[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 86 (Friday, May 3, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 25886-25898]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-10117]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 2

RIN 3150-AI30
[NRC-2009-0044]


Revisions to the Petition for Rulemaking Process

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to 
amend its regulations to streamline its process for addressing 
petitions for rulemaking (PRMs). The proposed amendments are intended 
to improve transparency and make the PRM process more efficient and 
effective.

DATES: Submit comments by July 17, 2013. Comments received after this 
date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is 
able to assure consideration only for comments received on or before 
this date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
(unless this document describes a different method for submitting 
comments on a specific subject):
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2009-0044. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-
3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section 
of this document.
     Email comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do 
not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact 
us at 301-415-1677.
     Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission at 301-415-1101.
     Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and 
Adjudications Staff.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christina England, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, telephone: 301-415-3138, email: 
Christina.England@nrc.gov, or Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, 
telephone: 301-492-3667, email: Cindy.Bladey@nrc.gov; U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Accessing Information and Submitting Comments
II. Background
III. Discussion
IV. Availability of Documents
V. Section-by-Section Analysis
VI. Plain Writing
VII. Voluntary Consensus Standards
VIII. Environmental Impact: Categorical Exclusion
IX. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement
X. Regulatory Analysis
XI. Regulatory Flexibility Certification
XII. Backfitting and Issue Finality

I. Accessing Information and Submitting Comments

A. Accessing Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2009-0044 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information for this proposed rule. You may 
access information related to this proposed rule, 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 for Docket ID NRC-2009-0044.
     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. In addition, for the 
convenience of the reader, the ADAMS accession numbers are provided in 
a table in the section of this document entitled, Availability of 
Documents.
     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.

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2009-0044 in the subject line of your 
comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make 
your comment submission available to the public in this docket.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your 
comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into 
ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove 
identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove such information before making the comment submissions available 
to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

II. Background

    The NRC's requirements, policies, and practices governing the PRM 
process have remained substantially unchanged since their initial 
issuance in 1979 (44 FR 61322; October 25, 1979). During the past 20 
years, the NRC has received an average of nine PRMs per year and plans 
its budget and assigns resources based

[[Page 25887]]

on this average. Recently, however, some years have experienced a 
dramatic increase in the number of PRMs submitted for consideration, 
docketing 25 PRMs in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 alone. Those increases in 
PRMs have presented a significant resource challenge to the NRC.
    In a memorandum to the other Commissioners entitled ``Streamlining 
the NRR [Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation] Rulemaking Process'' 
(COMNJD-06-0004/COMEXM-06-0006) and dated April 7, 2006 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML060970295), Chairman Nils J. Diaz and Commissioner 
Edward McGaffigan, Jr., proposed that, because of the general increase 
in rulemaking activities, the NRC staff should streamline its 
rulemaking process by removing unnecessary constraints, while 
simultaneously enhancing transparency of and public participation in 
the process. The memorandum also invited the development of additional 
mechanisms for ``streamlining and increasing the transparency of the 
rulemaking process, thus allocating the appropriate level of resources 
for the most important rulemaking actions and ensuring that the staff's 
hands are not tied by perceived or real procedural prerequisites that 
are necessary for a given rulemaking.''
    In a staff requirements memorandum (SRM) dated May 31, 2006 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML061510316), responding to COMNJD-06-0004/COMEXM-06-
0006, the Commission directed the NRC staff to undertake numerous 
measures to streamline the rulemaking process, including a direction to 
evaluate the overall effectiveness of the recently completed 
interoffice Rulemaking Process Improvement Implementation Plan (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML031360205) and to ``further seek to identify any other 
potential options that could streamline the rulemaking process.'' The 
Commission also instructed the NRC staff to identify other potential 
options that could streamline the rulemaking process for all program 
offices.
    In response to the Commission's directives, the NRC staff provided 
its recommendations to the Commission in SECY-07-0134, ``Evaluation of 
the Overall Effectiveness of the Rulemaking Process Improvement 
Implementation Plan,'' dated August 10, 2007 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML071780644). A recommendation to review the NRC's PRM process with the 
objective to reduce the time needed to complete an action was included 
in SECY-07-0134. The NRC staff also recommended that the NRC review the 
procedures used by other Federal agencies to process PRMs in order to 
identify best practices that could make the NRC's PRM process more 
timely and responsive, while also ensuring that PRMs are handled in an 
open and transparent manner and in compliance with the Administrative 
Procedure Act (APA), Title 5 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), 
Section 551 et seq. In an SRM responding to SECY-07-0134, dated October 
25, 2007 (ADAMS Accession No. ML072980427), the Commission indicated 
support for the NRC staff's recommendation to review the PRM process: 
``The Petition for Rulemaking process needs some increased attention 
and improvement. The staff's overall effort to improve the petition for 
rulemaking process should focus on provisions that would make the NRC's 
process more efficient while improving the process' transparency and 
consistency.''
    Concurrently, in an SRM responding to COMGBJ-07-0002, ``Closing Out 
Task Re: Rulemaking on [part 51 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR)] Tables S-3 and S-4,'' dated August 6, 2007 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML072180094), the Commission directed the NRC staff to 
``consider developing a process for dispositioning a petition in a more 
effective and efficient manner so that existing petitions that are 
deemed old can be closed out in a more timely manner and prevent future 
petitions from remaining open for periods longer than necessary.''
    To implement the Commission's directions, the NRC staff examined 
the regulations, policies, procedures, and practices that govern the 
NRC's PRM process, as well as the practices and processes used by 
several other Federal agencies to resolve PRMs. This proposed rule 
reflects the NRC's goal to make its PRM process more efficient and 
effective, while enhancing transparency and maintaining the opportunity 
for public participation.

III. Discussion

    The administrative procedures that a Federal agency must follow in 
issuing a rule are codified in the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553. Paragraph 553(e) 
provides that ``[e]ach agency shall give an interested person the right 
to petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule.'' In 
addition, 5 U.S.C. 555(e) provides that ``[p]rompt notice shall be 
given of the denial in whole or in part of a written application, 
petition, or other request of an interested person made in connection 
with any agency proceeding'' and that ``[e]xcept in affirming a prior 
denial or when the denial is self-explanatory, the notice shall be 
accompanied by a brief statement of the grounds for denial.'' However, 
the APA does not provide further detail on how agencies should 
disposition a PRM or what constitutes ``prompt'' notice.
    The NRC's requirements for rulemaking are set forth in 10 CFR part 
2, ``Agency Rules of Practice and Procedure,'' subpart H, 
``Rulemaking.'' In particular, 10 CFR 2.802, ``Petition for 
rulemaking,'' and 2.803, ``Determination of petition,'' establish the 
NRC framework for disposition of a petition for rulemaking concerning 
NRC regulations. The NRC's requirements for PRMs have remained 
substantially unchanged since their initial issuance in 1979, and the 
NRC's processes and procedures for PRMs historically have been 
established by and implemented through internal NRC policies and 
practices. To improve the PRM process, the NRC has reviewed both its 
regulatory framework associated with the PRM process and its internal 
policies, procedures, and practices.

A. NRC's Current PRM Process

    Much of the NRC's PRM process historically has been established by 
and implemented through internal policies and practices. The proposed 
rule would codify NRC requirements currently included in its internal 
policies and practices regarding PRMs to increase transparency, and 
provide greater clarity to the public.
    In the current process, upon receipt of a PRM, the NRC acknowledges 
receipt to the petitioner and publishes a notice of receipt in the 
Federal Register to inform the public that the NRC has received the 
PRM. The NRC also notifies the petitioner in writing of the agency's 
action when it publishes a final rule or denial notice related to the 
PRM. The proposed rule would codify these actions. If the NRC 
determines that the petition has merit and should be considered in a 
rulemaking, the NRC's rulemaking process (including regulatory basis 
development, as described in the following paragraphs) may delay final 
disposition of a PRM by several years.
    After docketing a PRM, the NRC evaluates the PRM and determines the 
course of action it will take with regard to the petitioner's requests. 
The NRC may deny the PRM, in whole or in part, and inform the 
petitioner of its reasons for the denial. In the alternative, the NRC 
may decide that the PRM has merit by considering it, in whole or in 
part, in a new, planned, or ongoing rulemaking. Though the NRC has made 
this determination, final disposition of the PRM does not occur until 
the NRC has completed all regulatory action on the

[[Page 25888]]

PRM by formally denying the PRM requests or by publishing a final rule 
that addresses the requested changes. For PRM issues considered in a 
new, planned, or ongoing rulemaking action, final disposition of the 
PRM issues does not occur until the final rule is published. If the 
new, planned, or ongoing rulemaking action is subsequently determined 
to be unnecessary and abandoned, final disposition does not occur until 
the NRC formally denies the PRM issues that were to be included in the 
abandoned rulemaking action.
    Generally, the NRC strives to complete rulemakings within 2 years 
of initiation. However, initiation of a new rule does not occur until 
the regulatory basis for the rulemaking is complete. Developing the 
regulatory basis for a rulemaking requires consideration of all 
applicable technical, policy, and legal issues, as well as the costs 
and benefits, related to the potential rulemaking. This process may 
take several years. Because of resource constraints, completing a 
regulatory basis for rulemakings categorized as lower priority may take 
even longer. As such, 3 or more years may pass between the NRC's 
determination of which course of action to follow on a PRM and the 
agency's final disposition of the PRM by publishing the final rule 
addressing the PRM issues in the Federal Register.
    Under current regulations, PRMs are considered ``open'' until the 
final rule is published, despite the NRC's decision to address the 
petitioner's issues in a rulemaking action and its progress toward 
final disposition of the PRM. Because of this ``open'' status, the 
petitioner, other stakeholders, and the public are likely to be unaware 
of the NRC's progress or determination of the PRM's merits. As part of 
its internal practice, the NRC strives to notify the petitioner and the 
public once it has made a determination on whether to consider the PRM 
issues in the rulemaking process. This proposed rule would codify and 
explain the process for administratively closing a PRM docket and 
notifying the public of the NRC's determination on the merits. This 
process would result in greater transparency of the NRC's course of 
action toward final disposition of a PRM.

