[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 115 (Wednesday, June 16, 2004)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 33536-33551]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-13522]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 50

RIN 3150-AG48


Voluntary Fire Protection Requirements for Light Water Reactors; 
Adoption of NFPA 805 as a Risk-Informed, Performance-Based Alternative

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is amending its fire 
protection requirements for nuclear power reactor licensees to permit 
existing reactor licensees to voluntarily adopt fire protection 
requirements contained in the National Fire Protection Association 
(NFPA) Standard 805, ``Performance-Based Standard for Fire Protection 
for Light Water Reactor Electric Generating Plants, 2001 Edition'' 
(NFPA 805). These fire protection requirements are an alternative to 
the existing deterministic, prescriptive fire protection requirements.

DATES: Effective: July 16, 2004. The incorporation by reference of the 
publication listed in the regulation is approved by the Director of the 
Federal Register as of July 16, 2004.

ADDRESSES: The final rule and related documents may be examined and 
copied for a fee at the NRC Public Document Room (PDR), One White Flint 
North, Room O1-F15, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland (NFPA 
standards are copyrighted). Copies of NFPA 805 may be purchased from 
the NFPA Customer Service Department, 1 Batterymarch Park, P.O. Box 
9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101 and in PDF format through the NFPA Online 
Catalog (www.nfpa.org) or by calling 1-800-344-3555 or (617) 770-3000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joseph L. Birmingham, Office of 
Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone (301) 415-2829; e-mail 
jlb4@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background
II. Discussion
III. Comment Resolution on Proposed Rule
IV. Section-by-Section Analysis
V. Availability of Documents
VI. Voluntary Consensus Standards
VII. Finding of No Significant Environmental Impact: Availability
VIII.Paperwork Reduction Act Statement
IX. Regulatory Analysis

[[Page 33537]]

X. Regulatory Flexibility Certification
XI. Backfit Analysis
XII. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

I. Background

    In 1971, the Atomic Energy Commission promulgated General Design 
Criterion (GDC) 3, ``Fire protection,'' in Appendix A to 10 CFR part 
50. Subsequently, the NRC developed specific guidance for implementing 
GDC 3 in Branch Technical Position (BTP) Auxiliary and Power Conversion 
Systems Branch (APCSB) 9.5-1, ``Guidelines for Fire Protection for 
Nuclear Power Plants,'' dated May 1, 1976, and Appendix A to BTP APCSB 
9.5-1, ``Guidelines for Fire Protection for Nuclear Power Plants 
Docketed Prior to July 1, 1976,'' dated August 23, 1976. In the late 
1970s, the NRC worked with licensees to establish configurations to 
meet this guidance, reaching closure on most issues. However, to 
resolve the remaining contested issues, the NRC published the final 
fire protection rule (10 CFR 50.48, ``Fire protection'') and Appendix R 
to 10 CFR part 50 dated November 19, 1980 (45 FR 76602).
    Section 50.48(a)(1) requires each operating nuclear power plant to 
have a fire protection plan that satisfies Criterion 3 (GDC 3) of 
Appendix A to 10 CFR 50 and states that the fire protection plan must 
describe the overall fire protection program; identify the positions 
responsible for the program and the authority delegated to those 
positions; outline the plans for fire protection, fire detection and 
suppression capability, and limitation of fire damage. Section 
50.48(a)(2) states that the fire protection plan must describe the 
specific features necessary to implement the program described in 
paragraph (a)(1) including administrative controls and personnel 
requirements; automatic and manual fire detection and suppression 
systems; and the means to limit fire damage to structures, systems, and 
components (SSCs) to ensure the capability to safely shut down the 
plant. Section 50.48(a)(3) requires that the licensee retain the fire 
protection plan and each change to the plan as a record until the 
Commission terminates the license.
    GDC 3, referenced in 10 CFR 50.48(a)(1), provides broad performance 
objectives for an acceptable fire protection program. GDC 3 specifies, 
in part, that SSCs important to safety be designed and located to 
minimize, consistent with other safety requirements, the probability 
and effects of fires and explosions; noncombustible and heat resistant 
materials be used wherever practical; fire detection and fighting 
systems of appropriate capacity and capability be provided and designed 
to minimize the adverse effects of fires on SSCs important to safety; 
and fire fighting systems be designed to assure their rupture or 
inadvertent operation does not significantly impair the safety 
capability of the SSCs.
    Section 50.48(b) references Appendix R to 10 CFR 50 and states that 
Appendix R establishes fire protection features required to satisfy GDC 
3 with respect to certain generic issues for nuclear power plants 
licensed to operate before January 1, 1979. As stated in 10 CFR 
50.48(b)(1), with the exception of Sections III.G, III.J, and III.O of 
Appendix R, nuclear power plants that were licensed to operate before 
January 1, 1979, are exempt from the requirements of Appendix R. These 
plants are exempt to the extent that:
    Features proposed or implemented by the licensee have been accepted 
by the NRC staff as satisfying the provisions of Appendix A to BTP 
APCSB 9.5-1 that are reflected in NRC fire protection safety evaluation 
reports (SERs) issued before the 10 CFR 50.48 effective date of 
February 19, 1981; or,
    Features that were accepted by the NRC staff in comprehensive SERs 
before Appendix A to BTP APCSB 9.5-1 was published in August 1976. 
Otherwise, these nuclear power plants must meet 10 CFR 50, Appendix R, 
as well as any requirements contained in plant specific fire protection 
license conditions and/or technical specifications. These nuclear power 
plants must also comply with 10 CFR 50.48(a).
    Nuclear power plants that were licensed to operate after January 1, 
1979, must comply with 10 CFR 50.48(a) as well as any plant-specific 
fire protection license conditions and/or technical specifications. 
Their fire protection license conditions typically reference SERs 
generated by the NRC as the product of initial licensing reviews 
against either Appendix A to BTP APCSB 9.5-1 and the criteria of 
certain sections of 10 CFR 50, Appendix R, or Section 9.5.1 of NUREG-
0800, the NRC Standard Review Plan (SRP) which includes similar 
criteria specified in 10 CFR 50, Appendix R. These fire protection 
requirements are considered to be deterministic.
    The NRC has issued approximately 900 exemptions from the technical 
requirements specified in Appendix R. These exemptions were granted to 
licensees that submitted a technical evaluation demonstrating that an 
alternative fire protection approach satisfied the underlying safety 
purpose of Appendix R. During the initial implementation period for 
``Pre-1979 Appendix R plants,'' the NRC granted exemptions under the 
provisions of 10 CFR 50.48(c)(6), which has since been deleted. For 
exemptions requested by ``Pre-1979 plants'' after the licensee's 
initial Appendix R implementation period, the NRC conducted its reviews 
in accordance with the provisions specified in 10 CFR 50.12, ``Specific 
exemptions.'' ``Post-1979 plants'' have also requested and, when 
acceptable to the NRC, received approval to deviate from their 
licensing requirements. The processing of exemption and deviation 
requests has placed a significant burden on the resources of the NRC 
and the nuclear industry.
    Industry representatives and some members of the public have 
described the current deterministic fire protection requirements as 
``prescriptive'' and an ``unnecessary regulatory burden.'' Beginning in 
the late 1990s, the Commission provided the NRC staff with guidance for 
identifying and assessing performance-based approaches to regulation 
(see SECY-00-0191, ``High-Level Guidelines for Performance-Based 
Activities,'' dated September 1, 2000, and Staff Requirements 
Memorandum (SRM), dated March 1, 1999, entitled, ``SECY-98-0144: White 
Paper on Risk-Informed and Performance-Based Regulation.'' This 
guidance augmented the risk-related guidance in the NRC's Probabilistic 
Risk Assessment (PRA) Policy Statement (60 FR 42622, August 16, 1995) 
and Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.174, ``An Approach for Using Probabilistic 
Risk Assessment in Risk-Informed Decisions on Plant-Specific Changes to 
the Licensing Basis,'' dated July 1998.
    In SECY-98-0058, ``Development of a Risk-Informed, Performance-
Based Regulation for Fire Protection at Nuclear Power Plants,'' dated 
March 26, 1998, the NRC staff proposed to the Commission that the staff 
work with the NFPA and the industry to develop a performance-based, 
risk-informed consensus standard for fire protection for nuclear power 
plants and, if the standard was acceptable, the staff would endorse the 
standard in a rulemaking. In an SRM dated June 30, 1998, the Commission 
approved the staff's proposal and the staff began cooperative 
participation in the development of NFPA 805.
    As a result of its interaction with NFPA, the NRC staff determined 
that the likelihood of an acceptable standard was sufficiently high 
that rulemaking to endorse NFPA 805 should be approved. In SECY-00-
0009, dated January 13, 2000, titled ``Rulemaking Plan, Reactor

[[Page 33538]]

Fire Protection Risk-Informed, Performance-Based Rulemaking,'' the 
staff requested Commission approval to proceed with rulemaking to 
permit reactor licensees to adopt NFPA 805 as a voluntary alternative 
to existing fire protection requirements. In an SRM dated February 24, 
2000, the Commission directed the staff to proceed with this 
rulemaking.
    The NFPA Standards Council issued NFPA 805, 2001 Edition, January 
13, 2001, with an effective date of February 9, 2001. It was approved 
as an American National Standard on February 9, 2001. The standard 
specifies the minimum fire protection requirements for existing light 
water nuclear power plants during all modes (``phases'' in NFPA 805) of 
plant operation, including, shutdown, degraded conditions, and 
decommissioning.
    In a memorandum dated October 9, 2001, the NRC staff informed the 
Commission that it planned to submit to the Commission by July 2002 a 
proposed rule that would revise 10 CFR 50.48 and a final rule 12 months 
after the proposed rule was published for public comment. Additionally, 
the staff informed the Commission that it was working with the Nuclear 
Energy Institute (NEI) to develop implementing guidance.
    On December 20, 2001 (66 FR 65661), the NRC published draft rule 
language proposing to endorse NFPA 805 in the Federal Register. The NRC 
also posted this draft language on the NRC's interactive Rulemaking 
Forum Web site at http://ruleforum.llnl.gov. The NRC requested public 
comment on the draft rule language.
    In response to this preliminary request for public comment, the NRC 
received five sets of comments from industry, consultants, licensees, 
industry organizations, and NRC staff. Based on those comments and on 
reviews by NRC Program Offices and Committees, the NRC revised the 
draft rule language. In SECY-02-0132, dated July 15, 2002, the staff 
requested the Commission's approval to publish the proposed rule in the 
Federal Register and on October 3, 2002, the Commission approved the 
publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public 
comment. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register for a 
75-day public comment period (67 FR 66578; November, 1, 2002).

