[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 103 (Thursday, May 27, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30339-30341]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-11992]



[[Page 30339]]

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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION


Notice of Opportunity To Comment on Model Safety Evaluation on 
Technical Specification Improvement Regarding Revision to the Control 
Rod Scram Time Testing Frequency in STS 3.1.4, ``Control Rod Scram 
Times'' for General Electric Boiling Water Reactors Using the 
Consolidated Line Item Improvement Process

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Request for comment.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the staff of the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC) has prepared a model safety evaluation (SE) 
relating to changing the testing frequency for the surveillance 
requirement (SR) in Standard Technical Specifications (STS) 3.1.4, 
``Control Rod Scram Times.'' The proposed change revises the test 
frequency of SR 3.1.4.2, control rod scram time testing, from ``120 
days cumulative operation in MODE 1'' to ``200 days cumulative 
operation in MODE 1'' via changes to the NUREG-1433 (BWR/4) and NUREG-
1434 (BWR/6). The Owners Group participants in the Technical 
Specification Task Force (TSTF) proposed this change to the STS in the 
Improved Standard Technical Specifications Change Traveler TSTF-460, 
Revision 0 \1\. This notice also includes a model no significant 
hazards consideration (NSHC) determination relating to this matter.
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    \1\ In conjunction with the proposed change, technical 
specifications (TS) requirements for a bases control program, 
consistent with the TS Bases Control Program described in Section 
5.5 of the applicable vendor's standard TS, shall be incorporated 
into the licensee's TS, if not already in the TS.
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    The purpose of these models is to permit the NRC to efficiently 
process amendments to incorporate this change into plant-specific 
Technical Specifications (TSs) for General Electric (GE) boiling water 
reactors (BWRs). Licensees of nuclear power reactors to which the 
models apply could request amendments conforming to the models. In such 
a request, a licensee should confirm the applicability of the SE and 
NSHC determination to its reactor. The NRC staff is requesting comments 
on the model SE and model NSHC determination before announcing their 
availability for referencing in license amendment applications.

