[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 68 (Wednesday, April 9, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 19501-19521]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-07981]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 50

[Docket Nos. PRM-50-104; NRC-2012-0046]


Emergency Planning Zones

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; denial.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is denying a 
petition for rulemaking (PRM), dated February 15, 2012, which was filed 
with the NRC by Michael Mariotte on behalf of the Nuclear Information 
and Resource Service (NIRS or the petitioner) and 37 co-petitioners. 
The petitioner requested that the NRC amend its regulations that govern 
domestic licensing of production and utilization facilities to expand 
existing emergency planning zones (EPZ) around nuclear power plants, 
create a new EPZ, and require the incorporation of concurrent natural 
disasters in the required periodic emergency plan drills. The NRC is 
denying the petition because the NRC concludes that the current size of 
the emergency planning zones is appropriate for existing reactors and 
that emergency plans will provide an adequate level of protection of 
the public health and safety in the event of an accident at a nuclear 
power plant.

[[Page 19502]]

The current EPZs provide for a comprehensive emergency planning 
framework that would allow expansion of the response efforts beyond the 
designated distances should events warrant such an expansion.

DATES: The docket for the petition for rulemaking, PRM-50-104, is 
closed on April 9, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2012-0046 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information for this petition. You may 
access publicly-available information related to this petition by any 
of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search on Docket ID NRC-2012-0046. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-287-
3422; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     The 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.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 pdf.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. In addition, for the convenience of the reader, the ADAMS 
accession numbers are provided in a table in Section IV of this 
document, Availability of Documents.
     The NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of 
public documents at the NRC's PDR, O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel Doyle, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-3748; email: Daniel.Doyle@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. The Petition
II. Public Comments on the Petition
III. Determination of the Petition
IV. Availability of Documents

I. The Petition

    On February 15, 2012, the NIRS filed a petition for rulemaking. The 
petition was docketed by the NRC and assigned Docket No. PRM-50-104 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML12048B004). On April 30, 2012, the NRC published 
in the Federal Register a notice of receipt and request for public 
comment for PRM-50-104 (77 FR 25375). The public comment period closed 
on July 16, 2012. For more information regarding the public comments 
received, see Section II, Public Comments on the Petition, of this 
document.
    The petitioner requested that the NRC amend Sec.  50.47, 
``Emergency Plans,'' of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 
CFR) and appendix E, ``Emergency Planning and Preparedness for 
Production and Utilization Facilities,'' to 10 CFR part 50, ``Domestic 
Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities,'' and include the 
modifications in 10 CFR part 52, ``Licenses, Certifications, and 
Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants.'' Specifically, the petitioner 
requested that the NRC: (1) expand the plume exposure pathway EPZ 
radius from a 10-mile radius to a 25-mile radius; (2) establish a new 
50-mile radius emergency response zone, with more limited requirements 
than the plume exposure pathway EPZ; (3) expand the ingestion pathway 
EPZ radius from a 50-mile radius to a 100-mile radius; and (4) require 
nuclear power plant licensees' emergency plans be ``tested to encompass 
initiating and/or concurrent natural disasters that may affect both 
accident progression and evacuation conduct.'' The petitioner asserted 
that ``the requested amendments are essential for the protection of 
public health and safety in light of the real-world experience of the 
Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters, which were more severe and affected 
a much larger geographical area than provided for in NRC regulations.''
    The petitioner stated that ``[t]he NRC should amend 10 C.F.R. 
50.47(c)(2) to create a three-tiered emergency planning zone. . . .'' 
The petitioner's three-tiered EPZ included a 25-mile plume exposure 
pathway EPZ, 50-mile emergency response zone, and 100-mile ingestion 
exposure pathway zone. The following paragraphs provide the 
petitioner's proposed revisions to 10 CFR 50.47(c)(2).

25-Mile Plume Exposure Pathway EPZ

    The petitioner proposed the following revision to 10 CFR 
50.47(c)(2) with regard to the plume exposure pathway EPZ:

    A Plume Exposure Pathway zone shall consist of an area about 25 
miles (40 km) in radius. Within this zone, detailed plans must be 
developed to provide prompt and effective evacuation and other 
appropriate protective measures, including conducting of biannual 
full-scale emergency evacuation drills. Sirens will be installed 
within this zone to alert the population of the need for evacuation. 
Transportation for elderly, prison and school populations shall be 
provided within this zone. Emergency shelters shall be located 
outside of the 25-mile zone.

    The petitioner asserted that the expansion of the plume exposure 
pathway EPZ from a 10-mile radius to a 25-mile radius ``would provide 
no new requirements other than expansion of the EPZ.''

50-Mile Emergency Response Zone

    The petitioner proposed the following revision to 10 CFR 
50.47(c)(2) to establish an ``emergency response zone'':

    The [emergency response zone] shall be about 50 miles in radius. 
Within this 50 mile zone, the licensee must identify evacuation 
routes for all residents within this zone and annually provide 
information to all residents within this zone about these routes and 
which they are supposed to take in the event of an emergency. The 
licensee must make basic pre-arrangements for potential transport of 
disabled/hospital/prison populations. Emergency centers for the 
public currently located less than 25 miles out shall be relocated 
to 25 miles or further out. Information shall be made available to 
the public within this zone through television, internet and radio 
alerts, text message notices, and other appropriate means of public 
communication.

    The petitioner noted that this revision ``would require measures be 
carried out between the new 25 mile Plume Exposure Pathway EPZ and a 
new Emergency Response Zone of about a 50 mile radius.'' The petitioner 
stated that the plume exposure pathway EPZ emergency evacuation 
requirements and biannual exercises are not required in the emergency 
response zone. The petitioner further stated ``this new zone would 
provide a modest level of pre-planning that would enable rapid 
expansion of the 25 mile zone when necessary. Information regarding 
evacuation such as identification of evacuation routes and locations of 
emergency shelters in the event of a large-scale disaster would be 
identified and would be provided to members of the public annually, and 
a limited number of other pre-arrangements would be made.''

[[Page 19503]]

100-Mile Ingestion Exposure Pathway Zone

    The petitioner proposed the following revision to 10 CFR 
50.47(c)(2) with regard to the ingestion pathway EPZ:

    The ingestion pathway EPZ shall be about 100 miles in radius. In 
the event of a radioactive release, the deposition of radionuclides 
on crops, other vegetation, bodies of surface water and ground 
surfaces can occur. Measures will be implemented to protect the 
public from eating and drinking food and water that may be 
contaminated. Information shall be made available to the public 
within this zone through television and radio alerts, text message 
notices, and other appropriate means of public communication.

    The petitioner stated that ``[t]he current Ingestion Exposure 
Pathway Zone exists to protect food, water and anything intended for 
human consumption within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant.'' The 
petitioner further stated, ``[g]iven that radiation can, and does, have 
far-reaching effects on food on a large radius, the Ingestion Pathway 
EPZ should be expanded.''

Drills and Exercises

    The petitioner proposed amending 10 CFR 50.47(b)(14) with regard to 
drills and exercises by adding:

    Within the emergency evacuation zone full scale drills and 
exercises will be conducted on a biannual basis. Every other 
exercise and drill shall include a scenario involving an initiating 
or concurrent regionally-appropriate natural disaster.

II. Public Comments on the Petition

    The NRC received a total of 5,993 comment submissions, 5,953 in 
support of the petition and 40 opposing it. There were 5,942 
submissions from individuals of whom 5,940 supported the petition and 2 
opposed it. Of the 5,942 submissions from individuals, 5,702 were form 
letters. Of the 5,702 form letters, 2,421 expressed support for the 
petition and 3,281 requested co-petitioner status. One of the form 
letters requesting co-petitioner status had 1,839 signatures. Ten 
submissions were from environmental, nuclear, or energy oriented 
citizen activist groups. All 10 supported the petition. Two submissions 
were received from organizations associated with the nuclear power 
industry. Both submissions opposed the petition. Thirty-six submissions 
were received from State or local government emergency management 
agencies or radiation control organizations. All 36 submissions opposed 
the petition. Three submissions were received from local governments. 
All 3 supported the petition.
    The NRC has prepared a comment response document to demonstrate how 
all comments were considered and to respond to the issues identified in 
the comments. The NRC's comment response document is available in ADAMS 
under Accession No. ML14042A227.
    The NRC identified 14 separate issues raised by the petition and 
public comments. Issues 1 through 12 contain arguments for expanding 
the EPZs. Issues 13 and 14 concern requirements for exercises that 
include a regionally-relevant initiating or concurrent natural 
disaster. Each issue and accompanying rationale is fully discussed and 
evaluated in this document, followed by NRC's response.
    Many comments were considered to be out-of-scope because they did 
not address the merits of the petition for rulemaking. These comments 
are not discussed in this document but are addressed in the NRC's 
comment response document.

Issue 1. Expand EPZs because, in the event of a nuclear accident, the 
need for protective actions beyond 10 miles and 50 miles is highly 
likely.

    One rationale used to support the petitioner's argument that EPZs 
must be expanded is that protective actions beyond 10 miles and 50 
miles are highly likely in the event of a nuclear accident as 
demonstrated by the real-world experience from the accidents at the 
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station (Chernobyl) and the Fukushima Dai-ichi 
Nuclear Power Plant (Fukushima Dai-ichi). The petitioner stated that 
these accidents ``were more severe and affected a much larger 
geographical area than provided for in NRC regulations.''
    Some commenters agreed and called for the NRC to make the emergency 
planning (EP) regulations more realistic given that actual evacuations 
beyond 10 miles and food interdiction efforts beyond 50 miles took 
place after the accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima Dai-ichi.
    Two emergency management agencies stated that Chernobyl should not 
be used as an example to justify revising EP regulations because the 
design of the Chernobyl facility is not used in the United States.
    The Nuclear Energy Institute disagreed that Chernobyl should be 
used as an example to justify revising the EP regulations because ``the 
[p]etition presents no new insights into the Chernobyl accident that 
should cause the Commission to modify the conclusions reached in the 
[Citizens Task Force of Chapel Hill, et al., 32 NRC 281 (1990)] 
decision or NUREG-1251 [`Implications of the Accident at Chernobyl for 
Safety Regulation of Commercial Nuclear Power Plants in the United 
States,' dated April 30, 1989 (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML082030501 and 
ML082030502)].''

NRC Response to Issue 1

    The NRC disagrees with the petitioner's assertions on this issue. 
The current EPZs provide a comprehensive EP framework that would allow 
for expansion of the response efforts beyond the designated distances 
should the events warrant such an expansion.
    As specified in 10 CFR 50.47(c)(2), two EPZs are established around 
each nuclear power plant. The technical basis for the EPZs is provided 
in NUREG-0396, EPA-520/1-78-016, ``Planning Basis for the Development 
of State and Local Government Radiological Emergency Response Plans in 
Support of Light Water Nuclear Power Plants,'' dated December 1978 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML051390356). The first zone, the plume exposure 
pathway EPZ, establishes an area of approximately 10 miles in radius. 
Within the plume exposure pathway EPZ, detailed planning is required 
for the recommendation and implementation of protective actions such as 
sheltering in place or evacuation. The ingestion pathway EPZ has a 
radius of approximately 50 miles from the plant. Within this EPZ, 
detailed planning is required to address the potential need to 
interdict foodstuffs to prevent human exposure from ingestion of 
contaminated food and surface water.
    The NRC remains confident that the emergency preparedness programs 
in support of nuclear power plants provide an adequate level of 
protection of the public health and safety and that appropriate 
protective actions can and will be taken in the event of a radiological 
event at an existing nuclear power plant. The NRC routinely inspects 
nuclear power plant licensees' EP programs to ensure compliance with 
regulations and biennially inspects a demonstration exercise that 
integrates the response of offsite and onsite organizations, including 
the licensee and State and local authorities. The Federal Emergency 
Management Agency (FEMA) evaluates the offsite response in these 
exercises to ensure the State and local responders (i.e., offsite 
response organizations (ORO)) are capable of timely protective action 
decisionmaking and implementation. Public meetings are held at the 
conclusion of biennial exercises to discuss the adequacy of response 
with stakeholders. This oversight process includes additional 
inspection activities and reporting of

