[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 55 (Friday, March 20, 2020)]
[Pages 16146-16147]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-05905]

[[Page 16146]]



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

Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., Vogtle Electric 
Generating Plant, Units 3 and 4; Automatic Depressurization System 
(ADS) and Core Makeup Tank (CMT) Design Parameters

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. 176 and 175 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 11, 2020.

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 dockets 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) 
19-009 and submitted by letter dated September 30, 2019, and 
supplemented by letter dated December 19, 2019 (ADAMS Accession Nos. 
ML19273A953 and ML19353B752).
     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: Alina Schiller, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-8177; email: [email protected].


I. Introduction

    The NRC is issuing License Amendment Nos. 176 and 175 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 revise automatic depressurization system (ADS) and core makeup tank 
(CMT) parameters. Specifically, the requested amendment required 
changes to reflect revisions in the design parameters of: (a) The 
maximum stroke times for the ADS Stage 1, 2, and 3 valves; (b) the 
minimum effective flow areas for the ADS Stage 2 and 3 valves; and (c) 
the CMT minimum volume.
    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. ML20049A808.
    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. ML20049A734 and ML20049A747, 
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. ML20049A761 and ML20049A788, 
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 September 30, 2019, as supplemented by letter 
dated December 19, 2019, Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC) 
requested from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Commission) an 
exemption to allow departures from Tier 1 information in the certified 
Design Control Document (DCD) incorporated by reference in 10 CFR part 
52, appendix D, ``Design Certification Rule for the AP1000 Design,'' as 
part of license amendment request (LAR) 19-009, ``Automatic 
Depressurization System (ADS) and Core Makeup Tank (CMT) Design 
    For the reasons set forth in Section 3.2 of the NRC staff's Safety 
Evaluation that supports this license amendment, which can be found at 
Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession 
Number ML20049A808, the Commission finds that:
    A. the exemption is authorized by law;
    B. the exemption presents no undue risk to public health and 

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    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 changes to Appendix C of the 
facility Combined License, as described in the licensee's request dated 
September 30, 2019, and as supplemented by letter dated December 19, 
2019. This exemption is related to, and necessary for, the granting of 
License Amendment No. 176 [for Unit 3, No. 175 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 No. ML20049A808), this exemption meets the eligibility 
criteria for a 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 September 30, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML19273A953), as supplemented by letter dated December 19, 2019 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML19353B752), 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 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 3, 2019 (84 FR 66234). 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 to 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 September 30, 2019. The exemptions and amendments were 
issued on March 11, 2020, as part of a combined package to SNC (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML20049A655).

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 16th day of March 2020.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Victor E. Hall,
Chief, Vogtle Project Office, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2020-05905 Filed 3-19-20; 8:45 am]