposed rule to every State Liaison Officer and requested their 
comments on the environmental assessment.

9. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    This proposed rule decreases the burden on licensees for 
recordkeeping requirements related to examinations, tests, and repair 
and replacement activities. The industry annual public burden reduction 
for this information collection is estimated at 713 hours. Because the 
burden reduction for this information collection is insignificant, 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance is not required. 
Existing requirements were approved by the OMB, approval number 3150-
0011.

Public Protection Notification

    The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to 
respond to, a request for information collection or an information 
collection requirement unless the requesting document displays a 
currently valid OMB control number.

10. Regulatory Analysis

    The NRC has prepared a draft regulatory analysis on this proposed 
rule. The draft analysis is available for review in the NRC's Public 
Document Room, located in One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, 
Rockville, Maryland. Section 5 of this notice describes how to obtain a 
copy of the draft regulatory analysis. The Commission requests public 
comment on the draft analysis and comments may be submitted to the NRC 
as indicated under the ADDRESSES heading.

11. Regulatory Flexibility Certification

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 
605(b), the Commission certifies that this proposed amendment will not, 
if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. This proposed amendment affects only the 
licensing and operation of nuclear power plants. The companies that own 
these plants do not fall within the scope of the definition of small 
entities set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the Small 
Business Size Standards set forth in regulations issued by the Small 
Business Administration at 13 CFR part 121.

12. Backfit Analysis

    The NRC's Backfit Rule in 10 CFR 50.109 states that the Commission 
shall require the backfitting of a facility only when it finds the 
action to be justified under specific standards stated in the rule. 
Section 50.109(a)(1) defines backfitting as the modification of or 
addition to systems, structures, components, or design of a facility; 
or the design approval or manufacturing license for a facility; or the 
procedures or organization required to design, construct or operate a 
facility; any of which may result from a new or amended provision in 
the Commission rules or the imposition of a regulatory staff position 
interpreting the Commission rules that is either new or different from 
a previously applicable staff position after issuance of the 
construction permit or the operating license or the design approval.
    Section 50.55a requires nuclear power plant licensees to construct 
ASME BPV Code Class 1, 2, and 3 components in accordance with the rules 
provided in Section III, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code; inspect 
Class 1, 2, 3, Class MC, and Class CC components in accordance with the 
rules provided in Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code; and 
test Class 1, 2, and 3 pumps and valves in accordance with the rules 
provided in the ASME OM Code. This proposed rule would incorporate by 
reference the 2001 Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda of Section 
III, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code; Section XI, Division 1, of the 
ASME BPV Code; and the ASME OM Code.
    Incorporation by reference of more recent editions and addenda of 
Section III, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code does not affect a plant 
that has received a construction permit or an operating license or a 
design that has been approved, because the edition and addenda to be 
used in constructing a plant are, by rule, determined on the basis of 
the date of the construction permit, and are not changed thereafter, 
except voluntarily by the licensee. Thus, incorporation by reference of 
a more recent edition and addenda of Section III, Division 1, does not 
constitute a ``backfitting'' as defined in Sec.  50.109(a)(1).
    Incorporation by reference of more recent editions and addenda of 
Section XI, Division 1, of the ASME BPV Code and the ASME OM Code 
affect the inservice inspection (ISI) and inservice testing (IST) 
programs of operating reactors. However, the Backfit Rule generally 
does not apply to incorporation by reference of later editions and 
addenda of the ASME BPV Code (Section XI) and OM Code. The NRC's 
longstanding policy has been to incorporate later versions of the ASME 
Codes into its regulations. This is codified in Sec.  50.55a which 
requires licensees to revise their ISI and IST programs every 120 
months to the latest edition and addenda of Section XI of the ASME BPV 
Code and the ASME OM Code incorporated by reference into Sec.  50.55a 
that is in effect 12 months prior to the start of a new 120-month ISI 
and IST interval. Thus, when the NRC endorses a later version of the 
Code, it is implementing this longstanding policy and requirement.
    Other circumstances where the NRC does not apply the Backfit Rule 
to the endorsement of a later Code are as follows--
    (1) When the NRC takes exception to a later ASME BPV Code or OM 
Code provision but merely retains the current existing requirement, 
prohibits the use of the later Code provision, limits the use of the 
later Code provision, or supplements the provisions in a later Code, 
the Backfit Rule does not apply because the NRC is not imposing new 
requirements. However, the NRC explains any such exceptions to the Code 
in the Statement of Considerations and regulatory analysis for the 
rule. Exceptions in this proposed rule either retain current existing 
requirements, prohibit the use of the later Code provision, limit the 
use of the later Code provision, or supplement the provisions in a 
later Code.
    (2) When an NRC exception relaxes an existing ASME BPV Code or OM 
Code provision but does not prohibit a licensee from using the existing 
Code provision the Backfit Rule does not apply because the NRC is not 
imposing new requirements. There are no such exceptions in this 
proposed rule.
    (3) Modifications and limitations imposed during previous routine 
updates of Sec.  50.55a have established a precedent for determining 
which modifications or limitations are backfits or require a backfit 
analysis (final rules dated August 6, 1992 (57 FR 34666), August 8, 
1996 (61 FR 41303), September 22, 1999 (64 FR 51370), and September 26, 
2002 (67 FR 60520)). The application of the backfit requirements to 
modifications and limitations in the current proposed rule are 
consistent with the application of backfit requirements to 
modifications and limitations in previous rules. Since the 
modifications and limitations in the current proposed rule are not 
considered backfits or do not require backfit analyses, the NRC is not 
required to demonstrate that the new modifications and limitations 
result in an increase in quality or safety.
    There are some circumstances in which the endorsement of a later 
ASME BPV Code or OM Code introduces a backfit. In these cases, the NRC 
would perform a backfit analysis in accordance