B. Need for Improvements in the PRM Process

    The NRC has limited resources available for processing PRMs, and 
the increases in PRMs have presented significant resource challenges to 
the NRC. For example, the NRC historically publishes for public review 
and comment the majority of PRMs that it receives. However, the PRMs 
published for public comment include some PRMs that do not provide 
sufficient information for NRC staff or public stakeholder evaluation. 
Additionally, some PRMs are published for public comment that do not 
warrant further consideration (i.e., when the NRC's regulations already 
provide what the PRM is requesting or when the scope of the PRM is 
outside the regulatory authority of the NRC). An earlier review 
identifying insufficient and infeasible PRMs would reduce the number of 
PRMs that are docketed and require full review by the NRC. 
Additionally, an initial sufficiency and feasibility screening review 
would promote more efficient use of rulemaking resources by focusing 
efforts on the remaining PRMs that contain sufficient information for a 
detailed review.

C. Proposed Changes to the PRM Process

    The proposed rule would: (1) Clarify and codify NRC's current 
policies and practices on the NRC's actions upon receipt of a PRM and 
at other stages of the PRM process; (2) clarify and improve the current 
policies and practices for evaluating PRMs, and communicating to the 
petitioner and the public information on the status of PRMs and 
rulemaking activities addressing PRMs; and (3) improve the process for 
resolving PRMs, including establishing an administrative process for 
closing the PRM docket to reflect agency action for the PRM. The 
proposed amendments are intended to enhance the consistency, 
timeliness, and transparency of the NRC's actions and to increase the 
efficient use of the NRC's resources in the PRM process.
    The NRC is proposing the following changes to its regulations for 
the PRM process:
    1. Section 2.802(a) would be amended to reflect updates in the 
NRC's internal system for receiving electronic submissions of PRMs. 
Petitioners submitting PRMs through email would be instructed to send 
the PRM to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov.
    2. Section 2.802(b), which contains the requirements concerning 
consultation assistance that the NRC staff may provide to the 
petitioner, would be expanded beyond the pre-filing stage, allowing 
petitioners to consult directly with the NRC staff before and after 
filing a PRM with the NRC. The proposed language in paragraphs (b)(1)-
(3) would clarify what consultation assistance is permitted.
    3. The information that a petitioner must include in a PRM pursuant 
to Sec.  2.802(c) would be clarified and expanded. With these 
revisions, the NRC intends to reduce the number of insufficient PRMs 
submitted at the onset of the PRM review process by specifying the 
information that must be included for a PRM to be accepted for 
docketing. The existing criteria at Sec.  2.802(c)(1)-(3) used to 
determine whether a PRM is complete would be revised to improve clarity 
and to specify information requirements such as a statement of the 
problems or issues addressed in the petition; a statement of the 
petitioner's proposed solution; an analysis, discussion, or argument 
linking how the proposed solution would solve the identified problems 
or issues; and other relevant information, including specific 
technical, scientific, or other information needed to support the 
petitioner's request. It would also include a cross reference to the 
requirements of 10 CFR 51.68 that must be met by certain petitioners 
seeking exemptions from 10 CFR parts 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40 
or part 70 of this chapter concerning the exemption from licensing and 
regulatory requirements of or authorizing general licenses for any 
equipment, device, commodity or other product containing byproduct 
material, source material or special nuclear material. These revisions 
would reduce the potential for delay associated with requesting 
additional information needed to clarify or support insufficient PRMs.
    4. The proposed amendments in Sec.  2.802(e) would distinguish 
requirements for petitioners who are participants in an NRC licensing 
proceeding from requirements for petitioners who are not participants 
in an NRC licensing proceeding. Further, the proposed amendments would 
provide more precise instructions for petitioners requesting suspension 
of licensing proceedings related to a petition for rulemaking. 
Petitioners who are participants in an NRC licensing proceeding related 
to their PRMs would be required to file a motion that complies with the 
requirements in 10 CFR part 2, subpart C, ``Rules of General 
Applicability: Hearing Requests, Petitions to Intervene, Availability 
of Documents, Selection of Specific Hearing Procedures, Presiding 
Officer Powers, and General Hearing Management for NRC Adjudicatory 
Hearings.'' Requirements for petitioners who are not participants in an 
NRC licensing proceeding related to their PRMs would be listed in Sec.  
2.802(e)(2), including the following requirements: concurrent 
submission of both the suspension request and the PRM,

[[Page 25889]]

service on the applicant by the petitioner of both the suspension 
request and the PRM, and certification that copies of both the 
suspension request and the PRM have been provided to all participants 
and the presiding officer of the related licensing proceeding.
    5. Section 2.802(e) would be replaced with new information that 
would inform petitioners where to submit a request to amend or withdraw 
their PRMs and what information to include in their request, namely the 
docket number the NRC assigned to the PRM (e.g., PRM-50-52) and the 
date the PRM was submitted originally. The proposed replacement 
language would ease administrative difficulties on the NRC staff 
because an amendment or withdrawal request would be linked more quickly 
with the related PRM docket, which would streamline the PRM process. 
Also, the proposed replacement language would advise the petitioner 
where to submit these requests, which would enhance the availability of 
information and transparency of the PRM process.
    6. All current provisions in Sec.  2.802 addressing the NRC's 
actions on a PRM would be removed from this section and transferred to 
Sec.  2.803. As restructured, Sec.  2.803 would contain all of the 
NRC's actions on a PRM, with the exception of PRMs on design 
certification rules from applicants that intend to supply the design 
(currently in Sec. Sec.  2.811-2.817). The NRC currently performs the 
following actions upon receipt of a PRM: The NRC notifies the 
petitioner of receipt as described in proposed Sec.  2.803(a) and 
evaluates the PRM, including any information submitted under proposed 
Sec.  2.803(c), according to the acceptance criteria in proposed Sec.  
2.803(b). Internal policy has historically dictated this process, and 
the NRC is proposing to add a provision in the regulations to codify 
this process.
    7. The acceptance criteria and acceptance review process described 
in existing Sec.  2.802(e) would be moved to proposed Sec.  2.803(b) 
and amended to state clearly that the NRC will not accept a PRM for 
review if it does not include the information required under current 
Sec.  2.802(c). The acceptance review process also would be modified to 
add two new criteria in Sec.  2.803(b) and (c): Before accepting a PRM 
for docketing, the NRC would perform a screening review to ensure that 
the changes requested in the petition are within the legal authority of 
the NRC and that the PRM raises a potentially valid issue that warrants 
further detailed consideration by the NRC (e.g., confirm that the NRC's 
regulations do not already provide what the PRM is requesting and that 
the issue is not already under consideration by the Commission).
    8. Information on the NRC's discretion to request public comment on 
a PRM, currently in Sec.  2.802(e), and the NRC's discretion to hold a 
hearing on a PRM, currently discussed in Sec.  2.803, would be moved to 
proposed Sec.  2.803(g) and amended for clarity.
    9. The addition of specific criteria under proposed Sec.  2.803(h) 
for the NRC's full review of a PRM would establish the considerations 
that the NRC may take into account when making a determination on the 
course of action to resolve a PRM. The NRC's process for disposition of 
a PRM historically has been contained in internal policy, and the NRC 
is proposing to place these considerations in the regulations to 
enhance the transparency of its PRM process. These proposed 
considerations for resolving a PRM are based on the NRC's last 30 years 
of experience in processing PRMs, insights from the NRC initiative to 
streamline its PRM process, and information from the NRC's review of 
other agencies' PRM regulations and practices. The proposed 
considerations would allow the NRC to examine the merits of the PRM, 
the immediacy of the concern, the availability of NRC resources, 
whether the NRC is already considering the issues in other NRC 
processes, the relative priority of the issues raised in the PRM, any 
public comments (if comments are requested), and the NRC's past 
decisions and current policy on the issues raised in the PRM.
    10. The process for administrative closure of a PRM docket, once 
the NRC has determined its course of action for the PRM would be 
provided in Sec.  2.803(h)(2). The proposed requirements would provide 
two categories, derived from the NRC's recent review of the PRM 
process, for closing a PRM docket once the NRC has determined its 
course of action: (1) Denial of the PRM in its entirety, indicating a 
determination not to pursue a rulemaking action to address the issues 
raised in the PRM (this would also constitute final ``resolution'' of 
the PRM); or (2) initiation of a rulemaking action addressing some or 
all the requested rule changes in the PRM. Initiation of a rulemaking 
action may take one of two forms: (i) Initiation of a new, 
``standalone'' rulemaking focused on some or all of the matters raised 
in the PRM; or (ii) integration of the PRM into an existing or planned 
rulemaking process (including the early stages of an NRC effort to 
decide whether to pursue rulemaking, e.g., when the NRC is considering 
whether to develop a regulatory basis or to issue an advance notice of 
proposed rulemaking). In either case, the PRM docket would be closed, 
although the PRM itself would not be completely and finally 
``resolved'' until the NRC acts on the last remaining portion of the 
PRM's request. Final NRC action on the PRM (``resolution'') would be a 
final rule addressing the petitioner's requested changes, a final rule 
addressing some (but not all) of the petitioner's requested changes, or 
a notice published in the Federal Register of the NRC's decision not to 
address the petitioner's requested changes in a rulemaking action.
    11. In Sec.  2.803(h)(2)(ii), three common examples of potential 
rulemaking actions would be provided to inform the petitioner of 
potential rulemaking paths for granting a PRM: (1) Initiate a new 
rulemaking; (2) address the PRM in an ongoing rulemaking; or (3) 
address the PRM in a planned rulemaking. The NRC would publish a 
Federal Register notice to inform the public of its determined course 
of action, which would enhance transparency of the NRC's PRM process 
and communicate better the NRC's planned approach to the PRM. 
Implementing this process would enhance the NRC's ability to close PRMs 
efficiently and effectively.
    12. Section 2.803(i)(2) would explain that the NRC will notify the 
petitioner in writing and also publish a notice in the Federal Register 
if the NRC closes a PRM under Sec.  2.802(h)(2)(ii) but subsequently 
decides not to carry out the planned rulemaking to publication of a 
final rule. These notices would explain the basis for the NRC's 
decision not to carry out the planned rulemaking to publication and not 
to include the PRM in a rulemaking action.
    13. The addition of Sec.  2.803(i) would explain how a PRM 
ultimately is resolved under the APA and would distinguish final 
resolution of a PRM from administrative closure of a PRM docket, 
described in proposed Sec.  2.803(h)(2). Resolution of a PRM occurs 
when the NRC publishes a Federal Register notice informing the public 
that any planned regulatory action related to the PRM has been 
concluded. For rulemaking actions, resolution requires publication in 
the Federal Register of the final rule related to the PRM, which would 
include a discussion of how the published final rule addresses the 
issues raised in the PRM. Also, proposed Sec.  2.803(i) would note that 
the NRC's denial of the PRM or the petitioner's withdrawal of the PRM 
at any stage of the regulatory process would conclude all planned 
regulatory action related to the PRM. As