[[Page 19504]]

performance indicator data for onsite EP that provide the NRC with 
oversight of EP programs between biennial exercises.
    The NRC has studied the efficacy of evacuations implemented by OROs 
within the United States (NUREG/CR-6864, ``Identification and Analysis 
of Factors Affecting Emergency Evacuations,'' dated January 2005 (ADAMS 
Accession Nos. ML050250245 and ML050250219) and NUREG/CR-6981, 
``Assessment of Emergency Response Planning and Implementation for 
Large Scale Evacuations,'' dated October 31, 2008 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML082960499)). A key finding of the latter study was that existing 
emergency planning requirements for nuclear power plants substantially 
anticipate and address issues identified in the large-scale evacuations 
researched. The review of NRC and FEMA emergency preparedness 
regulatory, programmatic, and guidance documentation also demonstrated 
that existing criteria, plans, and procedures were already in place to 
address most of the issues that were experienced in the large-scale 
evacuations studied. The assessment of emergency response planning and 
implementation for large-scale evacuations affirmed that most of the 
lessons learned in the evacuations studied were anticipated by NRC and 
FEMA and were already addressed in existing planning and procedures 
within the NRC and FEMA framework. Therefore, information available to 
the NRC supports the conclusion that OROs are well able to protect the 
public they are responsible for with the existing regulatory framework.
    The required planning within the plume exposure pathway EPZ is 
found in 10 CFR 50.47 and appendix E to 10 CFR part 50. This planning 
is designed to provide effective response to a radiological emergency 
that has the potential to develop rapidly. The need for protective 
actions beyond the 10-mile EPZ would generally develop more slowly. 
Protective actions to provide adequate protection beyond the plume 
exposure pathway EPZ can be implemented using ORO normal and robust 
response processes (as demonstrated by the previously mentioned 
studies). Moreover, the NRC emergency classification scheme required by 
10 CFR 50.47(b)(4) is anticipatory, and thus is designed for offsite 
protective action to begin before a radiological release. This would 
cause protective actions to begin rapidly within the 10-mile EPZ and 
provide time for consideration of actions beyond this EPZ should the 
accident progression indicate the need. Although accidents that include 
rapid releases are very unlikely, as demonstrated by the accidents at 
Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 2 (Three Mile Island) and 
Fukushima Dai-ichi, protective action guidance has been provided to 
address such scenarios (Supplement 3 to NUREG-0654, ``Guidance for 
Protective Action Strategies,'' dated November 20, 2011 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML113010596)).
    The NRC disagrees with the petition's contention that the accident 
at Fukushima Dai-ichi is a basis for expansion of the EPZ. The 
development of protective action recommendations by the Japanese 
Government, including expansion of evacuations out to 20 km (12 miles) 
from the plant, supported effective and timely evacuation to minimize 
the impact of the radiological releases on public health and safety. 
Subsequent decisions by the Japanese Government to evacuate selected 
areas based on potential long-term exposures are also similar to the 
U.S. strategy to expand protective actions during an event when 
conditions warrant an expansion.
    The NRC is studying the accident to identify improvement areas 
applicable to the United States. Following the earthquake and tsunami 
at Fukushima Dai-ichi in March 2011, the NRC established a task force 
referred to as the Near-Term Task Force (NTTF). The NTTF conducted a 
systematic and methodical review of the NRC's regulations and processes 
to determine if the agency should make safety improvements in light of 
the events in Japan. The NTTF issued its report (the NTTF report) on 
July 12, 2011, ``Recommendations for Enhancing Reactor Safety in the 
21st Century, The Near-Term Task Force Review of Insights from the 
Fukushima Dai-ichi Accident'' (ADAMS Accession No. ML111861807). On 
July 19, 2011, the NTTF presented its findings to the five 
Commissioners (the Commission) of the NRC and proposed improvements in 
multiple areas, including emergency preparedness. The NTTF considered 
the existing planning structure, including the 10-mile plume exposure 
pathway and 50-mile ingestion pathway emergency planning zones, and 
found no basis to recommend a change to the size of the EPZs.
    However, as information emerged about the events surrounding the 
protective actions implemented following the accident at Fukushima Dai-
ichi, the NRC staff determined that the insights from the accident 
response should be evaluated to identify potential enhancements to NRC 
regulations and guidance. In SECY-11-0137, ``Prioritization of 
Recommended Actions to Be Taken in Response to Fukushima Lessons 
Learned,'' dated October 3, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML11272A111), the 
NRC staff recommended that evaluating the basis of the EPZ size 
warranted further consideration. In response to the Commission's Staff 
Requirements Memorandum (SRM) for SECY-11-0137, the NRC staff produced 
SECY-12-0095, ``Tier 3 Program Plans and 6-Month Update in Response to 
Lessons Learned from Japan's March 11, 2011, Great Tohoku Earthquake 
and Subsequent Tsunami,'' dated July 13, 2012 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML12208A210), in which the NRC staff determined that the existing basis 
for the EPZ size remains valid (including for multi-unit events).
    The Commission concludes that the current size of EPZs helps to 
provide reasonable assurance that adequate protective measures can and 
will be taken in the event of a radiological emergency at an existing 
nuclear power plant. In addition, as part of previously-approved 
research efforts, the NRC plans a long-term action involving EPZs. The 
NRC staff will use insights from the current full-scope site Level 3 
Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) project as well as information 
obtained from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of 
Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) assessment to inform the evaluation of the 
potential impacts that a multi-unit event may have on an EPZ. The 
UNSCEAR is preparing a scientific report to assess the radiation doses 
and associated effects on health and the environment. Also, the 
Fukushima Prefecture launched the Fukushima Health Management Survey to 
investigate long-term low-dose radiation exposure caused by the 
accident. The survey attempts to estimate radiation exposure from the 
accident and more detailed dose assessments by recreating the 
whereabouts of every Fukushima prefecture resident for the four month 
period beginning with the March 11th nuclear accident. The stated 
primary purposes of this survey are to monitor the long-term health of 
residents, promote their future well-being, and confirm whether long-
term low-dose radiation exposure has health effects. If these research 
activities indicate that changes need to be made to the existing EP 
regulations, the NRC will commence a rulemaking effort to make those 
changes.

Issue 2. Expand EPZs because the basis for the 10-mile EPZ is flawed.

    Another reason given in the petition in support of expanding the 
EPZs is that

[[Page 19505]]

the basis for the 10-mile EPZ is flawed. The petitioner stated that 
``[t]he NRC's existing emergency planning regulations . . . are based 
primarily on experience gained by the Three Mile Island accident and on 
NRC reactor safety studies conducted from the 1950s through the 1970s 
(for example, WASH-1400 and NUREG-1150) and are encapsulated in NUREG-
0396.'' The petitioner stated that these studies are now outdated.
    The petitioner stated that ``[s]tudies currently and previously 
relied upon to justify the existing 10-mile [EPZ] . . . are based on 
assumptions of reactor and fuel pool accident risk and accident 
progression and consequences that are significantly underestimated 
based on real-world experience and more recent understanding of the 
risks of radiation. . . .''
    The petitioner stated that computer models, simulations, and 
evaluations of projected scenarios are not a substitute for actual, 
``real-world experience.''
    The Nuclear Energy Institute and the Conference of Radiation 
Control Program Directors disagreed with the petitioner that the basis 
for the 10-mile EPZ is flawed and asserted that, on the contrary, the 
current EPZs provide a substantial margin of conservatism. They argued 
that this view is supported by the events at Fukushima Dai-ichi, the 
State-of-the-Art Reactor Consequence Analyses (SOARCA) study, and an 
American Society of Mechanical Engineers Task Force report. The Nuclear 
Energy Institute stated that EPZs are pragmatic tools intended to 
provide dose savings and reduce early severe health effects, and they 
are still appropriate. The Nuclear Energy Institute noted that in 
NUREG-0396, the sizes of EPZs were based on a consideration of a full 
spectrum of postulated accidents and accident consequences including 
very severe accidents, such as the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident. The 
Nuclear Energy Institute argued that the petitioner mischaracterized 
the EPZ assumptions, the SOARCA study, the damage to the spent fuel 
pools at Fukushima Dai-ichi, and U.S. nuclear power plant performance. 
The Nuclear Energy Institute disagreed with the premises in the 
petition that the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident demonstrated that severe 
accidents are more likely than any government previously estimated and 
that their effects are more widespread than previously understood.
    One State Department of Environment recommended denying the 
petition because ``the Petition provides no new information that 
suggests the need to change the current planning basis, or warrants a 
change to the size of the existing Emergency Planning Zones.''

NRC Response to Issue 2

    The NRC disagrees, in large part, with the petitioner's assertions 
on this issue. The NRC agrees that the technical basis for the EPZ 
dates from studies conducted in the 1970s, but the petition brought 
forward no technical issues to substantiate flaws in the technical 
basis. The NRC would tend to agree that there is real-world experience 
that contributes information relevant to EPZ efficacy, as will be 
discussed. Studies have been conducted that contribute to NRC 
confidence in the current EPZ basis to ensure adequate protection of 
public health and safety. The original basis and studies that support 
the current EPZ basis are described in this section.
    The technical basis for the plume exposure pathway EPZ and 
ingestion exposure pathway EPZ are provided in NUREG-0396. This NUREG-
0396 analyzes a spectrum of potential nuclear plant accidents and 
determines the size of EPZs in which detailed planning would be 
appropriate for the protection of public health and safety. The task 
force that developed NUREG-0396 considered several possible rationales 
for establishing the size of the EPZs, including risk, cost 
effectiveness, and the accident consequence spectrum. After reviewing 
these alternatives, the task force concluded that the objective of 
emergency response plans should be to provide dose savings for a 
spectrum of accidents that could produce offsite doses in excess of the 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Protective Action Guides 
(PAG), EPA-400-R-92-001, ``Manual of Protective Action Guides and 
Protective Actions for Nuclear Incidents,'' dated May 1992 (http://www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/er/400-r-92-001.pdf). This rationale 
established bounds for the area in which detailed planning would be 
required as a defense-in-depth measure. In a 1979 policy statement (44 
FR 61123; October 23, 1979), the Commission endorsed NUREG-0396, 
including an assumption that the planning conducted for 10 miles would 
provide a substantial basis for expansion of protective actions beyond 
the EPZ should it ever be necessary. All U.S. nuclear power plants 
currently have approved emergency plans that include EPZs in compliance 
with the regulations found in 10 CFR 50.47(c)(2).
    The accidents considered in developing guidance and subsequent 
requirements for the EPZ included rapidly progressing severe accidents 
that were more threatening to public health than the Fukushima Dai-ichi 
accident. The WASH-1400 (NUREG-75/014), ``Reactor Safety Study: An 
Assessment of Accident Risks in U.S. Commercial Nuclear Power Plants,'' 
dated October 1975 (ADAMS Accession No. ML072350618), estimated that a 
severe accident could progress to a large radiological release in as 
little as 2 hours (in the boiling water reactor (BWR) case). Such 
accidents were considered unlikely, but emergency preparedness is a 
defense-in-depth measure required due to the potential of severe but 
unlikely accidents. The accident at Fukushima Dai-ichi developed much 
more slowly than the rapidly developing accidents that form the basis 
for the current size of the EPZ. In Japan, adequate time was available 
to evacuate the public at risk and to expand beyond the planning zone 
as necessary before large radiological releases occurred. The study 
used to develop the EPZ is more conservative than the Fukushima Dai-
ichi accident with regard to the time available to evacuate within the 
EPZ and beyond.
    The NRC has conducted more recent studies that are useful for 
evaluating the adequacy of the plume exposure pathway EPZ. In NUREG/CR-
6864, the NRC examined large evacuations in the United States between 
1990 and 2003 to gain a fuller understanding of the dynamics involved 
in those types of events. This project found that large-scale 
evacuations of greater than 1,000 people from 1997 to 2003 occurred 
approximately every two weeks in the United States. The study concluded 
that these evacuations proceeded efficiently and effectively in terms 
of evacuee health and safety, security, and issues related to 
coordination, decisionmaking, and emergency response. The study showed 
that State and local authorities have a robust capability to 
effectively evacuate the public in response to life-threatening 
emergencies. Many of the evacuations studied were implemented in an ad 
hoc manner by competent local officials without the need for Federal 
assistance or pre-conceived lines on a map.
    In NUREG-1935, ``State-of-the-Art Reactor Consequence Analyses 
(SOARCA) Report,'' dated November 30, 2012 (ADAMS Accession Nos. 
ML12332A057 and ML12332A058), hypothetical evacuations within EPZs and 
beyond were evaluated in response to a series of selected accident 
scenarios for two U.S. nuclear power plants: the Peach Bottom Atomic 
Power Station in Pennsylvania (Peach Bottom) and the Surry Power 
Station in Virginia (Surry). Peach Bottom is generally representative 
of U.S. operating reactors using the General Electric BWR design with a

[[Page 19506]]

Mark I containment. Surry is generally representative of U.S. operating 
reactors using the Westinghouse pressurized water reactor (PWR) design 
with a large, dry (subatmospheric) containment.
    The SOARCA project evaluated plant improvements and changes not 
reflected in earlier NRC publications. The project included system 
improvements, improvements in training and emergency procedures, 
offsite emergency response, and security-related improvements, as well 
as plant changes such as power uprates and higher core burnup. The 
project used state-of-the-art computer modeling with the MELCOR code 
for accident progression analyses and the MELCOR Accident Consequence 
Code System, Version 2 (MACCS2), for offsite consequence analyses.
    There were several BWR accident scenarios analyzed in SOARCA, but 
most of the analyses did not involve a 20-mile evacuation. One analysis 
was performed modeling immediate 16- and 20-mile evacuations. It showed 
no significant difference in risk to individuals when compared to 
analysis using the 10-mile EPZ. The weather patterns for the SOARCA 
analyses were neither advantageous nor disadvantageous in terms of risk 
to individuals. This was done to support the best estimate of the risk 
to the public. If worst-case weather or worst-case accidents had been 
chosen, it would have reduced the probability of the event; SOARCA 
attempted to identify the more important accident scenarios based on a 
frequency-of-occurrence perspective. This boundary condition allowed 
the study to analyze in detail the phenomena of these accidents. (A 
full scope probabilistic risk analysis is underway at the NRC to 
address a full range of accidents, including those less likely than the 
accidents analyzed in SOARCA.) The SOARCA analyses showed no early 
fatalities due to the slower-developing accidents and lower source 
terms than in previous analyses and illustrated the effectiveness of 
emergency preparedness when plans are implemented as written, approved, 
practiced and inspected. In fact, SOARCA analyzed accidents very 
similar to those at Fukushima Dai-ichi and estimated a much quicker 
core melt and containment failure than what happened at the real-world 
accident. Further, the latent cancer fatalities estimated in SOARCA are 
based upon a worst-case assumption that all exposure, no matter how 
small, results in health effects. The majority of the latent cancer 
fatalities are due to the public being allowed to return to homes that 
are contaminated at levels below the EPA guidance. In effect, this 
exposure and the postulated health consequences have nothing to do with 
the evacuation of the public, the size of the EPZ, or the Fukushima 
Dai-ichi accident.
    The NRC will monitor the results of the UNSCEAR efforts and their 
potential implications regarding the U.S. regulatory approach to 
emergency planning around nuclear power plants, including the EPZ size. 
In addition, the NRC is conducting a full-scope site Level 3 PRA to 
gain a better understanding of potential radiological effects of 
postulated accident sequences including multi-unit sites. The NRC will 
use information obtained from the UNSCEAR assessment and insights from 
the full-scope site Level 3 PRA project to inform the evaluation of the 
potential impacts that a multi-unit event may have on the EPZ.

Issue 3. Expand EPZs because the NRC urged U.S. citizens within 50 
miles of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant to evacuate.

