[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 20 (Friday, January 30, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4543-4544]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-1944]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket 72-30]


Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company Independent Spent Fuel Storage 
Installation Issuance of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No 
Significant Impact for a Proposed Exemption

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Commission) is 
considering issuance of an exemption to Maine Yankee Atomic Power 
Company (MYAPC or licensee), pursuant to 10 CFR 72.7, from specific 
provisions of 10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 72.212(b)(2)(i), 72.212(b)(7), and 
72.214. The licensee is using the NAC-UMS Storage System to store spent 
nuclear fuel from the decommissioning reactor at an Independent Spent 
Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI). The requested exemption would allow 
MYAPC to deviate from requirements of the NAC-UMS Certificate of 
Compliance No. 1015 (CoC or Certificate), Amendment 2, Appendix B, 
Section B 3.4.2.6. Specifically, the exemption would relieve MYAPC from 
the requirement to maintain a coefficient of friction between the 
vertical concrete cask and ISFSI pad surface of at least 0.5.

Environmental Assessment (EA)

Identification of Proposed Action

    By letter dated October 2, 2003, as supplemented on October 21, 
2003, MYAPC requested an exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 
72.212(a), 72.212(b)(2)(i), 72.212(b)(7), and 10 CFR 72.214 to deviate 
from the requirements in CoC No. 1015, Amendment 2, Appendix B, Section 
B 3.4.2.6. MYAPC is storing spent nuclear fuel under the general 
licensing provisions of 10 CFR part 72 in the NAC-UMS Storage System at 
an ISFSI located at the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Station in Wiscasset, 
Maine. The licensee is loading additional spent fuel into storage at 
the ISFSI.
    The current requirements in CoC No. 1015, Amendment 2, Appendix B, 
state that physical testing shall be conducted to demonstrate that the 
coefficient of friction between the vertical concrete cask and ISFSI 
pad surface is at least 0.5.
    By exempting MYAPC from specific provisions of 10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 
72.212(b)(2)(i), 72.212(b)(7), and 10 CFR 72.214 for this request, 
MYAPC will not be required to maintain a coefficient of friction 
between the vertical concrete cask and ISFSI pad surface of at least 
0.5.

[[Page 4544]]

    The proposed action before the Commission is whether to grant this 
exemption under the provisions of 10 CFR 72.7. The NRC staff has 
reviewed the exemption request and determined that not maintaining a 
coefficient of friction between the vertical concrete cask and the 
ISFSI pad surface of at least 0.5, is consistent with the safety 
analyses previously reviewed for the NAC-UMS system, and would have no 
impact on the design basis and would not be inimical to public health 
and safety.

Need for the Proposed Action

    During the 2002-2003 winter, MYAPC discovered a condition in which 
the surface area between the vertical concrete casks and the ISFSI pad 
had a significant covering of ice (approximately 80-95 percent of the 
surface). This winter icing condition may result in a reduced 
coefficient of friction that does not meet the requirements of CoC No. 
1015, Amendment 2, Section B 3.4.2.6, for a coefficient of friction of 
at least 0.5 between the vertical concrete casks and the ISFSI pad 
surface. The icing condition was unanticipated and therefore not 
explicitly addressed in the cask licensing basis. The presence of ice 
causes a loss of contact between the vertical concrete casks and the 
ISFSI pad and leads to an indeterminate coefficient of friction. Since 
the icing condition renders previous test results insufficient to 
demonstrate a coefficient of friction greater than 0.5, MYAPC would not 
be in compliance with the CoC during these icing conditions.
    Granting the requested exemption will allow MYAPC to regain 
compliance with CoC No. 1015, Amendment 2, in a timely manner. Section 
B 3.4.2.6 is a requirement specific to MYAPC and applicable to no other 
licensees.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The licensee requested the exemption from maintaining a coefficient 
of friction between the vertical concrete cask and the ISFSI pad 
surface of at least 0.5 as specified in CoC No. 1015, Amendment 2. The 
NRC staff performed a safety evaluation of the proposed exemption. 
Staff reviewed the analysis provided by MYAPC in the exemption request 
for winter icing conditions which may result in a reduced coefficient 
of friction between the vertical concrete cask and the ISFSI pad 
surface, and limited vertical concrete cask sliding during a design 
earthquake. Staff judged that the design earthquake will not cause 
large sliding of the NAC-UMS vertical concrete cask on the ISFSI pad 
surfaces. In the unlikely event of vertical concrete cask impacts, 
staff evaluated the magnitude of the impact load between two colliding 
casks and determined the impact load would be far less severe than that 
encountered in a tip-over accident for which the NAC-UMS system has 
been demonstrated structurally adequate. The staff concludes that the 
NRC has reasonable assurance that the proposed exemption has no impact 
on off-site doses, and is acceptable.
    Therefore, the environmental impact of not maintaining a 
coefficient of friction between the vertical concrete cask and the 
ISFSI pad surface of at least 0.5, is no greater than the environmental 
impact already assessed in the initial rulemaking for the NAC-UMS 
storage system (65 FR 62581, dated October 19, 2000).
    The proposed action will not increase the probability or 
consequences of the analyzed accidents, no changes are being made to 
the types of effluents that may be released offsite, and there is no 
increase in occupational or public radiation exposure. Therefore, there 
are no significant radiological environmental impacts associated with 
the proposed action. Therefore, the staff has determined that there is 
no reduction in the ability of the NAC-UMS system to perform its safety 
function, nor significant environmental impacts, as a result of not 
maintaining a coefficient of friction between the vertical concrete 
cask and the ISFSI pad surface of at least 0.5.

Alternative to the Proposed Action

    Since there is no significant environment impact associated with 
the proposed action, alternatives with equal or greater environmental 
impact are not evaluated. The alternative to the proposed action would 
be to deny approval of the exemption. Denial of the exemption request 
will have the same environmental impact.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    This exemption request was discussed with Mr. Charles Pray, State 
Nuclear Safety Advisor for the State of Maine, on January 6, 2004, and 
he stated that the State had no comments on the technical aspects of 
the exemption. The NRC staff has determined that a consultation under 
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is not required because the 
proposed action will not affect listed species or critical habitat. The 
NRC staff has also determined that the proposed action is not a type of 
activity having the potential to cause effects on historic properties. 
Therefore, no further consultation is required under Section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    The environmental impacts of the proposed action have been reviewed 
in accordance with the requirements set forth in 10 CFR Part 51. Based 
upon the foregoing EA, the Commission finds that the proposed action of 
granting the exemption from specific provisions of 10 CFR 72.212(a), 
72.212(b)(2)(i), 72.212 (b)(7), and 10 CFR 72.214, and not requiring 
MYAPC to maintain a coefficient of friction between the concrete cask 
and ISFSI pad surface of at least 0.5, will not significantly impact 
the quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the Commission has 
determined that an environmental impact statement for the proposed 
exemption is not warranted.
    The request for exemption was docketed under 10 CFR part 72, Docket 
72-30. For further details with respect to this action, see the 
exemption request dated October 2, 2003, as supplemented. The NRC 
maintains an Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS), 
which provides text and image files of NRC's public documents. These 
documents may be accessed through the NRC's Public Electronic Reading 
Room on the Internet at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. 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 
Reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by e-mail to 
pdr@nrc.gov.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of January, 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Stephen C. O'Connor, Sr.,
Project Manager, Spent Fuel Project Office, Office of Nuclear Material 
Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 04-1944 Filed 1-29-04; 8:45 am]
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