[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 146 (Wednesday, July 30, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44213-44214]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-17969]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 50-295 and 50-304; NRC-2011-0145]


Zion Solutions, LLC; Zion Nuclear Power Station, Units 1 and 2; 
Exemption From Certain Requirements

1.0 Background

    Zion Nuclear Power Station (ZNPS) Units 1 and 2 were permanently 
shut down in February 1998, for economic reasons. On February 13, 1998, 
Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd), the ZNPS licensee at that time, 
submitted a letter certifying the permanent cessation of operations at 
ZNPS, Units 1 and 2 (Agencywide Documents and Access Management System 
(ADAMS) Accession No. 9802200407). On March 9, 1998, ComEd submitted a 
letter certifying the permanent removal of fuel from the reactor 
vessels at ZNPS (ADAMS Accession No. 9803110251). Pursuant to section 
50.82(a)(2) of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), 
upon docketing of the certification for permanent cessation of 
operations and permanent removal of fuel from the reactor vessels, the 
10 CFR part 50 license no longer authorizes operation of the reactor or 
emplacement or retention of fuel into the reactor vessel. On May 4, 
2009, the NRC issued the order to transfer the ownership of the 
permanently shut down ZNPS facility, and responsibility for its 
decommissioning to ZionSolutions (ZS), a subsidiary of EnergySolutions 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML090930037). This transfer was effectuated on 
September 1, 2010 (ADAMS Accession No. ML102290437). ZS was established 
solely for the purpose of acquiring and decommissioning the ZNPS 
facility for release for unrestricted use, while transferring the spent 
nuclear fuel and Greater-Than-Class C (GTCC) radioactive waste to the 
ZNPS Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI).
    Section 50.82(a)(8)(i)(A) states that decommissioning trust funds 
may be used by licensees if the withdrawals are for expenses for 
legitimate decommissioning activities consistent with the definition of 
decommissioning in 10 CFR 50.2. The definition of decommissioning in 10 
CFR 50.2 reads as follows:

    ``to remove a facility or site safely from service and reduce 
residual radioactivity to a level that permits--
    (1) Release of the property for unrestricted use and termination 
of the license; or
    (2) Release of the property under restricted conditions and 
termination of the license.''

    Similar to 10 CFR 50.82(a)(8)(i)(A), provisions of 10 CFR 
50.75(h)(1)(iv) and (h)(2) dictate that, with certain exceptions, 
disbursements from nuclear decommissioning trusts ``are restricted to 
decommissioning expenses.'' However, in accord with 10 CFR 50.75(h)(5), 
these provisions do not apply to ``any licensee that as of December 24, 
2003, has existing license conditions relating to decommissioning trust 
agreements, so long as the licensee does not elect to amend those 
license conditions.'' The operating licenses for ZNPS included 
``existing license conditions relating to decommissioning trust 
agreements'' on December 24, 2003, and as such, ZNPS is exempt from the 
provisions of paragraphs (h)(1) through (h)(3) of the regulations in 10 
CFR 50.75, pursuant to the terms of 10 CFR 50.75(h)(5).

2.0 Request/Action

    On June 4, 2013, (ADAMS Accession No. ML13157A05), ZS, pursuant to 
10 CFR 50.12, ``Specific Exemptions,'' submitted a request for an 
exemption from 10 CFR 50.82(a)(8)(i)(A), for the ZNPS. According to the 
licensee, the proposed exemptions would confirm ZS's authorization to 
use funds from the nuclear decommissioning trusts for irradiated fuel 
management, consistent with the ZNPS updated Irradiated Fuel Management 
Plan and Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR).

