[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 128 (Wednesday, July 3, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 40200-40202]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-16029]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 72-1004, 72-40, 50-269, 50-270, and 50-287; NRC-2013-0135]


Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, Oconee Nuclear Station Units 1, 2, 
and 3; Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation; Environmental 
Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact; 
issuance.

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SUMMARY: The NRC is issuing an environmental assessment (EA) and a 
finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for an exemption request 
submitted by Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, on August 13, 2012 for the 
Oconee Nuclear Station Independent Spent Fuel Storage Facility (ISFSI).

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ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2013-0135 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 any of the following 
methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2013-0135. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-
3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     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 document (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 the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Davis, Senior 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: 301-287-9173; fax number: 
301-287-9341; email: BJennifer.Davis@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Introduction

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of 
an exemption to Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC (the applicant or the 
licensee) pursuant to Sec.  72.7 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR) from the requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 
72.212(b)(3), 72.212(b)(5)(i), 72.214, and the portion of 10 CFR 
72.212(b)(11) that requires compliance with the terms, conditions, and 
specifications of the Certificate of Compliance (CoC) only with regard 
to the loading of the M5 clad Babcock and Wilcox (B & W) Mark B11 and 
Mark B11A fuel. The applicant submitted its exemption request by letter 
dated August 13, 2012 (ADAMS Accession No. ML12227A686)). The applicant 
has previously loaded spent fuel in Transnuclear, Inc. (TN) 
Standardized NUHOMS[supreg] System 24PHB dry storage casks (DSC) for 
storage in the ISFSI at Oconee Nuclear Station under CoC No. 1004, 
Amendment No. 9, as authorized by the General License provisions of 10 
CFR part 72, ``Licensing Requirements for the Independent Storage of 
Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level Radioactive Waste, and Reactor-Related 
Greater than Class C Waste.'' The applicant now seeks an exemption to 
the CoC conditions that require the general licensee to meet the 
requirements of the technical specifications (TS) for the 
NUHOMS[supreg] system to permit the loading of M5 fuel into these 
canisters. Specifically, the applicant is requesting an exemption from 
TS 12.1, ``Fuel Specifications,'' and the associated tables listed 
below, which specify requirements for the spent fuel assemblies to be 
loaded in the 24PHB DSCs under Amendment No. 9.

 Table 1-1i, ``PWR Fuel Specification for Fuel to be Stored in 
the Standardized NUHOMS[supreg]-24PHB DSC''
 Table 1-2n, ``PWR Fuel Qualification Table for Zone 1 with 0.7 
kW per Assembly, Fuel With or Without BPRAs [Burnable Poison Rod 
Assembly], for the NUHOMS[supreg]-24PHB DSC''
 Table 1-2o, ``PWR Fuel Qualification Table for Zone 2 with 1.0 
kW per Assembly, Fuel With or Without BPRAs, for the NUHOMS[supreg]-
24PHB DSC''
 Table 1-2p, PWR Fuel Qualification Table for Zone 3 with 1.3 
kW per Assembly, Fuel With or Without BPRAs, for the NUHOMS[supreg]-
24PHB DSC''
    Specifically, the applicant is requesting an exemption from the 
requirement that specifies that the fuel approved for use in these 
casks is ``zircaloy clad,'' which includes only Zircaloy-2 or Zircaloy-
4 cladding. This requirement precludes loading B&W Mark B11 and Mark 
B11A fuel assemblies, which have M5 cladding, and for which the 
applicant requests an exemption to load at Oconee.