II. Discussion

    In this rule, the NRC is allowing licensees to adopt NFPA 805 as a 
performance-based alternative to complying with paragraph (b) of Sec.  
50.48 for plants licensed to operate before January 1, 1979; or the 
fire protection license conditions for plants licensed to operate after 
January 1, 1979. Paragraph (b) of Sec.  50.48 refers to fire protection 
features that 10 CFR 50, Appendix R requires to satisfy GDC 3. 
Paragraph (b) discusses the extent to which those features are 
regulatory requirements for certain licensees, and specifically to 
plants licensed before January 1, 1979. Requirements for plants 
licensed after that date are specified in plant fire protection license 
conditions. The NRC considers that NFPA 805 specifies fire protection 
requirements or provides an acceptable methodology and performance 
criteria for licensees to identify fire protection requirements that 
are an acceptable alternative to the Appendix R fire protection 
features. A description of NFPA 805 and the NFPA 805 methodology 
follows.
    NFPA 805 is a performance-based standard for fire protection 
prepared by the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Protection for Nuclear 
Facilities. Issued by the Standards Council on January 13, 2001, it was 
approved as an American National Standard on February 9, 2001. NFPA 805 
describes a methodology for establishing fundamental fire protection 
program design requirements and elements, determining required fire 
protection systems and features, applying performance-based 
requirements, and administering fire protection for existing light 
water reactors during operation, decommissioning, and permanent 
shutdown. It provides for the establishment of a minimum set of fire 
protection requirements but allows performance-based or deterministic 
approaches to be used to meet performance criteria.
    Under NFPA 805, a licensee adopts the performance goals, 
objectives, and criteria itemized in Chapter 1 of NFPA 805 and then 
meets those goals, objectives, and criteria through the implementation 
of performance-based or deterministic approaches. Those goals, 
objectives, and criteria contain provisions for nuclear safety, 
radioactive release, life safety, and business interruption. Relative 
to its mission to protect the public health and safety, the NRC is 
concerned with the nuclear safety and radioactive release goals, 
objectives, and criteria, and the protection of essential personnel 
aspect of the life safety goals, objectives, and criteria. Therefore, 
the NRC is not endorsing the Plant Damage/Business Interruption and 
Life Safety Goals of NFPA 805.
    After a licensee adopts the performance goals, objectives, and 
criteria itemized in Chapter 1, it establishes plant fire protection 
requirements using the methodology in Chapter 2 of NFPA 805. The 
initial step in this methodology is to establish the minimum fire 
protection program elements and design criteria contained in Chapter 3 
of NFPA 805. NFPA 805 does not permit the Chapter 3 elements and design 
criteria to be subject to the performance-based approaches allowed 
elsewhere within NFPA 805. However, to provide regulatory flexibility, 
the final rule provides for licensees to request a license amendment to 
apply NFPA 805 performance-based approaches to the Chapter 3 fire 
protection program elements and minimum design criteria.
    After establishing the fundamental fire protection program elements 
and minimum design requirements of Chapter 3, the licensee performs a 
plant-wide analysis to identify fire areas and fire hazards required to 
meet the performance criteria and the SSCs in each fire area to which 
the performance criteria apply. The licensee may apply either a 
performance-based or a deterministic approach to meet the performance 
criteria. For a deterministic approach, the performance criteria are 
deemed to be satisfied when the plants existing fire protection 
requirements are met. For a performance-based approach, the licensee 
must perform engineering analyses to demonstrate that the performance-
based requirements are met. These engineering analyses may include 
engineering evaluations, probabilistic safety assessments, and fire 
modeling calculations.
    If the approach chosen to meet the performance criteria results in 
a change to the approved design basis, the licensee must evaluate any 
resulting changes in risk and determine whether the changes in risk are 
acceptable to the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction, i.e., NRC). NRC 
guidance on the acceptability of changes in risk is in RG 1.174 and is 
referenced by NFPA 805. The licensee must also evaluate the change to 
determine whether defense-in-depth and safety margins are maintained. 
The licensee implements a monitoring program to monitor plant 
performance as it applies to fire risk and must adjust the fire 
protection program as necessary as levels of risk change. For the 
resulting fire protection program, the licensee documents the results 
of the analyses, ensures the quality of the analyses, and maintains 
configuration control of the resulting plant design and operation. 
Section 2.7 of NFPA 805 provides requirements for program 
documentation, configuration control, and quality.

[[Page 33539]]

    NFPA 805 does not supersede the requirements of GDC 3, 10 CFR 
50.48(a), or 10 CFR 50.48(f). Those regulatory requirements continue to 
apply to licensees that adopt NFPA 805. However, under NFPA 805, the 
means by which GDC 3 or 10 CFR 50.48(a) requirements may be met is 
different than under 10 CFR 50.48(b). Specifically, whereas GDC 3 
refers to SSCs important to safety, NFPA 805 identifies fire protection 
systems and features required to meet the Chapter 1 performance 
criteria through the methodology in Chapter 4 of NFPA 805. Also, under 
NFPA 805, the 10 CFR 50.48(a)(2)(iii) requirement to limit fire damage 
to SSCs important to safety so that the capability to safely shut down 
the plant is ensured is satisfied by meeting the performance criteria 
in Section 1.5.1 of NFPA 805. The Section 1.5.1 criteria include 
provisions for ensuring that reactivity control, inventory and pressure 
control, decay heat removal, vital auxiliaries, and process monitoring 
are achieved and maintained.
    This methodology specifies a process to identify the fire 
protection systems and features required to achieve the nuclear safety 
performance criteria in Section 1.5 of NFPA 805. Once a determination 
has been made that a fire protection system or feature is required to 
achieve the performance criteria of Section 1.5, its design and 
qualification must meet any applicable requirements of NFPA 805, 
Chapter 3. Having identified the required fire protection systems and 
features, the licensee selects either a deterministic or performance-
based approach to demonstrate that the performance criteria are 
satisfied. This process satisfies the GDC 3 requirement to design and 
locate SSCs important to safety to minimize the probability and effects 
of fires and explosions.
    The methodology in NFPA 805 for performance-based approaches is to 
a large degree consistent with the principles for performance-based 
regulation contained in the ``White Paper on Risk-Informed, 
Performance-Based Regulation,'' attached to the SRM for SECY-98-0144. 
The NFPA 805 methodology incorporates the following attributes: (1) 
Measurable or calculable parameters exist to monitor the system, 
including facility performance; (2) objective criteria to assess 
performance are established based on risk insights, deterministic 
analyses, and/or performance history; (3) plant operators have the 
flexibility to determine how to meet established performance criteria 
in ways that will encourage and reward improved outcomes; and (4) a 
framework exists in which the failure to meet a performance criterion, 
while undesirable, will not in and of itself constitute or result in an 
immediate safety concern.

Technical Acceptability of NFPA 805 as an Alternative to 10 CFR 
50.48(b)

    With respect to the certain required fire protection features 
required to satisfy GDC 3, 10 CFR 50.48(b) references Appendix R, 
whereas 10 CFR 50.48(c) references NFPA 805. The NRC evaluated whether 
the technical approaches, methodologies, and engineering analyses 
specified in NFPA 805 provide criteria to establish fire protection 
features sufficient to satisfy GDC 3. The acceptability of NFPA 805 
with exceptions and supplementation versus Appendix R is discussed 
below.
    Appendix R, Section I, states that Appendix R sets forth the fire 
protection features required to satisfy GDC 3 with respect to certain 
generic issues. Section I also discusses the need to limit fire damage 
to systems required to achieve and maintain safe shutdown conditions 
and that protection be provided so that a fire within only one such 
system will not damage the redundant system.
    Appendix R, Section II, provides the general requirements for a 
fire protection program, discusses defense-in-depth, defines the fire 
hazards analysis required to be performed, describes fire prevention 
features, and requires alternate or dedicated shutdown capability for 
areas where the fire protection features cannot ensure safe shutdown 
capability in the event of a fire in that area.
    Appendix R, Section III, provides specific requirements for certain 
fire protection features. The fire protection features in Section III 
are: A. Water supplies for fire suppression systems, B. Sectional 
isolation valves, C. Hydrant isolation valves, D. Manual fire 
suppression, E. Hydrostatic hose tests, F. Automatic fire detection, G. 
Fire protection of safe shutdown capability, H. Fire brigade, I. Fire 
brigade training, J. Emergency lighting, K. Administrative controls, L. 
Alternative and dedicated shutdown capability, M. Fire barrier cable 
penetration seal qualification, N. Fire doors, and O. Oil collection 
system for reactor coolant pump.
    NFPA 805 establishes performance goals, performance objectives, and 
performance criteria that require a licensee to provide reasonable 
assurance that a fire will not prevent the plant from achieving and 
maintaining the fuel in a safe and stable condition, the plant will not 
be placed in an unrecoverable condition, and will not result in a 
radiological release that adversely affects the public, plant 
personnel, or the environment. These goals, objectives, and criteria 
are described in Chapter 1 and elsewhere in the standard. NFPA 805 
allows the use of either a deterministic or performance-based approach 
to achieve the performance goals, objectives, and criteria of Chapter 
1. Subsequent chapters of the standard describe methodologies to be 
used to establish the required fire protection systems and features, 
including the analyses used to support the performance-based fire 
protection design that fulfills these goals.
    NFPA 805 requires the licensee to use a deterministic or 
performance-based approach to assess whether the performance goals, 
objectives, and criteria in Section 1.5 of the standard are met. The 
methodologies for implementing these approaches are established in 
Chapters 2 and 4 of NFPA 805. Chapter 3 of NFPA 805 provides certain 
deterministic and administrative requirements for fire protection 
systems and features that are not subject to the NFPA 805 performance-
based approach. The methodology in Chapter 2 describes how these 
approaches are to be developed and implemented. The methodology in 
Chapter 4 describes the process to be used to determine which fire 
protection systems and features are required to achieve the performance 
criteria outlined in Chapter 1.
    NFPA 805 accomplishes the intent of the Appendix R, Section I, 
requirements through the methodology in Chapter 4 of NFPA 805. That 
methodology requires that a nuclear safety capability assessment be 
performed that determines that one success path is maintained free of 
fire damage from a single fire. The assessment may use either a 
deterministic or a performance-based approach. The deterministic 
approach requires protection for one success path of required cables 
and equipment to achieve and maintain the nuclear safety performance 
criteria in Chapter 1. The nuclear safety performance criteria is 
considered to be satisfied when the protection scheme meets certain 
deterministic criteria such as when a 3-hour fire barrier encapsulation 
of one success path is provided. The performance-based approach 
requires that, using the Chapter 2 methodology, information on targets, 
damage thresholds, limiting conditions, and fire scenarios be used to 
determine the protection scheme necessary to ensure the nuclear safety 
success path(s) for required cables and equipment are maintained free 
of fire damage to achieve the nuclear performance criteria in Chapter 
1.

