[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 51 (Thursday, March 17, 2005)]
[Pages 13051-13052]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-5277]



[Docket No. 50-271; License No. DPR-28]

Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power 
Station; Notice of Issuance of Director's Decision Under 10 CFR 2.206

    Notice is hereby given that the Director, Office of Nuclear Reactor 
Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a 
Director's Decision on an April 23, 2004, petition by the New England 
Coalition, hereinafter referred to as the ``Petitioner.'' The petition 
was supplemented on September 10, 2004. The petition concerns the 
operation of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (Vermont Yankee).
    The basis for the April 23, 2004, petition, was the absence of two 
pieces of fuel rods in the spent fuel pool (SFP) at Vermont Yankee from 
their documented location. The Petitioner stated that Entergy Nuclear 
Operations, Inc. (Entergy or the licensee) had lost control of the 
spent fuel inventory at Vermont Yankee. The Petitioner would have no 
confidence that Entergy did not put leaking fuel rods or suspected 
leaking fuel assemblies back into the reactor core during the April 
2004 refueling outage until Entergy accounted for all special nuclear 
material (SNM). The New England Coalition contends that operation with 
leaking fuel in the reactor core would be potentially unsafe and in 
violation of Federal regulations.
    On May 5 and September 22, 2004, the Petitioner and the licensee 
met with the staff's Petition Review Board (PRB). These meetings gave 
the Petitioner and the licensee an opportunity to provide additional 
information and to clarify issues raised in the petition.
    The NRC sent a copy of the proposed Director's Decision to the 
Petitioner and to the licensee for comment on December 27, 2004. The 
Petitioner responded with comments on January 25, 2005. The comments 
and the NRC staff's responses are included in the Director's Decision. 
The staff did not receive any comments from the licensee.
    The Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation denies the 
Petitioner's request that the NRC make Entergy do an accurate and NRC-
verified inventory of the location, disposition, and condition of all 
irradiated fuel, including fuel currently loaded in the reactor, and 
order Entergy to halt all fuel movement at Vermont Yankee until the 
inventory is completed. The reasons for this decision are explained in 
the Director's Decision pursuant to Title 10 of Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR), Section 2.206 (DD-05-01), the complete text of 
which is available in ADAMS for inspection at the Commission's Public 
Document Room at One White Flint North, Public File Area O1 F21, 11555 
Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland, and from the ADAMS 
Public Library component of the NRC's Web site, http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm.html (the Public Electronic Reading Room).
    The Petitioner's request that all fuel movement be stopped is moot. 
All fuel movement for the April 2004 refueling outage had been 
completed before the NRC received the petition. The licensee has 
completed a documented inventory to confirm the total number of fuel

[[Page 13052]]

assemblies and their locations and the locations of the individual 
rods. The licensee successfully located the two fuel rod pieces in the 
SFP and did core verifications. The NRC therefore concludes that as of 
July 13, 2004, Entergy has been in full compliance with regulatory 
requirements to account for all SNM in its possession. Therefore the 
Petitioner's request has in effect been granted. The licensee took the 
requested actions voluntarily obviating the need for an order. 
Furthermore, the licensee has updated its inventory of SNM, so there is 
no need for the NRC to prohibit fuel movement.
    The Petitioner claimed to have no confidence that Entergy did not 
put leaking fuel or suspected leaking fuel assemblies back into the 
reactor core during the last refueling outage. The NRC inspectors 
verified that no leaking fuel assemblies were reloaded in the reactor 
core. The NRC has concluded that Entergy is now in compliance with 
regulatory requirements to account for all SNM. However in the special 
inspection report issued on December 2, 2004, the inspectors identified 
an apparent violation of 10 CFR 74.19, ``Material Control and 
Accounting of Special Nuclear Material-Recordkeeping,'' related to the 
two spent fuel rod pieces. The NRC is considering escalated enforcement 
action for this finding.
    A copy of the Director's Decision will be filed with the Secretary 
of the Commission for the Commission's review in accordance with 10 CFR 
2.206 of the Commission's regulations. As provided for by this 
regulation, the Director's Decision will constitute the final action of 
the Commission 25 days after the date of the decision, unless the 
Commission, on its own motion, institutes a review of the Director's 
Decision in that time.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 10th day of March 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
J.E. Dyer,
Director, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 05-5277 Filed 3-16-05; 8:45 am]