[[Page 25890]]

applicable, the Federal Register notice resolving the PRM would include 
a discussion of the NRC's grounds for denial or information on the 
withdrawal request that the petitioner submitted. The NRC is no longer 
publishing a semiannual summary of PRMs, so language in existing Sec.  
2.802(g) would be removed. Proposed new paragraphs Sec.  2.803(j)(1) 
and (3) would explain that the public may view the status of 
rulemakings currently active with the Commission at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/rulemaking-ruleforum/rulemaking-dockets/index.html and the most current information on PRMs at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/rulemaking-ruleforum/petitions-by-year.html. The new language would inform the public that it also may 
view the status of currently active rulemakings and PRMs at http://www.regulations.gov. Using the Federal rulemaking Web site, http://www.regulations.gov (regulations.gov), would meet the requirement in 
the e-Government Act of 2002 that agencies use a single, Governmentwide 
resource for rulemaking activities to enhance transparency to the 
public. Proposed Sec.  2.803(j)(2) would establish that the NRC will 
include a summary of planned and ongoing rulemakings in the 
Governmentwide Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory 
Actions (Unified Agenda). The Unified Agenda is a semiannual 
compilation of summaries of the proposed and final rules that each 
Federal agency expects to issue during the next year. Summaries from 
the Unified Agenda for rules that are likely to have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities are published 
in the Federal Register; and the full edition of the Unified Agenda is 
available online at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Web site 
http://www.Reginfo.gov and at the NRC Web site http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/rulemaking-ruleforum/unified-agenda.html. By 
providing information about using online resources to determine the 
status of disposition of PRMs, the proposed regulatory language would 
enhance the availability of information and transparency of the PRM 
process.
    14. In addition, the NRC is proposing certain administrative 
changes to the regulations, including the reorganization of regulatory 
sections in Sec. Sec.  2.802 and 2.803 as described herein. These 
changes would include amending Sec.  2.811 to conform to the proposed 
changes to Sec. Sec.  2.802 and 2.803.

IV. Availability of Documents

    The following documents referenced in this Federal Register notice 
are available either through ADAMS or at the NRC's PDR:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       ADAMS
                           Document                                   PDR             ADAMS        Accession No.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
COMNJD-06-0004/COMEXM-06-0006--``Streamlining the NRR                        X                X      ML060970295
 Rulemaking Process''.........................................
SRM-COMNJD-06-0004/COMEXM-06-0006--``Streamlining the NRR                    X                X      ML061510316
 Rulemaking Process''.........................................
SECY-03-0131--``Rulemaking Process Improvement Implementation                X                X      ML031360205
 Plan''.......................................................
SECY-07-0134--``Evaluation of the Overall Effectiveness of the               X                X      ML071780644
 Rulemaking Process Improvement Implementation Plan''.........
SRM-SECY-07-0134--``Evaluation of the Overall Effectiveness of               X                X      ML072980427
 the Rulemaking Process Improvement Implementation Plan''.....
SRM-COMGBJ-07-0002--``Closing out Task Re: Rulemaking on                     X                X      ML072180094
 Tables S-3 and S-4''.........................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Section-by-Section Analysis

A. Section 2.802 Petition for Rulemaking--Requirements for Filing

    Paragraph (a) of Sec.  2.802, which informs petitioners on how to 
submit a PRM, would be revised to clarify and update the PRM filing 
process. Proposed paragraph (a) would describe the subject of the 
paragraph by providing a heading, Filing a petition for rulemaking; 
specify the regulations subject to a PRM by indicating that the 
regulations governing nuclear energy are contained under chapter I of 
Title 10 of the CFR; remove the option for petitioners to transmit PRMs 
by facsimile; establish that PRMs may be submitted electronically, by 
email, to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov; and remove all references to the 
guidance available for electronic submissions.
    Paragraph (b) of Sec.  2.802, which provides the process by which a 
prospective petitioner may consult with the NRC before filing a PRM, 
would be revised to permit consultation with the NRC both before and 
after filing a PRM. Proposed paragraph (b) would add a heading, 
Consultation with the NRC, which would describe the subject of the 
paragraph; specify that consultation is permitted both before and after 
filing a PRM by adding ``and after'' and removing the word 
``prospective'' to include all petitioners; clarify that a petitioner 
may consult directly with the NRC staff; and update the mailing address 
and telephone number for this consultation. Proposed paragraph (b) also 
would update the name of the rulemaking branch, which is now called the 
``Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch.''
    Paragraph (b)(1), which establishes limitations on the content of 
petitioner consultations with the NRC staff regarding a PRM, would be 
revised to permit consultation with NRC staff both before and after 
filing of a PRM. Proposed paragraph (b)(1) would remove the phrase 
``prior to the filing of'' and replace it with the phrase ``regarding 
the drafting or amendment of.''
    Paragraph (b)(1)(i), which establishes that petitioners may consult 
with the NRC staff about the process of filing and responding to a PRM, 
would be revised to include other stages of the PRM process. 
Additionally, the word ``procedure'' would be removed from the 
paragraph. Proposed paragraph (b)(1)(i) would limit NRC staff 
consultation on a PRM to describing the process for filing, accepting, 
tracking, closing, amending, withdrawing, and resolving a PRM. These 
limitations would be consistent with the existing limitations on NRC 
participation in the filing of PRMs.
    Paragraph (b)(1)(ii), which establishes that petitioners may 
consult with the NRC staff to clarify an existing NRC regulation and 
the basis for that regulation, would remain unchanged.
    Paragraph (b)(1)(iii), which establishes that petitioners may 
consult with the NRC staff to clarify a potential PRM, would not be 
revised substantively. Proposed paragraph (b)(1)(iii) would remove the 
phrase ``nature of'' and the words ``prospective'' and ``potential'' to 
conform with other edits.
    Paragraph (b)(2), which permits limited consultation with the NRC 
before filing a PRM, would continue to prohibit NRC staff from 
participating in

