[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 40 (Friday, February 28, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 11469-11472]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04409]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 50-250 and 50-251; NRC-2014-0035]


License Exemption Request for Florida Power & Light Company 
Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 3 and 4

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Exemption; issuance.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is granting an 
exemption in response to a March 22, 2013, request from Florida Power & 
Light Company for an exemption for the use of a different fuel rod 
cladding material (Optimized ZIRLO\TM\).

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2014-0035 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may access publicly-available information related to this document 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2014-0035. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-287-
3422; 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: Audrey L. Klett, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, telephone: 301-415-0489, email: 
Audrey.Klett@nrc.gov, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.

[[Page 11470]]

I. Background

    Florida Power & Light Company (the licensee) is the holder of 
Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-31 and DPR-41, which 
authorize operation of the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 3 
and 4 (Turkey Point 3 and 4), respectively. The license provides, among 
other things, that the facility is subject to all rules, regulations, 
and orders of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) now or 
hereafter in effect. The facility consists of two pressurized water 
reactors located in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

II. Request/Action

    Pursuant to Section 50.12, ``Specific exemptions,'' of Title 10 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), the licensee has, by letter 
dated March 22, 2013 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13100A131), requested an 
exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.46, ``Acceptance criteria 
for emergency core cooling systems [ECCS] for light-water nuclear power 
reactors,'' and 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix K, ``ECCS Evaluation Models,'' 
to allow the use of fuel rods clad with Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ alloy for 
future reload applications. The regulations in 10 CFR 50.46 contain 
acceptance criteria for the ECCS for reactors fueled with zircaloy or 
ZIRLO fuel rod cladding material. In addition, Appendix K to 10 CFR 
Part 50 requires that the Baker-Just equation be used to predict the 
rates of energy release, hydrogen concentration, and cladding oxidation 
from the metal/water reaction. The Baker-Just equation assumes the use 
of a zirconium alloy, which is a material different from Optimized 
ZIRLO\TM\. The licensee requested the exemption because these 
regulations do not have provisions for the use of fuel rods clad in a 
material other than zircaloy or ZIRLO\TM\. Because the material 
specifications of Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ differ from the specification for 
zircaloy or ZIRLO\TM\, a plant-specific exemption is required to 
support the reload applications for Turkey Point 3 and 4.
    The exemption request relates solely to the cladding material 
specified in these regulations (i.e., fuel rods with Zircaloy or 
ZIRLO\TM\ cladding material). This exemption would provide for the 
application of the acceptance criteria of 10 CFR 50.46 and Appendix K 
to 10 CFR Part 50 to fuel assembly designs using Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ 
fuel rod cladding material. In its letter dated March 22, 2013, the 
licensee clarified that it was not seeking an exemption from the 
acceptance and analytical criteria of these regulations. The intent of 
the request is to allow the use of criteria set forth in these 
regulations for application to the Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod 
cladding material.

III. Discussion

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, the Commission may, upon application by 
any interested person, grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR 
Part 50, which are authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to 
the public health and safety, and are consistent with the common 
defense and security. Paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of 10 CFR 50.12 states that 
the Commission will not consider granting an exemption unless special 
circumstances are present, such as when application of the regulation 
in the particular circumstance is not necessary to achieve the 
underlying purpose of the rule.

A. Special Circumstances.

    Special circumstances, in accordance with 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii), 
are present whenever application of the regulation in the particular 
circumstances is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the 
rule. The underlying purpose of 10 CFR 50.46 and Appendix K to 10 CFR 
Part 50 is to establish acceptance criteria for ECCS performance. The 
regulations in 10 CFR 50.46 and Appendix K are not directly applicable 
to Optimized ZIRLO\TM\, even though the evaluations described in the 
following sections of this exemption show that the intent of the 
regulation is met. Therefore, because the underlying purposes of 10 CFR 
50.46 and Appendix K of 10 CFR Part 50 are achieved through the use of 
Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod cladding material, the special 
circumstances required by 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii) for the granting of an 
exemption exist.

B. Authorized by Law

    This exemption would allow the use of Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod 
cladding material for future reload applications at Turkey Point 3 and 
4. Section 10 CFR 50.12 allows the NRC to grant exemptions from the 
requirements of 10 CFR Part 50. The NRC staff determined that granting 
the licensee's proposed exemption would not result in a violation of 
the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or the Commission's 
regulations. Therefore, the exemption is authorized by law.

