Notice of Acceptance for Docketing of the Application, Notice of Opportunity for Hearing Regarding Renewal of Facility Operating License No. NPF-21 for an Additional 20-Year Period Energy Northwest; Columbia Generating Station

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) is considering an application for the renewal of operating license NPF-21, which authorizes Energy Northwest (EN) to operate the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) at 3486 megawatts thermal. The renewed license would authorize the applicant to operate CGS for an additional 20 years beyond the period specified in the current license. CGS is located near Richland, Washington. The current operating license expires on December 20, 2023.

EN submitted the application dated January 19, 2010, pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 54 (10 CFR Part 54) to renew operating license NPF-21. A notice of receipt and availability of the license renewal application (LRA) was published in the Federal Register on February 2, 2010 (75 FR 5353).

The Commission has determined that EN has submitted sufficient information in accordance with 10 CFR Sections 2.101, 54.19, 54.21, 54.22, 54.23, 51.45, and 51.53(c), to enable the staff to undertake a review of the application, and the application is therefore acceptable for docketing. The Commission will retain the current Docket No. 50-397 for operating license No. NPF-21. The determination to accept the LRA for docketing does not constitute a determination that the renewed license should be issued, and does not preclude the NRC staff from requesting additional information as the review proceeds.

Before issuance of the requested renewed license, the NRC will have made the findings required by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), and the Commission's rules and regulations. In accordance with 10 CFR 54.29, the NRC may issue a renewed license on the basis of its review if it finds that actions have been identified and have been or will be taken with respect to: (1) Managing the effects of aging during the period of extended operation on the functionality of structures and components that have been identified as requiring aging management review, and (2) time-limited aging analyses that have been identified as requiring review, such that there is reasonable assurance that the activities authorized by the renewed license will continue to be conducted in accordance with the current licensing basis (CLB) and that any changes made to the plant's CLB will comply with the Act and the Commission's regulations.

Additionally, in accordance with 10 CFR 51.95(c), the NRC will prepare an environmental impact statement that is a supplement to the Commission's NUREG-1437, “Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Power Plants,” dated May 1996. In considering the LRA, the Commission must find that the applicable requirements of Subpart A of 10 CFR Part 51 have been satisfied, and that matters raised under 10 CFR 2.335 have been addressed. Pursuant to 10 CFR 51.26, and as part of the environmental scoping process, the staff intends to hold public scoping meetings. Detailed information regarding the environmental scoping meetings will be the subject of a separate Federal Register notice.

Within 60 days after the date of publication of this Federal Register notice, any person whose interest may be affected by this proceeding and who wishes to participate as a party in the proceeding must file a written request for a hearing and a petition for leave to intervene with respect to the renewal of the license. Requests for a hearing or petitions for leave to intervene must be filed in accordance with the Commission's “Rules of Practice for Domestic Licensing Proceedings and Issuance of Orders” in 10 CFR Part 2. Interested persons should consult a current copy of 10 CFR 2.309, which is available at the Commission's Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852 and is accessible from the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Public Electronic Reading Room on the Internet at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. Persons who do not have access to the Internet or who encounter problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS should contact the NRC's PDR reference staff by telephone at 1-800-397-4209, or 301-415-4737, or by e-mail at PDR.Resource@nrc.gov. If a request for a hearing/petition for leave to intervene is filed within the 60-day period, the Commission or a presiding officer designated by the Commission or by the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel will rule on the request and/or petition; and the Secretary or the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel will issue a notice of a hearing or an appropriate order. In the event that no request for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene is filed within the 60-day period, the NRC may, upon completion of its evaluations and upon making the findings required under 10 CFR Parts 51 and 54, renew the license without further notice.

As required by 10 CFR 2.309, a petition for leave to intervene shall set forth with particularity the interest of the petitioner in the proceeding, and how that interest may be affected by the results of the proceeding, taking into consideration the limited scope of matters that may be considered pursuant to 10 CFR Parts 51 and 54. The petition must specifically explain the reasons why intervention should be permitted with particular reference to the following factors: (1) The nature of the requestor's/petitioner's right under the Act to be made a party to the proceeding; (2) the nature and extent of the requestor's/petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding; and (3) the possible effect of any decision or order which may be entered in the proceeding on the requestor's/petitioner's interest. The petition must also set forth the specific contentions which the requestor/petitioner seeks to have litigated at the proceeding.

