[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 72 (Friday, April 14, 2006)]
[Pages 19549-19551]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-5582]



[Docket No. 50-271-OLA; ASLBP No. 04-832-02-OLA]

Atomic Safety and Licensing Board; In the Matter of Entergy 
Nuclear Vermont Yankee L.L.C. and Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. 
(Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station); Notice of Hearing and of 
Opportunity To Make Oral or Written Limited Appearance Statements 
Concerning Proposed Uprate

April 10, 2006.
Before Administrative Judges: Alex S. Karlin, Chairman, Dr. Anthony J. 
Baratta, Lester S. Rubenstein.

    This proceeding concerns the September 10, 2003 application of 
Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, L.L.C. and Entergy Nuclear Operations, 
Inc. (collectively, Entergy), for an amendment to the operating license 
for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Windham County, 
Vermont. Entergy seeks a license amendment authorizing it to increase 
the maximum power level of the plant from 1593 megawatts thermal (MWt) 
to 1912 MWt and to modify associated technical specifications of the 
license (collectively referred to as an ``uprate'').\1\ This

[[Page 19550]]

Atomic Safety and Licensing Board hereby gives notice of two matters. 
First, pursuant to 10 CFR 2.315(a), the Board will entertain oral 
limited appearance statements from members of the public regarding the 
requested uprate. The limited appearance statement sessions will be 
held on June 26 and 27, 2006 in Brattleboro, Vermont. Second, pursuant 
to 10 CFR part 2, subpart L, the Board will convene an oral evidentiary 
hearing to receive evidence and to question witnesses concerning the 
admitted contentions. The evidentiary hearing will be held during the 
weeks of September 11, and October 16, 2006, at specific times and 
locations to be determined.

    \1\ Commission regulations permit the NRC Staff to approve a 
license amendment and to authorize the licensee to implement the 
action (e.g., the uprate), prior to the adjudicatory hearing if the 
NRC Staff determines that the amendment involves no ``significant 
hazard considerations.'' See 10 CFR 2.1202(a). That is what has 
happened in this case. On March 2, 2006, after finding that there 
are no significant hazard considerations associated with the Vermont 
Yankee uprate, the NRC Staff approved Entergy's request for the 
license amendment. See 71 FR 11682 (March 8, 2006). Entergy has 
already begun to implement the uprate. However, the NRC Staff 
decision shall have no effect on the responsibility and authority of 
this Board to rule on the validity of the objections raised by the 
intervenors herein. As the Commission recently explained, ``If the 
Board determines after full adjudication that the license amendment 
should not have been granted, it may be revoked (or conditioned).'' 
CLI-06-08, 63 NRC--, -- (slip op. at 3) (March 3, 2006).

I. Background and Scope of Proceeding

    On July 1, 2004, the Commission issued a notice of opportunity for 
a hearing on Entergy's license amendment request. 69 FR 39976 (July 1, 
2004). Two requests for hearing and intervention petitions were filed--
one by the Department of Public Service of the State of Vermont (State) 
and the other by the New England Coalition (NEC). Each sought, in 
accordance with 10 CFR 2.309, to interpose various contentions 
challenging the uprate application. The petitions were referred to this 
Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, consisting of Dr. Anthony J. 
Baratta, Lester S. Rubenstein, and Alex S. Karlin, to preside over this 
uprate proceeding. 69 FR 56797 (September 22, 2004).
    On October 21 and 22, 2004, the Board conducted an initial 
prehearing conference in Brattleboro, Vermont, and on November 22, 
2004, the Board found that the State and NEC had each established the 
requisite standing to intervene in this proceeding and that each had 
submitted at least one admissible contention concerning the Entergy 
application. LBP-04-28, 60 NRC 548 (2004).
    At the present time four admitted contentions define the scope of 
this uprate proceeding and thus the appropriate scope of any limited 
appearance statements. The four contentions are as follows:

    State Contention 1: Entergy has claimed credit for containment 
overpressure in demonstrating the adequacy of ECCS pumps for plant 
events including a loss of coolant accident in violation of draft 
General Design Criteria 44 and 52 and therefore Entergy has failed 
to demonstrate that the proposed uprate will provide adequate 
protection for public health and safety as required by 10 CFR 
    State Contention 2: Because of the current level of uncertainty 
of the calculation which the Applicant uses to demonstrate the 
adequacy of ECCS pumps, the Applicant has not demonstrated that the 
use of containment overpressure to provide the necessary net 
positive suction head for ECCS pumps will provide adequate 
protection for the public health and safety as required by 10 CFR 
    NEC Contention 3: The license amendment should not be approved 
unless Large Transient Testing is a condition of the Extended Power 

    \2\ The first three contentions are specified at LBP-04-28, 60 
NRC 548, 580 (2004).

