[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 93 (Monday, May 14, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 28316-28328]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11418]


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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. 93 / Monday, May 14, 2012 / Proposed 
Rules

[[Page 28316]]



NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 54

[Docket No. PRM-54-6; NRC-2010-0291]


Filing a Renewed License Application

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; denial.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) 
is denying a petition for rulemaking (PRM) submitted by Raymond Shadis 
and Mary Lampert on behalf of Earth Day Commitment/Friends of the 
Coast, Beyond Nuclear, Seacoast Anti-Pollution League, C-10 Research 
and Education Foundation, Pilgrim Watch, New England Coalition, and 
joined in by New Hampshire State Representative Robin Reed (the 
petitioners). The petitioners requested that the NRC amend its 
regulations to accept a license renewal application (LRA) no sooner 
than 10 years before the expiration of the current license and to apply 
the revised rule to all LRAs for which the NRC has not issued a final 
safety evaluation report. The petitioners also requested a suspension 
of all new license renewal activity until the rulemaking is decided. 
After reviewing the petition, the NRC is denying the petition.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2010-0291 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information for this petition. You may 
access information related to this petition, which the NRC possesses 
and is publicly available, by any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search on Docket ID NRC-2010-0291. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher, telephone: 301-492-
3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
     The NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management 
System (ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in 
the NRC Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin 
the search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin 
Web-based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the 
NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 
301-415-4737, or by email to PDR.resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession 
number for each document referenced in this notice (if that document is 
available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is 
referenced. In addition, for the convenience of the reader, the ADAMS 
accession numbers are provided in a table in Section VI of this 
document, Availability of Documents.
     The NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of 
public documents at the NRC's PDR, O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Margaret Stambaugh, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001, telephone: 301-415-7069; email: Margaret.Stambaugh@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background
II. Modifying the 20-Year Application Timeframe
III. Ongoing and Future License Renewal Actions
    A. Suspending All Ongoing and Future License Renewal Application 
Reviews
    B. Applying a 10-Year Timeframe to All Ongoing and Future 
License Renewal Application Reviews
    C. Petition Statements and Comments Referencing the Seabrook 
Nuclear Generating Station, Unit 1 (Seabrook Unit 1), License 
Renewal Application
IV. Public Comments on the Petition
V. Determination of Petition
VI. Availability of Documents

I. Background

    The NRC received the petition on August 17, 2010, and assigned it 
Docket No. PRM-54-6. The NRC published a notice of receipt of the 
petition and request for public comment in the Federal Register (FR) on 
September 27, 2010 (75 FR 59158).
    The petitioners stated that the NRC's current regulation in Title 
10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 54.17(c) is unduly non-
conservative with respect to its effect on the accuracy and 
completeness of LRAs, public participation, changing environmental 
considerations, aging analysis and management, regulatory follow-
through, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, and 
changing regulations. The petitioners stated that they seek to restore 
some margin of conservatism by halving the lead time on LRAs from 20 to 
10 years.
    The petitioners raised the following seven issues in support of 
their request that the NRC revise 10 CFR 54.17(c):
    1. The NRC conducted the rulemaking for 10 CFR 54.17, ``Filing of 
Application,'' more than 15 years ago, and it could not have foreseen 
changes with respect to economic and regulatory shifts that have led to 
an industry-wide shift of focus from decommissioning to power uprates 
and license renewals. Such changes have affected the dynamics of 
license renewal aging analysis and management.
    2. The rulemaking for 10 CFR 54.17(c) proceeded without sufficient 
consideration of the hearing rights of affected persons.
    3. Under 10 CFR 54.17(c), licensees and the NRC can press to 
untenable lengths of time the ability to predict the following:
    a. Aging deterioration of systems;
    b. Alternative energy sources that may be more available in the 
future; and
    c. Various other factors related to plant security and the 
environment.
    4. Failure rates for systems, structures, and components (SSCs) are 
nonlinear, so licensees are unable to accurately predict aging-related 
failures.
    5. A 20-year timeframe exacerbates the NRC staff's and licensees' 
difficulty in tracking license renewal commitments.
    6. Regulatory changes over a 20-year period, from application to 
onset of the period of extended operation, will result in grandfathered 
non-compliance issues.
    7. The 20-year timeframe allowed by 10 CFR 54.17(c) conflicts with 
NEPA. This conflict results in environmental reviews of unduly limited 
scope and unreasonably limits potential alternatives.
    Section II, ``Modifying the 20-Year Application Timeframe,'' of 
this document describes in detail each of the seven issues. Section II 
also documents the NRC's responses to these issues.
    The petitioners also requested that the NRC suspend all ongoing 
reviews of

[[Page 28317]]

LRAs and that it apply the 10-year timeframe requirement to all ongoing 
and future LRA reviews. In addition, the petitioners and some public 
comment letters provide statements related to the license renewal 
application for Seabrook, Unit 1. Section III, ``Ongoing and Future 
License Renewal Actions,'' of this document contains the NRC's 
responses to these requests and statements.

II. Modifying the 20-Year Application Timeframe

Issue 1

    The petitioners stated that the NRC last updated 10 CFR 54.17 in 
1995, before sweeping changes in NRC oversight and before economic and 
regulatory shifts that enabled unprecedented changes in ownership and 
an industry-wide shift of focus from anticipated plant decommissioning 
to power uprates and license renewals. The petitioners stated that the 
rulemaking cannot have contemplated how these changes have affected the 
dynamics of license renewal aging analysis and aging management 
planning over a period of 40 years (20 years of the current license, 
plus 20 years of the extended period of operation). The petitioners 
claimed that the rule is antiquated and obsolete and must be 
reconsidered.
    The petitioners stated that, of 32 license renewals granted, none 
were filed 20 years in advance of license expiration and that there is 
only one exception among the 14 LRAs under consideration and filed in 
the last few years--Seabrook Unit 1. The petitioners stated that 
NextEra Seabrook Nuclear LLC (NextEra) has provided no credible 
justification for its very early filing of an LRA. The petitioners 
stated that the great majority of licensees have filed applications for 
license renewal within 10 years of the original license expiration 
without any apparent negative consequences. The petitioners believe 
that this experience is a clear demonstration that a lead time of more 
than 10 years is unnecessary and of little benefit. The petitioners 
argued that filing, reviewing, and granting LRAs more than 10 years in 
advance of the original license expiration can have negative 
consequences.

NRC Response to Issue 1

    The NRC recognizes that it last revised 10 CFR part 54, 
``Requirements for renewal of operating licenses for nuclear power 
plants,'' in 1995 but disagrees that the age of the rule negatively 
affects regulatory effectiveness or plant safety. The petitioners 
provided no evidence or analysis demonstrating that regulatory changes 
or corporate restructuring have negatively affected the NRC staff's 
ability to review LRAs or the industry's ability to manage aging-
related degradation at nuclear power plants. Furthermore, the 
petitioners presented no evidence or analysis for the assertion that 
LRAs submitted more than 10 years before expiration have resulted in 
negative consequences.
    In its 1991 Statements of Consideration for 10 CFR 54.17(c), the 
Commission considered the appropriate period for applicants to submit 
applications for license renewal (Power Plant License Renewal, Final 
Rule, 56 FR 64963; December 13, 1991). The NRC established the 20-year 
timeframe to balance the need to collect sufficient operating history 
data to support an LRA with the needs of a utility to plan for the 
replacement of retired nuclear power plants in the event of an 
unsuccessful LRA. The Statements of Consideration also discussed the 
NRC's finding that the lead time for building new electric generation 
facilities (alternatives to the proposed action) is 10-14 years, 
depending on the technology. In addition, the Commission considered 
that the NRC staff review would add time to the process. Thus, the NRC 
found that a 20-year application timeframe provided a reasonable and 
flexible timeframe for licensees to perform informed business planning. 
The petitioners did not provide any reasoning to dispute this previous 
consideration by the Commission but instead introduced and relied on 
the assumption that a rule must be reconsidered because it is over 15 
years old.
    The petitioners cited Seabrook Unit 1 as the only case out of 32 
license renewals where an applicant filed 20 years in advance of its 
license expiration. This statement is incorrect because, as of the date 
of the petition, nine reactor units were granted exemptions from 10 CFR 
54.17(c), enabling the licensees to submit applications more than 20 
years in advance of their license expiration. Similarly, the NRC 
disagrees with the petitioners' assertion that ``the great majority of 
licensees have filed applications for license renewal within 10 years 
of the original license expiration,'' as most (43 of the 61) units with 
renewed licenses at the date of the petition, filed their applications 
earlier than 10 years before the original license expiration. 
Nevertheless, neither statement contradicted the NRC's original basis 
for its consideration in the rule.
    Therefore, the arguments provided by the petitioners for this issue 
do not provide sufficient justification for the NRC to revise the rule. 
In particular, the petitioners did not present any new information that 
would contradict the Commission's previous considerations when it 
established the license renewal rule or demonstrate that sufficient 
reason exists to modify the current regulations.