[[Page 890]]

with Sec.  50.109. These include the following--
    (1) When the NRC endorses a later provision of the ASME BPV Code or 
OM Code that takes a substantially different direction from the 
existing requirements, the action is treated as a backfit. An example 
was the NRC's initial endorsement of Subsections IWE and IWL of Section 
XI, which imposed containment inspection requirements on operating 
reactors for the first time. The final rule dated August 8, 1996 (61 FR 
41303), incorporated by reference in Sec.  50.55a the 1992 Edition with 
the 1992 Addenda of IWE and IWL of Section XI to require that 
containments be routinely inspected to detect defects that could 
compromise a containment's structural integrity. This action expanded 
the scope of Sec.  50.55a to include components that were not 
considered by the existing regulations to be within the scope of ISI. 
Since those requirements involved a substantially different direction, 
they were treated as backfits, and justified in accordance with the 
standards of 10 CFR 50.109. There are no provisions in this proposed 
rule which impose requirements involving a substantially different 
direction than existing requirements.
    (2) When the NRC requires implementation of later ASME BPV Code or 
OM Code provision on an expedited basis, the action is treated as a 
backfit. This applies when implementation is required sooner than it 
would be required if the NRC simply endorsed the Code without any 
expedited language. An example was the final rule dated September 22, 
1999 (64 FR 51370), which incorporated by reference the 1989 Addenda 
through the 1996 Addenda of Section III and Section XI of the ASME BPV 
Code, and the 1995 Edition with the 1996 Addenda of the ASME OM Code. 
The final rule expedited the implementation of the 1995 Edition with 
the 1996 Addenda of Appendix VIII of Section XI of the ASME BPV Code 
for qualification of personnel and procedures for performing ultrasonic 
examinations. The expedited implementation of Appendix VIII was 
considered a backfit because licensees were required to implement the 
new requirements in Appendix VIII prior to the next 120-month ISI 
program inspection interval update. Another example was the final rule 
dated August 6, 1992 (57 FR 34666), which incorporated by reference in 
Sec.  50.55a the 1986 Addenda through the 1989 Edition of Section III 
and Section XI of the ASME BPV Code. The final rule added a requirement 
to expedite the implementation of the revised reactor vessel shell weld 
examinations in the 1989 Edition of Section XI. Imposing these 
examinations was considered a backfit because licensees were required 
to implement the examinations prior to the next 120-month ISI program 
inspection interval update. There are no provisions in this proposed 
rule which require expedited implementation.
    (3) When the NRC takes an exception to a ASME BPV Code or OM Code 
provision and imposes a requirement that is substantially different 
from the existing requirement as well as substantially different than 
the later Code. An example was the adoption of dissimilar metal piping 
weld UT examination coverage requirements in the final rule dated 
September 26, 2002 (67 FR 60529) that incorporated by reference in 
Sec.  50.55a the 1997 through 2000 Addenda of Section XI. Dissimilar 
metal piping weld examination coverage requirements, although contained 
in the 1989 Edition, and earlier editions and addenda of Section XI, 
are not addressed in 1989 Addenda and later editions and addenda of 
Section XI. Therefore, the addition of dissimilar metal piping weld 
examination coverage requirements to the regulation was necessary. 
There are no such provisions in this proposed rule.
10 CFR 50.55a(b)(1)(vii)--Subsection NH
    The proposed modification, Sec.  50.55a(b)(1)(b)(vii), would, among 
other things, withdraw the prior NRC approval of Subsection NH of the 
1995 through 2000 Addenda of Section III of the ASME BPV Code. 
Subsection NH was added to Section III of the ASME BPV Code in the 1995 
Addenda. At that time, the 1995 and 1996 Addenda of Subsection NH were 
inadvertently incorporated by reference in a final rule dated September 
22, 1999 (64 FR 51370), and the 1997 through 2000 Addenda of Subsection 
NH were later inadvertently incorporated by reference in a final rule 
dated September 26, 2002 (67 FR 60520). The incorporation by reference 
of Subsection NH was inadvertent because the NRC was unaware that 
Subsection NH had been published in Section III and had not performed a 
technical review of the new subsection. Because the previous final 
rules that incorporated Subsection NH by reference affect only future 
combined license applicants and design certification applicants, and do 
not affect any existing licensees nor holders of design certificates, 
the backfit rule does not apply. The backfit rule was not intended to 
apply to every action which changes settled expectations. The backfit 
rule does not apply to rules that revise requirements for future 
combined license applicants and design certification applicants, even 
though such a rule may impact an applicant who was considering applying 
for a permit but had not done so yet. The backfit rule protects the 
permit holder, not the prospective applicant, or even the present 
applicant. For these reasons, the NRC concludes that the withdrawal of 
its approval of Subsection NH of the 1995 through 2000 Addenda of 
Section III does not constitute a backfit as defined in 10 CFR 
50.109(a)(1), and a backfit analysis need not be prepared for this 
portion of the proposed amendment.