[[Page 33540]]

    Chapter 3 of NFPA 805 accomplishes the requirements for general 
fire protection program features described in Appendix R, Section II.A. 
and the general fire prevention features described in Appendix R, 
Section II.C. The defense-in-depth objectives described in Appendix R, 
Section II, General Requirements, are incorporated in NFPA 805. The 
defense-in-depth objectives of Appendix R, Section II, are (1) prevent 
fires from starting; (2) detect rapidly, control, and extinguish 
promptly those fires that do occur; and (3) provide protection for 
structures, systems, and components important to safety so that a fire 
that is not promptly extinguished by the fire suppression activities 
will not prevent the safe shutdown of the plant. These defense-in-depth 
objectives are stated in Section 1.2 of NFPA 805 and the methods to 
accomplish them are specified in the standard as described below:
    1. Prevention of fires is specified in Section 3.3 of NFPA 805 and 
includes control of ignition sources, control of combustible and 
flammable materials, use of noncombustible or fire resistant structural 
materials, and control of cable construction and raceways.
    2. Fire detection and suppression are required in Sections 3.4 
through 3.11 of NFPA 805 and include on-site fire-fighting capability, 
fire alarms, manual and fixed suppression systems, and passive fire 
protection features.
    3. Protection of SSCs important to achieve the nuclear safety 
performance criteria is specified in Chapter 4 of NFPA 805. Chapter 4 
establishes the methodology to determine the fire protection systems 
and features required to achieve the performance criteria and specifies 
that at least one success path to achieve the nuclear safety 
performance criteria shall be maintained free of fire damage by a 
single fire. The nuclear safety performance criteria specified in 
Section 1.5 are: (1) Reactivity control, (2) inventory and pressure 
control, (3) decay heat removal, (4) vital auxiliaries, and (5) process 
monitoring.
    The methodologies described in NFPA 805 Chapters 2 and 4 and the 
fundamental fire protection program and design elements in Chapter 3 
require a general fire hazards analysis similar to that described in 
Appendix R, Section II.B. Appendix R, Section II.D, which describes 
alternative or dedicated shutdown capability, is discussed later in 
this section.
    The NRC has evaluated Appendix R, Section III, Specific 
Requirements, and determined that, with certain differences (e.g., cold 
shutdown, alternate or dedicated shutdown, shutdown methods and 
emergency lighting), NFPA 805 Chapter 3 and the methodologies in 
Chapters 2 and 4 provide acceptable alternative criteria to the 
specific fire protection requirements in Section III.
    For example, Appendix R, Section III.A, Water supplies for fire 
suppression systems, is the design criteria for fire suppression system 
water supplies and it requires certain design features, such as the 
duration of the water supply and configuration of the water sources, to 
be met. NFPA 805 has similar requirements in Chapter 3 for water supply 
and configuration that are acceptable alternatives to the requirements 
in Appendix R.
    Another example is Appendix R, Section III.K, Administrative 
controls, which requires controls to govern the activities related to 
the handling of combustible materials and ignition sources and govern 
actions by emergency and general plant personnel. NFPA 805 has 
requirements in Chapter 3 for administrative controls that are 
acceptable alternatives to the requirements in Appendix R.
    Appendix R, Section III.G, Fire protection of safe shutdown 
capability, provides the deterministic requirements to ensure that one 
train of systems necessary to achieve and maintain hot shutdown is free 
of fire damage and systems necessary to achieve and maintain cold 
shutdown can be repaired within 72 hours. The final rule (45 FR 76602; 
November 19, 1980) that promulgated 10 CFR 50.48 and Appendix R, dated 
November 19, 1980, stated that the objective for the protection of safe 
shutdown capability is to ensure that at least one means of achieving 
and maintaining safe shutdown conditions will remain available during 
and after any postulated fire in the plant. NFPA 805 requires that, in 
the event of a fire, the plant be able to achieve and maintain the fuel 
in a safe and stable condition and that the plant is not placed in an 
unrecoverable condition in lieu of the analyzed shutdown method 
delineated in Section III.G. Specific criteria for the NFPA 805 
conditions are provided in Section 1.5 of NFPA 805. These differences 
in requirements for plant shut down result from the fact that NFPA 805 
is performance-based rather than deterministic. The shutdown methods 
delineated in Section III.G are not required by NFPA 805 because they 
are not needed to achieve the performance criteria of NFPA 805. 
However, NFPA 805, Chapter 4, requires that one success path necessary 
to achieve and maintain the nuclear safety performance criteria be 
maintained free of fire damage by a single fire. Therefore, NFPA 805 
has a similar objective for the protection of safe shutdown via its 
requirement of one success path. These minor differences from Appendix 
R are acceptable because achieving the nuclear safety goals, 
objectives, and performance criteria of NFPA 805 provide controls for 
maintenance of the reactor fuel and the plant condition that ensure 
adequate protection of public health and safety.
    The criteria and methodologies contained in NFPA 805 provide 
acceptable alternatives to the requirements in Appendix R, Sections I, 
II, and III regarding fire protection features required to satisfy GDC 
3.
    In addition to the requirements of 10 CFR 50.48(b) and Appendix R, 
the NRC reviewed the NFPA 805 fire protection criteria versus the 
guidance in RG 1.189, ``Fire Protection for Operating Nuclear Power 
Plants.'' Section C of RG 1.189, ``Regulatory Position,'' describes 
eight elements of an acceptable fire protection program. The NRC review 
determined that NFPA 805 provides adequately for each element. These 
eight elements are:
    1. Delineation of organization, staffing, and responsibilities.
    2. Performance of a fire hazards analysis sufficient to ensure safe 
shutdown functions and minimize radioactive material releases in the 
event of a fire.
    3. The limitation of damage to SSCs important to safety so that the 
capability to safely shut down the reactor is ensured.
    4. Evaluation of fire test reports and fire data to ensure they are 
appropriate and adequate for ensuring compliance with regulatory 
requirements.
    5. Evaluation of compensatory measures for interim use for adequacy 
and appropriate length of use.
    6. Training and qualification of fire protection personnel 
appropriate for their level of responsibility.
    7. Quality assurance.
    8. Control of fire protection program changes.
    For example, element 3, limitation of damage to SSCs important to 
safety so that the capability to safely shut down the reactor is 
ensured, is addressed in NFPA Chapter 4. Chapter 4 of the standard 
establishes methods to determine the fire protection needed to limit 
fire damage to SSCs required to achieve the nuclear safety performance 
criteria in Section 1.5 of NFPA 805 and specifies that the design and 
qualification of those fire protection systems or features meet the 
applicable requirements of Chapter 3. The criteria in the standard are 
adequate to meet the intent of this element of RG 1.189.

[[Page 33541]]

NFPA 805 Differences With Respect to Appendix R

    NFPA 805 does not explicitly include some requirements of Appendix 
R. NFPA 805 has no deterministic requirements for cold shutdown and 
emergency lighting, no provision for an alternative shutdown 
capability, and allows the use of recovery actions. NFPA 805 requires 
that the fuel be maintained in a safe and stable condition rather than 
prescribing the requirement for hot shutdown, cold shutdown, or the 
provisions for an alternate or dedicated shutdown. These differences 
result from the fact that NFPA 805 is performance-based rather than 
deterministic, with a performance goal to achieve a safe and stable 
condition. Deterministic requirements for emergency lighting for 
operation of safe shutdown equipment are not included in NFPA 805 
because varying degrees of lighting and duration of lighting may be 
implemented by a performance-based approach provided that the 
performance goal to achieve a safe and stable condition can be 
demonstrated and met. The use of feasible recovery actions are allowed 
in NFPA 805 provided that the performance-based approach is used and 
can demonstrate and meet the performance goal. Also, the additional 
risk resulting from the use of recovery actions must be evaluated. 
These differences from Appendix R are acceptable because the nuclear 
safety performance criteria of NFPA 805 must be met in order to achieve 
a safe and stable condition. Meeting the performance criteria ensures 
adequate protection of public health and safety.
    NFPA 805 includes some specific requirements that are not included 
in Appendix R. For example, NFPA 805 applies during all phases of plant 
operation including shutdown and degraded conditions. NFPA 805, Chapter 
5, applies to plants that have permanently ceased operation and 
requires that the fire protection plan specified in Chapter 3 of NFPA 
805 be maintained. The application of fire protection criteria for all 
phases of plant operation is more inclusive than 10 CFR 50.48(b) and 
Appendix R, resulting in a more comprehensive fire protection program.
    Appendix R, Section II.B, requires a fire hazards analysis to 
determine the consequences of fire on the ability to minimize and 
control the release of radioactivity to the environment. Similarly, 
NFPA 805, Chapter 1, requires that radiation release goals, objectives, 
and performance criteria be met. The radioactive release goal of NFPA 
805 is to provide reasonable assurance that a fire will not result in a 
radiological release that adversely affects the public, plant 
personnel, or the environment. The NFPA 805, Chapter 1, Radioactive 
Release Performance Criteria, requires that radiation release from the 
effects of fire suppression activities shall be as low as reasonably 
achievable and shall not exceed 10 CFR part 20 limits. NFPA 805, 
Chapter 4, requires the evaluation for demonstrating how the criteria 
are met. The NFPA 805 approach to radioactive release is more 
comprehensive than 10 CFR 50.48(b) and Appendix R and is considered 
adequate to ensure the protection of public health and safety.

Acceptability of NFPA 805 for Decommissioning Plants

    The first paragraph of 10 CFR 50.48(f) is revised to include the 
statement that a fire protection program that complies with NFPA 805 is 
deemed to be acceptable for complying with the requirements of 
paragraph (f). Section 50.48(f) requires licensees to maintain a fire 
protection program to prevent, detect, control, and extinguish fires 
that could result in a radiological hazard and to ensure that the risk 
of fire-induced radiological hazards to the public, environment, and 
plant personnel is minimized. Further, 10 CFR 50.48(f) requires 
licensees to assess and revise the fire protection program throughout 
the stages of decommissioning as the fire hazard threat changes and 
allows licensees to make changes to the fire protection program if the 
changes do not reduce the effectiveness of the fire protection program, 
taking into account the decommissioning plant conditions and 
activities.
    The NRC reviewed NFPA 805, Chapter 5, and determined that it 
requires a fire protection plan to be maintained throughout 
decommissioning and permanent shutdown. It also specifies that the plan 
maintain a fire protection program as specified by Section 3.1 of NFPA 
805. The fire protection program specified in Section 3.1 requires that 
fundamental fire protection program elements and minimum design 
requirements be established and maintained as part of the plant fire 
protection program. NFPA 805, Section 5.2, requires controls governing 
the identification of fire hazards, fire prevention, fire detection, 
fire fighting capability, and emergency response. Section 5.2 also 
requires the maintenance of a fire protection program that is 
commensurate with the fire hazards as decommissioning progresses. NFPA 
805, Section 5.3, identifies specific fire protection program elements 
and requires that the fire protection program elements be established 
and maintained as decommissioning progresses after permanent shutdown. 
As a plant progresses into decommissioning, the fire protection program 
that meets the nuclear safety criteria in NFPA 805, Chapter 1, changes 
because the fuel has been removed from the reactor and the reactor is 
no longer operating. The focus of the fire protection program changes 
to control fires that may cause the release of radioactivity, taking 
into consideration changes in plant configuration, maintenance, and 
activities as the plant progresses beyond permanent shutdown. Section 
5.3, of NFPA 805, requires that the fire protection program be 
maintained commensurate with these changes in fire hazards and the 
potential for release of hazardous and radiological materials to the 
environment. Because the NFPA 805 fire protection program requirements 
for a decommissioning plant are technically equivalent to the 
requirements of paragraph (f), the NRC considers that a fire protection 
program that complies with NFPA 805 is acceptable for complying with 
the requirements of paragraph (f).