Issue 2

    The petitioners asserted that, by renewing the license of a nuclear 
power station 20 years in advance of the licensed extended period of 
operation, the NRC removes, to the distance of a full generation, the 
opportunity for an adjudicatory hearing. They contend that a future 
generation of affected residents, visitors, and commercial interests 
would be unable or unprepared to speak for themselves. The petitioners 
further stated that ``10 CFR 54.17(c) introduces the question of 
whether the action proposed is obtaining the license or entering into 
an extended period of operation 20 years hence.'' They argue that ``the 
safety and environmental ramifications; the physical impact on affected 
persons begins 20 years away.'' They contended that this renders the 
permission so far removed in time from the implementation as to provide 
an intellectual disconnect or, in effect, void legal notice.

NRC Response to Issue 2

    The petitioners pointed out that renewing an application up to 20 
years in advance means that some future residents, visitors, and 
commercial interests that relocate near the plant during the period of 
extended operation would not have had the opportunity to participate in 
the hearing process associated with the LRA review. However, the 
interests of those future affected persons would be sufficiently 
represented by those currently located in the area. Any impacts from 
plant operation on persons currently in the area of the plant are 
expected to be the same or representative of those impacts on persons 
who will be located near the plant in the future. It is also an 
untenable legal standard to provide a hearing opportunity for unknown 
future residents, visitors, and commercial interests, as it would delay 
the hearing process or deprive persons currently affected of a timely 
hearing opportunity. Further, the future residents, visitors, and 
commercial interests located near the plant may avail themselves of the 
petition process set forth in 10 CFR 2.206, ``Request for action under 
this subpart,'' which allows for a request

[[Page 28318]]

that an existing license be modified, suspended, or revoked. Future 
residents, visitors, and commercial interests can also raise generic 
issues by requesting modification of the NRC's regulations under 10 CFR 
2.802, ``Petition for rulemaking.''
    The petition statements in Issue 2 do not provide sufficient 
justification for the NRC to revise the rule.

Issue 3

    The petitioners stated that 10 CFR 54.17(c) allows licensees and 
the NRC staff to press to untenable lengths of time the unproven 
ability to predict the aging and deterioration of SSCs. The petitioners 
also claimed that 10 CFR 54.17(c) promotes failure of the LRA to 
encompass the potential effects of an environment that is arguably 
changing at an unprecedented and unpredictable rate. As a result, the 
petitioners questioned whether a rise in ocean temperatures in the 
future would eventually lead to additional impacts, such as an increase 
in species affected by the thermal discharge plume or cooling intake. 
The petitioners also pointed out that ``more environmentally benevolent 
alternative energy sources'' may be more available in the future (e.g., 
photovoltaic solar and wind power) but cannot be credibly projected 
over 20 years. In addition, the petitioners raised the future 
uncertainty of the global threat of terrorism and its impact on 
security and the availability of offsite storage for spent fuel and 
low-level radioactive waste. The petitioners noted that the predicted 
failure rates for complex systems tend to increase exponentially with 
respect to the length of time until the prediction matures.

NRC Response to Issue 3

    Under Issue 3, the petitioners argued that the LRA fails to 
encompass the potential effects of a changing environment, and then 
raised several issues of concern stemming from the length of time 
allowed by 10 CFR 54.17(c). The examples range from aging degradation 
to environmental concerns to terrorism and security. The petitioners' 
issues related to aging management are similar to those raised under 
Issue 4; therefore, the NRC will address this aspect of the 
petitioners' concern in its response to that issue. Likewise, the 
petitioners' environmental concerns as well as the broader concern of a 
changing environment are similar to the NEPA issues raised under Issue 
7; the NRC will address the environmental questions in its response to 
that issue. This response to Issue 3 addresses the remaining questions 
related to future uncertainty related to acts of terrorism.
    While security of the nuclear facilities the NRC regulates has 
always been a priority, the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, 
brought heightened scrutiny and spurred more stringent physical 
security requirements. The NRC staff regularly inspects and enforces 
against these security requirements as part of its oversight role, 
regardless of a plant's status with respect to license renewal. 
Moreover, acts of terrorism are not aging-related issues and are, 
therefore, outside the scope of license renewal hearings. Dominion 
Nuclear Connecticut, Inc. (Millstone Nuclear Power Station, Units 2 and 
3), CLI-04-36, 60 NRC 631, 638-40 (2004). Therefore, where the 
petitioners raised questions regarding the license renewal review's 
ability to encompass uncertainties associated with future threats and 
developments related to acts of terrorism, such concerns are addressed 
by separate NRC requirements for physical security (10 CFR Part 73) and 
are not related to the rules and regulations pertaining to license 
renewal under 10 CFR part 54.
    The petitioners did not present new information in Issue 3 that 
would demonstrate that sufficient reason exists to modify the current 
regulations.

Issue 4

    The petitioners stated that submitting an application for license 
renewal at midterm of the current license finds the licensee at a time 
in SSC service life when, in industry experience, few failures are 
observed and, generally, those that are observed are episodic or 
anomalous and cannot be readily plotted as a trend for predictive 
purposes. The period of increased failure rates due to design, 
manufacturing, and construction defects has passed and is irrelevant to 
aging management in the proposed extended period of operation. The 
petitioners stated that the anticipated end-of-design life and aging 
issues have barely begun to emerge. Therefore, little or no plant-
specific information on how a given plant will age is available to be 
trended, provide lessons, or otherwise illuminate the path forward. The 
petitioners continued that it is generally observed that for many SSCs 
the information flow rates increase rapidly in the fourth quarter and 
toward the end of a license. They argued that this SSC reliability 
progression is well known and often illustrated in the so-called ``Bath 
Tub Curve,'' and corrosion risk is a function of time. As an example, 
the petitioners contended that the Beaver Valley Power Station 
containment issue provides an example of operating experience emerging 
at a late date in a way that affected license renewal.
    Additionally, the petitioners included the example that Vermont 
Yankee Nuclear Power Station also provides a series of later-life 
structural failures. The petitioners stated that it is appropriate, 
from a regulatory audit standpoint, to wait until data on the 
applicable failure rate and observed aging phenomena are in hand before 
attempting time-limited aging analysis or aging management planning; 
less than 10; not less than 20 years in advance of operating license 
expiration.

NRC Response to Issue 4

    The petitioners asserted that a plant with only 20 years of 
operating history will not have gathered sufficient plant-specific 
aging data to make an informed decision about license renewal. The 
Commission considered this issue in the 1991 rulemaking promulgating 
the license renewal rule. In the Statements of Consideration from 1991, 
the Commission stated that a minimum of 20 years provides a licensee 
with substantial amounts of information and would disclose any plant-
specific concerns with regard to age-related degradation (56 FR 64963; 
December 13, 1991).
    With respect to the petitioners' claim that the licensees and the 
NRC cannot prove the ability to predict the aging and deterioration of 
SSCs in the future, the Commission recognized this in its 1991 
Statements of Consideration and acknowledged that the ongoing 
regulatory processes at the time did not fully address the safety 
issues of extended operation beyond the initial 40-year license term 
(56 FR 64965; December 13, 1991). Therefore, the Commission concluded 
that a formal review of the adverse effects of aging on a SSC's ability 
to perform its intended function would be needed at license renewal to 
ensure that operation during the period of the extended license would 
not be inimical to public health and safety. As such, the resulting 
licensing basis for a nuclear power plant during the renewal term 
consists of the current licensing basis (CLB), as well as any 
additional obligations to monitor, manage, and correct the adverse 
effects of aging. In other words, the intent of license renewal is to 
actively manage aging effects with aging management programs rather 
than just predicting future deterioration.
    The bathtub curve analogy made by the petitioners would only apply 
to a scenario where component failures could occur if no aging 
management programs were used. The petitioners do not provide 
convincing evidence or

[[Page 28319]]

analysis to show that the bathtub curve phenomenon actually exists at 
nuclear power plants. Where the petitioners cited Beaver Valley and 
Vermont Yankee as two examples, neither example conclusively 
demonstrated how component failures were linked to the presence of a 
bath-tub trend, other than the fact that both plants happened to be in 
the later segments of their respective licenses. Nuclear power plant 
licensees are required to maintain aging management programs as part of 
their CLB following the license renewal review, to ensure that the 
effects of aging are adequately managed such that SSC's are able to 
perform their intended functions over time. The aging management 
programs, which are evaluated by the NRC, provide reasonable assurance 
that the effects of aging will be managed under the renewed license.
    The petition statements in Issue 4 do not provide new information 
that would contradict positions taken by the Commission when it 
established the license renewal rule, nor do they demonstrate that 
sufficient reason exists to modify the current regulations.

Issue 5

    The petitioners stated that the current rule exacerbates the 
difficulty the NRC staff and licensees have in following license 
renewal commitments. They argued that LRAs are often approved with the 
proviso that certain commitments be made and fulfilled, generally 
before the period of extended operation begins. These commitments often 
include inspections, tests, and analyses, as well as the development of 
programs vital to safety and environmental protection.
    The petitioners stated that regulatory experience shows NRC staff 
turnover, as well as changes in oversight and licensee staff and 
ownership, will complicate and place increased emphasis on the proper 
handoff of unfulfilled licensee commitments.

