[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 65 (Wednesday, April 4, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20438-20440]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8114]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 72-1030, 72-56; 50-338 and 50-339: NRC-2012-0084]


Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation, Virginia Electric 
and Power Company: North Anna Power Station Units 1 and 2

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Issuance of an environmental assessment and finding of no 
significant impact.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennie Rankin, Project Manager, 
Division of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555. Telephone: (301) 492-3268; Fax number: (301) 492-
3342; email: jennivine.rankin@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Introduction

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Commission) is 
considering issuance of a one-time exemption to Virginia Electric and 
Power Company (Dominion or licensee) pursuant to 10 CFR 72.7 from the 
requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(b)(3) and the portion of 72.212(b)(11) 
which requires compliance with the terms, conditions, and 
specifications of the CoC. Dominion submitted its exemption request by 
letter dated July 21, 2011, as supplemented September 28, 2011. 
Dominion has loaded spent nuclear fuel into Transnuclear, Inc. (TN) 
NUHOMS[supreg] HD Storage System (HD-32PTH) dry storage casks, under 
the Certificate of Compliance (CoC or Certificate) No. 1030, Amendment 
No. 0. The licensee inadvertently reversed the upper and lower zones 
while preparing the dry shielded canister (DSC) loading maps. This 
resulted in twelve fuel assemblies being loaded into seven DSCs with 
decay heat greater than the levels specified in the CoC. Dominion 
requests a one-time exemption to the 10 CFR part 72 requirements to 
continue storage of the affected DSCs with serial numbers DOM-32PTH-
004-C, -005-C, -007-C, -010-C, -013-C, -019-C and GBC-32PTH-011-C in 
their current condition at the Independent Spent Fuel Storage 
Installation (ISFSI) associated with the operation of Dominion's 
nuclear power reactors, North Anna Power Station Units 1 and 2, located 
in Louisa County, Virginia.

II. Environmental Assessment (EA)

    Identification of Proposed Action: The CoC is the NRC approved 
design for each dry storage cask system. The proposed action would 
grant Dominion a one-time exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 
72.212(b)(3) and from the portion of 72.212(b)(11) that states the 
licensee shall comply with the terms, conditions, and specifications of 
the CoC, to the extent necessary to enable Dominion to continue storage 
of the seven DSCs in their current condition at the ISFSI associated 
with North Anna Power Station Units 1 and 2. These regulations 
specifically require storage of spent nuclear fuel under a general 
license in dry storage casks approved under the provisions of 10 CFR 
part 72, and compliance with the terms and conditions set forth in the 
CoC for each dry spent fuel storage cask used by an ISFSI general 
licensee.
    The TN NUHOMS[supreg] HD dry cask storage system CoC provides 
requirements, conditions and operating limits in Attachment A, 
Technical Specifications (TS). The TS restrict the decay heat in lower 
Zone ``1a'' locations to <= 1.05 kW and the upper Zone ``1b'' locations 
to <= 0.8 kW. The applicant inadvertently reversed the upper and lower 
zones while preparing the DSC loading maps. This resulted in twelve 
fuel assemblies being loaded into seven DSCs (serial numbers DOM-32PTH-
004-C, -005-C, -007-C, -010-C, -013-C, -019-C and GBC-32PTH-011-C) with 
decay heat greater than specified in the CoC. The maximum decay heat of 
the misloaded fuel assemblies at the time of loading was 0.859 kW, 
which exceeded the Zone ``1b'' limit mentioned above by 59 watts. 
Currently, the twelve affected fuel assemblies have been in storage for 
a minimum of 1.3 years and have decayed to meet the required decay heat 
limits of the CoC.
    The proposed action would grant Dominion a one-time exemption from 
the requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(b)(3) and the portion of 
72.212(b)(11) which requires compliance with the terms, conditions, and 
specifications of a CoC, in order to allow continued storage of the 
seven affected DSCs in their current condition. This exemption approval 
is only valid for DSCs with serial numbers DOM-32PTH-004-C, -005-C, -
007-C, -010-C, -013-C, -019-C and GBC-32PTH-011-C, at the North Anna 
Power Station ISFSI.

[[Page 20439]]