[[Page 25891]]

drafting or developing text or alternative approaches to address 
matters in a PRM. However, the revised language would permit 
consultation with NRC staff both before and after filing a PRM. 
Proposed paragraph (b)(2) would remove the phrase ``prior to the filing 
of'' and replace it with the phrase ``regarding the drafting or 
amendment of'' and would remove the word ``prospective.''
    Proposed new paragraph (b)(3) would be added to specify clearly 
that the NRC staff will not advise a petitioner on whether a petition 
for rulemaking should be amended or withdrawn.
    Paragraph (c), which generally describes the content requirements 
of a PRM, would be restructured and revised. The heading, Content of 
petition, would be added to describe the subject of the paragraph. 
Proposed paragraph (c)(1) would establish that a petitioner must 
clearly and concisely articulate the information required under 
proposed new paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (c)(1)(viii) in a PRM. 
Proposed paragraph (c)(1) would add the terms ``clearly and concisely'' 
to convey the NRC's expectation that PRMs be ``clear'' (i.e., do not 
contain ambiguous or confusing arguments, terminology, or phraseology) 
and ``concise'' (i.e., do not present the perceived problem or proposed 
solution with longer than necessary description).
    Proposed paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (c)(1)(viii) would specify 
information that must be provided in each PRM. The existing text of 
paragraph (c)(1), which requires that a petition for rulemaking set 
forth a general solution to a problem or specify the regulation that is 
to be revoked or amended, would be revised and redesignated as proposed 
new paragraph (c)(1)(v). The additional text under proposed paragraphs 
(c)(1)(i) through (c)(1)(viii) would describe the specific information 
required to be included in a PRM. Most of the requirements generally 
are similar to the information requirements in the existing rule, 
except that each topic is listed separately for increased clarity.
    Proposed new paragraph (c)(1)(i) would require all petitioners to 
specify contact information--including a name, telephone, mailing 
address, and email address (if available)--that the NRC may use to 
contact the petitioner. Proposed new paragraph (c)(1)(ii) would specify 
additional information for petitioners who are organizations or 
corporations to submit: the petitioner's organizational status, the 
petitioner's State of incorporation, the petitioner's registered agent, 
and the name and authority of the individual signing the PRM on behalf 
of the corporation or organization. By adding this proposed paragraph, 
the NRC intends to reduce the likelihood of misleading the public about 
the organizational or corporate status and identity of a petitioner.
    Proposed new paragraph (c)(1)(iii) would include information from 
existing paragraph (c)(3) and would require a petitioner to present the 
problems or issues that the petitioner believes the NRC should address 
through rulemaking. This paragraph would be added to clarify that a 
petitioner must specifically state the problems or issues that the 
requested rulemaking would address, including any specific 
circumstances in which the NRC's codified requirements are incorrect, 
incomplete, inadequate, or unnecessarily burdensome. Proposed paragraph 
(c)(1)(iii) would clarify that the submittal of specific examples of 
incompleteness or unnecessary burden to support the petitioner's 
assertion that a problem or issue exists that the NRC should address 
through rulemaking, would be of interest to the NRC when reviewing the 
PRM. Providing this information in the PRM would result in clearer and 
more concise problems or issues being presented by a petitioner and 
would increase the efficiency of the NRC's review of the PRM.
    Proposed new paragraph (c)(1)(iv) would require the petitioner to 
cite, enclose, or reference any publicly available data used to support 
the petitioner's assertion of a problem or issue. This requirement 
currently is in existing paragraph (c)(3) but would be modified to add 
the phrase ``Cite, enclose, or reference'' to provide options to the 
petitioner for providing the supporting data. Proposed paragraph 
(c)(1)(iv) would specify that the citations, enclosures, or references 
to technical, scientific, or other data would be submitted to support 
the petitioner's assertion that a problem or issue exists and that all 
submitted data must be publicly available, so the word ``relevant'' and 
the phrase ``reasonably available to the petitioner'' in current 
paragraph (c)(3) would be removed.
    Proposed new paragraph (c)(1)(v) would include information from 
existing paragraph (c)(1) and would require a petitioner to present a 
proposed solution to the problems or issues identified in the PRM; this 
may include revision or removal of specific regulations under 10 CFR 
chapter I. Rather than providing a ``general solution'' as required by 
existing paragraph (c)(1), proposed paragraph (c)(1)(v) would require a 
petitioner to present a ``proposed solution'' to clarify that the 
solution is only a proposal for NRC consideration. Proposed paragraph 
(c)(1)(v) also would provide an example--including ``specific 
regulations or regulatory language to add, amend, or delete in 10 CFR 
chapter I''--to guide petitioners in preparing a proposed solution to 
the problems or issues identified in the PRM.
    Proposed new paragraph (c)(1)(vi) would require a petitioner to 
provide an analysis, discussion, or argument linking the problems or 
issues identified in the PRM with the proposed solution. The first part 
of this requirement currently is in existing paragraph (c)(3). The 
second part is new and would require the petitioner to explain through 
an analysis, discussion, or argument how the proposed solution would 
solve the problems or issues raised in the PRM.
    Proposed new paragraph (c)(1)(vii) would include information from 
existing paragraph (c)(1) and would require the petitioner to cite, 
enclose, or reference any other publicly available data or information 
that the petitioner deems necessary to support the proposed solution 
and otherwise prepare the PRM for the NRC's acceptance review under 
Sec.  2.803(b). Similar to proposed paragraph (c)(1)(iv), the phrase 
``Cite, enclose, or reference'' would be added to provide options to 
the petitioner for providing the supporting data.
    Text from existing paragraph (c)(1) would be revised and 
incorporated into proposed new paragraph (c)(1)(v), as previously 
described. As a result, existing paragraph (c)(1) would be removed.
    Text from existing paragraph (c)(2) would be removed because it is 
generally incorporated into proposed new paragraphs (c) and (c)(1)(i) 
through (c)(1)(iii), making the existing paragraph (c)(2) unnecessary.
    Text from existing paragraph (c)(3), which requires a petitioner to 
include various kinds of supporting information, would be revised and 
incorporated into proposed new paragraphs (c)(1)(iii), (c)(1)(iv), 
(c)(1)(vi), and (c)(1)(vii), as previously described. As a result, 
existing paragraph (c)(3) would be removed.
    In addition to the requirements in Sec.  2.802(c)(1)(i)-(vii), 
proposed paragraph (c)(2) would encourage the petitioner to consider 
the two other acceptance review criteria listed in Sec.  2.803(b) when 
preparing a PRM. The NRC does not intend to require specialized 
explanations that might preclude potential petitioners from submitting 
PRMs. Proposed paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (ii) are intended to provide 
petitioners the opportunity to include information that would assist 
the NRC in its evaluation of the PRM under

[[Page 25892]]

Sec.  2.803(b). However, the NRC will not automatically deny a petition 
solely on the basis that the petition did not provide information 
addressing paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (ii).
    Proposed paragraph (c)(3) would require the PRM to designate a lead 
petitioner if the petition is signed by multiple petitioners. The NRC's 
current practice is to treat the first signature listed on a petition 
as that of the lead petitioner. Proposed new paragraph (c)(3) would 
require designation of a lead petitioner and codify the NRC's practice 
of sending communications about the petition to the lead petitioner. 
Proposed new paragraph (c)(3) also would alert the public of the lead 
petitioner's responsibility to disseminate communications received from 
the NRC to all petitioners.
    Proposed paragraph (c)(1)(viii) would include a cross reference to 
the requirements of 10 CFR 51.68.
    Paragraph (d) will be reserved and paragraph (e)--which provides 
that a petitioner may request a suspension, pending disposition of the 
PRM, of all or any part of a licensing proceeding to which the 
petitioner is a party--would be revised and expanded to permit 
submission of these types of requests by petitioners who are not part 
of the licensing proceeding. The title, Request for suspension of 
adjudicatory licensing proceedings related to a petition for rulemaking 
would be added to describe the subject of the paragraph.
    Proposed new paragraph (e)(1) would explain that petitioners who 
are participants in an NRC adjudicatory licensing proceeding related to 
their PRM must file a motion in accordance with the requirements of 10 
CFR part 2, subpart C, to request suspension of that proceeding. 
Proposed new paragraph (e) would specify that petitioners who are not 
participants in an NRC adjudicatory licensing proceeding related to 
their PRM also may request that the NRC suspend all or any part of an 
adjudicatory licensing proceeding pending disposition of the PRM. 
Proposed paragraphs (e)(2)(i)-(iii) would require petitioners who are 
not participants in an NRC proceeding related to their PRM to submit 
the suspension request concurrently with the PRM, serve the applicant 
in the licensing proceeding with both the suspension request and the 
PRM in accordance with service requirements in Sec.  2.305, and certify 
that the petitioner has provided copies of the suspension request and 
the PRM to all of the participants and the presiding officer in the 
licensing proceeding.
    Paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) in Sec.  2.802 would be moved to Sec.  
2.803. As a result, existing paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) in Sec.  
2.802 would be removed.
    Proposed new paragraph (f), which discusses amendment or withdrawal 
of a PRM by a petitioner, would be added to inform petitioners on where 
to submit these requests and what information should be included. The 
heading, Amendment; Withdrawal, would be added to describe the subject 
of the paragraph. The proposed paragraph encourages petitioners to 
include the docket number assigned to the PRM and the date the PRM was 
originally submitted with any request to amend or withdraw their PRMs. 
This amendment would result in greater efficiency for the NRC staff in 
retrieving and linking amendment and withdrawal requests with the 
associated PRM. Also, proposed paragraph (f) would clearly inform 
petitioners how and where to submit requests to amend or withdraw their 
PRMs.

