[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 64 (Wednesday, April 3, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20144-20146]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-07703]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-286; NRC-2013-0063]


Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., Indian Point Nuclear Generating 
Unit 3

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Draft environmental assessment and finding of no significant 
impact; request for public comment.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is reconsidering 
its issuance of a revision of an existing exemption from its 
regulations, ``Fire Protection Program for Nuclear Power Facilities 
Operating Prior to January 1, 1979,'' for Fire Areas ETN-4 and PAB-2, 
issued to Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (the licensee), for 
operation of Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit 3 (Indian Point 3), 
located in Westchester County, NY.''

DATES: Submit comments by May 3, 2013. Comments received after this 
date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is 
able to assure consideration only for comments received on or before 
this date.

ADDRESSES: You may access information and comment submissions related 
to this document, which the NRC possesses and is publicly-available, by 
searching on http://www.regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2013-0063. 
You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2013-0063. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-
3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.

[[Page 20145]]

     Fax comments to: RADB at 301-492-3446.
    For additional direction on accessing information and submitting 
comments, see ``Accessing Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas V. Pickett, Senior Project 
Manager, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555; telephone: 301-415-1364; email: 
Douglas.Pickett@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Accessing Information and Submitting Comments

A. Accessing Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2013-0063 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, by any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2013-0063.
     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. The application for exemption, dated July 24, 2006, is 
available under ADAMS Accession No. ML062140057. The Environmental 
Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact, dated September 24, 
2007, is available under ADAMS Accession No. ML072110018. The NRC 
letter approving the exemption, dated September 28, 2007, is available 
under ADAMS Accession No. ML072410254.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2013-0063 in the subject line of your 
comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make 
your comment submission available to the public in this docket.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your 
comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into 
ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove 
identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove such information before making the comment submissions available 
to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

II. Introduction

    The NRC is reconsidering its issuance of a revision of an existing 
exemption from part 50 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(10 CFR), Appendix R, ``Fire Protection Program for Nuclear Power 
Facilities Operating Prior to January 1, 1979,'' for Fire Areas ETN-4 
and PAB-2, issued to Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (the licensee), 
for operation of Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit 3 (Indian Point 
3), located in Westchester County, NY.''
    On July 24, 2006, Indian Point 3 submitted an exemption request 
from the requirement of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix R, III, G.2 for a 1-
hour rating fire barrier. On September 28, 2007, the NRC issued the 
exemption. As required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC prepared an 
Environmental Assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact 
(FONSI). The EA on the impacts of the exemption and FONSI were 
published in the Federal Register (FR) on the same day the exemption 
was issued (72 FR 55254). The exemption was then implemented at Indian 
Point Unit 3. A draft EA for public comment was not issued for this 
licensing action.
    In 2007, Mr. Richard Brodsky, then a New York State Assemblyman, 
and others petitioned the NRC to hold a public hearing before granting 
the exemption. The NRC denied Mr. Brodsky's petition. In 2008, these 
petitioners filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second 
Circuit, challenging NRC's denial of a hearing. The Court of Appeals 
denied the petition for lack of jurisdiction, but afforded petitioners 
an opportunity to refile their claims in U.S. District Court. In 2011, 
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted 
NRC summary judgment on the refiled claims, finding no violation of the 
Administrative Procedure Act, the Atomic Energy Act, or the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the denial of a hearing on the 
exemption. Petitioners then sought review of that decision in the U.S. 
Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
    On January 7, 2013, the Second Circuit reversed and vacated the 
U.S. District Court decision with respect to public participation on 
the EA and FONSI issued in support of the exemptions. The Circuit Court 
remanded the case to the District Court ``with instructions for it in 
turn to remand to the NRC so that the agency may: (1) Supplement the 
administrative record to explain why allowing public input into the 
exemption request was inappropriate or impracticable, or (2) take such 
other action as it may deem appropriate to resolve this issue.'' The 
Court directed that proceedings were to be concluded within 120 days of 
the Mandate, which was issued on March 1, 2013.
    In response to the Mandate of the U.S. Court of Appeals, the NRC is 
issuing for public comment, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.33, this Draft 
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact. As 
necessary, the underlying action (i.e., approval of the exemptions) may 
be modified in light of public comments.
    The NRC notes that, subsequent to its action approving the 
requested exemptions in 2007, and petitioners' court challenges, the 
agency amended 10 CFR 51.22, which describes NRC's actions 
categorically excluded from further environmental review under NEPA. 
See 75 FR 20248 (April 19, 2010). That 2010 rulemaking expanded the 
scope of an existing categorical exclusion in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(9) to 
include approvals of licensee exemption requests. Thus, under the 
revised provisions of 10 CFR 51.22(c)(9), the NRC need not prepare any 
environmental review for exemptions from the requirements of Parts 50 
and 52 ``with respect to installation or use of a facility component 
located within the restricted area, as defined in [10 CFR Part 20], or 
which changes an inspection or surveillance requirement,'' provided 
there are no significant hazards considerations, no significant 
increase in offsite effluents, and no significant occupational dose 
increase.

