License Amendment Request (04/05/2013)

The NRC is also reviewing a license amendment request for SONGS Unit 2 submitted by SCE on April 5, 2013, as supplemented on April 9, 2013. SCE requested the proposed changes to support restart of SONGS Unit 2. The proposed license amendment would restrict Unit 2 operation to no more than 70 percent of the current maximum authorized power level and would revise the Technical Specification requirements for steam generator tube integrity to reflect this change. SCE proposed that these changes remain in effect for the duration of Unit 2, Cycle 17; a period of roughly 18 to 24 months of plant operation.

In accordance with 10 CFR 50.91(a)(2), the NRC published in the Federal Register on April 16, 2013, a notification of Application and Amendment to Facility Operating License and its proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration (NSHC) Determination for the amendment request (see 78 FR 22576). The Federal Register notice informs the public that it may request a hearing on the proposed amendment, and submit comments on the proposed "no significant hazards consideration" determination. The NRC will consider all public comments received within 30 days after the date of publication of the notice before making any final determination. The public also has 60 days after the publication of the notice to request a hearing on the amendment request. In this matter, the NRC will not make a determination regarding approval of the license amendment, nor issue a final "no significant hazards consideration" determination, until at least 60 days after publication of the notice.

Providing and publishing the 60-day hearing request period is required by NRC regulations (see 10 CFR 2.309(b)(3)(i)). The purpose of the hearing request period is to allow any person whose interest may be affected by a proceeding, and who desires to participate as a party, to file a written request for hearing. The request must specify the specific contentions which the person seeks to have litigated in the hearing. More information is available on the NRC's hearing process web page.

The NRC may not issue an amendment unless it concludes that reasonable assurance has been provided that the public health and safety will not be endangered and that the action will not be inimical to the common defense and security, and that the request meets all applicable regulatory requirements. The staff's review of the amendment request is a separate action from the ongoing review of the CAL response. Because SCE must still meet the terms of the CAL before returning either SONGS unit to service, issuance of the requested license amendment will not itself allow SCE to restart SONGS Unit 2.