[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 149 (Thursday, August 4, 2005)]
[Pages 44940-44942]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E5-4145]



[Docket No. 72-60]

Carolina Power and Light Company; H.B. Robinson Independent Spent 
Fuel Storage Installation; Environmental Assessment and Finding of No 
Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Commission) is 
considering issuance of an exemption to Progress Energy Carolinas, Inc. 
also known as Carolina Power & Light Company (CP&L or licensee), 
pursuant to 10 CFR 72.7, from specific provisions of 10 CFR 
72.212(a)(2), 72.212(b)(2)(i)(A), 72.212(b)(7), and 72.214. The 
licensee wants to use the Transnuclear, Inc. (TN) NUHOMS Storage 
System, Certificate of Compliance No. 1004 (CoC or Certificate) 
Amendment No. 8 (24PTH DCS), to store spent nuclear fuel under a 
general license in an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation 
(ISFSI) associated with the operation of the H. B. Robinson Steam 
Electric Plant, Unit No. 2 (HBRSEP2), located in Darlington County, 
South Carolina. The requested exemption would allow CP&L to use the TN 
NUHOMS[supreg]-24PTH system with revised transfer cask/dry shielded 
canister (TC/DSC) handling and lifting height specifications prior to 
completion of the proposed TN NUHOMS CoC Amendment No. 8 rulemaking.

Environmental Assessment (EA)

    Identification of Proposed Action: The proposed action would exempt 
CP&L from the requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 72.212(b)(2)(i)(A), 
72.212(b)(7), and 72.214 and enable CP&L to use the TN NUHOMS[supreg]-
24PTH cask design with modifications at HBRSEP2. These regulations 
specifically require storage in casks approved under the provisions of 
10 CFR Part 72 and compliance with the conditions set forth in the CoC 
for each dry spent fuel storage cask used by an ISFSI general licensee. 
The TN NUHOMS[supreg] CoC provides requirements, conditions, and 
operating limits in Attachment A, Technical Specifications. The 
proposed action would exempt CP&L from the requirements of 10 CFR 
72.212(a)(2) and 72.214 enabling the licensee to store fuel in the TN 
NUHOMS[supreg]-24PTH DSC system prior to the effective date of the 
final rule change for the Amendment No. 8 approving the issuance of 
this amended CoC. The proposed action would also exempt CP&L from the 
requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(b)(2)(i)(A) and 72.212(b(7) to allow 
lifting and handling a loaded TC/DSC above the height limit in the 
proposed Amendment No. 8. Specifically, the exemption would be from the 
requirement to limit the lift height of a loaded TC/DSC to 80 inches 
when outside the spent fuel pool building. In lieu of this requirement, 
CP&L stated that the TC/DSC will not be lifted higher than 80 inches 
when not being handled by devices that meet the existing 10 CFR Part 50 
license heavy load requirements.
    Additionally, TN identified an issue in the proposed Amendment No. 
8 CoC that resulted in a need for clarification to the proposed 
technical specifications in regard to thermal loading patterns and 
transit times for the 24PTH DSC. CP&L stated that a limit of 1.3 
kilowatts decay heat level per fuel assembly will

[[Page 44941]]

