Exelon Generation Company, LLC; R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant; Use of Optimized ZIRLOTM, 29345-29347 [2017-13517]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 123 / Wednesday, June 28, 2017 / Notices ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ adams.html. To begin the search, select ‘‘ADAMS Public Documents’’ and then 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 pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The license renewal application for RBS is available in ADAMS under Package Accession No. ML17153A282. • 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: Emmanuel Sayoc, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001; telephone: 301–415– 4084; email: Emmanuel.Sayoc@nrc.gov. The NRC has received an application from Entergy Operations, Inc., dated May 25, 2017, filed pursuant to Section 103 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and part 54 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, to renew the operating license for RBS. Renewal of the license would authorize the applicant to operate the facility for an additional 20-year period beyond the period specified in the current operating license. The current operating license for RBS expires at midnight on August 29, 2025. River Bend Station, Unit 1, is a boiling water reactor designed by General Electric and is located in St. Francisville, Louisiana. The acceptability of the tendered application for docketing, and other matters, including an opportunity to request a hearing, will be the subject of subsequent Federal Register notices. A copy of the license renewal application for the RBS, is also available to local residents near the site at the West Feliciana Parish Library at 5114 Burnett Rd., St. Francisville, LA 70775. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of June, 2017. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Sheldon Stuchell, Chief, Projects Management and Guidance Branch, Division of License Renewal, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2017–13518 Filed 6–27–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:22 Jun 27, 2017 Jkt 241001 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–244; NRC–2017–0124] Exelon Generation Company, LLC; R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant; Use of Optimized ZIRLOTM Fuel Rod Cladding Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Exemption; issuance. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an exemption in response to an August 22, 2016, request from Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon) in order to use Optimized ZIRLOTM Fuel Rod Cladding at the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant (Ginna). DATES: The exemption was issued on June 19, 2017. ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2017–0124 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 Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2017–0124. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301–415–3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. 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 publiclyavailable documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ adams.html. To begin the search, select ‘‘ADAMS Public Documents’’ and then 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 pdr.resource@nrc.gov. 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. • 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: V. Sreenivas, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555– 0001; telephone: 301–415–2597, email: V.Sreenivas@nrc.gov. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29345 I. Background Exelon Generation Company, LLC is the holder of Renewed Facility Operating License No. DPR–18, which authorizes operation of Ginna, a pressurized-water reactor. The license provides, among other things, that the facility is subject to all rules, regulations, and orders of the NRC now or hereafter in effect. The facility is located in Ontario, New York, approximately 20 miles northeast of Rochester, New York. II. Request/Action Pursuant to § 50.12 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ‘‘Specific exemptions,’’ the licensee requested, by letter dated August 22, 2016 (ADAMS Accession No. ML16236A300), an exemption from § 50.46, ‘‘Acceptance criteria for emergency core cooling systems [ECCS] for light-water nuclear power reactors,’’ and 10 CFR part 50, appendix K, ‘‘ECCS Evaluation Models,’’ to allow the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding. The regulations in § 50.46 contain acceptance criteria for the ECCS for reactors fueled with zircaloy or ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material. In addition, 10 CFR part 50, appendix K, requires that the Baker-Just equation be used to predict the rates of energy release, hydrogen concentration, and cladding oxidation from the metal/water reaction. The Baker-Just equation assumes the use of a zirconium alloy different than Optimized ZIRLOTM material. Therefore, an exemption to § 50.46 and 10 CFR part 50, appendix K is required to support the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding at Ginna. The exemption request relates solely to the specific types of cladding material specified in these regulations (i.e., fuel rods with Zircaloy or ZIRLO® cladding). This request will provide for the application of the acceptance criteria of § 50.46 and appendix K to 10 CFR part 50 to fuel assembly designs utilizing Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding. The NRC staff prepared a separate safety evaluation fully addressing Exelon’s application for a related license amendment. III. Discussion Pursuant to § 50.12, the Commission may, upon application by any interested person or upon its own initiative, grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 when: (1) The exemptions are authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to public health or safety, and are consistent with the common E:\FR\FM\28JNN1.SGM 28JNN1 29346 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 123 / Wednesday, June 28, 2017 / Notices defense and security; and (2) when special circumstances are present. Under § 50.12(a)(2), special circumstances include, among other things, when application of the specific regulation in the particular circumstance would not serve, or is not necessary to achieve, the underlying purpose of the rule. asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES A. Authorized by Law The exemption would allow the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material at Ginna. As stated above, § 50.12 allows the NRC to grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 50. The NRC staff has determined that granting the licensee’s requested exemption would not result in a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or the Commission’s regulations. Therefore, the exemption is authorized by law. B. No Undue Risk to Public Health and Safety The underlying purpose of § 50.46 is to establish acceptance criteria for adequate ECCS performance. By letter dated June 10, 2005, the NRC staff issued a safety evaluation (ADAMS Accession No ML051670408) approving Addendum 1 to Westinghouse Topical Report WCAP–12610–P–A and CENPD– 404–P–A, ‘‘Optimized ZIRLOTM’’ (these topical reports are not publicly available because they contain proprietary information), wherein the NRC staff approved the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM as a fuel cladding material. The NRC staff approved the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM as a fuel cladding material based on: (1) Similarities with standard ZIRLOTM, (2) demonstrated material performance, and (3) a commitment to provide irradiated data and validate fuel performance models ahead of burnups achieved in batch application. The NRC staff’s safety evaluation for Optimized ZIRLOTM includes ten conditions and limitations for its use. As previously documented in the NRC staff’s review of topical reports submitted by Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (Westinghouse), and subject to compliance with the specific conditions of approval established therein, the NRC staff finds that the applicability of these ECCS acceptance criteria to Optimized ZIRLOTM has been demonstrated by Westinghouse. Ring compression tests performed by Westinghouse on Optimized ZIRLOTM (NRC-reviewed, approved, and documented in Appendix B of WCAP– 12610–P–A and CENPD–404–P–A, Addendum 1–A, ‘‘Optimized ZIRLOTM’’) demonstrate an acceptable retention of post-quench ductility up to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:22 Jun 27, 2017 Jkt 241001 § 50.46 limits of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and 17 percent equivalent clad reacted. Furthermore, the NRC staff has concluded that oxidation measurements provided by the licensee illustrate that oxide thickness (and associated hydrogen pickup) for Optimized ZIRLOTM at any given burnup would be less than both zircaloy-4 and ZIRLOTM. Hence, the NRC staff concludes that Optimized ZIRLOTM would be expected to maintain better post-quench ductility than ZIRLOTM. This finding is further supported by an ongoing loss-of-coolant accident research program at Argonne National Laboratory, which has identified a strong correlation between cladding hydrogen content (due to inservice corrosion) and post-quench ductility. The underlying purpose of 10 CFR part 50, appendix K, section I.A.5, ‘‘Metal-Water Reaction Rate,’’ is to ensure that cladding oxidation and hydrogen generation are appropriately limited during a loss-of-coolant accident and conservatively accounted for in the ECCS evaluation model. Appendix K states that the rates of energy release, hydrogen concentration, and cladding oxidation from the metal-water reaction shall be calculated using the Baker-Just equation. Since the Baker-Just equation presumes the use of zircaloy clad fuel, strict application of the rule would not permit use of the equation for Optimized ZIRLOTM cladding for determining acceptable fuel performance. However, the NRC staff has found that metal-water reaction tests performed by Westinghouse on Optimized ZIRLOTM demonstrate conservative reaction rates relative to the Baker-Just equation and are bounding for those approved for