    The petitioner noted that former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko urged 
Americans within 50 miles of Fukushima Dai-ichi to evacuate and that 
this recommendation was followed by a similar statement from the U.S. 
Department of State.
    Several commenters stated that the call for evacuation out to 50 
miles showed that the current 10-mile EPZ is outdated, inadequate, and 
not realistic.
    One commenter called for the NRC to take into account the realities 
learned in Japan. The commenter pointed out that there are several 
major U.S. cities within 50 miles of reactors with containment designs 
that are similar to those at Fukushima Dai-ichi. Those cities include 
Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. The commenter asked if it 
would be possible to evacuate those cities.
    One State emergency management agency disagreed with the petitioner 
and stated that the NRC order to evacuate U.S. citizens within 50 miles 
of Fukushima Dai-ichi has yet to be justified scientifically.

NRC Response to Issue 3

    The NRC does not agree that the EPZ for U.S. nuclear power plants 
should be expanded based on the travel advisory issued to U.S. citizens 
in Japan as a result of the events at Fukushima Dai-ichi. Following the 
events at Fukushima Dai-ichi, the U.S. Department of State, in 
coordination with the then-Chairman of the NRC, the U.S. Department of 
Energy, and other technical experts in the U.S. Government, issued a 
travel warning, or advisory, to U.S. citizens within 50 miles of 
Fukushima Dai-ichi to evacuate the area or take shelter indoors if safe 
evacuation was not possible. The 50-mile travel advisory was based on 
the limited information available at that time and the rapidly evolving 
situation (U.S. Department of State Travel Warning, March 17, 2011, 
http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-travel20110317.html). The U.S. 
Department of State routinely issues such recommendations (known as 
Travel Warnings) for many different types of events, including civil 
unrest, terrorism, natural disasters, and technological accidents.
    The decisionmaking environment that existed at the time was one in 
which the U.S. Government had limited and often conflicting information 
about the exact conditions of the reactors and spent fuel pools at 
Fukushima Dai-ichi. In its evaluation of the rapidly changing and 
unprecedented event, the NRC performed a series of dose calculations. 
These calculations were worst case, hypothetical computer model 
analyses of consequences of releases from the Fukushima site. The 
assumptions used in these calculations were discussed in detail in a 
letter from former NRC Chairman Jaczko to Senator James Webb on June 
17, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML11143A033). As a result of these 
calculations, the lack of information available at that time, the 
progression of events, and the uncertainty regarding the plans to bring 
the situation under control, on March 16, 2011, the U.S. Department of 
State issued a travel advisory for American citizens within a 50-mile 
range of Fukushima Dai-ichi. This was not an evacuation order in the 
sense of expected protective action decisionmaking within a U.S. 
nuclear power plant EPZ, but rather a warning to U.S. citizens that the 
local conditions were uncertain, the government authorities may not be 
able to assure their safety, and that they should leave.
    Regulatory requirements of 10 CFR part 50, NRC inspection 
practices, and data channels available to the NRC would provide a 
robust information stream regarding plant status and radiological 
releases during a reactor accident in the United States. The NRC 
maintains two resident inspectors at each plant who have unfettered 
access to the site. The NRC inspectors have direct access to the plant 
site, including the control room and any and all vital plant areas. 
Inspectors from other sites and regional offices can be deployed if 
needed. The NRC requires that direct communication links between the 
NRC Incident Response Center and each plant be installed, tested, and 
routinely exercised. These links provide the NRC

[[Page 19507]]

with up-to-date and reliable information about plant conditions, 
radioactivity release rates, and meteorological conditions at the 
plant. The availability of this information, in addition to the 
information gathered by inspectors, would enable NRC staff to perform 
an informed, realistic assessment instead of relying on unknowns and 
worst-case scenarios. In addition, the NRC can order the plant to take 
actions to mitigate the event if the NRC concludes that the appropriate 
actions are not being taken by the plant operators.
    The NRC concludes that the EPZs surrounding nuclear power plants in 
the United States should not be expanded based on the travel advisory 
issued by the U.S. Government. That advisory was based on limited 
information obtained by the U.S. Government about an event in a foreign 
nation. As previously explained, the NRC would have access to relevant 
information during an event at one of its licensees' plants. As a 
result, the NRC's response to an accident in the United States would 
not resemble the U.S. Government's response to the events at Fukushima 
Dai-ichi, so the fact that the U.S. Government issued a 50-mile travel 
advisory should not be the basis for expanding the size of EPZs.

Issue 4. There has been little change to emergency planning regulations 
in 30 years.

    The petitioner claimed that the emergency planning regulations 
established by the NRC in 1980 remain essentially the same today. The 
petitioner stated that ``[w]ith the exception of a 2011 rule requiring 
licensees to use current U.S. census data to prepare evacuation time 
estimates (ETEs) and update them every 10 years, the NRC has made few 
significant improvements to its offsite emergency response regulations 
since they were promulgated in 1980.''
    A State emergency management agency and the Nuclear Energy 
Institute disagreed and stated that there have been several significant 
changes to emergency planning regulations since 1980, including the 
consideration of emergency preparedness exercises during the licensing 
process, the frequency of participation by State and local authorities 
in emergency preparedness exercises, and other topics. The Nuclear 
Energy Institute also argued that the 2011 rule was broader than the 
petitioner implied.

NRC Response to Issue 4

    The NRC disagrees with the petitioner's comments. The statement 
that emergency planning has changed little in the past 30 years 
conflicts with the fact that the NRC has made numerous revisions to its 
EP regulatory program over the years; in fact, the NRC's EP regulations 
have been revised more than 10 times since 1980. The NRC has 
continually evaluated and revised, as necessary, the requirements 
associated with emergency planning, such as the following: The 
consideration of emergency preparedness exercises as part of the 
licensing process (50 FR 19323; May 8, 1985), the frequency of State 
and local agency participation in licensee emergency preparedness 
exercises (49 FR 27733; July 6, 1984), the criteria for the evaluation 
of utility-prepared emergency plans in situations in which State or 
local governments decline to participate further in emergency planning 
(52 FR 42078; November 3, 1987), the requirements for emergency 
preparedness training activities between biennial full-participation 
exercises (61 FR 30129; June 14, 1996), and the requirement to consider 
including potassium iodide as a protective measure for the general 
public as a supplement to sheltering and evacuation (66 FR 5427; 
January 19, 2001).
    The most recent change was the revision to the emergency 
preparedness regulations in a final rule, ``Enhancements to Emergency 
Preparedness Regulations,'' published in the Federal Register on 
November 23, 2011 (76 FR 72560). The areas that were addressed in this 
amendment included both security-related and non-security-related 
emergency preparedness issues. A total of 12 regulatory areas were 
revised: On-shift staffing; emergency action levels for hostile action; 
emergency response organization (ERO) augmentation and alternate 
facilities during hostile action; licensee coordination with offsite 
response organizations during hostile action; protection for onsite 
personnel; challenging drills and exercises; backup means for alert and 
notification systems; emergency declaration timeliness; Emergency 
Operations Facility-performance based approach; evacuation time 
estimate updating; amended emergency plan change process; and removal 
of completed one-time requirements. This process took several years to 
complete and involved numerous public meetings, workshops, and comment 
periods that involved external stakeholders throughout the process.
    The following are examples of changes to the emergency preparedness 
regulations that will directly enhance the coordination between onsite 
and offsite response organizations.
Licensee Coordination With Offsite Response Organizations
    Licensees are required to establish relations with offsite response 
organizations to coordinate emergency response efforts should they ever 
be needed. The scope of offsite response organization support includes 
the implementation of State and local response plans to protect public 
health and safety in the event of a severe reactor accident and to 
provide fire, medical, and Local Law Enforcement Agency (LLEA) support 
to the nuclear power plant site. All nuclear power plants have 
established such relations, and their response in integrated exercises 
is tested biennially. However, demands on offsite response organization 
resources have changed in the post-September 11, 2001, threat 
environment. In the unlikely event that a hostile action event takes 
place at a plant, LLEA resources will have multiple duties in addition 
to supporting implementation of the emergency plan. For example, police 
officers designated to staff evacuation traffic control points may 
instead be responding to hostile actions at the plant, or firefighters 
designated to perform route alerting may instead be responding to major 
fires at the plant resulting from hostile actions. This situation could 
detract from offsite response organization emergency plan 
implementation if plans have not been revised to address this 
contingency. For a nuclear power plant to be licensed and maintain its 
license, existing NRC regulations require the NRC to find that 
reasonable assurance exists that a plant's emergency plans can and will 
be implemented to protect public health and safety during a 
radiological emergency.
    The 2011 EP final rule requires licensees to ensure that adequate 
planning exists for the resources necessary to implement emergency 
plans during hostile action events. Licensees must verify that offsite 
response organizations have plan and procedure elements to address the 
need for emergency plan implementation support during all 
contingencies, including hostile action events. Routine evaluation of 
offsite response organization performance during biennial exercises 
also addresses offsite response organizations' abilities to implement 
plans during reactor accidents not involving hostile action.
Challenging Drills and Exercises
    A basic principle of emergency preparedness is that licensees 
conduct drills and exercises to develop and

[[Page 19508]]

maintain key skills in order to protect public health and safety in the 
unlikely event of a radiological emergency. Licensees demonstrate their 
ability to implement emergency plans and critique response actions 
during evaluated biennial exercises. The NRC inspects licensee response 
in biennial exercises, and FEMA evaluates offsite response 
organizations. These programs have been in effect for many years, and 
the agencies have determined that there is reasonable assurance that 
protective actions can and will be implemented should they be 
necessary. The 2011 EP final rule added the requirement to Sec.  
IV.F.2.i of appendix E to 10 CFR part 50 to require that drill and 
exercise scenarios encompass a wide spectrum of events and conditions 
to avoid anticipatory responses from preconditioning of participants. 
Such scenarios must include a wide spectrum of radiological releases 
and events, including hostile action. These drills and exercises must 
emphasize coordination among onsite and offsite response organizations, 
as appropriate.
Backup Means for Alert and Notification Systems
    An alert and notification system (ANS) provides the capability to 
promptly alert the populace within the plume exposure pathway EPZ of a 
nuclear power plant emergency event and to inform the public of 
protective actions that need to be taken. The predominant method used 
around U.S. nuclear power plants for alerting the public is an ANS 
based on sirens to provide an acoustic warning signal. Some sites 
employ other means, such as tone alert radios and route alerting, as 
either primary or supplemental alerting methods. The public typically 
receives information about an event and offsite protective actions via 
emergency alert system (EAS) broadcasts or other means, such as mobile 
loudspeakers.
    An ANS has two distinct functions. The alert function provides a 
warning signal to the population indicating the need to seek additional 
information regarding an event in progress. By itself, this function 
provides no information about the type of event or any protective 
actions that need to be taken. The notification function informs the 
public about the nature of the event and any protective actions. These 
functions may be performed by separate means, such as sirens for 
alerting and EAS broadcasts for notification, or by one method, such as 
tone alert radios and electronic hailers, that can provide both a 
warning signal and an instructional message.
    Nuclear power plant licensees are required by Sec.  IV.D.3 of 
appendix E to 10 CFR part 50 to demonstrate that the ANS capability 
exists. Alerting and notifying the public is a function assigned to the 
State and local governments and evaluated by FEMA. The 2011 EP final 
rule provides the requirement that the ANS include administrative and 
physical means for a backup method of public alerting and notification. 
The methods of alerting the public using either the primary or backup 
means is a process that involves coordination between the onsite and 
offsite response organizations, and the responsibility for activation 
of these systems must remain with the appropriate governmental 
authorities.
Evacuation Time Estimate Updating
    The implementation of protective actions, including the evacuation 
of the public from the affected area surrounding a nuclear power plant, 
can mitigate the consequences of a radiological emergency at the plant. 
During the licensing process, applicants for a nuclear power reactor 
operating license under 10 CFR part 50, or for an early site permit (as 
applicable) or combined license under 10 CFR part 52, are required to 
provide estimates of the time required to evacuate the public from the 
various sectors and distances of the plume exposure pathway EPZ. These 
ETEs are used in the planning process to identify potential challenges 
to efficient evacuation, such as traffic constraints, and, in the event 
of an accident, to assist the onsite and offsite emergency response 
managers in making appropriate decisions regarding the protection of 
the public.
    The 2011 EP final rule requires that at any time during the 
decennial period between national censuses, if the EPZ permanent 
resident population increases such that it causes the longest ETE value 
for the 2-mile zone or the 5-mile zone, including all affected 
Emergency Response Planning Areas,\1\ or the entire 10-mile EPZ to 
increase by 25 percent or 30 minutes, whichever is less, from the 
licensee's currently NRC approved or updated ETE, the licensee shall 
update the ETE analysis to reflect the impact of the population 
increases. These ETEs would be used by both the licensee and the State 
and local governments for development of protective action guidelines 
in the event of an accident at a nuclear power facility.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ An Emergency Response Planning Area is a local area within 
the EPZ for which emergency response information is provided; the 
EPZ is typically divided into Emergency Response Planning Areas 
along geographic or political boundaries.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In contrast to the statement in the petition that emergency 
planning regulations have changed little in the last 30 years, the NRC 
has made numerous revisions to its EP regulatory program during this 
time period. However, the NRC does not base the need to enhance 
regulations upon the age of the regulation. The NRC remains open to 
specific input from stakeholders that identifies inadequate EP 
regulations. When the NRC staff or stakeholders identify a deficiency 
in the regulations that could result in a lack of reasonable assurance 
of adequate protection of public health and safety, the NRC will 
consider the need to revise the regulations.

Issue 5. Expand EPZs because ad hoc expansion beyond 10 miles will not 
be adequate.