Each contention must consist of a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted. In addition, the requestor/petitioner shall provide a brief explanation of the bases of each contention and a concise statement of the alleged facts or the expert opinion that supports the contention on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely in proving the contention at the hearing. The requestor/petitioner must also provide references to those specific sources and documents of which the requestor/petitioner is aware and on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely to establish those facts or expert opinion. The requestor/petitioner must provide sufficient information to show that a genuine dispute exists with the applicant on a material issue of law or fact. Contentions shall be limited to matters within the scope of the action under consideration. The contention must be one that, if proven, would entitle the requestor/petitioner to relief. A requestor/petitioner who fails to satisfy these requirements with respect to at least one contention will not be permitted to participate as a party.

The Commission requests that each contention be given a separate numeric or alpha designation within one of thefollowing groups: (1) Technical (primarily related to safety concerns); (2) environmental; or (3) miscellaneous.

As specified in 10 CFR 2.309, if two or more requestors/petitioners seek to co-sponsor a contention or propose substantially the same contention, the requestors/petitioners must jointly designate a representative who shall have the authority to act for the requestors/petitioners with respect to that contention.

All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with the NRC E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139, August 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve all adjudicatory documents over the Internet, or in some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in accordance with the procedures described below.

To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least ten (10) days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the Office of the Secretary by e-mail at hearing.docket@nrc.gov, or by telephone at (301) 415-1677, to request (1) a digital ID certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or representative) to digitally sign documents and access the E-Submittal server for any proceeding in which it is participating; and (2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a request or petition for hearing (even in instances in which the participant, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding if the Secretary has not already established an electronic docket.

Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/apply-certificates.html. System requirements for accessing the E-Submittal server are detailed in NRC's “Guidance for Electronic Submission,” which is available on the agency's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants may attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but should note that the NRC's E-Filing system does not support unlisted software, and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer assistance in using unlisted software.

If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the document using the NRC's online, Web-based submission form. In order to serve documents through electronic information exchange, users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC Web site. Further information on the Web-based submission form, including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.

Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant can then submit a request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance available on the NRC public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the documents are submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an e-mail notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an e-mail notice that provides access to the document to the NRC Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request/petition to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the document via the E-Filing system.

A person filing electronically using the agency's adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC Meta System Help Desk through the “Contact Us” link located on the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by e-mail at MSHD.Resource@nrc.gov, or by a toll-free call at (866) 672-7640. The NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.

Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a document in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the provider of the service. A presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists.

Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at http://ehd.nrc.gov/EHD_Proceeding/home.asp, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the Commission, or the presiding officer. Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, or home phone numbers in their filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of such information. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submission.

Petitions for leave to intervene must be filed no later than 60 days from the date of publication of this Federal Register notice. Non-timely filings will not be entertained absent a determination by the presiding officer that the petition or request should be granted or the contentions should be admitted, based on a balancing of thefactors specified in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i)-(viii).

Detailed information about the license renewal process can be found under the Nuclear Reactors icon at http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/licensing/renewal.html on the NRC's Web site. Copies of the application to renew the operating license for CGS are available for public inspection at the Commission's PDR, located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852-2738, and at http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/licensing/renewal/applications.html, the NRC's Web site while the application is under review. The application may be accessed in ADAMS through the NRC's Public Electronic Reading Room on the Internet at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html under ADAMS Accession Number ML100250668. As stated above, persons who do not have access to ADAMS or who encounter problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS may contact the NRC PDR reference staff by telephone at 1-800-397-4209 or 301-415-4737, or by e-mail to PDR.Resource@ nrc.gov.

The NRC staff has verified that a copy of the LRA is also available to local residents near the site at the Richland Public Library, 955 Northgate Drive, Richland, Washington 99352 and at the Kennewick Branch of Mid-Columbia Libraries, 1620 South Union Street, Kennewick, Washington 99338.

Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 4th day of March 2010.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Brian E. Holian,

Director Division of License Renewal, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

References

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