[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 122 (Friday, June 25, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 36449-36451]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-15442]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Dockets 50-029, 72-31; NRC-2010-0231]


Yankee Atomic Electric Co.; Yankee Atomic Independent Spent Fuel 
Storage Installation; Issuance of Environmental Assessment and Finding 
of No Significant Impact Regarding the Request for Exemption

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Issuance of environmental assessment and finding of no 
significant impact.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Goshen, Project Manager, Division 
of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation, Office of Nuclear Material 
Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC. 20555. Telephone: (301) 492-3325; fax number: (301) 492-3342; e-
mail: john.goshen@nrc.gov.

Introduction

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of an exemption to Yankee Atomic Electric Company (YAEC), 
pursuant to 10 CFR 72.7, from the specific provisions of 10 CFR 
72.212(a)(2), 72.212(b)(2)(i)(A), 72.212(b)(7), and 72.214. YAEC is 
using a dry cask storage system, the NAC-MPC, Certificate of Compliance 
(CoC) No. 1025, to store spent nuclear fuel under a general license in 
an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) associated with 
the decommissioned Yankee Nuclear Power Station, located at Rowe, 
Massachusetts. YAEC stores spent fuel in fifteen NAC-MPC casks at the 
YAEC ISFSI, all loaded under Amendment No. 3 to CoC No. 1025. Under the 
current 10 CFR part 72 regulations, the general licensee is bound by 
the terms and conditions of the CoC under which it loaded a given cask. 
Amendment No. 3 will remain in effect for the casks at the YAEC ISFSI 
until the NRC expressly approves the application of changes authorized 
by a later CoC amendment. Such an approval is typically accomplished 
through a 10 CFR 72.7 exemption.
    In its letter dated February 23, 2010, YAEC stated that it intended 
to adopt Amendment No. 5 to CoC No. 1025 for all fifteen NAC-MPC casks 
at the site. Implementation of Amendment No. 5 of CoC No. 1025 to all 
fifteen NAC-MPC casks will allow a visual alternative to Technical 
Specification (TS) Surveillance Requirement 3.1.6.1 to verify the 
operability of the concrete cask heat removal system to maintain safe 
storage conditions and will also remove a specification in the CoC for 
tamper indicating devices. The NRC published the direct final rule for 
Amendment No. 5 of CoC No. 1025 on May 10, 2007 (72 FR 26535), with an 
effective date of July 24, 2007 (72 FR 38468, July 13, 2007).
    In its letter of February 23, 2010, YAEC did not request that the 
NRC expressly approve implementation of Amendment No. 5 to all fifteen 
NAC-MPC casks at the site. YAEC, however,

[[Page 36450]]

initiated an evaluation to determine if the fifteen casks conform to 
the requirements of Amendment No. 5 of CoC No. 1025. The evaluation 
concluded that all fifteen casks conform to Amendment No. 5. Under the 
current 10 CFR part 72 regulations, a general licensee, such as YAEC, 
is not authorized to apply changes allowed by a later CoC amendment (in 
this case, Amendment No. 5) to a cask loaded under an earlier CoC 
amendment (in this case, Amendment No. 3) without express prior 
approval of the NRC.\1\ Thus, in order to effectuate the requested 
exemption, the NRC will have to expand the scope of the requested 
exemption to include the application of the changes authorized by 
Amendment No. 5 to the subject casks. The applicable regulation, 10 CFR 
72.7, allows the NRC to grant exemptions upon its own initiative.
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    \1\ See Enforcement Guidance Memorandum 09-006, dated September 
15, 2009 (ADAMS Accession No. ML091970035).
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    In its letter of February 23, 2010, YAEC also request the 
continuation of two exemptions from the terms and conditions of 
Amendment No. 5, similar to two previously approved exemptions from the 
terms and conditions of Amendment No. 3. Specifically, YAEC requests 
exemptions from the following Amendment No. 5 requirements to: (1) 
Develop training modules under the Systems Approach to Training (SAT) 
that include comprehensive instructions for the operations and 
maintenance of ISFSI systems, structures, and components, as required 
by Appendix A, Section A 5.1, ``Training Program,'' other than the NAC-
MPC system; and (2) submit an annual report pursuant to 10 CFR 
72.44(d)(3) or 10 CFR 50.36a(a)(2), per Appendix A, Section A 5.4, 
``Radioactive Effluent Control Program,'' that specifies the quantity 
of each of the principal radionuclides released to the environment in 
liquid and gaseous effluents during the previous 12 months of 
operation. YAEC has asserted that the NAC-MPC system is a sealed and 
leak-tight spent fuel storage system and as such, there are no effluent 
releases from the system.
    In accordance with the requirements in 10 CFR part 51, the NRC has 
prepared an environmental assessment for the NRC action of approving or 
disapproving an exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 
72.212(b)(2)(i)(A), 72.212(b)(7), and 72.214, which, if approved, will 
allow YAEC to apply the changes authorized by Amendment No. 5 to the 
fifteen NAC-MPC casks loaded under Amendment No. 3 at the YAEC ISFSI. 
Based upon this environmental assessment, the NRC has concluded that a 
Finding of No Significant Impact is appropriate. The requests for 
exemptions from the requirements of Appendix A, Section A 5.4, 
Radioactive Effluent Control Program, and Appendix A,, Section A 5.1, 
Training Program are categorically excluded from further environmental 
review in accordance with 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(vi)(B) and (E), 
respectively.