Statement of Acceptability of 10 CFR 50.48(c) and NFPA 805

    The NRC considered whether 10 CFR 50.48(c) provides requirements 
and criteria for licensees to implement fire protection features for 
certain generic issues referenced in 10 CFR 50.48(b) and as established 
in Appendix R to 10 CFR 50, or as required by plant license conditions 
resulting from NRC reviews of plant licenses to those features 
established in Appendix R. The NRC reviewed the requirements in Chapter 
3 of NFPA 805 for the establishment of fundamental fire protection 
program elements and minimum design requirements; the performance 
goals, objectives, and criteria in Chapter 1 of NFPA 805; the 
methodology in Chapter 4 for identifying fire protection systems and 
features required to meet the Chapter 1 performance criteria; and the 
methodology in Chapter 2 for the implementation of deterministic or 
performance-based approaches to establish those fire protection systems 
and features. The NRC determined that NFPA 805 contains requirements 
that address those generic issues referenced in 10 CFR 50.48(b) and 
provides sufficient requirements and criteria for licensees to 
implement fire protection features that satisfy GDC 3 with respect to 
those issues. Therefore, the NRC determined that compliance with 10

[[Page 33542]]

CFR 50.48(c) is an acceptable alternative to compliance with 10 CFR 
50.48(b) for plants licensed to operate before January 1, 1979, or the 
fire protection license conditions for plants licensed to operate after 
January 1, 1979.
    In addition, the NRC reviewed the requirements in Chapter 5 for 
licensees who have submitted the certifications required under 10 CFR 
50.82(a)(1). The NRC considered the requirements in Chapter 5 to 
continue to maintain the fire protection systems and features needed to 
meet the performance criteria of Chapter 1, to continue to maintain a 
fire protection plan as specified in Section 3.2 of NFPA 805, and the 
criteria in Chapter 5 regarding issues applicable to a plant 
progressing through decommissioning and into permanent shutdown. The 
NRC determined that a fire protection program that complies with NFPA 
805 meets the requirements for a fire protection program as specified 
in 10 CFR 50.48(f).

Discussion of Provisions of the Rule

    The following paragraphs discuss the bases for certain provisions 
in this rule. The final rule provides for licensees to request a 
license amendment that would permit them to maintain a fire protection 
program that complies with NFPA 805, identifies seven exceptions to 
NFPA 805, and provides a method for licensees to request to use risk-
informed, performance-based alternatives to provisions in NFPA 805.

Provision for Adoption of NFPA 805

    In accordance with 10 CFR 50.48(c)(3)(i), a licensee may maintain a 
fire protection program that complies with NFPA 805 as an alternative 
to complying with paragraph (b) of this section for plants licensed to 
operate before January 1, 1979, or the fire protection license 
conditions for plants licensed to operate after January 1, 1979. The 
licensee shall submit a request in the form of an application for 
license amendment under Sec.  50.90. The application must identify any 
orders and license conditions that must be revised or superseded, and 
contain any necessary revisions to the plant's technical specifications 
and the bases thereof.

Provisions for Exceptions to NFPA 805

    The NRC identified provisions of the NFPA 805 Standard that were 
determined to be unacceptable or inappropriate to endorse in this 
rulemaking. A description of each exception and the bases for the 
exception follows:

Life Safety and Plant Damage/Business Interruption Goals, Sec.  
50.48(c)(2)(i) and (ii)

    The Life Safety and Plant Damage/Business Interruption goals, 
objectives, and criteria in Sections 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5 of NFPA 805 are 
not endorsed in this rule. The Plant Damage/Business Interruption goal 
to provide reasonable assurance that the potential economic 
consequences of the risk of a fire are acceptable is not within the 
regulatory responsibility of the NRC under the Atomic Energy Act of 
1954, as amended, to provide for the common defense and security and to 
protect the health and safety of the public. The Life Safety Goal 
provides for protection of plant personnel (including essential 
personnel) from the effects of a fire but is not fully within the 
regulatory responsibility of the NRC. Those portions of the Life Safety 
Goal that are within the scope of NRC regulatory responsibility, such 
as adequate protection for essential personnel, are required elsewhere 
in the standard. Therefore, the NRC is not endorsing the NFPA 805 Life 
Safety or Plant Damage/Business Interruption Goals.

Feed and Bleed, Sec.  50.48(c)(2)(iii)

    The NRC does not accept the use of a high-pressure charging/
injection pump coupled with the pressurizer power operated relief 
valves (PORVs) as the sole fire protected shutdown path for maintaining 
reactor coolant inventory, pressure control, and decay heat removal 
capability (i.e., feed-and-bleed) for pressurized water reactors 
(PWRs). Reliance on feed-and-bleed as the sole method for achieving 
these criteria does not provide sufficient defense-in-depth. Therefore, 
feed-and-bleed as the sole means of demonstrating achieving the nuclear 
safety performance criteria in Section 1.5.1(b) and (c) is not 
permitted.

Uncertainty Analysis, Sec.  50.48(c)(2)(iv)

    The uncertainty analysis required by Section 2.7.3.5 of the 
standard is not required for the deterministic approach because 
conservatism is included in the deterministic criteria.

Existing Cables, Sec.  50.48(c)(2)(v)

    Section 3.3.5.3 of the standard provides that electric cable 
construction shall comply with a flame propagation test acceptable to 
the AHJ. For this rulemaking, the NRC is requiring compliance with 10 
CFR 50.48(c)(2)(v), which provides for the use of flame-retardant 
coatings on electric cables or an automatic fixed fire suppression 
system in lieu of installing cables meeting an acceptable flame 
propagation test. The electrical flame propagation test compliance was 
put in place after some licensees had installed cabling that could not 
be qualified to a flame propagation test. The NRC determined that 
flame-retardant coatings or a fixed fire suppression system provided an 
acceptable level of protection for these licensees (see Appendix A to 
BTP APCSB 9.5-1). Licensees should have these configurations as part of 
their licensing basis, where applicable. This provision, therefore, 
carries forward a previously accepted alternative to meeting a flame 
propagation test.
    Additionally, the italicized exception to Section 3.3.5.3 of the 
standard is not endorsed because it would allow cables that did not 
comply with an acceptable flame propagation test to remain in place in 
a reactor plant without mitigation even though they were not approved 
in the licensing basis. Cables that do not meet this requirement could 
contribute to failure of operating or shutdown systems and the 
contribution to risk has not been calculated or approved. The criteria 
that electric cable constructions should pass flame propagation testing 
has been in NRC guidance since 1976 (Appendix A to BTP APCSB 9.5-1).

Water Supply and Distribution, Sec.  50.48(c)(2)(vi)

    The italicized exception to Section 3.6.4 of the standard is not 
endorsed. The exception would allow a licensee to have a 
``provisional'' manual fire-fighting standpipe/hose station system in 
place of seismically qualified standpipes and hose stations even though 
it was not approved in the licensing basis. The NRC interprets Section 
3.6.4, which is one of the fire protection elements and minimum design 
requirements of Chapter 3, as requiring seismically qualified 
standpipes and hose stations in all areas containing systems and 
components needed to perform the nuclear safety functions in the event 
of a safe shutdown earthquake. NRC guidance to supply water at least to 
standpipes and hose connections for manual fire-fighting in areas 
required for safe plant shutdown in the event of an earthquake, and 
that the standpipe system serving such hose stations be analyzed for 
seismic loading to assure system pressure integrity, has been in 
existence since 1976. Therefore, the NRC considers seismically 
qualified standpipes and hose stations of such importance that 
licensees who wish to use the exception to Section 3.6.4 in NFPA 805 
must obtain NRC review and

[[Page 33543]]

approval in accordance with Sec.  50.48(c)(2)(vii).

Performance-Based Methods, Sec.  50.48(c)(2)(vii)

    The prohibition in Section 3.1 of NFPA 805 that does not permit the 
use of performance-based methods for the Chapter 3 fundamental fire 
protection program elements and minimum design criteria is not 
endorsed. The NRC takes this exception in order to provide licensees 
greater flexibility in meeting the fire protection program elements and 
minimum design requirements of Chapter 3 by the use of performance-
based methods (including the use of risk-informed methods) described in 
the NFPA 805 standard. This approach is acceptable to NRC because the 
rule requires NRC review and approval prior to the licensee's use of 
those methods, and the rule sets forth criteria for evaluating the 
acceptability of the licensee's proposed use of performance-based 
methods in meeting the fire protection program elements and minimum 
design requirements.

Alternatives to Compliance With NFPA 805, Sec.  50.48(c)(4)

    The final rule provides licensees the flexibility of requesting, 
via a license amendment, to use risk-informed or performance-based 
alternatives that deviate from compliance with NFPA 805. The NRC 
recognizes that licensees may propose acceptable approaches that are 
not encompassed by the criteria in NFPA 805. Therefore, the NRC is 
including a provision for requesting such approaches in the rule. 
However, to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, the 
NRC is requiring that licensees obtain NRC review and approval to use 
those methods, and is providing criteria in Sec.  50.48(c)(4) for 
review of their acceptability.

III. Comment Resolution on Proposed Rule

    The 75-day public comment period for the proposed rule ended 
January 15, 2003. Comments were received from organizations and 
individuals. Copies of the comments are available for public inspection 
and copying for a fee at the Commission's Public Document Room, One 
White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, 
Maryland. The comments were submitted by an individual, an individual 
representing a public interest group, a utility with a nuclear reactor, 
two nuclear utility groups each representing six plants with nuclear 
reactors, a law firm, a law firm representing several utilities, and 
NEI. Most commenters supported the proposed rule and made 
recommendations to enhance or modify elements of the rule. One 
commenter opposed adoption of the proposed rule.
    In the following paragraphs, the NRC discusses the resolution of 
the public comments by topic.

Need for License Amendment

    A commenter suggested that the NRC amend 10 CFR 50.55a, ``Codes and 
standards,'' to add a paragraph referencing NFPA 805, which could then 
be referenced in 10 CFR 50.48 as an optional alternative approach. The 
commenter stated that this approach would negate the need for licensees 
to obtain a license amendment in order to adopt NFPA 805 or approved 
alternative approaches under the provisions of 10 CFR 50.55a(c)(3). The 
commenter also stated that the process for obtaining NRC approval of 
alternate methods should not require a license amendment.
    The NRC does not agree that amending 10 CFR 50.55a would negate the 
need for a license amendment in order for licensees to adopt NFPA 805. 
The NRC believes that, even if Sec.  50.55a were revised as suggested 
by the commenter, it would not negate the need to change the license. 
To adopt NFPA 805, technical specifications and license conditions will 
need to be changed and such changes are amendments to the license. 
Regarding the use of methods, licensees may use methods such as fire 
modeling and fire PSAs without prior NRC review and approval. However, 
such use is at the licensee's risk and is subject to subsequent 
inspection by the NRC.

Risk-Informed Methodology

    A commenter stated that NFPA 805 does not include risk-informed 
methodologies such as NEI 00-01, ``Methodology for Post-Fire Circuit 
Analysis,'' therefore the regulatory text or implementing guidance 
should recognize the use of risk-informed methodologies to address the 
appropriate issues.
    The NRC agrees that NFPA 805 does not include risk-assessment 
methods. Although fire models and fire PSA methods have been developed, 
technical issues remain regarding their acceptability for the full 
range of decisions in risk-informed regulation by industry.

Degraded Conditions

    A commenter observed that the description of NFPA 805 in the 
Federal Register Notice (FRN) for the proposed rule states that the 
standard specifies the minimum fire protection requirements for 
existing light water reactors during all modes (``phases'' in NFPA 805) 
of plant operation, including shutdown, degraded conditions, and 
decommissioning. The commenter stated that fires should not be 
postulated with degraded conditions unless the fire and the degraded 
condition have a common cause.
    The NRC disagrees with this comment. In citing the paragraph from 
Section 1.1, ``Scope,'' of the standard, the NRC was identifying the 
modes or phases of operation for which NFPA 805 was applicable. The NRC 
believes the wording is appropriate as it correctly identifies the 
scope of NFPA 805. However, the NRC was not imposing a requirement that 
a degraded condition be postulated in addition to a fire for purposes 
of analyses.

