[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 237 (Wednesday, December 10, 1997)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65039-65040]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-32273]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
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This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 62, No. 237 / Wednesday, December 10, 1997 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 65039]]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 40

[Docket No. PRM-40-26]


Chromalloy Tallahassee; Receipt of Petition for Rulemaking

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; notice of receipt.

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SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is publishing for 
public comment a notice of receipt of a petition for rulemaking, dated 
July 17, 1997, which was filed with the Commission by Chromalloy 
Tallahassee. The petition was docketed by the NRC on September 11, 
1997, and has been assigned Docket No. PRM-40-26. The petitioner 
requests that the NRC amend its licensing exemptions to establish an 
exemption from licensing requirements to include the M1A1 Battle Tank 
Engine AGT 1500 which contains nickel-thorium.

DATES: Submit comments by February 23, 1998. Comments received after 
this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the 
Commission is able to assure consideration only for comments received 
on or before this date.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to the Secretary of the Commission, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, 
Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff. Hand deliver comments 
to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, between 7:45 a.m. and 
4:15 p.m. Federal workdays.
    For a copy of the petition, write the Rules and Directives Branch, 
Division of Administrative Services, Office of Administration, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.
    The petition and copies of comments received may be inspected and 
copied for a fee at the NRC Public Document Room, 2120 L Street, NW. 
(Lower Level), Washington, DC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David L. Meyer, Chief, Rules and 
Directives Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of 
Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001, Telephone: 301-415-7162 or Toll Free: 800-368-5642.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Petitioner

    The petitioner, Chromalloy Tallahassee (Chromalloy) is a Federal 
Aviation Administration approved Overhaul & Repair facility located in 
Florida, which is an NRC Agreement State. Chromalloy overhauls and 
repairs jet engine combustors, one of which has a component, 
specifically the JT9D jet engine, that falls under the exemption from 
licensing found in 10 CFR 40.13(c)(8), as adopted by the State of 
Florida at Subsection 10D-91.302(3) of the Florida Administrative Code.

Background

    The petitioner is interested in developing a repair for the M1A1 
ABRAMS Main Battle Tank. The M1A1 ABRAMS Main Battle Tank is driven by 
the AGT 1500 Gas Turbine Engine. The hot section or combustor of the 
AGT 1500 is made up of 15 splash rings and 15 fuel nozzles all of which 
are nickel-thoria alloy. The thorium content of the nickel-thoria alloy 
in the splash rings and fuel nozzles contain less than 2% by weight and 
the thorium is dispersed in the nickel-thoria alloy in the form of 
finely divided thoria (thorium dioxide). The petitioner stated that the 
splash rings and the fuel nozzles meet all the technical requirements 
of the current exemption, except that the exemption is limited to 
finished aircraft engine parts.
    The NRC's current regulations state:


Sec. 40.13  Unimportant quantities of source material.

* * * * *
    (c) Any person is exempt from the regulation in this part and 
from the requirements for a license set forth in section 62 of the 
Act to the extent that such person receives, possesses, uses, or 
transfers:
* * * * *
    (8) Thorium contained in any finished aircraft engine part 
containing nickel-thoria alloy. Provided, That:
    (i) The thorium is dispersed in the nickel-thoria alloy in the 
form of finely divided thoria (thorium dioxide); and
    (ii) The thorium content in the nickel-thoria alloy does not 
exceed 4 percent by weight.
* * * * *

The Petition

    The petitioner requests that the NRC amend its regulations in 
Sec. 40.13(c)(8) to establish an exemption from licensing requirements 
to include the M1A1 Battle Tank Engine AGT 1500 which contains nickel-
thorium.
    Because the petitioner is located in an NRC Agreement State, it 
requested that the Florida Department of Health grant an interpretation 
of the current exemption to include the M1A1 ABRAMS Main Battle Tank 
Engine. The petitioner stated that the Florida Department of Health 
would not grant its request and advised the petitioner that Florida 
Department of Health was under the impression that the NRC was 
reevaluating the NRC's position on the nickel-thorium exemption.
    In support of its petition, Chromalloy has referenced a petition 
for rulemaking submitted to the NRC by E. I. du Pont de Nemours & 
Company (PRM-40-6) dated February 13, 1963, that requested the 
Commission's regulations be amended to establish an exemption from 
licensing requirements for persons receiving, possessing, using, 
transferring or importing into the United States any finished products 
or part fabricated of, or containing nickel-thorium alloys containing 
up to 4 percent thorium by weight. The petitioner pointed out that the 
NRC's response had been:

The Commission has found that the possession and use in the United 
States of thorium contained in thorium metal alloys in which the 
thorium does not exceed 4 percent by weight is not of significance 
to the common defense and security, and that such activities can be 
conducted without unreasonable hazard to life or property.

    The proposed exemption was for ``any finished product or part;'' 
nowhere in PRM-40-6 do the words ``aircraft engine parts'' appear.
    The petitioner stated that the final exemption was not published 
until November 18, 1967 (32 FR 15872) and that the expression ``jet 
aircraft engines'' is mentioned for the first time in that notice.
    After consulting with the NRC, the petitioner believes that the 
material

[[Page 65040]]

used for the experimental test for the final exemption must have been 
from jet aircraft engines, which at this stage in the development and 
use of nickel-thoria components in engines was the only application. 
This is possibly the reason that the exemption specifies only jet 
aircraft engines. The M1A1 Battle Tank Engine AGT 1500 was not 
developed until after 1967. The M1A1 Battle Tank Engine AGT 1500 
contains the same nickel-thoria alloy as is contained in the JT9D jet 
engine. The petitioner also has pointed out that the material in the 
M1A1 Battle Tank Engine AGT 1500 would produce the same results if put 
to the same experimental tests the Commission conducted in 1963-1967.
    In support it its petition, Chromalloy asserts that the NRC 
considers that jet aircraft engine products are not intended for public 
use, and cites a Federal Register notice published by the Atomic Energy 
Commission on November 18, 1967 (32 FR 15872) as a basis for this 
assertion:

    The Commission considers that finished aircraft engine parts 
containing nickel-thoria alloy are not products intended for use by 
the general public within the purview of Sec. 150.15(a)(6) of 10 CFR 
Part 150, ``Exemptions and Continued Regulatory Authority in 
Agreement States Under Section 274.'' Accordingly, the transfer of 
possession or control of such finished aircraft engine parts in 
Agreement States by the manufacturer, processor, or producer would 
not be regulated by the Commission.

    Finally, the petitioner asserts that if the Commission does not 
view the presence of nickel-thoria in jet aircraft engines to be unsafe 
to the public, then the presence of nickel-thoria in tank engines 
should be reviewed in the same light because the public's exposure to 
battle tank engines is far less than the public's exposure to aircraft 
engines. Therefore, the petitioner believes that the exemption must 
apply to both the JT9D aircraft and the M1A1 AGT 1500 battle tank gas 
turbine engine.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 3rd day of December, 1997.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
John C. Hoyle,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 97-32273 Filed 12-9-97; 8:45 am]
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