3.0 Discussion

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, ``Specific exemptions,'' the Commission 
may grant exemptions from the regulations in part 50 either upon 
application by any interested person or on its own initiative, if it 
determines the exemptions are authorized by law, will not present an 
undue risk to the public health and safety, and are consistent with the 
common defense and security, and special circumstances are present.
    The proposed exemptions would not result in a violation of the 
Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or the Commission's regulations. 
Therefore, the exemption is authorized by law.
    The underlying purpose of 10 CFR 50.82(a)(8)(i)(A) is to provide 
reasonable assurance that adequate funds will be available for 
decommissioning of power reactors within 60 years of permanent 
cessation of operations. Based on the site-specific cost estimate and 
the cash flow analysis, the use of the nuclear decommissioning trusts 
funds in the proposed manner will not adversely impact ZS's ability to 
complete the prompt radiological decommissioning of the ZNPS site and 
ultimately to terminate the ZNPS licenses within 60 years, consistent 
with the schedule and costs contained in the ZNPS's PSDAR. Therefore, 
the underlying purpose of the regulation will continue to be met. Since 
the underlying purpose of the rule will continue to be met, the 
exemption will not present an undue risk to the public health and 
safety.
    Section 50.82(a)(8)(i)(A) could limit the withdrawal of funds from 
the nuclear decommissioning trusts for activities directly associated 
with irradiated fuel management until the ZNPS licenses have been 
terminated. However, the ZNPS licenses cannot be terminated unless the 
irradiated fuel is managed until such time that the U.S. Department of 
Energy takes possession of the irradiated fuel. Moreover, the site-
specific decommissioning cost analysis demonstrates that adequate funds 
are reasonably available in the nuclear decommissioning trusts to both 
manage the irradiated fuel and to complete all decommissioning and 
decontamination activities, including the activities necessary to 
proceed down the path toward ultimate license termination. 
Additionally, the NRC has already acknowledged the accumulation of non-
NRC dedicated funds in the nuclear decommissioning trust funds in the 
safety evaluation report (SER) for the ZNPS license transfer to ZS. 
Finally, additional assurances have been provided to assure the 
availability of funds for radiological decontamination and 
decommissioning, including a $200 million irrevocable letter of credit 
with the JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. The adequacy of the nuclear 
decommissioning trusts to cover the cost of activities associated with 
the different elements of decommissioning (including the irradiated 
fuel management) is supported by a site-specific decommissioning cost 
analysis. Based on the above, special circumstances are present.
    The NRC staff finds that the use of the nuclear decommissioning 
trusts as contemplated by the Irradiated Fuel

[[Page 44214]]

Management Plan and PSDAR will not adversely affect ZS's ability to 
physically secure the site or protect special nuclear material. 
Security plan changes to accommodate the movement of the irradiated 
fuel to the ISFSI were approved by the NRC on December 12, 2013, (ADAMS 
ML13310C058) consistent with the Irradiated Fuel Management Plan and 
PSDAR. Therefore, the proposed exemptions are consistent with the 
common defense and security.
    The NRC staff finds that the proposed exemptions would confirm the 
availability for use of the nuclear decommissioning trust funds for 
irradiated fuel management activities in accordance with the ZNPS 
updated Irradiated Fuel Management Plan required by 10 CFR 50.54(bb) as 
well as the PSDAR. The NRC staff finds that there is reasonable 
assurance that adequate funds are available in the nuclear 
decommissioning trusts to complete all activities associated with 
license termination and irradiated fuel management. There is no 
decrease in safety associated with the nuclear decommissioning trusts 
being used to fund activities associated with irradiated fuel 
management.
    These conclusions are discussed further in the staff's SER. (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML14030A602).

4.0 Conclusion

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
50.12, an exemption is authorized by law, will not present an undue 
risk to the public health and safety, is consistent with the common 
defense and security, and that special circumstances are present. 
Therefore, the Commission hereby grants Zion Solutions an exemption 
from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.82(a)(8)(i)(A) to authorize ZS to 
use nuclear decommissioning trust funds to manage irradiated fuel in 
accordance with the updated Irradiated Fuel Management Plan and PSDAR.
    Pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25), the Commission has determined the 
granting of this exemption is categorically excluded, and pursuant to 
10 CFR 51.22(b), no environmental impact statement or environmental 
assessment need be prepared. The exemption involves surety 
requirements, as described in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(vi)(H). Approval of 
this exemption request involves no significant hazards consideration; 
no significant change in the types or significant increase in the 
amounts of any effluents that may be released offsite; no significant 
increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation 
exposure; no significant construction impact; and no significant 
increase in the potential for or consequences from radiological 
accidents. These exemptions are effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of July 2014.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Andrew Persinko,
Deputy Director, Decommissioning and Uranium Recovery, Licensing 
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
Programs.
[FR Doc. 2014-17969 Filed 7-29-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P