    The petitioner argued that ad hoc expansion of an evacuation beyond 
the 10-mile EPZ will not be adequate. The petitioner stated that 
``[w]aiting to see how bad an emergency gets before expanding 
evacuation beyond a planned radius is not a plan of action, it is a 
recipe for disaster and an abdication of responsibility.''
    The petitioner stated that there were delays in detecting 
radioactive contamination after the accidents at Chernobyl and 
Fukushima Dai-ichi and that this ``was a failure of emergency planning 
and radiation monitoring, not evidence that relocation may be taken at 
a leisurely pace.''
    The petitioner stated that natural disasters such as hurricanes, 
tornadoes, wildfires, and floods may cause or occur concurrently with 
accidents at nuclear power plants and that ``natural disasters can 
greatly complicate the ability to evacuate a given area. . . .''
    The petitioner stated that ``the wind blew the vast majority of the 
radiation released during the first week of the Fukushima Dai-ichi 
accident over the ocean and away from land.'' The petitioner stated, 
``[H]ad the wind been blowing in a different direction, could Japan 
have evacuated a large enough area fast enough? Would the U.S. be able 
to do so in a similar scenario? The answer to both questions is almost 
certainly no. And yet, this is real world data--the NRC cannot rely 
upon favorable wind patterns as an emergency response measure.''
    Some commenters agreed that an ad hoc expansion may not be 
adequate.
    Several State agencies and the Nuclear Energy Institute disagreed 
and stated that EPZs are large enough to facilitate protective actions 
over larger areas, if necessary. Several State and county emergency 
management agencies

[[Page 19509]]

stated that Federal policies after the September 11, 2001, attacks and 
Hurricane Katrina, such as the National Incident Management System 
(NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) all-hazards approach, have 
strengthened the ability to expand the response effort beyond the 
existing EPZs, if necessary.

NRC Response to Issue 5

    The NRC disagrees with the petitioner's assertions on this issue. 
As specified in 10 CFR 50.47(c)(2), two EPZs are established around 
each nuclear power plant. The technical basis for the EPZs is provided 
in NUREG-0396. The first zone, the plume exposure pathway EPZ, 
establishes an area of approximately 10 miles in radius. Within the 
plume exposure pathway EPZ, detailed planning is required for the 
recommendation and implementation of protective actions such as 
sheltering in place or evacuation. The ingestion pathway EPZ has a 
radius of approximately 50 miles from the plant. Within this EPZ, 
detailed planning is required to address the potential need to 
interdict foodstuffs to prevent human exposure from ingestion of 
contaminated food and surface water. The NRC remains confident that the 
emergency preparedness programs in support of nuclear power plants 
provide an adequate level of protection of the public health and safety 
and that appropriate protective actions can and will be taken in the 
event of a radiological event at an existing nuclear power plant.
    As stated previously, the NRC has studied evacuations within the 
United States (NUREG/CR-6864) and found that State and local 
governments are capable of protecting public health and safety through 
implementation of protective actions up to and including evacuations 
using both preplanned and ad hoc protective action decisionmaking.
    Several large-scale evacuations were studied in NUREG/CR-6981, many 
of which were conducted in an ad hoc manner. The assessment of 
emergency response planning and implementation for large-scale 
evacuations affirmed that most of the lessons learned in the 
evacuations studied were anticipated by NRC and FEMA and were already 
addressed in existing planning and procedures within the NRC and FEMA 
framework.
    Emergency preparedness within the EPZ is required to provide 
immediate response capability. This response would address those people 
most at risk (i.e., those closest to the nuclear power plant). 
Immediate protection of the EPZ population allows additional time for 
implementation of ad hoc actions beyond the EPZ. As stated in NUREG-
0396:

    [I]t was the consensus of the [NRC-EPA] Task Force that 
emergency plans could be based upon a generic distance out to which 
predetermined actions would provide dose savings for any such 
accidents. Beyond this generic distance it was concluded that 
actions could be taken on an ad hoc basis using the same 
considerations that went into the initial action determinations.

    Additionally, emergency actions could be successfully carried out 
beyond the 10-mile EPZ for the following reasons:
     The 10-mile emergency planning basis establishes an 
infrastructure similar to that used by other offsite response 
organizations, such as police and fire departments. The infrastructure 
consists of emergency organizations, communications capabilities, 
training, and equipment that can be used in the event of an accident at 
a facility.
     Coordination is enhanced by the practice of having offsite 
response organizations, which include local, State, and Federal 
responders, participate in training exercises with the licensee. The 
studies cited previously noted a valuable contributor to effective 
evacuation implementation was participation in training and drills.
     The emergency notification equipment required by the NRC 
(10 CFR 50.47(b)(5)) for prompt notification of the public within the 
EPZ reaches beyond the plume exposure EPZ and current communications 
technology enhances this process.
    In addition, State and local response agencies have improved their 
incident response plans and guidance following the events of September 
11, 2001. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued 
guidance for Federal, State, and local response to emergencies which 
includes the National Response Framework, NIMS, and ICS. These guidance 
documents present a framework for use during an emergency that is 
scalable, is flexible, and allows for an adaptable coordinating 
structure.
    The DHS policy and initiatives have provided another basis for 
implementing protective actions for nuclear power plant emergencies 
beyond the EPZ should they ever be necessary. State and local response 
organizations have recognized the possibility that actions may be 
warranted beyond the established EPZs and these issues have been 
included in drills and exercises. The development and implementation of 
NIMS and ICS under the National Response Framework enhances State and 
local response capabilities through uniform and logical management of 
response resources to facilitate prompt and effective protective 
measures for all populations that may be affected. The NIMS and ICS 
programs are a comprehensive approach to incident management that 
provides a common operating picture and interoperability for 
communications and management of events. These programs are scalable, 
so the response can be expanded or contracted as dictated by the event, 
such as an expansion of protective actions beyond the EPZ during an 
event if warranted. This allows for all levels of government response 
organizations to work together efficiently for responding to 
emergencies, including an event involving a nuclear power reactor.
    Every nuclear power plant licensee has an approved emergency plan 
that includes procedures for the necessary interactions with State and 
local authorities. These emergency plans are drilled and exercised on a 
regular basis and inspected during a biennial exercise (i.e., every 2 
years) and include the integrated response of licensees, State and 
local responders, and decisionmakers. The licensee is required by 10 
CFR 50.47(b)(5) to notify State and local authorities of the emergency 
status and by 10 CFR 50.47(b)(10) to make protective action 
recommendations. This requirement includes the need to evacuate areas 
beyond the EPZ should it be necessary. During biennial exercises, FEMA 
evaluates the ability of ORO decisionmakers to identify the need for 
protective actions.
    The NRC notes that the requirement for a classification scheme for 
identification of emergencies in 10 CFR 50.47(b)(4) is anticipatory, 
which means that emergencies are declared before a radiological release 
takes place. Licensees must rapidly activate emergency organizations in 
response to emergency conditions and recommend protective actions in a 
timely manner. The NRC's regulations at 10 CFR 50.47(b)(9) also require 
timely assessment of radiological conditions in response to an 
accident. Additionally, State and local emergency response programs 
have radiological assessment capabilities independent of licensees' 
assessment resources. During a nuclear power plant emergency, the NRC 
expects that radiological assessment information would be obtained by 
licensees and OROs and made available to the NRC and to State and local 
response organizations.
    The petition did not provide examples of evacuations within the 
U.S. that were unsuccessful and would cause

[[Page 19510]]

the NRC to lose confidence in the ability of State and local 
authorities to implement protective actions for the public when 
necessary. The NRC studies show that State and local authorities are 
quite capable of protecting their citizens.

Issue 6. Expand EPZs because current planning is inadequate for 
increased populations around many U.S. nuclear power plants.

    The petition included ``significantly larger populations near many 
existing reactor sites'' in a list of several factors that have changed 
since the existing emergency planning regulations were promulgated.
    The petitioner stated, ``Imagine the difficulties of using a 10 
mile planning zone as the basis for a rapid expansion of the zone to 25 
miles or more in a heavily urban area such as near Indian Point in New 
York, Limerick in Pennsylvania or many other existing reactor sites.''
    Several commenters stated that populations living near some U.S. 
nuclear power plants have increased significantly since the plants were 
originally licensed, and stated that this is one of the reasons why 
current evacuation plans are insufficient.

NRC Response to Issue 6

    The NRC disagrees that current EP planning requirements are 
inadequate. The petition and commenters did not provide any evidence 
that an increase in a population is a reason to expand the EPZ. The 
Commission has previously stated that ``[t]hrough its standards and 
required exercises, the Commission ensures that existing plans are 
adequate throughout the life of any plant even in the face of changing 
demographics and other site-related factors'' (Denial of Petitions for 
Rulemaking, PRM-54-02 and PRM-54-03 (71 FR 74852; December 13, 2006)).
    In the 2011 EP final rule, the NRC amended 10 CFR 50.47(b)(10) and 
Sec.  IV, ``Content of Emergency Plans,'' of appendix E to 10 CFR part 
50 to require the periodic review and updating of ETEs. The NRC also 
published guidance (NUREG/CR-7002, ``Criteria for Development of 
Evacuation Time Estimate Studies,'' dated November 2011 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML113010515)) to enhance the quality of ETEs. The 
population within EPZs varies broadly from a few thousand to over 
270,000 people. However, even sites with large populations can achieve 
general public evacuation within about 10 hours. The data available 
from the ETEs show that large populations can be effectively evacuated. 
A review of the evacuations studied in NUREG/CR-6864 shows that 
effective evacuations of large numbers of people were routinely 
accomplished, including:

 Hurricane Floyd, 373,000 people (1999)
 Hurricane Andrew, 650,000 people (1992)
 Hurricane Georges, 1,500,000 people (1998)
 Centennial Olympic Park, 60,000 people (1996)
 World Trade Center, 300,000 people (2001)
 World Trade Center, 150,000 people (1993)
 The East Bay Hills Wildfire, 30,000 people (1991)

    The NRC is not aware of data that would indicate that evacuation of 
larger populations cannot be accomplished in an effective manner. The 
data shows that OROs can accomplish large evacuations and this process 
is generally viewed as successful.

Issue 7. Expand EPZs because the U.S. reactor fleet is aging and more 
vulnerable to the occurrence of accidents.

    The petition included ``increasing age and vulnerability of 
operating reactors'' in a list of several factors that have changed 
since the existing emergency planning regulations were promulgated to 
conclude that aging U.S. reactors have a greater risk of an accident 
and require an expansion of EPZs.
    Commenters claimed that aging reactors are more vulnerable to 
damage from earthquakes, aging concrete, human error, and Alloy 600 
embrittlement.
    One commenter specifically identified Indian Point Energy Center, 
Diablo Canyon Power Plant, and Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant as 
reactors that are ``more antiquated or dangerously sited.''

NRC Response to Issue 7

    The NRC disagrees with the petitioner's assertion that aging U.S. 
reactors have a greater risk of an accident. Neither the petitioner nor 
the commenters provided support for their conclusions that aging 
reactors have a greater risk of an accident and are more vulnerable to 
damage from earthquakes, aging concrete, human error, and Alloy 600 
embrittlement. Because the NRC's regulatory framework provides 
reasonable assurance of adequate protection of public health and safety 
over the lifetime of the reactors, EPZs do not need to be expanded due 
to the age of the reactors.
    Each operating power reactor licensee is required to maintain its 
facility to ensure that the safety-related functions of preventing and 
mitigating accidents are not compromised. The regulatory objective of 
the Maintenance Rule, found in 10 CFR 50.65, is to require licensee 
monitoring of the overall continuing effectiveness of its maintenance 
programs to ensure the following:
     Safety-related structures, systems, and components (SSC) 
and certain SSCs that are not safety-related are capable of performing 
their intended functions.
     For equipment that is not safety-related, failures will 
not occur that prevent the fulfillment of safety-related functions.
     Failures resulting in scrams and unnecessary actuations of 
safety-related systems are minimized.
    The NRC provides reasonable assurance of adequate protection of 
public health and safety, in part, through the NRC's Reactor Oversight 
Process (ROP), in which the NRC ensures that an acceptable level of 
licensee performance is maintained. The ROP involves inspecting 
licensees, reviewing performance indicators (PI), evaluating PIs, 
assessing licensee performance, and taking appropriate regulatory 
actions to ensure compliance with the NRC's regulations. The ROP 
continuously assesses licensee performance using performance-based 
risk-informed baseline inspections and performance indicators reported 
by licensees. The ROP inspections seek to evaluate licensee performance 
by identifying degraded conditions and the deficient licensee 
performance that led to those degraded conditions. When risk-
significant aging management performance issues are identified, the NRC 
will perform additional supplemental inspections to verify that 
appropriate corrective actions are taken to address recurrence of the 
issues and restore compliance with aging management programs. Less 
risk-significant licensee performance issues would typically be entered 
into the licensee's corrective action program and corrected by the 
licensee. In addition to inspection under the ROP, the NRC evaluates 
operating experience and trends regarding those issues important to 
safety, such as those associated with aging SSCs. Negative trends and 
significant inspection findings impacting safety would be addressed 
through enforcement, backfit, or rulemaking as appropriate.
    The license renewal regulatory process requires that for SSCs that 
are safety-related, that could affect the performance of a safety-
related function, or that are necessary to respond to specific events 
regulated by the NRC,

[[Page 19511]]

aging management programs must be in place to manage the effects of 
aging. The implementation of the aging management programs ensures that 
SSCs retain the ability to perform their intended functions and that 
the licensee's current licensing basis, which has been shown to provide 
an acceptable level of safety, will be maintained in the renewal 
period.
    The NRC's regulations in 10 CFR part 54, ``Requirements for Renewal 
of Operating Licenses for Nuclear Power Plants,'' require that each 
license renewal application contain technical information and 
evaluations about the different types of plant aging that might be 
encountered in the plant and how the licensee will manage or mitigate 
those aging effects. This information must be sufficiently detailed to 
permit the NRC to determine whether the effects of aging will be 
managed such that the plant can be operated during the period of 
extended operation without undue risk to the health and safety of the 
public. If the NRC can make this determination, it will renew the 
licensee's operating license and continue monitoring the licensee's 
operational performance throughout the renewal period.

Issue 8. Expand EPZs because risk from spent fuel pools is too high.

