[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 3 (Friday, January 4, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 784-785]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31709]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-293; NRC-2012-0311]


Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc.; Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station; 
Exemption

1.0 Background

    Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (the licensee) is the holder of 
Renewed Facility Operating License No. DPR-35, which authorizes 
operation of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS). 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 Plymouth, 
Massachusetts.

2.0 Request/Action

    Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), Part 50, 
Appendix E, Section IV.F.2.c, requires that ``Offsite plans for each 
site shall be exercised biennially with full participation by each 
offsite authority having a role under the radiological response plan.'' 
By letter dated November 29, 2012, the licensee requested a one-time 
exemption from this requirement that would allow the licensee to delay 
conduct of the offsite portions of a biennial emergency preparedness 
(EP) exercise from November 7, 2012, to March 2013. The licensee's 
request states that on October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy passed through 
the East Coast of the United States, impacting Washington DC, the 
States of Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode 
Island, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, causing widespread 
devastation and flooding throughout the surrounding areas. This 
hurricane event resulted in a multi-agency emergency response, which 
included the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the 
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the local town 
officials in the Pilgrim Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ). The licensee 
further states that immediate and long-term resource commitments were 
needed to recover from the hurricane event, and as a result, FEMA, 
MEMA, and local town resources did not participate in the previously 
planned and scheduled Pilgrim Biennial Exercise that was conducted on 
November 7, 2012. Consequently, the requirement of 10 CFR part 50, 
Appendix E, Section IV.F.2.c, for a full participation of offsite 
authorities during the biennial exercise was not satisfied.
    Based on discussions with FEMA and MEMA representatives, the 
licensee does not consider it feasible to schedule and perform a full 
participation biennial exercise prior to the end of calendar year (CY) 
2012. In an email from FEMA to the licensee dated November 26, 2012, 
FEMA Region I acknowledged agreement with the Commonwealth of 
Massachusetts that offsite portions of the Pilgrim biennial exercise 
can be scheduled for and conducted on March 21, 2013. The email was 
submitted as an attachment to the licensee's application dated November 
29, 2012.
    The onsite portion of the exercise was conducted as scheduled on 
November 7, 2012, and was inspected by the NRC under Inspection 
Procedure No. 71114.01. The NRC's inspection of the licensee's conduct 
and self-evaluation of the exercise identified no findings. Out-of-
sequence demonstrations for various schools, daycare centers, special 
facilities, and camps were also conducted and evaluated during FEMA 
Region I staff visits between the months of July 2012 and September 
2012, in accordance with the November 2012 biennial exercise objectives 
and extent of play. In addition, the following out-of-sequence 
demonstrations were evaluated by FEMA Region I since the previous PNPS 
Biennial Exercise conducted on November 16, 2010:

Radiological Emergency Worker         August 23, 2011.
 Monitoring and Decontamination       August 7, 2012.
 Center.
Quincy Medical Center Medical         October 5, 2011.
 Service Drill.
KIDS Site Brockton High School......  January 26, 2012.
 

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, Appendix E, 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.

Authorized by Law

    This exemption would allow the licensee and offsite response 
organizations to accommodate Hurricane Sandy's impact upon their 
resources by postponing the offsite portion of the exercise from the 
previously scheduled date of November 7, 2012, until March 2013.
    As stated above, 10 CFR 50.12 allows the NRC to grant exemptions 
from the requirements of 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E. The NRC 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 purpose of 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E, Section 
IV.F.2.c, is to ensure that licensees test and maintain interfaces 
among themselves and affected State and local authorities during the 
intervals between biennial exercises by conducting emergency 
preparedness activities and interactions. In order to accommodate the 
scheduling of full participation exercises, the NRC has allowed 
licensees to schedule the exercises at any time during the calendar 
biennium. Conducting the remaining offsite portions of the PNPS