Existing Cables

    A commenter stated that the italicized exception in Section 3.3.5.3 
of NFPA 805 allowed existing cables in place prior to adoption of the 
standard to remain as is and argued that leaving these cables in place 
was consistent with the ``safe today, safe tomorrow'' philosophy. 
Therefore, the exception should be retained in the rule.
    The NRC disagrees with the suggestion that the italicized exception 
in Section 3.3.5.3 of NFPA 805 be retained in the rule because it would 
allow existing electrical cable which does not comply with a flame 
propagation test acceptable to the NRC to remain as is even if the 
existing license basis required the cables to be qualified.

Use of Feed-and-Bleed

    A commenter agreed with the NRC that feed-and-bleed is one 
available flow path to achieve and maintain safe shutdown but should 
not be considered the ``preferred'' or ``sole'' path. However, the 
commenter felt that feed-and-bleed should be considered as a viable 
path for risk calculations.
    The NRC agrees that feed-and-bleed may be used in risk 
calculations. However, as previously noted, feed-and-bleed should not 
be the sole path.
    Regarding Sec.  50.48(c)(2)(iii) of the proposed rule, a commenter 
noted that, ``This paragraph does not accept the use of a high-pressure 
charging/injection pump coupled with the pressurizer PORVs as the sole 
fire protected shutdown path * * *.'' The commenter stated that feed-
and-bleed should be considered as one of the multiple methods when used 
in a risk-informed analysis of safe shutdown capability.
    The NRC agrees with this comment. The purpose of Sec.  
50.48(c)(2)(iii) is to identify that this path is not to be relied

[[Page 33544]]

on as a sole fire protected shutdown path.

Previously Approved Licensing Basis

    A commenter asserted that licensees may bring forward portions of 
their existing licensing basis or design configuration as alternatives 
to the Chapter 3 fundamental elements when adopting NFPA 805. The 
commenter stated that it is the licensee's responsibility to maintain 
the plant licensing basis, but the burden of proof is the NRC's if the 
NRC suggests that the licensing basis was not previously approved.
    The NRC disagrees with the comment about the burden of proof. 
Because it is the licensee's responsibility to maintain the plant 
licensing basis, the burden of proof for previous approval is the 
licensee's. The NRC notes that this is the existing inspection and 
enforcement position which is generally applicable when a licensee 
claims that the NRC has previously approved a licensee commitment.
    A commenter asked if the discussion under Sec.  50.48(c)(3)(i) 
meant that existing approved exemptions remain valid under NFPA 805 and 
whether the licensee needed to identify that the associated safety 
evaluation remained in effect.
    The NRC's position is that existing exemptions remain valid after 
transition to NFPA 805 as indicated in Section 3.1 of the standard, if 
not otherwise revoked by the NRC as part of the initial approval to 
transition to NFPA 805. The licensee's analysis of the facility to 
perform the transition to NFPA 805 should include a review of fire 
protection exemptions in effect at the time of application. The NRC 
will deny the application if the NRC determines that the licensee does 
not address the continued validity of any exemption in effect at the 
time of application. As stated in Sec.  50.48(c)(3)(i), licensees must 
identify any orders or license conditions to be revised or superseded.

Burden Discussion

    A commenter recommended that the text in the statement of 
considerations (SOC) for the proposed rule on ``Unnecessary Burden'' be 
replaced with the following, ``Licensee adoption of the proposed rule 
or use of the techniques in the rule is expected to reduce unnecessary 
regulatory burdens by enabling licensees to cost-effectively adopt safe 
alternatives to overly conservative deterministic requirements.''
    NRC agrees that the rule provides licensees with the flexibility to 
adopt performance-based alternatives to existing prescriptive 
requirements and thus reduce unnecessary regulatory burden. The text of 
the final rule SOC has been modified accordingly.

Licensee Impact

    A commenter stated that the discussion on licensee impact in the 
SOC should identify the primary impacts on licensees and that 
characterizing the impacts as ``significant'' is not accurate and 
should be deleted. The commenter provided a list of the primary impacts 
expected and stated that they should be reflected in the FRN for the 
final rule.
    The NRC evaluated the primary impacts identified in the comment and 
agreed that they are appropriate and should be included in the 
discussion on licensee impact. The NRC modified the final rule 
discussion to reflect this comment. The NRC does not agree that the 
term significant is inaccurate because the analysis required by the 
final rule is expected to be approximately 11,250 person-hours per 
licensee.

Appendices

    A commenter stated that, although NRC indicated in the SOC that it 
intended to allow licensees to adopt NFPA 805 including Appendices B, C 
and D the proposed language for 10 CFR 50.48(c) and 10 CFR 50.48(f) 
does not specifically adopt the appendices. The commenter also stated 
that the language in Appendices B, C, and D, was non-mandatory and that 
the NRC would need to develop additional guidance as to how the 
language of the appendices would be made mandatory. Another commenter 
noted that Appendices C and D of NFPA 805 are not methodologies but 
descriptions of attributes of methodologies.
    The NRC agrees with the comment that the proposed rule did not 
incorporate Appendices B, C, and D by reference and that these 
appendices are not part of the standard. The NRC does not endorse the 
appendices in this rule and expresses no position as to their 
acceptability for use. However, licensees may, at their discretion and 
risk, use the appendices subject to subsequent NRC inspection. Further, 
the NRC agrees with the comment that Appendices C and D are not 
methodologies but are considered to be guidance for application of fire 
modeling or fire probabilistic safety assessment respectively.

Seismic Standpipes and Hose Stations

    A commenter stated that the italicized exception to Section 3.6.4 
of NFPA 805, which requires that provisions be made to supply water to 
standpipes and hose stations for manual fire suppression in the event 
of a safe shutdown earthquake (SSE), should be endorsed in the rule. 
The exception would allow provisions to restore a water supply and 
distribution system for manual fire-fighting purposes following an SSE.
    The NRC does not agree that the exception should be endorsed 
because it would allow licensees to use alternate provisions to 
seismically qualified standpipes and hose stations even if the 
licensing basis requires seismically qualified standpipes and hose 
stations. Licensees with approved exemptions or deviations or whose 
licensing basis does not require seismically qualified standpipes and 
hose stations may comply with their existing licensing basis.
    A commenter noted that Appendix A to BTP APCSB 9.5-1 did not 
require seismically qualified standpipes and hose stations for 
operating plants and plants with construction permits issued prior to 
July 1, 1976.
    NRC agrees that Appendix A to BTP APCSB 9.5-1 made separate 
provisions for operating plants and plants with construction permits 
issued prior to July 1, 1976, and did not require seismically qualified 
standpipes and hose stations for those plants. Therefore, the 
requirement in Section 3.6.4 of NFPA 805 is not applicable to licensees 
with nonseismic standpipes and hose stations previously approved in 
accordance with Appendix A to BTP APCSB 9.5-1.

Use of NFPA 805 Methods by Other Licensees

    A commenter stated that licensees who do not adopt NFPA 805 should 
not be precluded from using risk tools from NFPA 805.
    The NRC agrees with the comment. However, licensees not adopting 
NFPA 805 in accordance with the final rule are not covered by the 
provisions for transitioning to NFPA 805. Such licensees who wish to 
use the risk tools in NFPA 805 will need to separately determine if 
their existing licensing basis would permit the use of such tools, and 
take appropriate action as necessary to change their licensing basis.

Approaches Used in Different Fire Areas

    A commenter asked whether, in light of the fact that the rule is 
not intended to be implemented on a partial or selective basis, the 
NFPA 805 deterministic approach can be selected for one fire area and 
the performance-based approach for another.

[[Page 33545]]

    Chapter 2 of the standard requires a licensee to select a 
deterministic or a performance-based approach to determine how to meet 
the performance criteria that apply to each fire area. Thus, Chapter 2 
allows the use of different approaches for different fire areas. 
However,Chapter 2 does not allow NFPA 805 to be only partially 
implemented.

Meaning of the Term ``Element''

    A commenter stated that the word ``element'' in the discussion of 
plant change evaluations (Section 2.2.9 of the standard) should be 
changed to ``attribute'' to be consistent with language or terminology 
used in NFPA 805, Section 3.1. The term is used in Sections 2.2.1, 
2.2.9, and 2.4.4 and Figure 2.2 of Chapter 2.
    The NRC does not agree that the word ``element'' should be changed 
in Section 2.2.9 of the standard. In Chapter 2, the term ``element'' 
includes the fundamental elements of the fire protection program 
described in Chapter 3 of the standard (Section 2.2.1). Fundamental 
elements are necessary components of an acceptable fire protection 
program. Attributes are features or characteristics of the fundamental 
elements and may vary based on the plant licensing basis. Section 3.1 
states that previously approved alternatives from the fundamental 
protection program attributes described in Chapter 3 take precedence 
over the requirements contained in Chapter 3. Therefore, Section 2.2.9 
applies to previously approved program elements as well as previously 
approved attributes and the terminology in Section 2.2.9 is 
appropriate.

Additional Issue for Public Comment

    The NRC requested public comment on whether a licensee is likely to 
revert to their previous licensing basis after being approved to use 
NFPA 805 and, if they did, would a license amendment be required to 
revert to their previous compliance basis. Two commenters stated that 
licensees were not likely to revert to their previous status because 
the regulatory environment under the requirements of NFPA 805 would be 
more flexible. The commenters also stated that a license amendment 
would be required to revert to the previous licensing basis after being 
approved to use NFPA 805.
    The NRC has determined that the final rule need not include 
provisions governing the process for reversion from NFPA 805 to a 
licensee's former fire protection licensing basis, because it is 
unlikely that such reversions will occur.