NRC Response to Issue 5

    The NRC agrees that it is important for licensees to fulfill 
commitments made in LRAs and for the NRC to verify that those 
commitments are met. Commitments are one part of the LRA review and 
approval process. A license renewal review can result in new license 
conditions and updates to final safety analysis reports (FSARs), as 
well as commitments. In those instances where the NRC staff makes a 
finding of reasonable assurance based on a commitment proposed by a 
licensee, the NRC staff elevates the commitment to a legal obligation, 
which is enforced in a license condition. Following the issuance of a 
renewed license, the NRC performs inspections, under License Renewal 
Inspection Procedure (IP) 71003, ``Post-Approval Site Inspection for 
License Renewal,'' as part of its oversight process. One objective of 
the IP 71003 inspection is to review the licensee's implementation of 
aging management programs, license conditions, and commitments 
associated with the license renewal review under 10 CFR part 54. 
Generally, these inspections are coordinated by the NRC regional staff 
and take place just before plants enter the period of extended 
operation. Findings are documented in Inspection Reports following each 
inspection. In addition to IP 71003 inspections, regulatory commitments 
that have not been made legal obligations are subject to triennial 
audits by the NRC staff. Where the petitioners claimed that the current 
rule for license renewal complicates the conduct of these inspections 
or other processes to verify license renewal commitments, they do not 
provide any evidence to demonstrate their claim.
    Therefore, the petitioners' statements in Issue 5 do not provide a 
sufficient justification for the Commission to grant the petition for 
rulemaking.

Issue 6

    The petitioners stated that the 20 years that pass from an 
application to the onset of the extended operation will, based on 
regulatory history, certainly see an inordinate amount of applicable 
regulatory change, resulting in grandfathered non-compliance issues. 
The petitioners stated that current issues under consideration for 
treatment in the license renewal process include aging management for 
underground, buried, or inaccessible pipes that carry radionuclides and 
aging management for safety-related, low-voltage cables that are below-
grade and not qualified for a wet environment.

NRC Response to Issue 6

    The Commission addressed compliance with future regulatory changes 
during the period of license renewal in promulgating the initial rule 
(56 FR 64963; December 13, 1991). The Commission previously responded 
to a similar comment, stating that comments to the rule ``incorrectly 
suggest that new information about plant systems and components as well 
as age-related degradation concerns discovered after the renewed 
license is issued would not be considered by the NRC or would not be 
factored into a plant's programs. The CLB of a plant will continue to 
evolve throughout the term of the renewed license to address the 
effects of age-related degradation as well as any other operational 
concern that arises. The licensee must continue to ensure that the 
plant is being operated safely and in conformance with its licensing 
basis. As regulations change over time, the current licensing basis is 
updated to the extent that the regulation is applicable to the plant. 
Thus, a regulatory change does not result in grandfathering non-
compliance with applicable regulations. The NRC's regulatory oversight 
activities will also assess any new information on age-related 
degradation or plant operation issues and take whatever regulatory 
action is appropriate for ensuring the protection of the public health 
and safety.'' In addition, the petitioners do not further develop their 
case in explaining how the examples of underground, buried, or 
inaccessible piping and cables demonstrate their claim of non-
compliance issues being grandfathered. In fact, the aging management 
for these SSCs are some examples of how ongoing operating experience 
informs the licensees' aging management programs over time in order to 
ensure compliance with 10 CFR 54.21(a)(3). Such programs are expected 
to evolve as necessary to address new operating experience. In 
addition, regulatory oversight activities such as IP 71003 inspections 
also provide the means for the NRC staff to verify and assess the 
ongoing effectiveness of licensees' aging management efforts.
    The petitioners did not present new information in Issue 6 that 
would contradict positions taken by the Commission when it established 
the license renewal rule or demonstrate that sufficient reason exists 
to modify the current regulations.

Issue 7

    The petitioners argued that the regulation conflicts with, 
circumvents, and frustrates the letter, spirit, object, and goals of 
NEPA. The petitioners stated that ``NEPA provides at Section 1500.2, 
that the Federal agencies, `shall to the fullest extent possible: (e) 
Use the NEPA process to identify and assess the reasonable alternatives 
to proposed actions that will avoid or minimize adverse effects of 
these actions upon the quality of the human environment.''' The 
petitioners stated that the ``Act provides at Section 1501(b) that 
`NEPA procedures must insure [sic] that environmental information is 
available to public officials and citizens before decisions are made 
and before actions are taken. The information must be of high quality. 
Accurate scientific analysis, expert agency comments, and

[[Page 28320]]

public scrutiny are essential to implementing NEPA. Most important, 
NEPA documents must concentrate on the issues that are truly 
significant to the action in question, rather than amassing needless 
detail.' ''
    The petitioners also presented arguments under Issue 3 related to 
environmental considerations that will be addressed here. These 
arguments include the potential availability of energy sources that may 
be more available in the future (e.g., photovoltaic solar and wind 
power) but cannot be credibly projected over 20 years, the failure of 
the LRA to encompass effects of a changing environment, the effect of a 
rise in ocean temperatures on species affected by a thermal discharge 
plume or cooling intake, the availability of offsite storage for spent 
fuel and low-level radioactive waste, and the status of threatened or 
endangered species.

NRC Response to Issue 7

    The NRC disagrees that the regulation conflicts with, circumvents, 
or frustrates the intent of NEPA. Rather, the twin aims of NEPA do not 
conflict with the licensing authority granted under the Atomic Energy 
Act of 1954, as amended (AEA). Section 103(c) of the AEA states that 
``each [operating] license shall be issued for a specified period, as 
determined by the Commission, depending on the type of activity to be 
licensed, but not exceeding forty years, and may be renewed upon the 
expiration of such period.'' Consistent with the AEA, the NRC's license 
renewal regulation allows for a renewed license providing up to 40 
years of operation (up to 20 years of the existing license plus 20 
years of extended operation). As previously discussed in response to 
Issue 1, the Commission found that a 20-year application timeframe 
provided a reasonable and flexible period for licensees to perform 
informed business planning. The NRC fulfills its NEPA obligations and 
meets NEPA's twin aims by examining the reasonably foreseeable impacts 
and alternatives to issuing a renewed license for a period of up to 40 
years. The petitioners did not provide any reasoning to dispute that 
the renewed license period of up to 40 years was consistent with the 
AEA, nor did the petition provide information to show that if the NRC, 
consistent with the AEA, issues a renewed license for up to 40 years, 
that the agency is, therefore, unable to meet NEPA's twin aims.
    The petitioners also argued that the timing of LRAs affects the 
implementation of NEPA with regard to the consideration of 
alternatives. The NRC notes that the petitioners quoted the Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations in support of their arguments 
rather than NEPA, but neither the statute nor the CEQ regulations 
support their petition. The extent of the environmental review is not 
directly limited by the timing of the application submittal, nor does 
the NRC staff limit its analysis to the information provided in the 
environmental report. However, the NRC does apply the rule of reason in 
conducting its environmental analysis under NEPA, which may limit the 
extent of the environmental analysis to only those environmental 
impacts and alternatives that are reasonably foreseeable. This means 
that, while the environmental review considers various impacts and 
alternatives, the NRC is not required to analyze every possible future 
or speculative development, particularly those that cannot be 
reasonably assessed to inform its decision-making process. For example, 
the NRC analyzes alternative energy sources, but is not required under 
NEPA to consider speculative technological advances in alternative 
energy sources, which may or may not be available at the time of 
extended operation. The NRC must complete its NEPA review before it 
issues a renewed license in order to inform the agency's decision on 
license renewal, and the agency meets the twin aims of NEPA by 
analyzing those alternatives that are reasonably foreseeable at the 
time that the renewed license is issued. The petitioners did not 
provide information showing that the rule precludes the NRC from 
considering reasonable alternatives within the licensing action 
timeframe.
    With respect to assessing the potential future environmental 
impacts associated with the issuance of a renewed license, the NRC 
complies with the statutory requirements of NEPA through its 
consideration of impacts in the generic and supplemental environmental 
impact statements (SEISs) for license renewal prepared in accordance 
with 10 CFR part 51, ``Environmental protection regulations for 
domestic licensing and related regulatory functions.'' As part of this 
environmental review process, the NRC evaluates the environmental 
impacts associated with operating a plant for an additional 20 years. 
This evaluation includes generic determination in its Generic 
Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal (GEIS) of issues 
such as the future storage of spent fuel for the period of extended 
operation (see 10 CFR part 51, subpart A, Table B-1). The environmental 
review also addresses concerns such as those cited by the petitioners 
in Issue 3 related to the changing environment (e.g., rise in ocean 
temperatures on species affected by a thermal discharge plume or 
cooling intake), in addressing environmental impacts and alternatives 
that are reasonably foreseeable for each site. Furthermore, the 
petitioners did not provide new information to demonstrate that the 
changing environment would have a significant impact to affect the 
NRC's environmental analysis.
    The petitioners also raised a concern in Issue 3 related to the 
potential change in status of threatened or endangered species over the 
renewed license period; such changes are accounted for in the NRC's 
ongoing consultations with other Federal agencies under the Endangered 
Species Act, which may result in imposing incidental take limits or 
monitoring for certain species, depending on the facility and its 
environment. To the extent that future developments or events may occur 
that require reinitiation of consultations, the NRC staff must consult 
with the relevant agency or agencies, regardless of whether the power 
plant has a renewed license.
    Therefore, the change to license renewal regulations proposed by 
the petitioners would not affect the NRC's response to events related 
to the Endangered Species Act.
    In Issue 7, the petitioners stated that the rule ``sets the 
[license renewal] application's environmental review at a maximum of 20 
years in advance of the impacts from the Federal action.'' Other parts 
of the petition made similar statements to imply that the actual 
``action'' taken by the NRC is not going to occur until up to 20 years 
into the future. For clarification, the ``proposed action'' before the 
NRC for license renewal is the ``issuance'' of a new and superseding 
license that allows operations for up to 40 years (any remaining time 
on the initial license plus up to 20 years of extended operation), 
which is discussed further in response to Issue 2. Therefore, NEPA 
requires the NRC to perform and complete an environmental review to 
support the agency's decision-making process with respect to issuance 
of the renewed license. As previously stated, a 40-year license is 
consistent with the AEA, and the NRC performs its NEPA analysis as part 
of the LRA review process. The petitioners did not provide new 
information that demonstrates that the NRC ought to perform its NEPA 
analysis at some time other than before it issues a renewed license.
    Finally, in their arguments supporting Issue 7, the petitioners 
discussed the LRA submitted for Seabrook Unit 1. The