List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 50

    Antitrust, Classified information, Criminal penalties, Fire 
protection, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, 
Nuclear power plants and reactors, Radiation protection, Reactor siting 
criteria, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble and under the authority of 
the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, the Energy Reorganization 
Act of 1974, as amended, and 5 U.S.C. 552 and 553, the NRC is proposing 
to adopt the following amendments to 10 CFR part 50.

PART 50--DOMESTIC LICENSING OF PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION 
FACILITIES

    1. The authority citation for part 50 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Secs 102, 103, 104, 105, 161, 182, 183, 186, 189, 68 
Stat. 936, 938, 948, 953, 954, 955, 956, as amended, sec. 234, 83 
Stat. 444, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2132, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2201, 2232, 
2233, 2239, 2282); secs. 201, as amended, 202, 206, 88 Stat. 1242, 
as amended, 1244, 1246 (42 U.S.C. 5841, 5842, 5846).
    Section 50.7 also issued under Pub. L. 95-601, sec. 10, 92 Stat. 
2951 (42 U.S.C. 5841). Section 50.10 also issued under secs. 101, 
185, 68 Stat. 936, 955 as amended (42 U.S.C. 2131, 2235), sec. 102, 
Pub. L. 91-190, 83 Stat. 853 (42 U.S.C. 4332). Sections 50.13, 
50.54(dd), and 50.103 also issued under sec. 108, 68 Stat. 939, as 
amended (42 U.S.C. 2138). Sections 50.23, 50.35, 50.55, and 50.56 
also issued under sec. 185, 68 Stat. 955 (42 U.S.C. 2235). Sections 
50.33a, 50.55a and Appendix Q also issued under sec. 102, Pub. L. 
91-190, 83 Stat. 853 (42 U.S.C. 4332). Sections 50.34 and 50.54 also 
issued under sec. 204, 88 Stat. 1245 (42 U.S.C. 5844. sec. 50, 58, 
50.91, and 50.92 also issued under Pub. L. 97-415, 96 Stat. 2073 (42 
U.S.C. 2239). Section 50.78 also issued under sec. 122, 68 Stat. 939 
(42 U.S.C. 2152). Sections 50.80-50.81 also issued under sec. 184, 
68 Stat. 954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2234).

