[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 200 (Tuesday, October 16, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 63254-63260]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-25366]


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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. 200 / Tuesday, October 16, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 63254]]



NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 72

[Docket No. PRM-72-6; NRC-2008-0649]


Petition for Rulemaking Submitted by C-10 Research and Education 
Foundation, Inc.

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; partial consideration in the 
rulemaking process.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) 
received a petition for rulemaking (PRM) dated November 24, 2008, filed 
by Ms. Sandra Gavutis, Executive Director for C-10 Research and 
Education Foundation Inc. (the petitioner). The petition was docketed 
by the NRC and assigned Docket No. PRM-72-6. The petitioner requests 
that the NRC amend its regulations concerning dry cask safety, 
security, transferability, and longevity. The petitioner made 12 
requests. The NRC is denying nine of the petitioner's requests, but 
will consider one request in the rulemaking process. Action on two 
requests is being reserved for future rulemaking determinations, as 
these requests are currently under consideration by the NRC. The NRC 
will publish another Federal Register notice to inform the public of 
the Commission's decision for these two requests. The docket for this 
PRM will remain open until action is taken on the two remaining 
requests.

ADDRESSES: Further NRC action on the issues raised by this petition can 
be found on the Federal rulemaking Web site at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID NRC-2009-0558, which is 
the identification for the future rulemaking.
    You can access publicly available documents related to the 
petition, which the NRC possesses and is publicly available, using the 
following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Public comments and 
supporting materials related to this petition can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on the petition Docket ID NRC-2008-
0649 or the future rulemaking Docket ID NRC-2009-0558. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-
3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
     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.
    NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents 
at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville 
Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffery Lynch, Office of Federal and 
State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-
5041, email: Jeffery.Lynch@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On November 24, 2008, C-10 Research and Education Foundation, Inc. 
filed a petition for rulemaking. The petition was docketed by the NRC 
and assigned Docket No. PRM-72-6. On March 3, 2009 (74 FR 9178), the 
NRC published a notice of receipt and request for comment for PRM-72-6.
    The petitioner requested that the NRC amend part 72 of Title 10 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ``Licensing Requirements for 
the Independent Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level Radioactive 
Waste, and Reactor-Related Greater than Class C Waste,'' to revise the 
NRC requirements for interim dry cask storage of spent fuel. 
Specifically, the petitioner requested that the NRC's regulations be 
amended to:
    (1) Require that the NRC prohibit non-conforming pre-built full-
scale casks, specifically built for NRC certification testing, from 
being put into production under industry pressure to ``accept-as-is.''
    (2) Require that the NRC base its certification of casks on 
upgraded code requirements, which include design criteria and technical 
specifications for a 100-year-minimum age-related degradation 
timeframe, upgraded from the current ``inadequate'' 20-year design 
specification. The NRC must also require an NRC regulatory and public 
review of an in-depth technical evaluation of the casks done at the 20-
year certificate of compliance (CoC) reapproval interval to effectively 
catch and address cask deterioration.
    (3) Require that the NRC approve, as part of the original 
independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) certification 
process and construction license, a method for dry cask transfer 
capacity that will allow for immediate and safe maintenance on a faulty 
or failing cask.
    (4) Require that dry casks are qualified for transport at the time 
of onsite storage approval certification.
    (5) Require the most current American Society of Mechanical 
Engineers (ASME) Codes and Standards be adopted for all spent fuel 
storage containers without exception.
    (6) Require ASME Code stamping for fabrication.
    (7) Require that all materials for fabrication be supplied by ASME-
approved material suppliers who are certificate holders.
    (8) Require that current ASME Codes and Standards for conservative 
heat treatment and leak tightness are adopted and enforced.
    (9) Require a safe and secure hot cell transfer station coupled 
with an auxiliary pool to be built as part of an upgraded ISFSI design 
certification and licensing process.
    (10) Require real-time heat and radiation monitoring at ISFSIs at 
all nuclear power plant sites and away-from-reactor storage sites 
maintained by the utilities and that the monitoring data be transmitted 
in real-time to affected State health, safety, and environmental 
regulators.

[[Page 63255]]