DATES: The comment period expires June 28, 2004. Comments received 
after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the 
Commission is able to ensure consideration only for comments received 
on or before this date.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted either electronically or via U.S. 
mail.
    Submit written comments to: Chief, Rules and Directives Branch, 
Division of Administrative Services, Office of Administration, Mail 
Stop: T-6 D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001.
    Hand deliver comments to: 11545 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 
Maryland, between 7:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. on Federal workdays.
    Copies of comments received may be examined at the NRC's Public 
Document Room, One White Flint North, Public File Area O1-F21, 11555 
Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland.
    Comments may be submitted by electronic mail to CLIIP@nrc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bhalchandra Vaidya, Mail Stop: O-7D1, 
Division of Licensing Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor 
Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001, telephone (301) 415-3308, or William Reckley at (301) 415-1323.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Regulatory Issue Summary 2000-06, ``Consolidated Line Item 
Improvement Process for Adopting Standard Technical Specification 
Changes for Power Reactors,'' was issued on March 20, 2000. The 
Consolidated Line Item Improvement Process (CLIIP) is intended to 
improve the efficiency and transparency of NRC licensing processes. 
This is accomplished by processing proposed changes to the STS in a 
manner that supports subsequent license amendment applications. The 
CLIIP includes an opportunity for the public to comment on proposed 
changes to the STS following a preliminary assessment by the NRC staff 
and a finding that the change will likely be offered for adoption by 
licensees. This notice is soliciting comment on a proposed change to 
the SR in STS 3.1.4 ``Control Rod Scram Times.'' The proposed change 
revises the test frequency of SR 3.1.4.2, control rod scram time 
testing, from ``120 days cumulative operation in MODE 1'' to ``200 days 
cumulative operation in MODE 1'' via changes to the NUREG-1433 and 
NUREG-1434 for the GE STS. The CLIIP directs the NRC staff to evaluate 
any comments received for a proposed change to the STS and to either 
reconsider the change or proceed with announcing the availability of 
the change for proposed adoption by licensees. Those licensees opting 
to apply for the subject change to TSs are responsible for reviewing 
the staff's evaluation, referencing the applicable technical 
justifications, and providing any necessary plant-specific information. 
Each amendment application made in response to the notice of 
availability would be processed and noticed in accordance with 
applicable rules and NRC procedures.
    NUREG-1433, SR 3.1.4.2 states, ``Verify, for a representative 
sample, each tested control rod scram time is within the limits of 
Table 3.1.4-1 with reactor steam dome pressure >= [800] psig.'' NUREG-
1434, SR 3.1.4.2 states, ``Verify, for a representative sample, each 
tested control rod scram time is within the limits of Table 3.1.4-1 
with reactor steam dome pressure >= [950] psig.'' Both SRs have a 
frequency of ``120 days cumulative operation in MODE 1.'' The proposed 
change revises the frequency to ``200 days cumulative operation in MODE 
1.'' The Bases are revised to reference the new frequency and to reduce 
the percentage of the tested rods which can be ``slow'' from 20 percent 
to 7.5 percent.
    Industry operating experience has shown the control rod scram times 
to be highly reliable. For example, at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, 
out of 7,660 control rod insertion tests, only 12 control rods have 
been slower than the insertion time limit (with the exception of test 
data from an anomalous cycle). The control rod drive system has shown 
to be highly reliable. This high reliability supports the extension of 
the surveillance frequency from 120 days of cumulative operation in 
Mode 1 to 200 days. The current TS Bases states that the acceptance 
criteria have been met if 20 percent or fewer of the random sample 
control rods that are tested within the 120-day surveillance period are 
found to be slow. The Bases are revised to change the control rod 
insertion time acceptance criterion for percentage of slow rods 
allowed, reducing the value to 7.5 percent of the random at-power 
surveillance sample when the surveillance period is extended to 200 
cumulative days of operation in Mode 1. The more restrictive 7.5 
percent acceptance criterion for testing the random sample is 
consistent with the TS 3.1.4 objective of ensuring that no more than a 
small percentage of control rods are slow at any given time.

Applicability

    This proposed change to revise the TS testing frequency for the SR 
3.1.4.2 in

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STS 3.1.4 is applicable to GE BWR/4s and BWR/6s \2\.
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    \2\ Although TSTF-460 includes 200 days in brackets indicating a 
plant-specific value, proposed changes exceeding 200 days will 
require additional review and may result in the proposed amendment 
being processed using routine review procedures instead of using the 
CLIIP.
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    To efficiently process the incoming license amendment applications, 
the staff requests each licensee applying for the changes addressed by 
TSTF-460 using the CLIIP to address the plant-specific verifications 
identified in the model SE. Namely, each licensee submitting amendments 
to extend the surveillance frequency should demonstrate the reliability 
of the control rod insertion system based on historical control rod 
scram time test data, and by the more restrictive acceptance criterion 
for the number of slow rods allowed during at-power surveillance 
testing.
    The CLIIP does not prevent licensees from requesting an alternative 
approach or proposing the changes without the requested verifications. 
Variations from the approach recommended in this notice may, however, 
require additional review by the NRC staff and may increase the time 
and resources needed for the review.

Public Notices

    This notice requests comments from interested members of the public 
within 30 days of the date of publication in the Federal Register. 
Following the staff's evaluation of comments received as a result of 
this notice, the staff may reconsider the proposed change or may 
proceed with announcing the availability of the change in a subsequent 
notice (perhaps with some changes to the SE or proposed NSHC 
determination as a result of public comments). If the staff announces 
the availability of the change, licensees wishing to adopt the change 
will submit an application in accordance with applicable rules and 
other regulatory requirements. The staff will in turn issue for each 
application a notice of consideration of issuance of amendment to 
facility operating license(s), a proposed NSHC determination, and an 
opportunity for a hearing. A notice of issuance of an amendment to 
operating license(s) will also be issued to announce the revised 
requirements for each plant that applies for and receives the requested 
change.

