[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 3 (Thursday, January 5, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 441-442]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-33817]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 3 / Thursday, January 5, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 441]]



NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Parts 50, 52, and 100

[Docket No. PRM-50-103; NRC-2011-0189]


Measurement and Control of Combustible Gas Generation and 
Dispersal

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; notice of receipt.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) 
has received a petition for rulemaking (PRM), dated October 14, 2011, 
from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC or the 
petitioner). The petitioner requests that the NRC amend its regulations 
regarding the measurement and control of combustible gas generation and 
dispersal within a power reactor system. The NRC is not instituting a 
public comment period for this PRM at this time.

DATES: January 5, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You can access publicly available documents related to this 
action, including the petition for rulemaking, using the following 
methods:
     NRC's Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine 
and have copies made, for a fee, publicly available documents at the 
NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, 
Rockville, Maryland 20852.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC 
are available online in the NRC Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this page, the public can gain entry into ADAMS, 
which provides text and image files of the NRC's public documents. If 
you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems in accessing 
the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC's PDR reference staff 
at 1- (800) -397-4209, (301) 415-4737, or by email to 
pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The PRM is available in ADAMS under ADAMS 
Accession Number ML11301A094.
     Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Supporting materials related 
to the petition for rulemaking can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID NRC-2011-0189. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: (301) 492-
3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative 
Services, Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, telephone: (301) 492-3667, email: 
Cindy.Bladey@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    On October 14, 2011, Mr. C. Jordan Weaver, a Project Scientist for 
the Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (NRDC or petitioner) 
submitted a cover letter and a petition for rulemaking (PRM) to revise 
10 CFR 50.44 (ADAMS Accession No. ML11301A094). The PRM, which was an 
attachment to the NRDC cover letter signed by Mr. Weaver, was itself 
signed by Mr. Mark Edward Leyse. Mr. Leyse has previously filed several 
other petitions for rulemaking with the NRC on matters related to the 
NRC's requirements on the emergency core cooling system (ECCS). See 
PRM-50-73 (ADAMS Accession No. ML012560310); PRM-50-73A (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML020300271); PRM-50-76 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML022240009); PRM-50-84 (ADAMS Accession No. ML070871368); PRM-50-93 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML093290250); PRM-50-95 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML102770018). The NRDC PRM was docketed by the NRC on October 27, 2011 
as PRM-50-103.

II. Petitioner

    The NRDC is a national, nonprofit, membership environmental 
organization incorporated in New York in 1970. The NRDC has offices in 
Washington, DC, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and 
Beijing. The staff membership of NRDC consists of lawyers, scientists, 
and policy experts. The NRDC states that its purpose is to maintain and 
enhance environmental quality and monitor Federal agency actions to 
ensure that Federal statutes enacted to protect human health and the 
environment are fully and properly implemented. With regard to the NRC, 
the NRDC asserts that, since its inception in 1970, it has sought to 
improve the environmental, health, and safety conditions at the nuclear 
facilities licensed by the NRC and its predecessor agency.

III. Petition

    Mark Leyse, an NRDC consultant, researched and authored the PRM. 
The PRM requests that the NRC amend its regulations ``to enhance 
hydrogen mitigation at all [nuclear power plants] regulated by NRC.'' 
The PRM includes six separate rulemaking requests pertaining to 
pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactors (BWRs).
    First, the petitioner requests that the NRC ``revise 10 CFR 50.44 
to require that all PWRs (with large dry containments, sub-atmospheric 
containments, and ice condenser containments) and BWR Mark IIIs operate 
with systems for combustible gas control that would effectively and 
safely control the potential total quantity of hydrogen that could be 
generated in different severe accident scenarios.'' The petitioner 
states that the total quantity of hydrogen could exceed the amount 
generated from the metal-water reaction of 100 percent of the fuel 
cladding because of contributions produced by the metal-water reaction 
with non-fuel components of the reactor. The petitioner presents 
information from various analyses and reports to support this request.
    Second, the petitioner requests that the NRC revise 10 CFR 50.44 to 
``require that BWR Mark Is and BWR Mark IIs operate with systems for 
combustible gas control or inerted containments that would effectively 
and safely control the potential total quantity of hydrogen that could 
be generated in different severe accident scenarios.'' The petitioner 
states that the total quantity of hydrogen could exceed the amount 
generated from the metal-water reaction of 100 percent of the fuel 
cladding because of contributions produced by the metal-water reaction 
with non-fuel components of the reactor. The petitioner presents 
information from