    (11) Require ``Hardened On-Site Storage'' (HOSS) at all nuclear 
power plants as well as away-from-reactor dry cask storage sites, and 
that all nuclear industry interim on-site or off-site dry cask storage 
installations or ISFSIs be fortified against terrorist attack. In 
addition, all sites should be safeguarded against accident and age-
related leakage.
    (12) Establish funding to conduct on-going studies to provide the 
data required to accurately define and monitor for age-related material 
degradation, assess the structural integrity of the casks and fuel 
cladding in ``interim'' waste storage.
    While the NRC was considering the C-10 petition for rulemaking, it 
issued a draft technical basis for a future security rulemaking for 
ISFSIs and a final rule on terms and conditions for both ISFSI licenses 
and certificates of compliance. As described in the following 
paragraphs, some aspects of both these actions are pertinent to the 
petitioner's requests
    On December 16, 2009 (74 FR 66589), the NRC published a notice of 
availability and solicitation of public comments for Draft Technical 
Basis for Rulemaking Revising Security Requirements for Facilities 
Storing Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Waste. In this draft 
technical basis, the NRC describes the objectives, conceptual 
approaches, and potential solutions. The NRC staff expects that the 
rulemaking, if approved by the Commission, will result in risk-
informed, performance-based regulations, with both site-specific and 
generally licensed ISFSIs having consistent regulations. The NRC staff 
received comments on the draft regulatory basis from several 
stakeholders who were opposed, for different reasons, to the draft 
technical basis. For this reason, the NRC staff, in SECY-10-0114 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML101880013) recommended that the schedule for the 
rulemaking effort be extended to allow the staff to further evaluate 
these comments and their implications. The Commission approved the NRC 
staff's recommendation in its staff requirements memorandum, SRM-SECY-
10-0114 (ADAMS Accession No. ML103210025), and reaffirmed the previous 
Commission direction for the ISFSI security rulemaking provided in SRM-
SECY-07-0148 (ADAMS Accession No. ML073530119).
    On February 16, 2011 (76 FR 8872), the NRC issued the Final 
Rulemaking ``License and CoC Terms.'' This rulemaking extended the 
duration of ISFSI licenses and storage cask CoCs to 40 years, clarified 
the difference between ``renewal'' versus ``reapproval'' terminology in 
10 CFR part 72, and codified the requirements for an aging management 
plan for both general and specific licensees.
    In addition, since the petition was filed, in response to direction 
provided by the Commission in SRM-COMDEK-09-0001, the staff has 
initiated a thorough review of whether regulatory changes will be 
needed to support the safe and secure storage of spent nuclear fuel 
(SNF) for multiple renewal periods.

Public Comments on the Petition

    The notice of receipt for PRM-72-6 invited interested persons to 
submit comments. The comment period closed on May 18, 2009. The NRC 
received over nine thousand comments. Comments were received from 
industry, various non-governmental organizations, and members of the 
public. The majority of the comments were identical (form) emails. The 
Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the Strategic Teaming and Resource 
Sharing (STARS) organization opposed the petition. All other 
commenters, including the ASME and Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian 
Universalists Social Justice Committee, supported the petition.

NEI Comments

    In its letter dated May 18, 2009 (ADAMS Accession No. ML091400073), 
the NEI stated that the current NRC regulations contained in 10 CFR 
part 72 are sufficient to provide for the safe storage of spent nuclear 
fuel and that the NRC should deny the petition. The NEI made the 
following assertions:
    (1) Industry has safely maintained spent fuel storage pools for 
over 40 years and has successfully loaded and emplaced at ISFSIs over 
1,000 dry cask storage systems at 47 locations over the past 25 years.
    (2) The additional requirements requested by the petitioner ``go 
far beyond'' the necessary regulation of existing dry-cask design 
technology and extend to dictating design changes that go beyond the 
NRC's purview. The petitioner's request that the NRC require a hot cell 
transfer station coupled with an auxiliary pool requirement is 
unnecessary for safety and costly for both the NRC and its regulated 
entities.
    (3) The petitioner's request that the NRC specify design criteria 
and technical specifications for a 100-year minimum age-related 
degradation timeframe for dry cask storage certification is not 
appropriate, given that any renewals by the NRC would be based upon 
conditions that would require licensees to undertake an aging 
management program subject to NRC inspection.
    (4) There is no need for rulemaking regarding ASME Code 
requirements, because the NRC acknowledges in its ``Standard Review 
Plan for Dry Cask Storage Systems,'' NUREG-1536 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML010040237), that ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel (B&PV) Code, Section 
III is an acceptable standard for the design and fabrication of spent 
fuel dry-storage casks. The NRC recognized in Spent Fuel Storage and 
Transportation Interim Staff Guidance 10, ``Alternatives to the ASME 
Code,'' Revision 1 (ADAMS Accession No. ML003770459), that dry storage 
casks are not pressure vessels, and as such, ASME Code Section III 
cannot be implemented without allowing some exceptions to its 
requirements. The NRC, in NUREG-1567 (ADAMS Accession No. ML003686776), 
``Standard Review Plan for Spent Fuel Dry Storage Facilities,'' Section 
16.4.1, has provisions for ISFSI licensees and applicants for a CoC to 
request exceptions from the ASME Code.
    (5) The petitioner's request that the NRC require real-time heat 
and radiation monitoring should be denied, because the current NRC 
regulations (i.e., 10 CFR 72.44) already contain requirements for the 
technical specifications to include monitoring instruments, 
surveillance requirements, and administrative controls.
    (6) There is no need for rulemaking with regard to security issues. 
The NRC relies on security assessments to ensure that the industry 
meets the relevant regulations (e.g., 10 CFR 72.212 and 10 CFR 73.55). 
Compliance with these existing regulations ensures that dry cask 
storage modules will be appropriately designed to resist terrorist 
attack.
    (7) There is no need for rulemaking to include funding to conduct 
effectiveness studies of age-related material degradation because the 
ISFSI license renewal contains license conditions addressing an aging 
management review program.