[[Page 891]]

Appendix F also issued under sec. 187, 68 Stat. 955 (42 U.S.C. 
2237).
    2. Section 50.55a is amended by:
    (a) Removing and reserving paragraphs (b)(2)(xv)(J) and 
(b)(3)(iii).
    (b) Revising the introductory text of paragraph (b)(1), paragraph 
(b)(1)(iii), the introductory text of paragraph (b)(2), the 
introductory text of paragraphs (b)(2)(viii) and (b)(2)(ix), paragraph 
(b)(2)(xiii), paragraph (b)(2)(xiv), and the introductory text of 
paragraph (b)(2)(xv), paragraph (b)(2)(xv)(C)(1), paragraph (b)(2)(xx), 
the introductory text of paragraph (b)(3), paragraph (b)(3)(i), and the 
introductory text of paragraph (b)(3)(iv).
    (c) Adding paragraphs (b)(1)(vi), (b)(1)(vii), (b)(2)(viii)(G), and 
(b)(2)(xxii) through (b)(2)(xxviii), and Footnote 10.


Sec.  50.55a  Codes and standards.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) As used in this section, references to Section III of the ASME 
Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code refer to Section III, and include the 
1963 Edition through 1973 Winter Addenda, and the 1974 Edition 
(Division 1) through the 2003 Addenda (Division 1), subject to the 
following limitations and modifications:
* * * * *
    (iii) Seismic design. Licensees may use Articles NB-3200, NB-3600, 
NC-3600, and ND-3600 up to and including the 1993 Addenda, subject to 
the limitation specified in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section. 
Licensees may not use these Articles in the 1994 Addenda through 2000 
Addenda.
* * * * *
    (vi) Piping design criteria for reversing dynamic loads. Use of the 
alternative method for evaluating reversing dynamic loads in the 2001 
Edition and the 2002 and 2003 Addenda is allowed subject to the 
following conditions:
    (A) The application of the alternative method for evaluating 
reversing dynamic loads to calculations for piping subject to loads 
generated by reflected waves caused by flow transients as delineated in 
NB-3200, NB-3600, NC-3600, and ND-3600 is prohibited.
    (B) The use of NB-3228.6 is prohibited.
    (C) NC-3653.1 and NC-3653.2 must be used instead of NC-3653.2(d). 
ND-3653.1 and ND-3653.2 must be used instead of ND-3653.2(d). Analyses 
using NC-3653.1 and ND-3653.1 must include pressure and reversing 
dynamic loads that are not required to be combined with nonreversing 
dynamic loads, and the allowable B2` stress indices defined 
in NC-3655(b)(3) may be used in these analyses. The anchor motions 
associated with reversing dynamic loads must be included as an anchor 
displacement in the definition of Mc when applying NC-3653.2 
and ND-3653.2.
    (D) When applying NB-3656(b)(3), NC-3655(b)(3), or ND-3655(b)(3), 
the linear elastic response spectrum analysis as defined by the 
licensing basis must be used whenever these provisions result in a more 
conservative calculation of ME.
    (E) The allowable B2` stress indices specified in NB-
3656(b)(3) and NC-3655(b)(3) must be used instead of the allowable 
B2` stress indices specified in ND-3655(b)(3).
    (F) The evaluation of anchor motions in NB-3656(b)(4), NC-
3655(b)(4), and ND-3655(b)(4) must include a demonstration that the 
global piping system response to the anchor movement does not create 
inelastic strain concentrations. A demonstration that the global piping 
system response to the anchor movement does not create inelastic strain 
concentrations is not required if an allowable stress limit of 
3SM is used for the evaluation of the range of resultant 
moment.
    (vii) Subsection NH. The provisions in Subsection NH, ``Class 1 
Components in Elevated Temperature Service,'' 1995 Addenda through the 