Proposed Safety Evaluation

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of Nuclear Reactor 
Regulation, Consolidated Line Item Improvement, Technical Specification 
Task Force (TSTF) Change TSTF-460, ``Control Rod Scram Time Testing 
Frequency.''

1.0 Introduction

    By application dated [Date], [Licensee] (the licensee) requested 
changes to the Technical Specifications (TSs) for [facility]. The 
proposed changes would revise TS testing frequency for the surveillance 
requirement (SR) in TS 3.1.4, ``Control Rod Scram Times.''
    These changes are based on Technical Specifications Task Force 
(TSTF) change traveler TSTF-460 (Revision 0) that has been approved 
generically for the boiling water reactor (BWR) Standard TSs, NUREG-
1433 (BWR/4) and NUREG-1434 (BWR/6) by revising the frequency of SR 
3.1.4.2, control rod scram time testing, from ``120 days cumulative 
operation in MODE 1'' to ``200 days cumulative operation in MODE 1.'' A 
notice announcing the availability of this proposed TS change using the 
consolidated line item improvement process was published in the Federal 
Register on [DATE] (XX FR XXXXXX).

2.0 Regulatory Evaluation

    The TS governing the control rod scram time surveillance is 
intended to assure proper function of control rod insertion. Following 
each refueling outage, all control rod scram times are verified. In 
addition, periodically during power operation, a representative sample 
of control rods is randomly selected to be partially inserted to verify 
the insertion speed. A representative sample is defined as a sample 
containing at least 10 percent of the total number of control rods. The 
current TS stipulates that no more than 20 percent of the control rods 
in this representative sample can be ``slow'' during the post outage 
testing. With more than 20 percent of the sample declared to be 
``slow'' per the criteria in Table 3.1.4-1, additional control rods are 
tested until this 20 percent criterion (e.g., 20 percent of the entire 
sample size) is satisfied, or until the total number of ``slow'' 
control rods (throughout the core, from all surveillances) exceeds the 
Limiting Condition for Operation limit. For planned testing, the 
control rods selected for the sample should be different for each test. 
The acceptance criterion for at-power surveillance testing has been 
redefined from 20 percent to 7.5 percent. This tightened acceptance 
criterion for at-power surveillance aligns with the TS 3.1.4 
requirement for the total control rods allowed to have scram times 
exceeding the specified limit.
    The proposed change does not affect any current operability 
requirements and the test frequency being revised is not specified in 
regulations. As a result, no regulatory requirements or criteria are 
affected.

3.0 Technical Evaluation

3.1 Statement of Proposed Changes
    NUREG-1433, SR 3.1.4.2 states, ``Verify, for a representative 
sample, each tested control rod scram time is within the limits of 
Table 3.1.4-1 with reactor steam dome pressure >=[800] psig.'' NUREG-
1434, SR 3.1.4.2 states, ``Verify, for a representative sample, each 
tested control rod scram time is within the limits of Table 3.1.4-1 
with reactor steam dome pressure >=[950] psig.'' Both SRs have a 
frequency of ``120 days cumulative operation in MODE 1.'' The proposed 
change revises the frequency to ``200 days cumulative operation in MODE 
1.'' The Bases are revised to reference the new frequency and to reduce 
the percentage of the tested rods which can be ``slow'' from 20 percent 
to 7.5 percent.

3.2 Evaluation of Proposed Change

    Over the course of the operating life of [Plant Name], the control 
rod insertion time test results have shown the control rod scram rates 
to be highly reliable. During [XXX] years of operation, out of [XXX] 
control rod insertion tests, only [XXX] control rods have been slower 
than the insertion time limit. The extensive historical database 
substantiates the claim of high reliability of the [Plant Name] control 
rod drive system. The current TS requires that 10 percent of the [XXX] 
control rods, or [XXX] rods, be tested via random sampling every 120 
cumulative days of operation in Mode 1.
    The current TS states that the acceptance criteria have been met if 
20 percent or fewer of the random sample control rods that are tested 
are found to be slow. The acceptance criterion has been re-defined for 
at-power surveillance testing from 20 percent to 7.5 percent when the 
surveillance period is extended to 200 cumulative days of operation in 
Mode 1. This tightened acceptance criterion for at-power surveillance 
aligns with the TS 3.1.4 requirement for the total control rods allowed 
to have scram times exceeding the specified limit.
    The licensee will incorporate the revised acceptance criterion 
value of 7.5 percent into the TS Bases at the next periodic update in 
accordance with