B. Section 2.803 Petition for Rulemaking--NRC Action

    Proposed new paragraph (a) would codify how the NRC processes a PRM 
upon its receipt. The heading, Notification of Receipt, would be added 
to describe the subject of the paragraph. Proposed new paragraph (a)(1) 
would codify the NRC's process of notifying the petitioner to 
acknowledge receipt of a PRM, and proposed new paragraph (a)(2) would 
state clearly that the NRC evaluates the submitted PRM in accordance 
with the acceptance criteria in proposed paragraph (b).
    The acceptance criteria and acceptance review process described in 
current Sec.  2.802(f) would be moved to proposed Sec.  2.803(b) and 
amended to state clearly that the NRC will deny the PRM if it does not 
include the information required under Sec.  2.802(c). The acceptance 
review process, currently described in Sec.  2.802(f), also would be 
modified to add two new criteria in proposed new Sec.  2.803(b). Before 
accepting a petition for docketing, the NRC would perform a screening 
review to ensure that the changes requested in the petition are within 
the legal authority of the NRC and that the PRM raises a potentially 
valid issue that warrants further detailed consideration by the NRC 
(e.g., confirm that the NRC's regulations do not already provide what 
the PRM is requesting). By adding the new criteria, the NRC would 
establish that a PRM would not be accepted for docketing if the issues 
in a PRM are outside the NRC's legal authority. Also, proposed new 
paragraph (b) would add the heading, Acceptance Review, to indicate the 
subject of the paragraph.
    Proposed new paragraph (b) would remove the existing requirement 
that only the Executive Director for Operations may determine whether a 
PRM will be accepted, thus providing the NRC with the flexibility to 
make this determination at the most appropriate organizational level. 
Proposed new paragraph (b) also would remove the estimated timeframe in 
which a determination of acceptance will be completed (the existing 
text provides 30 days from the date of receipt of the PRM). The NRC 
would remove the 30-day timeframe to ensure that sufficient time would 
be available, if needed, for thorough examination of the issues raised 
in complex or complicated PRMs. Although the 30-day guideline would be 
removed from the regulations, the NRC still expects to complete the 
acceptance review of most PRMs within a 30-day period.
    The existing text of Sec.  2.802(f) provides a 90-day period for a 
petitioner to fix and resubmit an insufficient PRM, with the 
deficiencies corrected. However, in practice, petitioners may resubmit 
their PRM with the deficiencies corrected at any time during or after 
the 90 days, and the 90-day period for submitting additional data 
serves only to delay resolution of a deficient PRM. Proposed new 
paragraph Sec.  2.803(b) would remove the 90-day period and would 
inform the petitioner that deficient PRMs may be resubmitted with 
deficiencies fixed or addressed at any time, without prejudice and 
without a time limitation.
    The existing text of Sec.  2.802(e), which identifies the process 
by which a PRM that is accepted for review is docketed and made 
available to the public, would be moved to Sec.  2.803(c) and amended 
to add the heading, Acceptance and Docketing to indicate the subject of 
the paragraph, specify the NRC's acceptance review process for PRMs, 
require that the NRC assign a docket number to PRMs accepted for 
review, and describe how a PRM found acceptable for review would be 
made available to the public. Proposed new paragraph (c)(1) would state 
clearly that the NRC will accept and assign a docket number to a PRM if 
the NRC determines that it satisfies the acceptance review criteria in 
proposed new paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (c)(1)(iii). Proposed new 
paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (c)(1)(iii) would explain that a PRM would 
be accepted for review if it contains the information required by 
proposed Sec.  2.802(c), if the requested changes are determined to be 
within the legal authority of the NRC, and if the PRM is determined to 
raise a potentially valid issue to warrant further consideration by the 
NRC.

[[Page 25893]]

    Proposed new paragraph (c)(2) would describe how a docketed PRM 
would be made available to the public. Proposed paragraph (c)(2) of 
Sec.  2.803 is not substantively changed from the first part of 
existing text in Sec.  2.802(e), but the proposed paragraph does 
include an administrative change to the location of publicly available 
information associated with docketed PRMs. The proposed text would 
specify that a copy of the docketed PRM will be made available to the 
public through both ADAMS and http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal 
electronic rulemaking portal. It would also specify that the NRC would 
publish a Federal Register notice that identifies the docket number of 
the PRM, informs the public that the NRC is reviewing the merits of the 
PRM, and explains how the public may track the status of the PRM online 
at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/rulemaking-ruleforum/petitions-by-year.html and track the status of rulemakings currently 
active with the NRC online at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/rulemaking-ruleforum/rulemaking-dockets/index.html.
    Proposed new paragraph (d) would notify the public that the NRC 
will send all communications to the lead petitioner identified in the 
petition, according to proposed new paragraph 2.802(c)(3), and that 
this communication would constitute notification to all petitioners. 
Thus, any NRC obligation to inform a petitioner is satisfied when the 
NRC sends the required notification to the lead petitioner. The 
heading, NRC communications with multiple petitioners, would be added 
to describe the subject of the paragraph.
    Newly designated Sec.  2.803(e) through (f) would be marked 
``Reserved.''
    Proposed new paragraph (g) would add the heading, Public comment on 
a petition for rulemaking; Hearings, to indicate the subject of the 
paragraph. Proposed new paragraph Sec.  2.803(g)(1) would incorporate 
information from existing Sec.  2.802(e) text pertaining to the NRC's 
discretion to request public comment on a docketed PRM. Information in 
existing Sec.  2.802(e) that specifies how a PRM may be published for 
public comment in the Federal Register would be replaced by a concise 
statement specifying that the NRC, at its discretion, may solicit 
public comment on a docketed PRM.
    When the NRC publishes an FRN requesting public comment on a PRM, 
the NRC's current practice is to include standard language in the FRN 
cautioning the public not to include identifying or contact information 
that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment 
submission. Proposed new Sec.  2.803(g)(2) would include this caveat in 
the NRC's regulations to increase the likelihood that affected 
stakeholders will be aware of this practice.
    Proposed new Sec.  2.803(g)(3) would denote that no hearings will 
be held on a PRM unless the Commission determines to hold a hearing as 
a matter of discretion. This requirement currently exists in Sec.  
2.803, but it would be moved to new paragraph (g)(3) and amended for 
clarity. The text ``the Commission deems it advisable'' would be 
replaced with ``the Commission determines to do so, at its 
discretion.'' This proposed amendment would clarify that the NRC has 
discretionary authority to hold a hearing on a docketed PRM.
    Proposed new paragraph (h) would add the heading, Determination of 
a petition for rulemaking; closure of docket on a petition for 
rulemaking to indicate the subject of the paragraph. Existing 
regulations in Sec.  2.803 require the NRC to resolve PRMs by either 
issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking or denying the petition. 
Proposed new paragraph (h)(1) of Sec.  2.803 would codify a 
nonexclusive list of the methods and criteria that the NRC uses to 
determine a course of action for a PRM. Those methods and criteria 
include consideration of the issues raised in the PRM about its merits, 
the immediacy of an identified safety or security concern, the relative 
availability of resources, the relative issue priority compared to 
other NRC rulemaking activities, whether the NRC is already considering 
the issues in other NRC processes, the substance of public comments 
received, if requested, and the NRC's past decisions and current 
policy.
    Proposed new paragraph (h)(1)(i) would establish that determination 
of a PRM may be based upon the merits of the PRM. For the purpose of 
this rule, the term ``merits'' would include the completeness and 
technical accuracy of the documents, logic associated with the 
petitioner's desired rule changes, and the appropriateness or 
worthiness of the desired changes compared to the current regulatory 
structure (i.e., existing regulations, associated regulatory guidance, 
and inspection program guidance).
    Proposed new paragraph (h)(1)(ii) would indicate that determination 
of a PRM may be based upon the immediacy of the safety or security 
concerns raised in the PRM. By adding this paragraph, the NRC intends 
to first determine whether immediate regulatory action (e.g., a 
regulatory order) is needed.
    Proposed new paragraph (h)(1)(iii) would denote that determination 
of a PRM may be based upon the availability of NRC resources and 
priority of the issues raised in the PRM compared with other NRC 
rulemaking activities. By adding this paragraph, the NRC would 
establish that if immediate action is not necessary, the NRC would 
consider the availability of resources and compare the issues raised in 
the PRM to other NRC rulemaking issues to determine the PRM's priority 
relative to other rulemaking activities.
    Proposed new paragraph (h)(1)(iv) would establish that 
determination of a PRM may be based on whether the NRC is already 
considering the issues raised in the PRM in other NRC processes. The 
NRC has multiple processes for considering potential issues related to 
its mission, which is to regulate the Nation's civilian use of 
byproduct, source, and special nuclear materials to ensure adequate 
protection of public health and safety, to promote the common defense 
and security, and to protect the environment. Other NRC processes 
include (non-exhaustive list) the allegation process, formal and 
informal hearings, and Commission deliberation to determine appropriate 
action on issues not related to rulemaking. Resulting action could be 
initiation of a rulemaking, but the Commission has other options 
available such as addressing the issue in a regulatory order or through 
a management directive. Proposed new paragraph (h)(1)(iv) would be 
included to prevent duplicative effort and inefficient use of NRC 
resources when the NRC is already considering issues raised by the PRM 
in other NRC processes.
    Proposed new paragraph (h)(1)(v) would provide that determination 
of a PRM may be based on the substance of any public comments received, 
if public comments are requested. Although the NRC might not request 
public comments on all PRMs, if public comments are requested, the NRC 
would consider the information commenters provided when determining a 
course of action for a PRM.
    Proposed new paragraph (h)(1)(vi) would denote that determination 
of a PRM may be based on the NRC's past decisions and current policy 
related to the issues raised in the PRM. This paragraph would establish 
that the NRC could consider past Commission decisions when determining 
a course of action for a PRM.
    Proposed new paragraph (h)(2) would establish a process for 
administrative closure of a PRM docket once the NRC has determined its 
course of action for