latest edition and addenda incorporated by reference in paragraph 
(b)(1) of this section, are not approved for use.
    (2) As used in this section, references to Section XI of the ASME 
Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code refer to Section XI, and include the 
1970 Edition through the 1976 Winter Addenda, and the 1977 Edition 
(Division 1) through the 2003 Addenda (Division 1), subject to the 
following limitations and modifications:\10\
* * * * *
    (viii) Examination of concrete containments. Licensees applying 
Subsection IWL, 1992 Edition with the 1992 Addenda, shall apply 
paragraphs (b)(2)(viii)(A) through (b)(2)(viii)(E) of this section. 
Licensees applying Subsection IWL, 1995 Edition with the 1996 Addenda, 
shall apply paragraphs (b)(2)(viii)(A), (b)(2)(viii)(D)(3), and 
(b)(2)(viii)(E) of this section. Licensees applying Subsection IWL, 
1998 Edition through the 2000 Addenda shall apply paragraphs 
(b)(2)(viii)(E) and (b)(2)(viii)(F) of this section. Licensees applying 
Subsection IWL, 2001 Edition through the latest edition and addenda 
incorporated by reference in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, shall 
apply paragraphs (b)(2)(viii)(E) through (b)(2)(viii)(G) of this 
section.
* * * * *
    (G) Corrosion protection material must be restored following 
concrete containment post-tensioning system repair and replacement 
activities in accordance with the quality assurance program 
requirements specified in IWA-1400.
    (ix) Examination of metal containments and the liners of concrete 
containments. Licensees applying Subsection IWE, 1992 Edition with the 
1992 Addenda, or the 1995 Edition with the 1996 Addenda, shall satisfy 
the requirements of paragraphs (b)(2)(ix)(A) through (b)(2)(ix)(E) of 
this section. Licensees applying Subsection IWE, 1998 Edition through 
the 2000 Addenda shall satisfy the requirements of paragraphs 
(b)(2)(ix)(A), (b)(2)(ix)(B), and (b)(2)(ix)(F) through (b)(2)(ix)(I) 
of this section. Licensees applying Subsection IWE, 2001 Edition 
through the latest edition and addenda incorporated by reference in 
paragraph (b)(2) of this section, shall satisfy the requirements of 
paragraphs (b)(2)(ix)(A) and (b)(2)(ix)(F) through (b)(2)(ix)(I) of 
this section.
* * * * *
    (xiii) Mechanical clamping devices. Licensees may use the 
provisions of Code Case N-523-1, ``Mechanical Clamping Devices for Cass 
2 and 3 Piping.'' Licensee choosing to apply Code Case N-523-1 shall 
apply all of its provisions.
    (xiv) Appendix VIII personnel qualification. All personnel 
qualified for performing ultrasonic examinations in accordance with 
Appendix VIII shall receive 8 hours of annual hands-on training on 
specimens that contain cracks. Licensees applying the 1999 Addenda 
through the latest edition and addenda incorporated by reference in 
paragraph (b)(2) of this section may use the annual practice 
requirements in VII-4240 of Appendix VII of Section XI in place of the 
8 hours of annual hands-on training provided that the supplemental 
practice is performed on material or welds that contain cracks, or by 
analyzing prerecorded data from material or welds that contain cracks. 
In either case, training must be completed no earlier than 6 months 
prior to performing ultrasonic examinations at a licensee's facility.
    (xv) Appendix VIII specimen set and qualification requirements. The 
following provisions may be used to modify implementation of Appendix 
VIII of Section XI, 1995 Edition through the 2001 Edition. Licensees 
choosing to apply these provisions shall apply all of the following 
provisions under this