[[Page 28321]]

NRC considers these issues as intended by the petitioners and commenter 
to be examples of a specific case for which the petitioners believe the 
rule is deficient. Section III.C, ``Petition Statements and Comments 
Referencing the Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station, Unit 1 (Seabrook 
Unit 1), License Renewal Application,'' of this document contains a 
detailed response to the Seabrook example.
    Therefore, the petitioners' arguments in Issue 7 do not demonstrate 
that sufficient reason exists to modify the current regulations.

III. Ongoing and Future License Renewal Actions

A. Suspending All Ongoing and Future License Renewal Application 
Reviews

    The petitioners requested that, pending promulgation of a rule to 
revise 10 CFR 54.17(c), the NRC suspend all ongoing and future reviews 
of LRAs. The review of LRAs is not a rulemaking issue and thus will not 
be addressed in this response to a petition submitted under 10 CFR 
2.802. The FR notice of receipt for the petition stated that the NRC 
will address the request to suspend ongoing and future LRA reviews in a 
separate action. Subsequently, the Commission denied the petitioners' 
request to suspend licensing actions; the Commission's denial can be 
found in ADAMS under Accession No. ML110250087.

B. Applying a 10-Year Timeframe to All Ongoing and Future License 
Renewal Application Reviews

    Under the presumption that the NRC would revise 10 CFR 54.17(c) to 
10 years, the petitioners requested that the NRC apply the 10-year 
requirement to the review of all ongoing and future LRAs. In this case, 
since the NRC is denying the petition, a 10-year requirement will not 
be applied to ongoing or future LRA reviews.

C. Petition Statements and Comments Referencing the Seabrook Nuclear 
Generating Station, Unit 1 (Seabrook Unit 1), License Renewal 
Application

    The petitioners made multiple claims about license renewal that 
refer specifically to Seabrook Unit 1. One commenter raised similar 
claims. The NRC considers these issues as intended by the petitioners 
and commenter to be examples of a specific case for which the 
petitioners or commenter believe the rule is deficient. The petition 
and comment claims are similar to the claims the petitioners have 
submitted in a Seabrook adjudicatory proceeding, some of which the 
Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel admitted as contentions in that 
proceeding (including contentions related to alternatives the applicant 
considered in its environmental report).
    To the extent that the petitioners' concerns relate specifically to 
Seabrook and the ongoing license renewal proceeding for that facility, 
the petitioners must pursue those issues through the adjudicatory 
process. Furthermore, to the extent that the petitioners or commenter 
raised issues about a specific licensing proceeding, the issues and 
comments are considered only as examples of specific cases where the 
petitioners believe the current rule is unduly burdensome, deficient, 
or needs to be strengthened, in support of the petition to amend 10 CFR 
54.17(c). Any other comments regarding a specific licensing proceeding 
are beyond the scope of a petition for rulemaking under 10 CFR 2.802 
and are not considered further in the NRC's responses.

IV. Public Comments on the Petition

    The NRC received six letters containing comments on the proposed 
rulemaking from Mark Strauch, Marie Mackowoliez, NextEra Energy, the 
Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), Beyond Nuclear, and Strategic Teaming 
and Resource Sharing. The comments are grouped into eight comment 
categories. Individual comments and their grouping can be found in the 
Public Comment Matrix in ADAMS under Accession Number ML113540177. The 
NRC also received a letter from New Hampshire State Representative 
Robin Reed asking to be added as a petitioner. The NRC accepted the 
request from State Representative Reed and considers her to be a 
petitioner for the purposes of this response.
    Comment Category 1: The NRC wrote 10 CFR 54.17 before economic and 
regulatory changes took place that would affect license renewal.

Comment 1.1

    The petitioners stated that the NRC last updated the rulemaking for 
10 CFR 54.17 in 1995, before changes in NRC oversight and economic and 
regulatory shifts that enabled unprecedented changes in oversight and 
an industry-wide shift of focus from anticipated decommissioning to 
uprate and license renewal. The petitioners further stated that the 
rulemaking did not consider how such changes would affect aging 
analysis in LRA reviews or aging management planning. One commenter 
stated that the petition does not demonstrate that the rule is out of 
date and that the petitioners provided no supporting information for 
the statement. Two commenters stated that all applicants for license 
renewal must comply with 10 CFR part 50 and 10 CFR part 54, regardless 
of their corporate structure, and both commented that the petition did 
not include an analysis of how deregulation has affected aging 
management. One commenter added that the petitioners' attempts to 
provide new information that the NRC allegedly did not consider in its 
rulemaking fails to explain what that new information is and thus fails 
to demonstrate that sufficient reason exists to modify the current 
regulations. The commenter also stated that the petition fails to 
identify which changes in NRC oversight have affected aging management. 
Lastly, a commenter noted that 10 CFR part 54 considers the present 
context for a plant by requiring that each plant maintain its CLB.

NRC Response

    The NRC recognizes that it last revised 10 CFR part 54 in 1995 but 
disagrees that the age of the rule negatively affects regulatory 
effectiveness or plant safety. The NRC agrees with the commenter that 
the petitioners provided no evidence or analysis to demonstrate that 
changes in regulatory structure or corporate structure of licensees 
have negatively affected aging analysis practices, aging management 
programs at plants, or the review of LRAs. This comment does not 
provide new information that would justify revising the rule.

Comment 1.2

    A commenter stated that Seabrook Unit 1 is the only plant to file 
for license renewal 20 years in advance of the expiration of its 
operating license. The commenter also stated that, given the 
preponderance of license renewal review times for submittals and the 
agency approvals to date, no more than 10 years in advance is warranted 
for an application, which will significantly improve the quality and 
reliability of the agency's environmental impact statements (EISs) and 
the environmental reports upon which they rely, as required by NEPA. 
Finally, the commenter stated that the preponderance of the license 
renewal reviews and approvals conducted to date do not come close to 
requiring 10 to 20 years to complete and, therefore, the basis of the 
20-year advance application date is invalid.
    Two other commenters stated that Seabrook Unit 1 is not the first 
LRA filed 20 years in advance of the operating license expiration, and 
the plant is not an outlier in that respect.

[[Page 28322]]

Both commenters also noted that the NRC has granted several LRAs at or 
near the 20-year timeframe, and the NRC also has granted exemptions to 
the 20-year requirement for special circumstances. One commenter 
further stated that the need for sufficient lead time for corporate 
decision-making, which underlies 10 CFR 54.17(c), applies whether 
companies opt for license renewal of their nuclear facilities or 
development of alternative sources of generating capacity. Completion 
of the business planning process requires decisions about future 
generating capacity to be made many years in advance.

NRC Response

    The comment that Seabrook Unit 1 is the only plant to submit an 
application 20 years before expiration of its license is incorrect. As 
discussed in response to Issue 1, at the time of the petition, nine 
reactor units were granted exemptions from 10 CFR 54.17(c), enabling 
the licensees to submit applications more than 20 years in advance of 
their license expiration.
    The data does not support the commenter's corresponding conclusion 
that no more than 10 years is warranted in which to submit an LRA. 
Thus, the NRC agrees with the other comments that the Seabrook Unit 1 
LRA is not an outlier with respect to the timeframe in which the 
application was submitted.
    A commenter also concluded that, since the NRC does not need 20 
years to review an LRA, the basis for the 20-year application timeframe 
is invalid. The NRC acknowledges that 20 years is not necessary to 
perform its review of an LRA, as noted by a commenter. The NRC 
typically reviews an application in about 2 years, when no hearings are 
requested and when the review is appropriately supported by the 
applicant. Applications for which hearings are requested would take 
longer than 2 years. Rather, the NRC established the 20-year timeframe 
to balance the need to collect sufficient operating history data to 
support an LRA with a utility's need to plan for the replacement of 
retired nuclear power plants in the case of an unsuccessful LRA. In 
promulgating the 1991 license renewal rule, the Commission considered 
the appropriate length of time for applicants to submit applications 
for license renewal (56 FR 64963; December 13, 1991). The Statements of 
Consideration discuss the NRC finding that the lead time for building 
new electric generation facilities (alternatives to the proposed 
action) is 10-14 years, depending on the technology. The NRC found that 
a 20-year application timeframe provided a reasonable and flexible 
period for licensees to perform informed business planning. Therefore, 
the comment does not present new information that contradicts positions 
taken by the Commission when it established the license renewal rule.
    The NRC response to comments under Comment Category 7 discusses the 
issues raised in the above comments related to environmental reviews 
and EISs.