C. No Undue Risk to Public Health and Safety

    Section 10 CFR 50.46 requires that each boiling or pressurized 
light-water nuclear power reactor fueled with uranium oxide pellets 
within cylindrical zircaloy or ZIRLO cladding must be provided with an 
ECCS that must be designed so that its calculated cooling performance 
following postulated loss-of-coolant accidents (LOCAs) conforms to the 
criteria set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. The underlying 
purpose of 10 CFR 50.46 is to establish acceptance criteria for 
adequate ECCS performance. As previously documented in the NRC staff's 
safety evaluation dated June 10, 2005 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML051670395), of topical reports submitted by Westinghouse, and subject 
to compliance with the specific conditions of approval established in 
the safety evaluation, the NRC staff found that Westinghouse 
demonstrated the applicability of these ECCS acceptance criteria to 
Optimized ZIRLO\TM\. Ring compression tests performed by Westinghouse 
on Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ (see WCAP-14342-A & CENPD-404-NP-A at ADAMS 
Accession No. ML062080569) demonstrate an acceptable retention of 
postquench ductility up to 10 CFR 50.46 limits of 2200 degrees 
Fahrenheit and 17 percent equivalent clad reacted. Furthermore, the NRC 
staff concluded that oxidation measurements provided by the licensee by 
letter LTR-NRC-07-58 from Westinghouse to the NRC, ``SER Compliance 
with WCAP-12610-P-A & CENPD-404-P-A, Addendum 1-A, `Optimized 
ZIRLO\TM\,''' dated November 6, 2007 (public version is at ADAMS 
Accession No. ML073130560), illustrate that oxide thickness and 
associated hydrogen pickup for Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ at any given burnup 
would be less than both zircaloy-4 and ZIRLO\TM\. Hence, the NRC staff 
concludes that Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ would be expected to maintain better 
postquench ductility than ZIRLO\TM\. This finding is further supported 
by an ongoing LOCA research program at Argonne National Laboratory, 
which has identified a strong correlation between cladding hydrogen 
content (caused by in-service corrosion) and postquench ductility.
    In its letter dated March 22, 2013, the licensee stated that its 
reload evaluations will ensure that acceptance criteria are met for the 
insertion of assemblies with fuel rods clad with Optimized ZILRO\TM\. 
The licensee stated that it will evaluate fuel assemblies using 
Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod cladding material using NRC-approved 
analytical methods and plant-specific models to address the changes in 
the cladding material properties. The licensee stated that Westinghouse 
will perform an evaluation of the Turkey Point 3 and 4 cores using LOCA

[[Page 11471]]

methods approved for the site to ensure that assemblies with Optimized 
ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod cladding material meet all LOCA safety criteria. For 
these reasons, the NRC staff determined that the underlying purpose of 
10 CFR 50.46 would be achieved if the NRC granted this exemption for 
Turkey Point 3 and 4.
    Paragraph I.A.5 of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix K requires that the 
rate of energy release, hydrogen generation, and cladding oxidation 
from the metal/water reaction shall be calculated using the Baker-Just 
equation. Because the Baker-Just equation presumes the use of zircaloy 
clad fuel, strict application of the rule would not permit use of the 
equation for Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material 
for determining acceptable fuel performance. However, the NRC staff 
found that metal-water reaction tests performed by Westinghouse on 
Optimized ZIRLO\TM\, which were NRC-reviewed, approved, and documented 
in Appendix B of Addendum 1-A to WCAP-12610-P-A & CENPD-404-P-A, 
demonstrate conservative reaction rates relative to the Baker-Just 
equation. Thus, the NRC staff determined that application of Appendix 
K, Paragraph I.A.5 is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose 
of the rule in these circumstances. Because these evaluations 
demonstrate that the underlying purpose of the regulations will be met, 
there will be no undue risk to public health and safety.

D. Consistent With the Common Defense and Security

    The licensee's exemption request is only to allow the application 
of the aforementioned regulations to an improved fuel rod cladding 
material. In its letter dated March 22, 2013, the licensee stated that 
all the requirements and acceptance criteria will be maintained. The 
licensee is required to handle and control special nuclear material in 
these assemblies in accordance with its approved procedures. The 
licensee stated that use of full regions of Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel 
rod cladding material in the Turkey Point 3 and 4 cores will not affect 
plant operations. This change to the plant configuration is not related 
to security issues. Therefore, the NRC staff determined that this 
exemption does not impact common defense and security.

