[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 197 (Wednesday, October 14, 2009)]
[Page 52793]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-24718]



Adjusted Indemnification Amount

AGENCY: Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of adjusted indemnification amount.


SUMMARY: The Department of Energy (DOE) is announcing the adjusted 
amount of indemnification provided under subsection 170d. of the Atomic 
Energy Act of 1954 (AEA), 42 U.S.C. 2210d., commonly known as the 
Price-Anderson Act, consistent with section 607 of the Energy Policy 
Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58 (EPAct 2005). Section 607 (``Inflation 
Adjustment'') of EPAct 2005 amended subsection 170t. of the AEA by 
requiring the adjustment of the indemnification amount not less than 
once during each 5-year period following July 1, 2003, in accordance 
with the aggregate percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) 
since that date. This notice announces $11.961 billion as the 
inflation-adjusted amount based on the aggregate percentage change in 
the CPI during the initial 5-year period.

DATES: This action is effective October 14, 2009.

(HS-40), Office of Enforcement, Office of Health, Safety and Security, 
U.S. Department of Energy, 19901 Germantown Road, Germantown, Maryland 
20874, (301) 903-2178; or Sophia Angelini, Attorney Advisor (GC-52), 
Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 
Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20585, (202) 586-6975.

    The Price-Anderson Act, section 170 of the AEA (42 U.S.C. 2210), 
establishes a system of financial protection for persons who may be 
liable for and persons who may be injured by a ``nuclear incident,'' as 
defined at section 11q. of the AEA (42 U.S.C. 2014q.). The Price-
Anderson Act is administered by DOE with respect to the nuclear 
activities of DOE contractors acting on its behalf. Subsection 170d. 
provides that the Secretary of Energy shall enter into agreements of 
indemnification with any person who may conduct activities under a 
contract with DOE that involve the risk of public liability and that 
are not subject to the financial protection requirements of the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission. DOE's Price-Anderson Act indemnification 
contract provisions are codified in the Department of Energy 
Acquisition Regulation (DEAR), which sets forth a standard nuclear 
indemnification clause, the Nuclear Hazard Indemnity Agreement at 48 
CFR 952.250-70, that is incorporated into all DOE contracts and 
subcontracts involving source, special nuclear, or by-product material.
    The Price-Anderson Amendments Act of 2005 (PAAA 2005), enacted as 
part of EPAct 2005, sections 601 through 610, altered the indemnity 
provisions in several ways. Specifically, the PAAA 2005 altered the 
amount of the indemnification by: (1) Specifying $10 billion as the 
amount of the indemnification for nuclear incidents within the United 
States resulting from contractual activities on behalf of DOE (section 
604); (2) directing the adjustment of this indemnification amount not 
less than once during each five-year period in accordance with the 
aggregate percentage change in the CPI (section 607); and (3) 
increasing the indemnification amount for nuclear incidents outside the 
United States from $100 million to $500 million (section 605).
    With regard to the inflation adjustment for indemnification, the 
AEA subsection 170t. was amended by adding a new provision requiring 
the adjustment of ``the amount of indemnification provided under an 
agreement of indemnification under subsection d. not less than once 
during each 5-year period following July 1, 2003, in accordance with 
the aggregate percentage change in the Consumer Price Index since--(A) 
that date, in the case of the first adjustment under this paragraph; or 
(B) the previous adjustment under this paragraph.'' Under the AEA 
subsection 170t.(3), the term ``Consumer Price Index'' is defined to 
mean the CPI for all urban consumers published by the Secretary of 
Labor. The CPI in July 2003 was 183.9. In July 2008, the CPI was 
219.964. This represents an increase of approximately 19.61%. 
Application of this increase to the initial $10 billion DOE 
indemnification amount results in an inflation-adjusted indemnification 
amount of $11.961 billion.
    The inflation adjustment under AEA subsection 170t. applies only to 
a nuclear incident within the United States. Accordingly, the 
indemnification amount for a nuclear incident outside the United States 
continues to be $500 million.
    The next inflation adjustment will be based on the incremental 
change in the CPI between July 1, 2008 and the date of the adjustment, 
which will be no later than July 1, 2013.
    This notice of indemnification inflation adjustment is a ``rule'' 
as defined in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 551(4)). 
However, the APA (5 USC 553(b)(B)) does not require an agency to use 
the public notice and comment process ``when the agency for good cause 
finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement of reasons 
therefore in the rules issued) that notice and public procedure thereon 
are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.'' 
In this instance, DOE has concluded that solicitation of public comment 
is unnecessary. Congress has required DOE to adjust the amount of 
indemnification provided under an agreement of indemnification under 
section 170d. to reflect inflation in the initial and each subsequent 
5-year period following July 1, 2003, and provided no discretion 
regarding the substance of the adjustment process. DOE is required only 
to perform a ministerial computation to determine the relevant 
inflation adjustment. On the same basis, DOE finds good cause, pursuant 
to 5 USC 553(d)(3) to waive the requirement for a 30-day delay in the 
effective date for this rule. As such, this rule is effective October 
14, 2009.
    DOE has determined that this notice of indemnification inflation 
adjustment is the type of action that does not individually or 
cumulatively have a significant impact on the human environment as set 
forth in DOE's regulations implementing the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). Specifically, the rule is 
covered under the categorical exclusion in paragraph A6 of Appendix A 
to subpart D, 10 CFR part 1021, which applies to rulemakings that are 
strictly procedural. Accordingly, neither an environmental assessment 
nor an environmental impact statement is required.

    Dated: Issued in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2009.
Steven Chu,
Secretary of Energy.
[FR Doc. E9-24718 Filed 10-13-09; 8:45 am]