[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 192 (Wednesday, October 3, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60482-60484]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24281]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 50-029 and 72-31; NRC-2012-0229]


Yankee Atomic Electric Company; Yankee Rowe Independent Spent 
Fuel Storage Installation, Staff Evaluation; Exemption

1.0 Background

    Yankee Atomic Electric Company (YAEC, the licensee) is the holder 
of Facility Operating License No. DPR-3 which authorizes possession of 
nuclear fuel under part 50 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR). The license provides, among other things, that 
the facility is subject to all rules, regulations, and orders of the 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) now or 
hereafter in effect. Per 10 CFR part 72, Subpart K, a general license 
is issued for the storage of spent fuel in an Independent Spent Fuel 
Storage Installation (ISFSI) to persons authorized to possess or 
operate nuclear power reactors under 10 CFR part 50. Thus, YAEC also 
holds a 10 CFR part 72 general license for storage of spent fuel and 
greater than Class C waste at the Yankee Rowe ISFSI in Rowe, 
Massachusetts.
    The Yankee Nuclear Power Station (YNPS) was a Pressurized Water 
Reactor in Rowe, Massachusetts, operated by the Yankee Atomic Electric 
Company (YAEC). By February 26, 1992, the reactor core was removed, and 
YNPS

[[Page 60483]]

had permanently shut down. On February 27, 1992, YAEC notified the NRC 
that power generating operations at YNPS had permanently ceased. On 
August 5, 1992, the NRC amended the license for YNPS to ``Possession 
Only.'' Currently, all remaining fuel on-site at the facility is stored 
in dry cask storage at a stand-alone ISFSI.
    The Power Reactor Security Rule, which applies to all 10 CFR part 
50 licensees, was revised on March 27, 2009, with compliance required 
by March 31, 2010 (74 FR 13926). The NRC held a webinar on July 20, 
2010, to provide clarification on the applicability of the power 
reactor security regulations to 10 CFR part 50 licensees undergoing 
decommissioning or 10 CFR part 50 licensees that have only a general 
licensed ISFSI. On August 2, 2010, the NRC issued a letter to YAEC 
clarifying the applicability of the revised power reactor security 
regulations to a part 50 licensee undergoing decommissioning or a part 
50 licensee that has only a general licensed ISFSI (Agencywide 
Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. 
ML102160023). In the August 2, 2010, letter, the NRC noted that there 
are currently no security or health and safety gaps at these facilities 
that may not be in compliance with the current 10 CFR 73.55 
requirements because the Security Plans at these facilities meet the 
baseline requirements of the previous version of 10 CFR 73.55 and also 
meet the requirements of subsequent NRC security orders. The NRC 
requested a response be submitted within 120 days of receipt of the 
August 2, 2010, letter.
    By letter dated November 30, 2010 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML103550172), YAEC responded to the August 2, 2010, letter. In its 
response, YAEC requested exemption from certain regulations in 10 CFR 
73.55, ``Requirements for Physical Protection of Licensed Activities in 
Nuclear Power Reactors Against Radiological Sabotage,'' which it 
considered either not applicable or caused an undue burden to a stand-
alone ISFSI. As part of its response, YAEC submitted a matrix which 
described how YAEC either complied with the new rule and applicable 
orders or needed an exemption. In addition, YAEC clarified that their 
intent in submitting the exemption request was to maintain its NRC-
approved Physical Security Plan (PSP). In addition, YAEC noted that the 
statement of consideration for the Power Reactor Security Rule states 
that the Commission did not intend to make changes to the substantive 
requirements of 10 CFR 72.212 and that the Commission has initiated a 
separate rulemaking to revise the ISFSI security requirements (74 FR 
13958).