NRC Response

    As described in the response to Petitioner Request 9, the NRC is 
still considering the request to require a hot cell transfer station 
for decommissioned reactor facilities as part of its review of 
potential regulatory changes to accommodate the storage of SNF for 
multiple renewal periods. Therefore, at this time, the NRC does not 
agree with NEI that this request should be denied. Also as discussed 
below in the response to Petitioner Requests 5 through 8, the

[[Page 63256]]

NRC agrees with NEI that there is no need for rulemaking regarding 
either ASME Code requirements or to include funding to conduct 
effectiveness studies of age-related material degradation.
    The NRC also agrees that including design criteria and technical 
specifications for a 100-year minimum age-related degradation timeframe 
is not warranted. The updated ASME Code requirements do not include 
design criteria and technical specifications for a 100-year minimum 
age-related degradation timeframe. In addition, when renewing licenses 
to store SNF, the NRC requires that licensees implement an aging 
management program to ensure that storage casks will perform as 
designed under extended license terms. Furthermore, as discussed in 
response to Petitioner Request 2, the NRC is evaluating material 
degradation and other issues for extended storage and transportation 
that might last beyond 100 years. The NRC is evaluating this in the 
context of SECY-11-0029, ``Plan for the Long Term Update to the Waste 
Confidence Rule and Integration with the Extended Storage and 
Transportation Initiative'' (ADAMS Accession No. ML110330445).
    The NRC disagrees with NEI that the security assessments, by 
themselves, are sufficient to preclude the need for any rulemaking to 
enhance security at ISFSIs. As such, the NRC is considering Request 11, 
as part of the ongoing ISFSI security rulemaking effort.

STARS Comments

    In its letter dated May 18, 2009 (ADAMS Accession No. ML091410360), 
the STARS organization opposed the petition. It made the following 
assertions:
    (1) The proposed changes would impose significant additional costs 
on the NRC and the industry with no safety benefit.
    (2) The NRC should continue to allow exceptions to the ASME Code 
requirements for dry storage casks. This is consistent with other 
similar existing regulations that recognize the need for exceptions and 
alternatives to the ASME Code. Because dry storage casks are not 
pressure vessels, it is virtually impossible to implement the ASME Code 
without allowing exceptions to some of the requirements.
    (3) There is no need for rulemaking to include funding to conduct 
effectiveness studies of age-related material degradation. As part of 
an NRC research program, a dry storage cask from the ISFSI at the Surry 
Power Station was opened at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory 
after the fuel had been stored approximately 15 years. The findings 
confirmed the condition of the fuel to be acceptable during the 15-year 
storage period (SECY-09-0069, Proposed Rule: 10 CFR part 72 License and 
Certificate of Compliance Terms [RIN 3150-AI09], ADAMS Package 
Accession No. ML090610154).

NRC Response

    Regarding the STARS comments, the NRC agrees that ASME Code 
exceptions should continue to be allowed as discussed below in NRC 
response to Petitioner Requests 5 through 8. As stated in the response 
to Petitioner Request 12, rulemaking is not the appropriate mechanism 
for establishing funding for conducting research. With regard to 
materials aging studies, the NRC has initiated independent research on 
the impacts of long term storage for multiple renewal periods, has 
cooperated with other interested agencies, and is participating in the 
Electric Power Research Institute Extended Storage Collaboration 
Program.

ASME Comments

    In its letter dated May 5, 2009 (ADAMS Accession No. ML091260362), 
the ASME supported the NRC's full endorsement of the ASME B&PV Code, 
Section III, Division 3, ``Containments for Transportation and Storage 
of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste.'' The ASME 
stated that all five of the petitioners' requests that make specific 
reference to the ASME Codes and Standards would be resolved by the 
NRC's full endorsement of the ASME Code because it includes the latest 
edition and addenda of the Code, code stamping, materials and 
fabrication and testing.

NRC Response

    The NRC staff is reviewing the ASME B&PV Code, Section III, 
Division 3 for endorsement. If endorsed, the staff intends to develop 
guidance for licensees and vendors to use in future design and 
fabrication of dry storage casks.

Other Comments

    In a comment dated May 4, 2009 (ADAMS Accession No. ML091250353), 
the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Social Justice 
Committee supported rulemaking to strengthen the NRC quality assurance 
rules on the design and manufacture of dry casks. All other comments 
were submitted in a standard form letter. These comments requested: (1) 
HOSS requirements at all nuclear power plants, as well as away-from-
reactor dry cask storage sites; and (2) that nuclear power facilities 
be required to promptly transfer spent fuel from the pools to dry 
casks. Approximately 100 comments included additional information that 
fell outside the scope of rulemaking and were not considered in this 
PRM.

NRC Response

    Regarding comments about HOSS requirements at nuclear power plant 
ISFSIs and away-from-reactor dry storage sites, in the response to 
Petitioner Request 11, the NRC notes that it has conducted considerable 
analyses regarding the safety of dry storage casks in use in the United 
States. The agency has, consistently, found that the robust nature of 
dry storage systems approved by the NRC under 10 CFR part 72 assures 
the protection of public health, safety, and security and therefore has 
not mandated HOSS. Nevertheless, the NRC is in the process of reviewing 
a potential rulemaking regarding enhancements to the security of spent 
fuel dry storage facilities. As the substance of Request 11 is relevant 
to this rulemaking, the NRC will examine this item in the context of 
this rulemaking process.
    With regard to comments regarding a requirement that nuclear power 
facilities promptly transfer spent fuel from pools to dry casks, the 
NRC remains confident that both wet and dry storage systems are fully 
protective of public safety and security. However, as an element of the 
NRC's post-Fukushima review, the agency is conducting a detailed 
assessment of the safety benefits and challenges that could result from 
the expedited transfer of spent fuel from pools to dry casks.