Regulatory Analysis Burden Estimate, Problem Statement, and Estimated 
Consequences

    A commenter stated that the NRC estimate of 20,000 to 65,000 
person-hours needed for the initial plant-wide analysis for each 
licensee was excessive by a factor of three and should be revised.
    The NRC agrees with this comment. The estimate of 20,000 to 65,000 
person-hours was for four plants per year. The NRC estimate for the 
initial analysis for one plant is 11,250 person-hours. The NRC 
clarified the Regulatory Analysis and the OMB statement to state that 
the hours shown were an annualized estimate of four plants adopting 
NFPA 805.
    A commenter noted that the Statement of the Problem section of the 
Regulatory Analysis states that the ``alternative regulatory structure 
would potentially reduce the number and complexity of future licensee 
exemption or deviation requests * * *'' The commenter stated that this 
section is inconsistent with the Alternatives section which states that 
use of the NFPA 805 methods would preclude the need for exemptions or 
deviations. The commenter stated that the text should be revised.
    The NRC does not agree with this comment. The text in the 
Alternatives section of the Regulatory Analysis states that licensees 
may use approaches and methods contained in NFPA 805 rather than 
submitting an exemption or deviation request. Thus, use of the NFPA 805 
methods should reduce the need for exemption or deviation requests. 
This text is consistent with the text in the Statement of the Problem 
section.
    A commenter stated that the wording in the Estimated Consequences 
section suggests that fire protection features no longer required will 
be removed. The commenter stated that such features will likely be 
``abandoned in place'' or continued to be used as the licensee 
determines. The NRC agrees with this comment and has revised the 
section to indicate that fire protection features no longer required 
may continue to be used, ``abandoned in place,'' or removed at the 
discretion of the licensee.
    One commenter stated that the NRC discussion in the Estimated 
Consequences section did not follow guidance in NUREG/BR-0058, Revision 
3, ``Regulatory Analysis Guidelines of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission,'' in that NRC had not adequately demonstrated that the cost 
savings attributed to the action (in the proposed rule) would be 
substantial enough to justify taking the action. Further, the commenter 
stated that the cost savings calculation should be based on an 
assumption that all licensees will take advantage of the change as 
noted in Section 2.2 of the NUREG. The commenter noted that the NRC had 
not included reporting and recordkeeping costs in the regulatory 
analysis.
    Based on this comment, the NRC reviewed the draft Regulatory 
Analysis and the draft Office of Management and Budget (OMB) statement 
for recordkeeping and reporting costs and determined that the person-
hour estimates shown were for four plants adopting NFPA 805 annually, 
rather than a per-plant figure. Hence the number of hours shown as 
required was high by a factor of four for that of an individual plant. 
The NRC clarified the Regulatory Analysis and the OMB statement to 
state that the hours shown were an annualized estimate of 4 plants 
adopting NFPA 805. The NRC stated in the draft Regulatory Analysis that 
it was not possible to estimate the cost savings per plant as the 
savings would vary significantly for each plant. However, for some 
plants the savings in reduced downtime and spare parts maintenance 
could be several times the cost of adopting NFPA 805; therefore, for 
these plants the action is justified. Plants that do not adopt NFPA 805 
are not affected.
    The NRC based its cost calculations on an estimate of the number of 
plants likely to adopt NFPA 805 rather than on all plants. This 
approach is acceptable because NRC does not expect all plants to adopt 
NFPA 805. Industry estimates that approximately 25 plants may adopt 
NFPA 805 and NRC used that estimate in its calculations. Plants that do 
not adopt NFPA 805 are not affected. The NRC has revised the Regulatory 
Analysis to include reporting and recordkeeping costs.

Later Versions of NFPA 805

    A commenter stated that the proposed rule should allow for the 
voluntary adoption of later versions of NFPA 805, unless NRC notifies 
licensees that a specific revision to NFPA 805 is not to be used. The 
commenter suggested language to be used in the rule for this purpose.
    The NRC may not legally provide regulatory approval of future 
versions of NFPA 805 by rulemaking, because the NRC has no basis for 
determining the acceptability of all future versions of NFPA 805.

[[Page 33546]]

Other Comments

1. Comments on Implementation and Inspection Issues
    A commenter requested that NRC consider skipping the first post-
transition triennial inspection in reliance on the extensive program 
review being conducted by each licensee.
    The NRC agrees that the inspection program should recognize the 
extent of the fire protection program review that would be conducted by 
the licensee. The NRC is considering alternatives to the triennial 
inspection or possibly modifying the focus of the triennial inspection 
to reflect the programmatic review performed by plants transitioning to 
NFPA 805.
    A commenter suggested that, as has been done for other rules, the 
NRC should exercise enforcement discretion for noncompliances 
identified during the transition to the new fire protection 
requirements.
    The NRC agrees with the comment and is requesting Commission 
permission to allow enforcement discretion for noncompliances 
identified during the transition to the new requirements. This action 
would encourage licensees to self-identify problems for placement in 
their corrective action programs.
    A commenter asserted that the NRC should conform inspection 
guidance and the process for resolving noncompliances to the risk-
informed, performance-based methodology in the new rule.
    The NRC agrees with this comment and will conform the inspector 
guidance and the process for resolving noncompliances to the risk-
informed, performance-based methods in the rule, for those licensees 
that transition to NFPA 805. No change will occur for licensees that 
continue to comply with their existing fire protection licensing basis.
    A commenter suggested that the NRC follow the inspection practice 
for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and 
Pressure Vessel Code and adopt a 10-year inspection cycle.
    The NRC believes that the frequency appropriate for NRC inspection 
of fire protection programs differs significantly from the frequency 
appropriate for licensee inspection of piping and supports conducted 
under 10 CFR 50.55a, which references requirements in the ASME Boiler 
and Pressure Vessel Code. A significant difference is that Sec.  50.55a 
itself establishes a 10-year interval for licensee conduct of inservice 
inspection and inservice testing under a fixed version of the ASME Code 
edition and addenda. Whereas, the greater frequency of NRC inspections 
of licensee fire protection programs is appropriate because of the 
likelihood for changes to plant configurations, procedures, and 
practices affecting fire protection programs to occur more often. 
Accordingly, the NRC does not intend to change the inspection 
frequency.
    A commenter suggested that the NRC exercise enforcement discretion 
to eliminate the need to come into compliance with deviations from 
current licensing basis requirements if compliance will be attained by 
transitioning to the new requirements under NFPA 805.
    The NRC is requesting Commission permission to allow enforcement 
discretion during the transition period to the new requirements. If 
enforcement discretion is implemented, licensees would need to take 
appropriate compensatory actions for any identified noncompliance and 
to place the noncompliance in the corrective action program. Corrective 
actions may be to restore compliance with existing requirements or to 
implement a performance-based approach that meets the requirements of 
NFPA 805.
2. Comments on the Process for Adopting NFPA 805
    A commenter suggested that the final rule define the scope of 
fundamental attributes broadly enough to encompass current fire 
protection programs and adopt a simple and predictable process for 
finding that fundamental attributes have been previously approved by 
the NRC.
    The NRC disagrees with the commenter's suggestion that the final 
rule should define the scope of fundamental attributes to encompass 
current fire protection programs. The NRC considers Chapter 3 of NFPA 
805 sufficient to describe the fundamental fire protection elements for 
a risk-informed, performance-based fire protection program using NFPA 
805. The attributes of current fire protection program elements vary 
from plant-to-plant and determining generic fundamental fire protection 
elements applicable to the full range of as-yet-unknown risk-informed 
or deterministic approaches is beyond the scope of this rulemaking. 
Section 3.1 of NFPA 805 provides that previously approved attributes of 
a licensee's current fire protection program may be retained. 
Therefore, licensees may evaluate previously approved attributes for 
their plants and determine whether they wish to retain those 
attributes. The NRC is working with industry to develop a predictable 
process to be described in the implementing guidance document for 
identifying previously approved attributes. The licensee is responsible 
for maintaining its licensing basis including previous NRC approvals.
    A commenter stated that the final rule should have a simple, swift 
process for approving the transition license amendment.
    The NRC believes the process described in the rule for approving 
the license amendment is appropriate. The NRC expects that the 
implementing guidance will provide additional guidance that will help 
with the approval process.
3. Comments on the Acceptability of NFPA 805 as a Fire Protection 
Program
    Performance-Based Program. A commenter expressed concerns about 
whether a risk-informed or performance-based fire-protection program 
provides a sufficient level of protection of public health and safety 
compared to existing deterministic requirements. The commenter noted 
events where the industry experienced unexpected consequences from 
methods for maintenance and testing, and cited events at Browns Ferry 
and Davis-Besse as examples. The commenter also expressed a concern 
that, in light of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, 
blast and fire standards should be deterministic.
    The NRC disagrees with the comment. The NRC evaluated the NFPA 805 
program and determined that, when implemented as an integrated whole, 
NFPA 805 provides criteria for an acceptable fire protection program 
and provides an acceptable level of protection of public health and 
safety. This determination is based on a review of the program versus 
regulatory requirements of GDC 3 and 10 CFR 50.48(a), as well as the 
criteria for an acceptable fire protection program in RG 1.189, the 
risk application methods criteria in RG 1.174, and the NFPA 805 
criteria for the use of performance-based methods and risk information. 
The NRC agrees that unexpected consequences may result from maintenance 
and testing and notes that such consequences may occur whether under a 
deterministic or a performance-based fire protection program. The 
events at Browns Ferry and Davis-Besse emphasize the importance of 
defense-in-depth and the maintenance of safety margins. Both of these 
fundamental aspects of fire protection must be maintained under NFPA 
805. Thus, the NRC believes that proper implementation of NFPA 805 will 
be as

[[Page 33547]]

effective as the current deterministic-based requirements in providing 
reasonable assurance of adequate protection with respect to fire 
protection.
    Regarding terrorist type of attacks, the NRC has taken action as a 
result of the events that occurred at the World Trade Center and 
continues to evaluate additional actions that may be appropriate.
    Use of Fire Models. A commenter questioned the use of fire models 
under NFPA 805 because of the uncertainty associated with them.
    The NRC disagrees that fire models should not be used because of 
the uncertainty associated with them. NFPA 805 provides for the use of 
fire models to support performance-based approaches and gives 
information on the use and application of fire modeling in Appendix C. 
Section 2.4.1.2.2 of the standard provides that fire models must be 
applied within the limitations of the fire model. Any uncertainty 
associated with a fire model must be quantified and included, as 
appropriate, in the performance-based approach. The NRC believes that 
NFPA 805 provides appropriate requirements for use of fire models 
relative to associated uncertainty.
    Use of NEI 00-01. A commenter questioned whether industry document, 
NEI 00-01, ``Guidance for Post-Fire Safe Shutdown Circuit Analysis,'' 
was sufficiently a ``consensus'' standard to be used in the NFPA 805 
environment.
    The NRC disagrees with the comment. The NRC has reviewed and 
commented on NEI 00-01 throughout its development and is considering 
endorsing NEI 00-01. If endorsed,NEI 00-01 will be a tool that 
licensees may use to determine the risk significance of fire effects on 
certain circuits. Such tools do not need to be consensus standards to 
be used within the NFPA 805 structure.

IV. Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 50.48(c). National Fire Protection Standard NFPA 805

    The final rule adds a new paragraph (c) to 10 CFR 50.48 that 
permits nuclear power reactor licensees to voluntarily adopt NFPA 805, 
with certain exceptions stated in the regulatory text, as an 
alternative set of fire protection requirements for the operation of 
light-water reactors. NFPA 805, if adopted by licensees, constitutes an 
acceptable means for licensees of currently operating reactors to 
comply with 10 CFR 50.48(a), and is an alternative to meeting their 
existing fire protection requirements.

Section 50.48(c)(1). Approval of Incorporation by Reference

    This paragraph states that NFPA 805, 2001 Edition, was approved for 
incorporation by reference by the Director of the Federal Register. The 
appendices to NFPA 805, which are not part of the standard, are not 
incorporated by reference.

Section 50.48(c)(2). Exceptions, Modifications, and Supplementation of 
NFPA 805

    This paragraph states that references in Sec.  50.48 to NFPA 805 
are to the 2001 Edition, with certain delineated exceptions, 
modifications, and supplementation described in paragraphs (c)(2)(i)-
(vii) of the final rule.

Section 50.48(c)(2)(i). Life Safety Goal, Objectives, and Criteria

    This paragraph provides that the Life Safety Goal, Objectives, and 
Criteria of NFPA 805 Chapter 1 are not endorsed by the NRC.

Section 50.48(c)(2)(ii). Plant Damage/Business Interruption Goal, 
Objectives, and Criteria

    This paragraph provides that the Plant Damage/Business Interruption 
Goal, Objectives, and Criteria of NFPA 805 Chapter 1 are not endorsed 
by the NRC.

Section 50.48(c)(2)(iii). Use of Feed-and-Bleed

    This paragraph provides that the use of a high-pressure charging/
injection pump coupled with the PORVs is not acceptable as the sole 
fire-protected shutdown path for maintaining reactor coolant inventory, 
pressure control, and decay heat removal capability (i.e., feed-and-
bleed) for PWRs.

