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E-M:/ Exemption at Palisades Nuclear Plant



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Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission publishes an
exemption from requirements concerning emergency 
core cooling systems at the Palisades Nuclear Plant involving 
the use of an alternate material for nuclear fuel rod 
cladding material.....


[Federal Register: October 3, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 191)]
[Notices]
[Page 58442-58443]
 From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr03oc06-113]

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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
[Docket No. 50-255]
 
Nuclear Management Company, LLC; Palisades Plant; Environmental 
Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of an exemption from Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR) Part 50, Section 50.46, and Appendix K to 10 CFR 
Part 50 for Facility Operating License No. DPR-20, issued to Nuclear 
Management Company, LLC (the licensee), for operation of the Palisades 
Nuclear Plant (Palisades), located in VanBuren County, Michigan. 
Therefore, as required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC is issuing this 
environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact.

Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would provide an exemption from the 
requirements of: (1) 10 CFR 50.46, ``Acceptance criteria for emergency 
core cooling systems for light-water nuclear power reactors,'' which 
requires that the calculated emergency core cooling system (ECCS) 
performance for reactors with zircaloy or ZIRLO fuel cladding meet 
certain criteria, and (2) 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix K, ``ECCS Evaluation 
Models,'' which presumes the use of zircaloy or ZIRLO fuel cladding 
when doing calculations for energy release, cladding oxidation, and 
hydrogen generation after a postulated loss-of-coolant accident.
    The proposed action would allow the licensee to use the M5 advanced 
alloy in lieu of zircaloy or ZIRLO for fuel rod cladding in fuel 
assemblies at Palisades.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated October 4, 2005, as supplemented by letter dated June 
14, 2006.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The Commission's regulations in 10 CFR 50.46 and 10 CFR Part 50, 
Appendix K, require the demonstration of adequate ECCS performance for 
light-water reactors that contain fuel consisting of uranium oxide 
pellets enclosed in zircaloy or ZIRLO tubes. Each of these regulations, 
either implicitly or explicitly, assumes that either zircaloy or ZIRLO 
is used as the fuel rod cladding material.
    In order to accommodate the high fuel-rod burnups that are 
necessary for modern fuel management and core designs, Framatome ANP 
developed the M5 advanced fuel rod cladding material. M5 is an alloy 
comprised primarily of zirconium (~99 percent) and niobium (~1 percent) 
that has demonstrated superior corrosion resistance and reduced 
irradiation-induced growth relative to both standard and low-tin 
zircaloy. However, since the chemical composition of the M5 advanced 
alloy differs from the specifications of either zircaloy or ZIRLO, use 
of the M5 advanced alloy falls outside of the strict interpretation of 
NRC regulations. Therefore, approval of this exemption request is 
needed to permit the use of the M5 advanced alloy as a fuel rod 
cladding material at Palisades.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC staff has completed its evaluation of the proposed action 
and concludes that use of M5 clad fuel would not result in changes in 
the operations or configuration of the facility. There would be no 
change in the level of controls or methodology used for processing 
radioactive effluents or handling solid radioactive waste.
    The proposed action will not significantly increase the probability 
or consequences of accidents. No changes are being made in the types of 
effluents that may be released off site. There is no significant 
increase in the amount of any effluent released off site. There is no 
significant increase in occupational or public radiation exposure. 
Therefore, there are no significant radiological

[[Page 58443]]

environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    With regard to potential non-radiological impacts, the proposed 
action does not have a potential to affect any historic sites. It does 
not affect non-radiological plant effluents and has no other 
environmental impact. Therefore, there are no significant non-
radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    Accordingly, the NRC concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.

Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to the proposed action, the staff considered 
denial of the proposed action (i.e., the ``no-action'' alternative). 
Denial of the application would result in no change in current 
environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the proposed action 
and the alternative action are similar.

Alternative Use of Resources

    The action does not involve the use of any different resources than 
those previously considered in the Final Addendum to the Final 
Environmental Statement Related to Operation of the Palisades Nuclear 
Plant, dated February 1978.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, on September 11, 2006, the 
staff consulted with the Michigan State official, Mary Ann Elzerman of 
the Department of Environmental Quality, regarding the environmental 
impact of the proposed action. The State official had no comments.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    On the basis of the environmental assessment, the NRC concludes 
that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the NRC has determined 
not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed 
action.
    For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the 
licensee's letter dated October 4, 2005, as supplemented by letter 
dated June 14, 2006. Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a 
fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White 
Flint North, Public File Area O1 F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first 
floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be 
accessible electronically from the Agencywide Documents Access and 
Management System (ADAMS) Public Electronic Reading Room on the Internet 
at the NRC Web site, <A HREF="http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html";>http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html</A>. 
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 send an e-mail to <A HREF="mailto:pdr@nrc.gov";>pdr@nrc.gov</A>.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 26th day of September 2006.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
L. Mark Padovan,
Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch III-1, Division of Operating 
Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E6-16260 Filed 10-2-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P

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Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy, 
Expert Witness Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and 
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf 

657 Spartan Ave,  East Lansing, MI  48823  
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
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