Petition Resolution

    For the reasons discussed in this section, the NRC is considering 
this petition in part, denying it in part, and reserving it in part for 
a future rulemaking determination. The NRC is denying Petitioner 
Requests 1, 2, 3, 5 through 8, 10, and 12, as listed in the Background 
section of this document, because the petitioner has not provided new 
and significant information that would warrant the NRC revising its 
regulations. Petitioner Request 11 will be considered, as part of the 
ongoing ISFSI security rulemaking effort (Docket ID NRC-2009-0558). In 
this section, the description of each request being denied, reserved 
for future rulemaking determination, and considered in future 
rulemaking is summarized immediately before the NRC response.
    Action on Petitioner Requests 4 and 9 are reserved for future 
rulemaking determinations. Petitioner Request 4,

[[Page 63257]]

which requested that the NRC require that dry casks are qualified for 
transport at the time of onsite storage approval certification, is 
being evaluated as part of COMSECY-10-0007, ``Project Plan for the 
Regulatory Program Review to Support Extended Storage and 
Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel'' (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML101390413). The staff identified storage and transportation 
compatibility as a potential policy issue in COMSECY-10-0007, Enclosure 
1, Appendix A, ``Project Plan for the Extended Storage and 
Transportation Regulatory Program Review,'' (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML101390426).
    Petitioner Request 9, which requested that the NRC require a safe 
and secure hot cell transfer station coupled with an auxiliary pool as 
part of an upgraded ISFSI design certification and licensing process, 
is still being evaluated by staff as part of its review of the 
regulatory changes that might be necessary to safely store fuel for 
multiple renewal periods. Additionally, as discussed in Section 3.1 of 
Enclosure 1 of COMSECY-10-0007, research is needed to develop the 
safety basis for the behavior of high burnup fuel during extended 
storage periods. Whether the fuel retains sufficient structural 
integrity for extended storage and eventual transportation may affect 
whether the NRC would require dry transfer capability at decommissioned 
reactors storing high burnup fuel.
    The docket for PRM-72-6 will remain open and consist of Petitioner 
Requests 4 and 9. Once the Commission takes action on the two remaining 
requests, the NRC will publish another document in the Federal Register 
to give notice of the Commission's decision.
    Petitioner Request 1: Prohibit non-conforming pre-built full-scale 
casks, specifically built for NRC certification testing, from being put 
into production under industry pressure to ``accept-as-is.''
    NRC Response: The NRC is denying Petitioner Request 1. The NRC's 
regulations provide that only those casks that have been approved under 
the procedures of Subpart L, 10 CFR part 72 and subsequently listed in 
Sec.  72.214, ``List of Approved Spent Fuel Storage Casks,'' may be 
used under a 10 CFR part 72 general license.\1\ The NRC is not aware 
of, nor did the petition state where any non-conforming, pre-built, 
full-scale casks were placed into service.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The CoC holder or its contractor fabricates dry storage 
casks in accordance with the CoC and sells them to 10 CFR part 72 
general licensees, who are nuclear power plant operators.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The NRC requires in 10 CFR 72.170, ``Nonconforming materials, 
parts, or components,'' that storage cask vendors/fabricators establish 
measures to control materials, parts, or components that do not conform 
to their requirements in order to prevent their inadvertent use or 
installation, that includes procedures for identification, 
documentation, segregation, disposition, and notification to affected 
organizations. Non-conforming items must be reviewed and accepted, 
rejected or reworked in accordance with documented procedures. Prior to 
nonconforming parts being used in a storage cask that is placed into 
service, the certificate holder/fabricator must perform a review under 
10 CFR 72.48 to ensure that its use will not affect the ability of the 
storage cask to safely store spent fuel. The NRC will perform a safety 