    The petitioner argued that the risk of accidents at spent fuel 
pools is too high to ignore and, therefore, the plume exposure pathway 
EPZ must be expanded to adequately protect the public. According to the 
petitioner, ``real-world experience,'' improved understanding of severe 
accident risks at nuclear spent fuel pools, and the fact that accidents 
could cause widespread contamination with highly radioactive materials 
prove that the 10-mile EPZ is inadequate. The petitioner referred to 
several papers to raise issues that describe the improved understanding 
of spent fuel pool severe accidents and their risks, including:
     The NRC has permitted high-density storage in spent fuel 
pools in the absence of a geologic repository. Under accident 
conditions, including a loss of water in the pool, cooling of the spent 
fuel could be difficult or ineffective in the densely packed pool, 
which could result in a zirconium fire in the pool.
     Spent fuel pools contain a large amount of radioactive 
material with much more long-lived radioisotopes than in a reactor 
core. Therefore, spent fuel pool accidents could lead to larger 
releases of radioactive materials than accidents in a reactor core.
     Spent fuel pools are located outside of containment. 
Therefore, they are more vulnerable than the reactor to natural 
disasters and terrorist attacks and have little to prevent a release to 
the environment.
    The petitioner further stated that the Commission previously did 
not consider the effects of spent fuel pool failure as a source of 
severe accident consequences, but only considered containment and core 
failure in the previous denial of three similar petitions for 
rulemaking (Citizens Task Force of Chapel Hill, et al., 32 NRC 281 
(1990)). The petitioner stated that, given the information on how 
serious a threat spent fuel pool accidents are, continued failure to 
address the risks of spent fuel pool accidents is flawed.
    Several commenters agreed with the petitioner and called for spent 
fuel to be moved as quickly as possible into hardened dry cask storage.
    One State agency stated that the petitioner has some valid points 
regarding spent fuel, but that the utilities were forced into this 
situation due to inaction by various levels of government. The primary 
concern is that the health and safety of citizens is protected in the 
event of a release, regardless of the source.
    The Nuclear Energy Institute stated that the petitioner's 
description of the damage to the Unit 3 spent fuel pool at Fukushima 
Dai-ichi is inaccurate. The Nuclear Energy Institute disagreed with the 
petitioner's arguments and stated that spent fuel pools are robust 
structures designed to withstand severe external events. The zirconium 
fire scenario has been studied extensively by the NRC for decades, 
according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, and the NRC has consistently 
concluded that the risk of such fires is extremely low. The Nuclear 
Energy Institute pointed out that the NRC issued an Order to further 
ensure that reliable spent fuel pool water level indications can be 
identified by trained personnel.

NRC Response to Issue 8

    The NRC disagrees with the petitioner's assertions on this issue. 
The NRC has previously evaluated one of the papers referenced by the 
petitioner, ``Reducing the Hazards from Stored Spent Power-Reactor Fuel 
in the United States,'' dated April 21, 2003, Robert Alvarez, et al., 
(published in the Science and Global Security, Spring 2003) and 
concluded that it fails to make the case for its central recommendation 
(``Fact Sheet: NRC Review of Paper on Reducing Hazards from Stored 
Spent Nuclear Fuel,'' dated August 20, 2003 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML032320620)).
    The NRC concludes that both spent fuel pools and dry casks provide 
adequate protection of public health and safety and the environment. 
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the NRC issued Orders 
to plant operators requiring several measures aimed at mitigating the 
effects of a large fire, explosion, or accident that damages a spent 
fuel pool. These measures were intended to deal with the aftermath of a 
terrorist attack or plane crash; however, they would also be effective 
in responding to natural phenomena such as tornadoes, earthquakes, or 
tsunamis.
    These mitigating measures include:
     Controlling the configuration of fuel assemblies in the 
pool to enhance the ability to keep the fuel cool and recover from 
damage to the pool.
     Establishing emergency spent fuel cooling capability.
     Staging emergency response equipment nearby so that it can 
be deployed quickly.
    As an example of the ``real-world experience'' of spent fuel pool 
accidents, page 28 of the petition refers to a video uploaded to 
YouTube on October 18, 2011, that shows an underwater camera inspection 
by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The petitioner speculated 
that the spent fuel pool at Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit 3 was essentially 
destroyed by the explosion of the Unit's reactor building, based on the 
video not showing intact fuel rods. Since the posting of that video, 
TEPCO has performed additional investigations and has confirmed that 
the spent fuel in the Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit 3 spent fuel pool remains 
intact and within the racks, as far as what could be seen by the 
underwater camera. See images from an underwater camera taken on 
October 11 and 12, 2012, as discussed in a TEPCO press conference on 
October 15, 2012. A handout from the press conference including the 
images is available at http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_121015_01-e.pdf.
    During the events at Fukushima Dai-ichi, responders did not have 
reliable instrumentation to determine the water levels in the spent 
fuel pools. This caused concerns that the pools may have boiled dry and 
damaged the fuel. Numerous attempts were made to refill the spent fuel 
pools, which diverted resources and attention from other efforts to 
respond to the event. Subsequent analysis determined that the water 
level in the Unit 4 spent fuel pool did not drop below the top of the 
stored fuel and no significant fuel damage occurred. The lack of 
information on the condition of spent fuel pools

[[Page 19512]]

contributed to a poor understanding of possible radiation releases and 
adversely impacted effective prioritization of emergency response 
actions by decisionmakers.
    In the agency's review of the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident in the 
NTTF report, the NRC staff noted that the low likelihood of such events 
and the current mitigation capabilities at U.S. nuclear power plants 
allow the NRC to conclude that a sequence of events such as the 
Fukushima Dai-ichi accident is unlikely to occur in the United States. 
These events have not undermined the emergency preparedness assumptions 
or the basis for the size of the EPZs. Therefore, continued operation 
and continued licensing activities do not pose an imminent threat to 
public health and safety.
    Current activities being undertaken by the NRC staff for the NTTF 
recommendations resulting from the Fukushima Dai-ichi event are 
addressing the issue of additional requirements, including developing, 
implementing, and maintaining guidance and strategies to maintain or 
restore spent fuel pool cooling in the event of a beyond-design-basis 
external event such as a natural disaster (Order EA-12-049, ``Order 
Modifying Licenses with Regard to Requirements for Mitigation 
Strategies for Beyond-Design-Basis External Events,'' dated March 12, 
2012 (ADAMS Accession No. ML12054A736)).
    The NRC issued Order EA-12-051, ``Order Modifying Licenses with 
Regard to Reliable Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation,'' dated March 12, 
2012 (ADAMS Accession No. ML12054A682), which required all power 
reactor licensees and holders of construction permits, in active or 
deferred status, to implement measures to ensure that reliable spent 
fuel pool water level indications can be identified by trained 
personnel. Specifically, personnel must be capable of identifying: (1) 
The level that is adequate to support operation of the normal fuel pool 
cooling system, (2) the level that is adequate to provide substantial 
radiation shielding for a person standing on the spent fuel pool 
operating deck, and (3) the level where fuel remains covered and at 
which actions to implement make-up water addition should no longer be 
deferred. As noted in the Order, full implementation must be completed 
no later than two refueling cycles after the licensee's submittal of an 
overall integrated plan or December 31, 2016, whichever comes first. 
Construction permit holders must complete full implementation prior to 
issuance of an operating license and combined operating license holders 
must complete full implementation prior to initial fuel load.
    The NRC staff completed a spent fuel pool risk study in 2001 
(NUREG-1738, ``Technical Study of Spent Fuel Pool Accident Risk at 
Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants,'' dated February 28, 2001 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML010430066)) in which the risk of spent fuel severe 
accidents was evaluated and found to be low and well within the 
Commission's safety goals outlined in its Policy Statement on Safety 
Goals for the Operation of Nuclear Power Plants (51 FR 28044; August 4, 
1986. Correction published on August 21, 1986 (51 FR 30028)). The NRC 
staff published a report in October 2013 with a similar conclusion that 
storage of spent fuel in a high-density configuration in spent fuel 
pools is safe and that the risk of an accident resulting from the 
beyond-design-basis seismic event analyzed is low (``Consequence Study 
of a Beyond-Design-Basis Earthquake Affecting the Spent Fuel Pool for a 
U.S. Mark I Boiling Water Reactor,'' dated October 2013 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML13256A342)). In addition, the NRC staff is embarking on 
a full-scope site Level 3 PRA project, which will evaluate the severe 
accident risks at a currently operating multi-unit reactor site, 
including the risk from a spent fuel pool accident. The insights from 
this study may be a useful input to inform or enhance regulatory 
decisionmaking, potentially including emergency preparedness 
requirements, as described in SECY-12-0123, ``Update on Staff Plans to 
Apply the Full-Scope Site Level 3 PRA Project Results to the NRC's 
Regulatory Framework,'' dated September 13, 2012 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML12202B170).
    The NRC has concluded that the risk from spent fuel pools is low 
and this petition presented no new information related to spent fuel 
pools for a basis to expand EPZs.

Issue 9. Emergency planning regulations must be strengthened because 
there are significant concerns related to pressure suppression 
containments.

    The petitioner argued that there are significant concerns related 
to pressure suppression containments, such as the General Electric (GE) 
Mark I containment that was used at five of the units at Fukushima Dai-
ichi, and, therefore, emergency planning regulations must be 
strengthened to adequately protect the public. The petitioner cited the 
accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima Dai-ichi to 
show that hydrogen explosions, pressure spikes, and containment 
failures have occurred, resulting in releases of radioactive materials. 
The petitioner pointed out that there are 23 operational nuclear power 
reactors with GE Mark I containments in the United States. The 
petitioner claimed that they are susceptible to failure in the event of 
a hydrogen explosion and that there has been much scrutiny and 
criticism of their design flaws. The petitioner stated that the ``NRC 
can no longer dismiss the reality of devastating nuclear accidents 
based on supposedly superior U.S. reactor designs.'' The petitioner 
stated that, given the history of nuclear power, the NRC must assume, 
at least for emergency planning purposes, that devastating nuclear 
accidents will occur in the United States.
    One commenter stated that the Mark I containment is a flawed 
design. Specifically, the commenter stated that the problem of 
overpressure in the torus must be addressed and that valves to allow 
manual release of pressure are not sufficient.

NRC Response to Issue 9

    The NRC disagrees with the petitioner's assertions on this issue. 
The petitioner is correct that there were lessons to be learned from 
the accident at Fukushima Dai-ichi related to pressure suppression 
containments. These lessons and NRC follow-up actions are summarized in 
the following paragraphs. In light of these actions, the NRC disagrees 
that concerns related to pressure suppression containments support the 
petitioner's position that the NRC's EP regulations need to be revised 
or its overall conclusion that EPZs must be expanded. The petitioner 
asked that the NRC assume that a radiological release from containment 
will occur. Instead, the NRC has taken steps to enhance the performance 
of these containments in response to the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, 
as noted in the following paragraphs.
    The events at Fukushima Dai-ichi highlight the possibility that 
extreme natural phenomena could challenge the defense-in-depth layers 
for accident prevention, mitigation, and emergency preparedness. At 
Fukushima Dai-ichi, a variety of challenges significantly hindered 
attempts by the responders to preclude core damage and containment 
failure. The operators were unable to successfully operate the 
containment venting system early in the event. The inability to reduce 
containment pressure inhibited efforts to cool the reactor core. If 
additional backup or alternate sources of power had been available to 
operate the containment venting system

[[Page 19513]]

remotely, or if certain valves had been more accessible for manual 
operation, the operators at Fukushima Dai-ichi may have been able to 
depressurize the containment earlier. This, in turn, could have allowed 
operators to implement strategies using low-pressure water sources that 
may have limited or prevented damage to the reactor core. Thus, the 
events at Fukushima Dai-ichi demonstrate that reliable hardened vents 
at BWR facilities with Mark I and Mark II containment designs are 
important to maintain core and containment cooling.
    Based on these lessons learned, the NRC issued Order EA-13-109, 
``Order Modifying Licenses with Regard to Reliable Hardened Containment 
Vents Capable of Operation under Severe Accident Conditions,'' dated 
June 6, 2013 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13143A334), which required all BWR 
licensees with Mark I and Mark II containment designs to have a 
reliable, severe accident capable hardened vent to assist in the 
removal of decay heat and maintain control of containment pressure 
within acceptable limits following an event that results in the loss of 
active containment heat removal capability such as an extended loss of 
electrical power. The hardened vent system must be accessible and 
functional under a range of plant conditions, including severe accident 
conditions, extended loss of electrical power, and inadequate 
containment cooling. As noted in the Order, full implementation must be 
completed no later than startup from the first refueling outage that 
begins after June 30, 2017, or June 30, 2019, whichever comes first.
    The events at Fukushima Dai-ichi have not undermined the emergency 
preparedness assumptions or the basis for the size of the EPZs. 
Therefore, continued operation and continued licensing activities do 
not pose an imminent threat to public health and safety.

Issue 10. Expand EPZs because expansion is supported by the current 
improved understanding of the health effects of radiation.

    The petitioner claimed that improved understanding of the health 
effects of radiation indicates that greater consideration should be 
given to the effects of the release of radiation. In particular, the 
petitioner referred to the National Academies Biological Effects of 
Ionizing Radiation VII report, ``Health Risks from Exposure to Low 
Levels of Ionizing Radiation'' (2006) (BEIR VII report), as 
``confirming that any exposure to radiation--including background 
radiation--increases a person's risk of developing cancer.'' The BEIR 
VII report is available online from the National Academies Press at 
http://www.nap.edu.
    The petitioner took issue with the emergency response goal of 
preventing exposure above 5 rem/year as the basis for the EPA 
Protective Action Guides, as cited in the NRC's denial of a petition 
for rulemaking for emergency preparedness submitted previously by the 
Citizens Task Force of Chapel Hill (55 FR 5603; February 16, 1990). The 
petitioner stated that according to the BEIR VII report, this level of 
exposure would cause cancer in more than 1 in 50 female children and 
that this is a hopelessly outdated and politically indefensible policy.
    The petitioner stated that the BEIR VII report clarifies that women 
and children are much more susceptible to radiation exposure than the 
``average man'' \2\ and regulations should protect the most vulnerable 
members of the population.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The petition's use of the term ``average man'' is 
interpreted to refer to ``reference man,'' which is defined as a 
person with the anatomical and physiological characteristics of an 
average individual that is used in calculations assessing internal 
dose (also may be called ``standard man''). See also the 
International Commission on Radiological Protection Publication 23 
(1975). This publication is available for purchase online through 
the publisher at http://www.icrp.org/publications.asp.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petitioner also stated that emergency response programs should 
be designed such that exposure limits during an emergency should not be 
higher than the annual exposure limits under non-emergency conditions.
    The petitioner's discussion on the improved understanding of the 
health effects of radiation was provided as support to the proposed 
upgrades to emergency planning standards, which requested changes to 
the areas for the plume exposure EPZ and ingestion exposure pathway EPZ 
and to the emergency exercise requirements. No changes were proposed to 
the EPA PAGs themselves.
    Many commenters agreed with the opinion expressed in the petition 
that the improved understanding of the health effects of radiation 
support expanding the EPZs.

