[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 3 (Friday, January 4, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 782-784]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31707]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-397; NRC-2012-0322]


Energy Northwest; Columbia Generating Station; Exemption

1.0 Background

    Energy Northwest (the licensee) is the holder of Renewed Facility 
Operating License No. NPF-21, which authorizes operation of the 
Columbia Generating Station. 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, the Commission) now or 
hereafter in effect.
    The facility consists of a boiling-water reactor located in Benton 
County in the state of Washington.

2.0 Request/Action

    The regulations in paragraph 50.36a(a)(2) of Title 10 of the Code 
of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), require a radioactive effluent release 
report for each commercial nuclear power plant to be submitted annually 
such that the time between submission of any two reports is not longer 
than 12 months.
    The licensee's Technical Specification (TS) 5.6.2, ``Radioactive 
Effluent Release Report,'' requires the Annual Radioactive Effluent 
Release Report (ARERR) to be submitted in accordance with 10 CFR 50.36a 
as specified in the licensee's Offsite Dose Calculation Manual (ODCM). 
The licensee's ODCM specifies the ARERR to be submitted within 60 days 
after January 1 of each calendar year. The licensee indicates this 
constitutes an undue administrative burden due to the compressed 
schedule for data collection, report preparation, and internal review 
following closure of the reporting period. As a result, the licensee 
wants to change the ODCM so that the report can be submitted prior to 
May 1 of each year. In order to implement this change to the ODCM, the 
licensee has requested a one-time exemption from the required 12-month 
reporting interval for the next required submittal of the ARERR for the 
Columbia Generating Station. This would result in a one-time allowance 
of an additional 2 months (i.e., a 14-month

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interval) for the next required submittal of the ARERR. An exemption is 
needed because 10 CFR 50.36a(a)(2) specifies the interval between 
submittal of successive ARERRs must not exceed 12 months.
    In summary, the end result of this exemption would be that the time 
interval between the 2011 and the 2012 ARERRs (generated in March 2012 
and May 2013) would be 14 months. This is a one-time exemption, and 
subsequent ARERRs, generated in 2014 and beyond, would be subject to 
the 12-month interval specified in 10 CFR 50.36a(a)(2).

3.0 Discussion

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, the Commission may, upon application by 
any interested person or upon its own initiative, grant exemptions from 
the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 when (1) the exemptions are 
authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to public health or 
safety, and are consistent with the common defense and security; and 
(2) when special circumstances are present. These circumstances include 
the special circumstances that would provide only temporary relief from 
the applicable regulation and the licensee or applicant has made good 
faith efforts to comply with the regulations.

Authorized by Law

    This exemption would allow the time interval between the 2011 and 
the 2012 ARERRs (generated in March 2012 and May 2013 respectively) to 
be increased to 14 months. This is a one-time exemption, and subsequent 
ARERRs, generated in 2014 and beyond, would be subject to the 12-month 
interval specified in 10 CFR 50.36a(a)(2). As stated above, 10 CFR 
50.12 allows the NRC to grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 
CFR 50.36a(a)(2). The NRC staff has determined that granting of the 
licensee's proposed exemption will not result in a violation of the 
Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or the Commission's regulations. 
Therefore, the exemption is authorized by law.

No Undue Risk to Public Health and Safety

    The underlying purposes of 10 CFR 50.36a(a)(2) is to ensure that 
once each year, prior to a specified date, the licensee submits an 
ARERR to the NRC that specifies (1) the principal radionuclides 
released in liquid and gaseous effluents, (2) the amounts of each 
radionuclide released, and (3) other such information that may be 
required by the NRC to estimate doses to members of the public in the 
unrestricted areas during the previous calendar year. The proposed 
exemption only changes the date the ARERR would be submitted to the 
NRC, but does not change any of the information presented in the ARERR.
    Based on the above, no new accident precursors are created by 
extending the submittal date for the next ARERR (from prior to March 1) 
to prior to May 1, thus, the probability of postulated accidents is not 
increased. Also, based on the above, the consequences of postulated 
accidents are not increased. Therefore, there is no undue risk to 
public health and safety.