    NEC New Contention 4: The Entergy Vermont Yankee [ENVY] license 
application (including all supplements) for an extended power uprate 
of 20% over rated capacity is not in conformance with the plant 
specific original licensing basis and/or 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix S, 
paragraph I(a), and/or 10 CFR Part 100, Appendix A, because it does 
not provide analyses that are adequate, accurate, and complete in 
all material respects to demonstrate that the Vermont Yankee Nuclear 
Power Station Alternate Cooling System [ACS] in its entirety, in its 
actual physical condition (or in the actual physical condition ENVY 
will effectuate prior to commencing operation at EPU), will be able 
to withstand the effects of an earthquake and other natural 
phenomena without loss of capability to perform its safety functions 
in service at the requested increased plant power level.\3\

    \3\ This contention is specified at LBP-05-32, 62 NRC 813, 827 

II. Notice of Limited Appearance Statement Sessions

A. Date, Time, and Location of Oral Limited Appearance Statement 

    The oral limited appearance sessions will be on the following 
dates, at the specified location and times:
    1. Date: Monday, June 26, 2006.
    Time: 6:30 pm. to 10:30 p.m.
    Location: Latchis Theatre, 50 Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont.
    2. Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2006.
    Time: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    Location: Same as Session 1 above.

B. Participation Guidelines for Oral Limited Appearance Statements

    Any person who is not already a party will be permitted to make an 
oral statement setting forth his or her position on matters of concern 
related to this uprate proceeding.\4\ The jurisdiction of this Board 
and the scope of this proceeding is limited to the uprate. Limited 
appearance statements will be transcribed but are not under oath or 
affirmation and do not constitute testimony or evidence. The purpose of 
limited appearance statements is to allow members of the public to 
alert the Board and the parties to areas relating to the uprate and the 
admitted contentions in which evidence may need to be adduced, and to 
assist the Board in its consideration of these issues.\5\

    \4\ The parties to this proceeding are Entergy Nuclear Vermont 
Yankee, L.L.C. and Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., the NRC Staff, 
the Department of Public Service of the State of Vermont, and the 
New England Coalition.
    \5\ See 10 CFR 2.315(a); Iowa Electric Light & Power Co. (Duane 
Arnold Energy Center), ALAB-108, 6 AEC 195, 196 n.4 (1973); 10 CFR 
part 2, Appendix A, Sec.  III(b) (2004), deleted Final Rule, Changes 
to Adjudicatory Process, 69 FR 2182, 2274 (January 14, 2004).

    Oral limited appearance statements will be entertained during the 
hours specified above, or such lesser time as may be necessary to 
accommodate the speakers who are present.\6\ If all scheduled and 
unscheduled speakers present at a session have made a presentation, the 
Board reserves the right to terminate the session before the ending 
times listed above.

    \6\ Any members of the public who plan to attend either the 
evidentiary hearings or the limited appearance sessions are advised 
that security measures may be employed at the entrance to the 
hearing facility, including searches of hand-carried items such as 
briefcases or backpacks. In addition, no signs are permitted at the 
evidentiary hearing. However, signs no larger than 18[sec] by 
18[sec] will be permitted during the limited appearance sessions, 
but may not be attached to sticks, held up, or moved about in the 
rooms. Cf. Policy Statement on Enhancing Public Participation in NRC 
Meetings, 67 FR 36,920, 36,923 (May 28, 2002).

    In order to allow all interested persons an opportunity to address 
the Board, the time allotted for each oral limited appearance statement 
normally will be no more than five minutes, and may be further limited, 
depending on the number of written requests to make an oral statement 
that are submitted in accordance with section C below and/or the number 
of persons present at the designated times. At the outset of each 
statement, the speaker should identify himself or herself and specify 
if they have any affiliation (such as employment, consultancy, or 
membership) with any of the parties.

