[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 106 (Monday, June 3, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 33008-33010]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-13079]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 106 / Monday, June 3, 2013 / Proposed 
Rules

[[Page 33008]]



NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 20

[NRC-2011-0162]


Consideration of Rulemaking To Address Prompt Remediation of 
Residual Radioactivity During Operations

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of public Webinar and request for comment.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking 
additional input from the public, licensees, Agreement States, non-
Agreement States, and other stakeholders on a potential rulemaking to 
address prompt remediation of residual radioactivity during the 
operational phase of licensed material sites and nuclear reactors. The 
NRC has not initiated a rulemaking, but is gathering information and 
seeking stakeholder input on this subject for developing a technical 
basis document. To aid in this process, the NRC is requesting comments 
on the issues discussed in Section III, ``Specific Questions,'' in the 
Supplementary Information section of this document, as well as comments 
on the draft Regulatory Basis (ML13109A281). Additionally, the NRC will 
hold a public Webinar to facilitate the public's and other 
stakeholders' understanding of these issues and the submission of 
comments.

DATES: The public Webinar will be held in Rockville, Maryland on June 
4, 2013, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EDT). Submit comments on the 
issues discussed in this document by August 2, 2013. Comments received 
after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one 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 documents filed under Docket ID NRC-
2011-0162. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher, 
telephone: 301-492-3668, email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical 
questions, contact the individual(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.
    For additional direction on accessing information and submitting 
comments, see ``Accessing Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James Shepherd, Office of Federal 
and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-
6712; email: james.shepherd@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    The NRC published the Decommissioning Planning Rule (DPR) in 2011 
(76 FR 33512; June 17, 2011) with an effective date of December 17, 
2012. The DPR applies to the operational phase of a licensed facility, 
and requires licensees to operate in a way to minimize spills, leaks, 
and other unplanned releases of radioactive contaminants into the 
environment. It also requires licensees to check periodically for 
radiological contamination throughout the site, including subsurface 
soil and groundwater. The DPR does not have a mandatory requirement for 
licensees to conduct radiological remediation during operations. In the 
Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM), SRM-SECY-07-0177--Proposed Rule: 
Decommissioning Planning (10 CFR Parts 20, 30, 40, 50, 70, and 72; RIN: 
3150-AH45) (ADAMS Accession No. ML073440549) that approved the proposed 
DPR, the Commission directed the staff to ``make further improvements 
to the decommissioning planning process by addressing remediation of 
residual radioactivity during the operational phase with the objective 
of avoiding complex decommissioning challenges that can lead to legacy 
sites.'' To assist in this process, the NRC staff held a public Webinar 
on July 25, 2011, during which time input on a draft regulatory basis 
and a set of defined questions concerning a potential rulemaking was 
obtained from members of the public, licensees, Agreement States, non-
Agreement States, and other interested persons. Additionally, 
interested persons were also afforded an opportunity to provide written 
comments on the same issues. (See 76 FR 42074; July 18, 2011.) Based 
upon this input, the NRC staff revised its draft regulatory basis.
    Subsequently, in SRM-SECY-12-0046--Options for Revising the 
Regulatory Approach to Groundwater Protection (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML121450704), the Commission directed the staff to continue with its 
development of a regulatory basis for a rulemaking on remediation of 
residual radioactivity during the operational phase and to obtain 
public input on the draft regulatory basis. Therefore, the NRC staff is 
collecting supplementary input on a revised draft regulatory basis for 
a potential rulemaking requiring prompt remediation during operations.

II. Discussion

    Currently, there are no NRC regulations that require licensees to 
promptly remediate radiological contamination. To enhance stakeholder 
engagement in finalizing a regulatory basis as a precursor to a 
proposed rule, the NRC staff developed a revised Draft Regulatory Basis 
(ML13109A281) to facilitate discussion with, and to solicit input from, 
interested stakeholders. The revised Draft Regulatory Basis describes 
the NRC's preferred approach to require licensees to promptly remediate 
radioactive spills, leaks and other areas of radioactive concentrations 
when certain threshold limits are met. NRC's preferred approach 
contemplates using the NRC effluent discharge concentrations as the 
threshold for action. The preferred approach would also include a 
provision allowing licensees to delay remediation when certain 
conditions are met. To justify delaying remediation, licensees would be 
required to perform analyses such as dose assessment, risk-assessments 
and/or cost-benefit analyses for the NRC's