Consistent With Common Defense and Security

    The proposed exemption would extend the time interval between the 
2011 and the 2012 ARERRs (generated in March 2012 and May 2013, 
respectively) to 14 months. This is a one-time exemption, and 
subsequent ARERRs, generated in 2014 and beyond, would be subject to 
the 12-month interval specified in 10 CFR 50.36a(a)(2). This change to 
the date the ARERR is submitted to the NRC has no relation to security 
issues. Therefore, the common defense and security is not impacted by 
this exemption.

Special Circumstances

    Special circumstances, in accordance with 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(v), 
are present whenever application of the regulation in the particular 
circumstances would provide only temporary relief from the applicable 
regulation and the licensee has made good faith efforts to comply with 
the regulation. The requested exemption asks for a one-time relaxation 
of the 12-month ARERR reporting requirement. Therefore, the relief is 
temporary. The licensee has submitted an annual report at the 12-month 
reporting interval every year since 1985. The NRC staff agrees 
submitting the report within 60 days of January 1 may present an undue 
administrative burden due to the necessary data collection, report 
preparation, and internal review. The licensee agrees to submit the 
report, in its entirety, within 2 months of the required 12-month 
reporting interval. In addition, ARERRs generated in 2014 and beyond, 
would be subject to the 12-month interval specified in 10 CFR 
50.36a(a)(2) with ARERRs being submitted prior to May 1 of each year. 
As a result, the NRC staff concludes the licensee has made a good faith 
effort to comply with the regulation. Therefore, since the underlying 
purpose of 10 CFR 50.36a(a)(2) is achieved, the special circumstances 
required by 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(v) for the granting of an exemption from 
10 CFR 50.36a(a)(2) exist.

4.0 Environmental Consideration

    This exemption authorizes a one-time exemption from the 
requirements of 10 CFR 50.36a(a)(2) for the CGS. The NRC staff has 
determined that this exemption involves no significant hazards 
considerations:
    (1) The proposed exemption is limited to a one-time 2-month 
extension for submittal of the 2012 ARERR. The proposed exemption does 
not make any changes to the facility or operating procedures and does 
not alter the design, function or operation of any plant equipment. 
Therefore, issuance of this exemption does not increase the probability 
or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.
    (2) The proposed exemption is limited to a one-time 2-month 
extension for submittal of the 2012 ARERR. The proposed exemption does 
not make any changes to the facility or operating procedures and would 
not create any new accident initiators. The proposed exemption does not 
alter the design, function or operation of any plant equipment. 
Therefore, this exemption does not create the possibility of a new or 
different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.
    (3) The proposed exemption is limited to a one-time 2-month 
extension for submittal of the 2012 ARERR. The proposed exemption does 
not alter the design, function or operation of any plant equipment. 
Therefore, this exemption does not involve a significant reduction in 
the margin of safety.
    Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed 
exemption does not involve a significant hazards consideration under 
the standards set forth in 10 CFR 50.92(c), and accordingly, a finding 
of ``no significant hazards consideration'' is justified.
    The NRC staff has also determined that the exemption involves no 
significant increase in the amounts, and no significant change in the 
types, of any effluent that may be released offsite; there is no 
significant increase in individual or cumulative occupational radiation 
exposure; there is no significant construction impact; and there is no 
significant increase in the potential for or consequences from a 
radiological accident. Furthermore, the requirement from which the 
licensee will be exempted involves reporting requirements. Accordingly, 
the exemption meets the eligibility criteria for categorical exclusion 
set forth in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25). Pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b), no 
environmental impact statement or environmental assessment

[[Page 784]]

needs to be prepared in connection with the issuance of this exemption.

5.0 Conclusion

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
50.12, the exemption is authorized by law, will not present an undue 
risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent with the common 
defense and security. Also, special circumstances are present. 
Therefore, the Commission hereby grants Energy Northwest a one-time 
exemption from 10 CFR Part 50, Section 50.36a(a)(2) to submit the 2012 
ARERR prior to May 1, 2013, for the Columbia Generating Station.
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

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

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Michele G. Evans,
Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2012-31707 Filed 1-3-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P