NRC Response to Issue 10

    The NRC disagrees that these studies warrant expansion of the EPZs. 
The NRC agrees that it is appropriate to continually review these and 
other studies of radiation effects to ensure continued adequate 
protection of public health and safety. The NRC staff reviewed the BEIR 
VII report and provided an information paper, SECY-05-0202, ``Staff 
Review of the National Academies Study of the Health Risks from 
Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR VII),'' dated 
October 29, 2005 (ADAMS Accession No. ML052640532), to the Commission 
regarding the potential implications of the report for NRC regulations. 
The NRC staff concluded that ``none of the findings in the BEIR VII 
report warrant initiating immediate change to NRC regulations or 
Federal Guidance.'' In the BEIR VII report, the National Academies 
concluded that current scientific evidence is consistent with the 
hypothesis that there is a linear, no-threshold dose response 
relationship between exposure to ionizing radiation and the development 
of cancer in humans. The Commission's regulations regarding radiation 
protection are based on this linear, no-threshold assumption. As stated 
in SECY-12-0064, ``Recommendations for Policy and Technical Direction 
to Revise Radiation Protection Regulations and Guidance,'' dated April 
25, 2012 (ADAMS Accession No. ML121020108), the NRC staff found that 
the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) 
concluded that a linear, no-threshold approach remained a prudent basis 
for practical purposes of radiation protection. The same conclusion has 
been drawn by the National Academy of Sciences in the BEIR VII report, 
the UNSCEAR, and the National Council on Radiation Protection and 
Measurements report.
    The ICRP Publication 103, ``The 2007 Recommendations of the 
International Commission on Radiological Protection'' (December 2007), 
contained the revised recommendations for a system of radiological 
protection, which reflect an evolution from the previous 
recommendations contained in ICRP Publication 60 in 1990 and in ICRP 
Publication 26 in 1977. These publications are available for purchase 
online through the publisher at http://www.icrp.org/publications.asp. 
The ICRP makes recommendations on such topics as the quantities used in 
radiological protection, biological effects of radiation, principles of 
radiation protection, dose limits, and optimization. The ICRP 
recommendations are generally used to inform radiation protection 
policy or regulations by pertinent governmental or international 
agencies, and their development has been discussed with many 
international and national organizations with an interest in 
radiological protection. In SECY-12-0064, the NRC staff provided the 
Commission with a notation vote paper that discusses the history of 
radiation

[[Page 19514]]

protection recommendations and regulations and the ICRP's 2007 
recommendations and their impact on evaluating radiation risk. The 
paper also discusses the NRC staff's evaluation of information in the 
BEIR VII report, referenced by the petitioner. SECY-12-0064 provided 
the Commission with options on whether to revise the dosimetry basis of 
appendix I to 10 CFR part 50 design objective and guidance and 10 CFR 
part 20 based on the ICRP 2007 recommendations. The NRC staff 
recommended the option of developing the regulatory basis for a 
revision of certain provisions of 10 CFR part 20 occupational dose 
limits and initiating the parallel development of the regulatory basis 
for revision of appendix I to 10 CFR part 50 to align with the update 
of 10 CFR part 20 and to address the unique set of issues that are not 
directly connected with 10 CFR part 20.
    The Commission issued its SRM for SECY-12-0064 on December 17, 2012 
(SRM-SECY-12-0064, ``Recommendations for Policy and Technical Direction 
to Revise Radiation Protection Regulations and Guidance'' (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML12352A133)). In the SRM, the Commission approved in 
part the NRC staff's recommendations for development of the regulatory 
basis for a revision to 10 CFR part 20 and parallel alignment of 
appendix I to 10 CFR part 50 with the most recent methodology and 
terminology for dose assessment. The Commission also directed the NRC 
staff to continue discussions with stakeholders on alternative 
approaches to deal with individual protection at or near the current 
dose limit.
    In SECY-05-0202, the NRC staff also discussed the potential 
influence of gender on radiation sensitivity as an issue that may 
warrant additional consideration, and stated that the NRC staff will 
continue to monitor the issue as the ICRP finalizes its new radiation 
protection recommendations. The 2007 recommendations in ICRP 
Publication 103 considered gender- and age-related sensitivity to 
radiation (e.g., in the development of revised age-averaged and sex-
averaged tissue weighting factors) and will be one source of 
information that the NRC staff considers in development of the 
regulatory basis for rulemaking, as discussed in SECY-12-0064.
    The petitioner stated that the emergency response goal is to 
prevent exposures to 5 rem/year. This is a misinterpretation of the 
basis for emergency response planning requirements, including the PAGs. 
It states on page III-3 of NUREG-0396 that for a very large release of 
radioactive material, the principal emergency response planning basis 
goal is to prevent serious adverse health effects to individuals. To 
accomplish this goal, the longer term objective of the PAGs, as stated 
in Section 4.2.1 of the 1992 EPA PAG Manual (EPA-400-R092-001, ``Manual 
of Protective Action Guides and Protective Actions for Nuclear 
Incidents,'' U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, dated May 1992 
(http://www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/er/400-r-92-001.pdf)), is that the 
cumulative dose to an individual over 50 years will not exceed 5 rem. 
In March 2013, the EPA published a draft revised PAG Manual for interim 
use and public comment (http://www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/er/pag-manual-interim-public-comment-4-2-2013.pdf). In the 2013 EPA PAG 
Manual, the EPA proposes to remove the intermediate phase PAG of 5 rem 
over 50 years to avoid confusion with long-term cleanup. The longer-
term objective of the PAGs to ensure that doses in any single year 
after the first will not exceed 0.5 rem remains the same as previously 
in the 1992 EPA PAG Manual.
    It should be noted that a PAG is not a regulatory limit or an 
acceptable dose, but is instead, ``the projected dose to reference man, 
or other defined individual, from an unplanned release of radioactive 
material at which a specific protective action to reduce or avoid that 
dose is recommended'' (1992 EPA PAG Manual, Section 1.0). The 
petitioner questioned the Commission's previous denial of petitions for 
rulemaking, under dockets PRM-50-31, PRM-50-45, and PRM-50-46, to make 
changes to the emergency preparedness regulations (55 FR 5603; February 
16, 1990). As a basis for its denial, the Commission referred to NUREG-
0396, which clarifies that PAGs represent trigger or initiation levels 
proposed as guidance to be used as the basis for taking action to 
minimize impact on individuals. In other words, a PAG is ``the 
projected dose . . . from an unplanned release of radioactive material 
at which a specific protective action to reduce or avoid that dose is 
recommended'' (1992 EPA PAG Manual, Section 1.0). It states on page 
III-11 of NUREG-0396:

    This does not mean, however, that doses above PAG levels can be 
prevented or that emergency response plans should have as their 
objective preventing doses above PAG levels. Furthermore, PAGs 
represent only trigger levels and are not intended to represent 
acceptable dose levels. PAGs are tools to be used as a decision aid 
in the actual response situation.

    The currently used PAGs for the early phase of the incident 
recommend evacuation (or sheltering in certain cases) at a projected 
dose of 1 rem total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) and administration 
of stable iodine (e.g., potassium iodide (KI)) at a projected dose of 
25 rem committed dose equivalent to the thyroid. The dose is calculated 
from the estimated atmospheric release. These values are taken from the 
1992 EPA PAG Manual. In the 2013 EPA PAG Manual, the EPA proposes to 
change the early phase PAG for supplementary administration of KI to a 
projected dose of 5 rem to the child thyroid. In planning, the ``early 
phase'' of a nuclear incident is usually assumed to last for four days 
for dose projection purposes. This definition of the early phase is 
intended to coincide with the event initiation and primary release when 
evacuation or KI administration may be warranted. Exposure to deposited 
materials after four days can be addressed through other protective 
measures, such as relocation, if warranted.
    The ``intermediate phase'' is defined as the period beginning after 
the source and releases have been brought under control and 
environmental measurements are available for use as a basis for 
protective actions decisions. The intermediate phase ends when the 
protective actions are terminated. The intermediate phase may overlap 
both the early and the late (or ``recovery'') phases. For the 
intermediate phase, there are EPA PAGs for deposited radioactive 
materials, where the major relevant protective action is relocation. 
Dose to persons not relocated and in lesser contaminated areas may be 
reduced by decontamination and spending more time in low exposure rate 
areas, such as indoors. There are also PAGs published by the U.S. Food 
and Drug Administration for food and water. The 1992 EPA PAG Manual 
states that the intermediate phase PAGs for deposited radioactive 
materials should be considered mandatory only for use in planning. 
During an incident, responsible officials will need to exercise their 
professional judgment in the implementation of protective actions 
because of unanticipated local conditions.
    As explained in the 1992 EPA PAG Manual, the PAGs for the 
intermediate phase of the incident recommend relocation of the general 
population at a projected dose greater than or equal to 2 rem TEDE and 
application of simple dose reduction techniques at a projected dose 
less than 2 rem TEDE. The projected dose is due to inhalation of 
resuspended materials, from exposure or intake during the first year, 
and is the dose that would be received without

[[Page 19515]]

shielding from structures or application of dose reduction techniques. 
The 1992 EPA PAG Manual states that the objective of these PAGs is to 
assure that doses in any single year after the first year will not 
exceed 0.5 rem and that the cumulative dose over 50 years (including 
the first and second years) will not exceed 5 rem. In the 2013 EPA PAG 
Manual, the EPA proposes to remove the intermediate phase PAG of 5 rem 
over 50 years to avoid confusion with long-term cleanup. The longer-
term objective of the PAGs to ensure that doses in any single year 
after the first will not exceed 0.5 rem remains.
    The petitioner stated that emergency response programs should be 
designed to protect against radiation levels that would exceed annual 
exposure limits. The NRC disagrees with the petitioner's assertions on 
this issue. The PAGs are established for implementing public protective 
actions to minimize health effects following a low probability severe 
accident that releases radioactive material to the environment in an 
uncontrolled, acute manner. The considerations that establish such PAGs 
differ significantly from the considerations associated with 
establishing radiation protection standards for routine (i.e., high 
probability) controlled releases of radioactive material to the 
environment. In establishing the PAGs for emergency conditions, the EPA 
followed the principle that the risk to health from a protective action 
should not itself exceed the risk to health from the dose that would be 
averted. Using a PAG based on the lower magnitude radiation protection 
standards could place the public in the situations where the risk of 
the protective action is greater than the benefit obtained from taking 
the action. Appendix B, ``Risks to Health from Radiation Doses That May 
Result from Nuclear Incidents,'' and Appendix C, ``Protective Action 
Guides for the Early Phase: Supporting Information,'' of the 1992 EPA 
PAG Manual describe in detail the EPA's bases and rationale for the 
PAGs.
    The rationale for the 10-mile distance for the plume exposure EPZ 
and the 50-mile ingestion exposure pathway EPZ is provided in NUREG-
0396, which was based on a full spectrum of accidents and corresponding 
consequences, taking probability into consideration. It is stated in 
NUREG-0396 that emergency response plans should be useful for 
responding to any accident that would result in offsite doses in excess 
of the PAGs. The early phase PAG ranges as published at that time were 
used in the determination of the plume exposure EPZ distance: Projected 
doses per accident of 1-5 rem to the whole body and 5-25 rem to the 
thyroid.
    The NRC has more recent data on reactor accident consequences and 
risks in the SOARCA study, has completed a spent fuel pool accident 
consequence study, and has embarked on a full-scope site Level 3 PRA 
project. In SECY-12-0123, the NRC staff specifically states that 
insights from the Level 3 PRA project could inform the process for 
evaluating the potential impact that a multi-unit accident (or an 
accident involving spent fuel) may have on the efficacy of the EPZ in 
protecting public health and safety. Insights gained from the Level 3 
PRA project are expected to include radiological source term 
characterization to support determination as to whether the EPZ size 
and response timing remains protective of public health and safety in 
response to severe accidents.

Issue 11. Expand EPZs because radiation does not stop at an EPZ 
boundary.

    Several commenters stated that radioactive contamination would not 
stop at an EPZ boundary. One commenter stated that airborne radiation 
plumes from past releases including Chelyabinsk, Seversk, Chernobyl, 
Three Mile Island, and Fukushima Dai-ichi have not stopped 10 miles 
from the reactor site. Therefore, 10-mile EPZs need to be enlarged to 
provide adequate protection of the public health and safety beyond 10 
miles from the plant.

NRC Response to Issue 11

    The NRC agrees that in the event of a radioactive release the plume 
might not stop at the 10-mile EPZ boundary. However, the NRC disagrees 
with the commenter that this requires expansion of the EPZ. As stated 
previously, the basis for the EPZ is that it provides a substantial 
basis for the expansion of emergency response beyond the EPZ should 
that prove to be necessary. The competence of State and local 
authorities to implement protective measures for the public (as 
described in NUREG/CR-6864 and NUREG/CR-6981) has also been discussed 
previously in response to Issues 5 and 6. Additionally, the DHS has 
provided several documents that guide Federal, State, and local 
response efforts should they be required for an event at a licensee 
facility. These documents include FEMA's National Response Framework, 
NIMS, and ICS, which were established by Homeland Security Presidential 
Directive/HSPD-5--Management of Domestic Incidents on February 28, 
2003. These programs present a framework for use in an emergency that 
is scalable, is flexible, and allows for an adaptable coordinating 
structure. The DHS has achieved near universal acceptance of the 
National Response Framework at the Federal, State, and local levels in 
the United States. The supporting systems, NIMS and ICS, are 
implemented daily in response to routine emergencies nationwide, such 
as response to hazardous material spills and fires.
    In addition to the DHS guidelines that are used by offsite response 
organizations, the current requirements for the 10-mile planning basis 
used by licensees establish an infrastructure consisting of emergency 
organizations, communications capabilities, training, and equipment 
that are similar to other normal community emergency organizations, 
such as police and fire departments that can be used in the event of an 
accident at the facility. The DHS guidance and the process it outlines 
would support ORO efforts to implement protective actions beyond the 
plume exposure pathway EPZ if conditions warranted them.