[[Page 33009]]

review. In addition to the preferred approach, the NRC staff considered 
the following as alternative frameworks for requiring prompt 
remediation during operations:
    1. Issuing a regulation that would require licensees to conduct 
prompt remediation of a spill, leak, or other release when certain 
contaminant thresholds, such as the restricted release limits in 
Section 20.1403 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 
CFR), are exceeded. Unlike the preferred approach, this alternative 
would not provide the licensee with the opportunity to conduct an 
analysis to justify delayed remediation.
    2. Issuing site-specific license conditions requiring timely 
remediation following identification of contamination above some 
specified volume or concentration.
    3. Issuing new guidance in the form of a NUREG publication.
    4. No action (i.e., the NRC staff would rely on existing 
regulations and guidance documents to encourage licensees to consider 
prompt remediation after spills or leaks).
    For more information on the preferred approach and alternatives, 
please refer to the revised Draft Regulatory Basis (ML13109A281).

III. Specific Questions

    The NRC asked the following questions before, and received some 
public input. Several commenters stated that an additional rule is not 
necessary; and that issues can be addressed either by existing rule or 
by site-specific action. Others stated the proposed thresholds are not 
appropriate and that interim remediation is not cost effective. Those 
who supported the rule pointed to cases where there is significant 
contamination, and drew parallels to other regulations that require 
early cleanup, such as RCRA. As a result, the staff revised the 
previous draft document. The NRC is now seeking further stakeholder 
input on those questions and the staff's revisions to the document 
based on earlier comments:
    1. Should the NRC proceed with rulemaking to address remediation of 
residual radioactivity during the operational phase? Why or why not?
    2. If the NRC does implement a rule that requires prompt 
remediation of radioactive spills and leaks, what concentration, dose 
limits, or other threshold limits should trigger prompt remediation? 
Should the thresholds differ for soil versus groundwater contamination?
    3. Should the NRC allow licensees to justify delaying remediation 
under certain conditions when the contaminant level exceeds the 
threshold limit? If yes, then what conditions should be used to justify 
a delayed remediation?
    4. Should factors such as safety, operational impact, and cost be a 
basis for delaying remediation?
    5. If the NRC implements a rule that allows licensees to analyze 
residual radioactivity to justify delaying remediation, then what 
should the licensee's analysis cover? For example, what kind of dose 
assessment, risk-assessments and/or cost-benefit analyses should be 
performed to justify delayed remediation? What other types of analyses 
are relevant?
    6. If the NRC implements a rule that allows licensees to analyze 
residual radioactivity to justify delaying remediation, what role 
should the cost of prompt remediation versus remediation at the time of 
decommissioning play in the analysis?
    7. If the NRC implements a rule that allows licensees to analyze 
residual radioactivity to justify delaying remediation, what standards 
or criteria should a licensee use to demonstrate to the NRC that a 
sufficient justification to delay remediation has been met?
    8. Are there any other alternatives beyond those discussed in the 
Draft Regulatory Basis document that the NRC should have considered to 
address prompt remediation?
    9. What other issues should the NRC staff consider in developing a 
technical basis for a rulemaking to address prompt remediation of 
residual radioactivity during site operations?

IV. Public Webinar

    To facilitate the understanding of the public and other 
stakeholders of these issues and the submission of comments, the NRC 
staff has scheduled a public Webinar for June 4, 2013, from 12:00 p.m. 
to 3:00 p.m. (EDT). Webinar participants will be able to view the 
presentation slides prepared by the NRC and electronically submit 
comments over the Internet. Participants must register to participate 
in the Webinar. Registration information may be found in the meeting 
notice (ML13143A149). The meeting notice can also be accessed through 
the NRC's public Web site under the headings Public Meetings & 
Involvement > Public Meeting Schedule; see Web page http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index.cfm. Additionally, the final 
agenda for the public Webinar and the revised Draft Regulatory Basis 
document will be posted no fewer than 10 days prior to the Webinar at 
this Web site. Those who are unable to participate via Webinar may also 
participate via teleconference. For details on how to participate via 
teleconference, please contact Sarah Achten; telephone: 301-415-6009; 
email: sarah.achten@nrc.gov.

V. Accessing Information and Submitting Comments

A. Accessing Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2011-0162 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information regarding this document. You may 
access information related to this document, 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-2011-0162.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in the NRC 
Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the 
search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin Web-
based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-
4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number 
for each document referenced in this document (if that document is 
available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is 
referenced.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2011-0162 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 you 
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.

[[Page 33010]]

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.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 28th day of May 2013.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Andrew Persinko, Deputy Director,
Decommissioning and Uranium Recovery Licensing Directorate, Division of 
Waste Management and Environmental Protection, Office of Federal and 
State Materials and Environmental Management Programs.
[FR Doc. 2013-13079 Filed 5-31-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P