Comment 1.3

    The petition noted that Seabrook Unit 1 provided no credible 
justification for its very early filing of an LRA. A commenter stated 
that, to the extent petitioners argued that the LRA is deficient, their 
claims are inappropriate in a rulemaking petition and should be raised 
in the ongoing adjudicatory proceeding, in which several of the 
petitioners are currently participating and have already raised similar 
claims.

NRC Response

    As is discussed further in Section III.C of this document, the 
petition and commenter statements that raised issues about a specific 
licensing proceeding are beyond the scope of a petition for rulemaking 
under 10 CFR 2.802 and are not considered in the NRC's responses in 
this document. However, it should be noted that the rule language in 10 
CFR part 54 contains no requirement for an applicant to justify the 
year in which it applies to renew a license.
    The comments related to Comment Category 1 do not present new 
information that would contradict positions taken by the Commission 
when it established the license renewal rule or demonstrate that 
sufficient reason exists to modify the current regulations.
    Comment Category 2: The rulemaking for 10 CFR 54.17 proceeded 
without sufficient consideration of the hearing rights of affected 
persons.

Comment 2.1

    The petitioners stated that, by renewing the license of a nuclear 
power station 20 years in advance of the licensed extended period of 
operation, the NRC removes, to the distance of a full generation, the 
opportunity for an adjudicatory hearing. They contended that a coming 
generation of affected residents, visitors, and commercial interests 
would be unable or unprepared to speak for themselves.
    A commenter noted that, according to the petitioners' logic, with 
even a 5-year renewal application period, some people might be unable 
or unprepared to speak for themselves. The commenter also raised the 
point that the 20-year renewal application period provides a greater 
ability for people to decide not to relocate to the area near the 
plant.
    A commenter provided the following statements related to the 
hearings on LRAs. Parties in NRC contested licensing hearings have the 
opportunity to raise issues after the LRA is submitted and during the 
months immediately following the NRC staff's completion of its 
licensing review and the issuance of the safety and environmental 
licensing documents. Because the licensing hearing focuses on the LRA 
itself, and not future generations, hearing issues are most effectively 
addressed while the LRA is before the agency. Contrary to the 
petitioners' assertion, there is no statutory, regulatory, or other 
rationale for delaying the hearing until the renewed license goes into 
effect. The NRC will address any safety issues relating to plant 
operation that arise after license renewal using the array of processes 
available from the Commission's regulations.
    Two commenters noted that there is no fundamental right to 
participate in administrative adjudications. See Citizens Awareness 
Network, Inc. v. NRC, 391 F.3d 338, 354 (1st. Cir. 2004). One commenter 
also stated that the NRC issues initial operating licenses for 40-year 
periods. The combination of a 20-year license renewal period with the 
18 years (at most) that would remain on an initial license following 
the NRC's review of an LRA is less than the 40-year period for 
operating licenses that the NRC grants under 10 CFR part 50 or 10 CFR 
part 52, ``Licenses, certifications, and approvals for nuclear power 
plants.'' The petitioners' argument would mean that the NRC is 
incapable of providing a meaningful hearing opportunity on an initial 
operating license and that the AEA's provisions requiring both an 
opportunity for hearing and a 40-year term are fundamentally 
incompatible.

NRC Response

    The NRC agrees that a longer renewal application period may 
increase the ability of people to choose not to relocate to the area 
near the plant but recognizes that this may not be true for some 
people. Regardless of the renewal application time period, it is 
impossible to identify all people who may relocate to the area during 
the entire term of the license renewal period. However, as discussed in 
Section II of this document in response to Issue 2 of the petition, 
current residents would sufficiently represent potential future area 
residents,

[[Page 28323]]

visitors, and commercial interests. Further, potential future 
residents, visitors, and commercial interests have other regulatory 
mechanisms to protect their interests, including a petition for 
enforcement action under 10 CFR 2.206. Those future residents, 
visitors, and commercial interests can also raise generic issues by 
requesting modification of the NRC's regulations under 10 CFR 2.802.
    The comments related to hearings are generally correct. The NRC's 
regulations in 10 CFR part 2, ``Rules of practice for domestic 
licensing proceedings and issuance of orders,'' and 10 CFR part 54 
provide the opportunity for a hearing and establish the requirements 
for intervention in a license renewal proceeding. Petitioners who meet 
the requirements of 10 CFR part 2 may intervene in a hearing, subject 
to the NRC's regulations.
    The NRC agrees with the commenter who stated that the opportunity 
for a hearing focuses on the adequacy of the LRA itself, and those 
issues would be most effectively heard at the same time as the 
licensing decision, as provided by the NRC's regulations. The topic of 
hearing rights is discussed in response to Issue 2. As the commenter 
stated, the petitioners do not provide a rationale in support of their 
petition for why a hearing on the licensing issues would be more 
effective after license issuance but before the beginning of the 
extended operating period.
    The commenter provided an example in which a plant may receive a 
38-year renewed license. The commenter calculated 38 years by adding 
the 20-year renewal application period to the 20-year extended 
operation period and subtracting 2 years for NRC staff review of the 
renewal application. The commenter argued that the initial licensing 
period of 40 years and the approximately 38-year period for renewal 
both represent an NRC licensing decision for which the effects of 
operation would be realized over approximately a 40-year period. The 
period of the renewed license may be up to 40 years, as provided in 10 
CFR 54.31, ``Issuance of a renewed license.'' The commenter is correct 
that the petitioners do not recognize the similarity of the licensing 
periods of the two licensing actions and that the petition for 
rulemaking does not explain why the initial 40-year licensing period is 
appropriate while the renewal licensing period of up to 40 years would 
be inappropriate. The NRC agrees with the commenter's point that, 
similar to the AEA authorization to grant an initial license for 40 
years, a 40-year renewal licensing period does not deprive future 
residents of a fundamental hearing right. Specifically, the petition 
does not provide any support to show why the AEA authorization for an 
initial 40-year operating license does not deprive potential future 
residents of a hearing right, but a license renewal period of up to 40 
years does deprive potential future residents of a hearing right.
    The comments related to Comment Category 2 do not provide a 
sufficient justification for the Commission to grant the petition for 
rulemaking.
    Comment Category 3: The rule currently enables applications to 
avoid addressing changing environmental considerations.

Comment 3.1

    The petitioners stated that 10 CFR 54.17(c) promotes failure of the 
LRA to encompass the potential effects of an environment that is 
arguably changing at an unprecedented rate. In addition, the petition 
raised issues about acts of terrorism, spent fuel storage, and the 
potential for failures in complex systems. A commenter questioned the 
impact that a potential rise in ocean temperatures could have on 
aquatic species affected by a reactor's thermal discharge plume or the 
cooling intake structure. Assuming such changes occur, the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency or designated State agency that permits 
operations under Sections 316(a) and (b) of the Clean Water Act could 
modify those permits to account for the change in conditions. 
Regardless of whether these permitting authorities amend the National 
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, Section 
511(c)(2) of the Clean Water Act precludes the NRC from either second-
guessing the conclusions in NPDES permits or imposing its own effluent 
limitations. The commenter further observed that the Commission 
repeatedly stated that security issues are not among the aging-related 
questions that are relevant in a license renewal review. Moreover, the 
NRC's environmental review need not address acts of terrorism. The 
storage and disposal of low-level waste and the onsite storage of spent 
fuel generated during the additional 20 years of operation are Category 
1 issues previously considered in the GEIS for which the NRC has 
already codified environmental impact findings in 10 CFR part 51, 
subpart A, appendix B, ``Environmental effect of renewing the operating 
license of a nuclear power plant.'' In 10 CFR 51.23, ``Temporary 
storage of spent fuel after cessation of reactor operation--generic 
determination of no significant environmental impact,'' the NRC 
generically addresses the eventual onsite or offsite storage of spent 
fuel following the permanent cessation of operations.

NRC Response

    The commenter's statements generally align with the responses to 
Issues 3 and 7. As the commenter pointed out, a nuclear power plant's 
environment, including applicable regulations, may change over time for 
a variety of reasons. Not all of those potential changes are within the 
scope of a license renewal application review.
    The comments related to Comment Category 3 do not provide a 
sufficient justification for the NRC to revise the rule.
    Comment Category 4: The NRC and the licensees are unable to 
accurately predict aging-related failures.

Comment 4.1

    The petition stated that 10 CFR 54.17(c) allows licensees and the 
NRC staff to press to untenable lengths of time the unproven ability to 
predict the aging and deterioration of SSCs. A commenter noted that the 
petitioners would have one believe that the NRC is powerless, once a 
renewal is docketed, to address any of the potential safety or aging-
related issues enumerated in the petition.
    A commenter stated that, to the extent these matters (the 
prediction of SSC aging) were not properly within the scope of license 
renewal, they were addressed as part of the licensees' ongoing 
operation (e.g., the corrective action and operating experience 
programs) and the NRC's continuing regulatory oversight process. The 
commenter further noted that the petitioners' argument is also belied 
by the stringency of the NRC's license renewal process.
    A commenter noted that, in drafting 10 CFR part 54, the NRC did not 
expect licensees to predict all possible age-related failures before 
issuance of a renewed license. Instead, it requires licensees to have 
inspection and testing programs that would detect aging effects such 
that they could adequately manage those effects. A licensee's license 
renewal programs are detection and not prediction programs. The 
commenter concludes that this argument does not provide any grounds to 
reconsider the Commission's current regulations.