ZIRLOTM under anticipated operational occurrences and postulated accidents. Based on the above, no new accident precursors are created by using Optimized ZIRLOTM; thus, the probability of postulated accidents is not increased. Also, based on the above, the consequences of postulated accidents are not increased. Therefore, there is no undue risk to public health and safety due to using Optimized ZIRLOTM. C. Consistent With the Common Defense and Security The proposed exemption would allow the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material at Ginna. This change to the plant configuration has no relation to security issues. Therefore, the common defense and security is not impacted by this exemption. PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 D. Special Circumstances Special circumstances, in accordance with § 50.12(a)(2)(ii), are present whenever application of the regulation in the particular circumstances is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule. The underlying purpose of § 50.46 and appendix K to 10 CFR part 50 is to establish acceptance criteria for ECCS performance. The wording of the regulations in § 50.46 and appendix K is not directly applicable to Optimized ZIRLOTM, even though the evaluations above show that the intent of the regulation is met. Therefore, since the underlying purposes of § 50.46 and appendix K are achieved through the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material, the special circumstances required by § 50.12(a)(2)(ii) for the granting of an exemption from certain requirements of § 50.46 and appendix K exist. E. Environmental Considerations The NRC staff determined that the exemption discussed herein meets the eligibility criteria for the categorical exclusion set forth in § 51.22(c)(9) because it is related to a requirement concerning the installation or use of a facility component located within the restricted area, as defined in 10 CFR part 20, and the granting of this exemption involves: (1) No significant hazards consideration, (2) no significant change in the types or a significant increase in the amounts of any effluents that may be released offsite, and (3) no significant increase in individual or cumulative occupational radiation exposure. Therefore, in accordance with § 51.22(b), no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need to be prepared in connection with the NRC’s consideration of this exemption request. The basis for the NRC staff’s determination is discussed as follows with an evaluation against each of the requirements in § 51.22(c)(9). Requirements in § 51.22(c)(9)(i) The NRC staff evaluated the issue of no significant hazards consideration, using the standards described in § 50.92(c), as presented below: 1. Does the proposed exemption involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated? Response: No. The proposed change would allow the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM clad nuclear fuel in the reactors. The NRC-approved topical report WCAP–12610–P–A & CENPD–404–P–A, Addendum 1–A, ‘‘Optimized ZIRLOTM,’’ prepared by E:\FR\FM\28JNN1.SGM 28JNN1 asabaliauskas on DSKBBXCHB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 123 / Wednesday, June 28, 2017 / Notices Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (Westinghouse), addresses Optimized ZIRLOTM and demonstrates that Optimized ZIRLOTM has essentially the same properties as currently licensed ZIRLO®. The fuel cladding itself is not an accident initiator and does not affect accident probability. 2. Does the proposed exemption create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated? Response: No. Use of Optimized ZIRLOTM clad fuel will not result in changes in the operation or configuration of the facility. Topical Report WCAP–12610– P–A & CENPD–404–P–A, Addendum 1– A, demonstrated that the material properties of Optimized ZIRLOTM are similar to those of standard ZIRLO®, thus precluding the possibility of the fuel cladding becoming an accident initiator and causing a new or different type of accident. Therefore, the proposed change does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any previously evaluated. 3. Does the proposed exemption involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety? Response: No. The proposed change will not involve a significant reduction in the margin of safety. Topical Report WCAP–12610–P– A & CENPD–404–P–A, Addendum 1–A, demonstrated that the material properties of the Optimized ZIRLOTM are not significantly different from those of standard ZIRLO®. Optimized ZIRLOTM is expected to perform similarly to standard ZIRLO® for all normal operating and accident scenarios, including both loss of coolant accident LOCA) and non-LOCA scenarios. For LOCA scenarios, where the slight difference is Optimized ZIRLOTM material properties relative to standard ZIRLO® could have some impact on the overall accident scenario, plant-specific LOCA analyses using Optimized ZIRLOTM properties will demonstrate that the acceptance criteria of 10 CFR 50.46 have been satisfied. Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety. Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed exemption presents no significant hazards consideration under the standards set forth in § 50.92(c), and, accordingly, a finding of no significant hazards consideration is justified (i.e., satisfies the provisions of § 51.22(c)(9)(i)). cladding material at Ginna. Optimized ZIRLOTM has essentially the same properties are currently licensed ZIRLO®. The use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material will not significantly change the types of effluents that may be released offsite or significantly increase the amount of effluents that may be released offsite. Therefore, the provisions of § 51.22(c)(9)(ii) are satisfied. Requirements in § 51.22(c)(9)(ii) The proposed exemption would allow the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod BILLING CODE 7590–01–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:22 Jun 27, 2017 Jkt 241001 Requirements in § 51.22(c)(9)(iii) The proposed exemption would allow the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material at Ginna. Optimized ZIRLOTM has essentially the same properties are currently licensed ZIRLO®. The use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material at Ginna will not significantly increase individual occupational radiation exposure or significantly increase cumulative occupational radiation exposure. Therefore, the provisions of § 51.22(c)(9)(iii) are satisfied. Conclusion Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed exemption meets the eligibility criteria for the categorical exclusion set forth in § 51.22(c)(9). Therefore, in accordance with § 51.22(b), no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need to be prepared in connection with the NRC’s proposed issuance of this exemption. IV. Conclusion Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to § 50.12, the exemption is authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent with the common defense and security. Also, special circumstances are present. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants Exelon an exemption from certain requirements of § 50.46 and 10 CFR part 50, appendix K, to allow the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material at Ginna. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of June 2017. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. MaryJane Ross-Lee, Acting Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2017–13517 Filed 6–27–17; 8:45 am] PO 00000 29347 SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34–81000; File No. SR–NYSE– 2017–12] Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Withdrawal of a Proposed Rule Change, as Modified by Amendment No. 3, To Amend Section 102.01B of the NYSE Listed Company Manual To Modify the Requirements That Apply to Companies That List Without a Prior Exchange Act Registration and That Are Not Listing in Connection With an Underwritten Initial Public Offering June 22, 2017. On March 13, 2017, the New York Stock Exchange LLC (‘‘NYSE’’ or the ‘‘Exchange’’) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (‘‘Commission’’), pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (‘‘Act’’) 1 and Rule 19b–4 thereunder,2 a proposed rule change to amend Section 102.01B of the Manual to modify the provisions relating to the qualification of companies listing without a prior Exchange Act registration and an underwritten offering to permit the listing of such companies immediately upon effectiveness of an Exchange Act registration statement without a concurrent public offering registered under the Securities Act of 1933 provided the company meets all other listing requirements. The proposal also would eliminate the requirement to have a private placement market trading price if there is a valuation from an independent third-party of $250 million in market value of publicly-held shares. The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on March 31, 2017.3 The Commission received no comments on the proposed rule change. On May 12, 2017, the Commission extended the time period within which to approve the proposed rule change, disapprove the proposed rule change, or institute proceedings to determine whether to approve or disapprove the proposed rule change to June 29, 2017.4 On June 6, 2017, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 3 to the proposed rule change.5 1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1). CFR 240.19b–4. 3 See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 34– 80313 (March 27, 2017), 82 FR 16082 (March 31, 2017). 4 See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 34– 80670 (May 12, 2017), 82 FR 22866 (May 18, 2017). 5 The Exchange also filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change on May 16, 2017 and Amendment No. 2 to the proposed rule change on 2 17 Continued Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\28JNN1.SGM 28JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 123 (Wednesday, June 28, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29345-29347]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-13517]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-244; NRC-2017-0124]