review of any non-conformances in response to requests for a 
certificate or license amendment. In addition, 10 CFR 72.122 requires 
both general and specific licensees to design, fabricate, test and 
erect structures, systems and components that are important to safety 
to quality standards that are commensurate with its importance to 
safety.
    Also, the NRC inspection program confirms that non-conforming casks 
and materials are not placed into service. This inspection program is 
designed to confirm that fabrication activities are performed in 
accordance with the requirements in 10 CFR part 72, the applicable CoC, 
the Safety Analysis Report, and the CoC holder's NRC-approved Quality 
Assurance program. Both CoC holders and general licensees are 
periodically inspected in accordance with the NRC's inspection program. 
The petitioner did not provide any new or significant information 
indicating that any storage casks have been loaded and placed on a 
storage pad that does not conform to the design approved by the NRC. 
Accordingly, for the reasons previously discussed, the NRC is denying 
this request.
    Petitioner Request 2--Require that NRC certification of casks be 
based on upgraded code requirements, which include design criteria and 
technical specifications for a 100-year-minimum age-related degradation 
timeframe, upgraded from the current inadequate 20-year design 
specification. Also, require an NRC regulatory and public review of an 
in-depth technical evaluation of the casks done at the 20-year CoC 
reapproval interval to effectively catch and address cask 
deterioration.
    The petitioner asserted that the federal government has not created 
a permanent high-level radioactive waste repository and therefore, 
States will inherit the responsibility of high-level, on-site nuclear 
waste storage for an indefinite period of time. In addition, the 
petitioner asserted that in proposing to revise the Waste Confidence 
Decision (73 FR 59551; November 9, 2008), the NRC has effectively 
stated that there is no deadline for the Federal Government to take 
title to the spent fuel and remove it from its point of origin at the 
nuclear power facilities. The petitioner stated that casks are designed 
to meet criteria and technical specifications for certification for a 
20-year interval while onsite storage is for an indeterminable 
timeframe.
    The petitioner noted that the NRC has not upgraded design 
specifications to the current ASME Code. The petitioner requested that 
NRC require all storage casks be designed and built to the latest 
version of the ASME B&PV Code which, according to the petitioner, 
includes a requirement that storage cask designs be designed for a 
minimum of 100-years, as opposed to the 20-year interval for licenses 
and CoCs. Note that since the petitioner submitted its request, the NRC 
extended the 20-year duration for licenses and CoCs to 40 years in the 
Final Rulemaking entitled ``License and Certificate of Compliance 
Terms'' (76 FR 8872; February 16, 2011) and issued a Waste Confidence 
Decision Update (75 FR 81037; December 23, 2010).
    Additionally, the petitioner stated that the regulations for 
storage of spent fuel are unclear on the specific NRC requirements to 
``renew'' or ``reapprove'' storage CoCs. The petitioner stated that an 
application for ``reapproval,'' as used in 10 CFR 72.240, ``Conditions 
for Spent Fuel Storage Cask Reapproval,'' implies that the NRC would 
reevaluate the original cask design basis using current review 
standards and regulatory requirements prior to extending the 20-year 
CoC expiration date. The petitioner also asserted that under Section 
72.42, ``Duration of License; Renewal,'' use of the word ``renewal'' 
implies that the design requirements remain the same as the original 
cask design basis, and the expiration date is extended. Additionally, 
the petitioner contends that the NRC has not addressed the regulatory 
requirements needed to extend a license for multiple cask designs with 
different expiration dates at the same ISFSI.
    The petitioner asserted that the NRC must require an in-depth 
technical review of the cask design basis at the 20-year reapproval 
period to catch and address cask deterioration. The petitioner stated 
that there is a lack of regulatory requirements to address the 
extension of CoCs from 20 years to 60 years and that CoCs are being 
extended