[[Page 892]]

paragraph except for those in Sec.  50.55a(b)(2)(xv)(F) which are 
optional.
* * * * *
    (C) * * *
    (1) A depth sizing requirement of 0.15 inch RMS must be used in 
lieu of the requirements in Subparagraphs 3.2(a) and 3.2(c), and a 
length sizing requirement of 0.75 inch RMS must be used in lieu of the 
requirement in Subparagraph 3.2(b).
* * * * *
    (J) [Reserved]
* * * * *
    (xx) System leakage tests. When performing system leakage tests in 
accordance IWA-5213(a), 1997 Addenda through the 2001 Edition, a 10-
minute hold time after attaining test pressure is required for Class 2 
and Class 3 components that are not in use during normal operating 
conditions, and no hold time is required for the remaining Class 2 and 
Class 3 components provided that the system has been in operation for 
at least 4 hours for insulated components or 10 minutes for uninsulated 
components.
* * * * *
    (xxii) Surface Examinations. The use of the provisions in IWA-2220, 
``Surface Examination,'' of Section XI, 2001 Edition through the latest 
edition and addenda incorporated by reference in paragraph (b)(2) of 
this section, that allow the use of an ultrasonic examination method, 
is prohibited.
    (xxiii) Evaluation of Thermally Cut Surfaces. The tests and 
inspections and the analysis specified in IWA-4461.4.2(a)(1) through 
(5) of the 2001 Edition through the latest edition and addenda 
incorporated by reference in paragraph (b)(2) of this section must be 
performed whenever a thermally cut surface is not mechanically 
processed.
    (xxiv) Incorporation of the Performance Demonstration Initiative 
and Addition of Ultrasonic Examination Criteria. The use of Appendix 
VIII and the supplements to Appendix VIII and Article I-3000 of Section 
XI of the ASME BPV Code, 2002 Addenda through the latest edition and 
addenda incorporated by reference in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, 
is prohibited.
    (xxv) Mitigation of Flaws. The use of the provisions in IWA-4340, 
``Mitigation of Defects by Modification,'' of Section XI, 2001 Edition 
through the latest edition and addenda incorporated by reference in 
paragraph (b)(2) of this section are prohibited.
    (xxvi) Pressure Testing Classes 1, 2, and 3 Mechanical Joints. The 
repair and replacement activity provisions in IWA-4540(c) of the 1998 
Edition of Section XI for pressure testing Class 1, 2, and 3 mechanical 
joints must be applied when using the 2001 Edition through the latest 
edition and addenda incorporated by reference in paragraph (b)(2) of 
this section.
    (xxvii) Removal of Insulation. When performing visual examinations 
in accordance with IWA-5242, 2003 Addenda through the latest edition 
and addenda incorporated by reference in paragraph (b)(2) of the 
section, insulation must be removed from 17-4 PH or 410 stainless steel 
studs or bolts aged at a temperature below 1100 [deg]F or having a 
hardness above Rc 30, and from A-286 stainless steel studs or bolts 
preloaded to 100,000 pounds per square inch or higher. If insulation is 
removed from a bolted connection to perform a VT-2 examination with the 
system depressurized in accordance with IWA-5242(a), a system pressure 
test and VT-2 examination must be performed after the insulation is 
reinstalled.
    (xxviii) Reconciliation of Quality Assurance Requirements. 
Components used for repair/replacement must be manufactured, procured, 
and controlled as a safety-related component under a quality assurance 
program meeting the requirements of Appendix B to 10 CFR part 50 when 
using IWA-4226.1, 2003 Addenda through the latest edition and addenda 
incorporated by reference in paragraph (b)(2) of the section.
    (3) As used in this section, references to the OM Code refer to the 
ASME Code for Operation and Maintenance of Nuclear Power Plants, and 
include the 1995 Edition through the 2003 Addenda subject to the 
following limitations and modifications:
    (i) Quality Assurance. When applying editions and addenda of the OM 
Code, the requirements of NQA-1, ``Quality Assurance Requirements for 
Nuclear Facilities,'' 1979 Addenda, are acceptable as permitted by ISTA 
1.4 of the 1995 Edition through 1997 Addenda or ISTA-1500 of the 1998 
Edition through the latest edition and addenda incorporated by 
reference in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, provided the licensee 
uses its 10 CFR part 50, Appendix B, quality assurance program in 
conjunction with the OM Code requirements. Commitments contained in the 
licensee's quality assurance program description that are more 
stringent than those contained in NQA-1 govern OM Code activities. If 
NQA-1 and the OM Code do not address the commitments contained in the 
licensee's Appendix B quality assurance program description, the 
commitments must be applied to OM Code activities.
* * * * *
    (iii) [Reserved]
    (iv) Appendix II. Licensees applying Appendix II, ``Check Valve 
Condition Monitoring Program,'' of the OM Code, 1995 Edition with the 
1996 and 1997 Addenda, shall satisfy the requirements of (b)(3)(iv)(A), 
(b)(3)(iv)(B), and (b)(3)(iv)(C) of this section. Licensees applying 
Appendix II, 1998 Edition through the 2002 Addenda, shall satisfy the 
requirements of (b)(3)(iv)(A), (b)(3)(iv)(B), and (b)(3)(iv)(D) of this 
section.
* * * * *
    Footnotes to Sec.  50.55a:
* * * * *
    \10\ Supplemental inservice inspection requirements for reactor 
vessel pressure heads have been imposed by Order EA-03-09 issued to 
licensees of pressurized water reactors. The NRC expects to develop 
revised supplemental inspection requirements, based in part upon a 
review of the initial implementation of the order, and will 
determine the need for incorporating the revised inspection 
requirements into 10 CFR 50.55a by rulemaking.
* * * * *

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 22nd day of December 2003.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
William D. Travers,
Executive Director For Operations.
[FR Doc. 04-314 Filed 1-6-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P