Exelon Generation Company, LLC; R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant; 
Use of Optimized ZIRLOTM Fuel Rod Cladding

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Exemption; issuance.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an 
exemption in response to an August 22, 2016, request from Exelon 
Generation Company, LLC (Exelon) in order to use Optimized 
ZIRLOTM Fuel Rod Cladding at the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power 
Plant (Ginna).

DATES: The exemption was issued on June 19, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2017-0124 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 Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2017-0124. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-
3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. 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 http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and 
then 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 pdr.resource@nrc.gov. 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.
     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: V. Sreenivas, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 
20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-2597, email: V.Sreenivas@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC is the holder of Renewed Facility 
Operating License No. DPR-18, which authorizes operation of Ginna, a 
pressurized-water reactor. The license provides, among other things, 
that the facility is subject to all rules, regulations, and orders of 
the NRC now or hereafter in effect. The facility is located in Ontario, 
New York, approximately 20 miles northeast of Rochester, New York.

II. Request/Action

    Pursuant to Sec.  50.12 of title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR), ``Specific exemptions,'' the licensee requested, 
by letter dated August 22, 2016 (ADAMS Accession No. ML16236A300), an 
exemption from Sec.  50.46, ``Acceptance criteria for emergency core 
cooling systems [ECCS] for light-water nuclear power reactors,'' and 10 
CFR part 50, appendix K, ``ECCS Evaluation Models,'' to allow the use 
of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding. The regulations in 
Sec.  50.46 contain acceptance criteria for the ECCS for reactors 
fueled with zircaloy or ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material. 
In addition, 10 CFR part 50, appendix K, requires that the Baker-Just 
equation be used to predict the rates of energy release, hydrogen 
concentration, and cladding oxidation from the metal/water reaction. 
The Baker-Just equation assumes the use of a zirconium alloy different 
than Optimized ZIRLOTM material. Therefore, an exemption to 
Sec.  50.46 and 10 CFR part 50, appendix K is required to support the 
use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding at Ginna.
    The exemption request relates solely to the specific types of 
cladding material specified in these regulations (i.e., fuel rods with 
Zircaloy or ZIRLO[supreg] cladding). This request will provide for the 
application of the acceptance criteria of Sec.  50.46 and appendix K to 
10 CFR part 50 to fuel assembly designs utilizing Optimized 
ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding. The NRC staff prepared a separate 
safety evaluation fully addressing Exelon's application for a related 
license amendment.

III. Discussion

    Pursuant to Sec.  50.12, the Commission may, upon application by 
any interested person or upon its own initiative, grant exemptions from 
the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 when: (1) The exemptions are 
authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to public health or 
safety, and are consistent with the common

[[Page 29346]]

defense and security; and (2) when special circumstances are present. 
Under Sec.  50.12(a)(2), special circumstances include, among other 
things, when application of the specific regulation in the particular 
circumstance would not serve, or is not necessary to achieve, the 
underlying purpose of the rule.

A. Authorized by Law

    The exemption would allow the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM 
fuel rod cladding material at Ginna. As stated above, Sec.  50.12 
allows the NRC to grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 
50. The NRC staff has determined that granting the licensee's requested 
exemption would not result in a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 
1954, as amended, or the Commission's regulations. Therefore, the 
exemption is authorized by law.