[[Page 63258]]

without the technical data, regulatory evaluation, or scrutiny to 
protect the public health and safety. Specifically, there is limited 
data to determine the extent of degradation of storage casks and the 
spent fuel it contains. The petitioner cited ``The Dry Cask Storage 
Characterization Project,'' a study jointly funded by the NRC, the 
Electric Power Research Institute, and the U.S. Department of Energy 
that is detailed in NUREG/CR-6831 (ADAMS Accession No. ML032731021), 
``Examination of Spent PWR Fuel Rods after 15 Years in Dry Storage'' 
and NUREG/CR-6745, ``Dry Cask Storage Characterization Project--Phase 
1: Castor V/21 Cask Examination and Opening'' (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML013020363). The petitioner also refers to the opening of, subsequent 
to this study, several storage casks at the Surry ISFSI due to inner 
seal failures. These casks were opened after a shorter storage duration 
than the cask opened in the study. The petitioner stated that although 
the spent fuel in these cases was found acceptable, there were signs of 
degradation, and therefore, there is no conclusive data for integrity 
of casks or the condition of the nuclear fuel.
    NRC Response: The NRC is denying Petitioner Request 2. With respect 
to the request that the NRC incorporate the latest version of the ASME 
B&PV Code in its regulations, the NRC has determined that amending its 
regulations to incorporate the latest versions of the AMSE B&PV Code is 
not necessary to ensure that adequate codes and standards are applied 
for the material selection, fabrication, design, examination, and 
testing of dry cask storage systems. As stated in the NRC's standard 
review plans for spent fuel storage, NUREG-1536 and NUREG-1567, the NRC 
staff reviews ISFSI and storage cask designs to verify that they 
incorporate appropriate national codes and standards, in order to 
comply with NRC regulations. Storage casks approved by the NRC are 
designed and fabricated to the ASME B&PV Code, Section III, Division 1 
for steel confinements and Division 2 for concrete containments. While 
Section III, Division 3 of the ASME B&PV Code has been specifically 
written by ASME for containment systems for spent fuel transportation 
packages and storage casks, it has not been endorsed by the NRC. The 
NRC staff is reviewing ASME Code Section III, Division 3 and if 
endorsed, the NRC staff intends to develop guidance for its use in 
future fabrication of dry storage casks. In addition, with regard to 
the ASME Code, the petitioner stated that the code includes a 
requirement that storage cask designs be designed for a minimum of 100-
years. A 100-year minimum age-related degradation requirement, however, 
is not in the ASME B&PV Code.
    With respect to the petitioner's request that the NRC perform a 
complete review of the design basis for a storage cask prior to 
extending the expiration date of a storage cask's certificate of 
compliance, the NRC addressed some of the petitioner's concerns 
regarding aging management in the February 2011 Final Rulemaking, 
``License and Certificate of Compliance Terms'' (76 FR 8872).
    With respect to the petitioner's assertions regarding 
``reapproval'' and ``renewal,'' the NRC determined in the February 2011 
Final Rulemaking (76 FR 8872) that the 40-year duration, with renewals 
that include aging management plans, is the appropriate duration for 
licenses and CoCs for spent fuel storage casks. In addition, the NRC 
clarified the difference between ``renewal'' versus ``reapproval'' 
terminology and codified the requirements for an aging management plan 
for both general and specific licensees. Additionally, the NRC stated 
in the July 18, 1999, Final Rulemaking, ``Storage of Spent Fuel in NRC-
Approved Storage Casks at Power Reactor Sites'' (55 FR 29184), that it 
did not intend to use the term reapproval to mean that all the initial 
design bases were reviewed and reapproved prior to extending a CoC 
expiration date. Additionally, this rulemaking included requirements 
for an aging management plan for both general and specific licensees. 
Along with the rulemaking, the NRC issued NUREG-1927, (ADAMS Accession 
No. ML100350309) ``Standard Review Plan for Renewal of Spent Fuel Dry 
Cask Storage System Licenses and Certificates of Compliance,'' to 
provide staff guidance on reviewing renewal requests for ISFSI licenses 
and spent fuel storage cask certificates of compliance.
    With respect to the petitioner's assertions regarding degradation 
of the storage cask and fuel, the NRC addressed aging and potential 
degradation mechanisms of spent fuel in storage casks in the February 
2011 rulemaking (76 FR 8872). In that rulemaking, the NRC stated that, 
based on the research performed at Idaho National Laboratory and 
described in NUREG/CR-6381, the NRC expects very little, to no, 
degradation of the spent fuel or cask internals at the end of an 
extended storage period up to 60 years. Finally, in SECY-11-0029, 
``Plan for the Long Term Update to the Waste Confidence Rule and 
Integration with the Extended Storage and Transportation Initiative'' 
(ADAMS Package Accession No. ML110330445), the NRC staff described the 
work that will be done to identify and resolve any regulatory and/or 
technical gaps that may exist for application of current regulations to 
longer periods of extended storage. The NRC staff will provide the 
public with an opportunity to comment on the draft gap assessment 
report, and will treat the current petition request as a public comment 
on this activity. As described in SECY-11-0029, the NRC staff will 
evaluate the need for rulemaking to address any gaps that are 
identified for extended storage and transportation.
    Petitioner Request 3: Require that the NRC approve, as part of the 
original ISFSI certification process and construction license, a method 
for dry cask transfer capacity that will allow for immediate and safe 
maintenance on a faulty or failing cask. The temperature of the fuel 
inside a dry storage cask may reach 400 degrees Fahrenheit, while 
irradiated waste storage pool water is kept at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Reinsertion of the canister into the pool and resultant steam flash is 
a risk to workers, and would thermally shock the fuel rods, potentially 
damaging the fuel assemblies.
    NRC Response: The NRC is denying Petitioner Request 3. Dry cask 
storage systems are designed to be robust, and operating experience 
indicates that they have been safely used to store fuel for over 20 
years. Additionally, pursuant to 10 CFR 72.236(h), ``Specific 
Requirements for Spent Fuel Storage Cask Approval and Fabrication,'' 
the applicant must ensure that the spent fuel storage cask is 
compatible with wet or dry spent fuel loading and unloading facilities. 
As described in NUREG-1536, a reflood analysis can be used to show that 
the thermally induced stresses on fuel rods are not sufficient to 
damage the rods. The typical operating procedure introduces water into 
the canister at a very low flow rate. This flow rate allows the steam 
that forms at the bottom of the canister, well below the active fuel 
length, to cool the fuel as a vapor to reduce the thermal-induced 
stresses on the fuel. When the bottom portion of the canister is 
sufficiently cool for the water level to rise to the active fuel, the 
rate at which the water level rises is sufficient to cool the fuel rods 
without causing thermal stresses that would damage the fuel. These 
operating procedures allow maintenance to be performed safely without 
undue risk to workers or the public. The petitioner did not provide