    Need for the Proposed Action: Dominion requested this exemption in 
order to continue storage of seven as-loaded DSCs containing twelve 
fuel assemblies which exceeded the CoC decay heat limits at the time of 
loading. Dominion, with the assistance of TN, has provided an 
evaluation and thermal analysis which shows that the affected DSCs 
remain bounded by the system's design basis limits and that the 
continued storage of the fuel in the as-loaded configuration is safe.
    Dominion has considered an alternative to the proposed action, 
which would correct the condition by reloading the affected DSCs to be 
in compliance with CoC No. 1030. This would involve retrieving each of 
the DSCs from their Horizontal Storage Modules (HSM), unloading the 
spent fuel assemblies from the DSC, performing inspections of various 
DSC components, reloading the spent fuel assemblies into the used DSC 
or a new DSC (if there was damage noted on the used DSC) in accordance 
with CoC No. 1030, performing the DSC closing procedures, and 
transferring the DSC back to the ISFSI for re-insertion into the HSM.
    Dominion estimates this alternative action of loading and unloading 
operations would increase personnel exposures by 250 mRem per affected 
DSC. In addition, Dominion states the alternative to the proposed 
action would generate radioactive contaminated material and waste 
during loading and unloading operations and disposal of the used DSCs 
if the DSCs were damaged during the unloading process. The licensee 
estimates the alternative to the proposed action would cost an 
estimated $300,000 for unloading and reloading operations of each 
affected DSC and also necessitate additional fuel handling operations. 
If the DSC was damaged during unloading, the licensee estimates an 
additional $1,000,000 for purchase of a new DSC and $200,000 for 
disposal of the used DSC.
    The proposed action is necessary to document the acceptability and 
safety basis for storage of the DSCs in the as-loaded configuration, 
thus precluding the need to unload the seven DSCs.
    Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action: The NRC staff has 
determined that the proposed action would not endanger life or 
property. The potential impact of using the NUHOMS[supreg] HD dry cask 
storage system was initially presented in the Environmental Assessment 
(EA) for the rulemaking to add the TN NUHOMS[supreg] HD Horizontal 
Modular Storage System for Irradiated Nuclear Fuel to the list of 
approved spent fuel storage casks in 10 CFR 72.214 (71 FR 25740, dated 
May 2, 2006 (Direct Final Rule), and 71 FR 71463, dated December 11, 
2006 (Final Rule)).
    The licensee submitted TN Calculation No. 10494-174, which 
performed bounding thermal analysis using ANSYS finite element software 
to evaluate the misloading events. The licensee concluded the maximum 
fuel cladding temperature for the as loaded DSCs remained below the 
fuel cladding temperature limit used in the Updated Safety Analysis 
Report dated October 2, 2009. The NRC staff performed an independent 
safety evaluation of the proposed exemption and determined that loading 
of the spent nuclear fuel with higher than allowable decay heat loads 
did not exceed the structural and shielding design basis and that the 
fuel cladding temperatures are below the temperature limit at the time 
of loading. The fuel assemblies have since decayed to meet the CoC 
limits. There are no changes being made in the types or amounts of any 
radiological effluents that may be released offsite, and there is no 
significant increase in occupational or public radiation exposure as a 
result of the proposed activities. Therefore, there are no significant 
radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. 
The proposed action only affects the requirements associated with the 
fuel assemblies already loaded into the casks and does not affect non-
radiological plant effluents, or any other aspects of the environment. 
Therefore, there are no significant non-radiological impacts associated 
with the proposed action.
    Accordingly, the Commission concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    Alternative to the Proposed Action: Because there is no significant 
environmental impact associated with the proposed action, alternatives 
with equal or greater environmental impact were not evaluated. As an 
alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered denial of 
the proposed action which would involve reloading the affected DSCs as 
described previously. Denial of the exemption would result in an 
increase in radiological exposure to workers, a small potential for 
radioactive releases to the environment due to radioactive material 
handling, additional opportunities for accidents, and increased cost to 
the licensee. Therefore, the NRC staff has determined that approving 
the proposed action has a lesser environmental impact than denying the 
proposed action.
    Agencies and Persons Consulted: The environmental assessment 
associated with this exemption request was sent to Ms. Ellie Irons of 
the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in the Office of 
Environmental Impact Review, by letter dated November 14, 2011 
(ML113180477). The state response was received by a letter dated 
December 14, 2011 (ML120030312). The letter states that the proposed 
action is unlikely to have significant effects on ambient air quality, 
historic resources, surface waters, and wetlands. The letter also 
states that it is unlikely to adversely affect species of plants or 
insects listed by state agencies as rare, threatened, or endangered. 
Furthermore, the Virginia Department of Health considered the 
alternative to the proposed action of reloading the casks presents 
several risks, namely additional radiation exposure to workers and 
potential accidents that may lead to dispersal of radiation to the 
environment. Thus, the Virginia Department of Health states that it 
supports the exemption without reservation. 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 a 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 consultation is 
required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

III. 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 Environmental Assessment, the Commission finds that 
the proposed action of granting the one-time exemption from the 
requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(b)(3) and the portion of 72.212(b)(11) 
which requires compliance with the terms, conditions, and 
specifications of the CoC in order to allow Dominion to store spent 
fuel assemblies in DSCs with serial numbers DOM-32PTH-004-C, -005-C, -
007-C, -010-C, -013-C, -019-C and GBC-32PTH-011-C in the as-loaded 
configuration at the ISFSI associated with North Anna Power Station 
Units 1 and 2, 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 and that a finding of no significant impact is appropriate.

[[Page 20440]]

IV. Further Information

    In accordance with 10 CFR 2.390 of NRC's ``Rules of Practice,'' 
final NRC records and documents regarding this proposed action are 
publicly available in the records component of NRC's Agencywide 
Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). The request for 
exemption dated July 21, 2011 (ML11208C453), as supplemented September 
28, 2011 (ML11286A143), was docketed under 10 CFR 50, Docket Nos. 50-
338 and 50-339, and under 10 CFR 72, Docket No. 72-56. These documents 
may be inspected at NRC's Public Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. These documents may also be viewed 
electronically on the public computers located at the NRC's Public 
Document Room (PDR), O1F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville 
Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR reproduction contractor will copy 
documents for a fee. Persons who do not have access to ADAMS, or who 
encounter problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, should 
contact the NRC PDR Reference staff by telephone at 1-800-397-4209, or 
(301) 415-4737, or by email to pdr@nrc.gov.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 26th day of March, 2012.
Jennie Rankin,
Project Manager, Licensing Branch, Division of Spent Fuel Storage and 
Transportation, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2012-8114 Filed 4-3-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P