Section 50.48(c)(2)(iv). Uncertainty Analysis

    This paragraph provides that a licensee need not prepare an 
uncertainty analysis in accordance with Section 2.7.3.5 when using a 
deterministic approach as specified in Section 2.2.6 and Chapter 4 of 
NFPA 805

Section 50.48(c)(2)(v). Existing Cables

    This paragraph provides that in lieu of installing cables meeting 
flame propagation tests as required by Section 3.3.5.3 of the standard, 
a licensee may use either cables with a flame-retardant coating or an 
automatic fixed fire suppression system to provide an equivalent level 
of fire protection. In addition, the italicized exception to Section 
3.3.5.3 is not endorsed.

Section 50.48(c)(2)(vi). Water Supply and Distribution

    This paragraph provides that a ``provisional'' manual fire-fighting 
standpipe/hose station system may not be used in place of seismically 
qualified standpipes and hose stations unless previously approved in 
the licensing basis. Licensees who wish to use the italicized exception 
in Section 3.6.4 of NFPA 805 must submit a request for a license 
amendment in accordance with paragraph (c)(2)(vii). However, because 
the NRC considers seismically qualified standpipes and hose stations of 
such importance, the NRC believes that licensees who wish to use the 
exception in Section 3.6.4 of NFPA 805 via a license amendment may have 
difficulty satisfying the three criteria in paragraph (c)(2)(vii).

Section 50.48(c)(2)(vii). Performance-Based Methods

    This paragraph takes exception to the prohibition in Section 3.1 of 
NFPA 805 to the use of performance-based methods (including the use of 
risk-informed methods) for the fire protection program elements and 
minimum design requirements in Chapter 3. The NRC included this 
exception to allow licensees flexibility in meeting the fire protection 
program elements and minimum design requirements in Chapter 3. However, 
the NRC considers that the fire protection program elements and minimum 
design requirements in Chapter 3 are not suited to the performance-
based approaches permitted in NFPA 805 on a generic basis, and that any 
performance-based approaches for these program elements or minimum 
design requirements should be approved on a plant-specific basis via a 
license amendment. Licensees proposing such performance-based 
approaches for the fire protection program elements and minimum design 
requirements in Chapter 3 must submit an application for a license 
amendment to the NRC in accordance with Sec.  50.48(c)(4). The Director 
of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR), or a designee, may 
approve the application if the Director or designee determines that the 
proposed performance-based approach:
    (i) Satisfies the performance goals, performance objectives, and 
performance criteria specified in NFPA 805 related to nuclear safety 
and radiological release.
    (ii) Maintains safety margins.
    (iii) Maintains fire protection defense-in-depth (fire prevention, 
fire detection, fire suppression, mitigation, and post-fire safe 
shutdown capability).

[[Page 33548]]

Section 50.48(c)(3)(i)

    This paragraph allows licensees to adopt NFPA 805 as an alternative 
to complying with 10 CFR 50.48(b) or existing plant fire protection 
license conditions. This paragraph describes the method by which a 
licensee will submit their request to adopt NFPA 805. If the NRC 
approves a licensee's request to use NFPA 805, the Director of NRR or 
designee will issue a license amendment that: (1) Removes superseded 
license conditions and (2) includes a license condition imposing the 
use of NFPA 805 together with an implementation schedule. In addition, 
if necessary, the NRC will issue an order revoking unnecessary and 
superseded exemptions and orders.
    Licensees who are approved under paragraph (c)(3)(i) to use NFPA 
805 may return to compliance with paragraph (b) and their previous 
licensing basis. However, each licensee must comply with all applicable 
requirements, including submitting an application for a license 
amendment, and, as applicable, a request for exemption if the licensee 
wishes to reinstate a revoked exemption.

Section 50.48(c)(3)(ii)

    This paragraph requires licensees to complete all of the Chapter 2 
methodology (including evaluations and analyses) and to modify their 
fire protection plan before making changes to the fire protection 
program or to the plant configuration. This process ensures that the 
transition to an NFPA 805 configuration is conducted in a complete, 
controlled, integrated, and organized manner. This requirement also 
precludes licensees from implementing NFPA 805 on a partial or 
selective basis (e.g., in some fire areas and not others, or truncating 
the methodology within a given fire area).
    The evaluations and analyses process in Chapter 2 of NFPA 805 
provides for the establishment of the fundamental fire protection 
program, identification of fire area boundaries and fire hazards, 
determination by analysis that the plant design satisfies the 
performance criteria, identification of SSCs required to achieve the 
performance criteria, conduct of plant change evaluations, 
establishment of a monitoring program, development of documentation, 
and configuration control. Chapter 2 of NFPA 805 also provides for the 
use of a deterministic or performance-based approach to determine that 
the performance criteria are satisfied and provides for the use of 
tools such as engineering analyses, fire models, nuclear safety 
capability assessments, and fire risk evaluations to support 
development of these approaches. The methodology for the use of these 
tools is established in Chapter 4 of NFPA 805.

Section 50.48(c)(4). Risk-Informed or Performance-Based Alternatives to 
Compliance With NFPA 805

    This paragraph provides licensees with a mechanism to obtain NRC 
approval of alternatives to NFPA 805 including the use of performance-
based approaches for the fire protection program elements and minimum 
design requirements in Chapter 3 of NFPA 805. The licensee's request 
should be in the form of a license amendment request and demonstrate 
that the licensee's proposed alternative satisfies the performance 
goals, objectives, and criteria specified in NFPA 805 for nuclear 
safety and radiological releases. The proposed alternative must also 
maintain safety margins and fire protection defense-in-depth (fire 
prevention, fire detection, fire suppression, mitigation, and post-fire 
safe shutdown capability). Addressing these criteria allows the NRC to 
determine that the alternative implements the performance goals, 
objectives, and criteria in Chapter 1 and complies with the 
requirements of GDC 3.

Section 50.48(f)

    This paragraph provides that licensees who have permanently ceased 
operations and submitted the certifications required by 10 CFR 
50.82(a)(1) may maintain a fire protection program that complies with 
NFPA 805 and that fire protection program will be deemed to be 
acceptable for complying with the requirements of paragraph (f).

V. Availability of Documents

    The NRC is making the documents identified below available to 
interested persons through one or more of the following methods as 
indicated.
    Public Document Room (PDR). The NRC Public Document Room is located 
at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland.
    Rulemaking Web site (Web). The NRC's interactive Rulemaking Forum 
Web site is located at http://ruleforum.llnl.gov. These documents may 
be viewed and downloaded electronically via this Web site.
    NRC's Public Electronic Reading Room (PERR). The NRC's public 
electronic reading room is located at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-
rm.html. The subject document may be accessed using the ADAMS accession 
number (e.g., 
ML
) provided below.
    The NRC staff contact. The NRC project manager for this rulemaking 
in the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation is Joseph L. Birmingham. 
Mr. Birmingham can be reached by telephone at (301-- 415-2829, or via 
e-mail to jlb4@nrc.gov.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Document                       PDR           Web                  PERR                NRC Staff
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SECY-98-0058............................            X             X   ML992910106
SECY-98-0144............................            X             X   ML992880068
SECY-00-0009............................            X             X   ML003671923
SECY-00-0191............................            X             X   ML003742883
SRM dated 06/30/1998....................            X             X   ML003753120
SRM dated 03/01/1999....................            X   ............  ML003753601
SRM dated 02/24/2000....................            X             X   ML003686350
Federal Register Notice.................            X             X   ML040540680                             X
Regulatory Analysis.....................            X             X   ML040540542                             X
Environmental Assessment................            X             X   ML033440262                             X
Comments Received.......................            X             X   ML023570335
Comments Received.......................            X             X   ML030230288
Comments Received.......................            X             X   ML030160870
Comments Received.......................            X             X   ML030160873
Comments Received.......................            X             X   ML030170147
Comments Received.......................            X             X   ML030230293
Comments Received.......................            X             X   ML030230345
Comments Received.......................            X             X   ML030240260
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 33549]]

VI. Voluntary Consensus Standards

    The National Technology Advancement and Transfer Act of 1995, 
Public Law 104-113, requires that Federal agencies use technical 
standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus 
standards bodies, unless the use of such standards is inconsistent with 
applicable law or otherwise impractical. Public Law 104-113 requires 
Federal agencies to use industry consensus standards to the extent 
practical, it does not require Federal agencies to endorse a standard 
in its entirety. The law does not prohibit an agency from generally 
adopting a voluntary consensus standard while taking exception to 
specific portions of the standard if those provisions are deemed to be 
``inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical.'' 
Furthermore, taking specific exceptions furthers the Congressional 
intent of Federal reliance on voluntary consensus standards because it 
allows the adoption of substantial portions of consensus standards 
without the need to reject the standards in their entirety because of 
limited provisions which are not acceptable to the agency.
    Under this final rule, the NRC is amending its regulations to 
incorporate by reference the National Fire Protection Association 
(NFPA) Standard 805, ``Performance-Based Standard for Fire Protection 
for Light Water Reactor Electric Generating Plants, 2001 Edition,'' 
(NFPA 805), as excepted, as an alternative set of fire protection 
requirements. NFPA 805 is a national consensus standard developed by 
participants with broad and varied interests, in which all interested 
parties (including the NRC and licensees of nuclear power plants) 
participate.
    In a staff requirements memorandum dated September 10, 1999, the 
Commission indicated its intent that a rulemaking identify all portions 
of an adopted voluntary consensus standard which are not adopted and to 
provide a justification for not adopting such portions. The portions of 
NFPA 805 which the NRC proposes not to adopt, or to partially adopt, 
are identified in the preceding Section II. The justification for not 
adopting portions of NFPA 805, as set forth in these statements of 
consideration, satisfy the requirements of Section 12(d)(3) of Public 
Law 104-113, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119, and 
the Commission's direction in the staff requirements memorandum dated 
September 10, 1999.
    In accordance with the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 and OMB Circular A-119, the NRC requested public comment 
during the proposed rulemaking regarding whether other national or 
international consensus standards could be endorsed as an alternative 
to NFPA 805 and no alternative standard was identified.

VII. Finding of No Significant Environmental Impact: Availability

    The Commission has determined under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969, as amended, and the Commission's regulations in 
Subpart A of 10 CFR part 51, that this rule is not a major Federal 
action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment 
and, therefore, an environmental impact statement is not required. 
Through its evaluation of the provisions and requirements of NFPA 805 
for fire protection and prevention of radiological release, the NRC 
determined that there would not be any significant radiological or 
nonradiological impacts to the environment from implementation of the 
NFPA 805 fire protection program. Under NFPA 805, the environment would 
continue to be adequately protected because the methods used for fire 
detection, suppression, and mitigation are the same as those used under 
the existing fire protection requirements. Further, there will be no 
change in the release of radiological or nonradiological effluents to 
the environment from those releases expected under existing fire 
protection programs.
    This determination is based on an evaluation of the goals, 
objectives, and performance criteria in NFPA 805. These criteria 
provide for defense-in-depth to control fires; control of plant 
reactivity, coolant inventory, and pressure; decay heat removal; vital 
auxiliaries; and process monitoring to minimize radioactive releases. 
The NRC has determined that the environmental impacts of the proposed 
action, the no-action alternative, and an alternative in which the NRC 
would develop its own risk-informed standard, were similar. Further, 
the NRC determined that the proposed action does not involve the use of 
any different resources than those considered in the current rule.
    The NRC provided every State Liaison Officer a copy of the 
environmental assessment and the proposed rule for this action and 
requested their comments on the environmental assessment. No comments 
were received from the State Liaison Officers and no changes were made 
to the environmental assessment.