[[Page 63259]]

any new or significant information to indicate that spent fuel 
assemblies would be damaged if placed back into the spent fuel pool or 
that existing requirements do not adequately address worker safety.
    Petitioner Requests 5 through 8: Require the most current ASME 
Codes and Standards be adopted for all spent fuel storage containers 
without exception; require ASME Code stamping for fabrication; require 
that all fabrication materials be supplied by ASME-approved material 
suppliers who are certificate holders; and require that the current 
ASME Codes and Standards for conservative heat treatment and leak 
tightness be adopted and enforced.
    The petitioner asserted that design criteria in material dedication 
cannot meet the quality assurance requirements in 10 CFR part 50, 
Appendix B, ``Quality Assurance Criteria for Nuclear Power Plants and 
Fuel Reprocessing Plants,'' without full adherence to ASME B&PV Code 
and NCA 3800 of the ASME Code, which includes ASME Code stamping.
    Additionally the petitioner stated that 10 CFR 72.122(a) and 10 CFR 
72.234(b) require that structures, systems and components important to 
safety be designed, fabricated, and tested to quality standards 
commensurate with the importance of the function performed. However, 
the petitioner asserted that the NRC has not updated its use of the 
ASME B&PV Code and grants the utilities and their vendors numerous 
exemptions. The petitioner stated that while the NRC allows exemptions 
to vendors by justifying vendor compliance to ``merely the maximum 
extent possible,'' the NRC simultaneously cites vendors and 
manufacturers with numerous violations and then approves repeated 
corrective actions, which has resulted in dry cask design, fabrication 
and performance issues remaining unresolved. The petitioner stated that 
the NRC should not issue ``justifications and compensatory measures'' 
for ASME codes or allow conformance with safety regulations ``to the 
extent practical.'' The petitioner asserted that the ASME codes should 
be enforced unconditionally, without exception or exemption.
    The petitioner cited an example request from a dry cask storage 
vendor seeking exemptions to certain portions of the ASME Code and a 
set of technical specifications that the NRC issued for a storage cask 
that states ``The 32PTH DSC is designed, fabricated and inspected to 
the maximum practical extent in accordance with ASME B&PV, Code Section 
III, Division 1, 1998 Edition with Addenda through 2000, Subsections 
NB, NF, and NG for Class 1 components and supports. Code alternatives 
are discussed in 4.4.4.'' Although the petitioner referenced Section 
4.3 of the technical specifications, the NRC believes the petitioner 
meant Section 4.4, which provides the codes and standards that apply to 
this particular storage cask.
    NRC Response: The NRC is denying Petitioner Requests 5 through 8, 
because the NRC has determined that revising the regulations is not the 
most effective or efficient method to adopt the ASME Code for the 
design and fabrication of spent fuel dry storage casks. As stated in 
NUREG-1567, the industry has adopted, and the NRC has accepted, ASME 
Code Section III, Division 1 and Division 2 as acceptable standards for 
the design and fabrication of dry storage casks. It is expressly 
understood, by the NRC and industry, however, that dry storage casks 
are not pressure vessels and, as such, ASME Code Section III could not 
be implemented without allowing some exceptions to its requirements. 
Therefore, the NRC allows specific exceptions to the code for those 
requirements that are not applicable or practical to implement for 
spent fuel dry cask storage systems. Further, the petitioner asserted 
that adherence to ASME B&PV Code and NCA 3800 of the ASME Code is 
required to meet the quality assurance requirements in 10 CFR part 50, 
Appendix B. Storage casks are not, however, required by the NRC's 
regulations to meet the requirements of 10 CFR part 50, ``Domestic 
Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities.''
    The NRC staff is reviewing ASME Section III, Division 3, 
``Containments for Transportation and Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and 
High-Level Radioactive Waste'' for endorsement. If endorsed, the staff 
intends to develop guidance for use in future fabrication of dry 
storage casks.
    Petitioner Request 10: Require real-time heat and radiation 
monitoring at ISFSIs at all nuclear power plant sites and away-from-
reactor storage sites maintained by the utilities and that the 
monitoring data be transmitted in real-time to affected State health, 
safety, and environmental regulators.
    The petitioner referenced a paper from PATRAM '98: 12th 
International Conference on the Packaging and Transportation of 
Radioactive Materials, written by a non-NRC employee asserting that the 
NRC has declared that a storage cask shares the same class of 
importance to safety (Class 1 in ASME Code Section III terminology) as 
a reactor vessel, yet an NRC proposed rule regarding miscellaneous 
changes to 10 CFR part 72 (63 FR 31364; June 9, 1998) states that the 
NRC distinguishes between wet and dry storage requirements. The 
petitioner notes that in that Part 72 rulemaking, the NRC chose not to 
require control systems for dry cask storage systems at ISFSIs.
    The petitioner also stated that another example showing the 
differentiation between wet and dry storage is that the NRC does not 
require a method for licensees to provide positive means to verify that 
solid neutron absorbing materials have continued efficacy after being 
placed in an inert environment in dry storage. The petitioner stated 
that the NRC regulations in 10 CFR 72.124(b) provide that for dry 
storage, in lieu of a positive means to test for continued efficacy, a 
demonstration that solid neutron absorbing materials do not undergo 
significant degradation during storage is sufficient. The petitioner 
further asserted that the Point Beach incident in May 1996, the 
evidence provided from the Surry reactor's inner seal failures, and the 
NRC reports of salt-water air corrosiveness at seacoast reactors are 
proof that the assumption that the corrosive environment that is 
present in wet storage is not present during dry storage is invalid.
    The petitioner also stated that the NRC has determined that it is 
not practical to penetrate the integrity of storage casks to measure 
the efficacy of neutron absorbing materials. Finally, the petitioner 
states that NRC regulations do not require adequate technical radiation 
and heat monitoring data to protect nuclear workers, assure public 
safety and provide for future cask fabrication, material specifications 
and performance analysis.
    NRC Response: The NRC is denying Petitioner Request 10, because 
regular monitoring for radiation at and near ISFSIs is currently 
required by Sec.  72.44(d)(2) for specific licensees, with reporting 
required at 12-month intervals as specified in Sec.  72.44(d)(3), and 
similarly for general licensees in 10 CFR 50.36(a)(2). There have not 
been any instances of measurable radiation doses from ISFSIs at the 
site boundaries. The storage cask technical specifications require that 
concrete storage casks with vents for natural convection provide 
cooling to the canister and have temperature-monitoring devices or 
periodic visual monitoring to ensure that the inlet and outlet vents 
are free of blockage that would inhibit convective airflow.
    The applicant demonstrates performance of the thermal design and 
thermal limits through analyses during the certification and licensing 
process.