Issue 12. Expand EPZs because current regulations do not provide 
adequate protection. Amending the regulations as requested in the 
petition would more likely provide adequate protection.

    Many commenters agreed with the petitioner that the current 
emergency planning regulations do not provide adequate protection of 
the public health and safety and are outdated. Several commenters 
stated that one of the lessons that should be learned from Fukushima 
Dai-ichi is that the NRC's current emergency planning regulations are 
inadequate. One commenter stated that while Japan and Germany are 
closing their nuclear power plants, the United States continues 
building new ones despite having outdated and inadequate emergency 
planning regulations. Some comments stated that shadow evacuations 
occurred after the accidents at Fukushima Dai-ichi and Three Mile 
Island and would be a problem for any future evacuation. Some 
commenters stated that geography, roadways, bridges, traffic patterns, 
and other site-specific features would make evacuation in an emergency 
difficult or impossible.
    The Nuclear Energy Institute disagreed with the petitioner and 
argued that the September 11, 2001, attacks and the accidents at 
Chernobyl and Fukushima Dai-ichi do not show that the current 10- and 
50-mile EPZs are inadequate. The Nuclear Energy Institute and several 
emergency management agencies stated that the

[[Page 19516]]

existing EPZs are based on a conservative analysis of a wide range of 
accident consequences and continue to provide assurance that adequate 
protective measures can and will be taken in the event of an emergency.

NRC Response to Issue 12

    The NRC disagrees with the comments that current emergency 
preparedness regulations do not provide adequate protection. On 
December 13, 1991 (56 FR 64966), the Commission stated that ``through 
its standards and required exercises, the Commission ensures that 
existing plans are adequate throughout the life of a plant even in the 
face of changing demographics and other site related factors.'' The 
current regulations in 10 CFR 50.47 require that a finding be made by 
the NRC that there is reasonable assurance that adequate protective 
measures can and will be taken in the event of a radiological emergency 
before an initial operating license is issued. These measures are 
required to be outlined in each site's radiological emergency plan. The 
site-specific emergency plans must meet the 16 planning standards 
listed in 10 CFR 50.47(b). Additionally, a holder of a nuclear power 
reactor operating license under 10 CFR 50.54(q) is required to follow 
and maintain the effectiveness of an emergency plan that meets the 
standards in 10 CFR 50.47(b) and the requirements in appendix E to 10 
CFR part 50. All U.S. nuclear power plants currently have NRC-approved 
emergency plans that include EPZs in compliance with the regulations in 
10 CFR 50.47 and appendix E to 10 CFR part 50.
    The FEMA approves offsite emergency response plans and evaluates 
the capability of State and local agencies to implement their plans in 
a biennial demonstration exercise. The ORO's evacuation planning and 
protective action decisionmaking are major components of the FEMA 
evaluation and are addressed in every biennial exercise. Any finding of 
deficiency must be addressed by the responsible agency in order to 
maintain the FEMA finding that there is adequate protection of public 
health and safety.
    The NRC agrees that shadow evacuations may occur and should be 
appropriately considered. The NRC's guidance document for preparing 
evacuation time estimate studies establishes the need to include a 20 
percent shadow evacuation in the analysis (NUREG/CR-7002). The NRC 
defines a shadow evacuation as an evacuation of people from areas 
outside an officially declared evacuation zone. The shadow population 
is considered in the analysis to account for the potential for this 
population group to impede the evacuation of those under evacuation 
orders. It should be recognized that 20 percent was chosen based on 
data in NUREG/CR-6864 and is an estimate of the potential for shadow 
evacuation. The shadow evacuation can be minimized through frequent and 
effective crisis messaging by OROs. Supplement 3 to NUREG-0654 provides 
guidance to assist OROs with crisis messaging.
    The NRC staff has conducted considerable research into evacuations, 
including the impact of shadow evacuations on evacuation outcomes. As 
stated in NUREG/CR-6864:

    Shadow evacuations, defined as evacuations by persons outside of 
any officially declared evacuation zone(s), occurred in 18 (36%) of 
the 50 \3\ case studies examined. Of those 18 cases involving shadow 
evacuations, traffic movement was impacted in only five of the cases 
and there was no impact on congregate care center capacity, 
according to the individuals interviewed. These five cases were all 
in Florida and included Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Floyd (3 cases), 
and the Mims Fire. In the Mims Fire, Interstate 95 was closed due to 
poor visibility from the smoke and significantly contributed to the 
traffic congestion. The hurricanes that had traffic movement 
problems were exceptionally large, with two cases involving over 
600,000 evacuees.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ These 50 evacuations were selected because they were of 
sufficient size and complexity to challenge local and regional 
emergency response capabilities and to provide sufficient detail to 
identify the factors contributing to evacuation efficiency.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Governor's Hurricane Task Force has since identified 
improvements in the areas of decision making, traffic management, 
congregate care center management, and dissemination of emergency 
public information, that are expected to improve the efficiency and 
effectiveness of future large hurricane evacuations, and thus, 
reduce impacts from shadow evacuations.

    Based on this research, the NRC has confidence that shadow 
evacuations generally have little impact on traffic movement and 
concludes that the licensees' current emergency planning bases continue 
to provide reasonable assurance of protection of the public's health 
and safety.
    The NRC agrees that most evacuations would be considered difficult 
by those experiencing them but disagrees that evacuations would be 
impossible. All U.S. nuclear power plants have provided updated ETEs to 
the NRC per 10 CFR 50.47(b)(10). The NRC staff is not aware of any 
evacuations that are impossible. A review of the evacuations studied in 
NUREG/CR-6864 shows that effective evacuations of large numbers of 
people were routinely accomplished, including:

 Hurricane Floyd, 373,000 people (1999)
 Hurricane Andrew, 650,000 people (1992)
 Hurricane Georges, 1,500,000 people (1998)
 Centennial Olympic Park, 60,000 people (1996)
 World Trade Center, 300,000 people (2001)
 World Trade Center, 150,000 people (1993)
 The East Bay Hills Wildfire, 30,000 people (1991)

    The petition provided no substantial information that would 
indicate evacuations cannot be accomplished in support of a nuclear 
power plant accident should it be necessary, or that would support its 
claim that the NRC's emergency planning regulations do not provide 
adequate protection of the public health and safety.
    In SECY-12-0095, the NRC staff stated that the existing EP 
framework of regulations and guidance to provide reasonable assurance 
of adequate protection of public health and safety in a radiological 
emergency. The NRC staff referred to several studies that have informed 
the NRC evaluation of the adequacy of this approach. These studies, 
which are discussed in more detail in the response to Issue 2, included 
NUREG/CR-6864 and NUREG-1935. These studies have informed the NRC's 
conclusion that the NRC's existing EP framework provides reasonable 
assurance of adequate protection of public health and safety in the 
event of a radiological emergency at an existing U.S. power reactor 
facility.
    The Commission concludes that the current size of EPZs helps to 
provide reasonable assurance that adequate protective measures can and 
will be taken in the event of a radiological emergency at an existing 
nuclear power plant. In addition, as part of previously-approved 
research efforts associated with Tier 3 program plans, the NRC plans a 
long-term action involving EPZs. The NRC will use insights from the 
current full-scope site Level 3 PRA project as well as information 
obtained from the UNSCEAR assessment to inform the evaluation of the 
potential impacts that a multi-unit event may have on an EPZ. If these 
research activities indicate that changes need to be made to the 
existing EP regulations, the NRC will commence a rulemaking effort to 
make those changes.

[[Page 19517]]

Issue 13. Require EP exercises to include a regionally-relevant 
initiating or concurrent natural disaster because natural disasters can 
challenge nuclear safety systems.

    The petitioner argued that the NRC should amend its regulations to 
require that licensees include a regionally-appropriate natural 
disaster in every other exercise because a natural disaster may trigger 
a nuclear accident or complicate the emergency response to an accident.
    The petitioner listed several recent natural disasters including 
Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Irene and expressed the opinion that 
there is a trend due in large part to climate change. ``If this is 
correct,'' the petitioner stated, ```unprecedented' natural disasters 
will not only continue to occur, they will accelerate.''
    The petitioner stated that natural disasters can greatly complicate 
the ability to evacuate a given area.
    Many commenters agreed that exercises should include a regionally-
relevant initiating or concurrent natural disaster for the reasons 
provided in the petition.
    Several State and county emergency management agencies stated that 
many nuclear power plant licensees already incorporate natural 
disasters into their drills.

NRC Response to Issue 13

    The NRC agrees that natural disasters may challenge nuclear safety 
systems; however, the NRC disagrees that it is necessary to modify the 
regulations as proposed by the petitioner because the existing 
requirements and emergency planning framework are sufficient. The 
majority of nuclear power plant licensees currently incorporate natural 
or destructive phenomena into their drill and exercise scenarios. This 
planning helps licensees prepare for natural disasters that could 
coincide with a reactor emergency. All NRC-licensed sites in the United 
States have emergency action levels (EAL) in their radiological 
emergency plans that include protective actions related to aspects of 
natural disasters. Moreover, current activities being undertaken by the 
NRC staff for the NTTF recommendations resulting from the Fukushima 
Dai-ichi event are addressing the issue of additional requirements, 
including training and drills, for a beyond-design-basis event such as 
a natural disaster (Order EA-12-049). The proposed requirements to 
perform a drill for an event that originates from a beyond-design-basis 
external event and leads to a multi-unit prolonged station blackout 
would involve licensees planning, preparing, and practicing for these 
unlikely natural events.
    The NRC notes that each U.S. nuclear power plant has an emergency 
plan as a defense-in-depth measure. Emergency plans contain 
contingencies for alternate evacuation routes, alternate means of 
notification, and other backup plans in the event of a natural disaster 
that damages the infrastructure surrounding a nuclear power plant. 
Licensees exercise these plans on a regular basis. The NRC performs 
oversight to verify the acceptable performance of the licensee's 
response during exercises, drills, and actual incidents and events. The 
FEMA provides oversight for offsite response. For Incidents of National 
Significance where the critical infrastructure is severely damaged, the 
DHS has a lead role as a coordinating agency to orchestrate Federal, 
State, and local assets. The Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex to the 
National Response Framework provides for the NRC to be a coordinating 
agency for incidents involving NRC-licensed materials.
    As noted in the response to Issue 1, the NTTF conducted a 
systematic and methodical review of the NRC's regulations and processes 
to determine if the agency should make safety improvements in light of 
the events in Japan. As a result of this review, the NTTF issued SECY-
11-0093, ``Near-Term Report and Recommendations for Agency Actions 
Following the Events in Japan,'' dated July 12, 2011 (ADAMS Accession 
No. ML11186A950). SECY-11-0124, ``Recommended Actions to be Taken 
Without Delay from the Near-Term Task Force Report,'' dated September 
9, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML11245A158), and SECY-11-0137, 
``Prioritization of Recommended Actions to be Taken in Response to 
Fukushima Lessons Learned,'' were issued to establish the NRC staff's 
prioritization of the recommendations. The NRC staff determined that 
Recommendation 4.2, concerning strategies to mitigate the consequences 
of accidents similar to those that occurred at Fukushima Dai-ichi, was 
a high-priority action. Order EA-12-049, ``Order Modifying Licenses 
with Regard to Requirements for Mitigation Strategies for Beyond-
Design-Basis External Events,'' was issued to each power reactor 
licensee and each holder of a construction permit on March 12, 2012. 
The Order requires a three-phase approach for mitigating beyond-design-
basis external events. The initial phase requires the use of installed 
equipment and resources to maintain or restore core cooling, 
containment, and spent fuel pool cooling capabilities. The transition 
phase requires providing sufficient, portable, onsite equipment and 
consumables to maintain or restore these functions until they can be 
accomplished with resources brought from offsite. The final phase 
requires obtaining sufficient offsite resources to sustain those 
functions indefinitely. Specifically, the Order requires the following:
    (1) Licensees or construction permit holders shall develop, 
implement, and maintain guidance and strategies to maintain or restore 
core cooling, containment, and spent fuel pool cooling capabilities 
following a beyond-design-basis external event.
    (2) These strategies must be capable of mitigating a simultaneous 
loss of all alternating current (ac) power and loss of normal access to 
the ultimate heat sink and have adequate capacity to address challenges 
to core cooling, containment, and spent fuel pool cooling capabilities 
at all units on a site subject to this Order.
    (3) Licensees or construction permit holders must provide 
reasonable protection for the associated equipment from external 
events. Such protection must demonstrate that there is adequate 
capacity to address challenges to core cooling, containment, and spent 
fuel pool cooling capabilities at all units on a site subject to this 
Order.
    (4) Licensees or construction permit holders must be capable of 
implementing the strategies in all modes.
    (5) Full compliance shall include procedures, guidance, training, 
and acquisition, staging, or installing of equipment needed for the 
strategies.
    These new requirements provide a greater mitigation capability 
consistent with the overall defense-in-depth philosophy, and, 
therefore, provide a greater assurance that the challenges posed by 
beyond-design-basis external events, such as natural disasters, to 
power reactors do not pose an undue risk to public health and safety.

Issue 14. Require EP exercises to include a regionally-relevant 
initiating or concurrent natural disaster because natural disasters may 
affect communications during emergency response.

    The petitioner stated that natural disasters can greatly complicate 
the ability to provide sufficient communication to assure that 
sheltering or other protective actions are taken within a given area.