[[Page 785]]

full participation exercise by March 2013, rather than in CY 2012, 
places the exercise outside of the required biennium. Since the last 
biennial EP exercise on November 16, 2010, the licensee has conducted 
two full-scale combined functional drills/dryruns involving onsite and 
offsite functions in preparation for the scheduled November 7, 2012 
biennial exercise, as well as, numerous documented training evolutions 
supported through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, local EPZ and 
Reception Community Offices of Emergency Management and support 
organizations. In addition, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts 
participated in two FEMA-evaluated exercises in conjunction with the 
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant and Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, on 
February 9, 2011 and January 24, 2012, respectively, along with 
multiple practice drills/tabletop related to each evaluated exercise. 
While these drills and training sessions did not exercise all of the 
proposed rescheduled offsite functions, they support the licensee's 
assertion that it has had a continuing level of engagement with the 
State and local authorities to maintain licensee/governmental 
interfaces. The NRC considers the intent of this requirement is met by 
having conducted these drills and training sessions.
    The NRC has determined that no new accident precursors are created 
by allowing the licensee to postpone the selected offsite portions of 
the exercise from CY 2012 until March 2013. Further, the probability 
and consequences of postulated accidents are not increased. Therefore, 
the exemption does not create undue risk to public health and safety.

Consistent With Common Defense and Security

    The proposed exemption would allow rescheduling of the specific 
offsite portions of the biennial EP exercise from the previously 
scheduled date of November 7, 2012, until March 2013. This change to 
the EP exercise schedule has no relation to security issues. Therefore, 
the common defense and security is not impacted by this exemption.

Special Circumstances

    In order to grant exemptions in accordance with 10 CFR 50.12, 
special circumstances must be present. Special circumstances as 
described in 10 CFR 50.12 that apply to this exemption request are 
stated in 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii) and (v). Special circumstances, per 10 
CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii), are present when: ``Application of the regulation 
in the particular circumstances would not serve the underlying purpose 
of the rule or is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of 
the rule.'' Section IV.F.2.c of 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E requires 
licensees to exercise offsite plans biennially with full or partial 
participation by each offsite authority having a role under the plan. 
The underlying purposes of 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E, Section 
IV.F.2.c, requiring licensees to exercise offsite plans with offsite 
authority participation, is to test and maintain interfaces among 
affected State and local authorities and the licensee. No deficiencies 
were identified by FEMA during the previous PNPS biennial exercise, 
conducted on November 16, 2010, as documented in the PNPS After Action 
Report/Improvement Plan, published by FEMA on January 26, 2011 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML11223A279).
    Under 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(v), special circumstances are present 
whenever the exemption would provide only temporary relief from the 
applicable regulation and the licensee or applicant has made good faith 
efforts to comply with the regulation. Since the previous biennial 
exercise on November 16, 2010, the licensee has conducted two full-
scale combined functional drills/dryruns involving onsite and offsite 
functions in preparation for the scheduled November 7, 2012 biennial 
exercise, as well as, numerous documented training evolutions that 
involved interface with State and local authorities in 2011 and 2012. 
The NRC considers that these measures are adequate to test and maintain 
interfaces with affected State and local authorities during this 
period, satisfying the underlying purpose of the rule. As such, the NRC 
considers the licensee to have made good faith efforts to comply with 
the regulation. Also, the requested exemption to conduct the offsite 
portion of the PNPS Biennial Exercise in March 2013 instead of CY 2012 
would grant only temporary relief from the applicable regulation. 
Therefore, since the underlying purpose of 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E, 
Section IV.F.2.c, is achieved, the licensee has made a good faith 
effort to comply with the regulation, and the exemption would grant 
only temporary relief from the applicable regulation. The special 
circumstances required by 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii and v) exist for the 
granting of an exemption.

4.0 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 
consistent with 10 CFR 50.12. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants 
Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. an exemption from the requirements of 
10 CFR Part 50, Appendix E, Section IV.F.2.c, to conduct the offsite 
portion of the PNPS Biennial Exercise required for 2012, permitting 
that part of the exercise to be conducted in coordination with NRC 
Region I, FEMA, and PNPS schedules by the end of March 2013.
    Pursuant to 10 CFR 51.32, the Commission has determined that the 
granting of this exemption will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment (77 FR 76541, December 28, 2012).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 28th day of December 2012.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Jessie F. Quichocho,
Acting Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of 
Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2012-31709 Filed 1-3-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P