[[Page 63260]]

The cask systems are also periodically examined by the licensee to 
verify there are no adverse conditions that would impede thermal 
performance. Given the surveillance, monitoring, and inspection 
programs, the risk of immediate failure or emergency is remote. The NRC 
staff has determined that the current regulatory requirements provide 
adequate protection of public health and safety and the environment.
    While the petitioner referenced a proposed rule, the final rule (64 
FR 33178; June 22, 1999), revised the regulations for continuous 
monitoring of the dry storage confinement system to allow periodic 
monitoring consistent with the storage cask design requirements and to 
require that instrumentation systems for dry storage casks be provided 
in accordance with cask design requirements. In the rulemaking, the NRC 
determined that continuous, uninterrupted control systems and 
monitoring are required for wet storage systems that have active heat 
removal and other active systems, whose safety depends on the continued 
operation of these systems. Dry storage casks, whose safety solely 
relies on passive heat removal, do not require continuous, 
uninterrupted control systems and monitoring as wet storage does. The 
NRC revised the rules in Sec.  72.122(h)(4) and (i) to require 
monitoring and instrumentation systems that are consistent with the 
storage cask design basis.
    Finally, the examples that the petitioner cited, the Point Beach 
hydrogen gas ignition event, Surry seal failure, and potential 
degradation due to salt water environment, all occurred where air was 
present and not in an inert environment like the inside of a canister. 
The NRC is unaware of any degradation mechanism that would occur inside 
of an inert, sealed canister after being placed on the storage pad that 
would require licensees to open a storage canister and positively 
verify the neutron poison's efficacy.
    Petitioner Request 11: Require HOSS at all nuclear power plants as 
well as away-from-reactor dry cask storage sites; and that all nuclear 
industry interim on-site or off-site dry cask storage installations or 
ISFSIs be fortified against terrorist attack. In addition, all sites 
should be safeguarded against accident and age-related leakage.
    NRC Response: Regarding comments about HOSS requirements at nuclear 
power plant ISFSIs and away-from-reactor dry storage sites, in the 
response to Petitioner Request 11, the NRC notes that it has conducted 
considerable analyses regarding the safety of dry storage casks in use 
in the United States. The agency has, consistently, found that the 
robust nature of dry storage systems approved by the NRC under 10 CFR 
part 72 assures the protection of public health, safety, and security 
and therefore has not mandated HOSS. Nevertheless, the NRC is in the 
process of reviewing a potential rulemaking regarding enhancements to 
the security of spent fuel dry storage facilities (SRM-SECY-10-0114 and 
SRM-SECY-07-0148--ADAMS Accession Nos. ML103210025 and ML073530119, 
respectively). Because Petitioner Request 11 raises issues that are 
relevant to this rulemaking, the NRC will address this item in the 
context of this proposed rule. Further information regarding NRC action 
on Petitioner Request 11 will be available at http://www.regulations.gov by searching Docket ID NRC-2009-0558.
    Petitioner Request 12: Establish funding to conduct on-going 
studies to provide the data required to accurately define and monitor 
for age-related material degradation, assess the structural integrity 
of the casks and fuel cladding in ``interim'' waste storage.
    NRC Response: The NRC is denying Petitioner Request 12 because 
rulemaking is not the appropriate mechanism for establishing funding 
for conducting research. The NRC has initiated independent research on 
the impacts of long term storage of SNF for multiple renewal periods, 
cooperated with other interested agencies to support materials aging 
studies, and is participating in an Electric Power Research Institute 
program that evaluates materials aging issues.

Conclusion

    For the reasons previously discussed, the NRC is denying nine of 
the petitioner's requests (Requests 1, 2, 3, 5 through 8, 10, and 12), 
will consider one request in the rulemaking process (Request 11), and 
is deferring action on two requests (Requests 4 and 9). The docket for 
PRM-72-6 will remain open until the Commission acts, at which time the 
NRC will publish another document in the Federal Register to notice the 
Commission's decision.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 10th day of October 2012.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2012-25366 Filed 10-15-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P