[[Page 25894]]

the PRM using the methodology and criteria in proposed paragraph 
(h)(1). Proposed paragraph (h)(2) with the heading, PRM Docket Closure, 
would establish that a PRM docket would be administratively closed when 
the NRC responds to the PRM by taking a regulatory action and 
publishing a document in the Federal Register that describes this 
action. Proposed new paragraphs (h)(2)(i) and (ii) provide two specific 
categories for administrative closure of a PRM docket. In proposed 
paragraph (h)(2), the NRC would administratively close a PRM docket by 
taking a regulatory action in response to the PRM that establishes a 
course of action for the PRM. The NRC would publish a notice in the 
Federal Register describing the determined regulatory action, including 
the related Docket Identification Number (Docket ID), as applicable. 
Proposed paragraph (h)(2)(i) would explain that the NRC may 
administratively close a PRM docket by deciding not to undertake a 
rulemaking to address the issues that the PRM raised, effectively 
denying the PRM, and notifying the petitioner in writing why the PRM 
was denied. Proposed paragraph (h)(2)(ii) would explain that the NRC 
may administratively close a PRM docket by initiating a rulemaking 
action, such as addressing the PRM in an ongoing or planned rulemaking 
or initiating a new rulemaking activity. The NRC would inform the 
petitioner in writing of its determination and the associated Docket ID 
of the rulemaking action.
    Proposed new paragraph (h)(2)(i) would provide that the NRC may 
administratively close a PRM docket if the NRC decides not to engage in 
rulemaking to address the issues in the PRM. The NRC would publish a 
notice in the Federal Register informing the public of the grounds for 
denial, addressing the petitioner's request and relevant public 
comments (if requested). The PRM docket would be closed by this method 
when the NRC concludes that rulemaking should not be conducted in 
response to the PRM. In certain cases, the NRC may deny some of the 
issues raised in a PRM but also decide to address the remaining issues 
by initiating a rulemaking action, as described in proposed paragraph 
(h)(2)(ii). In these instances, as applicable, the Federal Register 
notice would identify the rulemaking Docket ID for the related 
rulemaking.
    With regard to new rulemakings, proposed new paragraph (h)(2)(ii) 
would provide that the NRC may administratively close a PRM docket if 
the NRC decides to address the subject matter of the PRM in a new 
rulemaking. The NRC would publish a notice in the Federal Register 
explaining the NRC's decision to initiate the new rulemaking and 
informing the public of the Docket ID of the new rulemaking. The NRC 
also would add a description of the new rulemaking in the 
Governmentwide Unified Agenda. The PRM docket would be closed by this 
method when the NRC determines that issues raised in the PRM merit 
consideration in a rulemaking and that there is currently no other 
rulemaking (ongoing or planned) into which the petitioner's requested 
rulemaking could be incorporated.
    With regard to planned rulemakings, proposed paragraph (h)(2)(ii) 
would provide that a PRM docket may be administratively closed if the 
NRC is currently planning a rulemaking related to the subject of the 
PRM and the NRC decides to address the PRM in that planned rulemaking. 
The NRC would publish a notice in the Federal Register explaining the 
NRC's decision to address the PRM in a planned rulemaking and informing 
the public of the Docket ID of the planned rulemaking. A PRM docket 
would be closed by this method when the NRC determines that issues 
raised in the PRM merit consideration in a rulemaking and a planned 
rulemaking exists in which the issues raised in the PRM could be 
addressed.
    With regard to ongoing rulemakings, proposed new paragraph 
(h)(2)(ii) would provide that a PRM docket may be administratively 
closed if the NRC has a rulemaking in progress that is related to the 
issues raised in the PRM. The NRC would publish a notice in the Federal 
Register notifying the public that the subject of the PRM will be 
addressed as part of the ongoing rulemaking. The PRM docket would be 
closed by this method when the NRC determines that issues raised in the 
PRM merit consideration in a rulemaking and an ongoing rulemaking 
exists in which the issues in the PRM can be addressed.
    The list of potential rulemaking actions in proposed new paragraph 
(h)(2)(ii) is not intended to be exhaustive because the NRC may 
initiate other rulemaking actions, at its discretion, on issues raised 
in the PRM. For example, the NRC could extend the comment period for a 
proposed rule that addresses the subject matter of the PRM to allow it 
to be addressed in the ongoing rulemaking.
    For all PRM dockets that are closed by initiating a rulemaking 
action, as described in proposed paragraph (h)(2), the NRC will include 
supplementary information in the published final rule discussing how 
the NRC decided to address the issues raised in the PRM.
    As further discussed in proposed paragraph (i)(2), if the NRC 
closes a PRM docket under proposed paragraph (h)(2)(ii) by initiating a 
rulemaking action, resolution would require publication of a final rule 
discussing how the PRM is addressed in the published final rule. 
However, if later in the rulemaking process the NRC decides to 
terminate the associated rulemaking, termination of that rulemaking 
also constitutes denial of the PRM. The NRC would describe the agency's 
grounds for denial in a Federal Register notice, which would include 
the reason for the NRC's decision not to publish a final rule on the 
rulemaking associated with the PRM. The Federal Register notice also 
would address the issues raised in the PRM and significant public 
comments, if public comments were solicited. As with denials earlier in 
the PRM process, the NRC would notify the petitioner of denial of the 
PRM.
    Under Sec.  2.803, the NRC is currently required to resolve PRMs 
either by addressing the PRM issues in a final rule or by denying the 
petition. Proposed new paragraph (i) with heading, PRM Resolution, 
would expand and clarify how a PRM is resolved. Resolution of a PRM 
would require the NRC to conclude all planned regulatory action on the 
issues presented by the PRM and to publish a Federal Register notice to 
inform the public that all planned regulatory action on the PRM is 
concluded. Resolution of a PRM may occur in whole or in part; however, 
complete resolution of a PRM does not occur until all PRM issues are 
finally addressed by NRC. Proposed paragraph (i) would describe three 
methods for resolving a PRM: (1) Publication of a final rule; (2) 
withdrawal of the PRM by the petitioner at any stage of the regulatory 
process; or (3) denial of the PRM by the NRC at any stage of the 
process. For resolution of a PRM through publication of a final rule, 
the NRC would include a discussion in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section of the published final rule of how the regulatory action 
addresses the issues raised by the petitioner. For resolution of a PRM 
through denial by the NRC at any stage of the regulatory process, the 
NRC would publish a Federal Register notice discussing the grounds for 
denial of the PRM. For resolution of a PRM through withdrawal by the 
petitioner, the NRC would publish a notice in the Federal Register to 
inform the public that the petitioner has withdrawn the docketed PRM. 
Although the NRC expects that withdrawal requests would be submitted 
infrequently, proposed

[[Page 25895]]

paragraph (i) would provide a mechanism for the NRC to resolve the 
petition and inform members of the public of the withdrawal and 
resolution of the PRM.
    The existing text of Sec.  2.802, paragraph (g), which indicates 
that a semiannual summary of PRMs before the Commission will be 
publicly available for inspection and copying, would be removed because 
the NRC no longer publishes this semiannual summary. Proposed new 
paragraph (j) of Sec.  2.803 would explain where the public can view 
the status of PRMs and would add the heading, Status of PRMs and 
rulemakings, to indicate the subject of the paragraph. Proposed new 
paragraph (j)(1) would provide the Web site addresses for the most 
current information on PRMs and on rulemakings that are active with the 
Commission. Proposed new paragraph (j)(2) would indicate that the NRC 
will provide a summary of planned and existing rulemakings in the 
Governmentwide Unified Agenda. Proposed new paragraph (j)(3) would 
explain that information on all docketed PRMs, rulemakings, and public 
comments will be made available online in ADAMS and in the Federal 
Governmentwide rulemaking Web site at http://www.regulations.gov.
    As previously discussed, if the NRC closes a PRM docket by 
initiating a rulemaking action under Sec.  2.803(h)(2)(ii) but later 
determines that a final rule should not be published, the NRC will 
publish a notice in the Federal Register explaining the grounds for its 
denial of the PRM, including the reason for the NRC's decision not to 
issue a final rule. The notice will be added to the file of the 
previously closed PRM docket, and the status of the PRM will be updated 
and made available to the public as described in proposed paragraphs 
(j)(1) through (j)(3).

C. Section 2.811 Filing of Standard Design Certification Application; 
Required Copies

    Paragraph (e), Pre-application consultation, of Sec.  2.811 
explains the pre-application consultation process for standard design 
certification applications and would be revised by correcting 
references and updating the email address for pre-application 
consultation. Proposed corrections to paragraph (e) consist of removing 
the references to ``Sec.  2.802(a)(1)(i) through (iii)'' and replacing 
them with ``Sec.  2.802(b)(1),'' with respect to the subject matters 
permitted for pre-application consultation; and replacing the reference 
``Sec.  2.802(a)(2)'' with ``Sec.  2.802(b)(2),'' regarding limitations 
on pre-application consultations. In addition, the email address for 
pre-application consultation would be updated by replacing 
``NRCREP@nrc.gov'' with ``Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov.''