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their Bases Control Program and as a condition of this license 
amendment.\3\
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    \3\ Conditioning of the license amendment is accomplished by 
including wording similar to the following in the implementation 
language (typically included as item 3) in the Amendment of Facility 
Operating License:
    This license amendment is effective as of its date of issuance 
and shall be implemented within [XX] days from the date of issuance. 
The licensee shall incorporate during the next periodic update into 
the TS Bases Section the changes described in its application dated 
[Date].
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    The NRC staff considers the extended surveillance interval to be 
justified by the demonstrated reliability of the control rod insertion 
system, based on historical control rod scram time test data, and by 
the more restrictive acceptance criterion for the number of slow rods 
allowed during at-power surveillance testing. The NRC staff finds the 
proposed TS change acceptable.

4.0 State Consultation

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

5.0 Environmental Consideration

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

6.0 Conclusion

    The Commission has concluded, based on the considerations discussed 
above, that: (1) There is reasonable assurance that the health and 
safety of the public will not be endangered by the operation in the 
proposed manner, (2) such activities will be conducted in compliance 
with the Commission's regulations, and (3) the issuance of the 
amendment will not be inimical to the common defense and security or to 
the health and safety of the public.
Proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination
    Description of Amendment Request: The proposed amendment changes 
the Technical Specification (TS) testing frequency for the surveillance 
requirement (SR) in TS 3.1.4, ``Control Rod Scram Times''. The proposed 
change revises the test frequency of SR 3.1.4.2, control rod scram time 
testing, from ``120 days cumulative operation in MODE 1'' to ``200 days 
cumulative operation in Mode 1.''
    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration 
determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), an analysis of the issue 
of no significant hazards consideration is presented below:
    1. Does the change involve a significant increase in the 
probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?
    Response: No.
    The proposed change extends the frequency for testing control rod 
scram time testing from every 120 days of cumulative Mode 1 operation 
to 200 days of cumulative Mode 1 operation. The frequency of 
surveillance testing is not an initiator of any accident previously 
evaluated. The frequency of surveillance testing does not affect the 
ability to mitigate any accident previously evaluated, as the tested 
component is still required to be operable. Therefore, the proposed 
change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or 
consequences of an accident previously evaluated.
    2. Does the change create the possibility of a new or different 
kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?
    Response: No.
    The proposed change extends the frequency for testing control rod 
scram time testing from every 120 days of cumulative Mode 1 operation 
to 200 days of cumulative Mode 1 operation. The proposed change does 
not result in any new or different modes of plant operation. Therefore, 
the proposed change does not create the possibility of a new or 
different kind of accident from any previously evaluated.
    3. Does the proposed change involve a significant reduction in a 
margin of safety?
    Response: No.
    The proposed change extends the frequency for testing control rod 
scram time testing from every 120 days of cumulative Mode 1 operation 
to 200 days of cumulative Mode 1 operation. The proposed change 
continues to test the control rod scram time to ensure the assumptions 
in the safety analysis are protected. Therefore, the proposed change 
does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.
    Based on the above, the proposed change presents no significant 
hazards consideration under the standards set forth in 10 CFR 50.92(c), 
and accordingly, a finding of ``no significant hazards consideration'' 
is justified.

    Dated in Rockville, Maryland, this 20th day of May, 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Robert A. Gramm,
Chief, Section 1, Project Directorate IV, Division of Licensing Project 
Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 04-11992 Filed 5-26-04; 8:45 am]
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