B. No Undue Risk to Public Health and Safety

    The underlying purpose of Sec.  50.46 is to establish acceptance 
criteria for adequate ECCS performance. By letter dated June 10, 2005, 
the NRC staff issued a safety evaluation (ADAMS Accession No 
ML051670408) approving Addendum 1 to Westinghouse Topical Report WCAP-
12610-P-A and CENPD-404-P-A, ``Optimized ZIRLOTM'' (these 
topical reports are not publicly available because they contain 
proprietary information), wherein the NRC staff approved the use of 
Optimized ZIRLOTM as a fuel cladding material. The NRC staff 
approved the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM as a fuel cladding 
material based on: (1) Similarities with standard ZIRLOTM, 
(2) demonstrated material performance, and (3) a commitment to provide 
irradiated data and validate fuel performance models ahead of burnups 
achieved in batch application. The NRC staff's safety evaluation for 
Optimized ZIRLOTM includes ten conditions and limitations 
for its use. As previously documented in the NRC staff's review of 
topical reports submitted by Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC 
(Westinghouse), and subject to compliance with the specific conditions 
of approval established therein, the NRC staff finds that the 
applicability of these ECCS acceptance criteria to Optimized 
ZIRLOTM has been demonstrated by Westinghouse. Ring 
compression tests performed by Westinghouse on Optimized 
ZIRLOTM (NRC-reviewed, approved, and documented in Appendix 
B of WCAP-12610-P-A and CENPD-404-P-A, Addendum 1-A, ``Optimized 
ZIRLOTM'') demonstrate an acceptable retention of post-
quench ductility up to Sec.  50.46 limits of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit 
and 17 percent equivalent clad reacted. Furthermore, the NRC staff has 
concluded that oxidation measurements provided by the licensee 
illustrate that oxide thickness (and associated hydrogen pickup) for 
Optimized ZIRLOTM at any given burnup would be less than 
both zircaloy-4 and ZIRLOTM. Hence, the NRC staff concludes 
that Optimized ZIRLOTM would be expected to maintain better 
post-quench ductility than ZIRLOTM. This finding is further 
supported by an ongoing loss-of-coolant accident research program at 
Argonne National Laboratory, which has identified a strong correlation 
between cladding hydrogen content (due to in-service corrosion) and 
post-quench ductility.
    The underlying purpose of 10 CFR part 50, appendix K, section 
I.A.5, ``Metal-Water Reaction Rate,'' is to ensure that cladding 
oxidation and hydrogen generation are appropriately limited during a 
loss-of-coolant accident and conservatively accounted for in the ECCS 
evaluation model. Appendix K states that the rates of energy release, 
hydrogen concentration, and cladding oxidation from the metal-water 
reaction shall be calculated using the Baker-Just equation. Since the 
Baker-Just equation presumes the use of zircaloy clad fuel, strict 
application of the rule would not permit use of the equation for 
Optimized ZIRLOTM cladding for determining acceptable fuel 
performance. However, the NRC staff has found that metal-water reaction 
tests performed by Westinghouse on Optimized ZIRLOTM 
demonstrate conservative reaction rates relative to the Baker-Just 
equation and are bounding for those approved for ZIRLO\TM\ under 
anticipated operational occurrences and postulated accidents.
    Based on the above, no new accident precursors are created by using 
Optimized ZIRLOTM; thus, the probability of postulated 
accidents is not increased. Also, based on the above, the consequences 
of postulated accidents are not increased. Therefore, there is no undue 
risk to public health and safety due to using Optimized 
ZIRLOTM.

C. Consistent With the Common Defense and Security

    The proposed exemption would allow the use of Optimized 
ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material at Ginna. This change to 
the plant configuration has no relation to security issues. Therefore, 
the common defense and security is not impacted by this exemption.

D. Special Circumstances

    Special circumstances, in accordance with Sec.  50.12(a)(2)(ii), 
are present whenever application of the regulation in the particular 
circumstances is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the 
rule. The underlying purpose of Sec.  50.46 and appendix K to 10 CFR 
part 50 is to establish acceptance criteria for ECCS performance. The 
wording of the regulations in Sec.  50.46 and appendix K is not 
directly applicable to Optimized ZIRLOTM, even though the 
evaluations above show that the intent of the regulation is met. 
Therefore, since the underlying purposes of Sec.  50.46 and appendix K 
are achieved through the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod 
cladding material, the special circumstances required by Sec.  
50.12(a)(2)(ii) for the granting of an exemption from certain 
requirements of Sec.  50.46 and appendix K exist.

E. Environmental Considerations

    The NRC staff determined that the exemption discussed herein meets 
the eligibility criteria for the categorical exclusion set forth in 
Sec.  51.22(c)(9) because it is related to a requirement concerning the 
installation or use of a facility component located within the 
restricted area, as defined in 10 CFR part 20, and the granting of this 
exemption involves: (1) No significant hazards consideration, (2) no 
significant change in the types or a significant increase in the 
amounts of any effluents that may be released offsite, and (3) no 
significant increase in individual or cumulative occupational radiation 
exposure. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  51.22(b), no 
environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need to be 
prepared in connection with the NRC's consideration of this exemption 
request. The basis for the NRC staff's determination is discussed as 
follows with an evaluation against each of the requirements in Sec.  
51.22(c)(9).
Requirements in Sec.  51.22(c)(9)(i)
    The NRC staff evaluated the issue of no significant hazards 
consideration, using the standards described in Sec.  50.92(c), as 
presented below:
    1. Does the proposed exemption involve a significant increase in 
the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?
    Response: No.
    The proposed change would allow the use of Optimized 
ZIRLOTM clad nuclear fuel in the reactors. The NRC-approved 
topical report WCAP-12610-P-A & CENPD-404-P-A, Addendum 1-A, 
``Optimized ZIRLOTM,'' prepared by