[[Page 442]]

various analyses and reports to support this request.
    Third, the petitioner requests that the NRC revise 10 CFR 50.44 
``to require that PWRs and BWR Mark IIIs operate with systems for 
combustible gas control that would be capable of precluding local 
concentrations of hydrogen in the containment from exceeding 
concentrations that would support combustions, fast deflagrations, or 
detonations that could cause a loss of containment integrity or loss of 
necessary accident mitigating features.'' The petitioner presents 
information from various analyses and reports to support this request.
    Fourth, the petitioner asserts that ``[t]he current requirement 
that hydrogen monitors be functional within 90-minutes after the 
initiation of safety injection is inadequate for protecting public and 
plant worker safety.'' Thus, the petitioner requests that the NRC 
revise 10 CFR 50.44 to ``require that PWRs and BWR Mark IIIs operate 
with combustible gas and oxygen monitoring systems that are qualified 
in accordance with 10 CFR 50.49. Petitioner also requests that NRC 
revise 10 CFR 50.44 to require that after the onset of a severe 
accident, combustible gas monitoring systems be functional within a 
timeframe that enables the proper monitoring of quantities of hydrogen 
indicative of core damage and indicative of a potential threat to the 
containment integrity.'' The petitioner presents information from 
various analyses and reports to support this request.
    Fifth, the petitioner requests that the NRC revise 10 CFR 50.44 to 
``require that licensees of PWRs and BWR Mark IIIs perform analyses 
that demonstrate containment structural integrity would be retained in 
the event of a severe accident.'' Additionally, the petitioner requests 
that the NRC revise 10 CFR 50.44 to require licensees of BWR Mark Is 
and BWR Mark IIs to perform analyses ``using the most advanced codes, 
which demonstrate containment structural integrity would be retained in 
the event of a severe accident.'' The petitioner presents information 
from various analyses and reports to support this request.
    Sixth, the petitioner requests that the NRC revise 10 CFR 50.44 to 
``require that licensees of PWRs with ice condenser containments and 
BWR Mark IIIs (and any other NPPs that would operate with hydrogen 
igniter systems) perform analyses that demonstrate hydrogen igniter 
systems would effectively and safely mitigate hydrogen in different 
severe accident scenarios.'' The petitioner presents information from 
various analyses and reports regarding hydrogen igniter systems to 
support this request.

IV. Determination of Petition

    In PRM 50-103, the petitioner raises six issues regarding the 
measurement and control of combustible gas generation and dispersal 
within a reactor system. The Commission is currently reviewing the 
``Recommendations for Enhancing Reactor Safety in the 21st Century: The 
Near-Term Task Force Review of Insights from the Fukushima Dai-ichi 
Accident'' (Fukushima Task Force Report, ML111861807), dated July 12, 
2011. The six requests included in the PRM relate to Recommendation 6 
of the Fukushima Task Force Report: ``[t]he task force recommends, as 
part of the longer term review, that the NRC identify insights about 
hydrogen control and mitigation inside containment or in other 
buildings as additional information is revealed through further study 
of the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident.''
    The Commission has recently directed staff to engage promptly with 
stakeholders to review and assess the recommendations of the Fukushima 
Task Force Report for the purpose of providing the Commission with 
fully-informed options and recommendations. See U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, ``Near-Term Report and Recommendations for Agency Actions 
Following the Events in Japan,'' Staff Requirements Memorandum SECY-11-
0093, August 19, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML112310021) and U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ``Engagement of Stakeholders Regarding 
the Events in Japan,'' Staff Requirements Memorandum COMWDM-11-0001/
COMWCO-11-0001, August 22, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML112340693). The 
NRC has, therefore, decided to consider the issues raised by the PRM in 
a manner consistent with the process the Commission has established for 
addressing the recommendations from the Fukushima Task Force Report. 
Thus, the NRC will defer review of this PRM until the Commission gives 
further direction on Recommendation 6, to determine whether review of 
this PRM should be integrated with the effort related to the NRC 
staff's review of Fukushima Task Force Recommendation 6. The NRC is not 
requesting public comment at this time but may do so in the future, if 
it decides public comment would be appropriate.

V. Conclusion

    The NRC will coordinate consideration of the issues raised by PRM 
50-103 in a manner consistent with the process the Commission has 
established for addressing the recommendations from the Fukushima Task 
Force Report and is not providing a separate opportunity for public 
comment on this PRM at this time.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 29th day of December 2011.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Andrew L. Bates,
Acting Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2011-33817 Filed 1-4-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P