NRC Response

    As part of the license renewal review, the NRC evaluates a 
licensee's aging management programs to ensure that each provides 
reasonable assurance that the licensee will adequately manage the

[[Page 28324]]

effects of aging. The petitioners provided no support for the claim 
that aging management technology is inadequate. The NRC agrees that the 
comments made by two commenters are a correct description of the 
process of aging management and continuing regulatory oversight. Those 
SSCs within the scope of license renewal and that require aging 
management review have specific aging management programs designed to 
manage the effects of aging. Any SSCs outside the scope of license 
renewal but subject to 10 CFR part 50 are subject to regulatory 
oversight. Licensees are required to maintain their aging management 
programs until the end of their license. As previously stated, the NRC 
evaluates the aging management programs to determine if they provide 
reasonable assurance that the licensee will manage the effects of 
aging.

Comment 4.2

    The petitioners stated that filing for license renewal at midterm 
of the current license finds the licensee at a time in SSC service life 
when, in industry experience, few failures are observed and, generally, 
those that are observed are episodic or anomalous in nature and thus 
cannot be readily plotted as a trend for prediction purposes. The 
petition argued that the time of an elevated rate of failures caused by 
design, manufacturing, and construction defects has passed and is 
largely irrelevant to aging management in the proposed extended period 
of operation.
    A commenter stated that the ``bathtub curve'' for component 
reliability trends does not apply to components that are subject to 
aging management programs. Rather, this curve applies when components 
have little or no maintenance or aging management activities applied. 
The commenter further stated that renewal applicants should be 
encouraged to perform the required aging management and environmental 
reviews as early as possible, since that would allow more time to 
evaluate and implement aging management programs for long-term 
operation. Rather than discourage early applications, it would make 
more sense to encourage such proactive efforts. Another commenter 
stated that license renewal applicants benefit not only from their own 
operating experience but from that of the entire industry.
    Another commenter stated that petitioners argue that most aging 
effects increase rapidly in the fourth quarter and toward the end of 
the license and that licensees should be required to wait until these 
later-life structural failures have presented themselves before filing 
an LRA.

NRC Response

    These comments relate to whether or not aging management programs 
can address the potential for failure rates at a nuclear power plant to 
exhibit a bathtub curve trend. The NRC agrees with the comment that a 
licensee benefits from industry-wide operating experience with respect 
to aging-related degradation. However, the NRC disagrees with the 
comment that it is appropriate to wait until the presentation of 
rapidly increasing aging effects at a plant before accepting an LRA. In 
the 1991 final rule, the Commission did ``not agree that it is adequate 
to wait to address aging concerns when they become apparent in plant 
operations.'' The Commission found that waiting to take corrective 
action after a failure occurs does not adequately control risk (56 FR 
64974; December 13, 1991). Furthermore, the NRC stated that ``the 
licensee must continue to ensure that the plant is being operated 
safely and in conformance with its licensing basis.'' As such, the NRC 
expects that the licensees' aging management programs would continue to 
be informed over time by ongoing operating experience to address new 
issues. In its 1991 Statements of Consideration, the Commission also 
noted that the NRC's ``regulatory oversight activities will also assess 
any new information on age-related degradation or plant operation 
issues and take whatever regulatory action is appropriate for ensuring 
the protection of the public health and safety'' (56 FR 64963; December 
13, 1991).

Comment 4.3

    The petitioners stated that it is appropriate, from a regulatory 
audit standpoint, to wait until applicable failure rate and observed 
aging phenomena data are in hand before attempting time-limited aging 
analysis or aging management planning: Less than 10, not less than 20, 
years in advance of operating license expiration. A commenter stated 
that, to the extent the petition claimed that 20 years of plant 
operating experience is insufficient to provide a valid basis for 
renewal applications, the Commission has previously addressed and 
dismissed that argument in its 1991 final rule.

NRC Response

    The NRC addressed this argument in the Statements of Consideration 
for the 1991 final rule. As the Commission stated, a minimum of 20 
years provides a licensee with substantial amounts of information and 
would disclose any plant-specific concerns with regard to age-related 
degradation. A nuclear power plant will undergo a significant number of 
fuel cycles over 20 years, and plant and utility personnel will have a 
substantial number of hours of operational experience with every SSC 
(56 FR 64963; December 13, 1991). The petitioners have not provided any 
new insights or analyses that would cause the Commission to change the 
rule.
    The comments related to Comment Category 4 do not provide a 
sufficient justification for the NRC to revise the rule.
    Comment Category 5: The current rule exacerbates the NRC staff's 
and licensee's difficulty in following license renewal commitments.

Comment 5.1

    The petition stated that regulatory experience shows that NRC staff 
turnover, as well as changes in oversight and licensee staff and 
ownership, will at once complicate and place increased emphasis on the 
proper handoff of unfulfilled licensee commitments. A commenter stated 
that the petition does not account for the fact that 10 CFR part 54 
requires license renewal commitments to be reflected in the Updated 
Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR). Also, the commitments are 
publicly available on the facility's NRC docket. The commenter noted 
that the petition failed to acknowledge that the NRC's established 
regulatory oversight process for nuclear power plants (and other NRC 
licensees) has been functioning effectively for decades, despite NRC 
staff turnover and changes in oversight and licensee staff and facility 
ownership. The commenter continued that certain NRC regulations and 
guidance provide various processes for ensuring that the licensee 
satisfies such commitments. Such processes include, but are not limited 
to, program development, testing, formalized commitment processes, and 
NRC inspections, all of which require significant recordkeeping of 
commitment status. The commenter also stated that, during the term of 
the renewed license, the licensee continues to be subject to all NRC 
regulations in 10 CFR parts 2, 19, 20, 21, 26, 30, 40, 50, 51, 52, 54, 
55, 70, 72, 73, and 100, and their appendices, as applicable to holders 
of operating licenses under 10 CFR part 50 or combined license holders 
under 10 CFR part 52.
    Another commenter cited the petitioners' question about the NRC's 
ability to keep track of license renewal commitments that are more than 
10

[[Page 28325]]

years old, blaming NRC staff turnover, changes in oversight, and 
potential new facility ownership. The commenter observed that the 
license renewal commitments are in the docketed and searchable UFSAR. 
The commenter continued that the petitioners do not explain why the NRC 
staff would encounter any difficulty keeping track of documented 
commitments in a licensee's UFSAR.

NRC Response

    The topic of license renewal commitments is discussed in the 
response to Issue 5. The NRC acknowledges that it is important for 
licensees to fulfill commitments and obligations made in LRAs. The NRC 
also agrees that existing regulatory processes are in place to verify 
license renewal commitments, and that the petition does not explain why 
the NRC staff would encounter complications in doing so.
    The comments related to Comment Category 5 do not provide a 
sufficient justification for the NRC to revise the rule.
    Comment Category 6: A 20-year timeframe will result in 
grandfathered non-compliance issues.

Comment 6.1

    The petition stated that the 20 years that pass from application to 
onset of the extended period of operation will, based on regulatory 
history, certainly see an inordinate amount of applicable regulatory 
change, resulting in grandfathered non-compliance issues. A commenter 
stated that the Commission considered and dismissed this very concern 
(regarding non-compliance with future changes in regulations) in 
promulgating the original license renewal rules. The commenter further 
stated that, from the outset, the license renewal process has 
emphasized that, for renewal licensees (as well for reactor licensees 
that do not seek a renewed license), the NRC will consider new 
information and impose new requirements as appropriate, and more recent 
Commission pronouncements confirm that this position has not changed.
    The commenter concluded that, as a matter of policy, the Commission 
was clearly correct in determining that licensees must address existing 
issues at an operating nuclear facility under the current license 
instead of postponing the matter until the license renewal period. 
Obviously, the resolution of any current safety concerns should not be 
deferred. By the same token, the resolution of current issues may have 
little or no relevance to safety during the period of extended 
operation, because those issues may be obviated by future changes in 
circumstances or regulatory requirements. As the Commission has held, 
it is not appropriate for the NRC or parties to spend valuable 
resources litigating allegations of current deficiencies in a 
proceeding that is directed to future-oriented issues. Additionally, 
the NRC's license renewal process includes a ``safety valve'' allowing 
consideration of additional issues if appropriate (see 10 CFR 2.335, 
``Consideration of Commission rules and regulations in adjudicatory 
proceedings'').
    Finally, the commenter argued that the NRC's license renewal rules 
represent an informed, reasoned, and permissible exercise of the 
statutory authority under the AEA. The Commission established its 
renewal regulations after extensive deliberations, based on its 
determination that existing regulatory processes are adequate to ensure 
that the licensing bases of currently operating nuclear power plants 
provide and maintain an adequate level of safety. The license renewal 
rules further reflect the NRC's considered policy judgments that (1) 
issues relevant to both current operation and extended operation during 
the license renewal period should be addressed when they arise, not 
postponed until a license renewal decision (56 FR 64946; December 13, 
1991); and (2) duplicating the Commission's ongoing regulatory reviews 
in a license renewal proceeding would waste NRC resources, which are 
better focused on aging management concerns.
    Another commenter stated that the Commission has explained that it 
expects licensees and license renewal applicants to adjust their aging 
management programs to reflect lessons learned in the future through 
individual and industry-wide experiences. The Commission has described 
the license renewal program as a living program that continues to 
evolve. If new insights or changes emerge over time, the NRC staff will 
require, as appropriate, any modifications to SSCs that are necessary 
to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety or to bring 
the facility into compliance with a license or the rules and orders of 
the Commission. The commenter further stated that the NRC will act to 
ensure adequate protection, regardless of when an LRA is submitted. The 
Commission also considered this same argument nearly 20 years ago in 
its 1991 final rule.