be imposed to ensure cask loadings are bounded by the analyses 
supporting the proposed Amendment No. 8. Further, the NRC staff 
identified an issue in the proposed Amendment No. 8 CoC related to the 
potential for air (oxygen) to come in contact with spent fuel during 
DSC draining and vacuum drying evolutions. CP&L committed to 
implementing procedural controls to ensure that (1) only nitrogen or 
helium is used for blowdown during vacuum drying evolutions, and (2) 
when draining water from the DSC at or below the level of the fuel 
cladding, a nitrogen cover will be used. CP&L requested that the 
exemptions remain in effect for 90 days following the effective date of 
the final rule change to 10 CFR 72.214 to incorporate TN CoC No. 1004, 
Amendment No. 8. The proposed action would allow CP&L to use the -24PTH 
system as described in the TN NUHOMS[supreg] CoC amendment requests 
currently under staff review and subject to the commitments made by 
CP&L with respect to the issues that have been identified in the 
proposed CoC for TN NUHOMS[supreg] Amendment No. 8.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's request 
for exemption dated June 13, 2005, as supplemented July 20, 2005.
    Need for the Proposed Action: The proposed action is needed because 
CP&L plans to initiate the transfer of the HBRSEP2 spent fuel pool 
contents to the ISFSI in August 2005. The fuel transfer campaign was 
scheduled to begin in late July 2005. The licensee has planned its dry 
fuel campaign to support the HBRSEP2 Refuel Outage 23 (RO-23), 
currently scheduled to begin on September 17, 2005. The licensee stated 
that the exemption is requested to maintain the ability to offload a 
full core of 157 fuel assemblies upon restart from RO-23 in October 
    Additionally, if no fuel is transferred to dry storage prior to the 
start of RO-23, there would be insufficient space in the spent fuel 
pool for the 56 new fuel assemblies that will be loaded into the 
reactor core during RO-23. This would complicate the fuel handling 
evolutions required for core reload during the outage. The proposed 
action is necessary because the 10 CFR 72.214 rulemaking to implement 
the TN NUHOMS[supreg] CoC Amendment No. 8 is not projected for 
completion until late Fall 2005, which will not support the HBRSEP2 
fuel transfer and dry cask storage loading schedule.
    Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action: The NRC has completed 
its evaluation of the proposed action and concludes that there will be 
no significant environmental impact if the exemptions are granted. The 
staff reviewed the analyses provided in the TN NUHOMS amendment 
applications addressing the NUHOMS[supreg] -24PTH, -32PT, and -24PHB 
systems. Included in those applications were TC/DSC lifting and 
handling height technical specification revisions. The staff has 
completed Safety Evaluation Reports (SERs) associated with reviews of 
the applications. The SER for the TN NUHOMS[supreg] -24PTH system 
documenting the staff's safety findings and conclusions was published 
in the Federal Register on May 25, 2005. The SER documenting the 
staff's safety finding associated with the lifting and handling height 
restriction revision was included as an enclosure to the letter to U. 
B. Chopra, dated March 30, 2005.
    The thermal loading pattern issue identified by TN was reviewed by 
the staff and found to be acceptable, with a 1.3 kW per assembly decay 
heat limit. The staff-identified issue regarding spent fuel in an 
oxidizing environment was reviewed and found acceptable provided the 
spent fuel environment for short term operations, draining and vacuum 
drying, is limited to an inert atmosphere (nitrogen or helium). The 
staff agrees that both CP&L commitments, regarding the decay heat limit 
per fuel assembly and the limiting of blowdown and draining evolutions 
to an environment of nitrogen or helium, will maintain safety regarding 
fuel loading and transfer operations. The NRC concludes that there is 
reasonable assurance that the proposed exemptions have no impact on 
off-site doses.
    The potential environmental impact of using the NUHOMS[supreg] 
system was initially presented in the Environmental Assessment (EA) for 
the Final Rule to add the TN Standardized NUHOMS[supreg] Horizontal 
Modular Storage System for Irradiated Nuclear Fuel to the list of 
approved spent fuel storage casks in 10 CFR 72.214 (59 FR 65898, dated 
December 22, 1994). The potential environmental impact of using the 
NUHOMS[supreg] -24PTH system was initially presented in the 
Environmental Assessment (EA) for the direct final rule to add the 
24PTH system to the Standardized NUHOMS[supreg] system, Amendment No. 8 
(70 FR 29931, dated May 25, 2005). The TN -24PTH, -32PT, and -24PHB 
systems do not increase the probability or consequences of accidents, 
no changes are being made in the types of any effluents that may be 
released offsite, and there is no significant increase in occupational 
or public radiation exposure. Therefore, there are no significant 
radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    With regard to potential nonradiological impacts, the proposed 
action does not have a potential to affect any historic sites. It does 
not affect nonradiological plant effluents and has no other 
environmental impact. Therefore, there are no significant 
nonradiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed 
    Accordingly, the NRC concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    Alternative to the Proposed Action: Since there is no significant 
environmental impact associated with the proposed action, alternatives 
with equal or greater environmental impact were not evaluated. As an 
alternative to the proposed action, the staff considered denial of the 
proposed action. Denial of the exemption would result in no change in 
current environmental impact.
    Agencies and Persons Consulted: This exemption request was 
discussed with Mr. Henry Porter, Assistant Director of the Division of 
Waste Management, Department of Health and Environmental Control, for 
the State of South Carolina, on July 13, and July 27, 2005. He stated 
that the State had no comments on the technical aspects of the 
exemption. The NRC staff has determined that a consultation under 
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is not required because the 
proposed action will not affect listed species or critical habitat. The 
NRC staff has also determined that the proposed action is not a type of 
activity having the potential to cause effects on historic properties. 
Therefore, no further consultation is required under Section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    The environmental impacts of the proposed action have been reviewed 
in accordance with the requirements set forth in 10 CFR Part 51. Based 
upon the foregoing Environmental Assessment, the Commission finds that 
the proposed action of granting the exemption from specific provisions 
of 10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 72.212(b)(2)(i)(A), 72.212(b)(7), and 10 CFR 
72.214, to allow CP&L to use a modified version of the proposed CoC No. 
1004, Amendment No. 8, subject to conditions, will not significantly 
impact the quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the 
Commission has determined that an environmental impact statement for 
the proposed exemption is not warranted.

[[Page 44942]]

    In accordance with 10 CFR 2.390 of NRC's ``Rules of Practice,'' 
final NRC records and documents regarding this proposed action are 
publically available in the records component of NRC's Agencywide 
Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). The request for 
exemption dated June 13, 2005, and July 20, 2005, was docketed under 10 
CFR Part 72, Docket No. 72-60. These documents may be inspected at 
NRC's Public Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. These documents may also be viewed electronically on the 
public computers located at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), 
O1F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 
20852. The PDR reproduction contractor will copy documents for a fee. 
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 1-800-397-4209 or (301) 415-4737, or by 
e-mail to [email protected].

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 29th day of July, 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
L. Raynard Wharton,
Project Manager, Spent Fuel Project Office, Office of Nuclear Material 
Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. E5-4145 Filed 8-3-05; 8:45 am]