E. Environmental Considerations

    The NRC staff determined that the exemption discussed herein meets 
the eligibility criteria for the categorical exclusion set forth in 10 
CFR 51.22(c)(9) because it is related to a requirement concerning the 
installation or use of a facility component located within the 
restricted area, as defined in 10 CFR Part 20, and the granting of this 
exemption involves: (i) no significant hazards consideration, (ii) no 
significant change in the types or a significant increase in the 
amounts of any effluents that may be released offsite, and (iii) no 
significant increase in individual or cumulative occupational radiation 
exposure. Therefore, in accordance with 10 CFR 51.22(b), no 
environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need be 
prepared in connection with the NRC's consideration of this exemption 
request. The basis for the NRC staff's determination is discussed as 
follows with an evaluation against each of the requirements in 10 CFR 
51.22(c)(9).
Requirements in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(9)(i)
    The NRC staff evaluated the issue of no significant hazards 
consideration, using the standards described in 10 CFR 50.92(c), as 
presented as follows:
    1. Does the proposed exemption involve a significant increase in 
the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?
    The proposed exemption would allow the use of Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ 
fuel rod cladding material in the reactors. The NRC-approved topical 
report, WCAP-12610-P-A & CENPD-404-P-A, Addendum 1-A, addresses 
Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ and demonstrates that Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ has 
essentially the same properties as currently licensed ZIRLO[supreg]. 
The fuel cladding itself is not an accident initiator and does not 
affect accident probability. Use of Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod 
cladding material will continue to meet all 10 CFR 50.46 acceptance 
criteria and, therefore, will not increase the consequences of an 
accident. Therefore, the proposed exemption does not involve a 
significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident 
previously evaluated.
    2. Does the proposed exemption create the possibility of a new or 
different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?
    The use of Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod cladding material will not 
result in changes in the operation or configuration of the facility. 
Topical report WCAP-12610-P-A & CENPD-404-P-A demonstrated that the 
material properties of Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ are similar to those of 
standard ZIRLO\TM\. Therefore, Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod cladding 
material will perform similarly to those fabricated from standard 
ZIRLO\TM\, thus precluding the possibility of the fuel cladding 
becoming an accident initiator and causing a new or different type of 
accident. Therefore, the proposed exemption does not create the 
possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any previously 
evaluated.
    3. Does the proposed exemption involve a significant reduction in a 
margin of safety?
    The proposed exemption does not involve a significant reduction in 
a margin of safety because it has been demonstrated that the material 
properties of the Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ are not significantly different 
from those of standard ZIRLO\TM\. Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ is expected to 
perform similarly to standard ZIRLO\TM\ for all normal operating and 
accident scenarios, including both LOCA and non-LOCA scenarios. For 
LOCA scenarios, where the slight difference in Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ 
material properties relative to standard ZIRLO\TM\ could have some 
impact on the overall accident scenario, plant-specific LOCA analyses 
using Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ properties will demonstrate that the 
acceptance criteria of 10 CFR 50.46 have been satisfied. Therefore, the 
proposed exemption does not involve a significant reduction in a margin 
of safety.
    Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed 
exemption presents no significant hazards consideration under the 
standards set forth in 10 CFR 50.92(c), and, accordingly, a finding of 
no significant hazards consideration is justified.
Requirements in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(9)(ii)
    The proposed exemption would allow the use of Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ 
fuel rod cladding material in the reactors. Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ has 
essentially the same properties as the currently licensed 
ZIRLO[supreg]. The use of the Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod cladding 
material will not significantly change the types of effluents that may 
be released offsite, or significantly increase the amount of effluents 
that may be released offsite. Therefore, the provision of 10 CFR 
51.22(c)(9)(ii) is satisfied.
Requirements in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(9)(iii)
    The proposed exemption would allow the use of the Optimized 
ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod cladding material in the reactors. Optimized 
ZIRLO\TM\ has essentially the same properties as the currently licensed 
ZIRLO[supreg]. The use of the Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod cladding 
material will not significantly increase individual occupational 
radiation exposure, or significantly increase cumulative occupational 
radiation exposure. Therefore, the provision of 10 CFR 51.22(c)(9)(iii) 
is satisfied.

[[Page 11472]]

IV. Conclusions

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
50.12, the exemption is authorized by law, will not present an undue 
risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent with the common 
defense and security. Also, special circumstances are present. 
Therefore, the Commission hereby grants the licensee an exemption from 
the requirements of 10 CFR 50.46 and Appendix K to 10 CFR Part 50, to 
allow the use of Optimized ZIRLO\TM\ fuel rod cladding material at 
Turkey Point 3 and 4.
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 20th day of February 2014.

    For The Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Michele G. Evans,
Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2014-04409 Filed 2-27-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P