NRC Response

    The prior comments largely summarize the Commission's position 
previously stated in relation to the promulgation of the initial rule. 
The NRC generally agrees with the comment that it considered the issue 
in the prior rulemaking for this regulation. The NRC also agrees with 
the comment regarding expectations that licensee's aging management 
programs should be informed, and enhanced when necessary, based on the 
ongoing review of both plant-specific and industry operating 
experience.
    The comments related to Comment Category 6 do not provide a 
justification for the NRC to revise the rule.
    Comment Category 7: The 20-year timeframe allowed by 10 CFR 
54.17(c) conflicts with NEPA.

Comment 7.1

    The petitioners argued that an LRA for a nuclear power plant 
submitted 20 years in advance of the expiration of its current 
operating license cannot, to the fullest extent possible, accurately 
and reliably evaluate nor reasonably foresee the alternatives to the 
proposed action, as required by the CEQ regulations. They contended 
that the premature information constitutes nothing more than amassing 
needless detail that, in the case of a nuclear power plant relicensing 
action, establishes a bias towards a premature relicensing decision.
    A commenter stated that, by allowing applications 20 years in 
advance of the licensing action, the NRC is rigging the purpose and 
need in violation of NEPA, citing circuit court comments. The commenter 
asserted that NEPA is to be interpreted to guard against and prevent 
such misinformed and misleading actions. The commenter also argued that 
the existence of a viable but unexamined alternative renders an EIS 
inadequate, and therefore agencies must study significant alternatives 
suggested by other agencies or the public. The commenter stated that 
there is simply no showing of any attempt by the NRC to avoid the 
consideration of the environmental impacts associated with license 
renewal projects or to deprive the public of information related to 
those impacts by dividing a larger project into smaller units.

NRC Response

    The NRC disagrees with one commenter's statement that the 20-year 
timeframe constitutes a rigging of the purpose or need with regard to 
NEPA. Rather, the 20-year time frame, which is part of the 40-year 
renewed license term, is consistent with the AEA. Section 103(c) of the 
AEA states that ``each [operating] license shall be issued for a 
specified period, as determined by

[[Page 28326]]

the Commission, depending on the type of activity to be licensed, but 
not exceeding forty years, and may be renewed upon the expiration of 
such period.'' Since the license renewal period consists of the period 
of extended operation (20 years) and any time remaining on the original 
license (up to 20 years per 10 CFR 54.17(c)), the license renewal 
period is consistent with the 40-year license period allowed under the 
AEA. Furthermore, the Commission considered the timing of an LRA in the 
promulgation of the license renewal rule. As is discussed in more 
detail in response to Issue 1, the Commission found that a 20-year 
application timeframe provided a reasonable and flexible period for 
licensees to perform informed business planning. The commenter provided 
no information demonstrating that the NRC established the 20-year 
application timeframe to rig the purpose or need of NEPA.
    As discussed in Issue 7, the commenter argued that the timing of 
LRAs affects the implementation of NEPA with regard to the 
consideration of alternatives. The extent of the environmental review 
is not directly limited by the timing of the application submittal, nor 
does the NRC staff limit its analysis to the information provided in 
the environmental report. The NRC applies the rule of reason in 
conducting its environmental review under NEPA, which may limit the 
extent of an environmental review to only those environmental impacts 
that are reasonably foreseeable. This means that, while the 
environmental review considers various impacts and alternatives, the 
NRC is not required to analyze every possible future speculative 
development. The NRC must complete its NEPA review before the issuance 
of a renewed license to inform the agency's decision on license 
renewal. The commenter did not provide information showing that the 
rule precludes the NRC from considering reasonable alternatives within 
the licensing action timeframe.

Comment 7.2

    A commenter stated that setting the maximum advance date for the 
submission of a relicensing application at 20 years in effect 
needlessly restricts the substance of the environmental review by 
fixing its analysis unreasonably and prematurely from an application's 
expiration date and the beginning of impact from the proposed Federal 
action. By setting the application's environmental review at a maximum 
of 20 years in advance of the impacts from the Federal action, the 
regulation, as currently written, effectively limits the scope and 
content of an environmental review, rendering it a speculative venture 
and a snapshot on the recent past rather than a rigorous and objective 
assessment of what is reasonably foreseeable.
    A commenter stated that it is well established that the scope of 
the environmental review required in connection with license renewal is 
appropriately limited and that the limited scope of review has been 
consistently upheld. The NRC's regulations do require a discussion of 
alternatives by both the applicant (in the environmental report) and 
the NRC staff (in the SEIS) in connection with renewal applications. 
The commenter argued that issuance of a renewed license and initiation 
of the period of extended operation under the renewed license are part 
of the same Federal action; there is no additional connected action. 
Therefore, the potential environmental impacts of the proposed license 
renewal are considered together, not piecemeal. Another commenter 
stated that, with regard to Vermont Yankee, the Supreme Court made 
clear that the concept of alternatives under NEPA must be bounded by 
some notion of feasibility. As a result, agencies are not required to 
consider alternatives that are remote and speculative. Instead, 
agencies may deal with circumstances as they exist and are likely to 
exist. While there will always be more data that could be gathered, 
agencies must have some discretion to draw the line and move forward 
with decision-making. The Commission's decision to allow licensees to 
file LRAs in accordance with 10 CFR 54.17(c) and perform its 
environmental review within that timeframe is a valid exercise of this 
discretion.

NRC Response

    As discussed in response to Issue 7, the extent of the 
environmental review is not directly limited by the timing of the 
application submittal, nor does the NRC staff limit its analysis to the 
information provided in the environmental report. However, the NRC does 
apply the rule of reason in conducting its environmental review under 
NEPA, which may limit the extent of an environmental review to only 
those environmental impacts that are reasonably foreseeable. This means 
that, while the environmental review considers various impacts and 
alternatives, the NRC is not required to analyze every possible future 
or speculative development, particularly those that cannot be 
reasonably assessed to inform its decision-making process. The NRC must 
complete the NEPA review before it issues a renewed license to inform 
the agency's decision on license renewal. The commenter did not provide 
information showing that the rule precludes the NRC from considering 
reasonable alternatives within the licensing action timeframe.

Comment 7.3

    The petition stated that an application for relicensing submitted 
20 years in advance of the current license expiration date cannot 
reasonably be determined to be sufficiently complete nor reasonably be 
represented to rigorously explore and objectively evaluate all 
reasonable alternatives.
    A commenter argued that it is not reasonable to consider that an 
environmental report based on data that is 20 years old or older can 
solely constitute the foundation for an adequately studied EIS prepared 
by the NRC.
    This in fact constitutes a violation of NEPA principles, as the 
harm that NEPA seeks to prevent is complete when the agency makes a 
decision without sufficiently considering information that NEPA 
requires be placed before the decision-maker and the public. An 
application that is filed 20 years in advance of a 2030 expiration date 
relies on conclusions made 34 years before the requested action and 
stretches the veracity and validity of the environmental report to an 
amassing of outdated and meaningless details for the agency's 
preparation of an EIS. For example, in the Seabrook Unit 1 relicense 
application, filed in 2010, the preponderance of expert documentation 
about renewable alternatives is gathered from 2008, effectively 
freezing the environmental evaluation for the region of interest 22 
years from the requested Federal action. It is disingenuous to 
characterize that data 22 to 34 years out from the requested action as 
sufficiently complete, as NEPA is established to require. NextEra 
relies upon the 20-year advance provision in 10 CFR 54.17(c) to 
truncate its alternative evaluation and justify the omission of more 
recent documents from experts and expert agencies from 2009 and 2010.
    One commenter stated that, as a matter of administrative law, 
agencies have broad discretion to formulate their own procedures, and 
the NRC's authority in this respect has been termed particularly great. 
Similarly, although an agency may alter its rules in light of its 
accumulated experience in administering them, an agency must offer a 
reasoned explanation for the change. The petitioners' request for 
relief provides no such reasonable basis

[[Page 28327]]

for overturning the NRC's current license renewal framework. Moreover, 
in the context of environmental regulations, the Supreme Court has made 
clear that NEPA does not require agencies to adopt any particular 
internal decision-making structure and that the only procedural 
requirements imposed by NEPA are those stated in the plain language of 
the Act. Therefore, the Court found that NEPA cannot serve as the basis 
for a substantial revision of the carefully constructed procedural 
specifications of the Administrative Procedure Act.
    Another commenter stated that NEPA does not require agencies to 
adopt any particular internal decision-making structure. In fact, the 
Commission has broad discretion to structure its NEPA inquiries. As the 
Supreme Court made clear in Vermont Yankee over 30 years ago, NEPA does 
not provide any basis for adding procedural requirements beyond the 
carefully constructed procedural specifications imposed by the 
Administrative Procedure Act. In Vermont Yankee, the Court also 
explained that the only procedural requirements imposed by NEPA are 
those stated in the plain language of the Act. The Commission has 
decided that its safety review of LRAs under the AEA can be initiated 
with 20 years remaining on the current license, and NEPA cannot compel 
a different procedural timetable. Accordingly, the petitioners' claim 
that NEPA requires the NRC to amend 10 CFR 54.17(c) to allow for a 
later analysis of alternatives finds no support in law.