VI. Plain Writing

    The Plain Writing Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-274) requires Federal 
agencies to write documents in a clear, concise, and well-organized 
manner. The NRC has written this document to be consistent with the 
Plain Writing Act as well as the Presidential Memorandum, ``Plain 
Language in Government Writing,'' published June 10, 1998 (63 FR 
31883). The NRC requests comment on the proposed rule with respect to 
the clarity and effectiveness of the language used.

VII. Voluntary Consensus Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (Pub. 
L. 104-113) requires Federal agencies to use technical standards that 
are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies unless 
the use of such a standard is inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. In this proposed rule, the NRC would revise its 
regulations to streamline the process the NRC uses when it receives a 
PRM. This action concerns the NRC's procedures governing its 
consideration and resolution of petitions for rulemaking. These 
procedures would not constitute a ``government unique standard'' within 
the meaning and intention of the National Technology Transfer and 
Advancement Act of 1995.

VIII. Environmental Impact: Categorical Exclusion

    The NRC has determined that this proposed rule is the type of 
action described in categorical exclusion 10 CFR 51.22(c)(1). Therefore 
neither an environmental impact statement nor an environmental 
assessment has been prepared for this proposed rule.

IX. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    This proposed rule does not contain information collection 
requirements and, therefore, is not subject to the requirements of the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

Public Protection Notification

    The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to 
respond to, a request for information or an information collection 
requirement unless the requesting document displays a currently valid 
Office of Management and Budget control number.

X. Regulatory Analysis

    The NRC did not prepare a draft regulatory analysis for this 
proposed rule because it is considered a minor, nonsubstantive 
amendment and does not meet the threshold economic and policy 
requirements of OMB Circular A-4 guidance for the preparation of 
regulatory analyses. The amendments will neither impose new safety 
requirements nor relax existing ones and therefore do not call for the 
sort of safety/cost analysis described in the NRC's regulatory analysis 
guidelines in NUREG/BR-0058, Revision 4, ``Regulatory Analysis 
Guidelines of the US NRC,'' September 2004 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML042820192).

XI. Regulatory Flexibility Certification

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 
605(b)), the NRC certifies that this rule would not, if issued, have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

XII. Backfitting and Issue Finality

    The NRC has determined that the backfit rule does not apply to this 
proposed rule because these amendments are administrative in nature and 
do not involve any provisions that would impose backfitting as defined 
in 10 CFR chapter 1, or are inconsistent with any of the issue finality 
provisions in 10 CFR part 52.

List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 2

    Administrative practice and procedure, Antitrust, Byproduct 
material, Classified information, Environmental protection, Nuclear 
materials, Nuclear power plants and reactors, Penalties, Sex 
discrimination, Source material, Special nuclear material, Waste 
treatment and disposal.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble and under the authority of 
the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended; the Energy Reorganization 
Act of 1974, as amended; and 5 U.S.C. 552, the NRC is proposing to 
adopt the following amendments to 10 CFR part 2.

PART 2--AGENCY RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

0
1. The authority citation for part 2 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  Atomic Energy Act secs.161, 181, 191 (42 U.S.C. 
2201, 2231, 2241); Energy Reorganization Act sec. 201 (42 U.S.C. 
5841); FOIA 5 U.S.C. 552; Government Paperwork Elimination Act sec. 
1704 (44 U.S.C. 3504 note).

[[Page 25896]]

    Section 2.101 also issued under Atomic Energy Act secs. 53, 62, 
63, 81, 103, 104 (42 U.S.C. 2073, 2092, 2093, 2111, 2133, 2134, 
2135); Nuclear Waste Policy Act sec. 114(f) (42 U.S.C. 10143(f)); 
National Environmental Protection Act sec. 102 (42 U.S.C. 4332); 
Energy Reorganization Act sec. 301 (42 U.S.C. 5871).
    Sections 2.102, 2.103, 2.104, 2.105, 2.321 also issued under 
Atomic Energy Act secs. 102, 103, 104, 105, 183i, 189 (42 U.S.C. 
2132, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2233, 2239). Sections 2.200-2.206 also 
issued under Atomic Energy Act secs. 161, 186, 234 (42 U.S.C. 2201 
(b), (i), (o), 2236, 2282); sec. 206 (42 U.S.C. 5846). Section 
2.205(j) also issued under Pub. L. 101-410, as amended by section 
3100(s), Pub. L. 104-134 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note). Subpart C also 
issued under Atomic Energy Act sec. 189 (42 U.S.C. 2239). Section 
2.301 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 554. Sections 2.343, 2.346, 2.712 
also issued under 5 U.S.C. 557. Section 2.340 also issued under 
Nuclear Waste Policy Act secs. 135, 141, Pub. L. 97-425, 96 Stat. 
2232, 2241 (42 U.S.C. 10155, 10161). Section 2.390 also issued under 
5 U.S.C. 552. Sections 2.600-2.606 also issued under sec. 102 (42 
U.S.C. 4332). Sections 2.800 and 2.808 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 
553. Section 2.809 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 553; AEA sec. 29 (42 
U.S.C. 2039). Subpart K also issued under Atomic Energy Act sec. 189 
(42 U.S.C. 2239); Nuclear Waste Policy Act sec. 134 (42 U.S.C. 
10154). Subpart L also issued under Atomic Energy Act sec. 189 (42 
U.S.C. 2239). Subpart M also issued under Atomic Energy Act sec. 
184, 189 (42 U.S.C. 2234, 2239). Subpart N also issued under Atomic 
Energy Act sec. 189 (42 U.S.C. 2239).

0
2. Revise Sec.  2.802 to read as follows:


Sec.  2.802  Petition for rulemaking--requirements for filing.

    (a) Filing a petition for rulemaking. Any person may petition the 
Commission to issue, amend, or rescind any regulation in 10 CFR chapter 
I. The petition for rulemaking should be addressed to the Secretary, 
Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff, and sent by mail 
addressed to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001; by email to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov; or by hand 
delivery to 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, between 
7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (Eastern time) on Federal workdays.
    (b) Consultation with the NRC. A petitioner may consult with the 
NRC staff before and after filing a petition for rulemaking by 
contacting the Chief, Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch, 
Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 1-800-368-5642.
    (1) In any consultation regarding the drafting or amendment of a 
petition for rulemaking, the assistance that the NRC staff may provide 
is limited to the following:
    (i) Describing the process for filing, accepting, tracking, 
closing, amending, withdrawing, and resolving a petition for 
rulemaking;
    (ii) Clarifying an existing NRC regulation and the basis for the 
regulation; and
    (iii) Assisting the petitioner to clarify a petition for rulemaking 
so that the Commission is able to understand the issues of concern to 
the petitioner.
    (2) In any consultation regarding the drafting or amendment of a 
petition for rulemaking, in providing the assistance permitted in 
paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the NRC staff will not draft or 
develop text or alternative approaches to address matters in the 
petition for rulemaking.
    (3) In any consultation regarding a petition for rulemaking, the 
NRC staff will not advise a petitioner on whether a petition should be 
amended or withdrawn.
    (c) Content of petition. (1) Each petition for rulemaking filed 
under this section must clearly and concisely:
    (i) Specify the name of the petitioner, a telephone number, a 
mailing address, and an email address (if available), which the NRC may 
use to communicate with the petitioner;
    (ii) If the petitioner is an organization, provide additional 
identifying information (as applicable) including the petitioner's 
organizational or corporate status, the petitioner's State of 
incorporation, the petitioner's registered agent, the name and 
authority of the individual who signed the petition on behalf of the 
organizational or corporate petitioner.
    (iii) Present the specific problems or issues that the petitioner 
believes should be addressed through rulemaking, including any specific 
circumstances in which the NRC's codified requirements are incorrect, 
incomplete, inadequate, or unnecessarily burdensome;
    (iv) Cite, enclose, or reference publicly available technical, 
scientific, or other data supporting the petitioner's assertion of the 
problems or issues;
    (v) Present the petitioner's proposed solution to the problems or 
issues raised in the petition for rulemaking (e.g., a proposed solution 
may include specific regulations or regulatory language to add, amend, 
or delete in 10 CFR chapter I);
    (vi) Provide an analysis, discussion, or argument that explains how 
the petitioner's proposed solution solves the problems or issues 
identified by the petitioner; and
    (vii) Cite, enclose, or reference any other publicly available data 
or information supporting the petitioner's proposed solution.
    (viii) For petitions requesting amendments of 10 CFR parts 30, 31, 
32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, or 70 of this chapter concerning the 
exemption from licensing and regulatory requirements of or authorizing 
general licenses for any equipment, device, commodity or other product 
containing byproduct material, source material or special nuclear 
material, comply with 10 CFR 51.68 by submitting a separate document 
entitled ``Petitioner's Environmental Report,'' which must contain the 
information specified in 10 CFR 51.45.
    (2) To assist the NRC in its evaluation of the PRM, the petitioner 
should clearly and concisely:
    (i) Explain why the proposed rulemaking solution is within the 
authority of the NRC to adopt; and
    (ii) Explain why rulemaking is the most favorable approach to 
address the problems or issues, as opposed to other NRC actions such as 
licensing, issuance of an order, or referral to another Federal or 
State agency.
    (3) If the petition is signed by multiple petitioners, the petition 
must designate a lead petitioner who is responsible for disseminating 
communications received from the NRC with co-petitioners.
    (d) [RESERVED]
    (e) Request for suspension of adjudicatory licensing proceedings 
related to a petition for rulemaking. (1) A petitioner who is a 
participant in an NRC adjudicatory proceeding related to their petition 
for rulemaking may only request suspension of that proceeding by filing 
a motion in accordance with the requirements in 10 CFR part 2, subpart 
C, ``Rules of General Applicability: Hearing Requests, Petitions to 
Intervene, Availability of Documents, Selection of Specific Hearing 
Procedures, Presiding Officer Powers, and General Hearing Management 
for NRC Adjudicatory Hearings.''
    (2) A petitioner who is not a participant in an NRC adjudicatory 
proceeding related to their petition for rulemaking may request that 
the Commission suspend all or any part of the proceeding, to which the 
petitioner is not a party, pending disposition of the petition for 
rulemaking.
    (i) The request for suspension of adjudicatory licensing 
proceedings must be submitted to the NRC concurrent with the related 
petition for rulemaking.
    (ii) The petitioner must serve, in accordance with the requirements 
of 10 CFR 2.305, a copy of the petition for rulemaking and the request 
for suspension of the adjudicatory licensing