[[Page 29347]]

Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (Westinghouse), addresses Optimized 
ZIRLOTM and demonstrates that Optimized ZIRLOTM 
has essentially the same properties as currently licensed 
ZIRLO[supreg]. The fuel cladding itself is not an accident initiator 
and does not affect accident probability.
    2. Does the proposed exemption create the possibility of a new or 
different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?
    Response: No.
    Use of Optimized ZIRLOTM clad fuel will not result in 
changes in the operation or configuration of the facility. Topical 
Report WCAP-12610-P-A & CENPD-404-P-A, Addendum 1-A, demonstrated that 
the material properties of Optimized ZIRLOTM are similar to 
those of standard ZIRLO[supreg], thus precluding the possibility of the 
fuel cladding becoming an accident initiator and causing a new or 
different type of accident. Therefore, the proposed change does not 
create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any 
previously evaluated.
    3. Does the proposed exemption involve a significant reduction in a 
margin of safety?
    Response: No.
    The proposed change will not involve a significant reduction in the 
margin of safety. Topical Report WCAP-12610-P-A & CENPD-404-P-A, 
Addendum 1-A, demonstrated that the material properties of the 
Optimized ZIRLOTM are not significantly different from those 
of standard ZIRLO[supreg]. Optimized ZIRLOTM is expected to 
perform similarly to standard ZIRLO[supreg] for all normal operating 
and accident scenarios, including both loss of coolant accident LOCA) 
and non-LOCA scenarios. For LOCA scenarios, where the slight difference 
is Optimized ZIRLOTM material properties relative to 
standard ZIRLO[supreg] could have some impact on the overall accident 
scenario, plant-specific LOCA analyses using Optimized 
ZIRLOTM properties will demonstrate that the acceptance 
criteria of 10 CFR 50.46 have been satisfied. Therefore, the proposed 
change does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.
    Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed 
exemption presents no significant hazards consideration under the 
standards set forth in Sec.  50.92(c), and, accordingly, a finding of 
no significant hazards consideration is justified (i.e., satisfies the 
provisions of Sec.  51.22(c)(9)(i)).
Requirements in Sec.  51.22(c)(9)(ii)
    The proposed exemption would allow the use of Optimized 
ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material at Ginna. Optimized 
ZIRLOTM has essentially the same properties are currently 
licensed ZIRLO[supreg]. The use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel 
rod cladding material will not significantly change the types of 
effluents that may be released offsite or significantly increase the 
amount of effluents that may be released offsite. Therefore, the 
provisions of Sec.  51.22(c)(9)(ii) are satisfied.
Requirements in Sec.  51.22(c)(9)(iii)
    The proposed exemption would allow the use of Optimized 
ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding material at Ginna. Optimized 
ZIRLOTM has essentially the same properties are currently 
licensed ZIRLO[supreg]. The use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel 
rod cladding material at Ginna will not significantly increase 
individual occupational radiation exposure or significantly increase 
cumulative occupational radiation exposure. Therefore, the provisions 
of Sec.  51.22(c)(9)(iii) are satisfied.
Conclusion
    Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed 
exemption meets the eligibility criteria for the categorical exclusion 
set forth in Sec.  51.22(c)(9). Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  
51.22(b), no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment 
need to be prepared in connection with the NRC's proposed issuance of 
this exemption.

IV. Conclusion

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to Sec.  
50.12, the exemption is authorized by law, will not present an undue 
risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent with the common 
defense and security. Also, special circumstances are present. 
Therefore, the Commission hereby grants Exelon an exemption from 
certain requirements of Sec.  50.46 and 10 CFR part 50, appendix K, to 
allow the use of Optimized ZIRLOTM fuel rod cladding 
material at Ginna.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of June 2017.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
MaryJane Ross-Lee,
Acting Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of 
Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2017-13517 Filed 6-27-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 7590-01-P