2.0 Discussion

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific Exemptions,'' the Commission 
may, upon application by any interested person or upon its own 
initiative, grant such exemptions from the requirements in 10 CFR part 
73 as it determines are authorized by law and will not endanger life or 
property or the common defense and security and are otherwise in the 
public interest. The NRC evaluated the exemption requests submitted by 
YAEC in its November 30, 2010, letter. After evaluating the exemption 
requests, the NRC staff believes that YAEC should be granted exemptions 
from the following requirements: 10 CFR 73.55(e)(10)(ii) and 10 CFR 
73.55(g)(8)(iv). Section 73.55(e)(10)(ii) sets forth requirements for 
restricting access by waterborne vehicles and 10 CFR 73.55(g)(8)(iv) 
sets forth access authorization requirements. The remaining exemptions 
requested were determined either not to be applicable to the facility 
or are being met by the licensee's current PSP; therefore, these 
exemptions were denied. Additional information regarding the NRC 
(staff) evaluation is documented in a Safety Evaluation Report that 
contains Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information and is being 
withheld from public inspection in accordance with 10 CFR 2.390.
    In considering these exemption requests, the staff reviewed the 
current Yankee Nuclear Power Station Physical Security Plan (YNPS PSP) 
(Revision 18), dated November 28, 2006; and the NRC letter dated March 
13, 2002, and its attachment, Amendment 156, which granted YNPS 
exemptions from certain requirements of the previous 10 CFR part 73. 
The NRC staff also reviewed the revised Power Reactor Security Rule, 10 
CFR 73.55, which became effective on May 26, 2009 (74 FR 13926), to 
identify substantive changes affecting previously approved exemptions. 
In addition, the staff reviewed a 2009 inspection report prepared after 
conducting inspections of the licensee's facility, procedures, and PSP 
for compliance with all applicable regulations and NRC Orders. Based 
upon its review, the staff determined that current barriers and actions 
implemented under the Yankee Rowe ISFSI PSP meet the intent of the 
regulations being exempted, and that granting the requested exemptions 
will not result in a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as 
amended, or the Commission's regulations. Therefore, the exemptions are 
authorized by law.
    The purpose of the regulations in 10 CFR 73.55 is to establish and 
maintain a physical protection system designed to protect against 
radiological sabotage. The function of 10 CFR 73.55(e)(10)(ii) is to 
restrict waterborne vehicle access and require performance of periodic 
surveillance of waterway approaches to ISFSIs. However, there are no 
pathways which allow waterborne vehicles to gain direct access to the 
ISFSI. Furthermore, YAEC employs site specific barriers as part of its 
NRC-approved PSP which are appropriate for the reduced radiological 
risk associated with a stand-alone ISFSI. The purpose of the 
regulations in 10 CFR 73.55(g)(8)(iv) is to ensure personnel trained as 
escorts be knowledgeable of where visitors would be working within the 
protected area and that visitors within the protected area will be 
escorted. The NRC staff determined that the NRC approved measures 
currently employed by YAEC in its PSP are appropriate for the reduced 
radiological risk to the public from the ISFSI and are consistent with 
the general performance standards in 10 CFR 73.55(b). Therefore, the 
NRC staff concludes that the exemptions do not pose an increased risk 
to public health and safety and are not inimical to the common defense 
and security. Given the above considerations, this exemption will not 
endanger life or property or the common defense and security.
    As discussed above, the purpose of 10 CFR 73.55 is to protect 
against radiological sabotage. Granting YAEC an exemption from the 
requirements of 10 CFR 73.55(e)(10)(ii) and 10 CFR 73.55(g)(8)(iv) 
would not decrease the level of security currently in place at the 
Yankee Rowe ISFSI. In addition, granting exemptions to these 
regulations will not result in increased radiological risk to the 
public from operation of this general licensed, stand-alone ISFSI. 
Accordingly, the NRC staff has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
73.5, these exemptions are authorized by law and are otherwise in the 
public interest.
    Granting exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR 
73.55(e)(10)(ii) and 73.55(g)(8)(iv) involves safeguards plans. A 
categorical exclusion for exemptions involving safeguard plans is 
allowed under 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(vi)(F) provided that the criteria in 
10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(i)-(v) are also satisfied. In its review of the 
exemption request, the NRC determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
51.22(c)(25): (i) Granting the exemptions neither involves a 
significant reduction in a margin of safety nor creates a new or 
different kind of accident from any

[[Page 60484]]

accident previously evaluated, and thus no significant hazards 
considerations because there is no significant increase in either the 
probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated; (ii) 
granting the exemptions would not produce a significant change in 
either the types or amounts of any effluents that may be released 
offsite because the requested exemptions neither change the effluents 
nor produce additional avenues of effluent release; (iii) granting the 
exemptions would not result in a significant increase in either 
occupational radiation exposure or public radiation exposure because 
the requested exemptions neither introduce new radiological hazards nor 
increase existing radiological hazards; (iv) granting the exemptions 
would not result in a significant construction impact because there are 
no construction activities associated with the requested exemptions; 
and; (v) granting the exemptions would not result in a significant 
increase in the potential for or consequences from radiological 
accidents because the exemptions neither reduce the level of security 
in place at the Yankee Rowe ISFSI nor create new accident precursors. 
Accordingly, this exemption meets the criteria for a categorical 
exclusion in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(vi)(F).

3.0 Conclusion

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
73.5, the exemptions are authorized by law, will not endanger life or 
property or the common defense and security, and are otherwise in the 
public interest. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants YAEC an 
exemption from the 10 CFR 73.55(e)(10)(ii) requirement to restrict 
waterborne vehicle access and perform periodic surveillance of waterway 
approaches as well as the 10 CFR 73.55(g)(8)(iv) requirement for escort 
personnel to be generally knowledgeable of visitor activities. In 
addition, YAEC shall continue to follow the NRC approved ISFSI PSP and 
applicable NRC orders. As discussed in the preceding paragraph, the 
Commission has determined that this exemption meets the criteria for 
categorical exclusion set forth in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(vi)(F). 
Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b), no environmental impact 
statement or environmental assessment need be prepared in connection 
with the granting of these exemptions. These exemptions are effective 
upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of September, 2012.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Douglas W. Weaver,
Deputy Director, Division of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation, 
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2012-24281 Filed 10-2-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P