[[Page 25897]]

proceeding on the applicant in the proceeding.
    (iii) Copies of this request must be filed with all of the 
participants in the proceeding and with the presiding officer.
    (f) Amendment; Withdrawal. If the petitioner wants to amend or 
withdraw a docketed petition for rulemaking, then the petitioner should 
include the docket number and the date that the original petition for 
rulemaking was submitted in a request addressed to the Secretary, 
Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff, and sent by mail 
addressed to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001; or by email to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov.
0
3. Revise Sec.  2.803 to read as follows:


Sec.  2.803  Petition for rulemaking--NRC action.

    (a) Notification of Receipt. Upon receipt of a petition for 
rulemaking, the NRC will:
    (1) Acknowledge its receipt to the petitioner; and
    (2) Evaluate the petition for rulemaking, including supporting data 
submitted under Sec.  2.802(c), for sufficiency according to the 
acceptance review criteria in Sec.  2.803(b).
    (b) Acceptance Review. If the NRC determines that the petition for 
rulemaking does not include the information required by Sec.  2.802(c), 
that the regulatory change sought by the petitioner is not within the 
legal authority of the NRC, or that the petition for rulemaking does 
not raise a potentially valid issue that warrants further 
consideration, then the NRC will notify the petitioner in writing and 
explain the deficiencies in the petition for rulemaking. The petitioner 
may resubmit the petition for rulemaking without prejudice. If the NRC 
determines that the petition for rulemaking includes the information 
required by Sec.  2.802(c), then the NRC will docket the petition in 
accordance with the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section.
    (c) Acceptance and Docketing. (1) The NRC will accept and assign a 
docket number to the petition for rulemaking if the NRC determines 
that:
    (i) The petition for rulemaking includes the information required 
by paragraph 2.802(c),
    (ii) The regulatory change sought by the petitioner is within the 
NRC's legal authority, and
    (iii) The petition for rulemaking raises a potentially valid issue 
that warrants further consideration.
    (2) A copy of the docketed petition for rulemaking will be posted 
in the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) 
and on the Federal rulemaking Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov. 
The NRC will publish a notice of receipt in the Federal Register 
informing the public that the NRC is reviewing the merits of the 
petition for rulemaking. The notice of receipt will include the docket 
number and explain how the public may track the status of the petition 
for rulemaking.
    (d) NRC communications with multiple petitioners. If the petition 
is signed by multiple petitioners, any NRC obligation to inform a 
petitioner (as may be required under 10 CFR part 2, Subpart H) is 
satisfied, with respect to all petitioners, when the NRC transmits the 
required notification to the lead petitioner.
    (e) through (f) [Reserved]
    (g) Public comment on a petition for rulemaking; Hearings. (1) At 
its discretion, the NRC may request public comment on a docketed 
petition for rulemaking.
    (2) The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov and enter the comment submissions into ADAMS, 
without removing identifying or contact information from comment 
submissions. Anyone requesting or aggregating comments from other 
persons for submission to the NRC is responsible for informing those 
persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do 
not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submissions.
    (3) No adjudicatory or legislative hearing under the procedures of 
10 CFR part 2 will be held on a petition for rulemaking unless the 
Commission determines to do so, at its discretion.
    (h) Determination of a petition for rulemaking; closure of docket 
on a petition for rulemaking--(1) Determination. Following acceptance 
of a petition for rulemaking, the NRC's determination on the petition 
for rulemaking may be based upon, but is not limited to, the following 
considerations:
    (i) The merits of the petition for rulemaking;
    (ii) The immediacy of the safety, environmental, or security 
concern raised in the petition for rulemaking;
    (iii) The availability of NRC resources and the priority of the 
issues raised in the petition for rulemaking in relation to other NRC 
rulemaking issues;
    (iv) Whether the problems or issues raised in the petition for 
rulemaking are already under consideration by the NRC in other NRC 
processes;
    (v) The substance of any public comments received, if comments are 
requested; and
    (vi) The NRC's past decisions and current policy on the issues 
raised in the petition for rulemaking.
    (2) PRM Docket Closure. After making a determination on the PRM, 
the NRC will administratively close the docket for a petition for 
rulemaking by taking a regulatory action in response to the PRM and 
publishing a notice describing that action with the related Docket 
Identification number (Docket ID), as applicable, in the Federal 
Register. The NRC may make a determination on a petition for rulemaking 
and administratively close the docket for the PRM by:
    (i) Deciding not to undertake a rulemaking to address the issues 
raised by the petition for rulemaking, and informing the petitioner in 
writing of the grounds for denial.
    (ii) Initiating a rulemaking action (e.g., initiate new rulemaking, 
address the petition for rulemaking in an ongoing rulemaking, address 
the petition for rulemaking in a planned rulemaking) that considers the 
issues raised by a petition for rulemaking, and informing the 
petitioner in writing of its decision and the associated Docket ID of 
the rulemaking action, if applicable.
    (i) PRM Resolution--(1) PRM resolution published in the Federal 
Register. The NRC will publish a Federal Register notice informing the 
public that it has concluded all planned regulatory action with respect 
to some or all of the issues presented in a petition for rulemaking. 
This may occur by adoption of a final rule related to the petition for 
rulemaking, denial by the NRC of the petition for rulemaking at any 
stage of the regulatory process, or the petitioner's withdrawal of the 
petition for rulemaking at any stage of the regulatory process. As 
applicable, the Federal Register notice will include a discussion of 
how the regulatory action addresses the issues raised by the 
petitioner, the NRC's grounds for denial of the petition for 
rulemaking, or information on the withdrawal request submitted by the 
petitioner. The notice will also include the NRC's response to any 
public comments received (if comments are requested), unless the NRC 
has indicated that it will not be providing formal written responses to 
each comment received.
    (2) NRC decision not to proceed with rulemaking after closure of a 
PRM docket. If the NRC closes a PRM docket under paragraph (h)(2) of 
this section but subsequently decides not to carry out the planned 
rulemaking to publication of a final rule, then the NRC

[[Page 25898]]

will notify the petitioner in writing of this decision and publish a 
notice in the Federal Register explaining the basis for its decision. 
The decision not to complete the rulemaking action will be documented 
as denial of the PRM in the docket file of the closed petition for 
rulemaking, in the Web sites, in the Unified Agenda, online in ADAMS 
and at http://www.regulations.gov as described in paragraph (j) of this 
section.
    (j) Status of PRMs and rulemakings. (1) The NRC will document the 
most current information on active rulemakings at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/rulemaking-ruleforum/rulemaking-dockets/index.html and the most current information on petitions for rulemaking 
at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/rulemaking-ruleforum/petitions-by-year.html.
    (2) The NRC will include a summary of the NRC's planned and ongoing 
rulemakings in the Governmentwide Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory 
and Deregulatory Actions (the Unified Agenda), published semiannually. 
This Unified Agenda is available at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaMain/.
    (3) All docketed petitions, rulemakings, and public comments will 
be posted online in ADAMS and at http://www.regulations.gov.
0
4. In Sec.  2.811, revise paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  2.811  Filing of standard design certification application; 
required copies.

* * * * *
    (e) Pre-application consultation. A prospective applicant for a 
standard design certification may consult with NRC staff before filing 
an application by writing to the Director, Division of New Reactor 
Licensing, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001, with respect to the subject matters listed in Sec.  2.802(b)(1). 
A prospective petitioner also may telephone the Rules, Announcements, 
and Directives Branch, toll free on 1-800-368-5642, or send an email to 
Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov on these subject matters. In addition, a 
prospective applicant may confer informally with NRC staff BEFORE 
filing an application for a standard design certification, and the 
limitations on consultation in Sec.  2.802(b)(2) do not apply.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of April 2013.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2013-10117 Filed 5-2-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P