VIII. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    This final rule contains information collection requirements that 
are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq.). These requirements were approved by the Office of Management and 
Budget, approval number 3150-0011.
    There is a one-time burden to the public of 11,290 hours for each 
licensee, who chooses to use NFPA 805, to complete the required one-
time plant-wide re-analysis of the reactor's fire protection systems, 
equipment, features, and procedures, and to submit a letter of intent 
to adopt NFPA 805. Send comments on any aspect of these information 
collections, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to the 
Records and FOIA/Privacy Services Branch (T-5 F52), U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, or by Internet 
electronic mail to INFOCOLLECTS@NRC.GOV; and to the Desk Officer, 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, NEOB-10202, (3150-0011), 
Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503.

Public Protection Notification

    The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to 
respond to, a request for information or an information collection 
requirement unless the requesting document displays a currently valid 
OMB control number.

IX. Regulatory Analysis

    The Commission has prepared a Regulatory Analysis on this 
regulation. The analysis examines the costs and benefits of the 
alternatives considered by the Commission. The analysis is available 
for inspection at the NRC's Public Document Room, located at One White 
Flint North, Room 01-F15, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland. 
The analysis is also available as indicated under the Availability of 
Documents heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

X. Regulatory Flexibility Certification

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 
605(b), the Commission certifies that this rule would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
This final rule would affect only the licensing and operation of 
nuclear power plants. The companies that own these plants do not fall 
within the definition of ``small entities'' found

[[Page 33550]]

in the Regulatory Flexibility Act or within the size standards 
established by the NRC in 10 CFR 2.810.

XI. Backfit Analysis

    The NRC has determined that a backfit analysis is not required for 
this final rule, because the rule does not involve any provisions that 
would impose backfits as defined in 10 CFR 50.109(a)(1). The final rule 
establishes voluntary alternative fire protection requirements for 
licensees with construction permits prior to January 1, 1979 (all 
existing light-water reactor plants). Licensees may adopt NFPA 805 as 
an alternative set of fire protection requirements by submitting a 
license amendment request. However, current licensees may continue to 
comply with existing requirements. Any additional burden incurred by 
adopting NFPA 805 would be at the licensee's discretion. The final rule 
does not impose any new requirements and, therefore, does not 
constitute a backfit as defined in 10 CFR 50.109(a)(1).

XII. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    In accordance with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996, the NRC has determined that this action is not a 
major rule and has verified this determination with the Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB.

List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 50

    Antitrust, Classified information, Criminal penalties, Fire 
protection, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, 
Nuclear power plants and reactors, Radiation protection, Reactor siting 
criteria, and Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.


0
For the reasons given in the preamble and under the authority of the 
Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended; the Energy Reorganization Act of 
1974, as amended; and 5 U.S.C. 552 and 553, the NRC is adopting the 
following amendments to 10 CFR part 50.

PART 50--DOMESTIC LICENSING OF PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION 
FACILITIES

0
1. The authority citation for 10 CFR part 50 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: Secs. 102, 103, 104, 105, 161, 182, 183, 186, 189, 68 
Stat. 936, 937, 938, 948, 953, 954, 955, 956, as amended, sec. 234, 
83 Stat. 444, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2132, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2201, 
2232, 2233, 2236, 2239, 2282); secs. 201, as amended, 202, 206, 88 
Stat. 1242, as amended, 1244, 1246 (42 U.S.C. 5841, 5842, 5846).
    Section 50.7 also issued under Pub. L. 95-601, sec. 10, 92 Stat. 
2951, (42 U.S.C. 5841) as amended by Pub. L. 102-486, sec. 2902, 106 
Stat. 3123 (42 U.S.C. 5851). Section 50.10 also issued under secs. 
101, 185, 68 Stat. 955, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2131, 2235); sec. 102, 
Pub. L. 91-190, 83 Stat. 853 (42 U.S.C. 4332). Sections 50.13, 
50.54(dd), and 50.103 also issued under sec. 108, 68 Stat. 939, as 
amended (42 U.S.C. 2138). Sections 50.23, 50.35, 50.55, and 50.56 
also issued under sec. 185, 68 Stat. 955 (42 U.S.C. 2235). Sections 
50.33a, 50.55a and Appendix Q also issued under sec. 102, Pub. L. 
91-190, 83 Stat. 853 (42 U.S.C. 4332). Sections 50.34 and 50.54 also 
issued under sec. 204, 88 Stat. 1245 (42 U.S.C. 5844). Sections 
50.58, 50.91, and 50.92 also issued under Pub. L. 97-415, 96 Stat. 
2073 (42 U.S.C. 2239). Section 50.78 also issued under sec. 122, 68 
Stat. 939 (42 U.S.C. 2152). Sections 50.80-50.81 also issued under 
sec. 184, 68 Stat. 954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2234). Appendix F also 
issued under sec. 187, 68 Stat. 955 (42 U.S.C. 2237).


0
2. In Sec.  50.48, paragraph (c) is added and the introductory text of 
paragraph (f) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  50.48.  Fire protection.

* * * * *
    (c) National Fire Protection Association Standard NFPA 805.
    (1) Approval of incorporation by reference. National Fire 
Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 805, ``Performance-Based 
Standard for Fire Protection for Light Water Reactor Electric 
Generating Plants, 2001 Edition'' (NFPA 805), which is referenced in 
this section, was approved for incorporation by reference by the 
Director of the Federal Register pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR 
part 51. Copies of NFPA 805 may be purchased from the NFPA Customer 
Service Department, 1 Batterymarch Park, P.O. Box 9101, Quincy, MA 
02269-9101 and in PDF format through the NFPA Online Catalog 
(www.nfpa.org) or by calling 1-800-344-3555 or (617) 770-3000. Copies 
are also available for inspection at the NRC Library, Two White Flint 
North, 11545 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852-2738, and at the 
NRC Public Document Room, Building One White Flint North, Room O1-F15, 
11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852-2738. Copies are also 
available at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). 
For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 
(202) 741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/
code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.
    (2) Exceptions, modifications, and supplementation of NFPA 805. As 
used in this section, references to NFPA 805 are to the 2001 Edition, 
with the following exceptions, modifications, and supplementation:
    (i) Life Safety Goal, Objectives, and Criteria. The Life Safety 
Goal, Objectives, and Criteria of Chapter 1 are not endorsed.
    (ii) Plant Damage/Business Interruption Goal, Objectives, and 
Criteria. The Plant Damage/Business Interruption Goal, Objectives, and 
Criteria of Chapter 1 are not endorsed.
    (iii) Use of feed-and-bleed. In demonstrating compliance with the 
performance criteria of Sections 1.5.1(b) and (c), a high-pressure 
charging/injection pump coupled with the pressurizer power-operated 
relief valves (PORVs) as the sole fire-protected safe shutdown path for 
maintaining reactor coolant inventory, pressure control, and decay heat 
removal capability (i.e., feed-and-bleed) for pressurized-water 
reactors (PWRs) is not permitted.
    (iv) Uncertainty analysis. An uncertainty analysis performed in 
accordance with
    Section 2.7.3.5 is not required to support deterministic approach 
calculations.
    (v) Existing cables. In lieu of installing cables meeting flame 
propagation tests as required by Section 3.3.5.3, a flame-retardant 
coating may be applied to the electric cables, or an automatic fixed 
fire suppression system may be installed to provide an equivalent level 
of protection. In addition, the italicized exception to Section 3.3.5.3 
is not endorsed.
    (vi) Water supply and distribution. The italicized exception to 
Section 3.6.4 is not endorsed. Licensees who wish to use the exception 
to Section 3.6.4 must submit a request for a license amendment in 
accordance with paragraph (c)(2)(vii) of this section.
    (vii) Performance-based methods. Notwithstanding the prohibition in 
Section 3.1 against the use of performance-based methods, the fire 
protection program elements and minimum design requirements of Chapter 
3 may be subject to the performance-based methods permitted elsewhere 
in the standard. Licensees who wish to use performance-based methods 
for these fire protection program elements and minimum design 
requirements shall submit a request in the form of an application for 
license amendment under Sec.  50.90. The Director of the Office of 
Nuclear Reactor Regulation, or a designee of the Director, may approve 
the application if the Director or designee determines that the 
performance-based approach;
    (A) Satisfies the performance goals, performance objectives, and 
performance criteria specified in NFPA

[[Page 33551]]

805 related to nuclear safety and radiological release;
    (B) Maintains safety margins; and
    (C) Maintains fire protection defense-in-depth (fire prevention, 
fire detection, fire suppression, mitigation, and post-fire safe 
shutdown capability).
    (3) Compliance with NFPA 805.
    (i) A licensee may maintain a fire protection program that complies 
with NFPA 805 as an alternative to complying with paragraph (b) of this 
section for plants licensed to operate before January 1, 1979, or the 
fire protection license conditions for plants licensed to operate after 
January 1, 1979. The licensee shall submit a request to comply with 
NFPA 805 in the form of an application for license amendment under 
Sec.  50.90. The application must identify any orders and license 
conditions that must be revised or superseded, and contain any 
necessary revisions to the plant's technical specifications and the 
bases thereof. The Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor 
Regulation, or a designee of the Director, may approve the application 
if the Director or designee determines that the licensee has identified 
orders, license conditions, and the technical specifications that must 
be revised or superseded, and that any necessary revisions are 
adequate. Any approval by the Director or the designee must be in the 
form of a license amendment approving the use of NFPA 805 together with 
any necessary revisions to the technical specifications.
    (ii) The licensee shall complete its implementation of the 
methodology in Chapter 2 of NFPA 805 (including all required 
evaluations and analyses) and, upon completion, modify the fire 
protection plan required by paragraph (a) of this section to reflect 
the licensee's decision to comply with NFPA 805, before changing its 
fire protection program or nuclear power plant as permitted by NFPA 
805.
    (4) Risk-informed or performance-based alternatives to compliance 
with NFPA 805. A licensee may submit a request to use risk-informed or 
performance-based alternatives to compliance with NFPA 805. The request 
must be in the form of an application for license amendment under Sec.  
50.90 of this chapter. The Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor 
Regulation, or designee of the Director, may approve the application if 
the Director or designee determines that the proposed alternatives:
    (i) Satisfy the performance goals, performance objectives, and 
performance criteria specified in NFPA 805 related to nuclear safety 
and radiological release;
    (ii) Maintain safety margins; and
    (iii) Maintain fire protection defense-in-depth (fire prevention, 
fire detection, fire suppression, mitigation, and post-fire safe 
shutdown capability).
* * * * *
    (f) Licensees that have submitted the certifications required under 
Sec.  50.82(a)(1) shall maintain a fire protection program to address 
the potential for fires that could cause the release or spread of 
radioactive materials (i.e., that could result in a radiological 
hazard). A fire protection program that complies with NFPA 805 shall be 
deemed to be acceptable for complying with the requirements of this 
paragraph.
* * * * *

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 8th day of June, 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 04-13522 Filed 6-15-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P