C. Submitting a Request to Make an Oral Limited Appearance Statement

    Persons wishing to make an oral statement who have submitted a 
timely written request to do so will be given priority over those who 
have not filed such a request. To be considered timely, a written 
request to make an oral statement must either be mailed, faxed, or sent 
by e-mail so as to be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on 
Tuesday, June 20, 2006. The request must specify the session (Monday 
evening, Tuesday morning, or Tuesday afternoon) during which the 

[[Page 19551]]

wishes to make an oral statement. Based on its review of the requests 
received by June 20, 2006, the Licensing Board reserves the right to 
cancel or shorten any of the sessions (Monday evening, Tuesday morning 
or Tuesday afternoon) due to a lack of adequate public interest.
    Written requests to make an oral statement should be submitted to:
    Mail: Office of the Secretary, Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.
    Fax: (301) 415-1101 (verification (301) 415-1966).
    E-mail: [email protected].
    In addition, using the same method of service, a copy of the 
written request to make an oral statement should be sent to the 
Chairman of this Licensing Board as follows:
    Mail: Alex S. Karlin, Chairman, c/o: Jonathan Rund, Esq., Law 
Clerk, Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, Mail Stop T-3 E2C, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001.
    Fax: (301) 415-5599 (verification (301) 415-6094).
    E-mail: [email protected] and [email protected].

D. Written Limited Appearance Statements (In Lieu of Oral Statements)

    A written limited appearance statement may be submitted to the 
Board regarding this proceeding at any time. Such statements should be 
sent to the Office of the Secretary using the methods prescribed above, 
with a copy to the Licensing Board Chairman. A person who has already 
filed a written limited appearance statement in this matter \7\ is not 
required to resubmit it, but should notify the Board, as specified 
above, if he or she wishes to make an oral statement during the June 

    \7\ See Licensing Board Memorandum and Order (Scheduling 
Prehearing Conference Call and Oral Argument) at 2-3 (October 1, 
2004) (unpublished).

III. Notice of Evidentiary Hearing

    In addition to the oral limited appearance statement sessions 
discussed above, the public is notified that this Board subsequently 
will conduct an evidentiary hearing on the four contentions admitted in 
this proceeding. The hearing will be governed by the ``Informal Hearing 
Procedures'' set forth in 10 CFR part, subparts C and L, see 10 CFR 
2.300-2.390., 2.1200-2.1213, and is scheduled to take place during the 
weeks of September 11, and October 16, 2006. Although the precise dates 
and locations of the evidentiary hearings are yet to be determined, it 
is the Commission's policy and practice to hold them in the general 
vicinity of the site of the nuclear facility that is the subject of the 
proceeding, so that members of the public may attend.\8\ See 10 CFR 
2.328-2.329, 2.331. However, it appears that some of the contentions in 
this proceeding involve some proprietary commercial information, which 
would require that those portions of the evidentiary hearing be closed 
to the general public, with only the authorized parties able to 
attend.\9\ The current plan is to hold the evidentiary hearings in 
Vermont, if possible, except for those portions of the proceeding that 
may need to be closed to the public, which may be held at NRC 
Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. The Board will issue a subsequent 
order establishing the exact dates, times, and locations for the 
evidentiary hearing and copies of these rulings will be available to 
the public at the NRC Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White 
Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland, 
and through the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov.

    \8\ See Exelon Generation Co., LLC (Early Site Permit for 
Clinton ESP Site), Licensing Board Memorandum and Order (Denying 
Motion Requesting Reconsideration of Initial Prehearing Conference 
Location) at 2-3 (April 5, 2004) (unpublished); 10 CFR part 2, 
Appendix A, Sec.  I(a) (2004), deleted Final Rule, Changes to 
Adjudicatory Process, 69 FR 2182, 2274 (January 14, 2004).
    \9\ In accordance with 10 CFR 2.390, portions of a hearing may 
be closed to the public if the matters at issue involve the 
discussion of confidential or legally protected information.

IV. Availability of Documentary Information Regarding the Proceeding

    Documents relating to this proceeding are available for public 
inspection at the Commission's Public Document Room or electronically 
from the publicly available records component of NRC's Agencywide 
Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). ADAMS is accessible 
from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html (the 
Public Electronic Reading Room). Persons who do not have access to 
ADAMS or who encounter problems in accessing the documents located in 
ADAMS should contact the NRC PDR reference staff by telephone at (800) 
397-4209, (301) 415-4737, or by e-mail to [email protected].

V. Scheduling Information Updates

    Any updated/revised scheduling information regarding the 
evidentiary hearing and limited appearance sessions can be found on the 
NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index.cfm or by calling (800) 368-5642, extension 5036, or (301) 415-
    It is so ordered.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, April 10, 2006.
    For the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.\10\

    \10\ Copies of this order were sent this date by Internet e-mail 
transmission to the representatives for (1) licensees Entergy 
Nuclear Vermont Yankee L.L.C. and Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.; 
(2) intervenors Vermont Department of Public Service and New England 
Coalition of Brattleboro, Vermont; and (3) the Staff.

Alex S. Karlin,
Chairman, Administrative Judge.
[FR Doc. E6-5582 Filed 4-13-06; 8:45 am]