[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 52 (Tuesday, March 17, 2020)]
[Pages 15232-15234]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-05386]



[Docket Nos. 52-025 and 52-026; NRC-2008-0252]

Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., Vogtle Electric 
Generating Plant, Units 3 and 4, PCS Wetted Perimeter Test Modification

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Exemption and combined license amendment; issuance.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is granting an 
exemption to allow a departure from the certification information of 
Tier 1 of the generic design control document (DCD) and is issuing 
License Amendment Nos. 175 and 174 to Combined Licenses (COL), NPF-91 
and NPF-92, respectively. The COLs were issued to Southern Nuclear 
Operating Company, Inc., and Georgia Power Company, Oglethorpe Power 
Corporation, MEAG Power SPVM, LLC, MEAG Power SPVJ, LLC, MEAG Power 
SPVP, LLC, and the City of Dalton, Georgia (collectively SNC); for 
construction and operation of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant 
(VEGP) Units 3 and 4, located in Burke County, Georgia.
    The granting of the exemption allows the changes to Tier 1 
information asked for in the amendment. Because the acceptability of 
the exemption was determined in part by the acceptability of the 
amendment, the exemption and amendment are being issued concurrently.

DATES: The exemption and amendment were issued on March 6, 2020.

[[Page 15233]]

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2008-0252 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may obtain publicly-available information related to this document 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2008-0252. Address 
questions about NRC docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges; 
telephone: 301-287-9127; email: [email protected]. For technical 
questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section of this document.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select ``Begin Web-based ADAMS 
Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public 
Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or 
by email to [email protected]. The ADAMS accession number for each 
document referenced (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first 
time that it is mentioned in this document. The request for the 
amendment and exemption was designated License Amendment Request (LAR) 
19-018 and submitted by letter dated October 31, 2019 (ADAMS Accession 
No. ML19304C381).
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennivine Rankin, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-1530; email: [email protected].


I. Introduction

    The NRC is issuing License Amendment Nos. 175 and 174 to COLs NPF-
91 and NPF-92, respectively, and is granting an exemption from Tier 1 
information in the plant-specific DCD for the AP1000. The AP1000 DCD is 
incorporated by reference in Appendix D, ``Design Certification Rule 
for the AP1000,'' to part 52 of title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR). The exemption, granted pursuant to paragraph A.4 
of section VIII, ``Processes for Changes and Departures,'' of 10 CFR 
part 52, appendix D, allows the licensee to depart from the Tier 1 
information. With the requested amendment, SNC sought proposed changes 
to modify Inspections, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria No. to allow the containment vessel wetted perimeter 
measurement to be taken at any elevation between the 266 ft. and the 
spring line, instead of the current requirement of taking the 
measurement directly at the spring line (approximately at elevation of 
244 ft.).
    Part of the justification for granting the exemption was provided 
by the review of the amendment. Because the exemption is necessary in 
order to issue the requested license amendment, the NRC granted the 
exemption and issued the amendment concurrently, rather than in 
sequence. This included issuing a combined safety evaluation containing 
the NRC staff's review of both the exemption request and the license 
amendment. The exemption met all applicable regulatory criteria set 
forth in sections 50.12, 52.7, and section VIII.A.4 of appendix D to 10 
CFR part 52. The license amendment was found to be acceptable as well. 
The combined safety evaluation is available in ADAMS under Accession 
No. ML20044D036.
    Identical exemption documents (except for referenced unit numbers 
and license numbers) were issued to SNC for VEGP Units 3 and 4 (COLs 
NPF-91 and NPF-92). The exemption documents for VEGP Units 3 and 4 can 
be found in ADAMS under Accession Nos. ML20044C927 and ML20044C972, 
respectively. The exemption is reproduced (with the exception of 
abbreviated titles and additional citations) in Section II of this 
document. The amendment documents for COLs NPF-91 and NPF-92 are 
available in ADAMS under Accession Nos. ML20044C979 and ML20044D002, 
respectively. A summary of the amendment documents is provided in 
Section III of this document.

II. Exemption

    Reproduced below is the exemption document issued to VEGP Units 3 
and 4. It makes reference to the combined safety evaluation that 
provides the reasoning for the findings made by the NRC (and listed 
under Item 1) in order to grant the exemption:
    1. In a letter dated October 31, 2019, Souther Nuclear Company 
(SNC) requested from the Nuclear Regluatory Commission (NRC or 
Commission) an exemption to allow departures from Tier 1 information in 
the certified Design Control Document (DCD) incorporated by reference 
in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) part 52, 
appendix D, ``Design Certification Rule for the AP1000 Design,'' as 
part of license amendment request (LAR) 19-018, ``PCS Wetted Perimeter 
Test Modification.''
    For the reasons set forth in Section 3.2 of the NRC staff's Safety 
Evaluation, which can be found at Agencywide Documents Access and 
Management System (ADAMS) Accession Number ML20044D036, the Commission 
finds that:
    A. The exemption is authorized by law;
    B. the exemption presents no undue risk to public health and 
    C. the exemption is consistent with the common defense and 
    D. special circumstances are present in that the application of the 
rule in this circumstance is not necessary to serve the underlying 
purpose of the rule;
    E. the special circumstances outweigh any decrease in safety that 
may result from the reduction in standardization caused by the 
exemption; and
    F. the exemption will not result in a significant decrease in the 
level of safety otherwise provided by the design.
    2. Accordingly, SNC is granted an exemption from the certified DCD 
Tier 1 information, with corresponding information in COL Appendix C of 
the facility Combined License as described in the licensee's request 
dated October 31, 2019. This exemption is related to, and necessary 
for, the granting of License Amendment No. 175 [for Unit 3, 174 for 
Unit 4], which is being issued concurrently with this exemption.
    3. As explained in Section 5.0 of the NRC staff's Safety Evaluation 
(ADAMS Accession Number ML20044D036), this exemption meets the 
eligibility criteria for categorical exclusion set forth in 10 CFR 
51.22(c)(9). Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b), no environmental 
impact statement or environmental assessment needs to be prepared in 
connection with the issuance of the exemption.
    4. This exemption is effective as of the date of its issuance.

III. License Amendment Request

    By letter dated October 31, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19304C381), 
SNC requested that the NRC amend the COLs for VEGP, Units 3 and 4, COLs 
NPF-91 and NPF-92. The proposed amendment is described in Section I of 
this Federal Register notice.
    The Commission has determined for these amendments that the 
application complies with the standards and requirements of the Atomic 
Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), and the Commission's rules 
and regulations. The Commission has made appropriate findings as 
required by the Act and the

[[Page 15234]]

Commission's rules and regulations in 10 CFR Chapter I, which are set 
forth in the license amendment.
    A notice of consideration of issuance of amendment to facility 
operating license or COL, as applicable, proposed no significant 
hazards consideration determination, and opportunity for a hearing in 
connection with these actions, was published in the Federal Register on 
December 17, 2019 (84 FR 68953). No comments were received during the 
30-day comment period.
    The Commission has determined that these amendments satisfy the 
criteria for categorical exclusion in accordance with 10 CFR 51.22. 
Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b), no environmental impact 
statement or environmental assessment need be prepared for these 

IV. Conclusion

    Using the reasons set forth in the combined safety evaluation, the 
staff granted the exemptions and issued the amendments that SNC 
requested on October 31, 2019. The exemptions and amendments were 
issued on March 6, 2020, as part of a combined package to SNC (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML20044C903).

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 11th day of March, 2020.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Victor E. Hall,
Chief, Vogtle Project Office, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2020-05386 Filed 3-16-20; 8:45 am]