[[Page 19518]]

NRC Response to Issue 14

    The NRC agrees that natural disasters may affect communications 
during emergency response; however, the NRC disagrees that it is 
necessary to modify the regulations as proposed by the petitioner 
because of the existing requirements and emergency planning framework. 
The majority of nuclear power plant licensees currently incorporate 
natural or destructive phenomena into their drill and exercise 
scenarios. This planning helps licensees prepare for natural disasters 
that could coincide with a reactor emergency. All NRC-licensed sites in 
the United States have EALs in their radiological emergency plans that 
include protective actions related to aspects of these natural events. 
However, current activities being undertaken by the NRC for the NTTF 
recommendations resulting from the Fukushima Dai-ichi event associated 
with emergency preparedness communications are addressing the issue of 
reliable communications following a natural disaster. The proposed 
requirements to perform a drill for an event that originates from a 
beyond-design-basis external event and leads to a multi-unit prolonged 
station blackout would involve licensees planning, preparing, and 
practicing for these unlikely natural events.
    Emergency plan communications requirements and detailed guidance on 
how to meet those requirements are contained in the following:
     10 CFR 50.47(b)(6) states that provisions should be made 
for prompt communications among principal response organizations to 
emergency personnel and to the public.
     Section IV.E.9 of appendix E to 10 CFR part 50 states that 
adequate provisions shall be made and described for emergency 
facilities and equipment, including ``at least one onsite and one 
offsite communications system; each system shall have a backup power 
source.''
     NUREG-0696, ``Functional Criteria for Emergency Response 
Facilities,'' dated February 1981 (ADAMS Accession No. ML051390358), 
offers guidance on how to meet the requirements of appendix E to 10 CFR 
part 50 and discusses the onsite and offsite communications 
requirements for the licensee's emergency operating facilities.
    As a result of the Tier 1 recommendations in the NTTF report, the 
NRC issued to each power reactor licensee and each holder of a 
construction permit on March 12, 2012, a ``Request for Information 
Pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 50.54(f) 
regarding Recommendations 2.1, 2.3, and 9.3, of the Near-Term Task 
Force Review of Insights from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Accident'' (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML12056A046). The NRC issued this information request 
regarding the power supplies for communications systems to determine if 
additional regulatory action is warranted. This request is based upon 
NTTF Recommendation 9.3, which proposed that facility emergency plans 
provide for a means to power communications equipment needed to 
communicate onsite (e.g., radios for response teams and between 
facilities) and offsite (e.g., cellular telephones and satellite 
telephones) during a prolonged station blackout. The NRC requested that 
the following assumptions be made in preparing responses to this 
request for information: assume that the potential onsite and offsite 
damage is a result of a large-scale natural event resulting in a loss 
of all alternating current (ac) power and assume that the large-scale 
natural event causes extensive damage to normal and emergency 
communications systems both onsite and in the area surrounding the 
site. The NRC recognizes that following a large-scale natural event, ac 
power may not be available to cell and other communications 
infrastructures.
    The NRC requested that addressees assess their current 
communications systems and equipment used during an emergency event 
given the aforementioned assumptions. The NRC also requested that 
consideration be given to any enhancements that may be appropriate for 
the emergency plan with respect to the communications requirements of 
10 CFR 50.47 and appendix E to 10 CFR part 50, and the guidance in 
NUREG-0696 in light of the assumptions previously stated. Also, 
addressees were requested to consider the means necessary to power the 
new and existing communications equipment during a prolonged station 
blackout.
    Addressees were requested to provide an assessment of the current 
communications systems and equipment used during an emergency event to 
identify any enhancements that may be needed to ensure communications 
are maintained during a large-scale natural event meeting the 
conditions previously described. The assessment should:
     Identify any planned or potential improvements to existing 
onsite communications systems and their required normal and/or backup 
power supplies,
     Identify any planned or potential improvements to existing 
offsite communications systems and their required normal and/or backup 
power supplies,
     Provide a description of any new communications system(s) 
or technologies that will be deployed based upon the assumed conditions 
previously described, and
     Provide a description of how the new and/or improved 
systems and power supplies will be able to provide for communications 
during a loss of all ac power.
    Nuclear power plant licensees were also requested to describe any 
interim actions that have been taken or are planned to be taken to 
enhance existing communications systems power supplies until the 
communications assessment and the resulting actions are complete, and 
to provide an implementation schedule of the time needed to conduct and 
implement the results of the communications assessment.
    The NRC staff is evaluating the responses received from this 
information request to determine their acceptability as part of the 
agency's lessons learned from the events at Fukushima Dai-ichi.

III. Determination of the Petition

    The Commission has reviewed the petition and the public comments. 
For the reasons described in Section II, Public Comments on the 
Petition, of this document, the Commission does not find that the 
arguments raised by the petitioner warrant changing the current 
regulations. The Commission reiterates that the basis for the current 
size of EPZs is valid for existing reactors and proposed new reactors. 
Furthermore, the Commission has reasonable assurance that adequate 
protective measures can and will be taken in the event of a 
radiological emergency at an existing nuclear power plant. For new 
reactors under construction and licensed to operate, the Commission has 
determined that subject to the required conditions and limitations of 
the full-power license, adequate protective measures can and will be 
taken in the event of a radiological emergency. Separate from this 
petition, as part of previously-approved research efforts associated 
with Tier 3 program plans, the NRC plans a long-term action involving 
EPZs. If these research activities indicate that changes need to be 
made to the existing EP regulations, the NRC will commence a rulemaking 
effort to make those changes.
    Because the Commission has decided that the petition does not 
present

[[Page 19519]]

sufficient information to warrant changing the size of EPZs or 
requiring licensees to include natural disasters in their EP exercises 
at this time, the NRC cannot consider this PRM in the rulemaking 
process. Therefore, the NRC is denying the petition under 10 CFR 2.803, 
``Determination of petition.''

IV. Availability of Documents

    The following table provides information on how to access the 
documents referenced in this document. For more information on 
accessing ADAMS, see the ADDRESSES section of this document.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Date                          Document            ADAMS accession No./  Federal Register citation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 1975......................  Reactor Safety Study: An    ML072350618.
                                     Assessment of Accident
                                     Risks in U.S. Commercial
                                     Nuclear Power Plants
                                     (WASH-1400 (NUREG-75/
                                     014)).
December 1978.....................  Planning Basis for the      ML051390356.
                                     Development of State and
                                     Local Government
                                     Radiological Emergency
                                     Response Plans in Support
                                     of Light Water Nuclear
                                     Power Plants (NUREG-0396).
October 23, 1979..................  Planning Basis for          44 FR 61123.
                                     Emergency Responses to
                                     Nuclear Power Reactor
                                     Accidents.
February 28, 1981.................  Functional Criteria for     ML051390358.
                                     Emergency Response
                                     Facilities (NUREG-0696).
July 6, 1984......................  Emergency Planning and      49 FR 27733.
                                     Preparedness.
May 8, 1985.......................  Emergency Planning and      50 FR 19323.
                                     Preparedness.
August 4, 1986....................  Safety Goals for the        51 FR 28044.
                                     Operations of Nuclear
                                     Power Plants; Policy
                                     Statement.
August 21, 1986...................  Safety Goals for the        51 FR 30028.
                                     Operation of Nuclear
                                     Power Plants; Policy
                                     Statement; Correction and
                                     Republication.
November 3, 1987..................  Evaluation of the Adequacy  52 FR 42078.
                                     of Off-Site Emergency
                                     Planning for Nuclear
                                     Power Plants at the
                                     Operating License Review
                                     Stage Where State and/or
                                     Local Governments Decline
                                     to Participate in Off-
                                     Site Emergency Planning.
April 30, 1989....................  Implications of the         ML082030501, ML082030502.
                                     Accident at Chernobyl for
                                     Safety Regulation of
                                     Commercial Nuclear Power
                                     Plants in the United
                                     States (NUREG-1251).
June 14, 1996.....................  Production and Utilization  61 FR 30129.
                                     Facilities; Emergency
                                     Planning and Preparedness
                                     Exercise Requirements.
January 19, 2001..................  Consideration of Potassium  66 FR 5427.
                                     Iodide in Emergency Plans.
February 28, 2001.................  Technical Study of Spent    ML010430066.
                                     Fuel Pool Accident Risk
                                     at Decommissioning
                                     Nuclear Power Plants
                                     (NUREG-1738).
August 20, 2003...................  Fact Sheet: NRC Review of   ML032320620.
                                     Paper on Reducing Hazards
                                     from Stored Spent Nuclear
                                     Fuel.
January 31, 2005..................  Identification and          ML050250245, ML050250219.
                                     Analysis of Factors
                                     Affecting Emergency
                                     Evacuations (NUREG/CR-
                                     6864).
July 18, 2005.....................  NRC Bulletin 2005-002:      ML051740058.
                                     Emergency Preparedness
                                     and Response Actions for
                                     Security-Based Events.
October 29, 2005..................  SECY-05-0202, Staff Review  ML052640532.
                                     of the National Academies
                                     Study of the Health Risks
                                     from Exposure to Low
                                     Levels of Ionizing
                                     Radiation (BEIR VII).
October 31, 2008..................  Assessment of Emergency     ML082960499.
                                     Response Planning and
                                     Implementation for Large
                                     Scale Evacuations (NUREG/
                                     CR-6981).
June 17, 2011.....................  Response Letter to Senator  ML11143A033.
                                     James Webb from Chairman
                                     Jaczko regarding NRC
                                     Evacuation
                                     Recommendations for the
                                     U.S. Residents within 50
                                     Miles of Fukushima
                                     Reactors.
July 12, 2011.....................  SECY-11-0093, Near-Term     ML11186A959.
                                     Report and
                                     Recommendations for
                                     Agency Actions Following
                                     the Events in Japan.
July 12, 2011.....................  Recommendations for         ML111861807.
                                     Enhancing Reactor Safety
                                     in the 21st Century, The
                                     Near-Term Task Force
                                     Review of Insights from
                                     the Fukushima Dai-ichi
                                     Accident.
September 9, 2011.................  SECY-11-0124, Recommended   ML11245A158.
                                     Actions to be Taken
                                     Without Delay from the
                                     Near-Term Task Force
                                     Report.
October 3, 2011...................  SECY-11-0137,               ML11272A111.
                                     Prioritization of
                                     Recommended Actions to be
                                     Taken in Response to
                                     Fukushima Lessons Learned.
October 18, 2011..................  Staff Requirements          ML112911571.
                                     Memorandum--SECY-11-0124-
                                     -Recommended Actions to
                                     be Taken Without Delay
                                     from the Near-Term Task
                                     Force Report.
November 20, 2011.................  Guidance for Protective     ML113010596.
                                     Action Strategies
                                     (Supplement 3 to NUREG-
                                     0654/FEMA-REP-1, Rev. 1).
November 28, 2011.................  Criteria for Development    ML113010515.
                                     of Evacuation Time
                                     Estimate Studies (NUREG/
                                     CR-7002).
January 31, 2012..................  State-of-the-Art Reactor    ML120250406.
                                     Consequence Analyses
                                     (SOARCA) Report, Draft
                                     Report for Comment (NUREG-
                                     1935).
February 15, 2012.................  Incoming Petition (PRM-50-  ML12048B004.
                                     104) from Mr. Michael
                                     Mariotte.
March 12, 2012....................  Order Modifying Licenses    ML12054A736.
                                     with Regard to
                                     Requirements for
                                     Mitigation Strategies for
                                     Beyond-Design-Basis
                                     External Events, NRC
                                     Order EA-12-049.

[[Page 19520]]

 
March 12, 2012....................  Order Modifying Licenses    ML12054A682.
                                     with Regard to Reliable
                                     Spent Fuel Pool
                                     Instrumentation, NRC
                                     Order EA-12-051.
March 12, 2012....................  Request for Information     ML12056A046.
                                     Pursuant to Title 10 of
                                     the Code of Federal
                                     Regulations 50.54(f)
                                     regarding Recommendations
                                     2.1, 2.3, and 9.3, of the
                                     Near-Term Task Force
                                     Review of Insights from
                                     the Fukushima Dai-ichi
                                     Accident.
April 25, 2012....................  SECY-12-0064,               ML121020108.
                                     Recommendations for
                                     Policy and Technical
                                     Direction to Revise
                                     Radiation Protection
                                     Regulations and Guidance.
April 30, 2012....................  Notice of Receipt of        ML120820212.
                                     Petition for Rulemaking
                                     and Request for Comment
                                     (77 FR 25375).
July 13, 2012.....................  SECY-12-0095, Tier 3        ML12208A208, ML12165A092, ML12165A093,
                                     Program Plans and 6-Month   ML12208A210.
                                     Status Update in Response
                                     to Lessons Learned from
                                     Japan's March 11, 2011,
                                     Great Tohoku Earthquake
                                     and Subsequent Tsunami.
September 13, 2012................  SECY-12-0123, Update on     ML12202B170.
                                     Staff Plans to Apply the
                                     Full-Scope Site Level 3
                                     PRA Project Results to
                                     the NRC's Regulatory
                                     Framework.
November 30, 2012.................  State-of-the-Art Reactor    ML12332A057, ML12332A058.
                                     Consequence Analyses
                                     (SOARCA) Report, Final
                                     Report (NUREG-1935).
December 17, 2012.................  SRM-SECY-12-0064,           ML12352A133.
                                     Recommendations for
                                     Policy and Technical
                                     Direction to Revise
                                     Radiation Protection
                                     Regulations and Guidance.
March 19, 2013....................  SRM-SECY-12-0157,           ML13078A017.
                                     Consideration of
                                     Additional Requirements
                                     for Containment Venting
                                     Systems for Boiling Water
                                     Reactors with Mark I and
                                     Mark II Containments.
June 6, 2013......................  Order Modifying Licenses    ML13143A321.
                                     with Regard to Reliable
                                     Hardened Containment
                                     Vents Capable of
                                     Operation Under Severe
                                     Accident Conditions, NRC
                                     Order EA-13-109.
October 9, 2013...................  Consequence Study of a      ML13256A342.
                                     Beyond-Design-Basis
                                     Earthquake Affecting the
                                     Spent Fuel Pool for a
                                     U.S. Mark I Boiling Water
                                     Reactor.
March 2014........................  Comment Response Document,  ML14042A227.
                                     Petition for Rulemaking
                                     to Expand Emergency
                                     Planning Zones, PRM-50-
                                     104.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of April, 2014.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2014-07981 Filed 4-8-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P