NRC Response

    The NRC disagrees that the environmental reports submitted in 
support of LRAs must rely on data that are 20 years old or older, and 
the NRC disagrees that environmental report data forms the sole 
foundation for EISs. As discussed in response to Issue 2, the 
``proposed action'' before the NRC for license renewal is the 
``issuance'' of a new and superseding license that allows operations 
for up to 40 years (any remaining time on the initial license plus up 
to 20 years of extended operation), which is also discussed in response 
to Issue 2. Therefore, NEPA requires the NRC to perform and complete an 
environmental review to support the agency's decision-making process 
with respect to issuance of the renewed license. Furthermore, as 
described in response to Issue 7, the license renewal regulation is 
consistent with the 40-year license term allowed under the AEA. The 
environmental report is submitted to support an LRA, and the NRC 
reviews that environmental report along with the application. The 
environmental report, therefore, does not need to rely on data that is 
20 years old.
    The comment that an environmental report forms the sole basis for a 
license renewal EIS, or that alternatives proffered by the applicant in 
its environmental report are the only alternatives the NRC staff 
considers, is also incorrect. The NRC staff undertakes an independent 
consideration of environmental impacts and documents its consideration 
in the EIS.
    These comments do not provide sufficient justification for the NRC 
to revise the rule.

Comment 7.4

    A commenter provided, as an example, that on June 1, 2010, NextEra 
submitted its application for relicensing the Seabrook nuclear power 
plants on the New Hampshire seacoast 20 years in advance of its current 
40-year operating license expiration date, identified as March 15, 
2030. Given that the proposed relicensing period for which the proposed 
Federal action is being taken is for the period 2030-2050, Chapter 7 of 
the Seabrook License Renewal Environmental Report provides a dated, 
incomplete, and meaningless assessment of energy alternatives and is 
biased towards the requested relicensing action.
    Another commenter stated that, although the petitioners would have 
one believe that a 20-year renewal window somehow circumvents or 
frustrates NEPA, it does no such thing. The commenter stated that this 
assertion is predicated on the misguided belief that somehow there will 
be dramatic changes in how solar, wind, or other renewables penetrate 
the grid. The commenter watched the California Altamont wind farm in 
dismay every day. Consumers and energy regulators need certainty in the 
near-, mid-, and long[hyphen]term horizon. Early nuclear power plant 
license renewal injects more certainty, not less, in that process. The 
commenter concluded that the petitioners convey no demonstrable safety, 
security, or environmental concerns about Seabrook.

NRC Response

    Section III.C of this document contains the NRC's responses to 
issues related to the Seabrook LRA. One commenter raised several 
concerns about alternatives in the environmental report or the NRC 
staff's EIS. As stated in response to Issue 7, the extent of the 
environmental review is not directly limited by the timing of the 
application submittal, nor does the NRC staff limit its analysis to the 
information provided in the environmental report. The NRC staff 
undertakes an independent consideration of environmental impacts and 
documents that consideration in its EIS. Furthermore, there is no 
guarantee that a shorter application timeframe would increase the 
number of alternatives analyzed in an environmental report. Some 
alternatives may need more than 10 years of lead time for design and 
construction. Therefore, allowing applicants to apply for license 
renewal more than 10 years in advance of a license's expiration date 
does not unreasonably foreclose alternatives, as suggested by the 
petitioners and one commenter.
    The comments related to Comment Category 7 do not provide a 
justification for the NRC to revise the rule.
    Comment Category 8: General comments.

Comment 8.1

    A commenter argued that, to amend the regulations to a 10-year 
advance time period would lead the way to a safer means of producing 
energy. Two commenters argued that the petitioners have presented no 
new information that contradicts the agency positions reflected in the 
existing license renewal rule or provides sufficient cause to modify 
those positions.
    One of the commenters further stated that the petition fails to 
provide adequate legal, factual, or policy-based support for the 
assertions it makes or the relief it seeks. By raising issues the 
Commission has already considered in promulgating its license renewal 
rules, the petition ignores the carefully crafted regulatory framework, 
including 10 CFR 54.17(c), that supports license renewal. Other aspects 
of the petition address topics that are managed by the Commission's 
ongoing regulatory oversight processes and regulations, which should 
not be addressed through changes to the license renewal rules.

NRC Response

    These particular comments express general support or opposition to 
the petition requests. The comments do not provide additional analysis 
or data that would justify revising the rule.

Comment 8.2

    A commenter concluded that the NRC and the industry would 
significantly benefit by avoiding subsequent adjudicatory challenges if 
licensees were required to wait to apply for license renewal no more 
than 10 years in advance of the license expiration, when trends, 
studies, agreements, and

[[Page 28328]]

commercial ventures were more distinctly and discretely developed.

NRC Response

    The Commission established the 20-year timeframe to balance the 
need to collect sufficient operating history data to support an LRA 
with the needs of a utility to plan for the replacement of retired 
nuclear plants in the case of an unsuccessful LRA.
    The rule, allowing a license period of 40 years, is in accordance 
with the AEA, which provides for a license period of up to 40 years 
(see Section 103(c) of the AEA). The rule is not intended to limit the 
number of adjudicatory challenges. Rather, the NRC regulations are 
designed to provide appropriate opportunities for hearings to affected 
parties. Reducing the number of potential adjudicatory challenges is 
not sufficient justification to revise the regulation.
    The comments related to Comment Category 8 do not provide a 
sufficient justification for the Commission to revise the rule.

V. Determination of Petition

    The NRC has reviewed the petition and the public comments and 
appreciates the concerns raised. For the reasons described in Sections 
II and III of this document, the NRC is denying the petition under 10 
CFR 2.803. The petitioners did not present any new information that 
would contradict positions taken by the Commission when it established 
the license renewal rule, nor did the petitioners provide new, 
significant information to demonstrate that sufficient reason exists to 
modify the current regulations.
    The Commission previously established the earliest date for 
submission of LRAs after soliciting and considering extensive comments 
during the 1991 rulemaking for 10 CFR 54.17(c). In its 1991 Statements 
of Consideration, the Commission determined that a 20-year timeframe 
was reasonable for licensees to collect sufficient operating history 
and also sufficient for a utility to plan for replacement of retired 
nuclear plants in the case of an unsuccessful LRA. The petition did not 
provide new information to challenge this basis.
    Finally, the renewed license period of 40 years is consistent with 
the AEA, and 10 CFR 54.17(c) does not cause environmental reviews 
submitted to support LRAs to be in conflict with NEPA. The license 
renewal environmental review and SEIS consider reasonably foreseeable 
environmental impacts and alternatives in accordance with the 
provisions of 10 CFR part 51. The rule change requested by the 
petitioners would not affect the process the NRC uses to implement 
NEPA. The petitioners do not provide new information or analysis to 
demonstrate that the regulations in 10 CFR part 51 are insufficient for 
the NRC to comply with the requirements of NEPA.
    For these reasons, the NRC denies the petitioners' requests for the 
NRC to modify its requirements related to the LRA period, to suspend 
license renewal reviews, and to apply a 10-year application timeframe 
to ongoing and future LRAs.

VI. Availability of Documents

    The following table provides information on how to access the 
documents referenced in this document. For more information on 
accessing ADAMS, see the ADDRESSES section of this document.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    ADAMS accession No./
               Date                    Document       Federal Register
                                                          Citation
------------------------------------------------------------------------
December 13, 1991................  Nuclear Power    56 FR 64943
                                    Plant License
                                    Renewal.
September 27, 2010...............  Earth Day        75 FR 59158
                                    Commitment/
                                    Friends of the
                                    Coast, Beyond
                                    Nuclear,
                                    Seacoast Anti-
                                    Pollution
                                    League, C-10
                                    Research and
                                    Education
                                    Foundation,
                                    Pilgrim Watch,
                                    and New
                                    England
                                    Coalition;
                                    Notice of
                                    Receipt of
                                    Petition for
                                    Rulemaking.
January 24, 2011.................  Commission       ML110250087
                                    Memorandum and
                                    Order (CLI-11-
                                    01), In the
                                    Matter of
                                    Petition for
                                    Rulemaking to
                                    Amend 10 CFR
                                    Sec.
                                    54.17(c).
January 31, 2012.................  Public Comment   ML113540177
                                    Matrix for
                                    Petition for
                                    Rulemaking 54-
                                    6, License
                                    Renewal.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 4th day of May 2012.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2012-11418 Filed 5-11-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P