[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 86 (Wednesday, May 5, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24755-24756]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-10552]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-16; NRC-2009-0073]


DTE ENERGY; Enrico Fermi Atomic Power Plant Unit 1; Exemption 
From Certain Low-Level Waste Shipment Tracking Requirements In 10 CFR 
Part 20 Appendix G

1.0 Background

    DTE Energy (DTE) is the licensee and holder of Facility Operating 
License No. DPR-9 issued for Enrico Fermi Atomic Power Plant, Unit 1 
(Fermi-1), located in Monroe County, Michigan. Fermi-1 is a permanently 
shutdown nuclear reactor facility. DTE is in the process of 
decommissioning Fermi-1 and radioactive waste shipments from the site 
are ongoing and expected to increase over the next year. During the 
decommissioning process, large volumes of slightly contaminated 
concrete rubble and debris are generated that require shipment for 
disposal in offsite low-level radioactive waste disposal sites. 
Experience at other decommissioning nuclear power facilities has shown 
that, due primarily to the volume of radioactive waste; licensees have 
encountered an increase in the number of routine shipments that take 
longer than 20 days from transfer to the shipper to receipt 
acknowledgment from the disposal site. Each shipment with receipt 
notifications greater than 20 days requires a special investigation and 
report to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the 
Commission) which the licensee believes to be burdensome and 
unnecessary to meet the intent of the regulation.

2.0 Request/Action

    In a letter to the Commission dated November 13, 2009, DTE 
requested an exemption from the requirements in 10 CFR part 20, 
appendix G, section III.E, to investigate and file a report to the NRC 
if shipments of low-level radioactive waste are not acknowledged by the 
intended recipient within 20 days after transfer to the shipper. This 
exemption would extend the time period that can elapse during shipments 
of low-level radioactive waste before DTE is required to investigate 
and file a report to the NRC from 20 days to 35 days. The exemption 
would be applicable to rail and truck/rail mixed-mode shipments. The 
exemption request is based on an analysis of the historical data of 
low-level radioactive waste shipment times from the Fermi-1 site to the 
disposal site.

[[Page 24756]]

3.0 Discussion

    The proposed action would grant an exemption to extend the 20-day 
investigation and reporting requirements for shipments of low-level 
radioactive waste to 35 days.
    Historical data derived from experience at Fermi-1 indicates that 
rail transportation time to waste disposal facilities almost always 
exceed the 20-day reporting requirement. A review of the Fermi-1 data 
indicates that transportation time for shipments by rail or truck/rail 
took over 20 days on average. In addition, administrative processes at 
the disposal facilities and mail delivery times could add several 
additional days.
    Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.2301, the Commission may, upon application by 
a licensee or upon its own initiative, grant an exemption from the 
requirements of regulations in 10 CFR part 20 if it determines the 
exemption is authorized by law and would not result in undue hazard to 
life or property. There are no provisions in the Atomic Energy Act (or 
in any other Federal statute) that impose a requirement to investigate 
and report on low-level radioactive waste shipments that have not been 
acknowledged by the recipient within 20 days of transfer.
    Therefore, the Commission concludes that there is no statutory 
prohibition on the issuance of the requested exemption and the 
Commission is authorized to grant the exemption by law.
    The Commission acknowledges that, based on the shipment times to 
date from the Fermi-1 site to the disposal facility, the need to 
investigate and report on shipments that take longer than 20 days could 
result in an excessive administrative burden on the licensee. The 
Commission finds that the underlying purpose of the Appendix G timing 
provision at issue is to investigate a late shipment that may be lost, 
misdirected, or diverted. Furthermore, by extending the elapsed time 
for receipt acknowledgment to 35 days before requiring investigations 
and reporting, a reasonable upper limit on shipment duration (based on 
historical analysis) is still maintained if a breakdown of normal 
tracking systems were to occur. Consequently, the Commission finds that 
there is no hazard to life or property by extending the investigation 
and reporting time for low-level radioactive waste shipments from 20 
days to 35 days for rail and truck/rail mixed-mode shipments. 
Therefore, the Commission concludes that the underlying purpose of 10 
CFR part 20, appendix G, section III.E will be met.

4.0 Conclusion

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
20.2301, the exemption requested by DTE in its November 13, 2009, 
letter is authorized by law and will not result in undue hazards to 
life or property. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants DTE an 
exemption to extend the 20-day investigation and reporting requirements 
for shipments of low-level radioactive waste, as required by 10 CFR 
part 20, appendix G, section III.E, to 35 days.
    Pursuant to 10 CFR 51.31, the Commission has determined that the 
granting of this exemption will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment as documented in Federal Register (FR) 
notice 75 FR 20867, April 21, 2010.
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 26th day of April, 2010.
    For the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Keith I. McConnell,
Deputy Director, Decommissioning and Uranium Recovery Licensing 
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
Programs.
[FR Doc. 2010-10552 Filed 5-4-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P