Environmental Assessment

    Identification of Proposed Action: The NRC proposes to issue an 
exemption to YAEC from the requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 
72.212(b)(2)(i)(A), 72.212(b)(7), and 72.214, thereby allowing YAEC to 
apply the changes authorized by Amendment No. 5 to CoC No. 1025 to the 
fifteen NAC-MOC casks at the YAEC ISFSI, which were loaded under 
Amendment No. 3 to CoC No. 1025. Section 72.212(a)(2) provides that the 
general license is limited to storage of spent fuel in casks approved 
under the provisions of 10 CFR part 72; Sec.  72.212(b)(2)(i)(A) 
requires the general licensee to perform written evaluations, prior to 
use of a cask, that establish that the conditions set forth in the CoC 
have been met; Sec.  72.212(b)(7) requires that the general licensee 
comply with the terms and conditions of the CoC; and Sec.  72.214 lists 
the cask designs that have been approved by the NRC and are available 
for use by general licensees under the 10 CFR part 72 general license. 
The NRC's regulatory authority to grant these exemptions is 10 CFR 
72.7.
    Need for the Proposed Action: Implementation of the changes 
authorized by Amendment No. 5 of CoC No. 1025 to all fifteen NAC-MPC 
casks at the YAEC ISFSI will allow a visual alternative to Technical 
Specification (TS) Surveillance Requirement 3.1.6.1 to verify the 
operability of the concrete cask heat removal system to maintain safe 
storage conditions and will also remove a specification in the CoC for 
tamper indicating devices. These changes will provide the applicant 
with significant cost savings and flexibility without any decrease in 
safety.
    Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action: The NRC has reviewed 
the exemption request submitted by YAEC and has determined that 
allowing YAEC to apply the changes authorized by Amendment No. 5 of CoC 
No. 1025 to the casks at the YAEC ISFSI, if approved, would have no 
significant impact to the environment. In connection with the approval 
of Amendment No. 5 of CoC 1025, the NRC prepared and published in the 
Federal Register a Finding of No Significant, based upon an 
environmental assessment, for the generic use of the changes authorized 
by Amendment No. 5 (72 FR 26535, 26537, May 10, 2007).
    Further, NRC has evaluated the impact to public safety that would 
result from granting the proposed action. The approval of the proposed 
action would not increase the probability or consequences of accidents, 
no changes would be made to the types of effluents released offsite, 
and there would be no increase in occupational or public radiation 
exposure. Therefore, there are no significant radiological 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. Additionally 
the proposed action would not involve any construction or other ground 
disturbing activities, would not change the footprint of the existing 
ISFSI, and would have no other significant non-radiological impacts. In 
this regard, and as the ISFSI is located on previously disturbed land, 
it is extremely unlikely that approval of the proposed action would 
create any significant impact on the aquatic or terrestrial habitat in 
the vicinity of the plant, or to threatened, endangered, or protected 
species under the Endangered Species Act, or to essential fish habitat 
covered by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Similarly, approval of the 
proposed action is not the type of activity that has the potential to 
cause effects on historic or cultural properties, assuming such 
properties are present at the site of the YAEC ISFSI.
    Alternative to the Proposed Action: Since there is no significant 
environmental impact associated with the proposed action, any 
alternatives with equal or greater environmental impact are not 
evaluated. The alternative to the proposed action would be to deny 
approval of the exemption. This alternative would have the same 
environmental impact.
    Given that there are no significant differences in environmental 
impact between the proposed action and the alternative considered and 
that YAEC has a legitimate need, the Commission concludes that the 
preferred alternative is to grant the requested exemption.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    The environmental impacts of the proposed action have been reviewed 
in accordance with the requirements set forth in 10 CFR part 51. Based 
upon the foregoing Environmental Assessment, the Commission finds that 
the proposed action of granting an exemption from the specific 
requirements of 10 CFR 72.212(a)(2), 72.212(b)(2)(i)(A), 72.212(b)(7), 
and 72.214, will not significantly impact the quality of the

[[Page 36451]]

human environment. Accordingly, the Commission has determined not to 
prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed action.

Further Information

    In accordance with 10 CFR 2.390 of NRC's ``Rules of Practice,'' NRC 
records and documents related to this action, including the application 
for exemption and supporting documentation are available electronically 
at the NRC's Electronic Reading Room, at: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this site, you can access NRC's ADAMS, which 
provides text and image files of NRC's public documents. The ADAMS 
Accession Number for the application, dated February 23, 2010, is 
ML100610320.
    If you do not have access to ADAMS, or if there are problems in 
accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact NRC's Public Document 
Room (PDR) Reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by e-
mail to pdr.resource@nrc.gov.
    These documents may also be viewed electronically on the public 
computers located at NRC's PDR, O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR reproduction contractor 
will copy documents, for a fee.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 17th day of June, 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Eric Benner,
Chief Licensing Branch, Division of Spent Fuel Storage and 
Transportation, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2010-15442 Filed 6-24-10; 8:45 am]
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