[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 20 (Thursday, January 30, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4983-4984]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-01880]



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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 50-321, 50-366; NRC-2008-0585]


Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.; Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear 
Plant, Units 1 and 2

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of an exemption from its regulations for Renewed Facility 
Operating License Nos. NPF-5 and DPR-57, issued to Southern Nuclear 
Operating Company (SNC), for operation of the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear 
Plant, Units 1 and 2 (HNP), located in Appling County, Georgia. Based 
on the results of the environmental assessment, the NRC is issuing a 
finding of no significant impact.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2008-0585 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may access publicly-available information related to this action by the 
following methods:
     Federal rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2008-0585. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-287-
3422; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individual(s) 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 notice (if that document is 
available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is 
referenced. Proposed Exemption to 10 CFR 50.46 and 10 CFR Part 50, 
Appendix K to Allow GNF-Ziron Fuel Cladding, dated April 23, 2013, is 
available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML13115A480.
     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: Robert E. Martin, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001, telephone: 301-415-1493; email: Robert.Martin@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The NRC is considering issuance of an exemption from 10 CFR 50.46 
of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) for Renewed 
Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-5 and DPR-57, issued to Southern 
Nuclear Operating Company (SNC), for operation of the Edwin I. Hatch 
Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2 (HNP), located in Appling County, Georgia. 
Therefore, as required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC performed an 
environmental assessment. Based on the results of the environmental 
assessment, the NRC is issuing a finding of no significant impact.

II. Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would allow the use of Ziron fuel cladding in 
two GE14 lead test fuel assemblies (LTAs) in either HNP, Unit 1 or Unit 
2, for one or more additional fuel cycles, up to the standard GE14 peak 
pellet exposure limit. The proposed action is described in the 
licensee's application dated April 23, 2013. The proposed action is 
similar to an action previously approved by the NRC staff (staff) 
wherein, on November 7, 2008 (ADAMS Accession No. ML082950149), the NRC 
staff issued an exemption enabling the use of two GE14 LTAs in Unit 2 
of the HNP for fuel cycles 21, 22 and 23. The Environmental Assessment 
and Finding of No Significant Impact for that action was published in 
the Federal Register on November 3, 2008 (73 FR 65415). Subsequently, 
SNC decided not to use those LTAs in Hatch Unit 2 cycle 23. SNC now 
wishes to continue with irradiation of the two LTAs up to the standard 
GE14 peak pellet exposure limit, and since the exemption of November 7, 
2008, specifically addressed only HNP Unit 2 in fuel cycles 21, 22 and 
23, SNC must apply for a further exemption to enable further 
irradiation of the two LTAs in either of the HNP reactors for one or 
more additional cycles, up to GNF's approved peak pellet exposure.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would allow the use of two LTAs that will 
include some fuel rods manufactured with a cladding material, called 
GNF-Ziron, which is similar in composition to Zircaloy-2, but contains 
a slightly higher iron content than specified in ASTM B350. Irradiation 
of LTAs with GNF-Ziron fuel rods will enable SNC to acquire in-reactor 
operating experience with this material. Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, 
``Specific exemptions,'' the licensee has requested an exemption from 
10 CFR 50.46, ``Acceptance criteria for emergency core cooling systems 
for light-water nuclear power reactors,'' that requires, among other 
items, that ``[e]ach boiling or pressurized light-water nuclear power 
reactor fueled with uranium oxide pellets within cylindrical zircaloy 
or ZIRLO cladding must be provided with an emergency core cooling 
system (ECCS) that must be designed so that its calculated cooling 
performance following postulated loss-of-coolant accidents conforms to 
the criteria set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.'' Appendix K 
to 10 CFR Part 50, ``ECCS Evaluation Models,'' requires, among other 
items, that the rate of energy release, hydrogen generation, and 
cladding oxidation from the metal/water reaction shall be calculated 
using the Baker-Just equation. The regulations at 10 CFR 50.46 and 10 
CFR Part 50, Appendix K, make no provisions for use of fuel rods clad 
in a material other than zircaloy or ZIRLO. The proposed action would 
allow the licensee to irradiate a small number of LTAs using fuel rods 
clad with Ziron alloy either in HNP Unit 1 or Unit 2 up to the standard 
GE14 peak pellet exposure. Since the material specifications of the 
Ziron alloy differ from the specification for zircaloy or ZIRLO, a 
plant-specific exemption is required to support the use of the LTAs.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed action 
and concludes that the application of 10 CFR 50.46 and Appendix K to 10 
CFR Part 50, is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the 
rule.
    The details of the NRC staff safety evaluation will be provided in 
the exemption issued as part of the letter to the licensee approving 
the exemption to the regulations.
    The staff has concluded that such a change would not adversely 
affect plant safety, and would have no adverse effect on the 
probability of any accident. For accidents that involve damage or 
melting of the fuel in the reactor core,

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the fuel rod integrity of GNF-Ziron cladded fuel has been shown to be 
similar to zircaloy cladded fuel; therefore, the consequences of an 
accident will not be affected. For accidents in which the core remains 
intact, the use of GNF-Ziron cladding will not have a significant 
effect on the mix of fission products that could be released in the 
event of a serious accident; thus, the previously analyzed accident 
dose consequences remain bounding. Regulatory limits on radiological 
effluent releases are independent of the type of fuel cladding used. 
The requirements of 10 CFR 50.36a, Appendix I to 10 CFR Part 50, and 40 
CFR Part 190, as well as the plant's Technical Specifications ensure 
that the release of radioactive gaseous, liquid, and solid waste to 
unrestricted areas are kept to ``as low as is reasonably achievable'' 
(ALARA) levels. The licensee's radioactive waste processing system will 
collect, control, process to reduce the amount of radioactivity, and 
discharge the waste in accordance with regulatory limits. Therefore, 
the NRC staff concluded that during routine operations, there will be 
no significant increase of radiological effluents released into the 
environment as a result of the proposed exemption request. No 
significant increase in the allowable individual occupational radiation 
exposure will occur. The impact to workers is not expected to change 
because radiation exposure will be controlled in accordance with the 
licensee's radiation protection program, the ALARA program, in-plant 
shielding, the use of temporary shielding, and engineering controls. 
The use of GNF-Ziron fuel rods will not change the potential 
environmental impacts of incident-free transportation of spent nuclear 
fuel provided the shipping casks are maintained and transported within 
the Department of Transportation and NRC's regulations. Therefore, 
there are no significant radiological environmental impacts associated 
with the proposed action.
    With regard to potential non-radiological impacts, the proposed 
action would not change the types or amounts of non-radiological plant 
effluents. Therefore the proposed action would not result in any 
foreseeable impacts to land, air, or water resources, including impacts 
to biota because there would be no change in effluents or emissions 
into the environment. In addition, there are no known socioeconomic or 
environmental justice impacts associated with such proposed action 
because there would be no increase or change in effluents or emissions 
into the environment that would disproportionately or adversely affect 
the minority or low income populations. Therefore, there are no 
significant non-radiological environmental impacts associated with the 
proposed action.
    Accordingly, the NRC 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 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 NUREG-1437, Supplement 4, ``Generic 
Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants, 
regarding the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2, dated May 
31, 2001.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    On August 13, 2013, the NRC staff notified the State official of 
Georgia, Mr. Chuck Mueller, of the Department of Natural Resources, 
regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action. The State 
official had no comments.

III. 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 letter dated April 23, 2013.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of January, 2014.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Robert Pascarelli,
Chief, Plant Licensing Branch II-1, Division of Operating Reactor 
Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2014-01880 Filed 1-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P