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    Although NRC approval of exemptions that meet the criteria of this 
section no longer require preparation of an EA/FONSI, the NRC retains 
discretion to prepare an EA and FONSI, including an opportunity for 
public comment, where special circumstances exist. See 10 CFR 51.22(b), 
and 51.33.

III. Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant 
Impact

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would revise the January 7, 1987, safety 
evaluation (SE) to reflect that the installed Hemyc electrical raceway 
fire barrier system (ERFBS) configurations provide either a 30-minute 
fire resistance rating, or in one case a 24-minute fire resistance 
rating, in lieu of the previously stated 1-hour fire resistance rating. 
The licensee states that a Hemyc ERFBS fire resistance rating will 
provide sufficient protection for the affected raceways, with adequate 
margin, to continue to meet the intent of the original requests for 
exemption and conclusions presented in the NRC's January 7, 1987, SE. 
The licensee concludes that the revised fire resistance rating of the 
Hemyc ERFBS does not reflect a reduction in overall fire safety, and 
presents no added challenge to the credited post-fire safe-shutdown 
capability which remains materially unchanged from the configuration 
originally described in previous letters and as credited in the January 
7, 1987, SE.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated July 24, 2006, as supplemented by letters dated April 
30, May 23, and August 16, 2007.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed revision of existing exemptions from 10 CFR Part 50, 
Appendix R, is needed in response to NRC Information Notice 2005-07, 
dated April 1, 2005, ADAMS Accession No. ML050890089. The information 
notice provided licensees the details of Hemyc ERFBS full-scale fire 
tests conducted by the NRC's Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research. The 
test results concluded that the Hemyc ERFBS does not provide the level 
of protection expected for a 1-hour rated fire barrier, as originally 
designed. The proposed revision to existing exemptions would revise the 
fire resistance rating of Hemyc ERFBS configurations.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its SE of the proposed action and concludes 
that the configuration of the fire zones under review provide 
reasonable assurance that a severe fire is not plausible and the 
existing fire protection features are adequate. Based on the presence 
of redundant safe-shutdown trains, minimal fire hazards and 
combustibles, automatic cable tray fire suppression system, manual fire 
suppression features, fire barrier protection, existing Hemyc 
configuration, and the installed smoke detection system, the NRC staff 
finds that the use of this Hemyc fire barrier in these zones will not 
significantly increase the consequences from a fire in these fire 
zones.
    The proposed action 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 significant 
increase in the amount of any effluent released off site. There is no 
significant increase in occupational or public radiation exposure. 
Therefore, there are no significant radiological environmental impacts 
associated with the proposed action.
    With regard to potential non-radiological impacts, the proposed 
action does not have a potential to affect any historic sites. It does 
not affect non-radiological plant effluents and has no other 
environmental impact. Therefore, there are no significant non-
radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    Accordingly, the NRC staff concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.

Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered 
denial of the proposed action (i.e., the ``no-action'' alternative). 
Denial of the application would result in no change in current 
environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the proposed action 
and the alternative action are similar.

Alternative Use of Resources

    The action does not involve the use of any different resources than 
those previously considered in the Final Environmental Statement for 
INDIAN POINT 3, dated February 1975.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, on February 13, 2007, the NRC 
staff consulted with the New York State official, Alyse Peterson of the 
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, regarding the 
environmental impact of the proposed action. The State official had no 
comments.

IV. Finding of No Significant Impact

    On the basis of the environmental assessment, the NRC concludes 
that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the NRC has determined 
not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed 
action.
    For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the 
licensee's letters dated July 24, 2006, April 30, 2007, May 23, 2007, 
and August 16, 2007, (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML062140057, ML071280504, 
ML071280504, ML072400369).

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 26th day of March 2013.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Sean C. Meighan,
Acting Chief, Plant Licensing Branch I-1, Division of Operating Reactor 
Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2013-07703 Filed 4-2-13; 8:45 am]
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