[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 86 (Thursday, May 3, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 26321-26323]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-10707]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 50-338 and 50-339; NRC-2012-0051; License Nos. NPF-4 and 
NPF-7]


Virginia Electric and Power Company

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Director's Decision; issuance.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) 
is giving notice that the Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor 
Regulation (NRR) has issued a Director's Decision with regard to a 
petition dated September 8, 2011, filed by Mr. Thomas Saporito, 
hereinafter referred to as the ``petitioner.''

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2012-0051 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may access information related to this document, which the NRC 
possesses and is publicly available, using the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2012-0051. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-
3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in the NRC 
Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the 
search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin Web-
based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-
4737, or by email to PDR.Resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number 
for each document referenced in this notice (if that document is 
available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is 
referenced.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at

[[Page 26322]]

the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville 
Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Notice is hereby given that the Director, NRR, has issued a 
Director's Decision with regard to a petition dated September 8, 2011 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML11256A019), filed by Mr. Thomas Saporito. The 
petition was supplemented on September 8, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML11334A152), September 29, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML11332A046), 
October 21, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML11308A016), and November 7, 
2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML113530035). The petition concerns the 
operation of the North Anna Power Station, Units 1 and 2 (North Anna 1 
and 2), by the Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO or the 
licensee). The petition requested that the NRC:
    (1) Take escalated enforcement action against the licensee and 
suspend, or revoke, the operating licenses for North Anna 1 and 2;
    (2) Issue a notice of violation against the licensee with a 
proposed civil penalty in the amount of 1 million dollars; and
    (3) Issue an order to the licensee requiring the licensee to keep 
North Anna 1 and 2, in a ``cold shutdown'' mode of operation until such 
time as a series of actions described in the petition are completed.
    As the basis for this request, the petitioner states in summary 
that:
    (1) On August 23, 2011, North Anna 1 and 2, automatically tripped 
offline as a direct result of ground motion caused by an earthquake 
centered in Mineral, Virginia, approximately 10 miles from North Anna 1 
and 2. The licensee has not determined the root cause of this event, 
nor has it explained why the reactor tripped on ``negative flux rate'' 
rather than on loss of offsite power.
    (2) Subsequent to the earthquake, the licensee initiated various 
inspection activities and tests to discover the extent of damage to the 
nuclear facility, but these inspection and testing activities continue 
and remain incomplete and non-validated.
    (3) The licensee had set an overly aggressive schedule for 
restarting North Anna 1 and 2, that was based on economic 
considerations rather than safety.
    (4) The licensee needs to amend its licensing documents, including 
its licenses and the updated final safety analysis report. As a result, 
of ground motion experienced at, and damage sustained to, North Anna 1 
and 2, due to the earthquake of August 23, 2011, which is greater than 
the licensee's design and safety bases, North Anna 1 and 2, are in an 
unanalyzed condition and current licensing documents are erroneous and 
incomplete. As a result, the licensee cannot rely on them to provide 
reasonable assurance to the NRC that these nuclear reactors can be 
operated in a safe and reliable manner to protect public health and 
safety.
    (5) The licensee needs to conduct new seismic and geological 
evaluations of the North Anna 1 and 2, site that are independent. These 
evaluations should ascertain the degree and magnitude of future 
earthquake events and address a ``worst case'' earthquake.
    (6) There are numerous issues with the seismic instrumentation at 
North Anna 1 and 2, including lack of free field instrumentation, 
issues associated with conversion of analog data to digital data, 
issues with lack of on-site personnel with sufficient training in 
seismic measurements, and potential skewing of ground motion data due 
to the location of the ``scratch plates.''
    (7) Retrofitting of North Anna 1 and 2, is required due to damage 
to North Anna 1 and 2, from the earthquake of August 23, 2011.
    (8) There are concerns with the impact of the August 23, 2011, 
earthquake on the North Anna 1 and 2, Independent Spent Fuel Storage 
Installation (ISFSI) including the fact that 25 casks weighing over 115 
tons were not supposed to shift as much as 4.5 inches during an 
earthquake, validation of the integrity of the seals inside the spent 
fuel casks, assessing whether spent nuclear fuel storage facilities 
could topple or otherwise sustain significant damage resulting in a 
release, and assessing whether the licensee's emergency plans 
adequately addressed damage to the ISFSI as a result of a severe 
earthquake.
    (9) The petitioner is concerned that the licensee cannot be trusted 
to communicate reliable information to the public or the regulator 
based on the fact that the licensee in the 1970s failed to promptly 
disclose the discovery of geological information and was subjected to a 
monetary fine for the violation.
    On September 29, 2011, and November 7, 2011, the petitioner and the 
licensee met with the NRC staff's petition review board via telephone 
conference (meeting transcripts at ADAMS Accession Nos. ML11332A046 and 
ML113530035) regarding the petition. These meetings gave the petitioner 
and the licensee an opportunity to provide additional information and 
to clarify issues raised in the petition.
    The NRC sent a copy of the proposed Director's Decision to the 
petitioner and the licensee for comment by letter dated February 22, 
2012 (ADAMS Accession No. ML11356A164), and February 28, 2012 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML11357A117), respectively. The licensee provided 
comments by letter dated March 12, 2012 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML120720519). The comments and the NRC staff's response to them are 
included in the Director's Decision, the complete text of which is 
available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML12094A250.
    The NRC staff has evaluated the petitioner's requests to: (1) Take 
escalated enforcement action against the licensee and suspend, or 
revoke, the operating licenses for North Anna 1 and 2, and (2) issue a 
notice of violation against the licensee with a proposed civil penalty 
in the amount of 1 million dollars. With respect to these two requests, 
the evaluations of two NRC inspection teams as documented in inspection 
reports dated October 31, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML113040031), and 
November 30, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML113340345), did not find any 
violation of NRC regulations that would merit such enforcement actions. 
Further detail regarding this decision on these two requests is 
provided in the Director's Decision. With respect to the petition's 
third request for enforcement action: ``to issue an order to the 
licensee requiring the licensee to keep North Anna 1 and 2, in a ``cold 
shutdown'' mode of operation until such time as a series of actions 
described in the petition are completed,'' the NRC staff concluded that 
it had partially granted that request in Confirmatory Action Letter 
(CAL) No. 2-2011-001 dated September 30, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML11273A078), which stated the following:

    This Confirmatory Action Letter (CAL) confirms that NAPS [North 
Anna Power Station] Units 1 and 2 will not enter Modes 1-4 (as 
defined in the technical specifications), until the Commission has 
completed its review of your information, performed confirmatory 
inspections, and completed its safety evaluation review. The 
permission to resume operations will be formally communicated to 
Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO) in a written 
correspondence.
    VEPCO shall submit to the NRC all documentation requested by the 
NRC as being necessary to demonstrate that NAPS Units 1 and 2 can be 
operated safely following the seismic event that exceeded the safe 
shutdown event analyzed in the current revision of the Updated Final 
Safety Analysis Report.
    This CAL will remain in effect until the NRC has (1) reviewed 
your information,

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including responses to staff's questions and the results of your 
evaluations, and (2) the staff communicates to you in written 
correspondence that it has concluded that NAPS can be operated 
without undue risk to the health and safety of the public or the 
environment.''

    This CAL, therefore, confirmed the licensee's understanding that 
North Anna 1 and 2, could not be restarted unless and until the 
licensee had demonstrated to the NRC staff's satisfaction that ``* * * 
no functional damage has occurred to those features necessary for 
continued operation without undue risk to the health and safety of the 
public,'' consistent with the requirements of Title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (10 CFR), Part 100, Appendix A, Section V(a)(2). 
Restart was contingent upon addressing a number of issues before 
startup, many of which had been identified, in whole or in part, in the 
petition as concerns.
    Issues in the petition, previously identified and discussed as 
concerns 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8, were discussed and substantially 
addressed, either in the inspection reports issued October 31, 2011, 
and November 30, 2011, or in the NRC technical evaluation dated 
November 11, 2011. The activities by the NRC staff were completed 
before restart to ensure that, before resuming operations, the licensee 
had demonstrated no functional damage had occurred to those features at 
North Anna 1 and 2, necessary for continued operation without undue 
risk to the health and safety of the public. In that respect, these 
concerns described in the petition as requiring completion before the 
restart of North Anna 1 and 2, were addressed before restart, 
consistent with the third request for enforcement action described in 
the petition. Issues in the petition, previously identified and 
discussed as concerns 4 and 9, were evaluated by the NRC staff before 
restart of North Anna 1 and 2, but disposition of these concerns by the 
NRC staff differed from the course of action requested in the petition. 
In that respect, these aspects of the petition were denied.
    A copy of the Director's Decision will be filed with the Secretary 
of the Commission for the Commission's review in accordance with 10 CFR 
2.206 of the Commission's regulations. As provided for by this 
regulation, the Director's Decision will constitute the final action of 
the Commission 25 days after the date of the decision, unless the 
Commission, on its own motion, institutes a review of the Director's 
Decision in that time.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 27th day of April 2012.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Bruce A. Boger,
Deputy Director, Reactor Safety Programs, Office of Nuclear Reactor 
Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2012-10707 Filed 5-2-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P