II. Environmental Assessment (EA)

    Background: Oconee Nuclear Station is located on Lake Keowee in 
Oconee County, South Carolina, 8 miles north of Seneca, South Carolina. 
Unit 1 began commercial operation in 1973, followed by Units 2 and 3 in 
1974. Since 1997, Oconee has been storing spent fuel in an ISFSI 
operating under a general license as authorized by 10 CFR part 72, 
subpart K, ``General License for Storage of Spent Fuel at Power Reactor 
Sites.'' The licensee also has a site-specific ISFSI license, which is 
not affected by this exemption request and associated EA.
    Identification of Proposed Action: The CoC is the NRC approved 
design for each dry storage cask system. The proposed action would 
exempt the applicant from the requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 
72.212(b)(3), 72.212(b)(5)(i), 72.214, and the portion of 10 CFR 
72.212(b)(11) that states the licensee shall comply with the terms, 
conditions, and specifications of the CoC with regard to permitting the 
loading of B&W Mark B11 and Mark B11A spent fuel assemblies for storage 
in the generally licensed ISFSI at Oconee. These regulations 
specifically require storage of spent nuclear fuel under a general 
license in DSCs 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 Standardized NUHOMS[supreg] dry cask storage system CoC 
provides requirements, conditions and operating limits in Attachment A 
of the TS (ADAMS Accession No. ML062830067). The Table 1-1i of the TSs, 
``PWR Fuel Specification for Fuel to be Stored in the Standardized 
NUHOMS[supreg]-24PHB DSC'' specify that the fuel cladding shall be 
``zircaloy-clad fuel with no known or suspected gross cladding 
breaches.'' Zircaloy is a type of zirconium alloy which includes both 
Zircaloy-2 and Zircaloy-4 cladding, but does not include M5 cladding. 
The M5 is a different type of zirconium alloy, which does not contain 
any tin, as Zircaloy does, but which does contain some niobium.
    This exemption only considers the loading of B&W 15x15 Mark B11 and 
Mark B11A spent fuel assemblies at the Oconee Nuclear Station ISFSI. 
Amendment No. 13 to CoC 1004, which is currently under review by the 
Commission, would permit storage of ``zirconium alloy'' clad spent fuel 
assemblies in the 24PHB DSC, which would include both the ``zircaloy 
clad'' assemblies permitted under previous amendments, as well as the 
M5 clad assemblies at issue in this exemption request. The NRC was able 
to draw upon review work already underway in its consideration of 
Amendment No. 13 for CoC 1004.
    Need for the Proposed Action: The applicant has requested this 
exemption in order to load B&W Mark B11 and Mark B11A fuel assemblies 
in TN

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NUHOMS[supreg] 24PHB DSCs under CoC No. 1004 at the Oconee Nuclear 
Station. These fuel assemblies have M5 cladding (a zirconium alloy), 
but the current TSs allow only ``zircaloy'' clad assemblies.
    Approval of the exemption request will allow the applicant to 
effectively manage its spent fuel inventory to meet decay heat zoning 
requirements throughout its scheduled loading campaigns. The 
applicant's ability to load M5 clad fuel in its next scheduled loading 
campaign will mean that older ``zircaloy clad'' fuel assemblies will be 
available for future loadings, so that future loadings will not be 
restricted by the aggregate heat generated by hotter fuel and therefore 
contain fewer total assemblies. The proposed action enables the 
applicant to load the fewest possible DSCs by permitting cask loading 
of the hotter M5 fuel without later needing to ``short load'' casks due 
to heat load.
    Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action: The staff has 
determined that the proposed action would not endanger life or property 
and would not have significant impacts on the human environment. The 
potential impact of using the TN Standardized NUHOMS[supreg] dry cask 
storage system was initially evaluated in the EA for the rulemaking to 
add the TN Standardized NUHOMS[supreg] Horizontal Modular Storage 
System for Irradiated Nuclear Fuel to the list of approved spent fuel 
storage casks in 10 CFR 72.214 (59 FR 28496, June 2, 1994 (Proposed 
Rule); 59 FR 65920, December 22, 1994 (Final Rule)).
    The exemption proposed to Amendment No. 9 to CoC 1004 would permit 
the loading of M5 clad B&W Mark B11 and B11A fuel. The proposed action 
does not result in any changes to 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 action. Therefore, there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. The proposed 
action only affects the requirements associated with the fuel 
assemblies to be loaded into the 24PHB DSCs and does not affect plant 
effluents, or any other aspects of the environment. Therefore, there 
are no significant 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 staff considered denial of the 
proposed action. Denial of the proposed action would involve loading 
additional DSCs due to heat load restrictions, as described in the 
safety evaluation report. Denial of the exemption would result in an 
increase in radiological exposure to workers, potential additional 
radioactive releases to the environment, 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 EA associated with this 
exemption request was sent to Ms. Shelly Wilson of the South Carolina 
Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) by email dated 
April 10, 2013 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13107B435). The state response 
was received by email dated April 11, 2013 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML13107B441). The email states that SCDHEC reviewed the draft EA and 
has no comments. 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 that has the potential to impact historic properties, because 
the proposed action would occur within the established Oconee site 
boundary. 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 exemption from the requirements of 
10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 72.212(b)(3), 72.212(b)(5)(i), 72.214, and the 
portion of 10 CFR 72.212(b)(11) that states the licensee shall comply 
with the terms, conditions, and specifications of the CoC limited to 
the loading of the 24PHB DSCs with M5 clad B&W Mark B11 and Mark B11A 
fuel assemblies, will not significantly impact the quality of the human 
environment. Accordingly, the Commission has determined that 
preparation of an environmental impact statement for the proposed 
exemption is not warranted and that a finding of no significant impact 
is appropriate.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of June 2013.
    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
W. Christopher Allen,
Acting Chief, Licensing Branch, Division of Spent Fuel Storage and 
Transportation, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2013-16029 Filed 7-2-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P