[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 129 (Wednesday, July 7, 2010)]
[Pages 39057-39058]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-16462]



[Docket No. 50-271; NRC-2010-0243; License No. DPR-28]

Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.; Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, 
LLC; Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station; Request for Licensing Action

    Notice is hereby given that by petitions dated January 12, 2010, 
from Mr. Michael Mulligan, February 8, 2010, from Mr. Raymond Shadis, 
and February 20, 2010, from Mr. Thomas Saporito have requested that 
pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), 
Section 2.206, ``Requests for Action under this Subpart,'' the U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) take action with regard to the 
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station.
    Mr. Mulligan requested in his petition that (1) the radioactive 
leak into the environment of Vermont Yankee (VY) be immediately stopped 
and VY be

[[Page 39058]]

immediately shutdown and all leaking paths be isolated and (2) VY 
disclose its preliminary ``root cause analysis'' and the NRC release 
its preliminary investigative report on this analysis before plant 
    Mr. Shadis requested in his petition that the NRC (1) require VY to 
go into cold shutdown and depressurize all systems in order to slow or 
stop the leak, (2) act promptly to stop or mitigate the leak(s) and not 
wait until all issues raised by the New England Coalition are resolved, 
(3) require VY to reestablish its licensing basis by physically tracing 
records and reporting physical details of all plant systems that would 
be within scope as ``Buried Pipes and Tanks'' in NUREG-1801, ``Generic 
Aging Lessons Learned (GALL) Report,'' and under the requirements of 10 
CFR 50.54, ``Conditions of Licenses,'' (4) investigate and determine 
why Entergy has been allowed to operate VY since 2002 without a working 
knowledge of all plant systems and why the NRC's Reactor Oversight 
Process (ROP) and review process for license renewal amendment did not 
detect this dereliction, (5) take notice of Entergy Nuclear Vermont 
Yankee's many maintenance and management failures (from 2000-2010) and 
the ROP's failure to detect them early and undertake a full diagnostic 
evaluation team inspection or NRC Inspection Procedure 95003, 
``Supplemental Inspection for Repetitive Degraded Cornerstones, 
Multiple Degraded Cornerstones, Multiple Yellow Inputs or One Red 
Input,'' and (6) require Entergy VY to apply for an amendment to its 
license renewal that would address both aging analysis and aging 
management of all buried piping carrying or with the potential to carry 
radionuclides and/or the potential to interact with any safety or 
safety-related system.
    Mr. Saporito requested in his petition that the NRC (1) order a 
``cold-shut-down'' mode of operation for VY because of leaking 
radioactive tritium and (2) issue a confirmatory order modifying the 
NRC-issued license for VY so that the licensee must bring the nuclear 
reactor to a ``cold-shut-down'' mode of operation until the licensee 
can provide definitive reasonable assurance to the NRC, under 
affirmation, that the reactor will be operated in full compliance with 
the regulations in 10 CFR Part 50, ``Domestic Licensing of Production 
and Utilization Facilities,'' and Appendix A, ``General Design Criteria 
for Nuclear Power Plants,'' to 10 CFR Part 50, Criterion 60, ``Control 
of Releases of Radioactive Materials to the Environment,'' and 
Criterion 64, ``Monitoring Radioactivity Releases,'' and other NRC 
regulations and authority.
    The requests are being treated pursuant to 10 CFR 2.206 of the 
Commission's regulations. The requests have been referred to the 
Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. As provided by 10 
CFR 2.206, appropriate action will be taken on this consolidated 
petition within a reasonable time.
    Each petitioner stated that the tritium leak is just one example of 
many maintenance and management failures at VY. All three raised a 
concern regarding what they perceive as the NRC's failure to examine 
the deficiencies at VY in an integrated manner. Although the individual 
petition was written to request enforcement action specifically because 
of the tritium leak, during each of the transcribed phone calls, each 
petitioner urged the NRC to take a broader view and assess operational 
and performance failures at VY collectively, instead of individually. 
This concern has met the criteria for review in accordance with 
Management Directive (MD) 8.11 ``Review Process for 10 CFR 2.206 
    Subsequently, the PRB made a recommendation to accept the 
consolidated petition for review for the following specific issues and 
concerns identified in the petitions and/or supplemented during the 
    (1) Increasing concentrations of radiocontaminants in the soil and 
groundwater at VY, as well as an increasing area of contamination, are 
manifest on a daily basis. VY risks aggravating the contamination by 
continuing to run the reactor at full power while attempting over a 
period of a month to triangulate the location of a presumed leak by 
drilling a series of test wells in the affected area.
    (2) During the license renewal application proceeding, the licensee 
has averred that it was unaware of the existence of some buried pipes, 
now uncovered, and it has yet to discover their path and purpose.
    (3) Entergy has, in 8 years of ownership, failed to learn and 
understand VY's design, layout, and construction. This failure to 
comprehend and understand the layout, function, and potentially the 
interaction of the plant's own piping systems constitutes a loss of 
design basis.
    (4) The NRC's ROP has apparently failed to capture, anticipate, and 
prevent ongoing maintenance, engineering, quality assurance, and 
operation issues that have manifested themselves in a series of high-
profile incidents since Entergy took over VY. The agency has repeatedly 
failed to detect root cause trends until they have, as in this 
instance, become grossly self-revealing.
    (5) The NRC should ensure that Entergy has adequate decommissioning 
funds. The tritium leak will increase decommissioning costs because of 
the need for site radiological examination and soil remediation.
    Copies of the petitions are available to the public from the NRC's 
Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) in the public 
Electronic Reading Room on the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html under ADAMS Accession Nos. ML100190688, 
ML100470430, and ML100621374, and are available for inspection at the 
Commission's Public Document Room, located at One White Flint North, 
11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 25th day of June 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Eric J. Leeds,
Director, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-16462 Filed 7-6-10; 8:45 am]