[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 178 (Friday, September 13, 2013)]
[Pages 56750-56752]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-22323]




Interim Staff Guidance on Environmental Issues Associated With 
New Reactors

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Draft interim staff guidance; request for comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff is issuing 
for use of, and to solicit public comment on, draft Interim Staff 
Guidance (ISG) ESP/COL-ISG-026, ``Interim Staff Guidance on 
Environmental Issues

[[Page 56751]]

Associated with New Reactors.'' The purpose of this ISG is to clarify 
the NRC guidance and application of NUREG 1555, ``Standard Review Plans 
for Environmental Reviews for Nuclear Power Plants,'' (NRC 2000) 
regarding the assessment of construction impacts, greenhouse gas and 
climate change, socioeconomics, environmental justice, need for power, 
alternatives, cumulative impact, and cultural/historical resources as 
part of the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements for early 
site permit (ESP) and combined license (COL) applications.

DATES: Submit comments by October 15, 2013. Comments received after 
this date will be considered, if it is practical to do so, but the 
Commission is able to ensure consideration only for comments received 
on or before this date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
(unless this document describes a different method for submitting 
comments on a specific subject):
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2013-0212. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-287-
3442; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individual(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section 
of this document.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: 3WFN-06-44M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.
    For additional direction on accessing information and submitting 
comments, see ``Accessing Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jonathan DeGange, Office of New 
Reactors, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001; telephone at 301-415-6992 or email at Jonathan.DeGange@nrc.gov.


I. Accessing Information and Submitting Comments

A. Accessing Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2013-0212 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information regarding this document. You may 
access publicly-available information related to this document by any 
of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2013-0212.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in the NRC 
Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the 
search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin Web-
based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-
4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number 
for each document referenced in this document (if that document is 
available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is 
referenced. In addition, for the convenience of the reader, the ADAMS 
accession numbers are provided in a table in the section of this 
document entitled, Availability of Documents.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.
     The agency posts its issued staff guidance in the agency 
external Web page (http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/isg).

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2013-0212 in the subject line of your 
comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make 
your comment submission available to the public in this docket.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your 
comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into 
ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove 
identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove such information before making the comment submissions available 
to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

                        Availability of Documents
     ADAMS Accession No.                     Document title
ML13045A090..................  Federal Register Notice: Draft Interim
                                Staff Guidance on Environmental Issues
                                Associated with New Reactors.
ML12326A742..................  Interim Staff Guidance-026, Environmental
                                Issues Associated with New Reactors.
ML12326A811..................  ISG-026, Attachment 1--Staff Guidance for
                                Greenhouse Gas and Climate Change
ML12326A895..................  ISG-026, Attachment 2--Staff Guidance for
                                Socioeconomics and Environmental
ML12326A960..................  ISG-026, Attachment 3--Staff Guidance for
                                Cultural and Historical Resources.
ML12328A065..................  ISG-026, Attachment 4--Staff Guidance for
                                Cumulative Impacts.
ML12328A073..................  ISG-026, Attachment 5--Staff Guidance for
                                Need for Power.
ML12328A075..................  ISG-026, Attachment 6--Staff Guidance for

    The NRC staff issues ESP/COL-ISGs to facilitate timely 
implementation of current staff guidance and to facilitate activities 
associated with review of applications for ESPs, design certifications, 
and COLs by the Office of New Reactors. The NRC staff intends to 
incorporate the final approved ESP/COL-ISG-026 into the next revision 
of the Environmental Standard Review Plan and related guidance 
Backfitting and Issue Finality
    The guidance in draft ISG-026 would clarify how the NRC would apply 
the guidance in the Environmental Standard Review Plan (ESRP) to 
environmental reviews for applications for COL and ESP applicants. 
Issuance of this draft ISG, if finalized, would not constitute 
backfitting as defined in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(10 CFR) 50.109 (the Backfit Rule), or which should be regarded as 
backfitting under Commission and Executive Director for

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Operations guidance, and would not otherwise be inconsistent with the 
issue finality provisions in 10 CFR part 52. The staff's position is 
based upon the following considerations.
    1. The draft ISG positions, if finalized, do not constitute 
backfitting, inasmuch as the ESRP is internal guidance to NRC staff.
    The ISG provides interim guidance to the staff on how to review an 
application for NRC regulatory approval in the form of licensing. 
Changes in internal staff guidance are not matters for which either 
nuclear power plant applicants or licensees are protected under either 
the Backfit Rule or the issue finality provisions of 10 CFR part 52.
    2. Backfitting and issue finality do not--with limited exceptions 
not applicable here--protect current or future applicants.
    Applicants are not, with certain exceptions, protected by either 
the Backfit Rule or any issue finality provisions under 10 CFR part 52. 
This is because neither the Backfit Rule nor the issue finality 
provisions under 10 CFR part 52--with certain exclusions discussed 
below--were intended to apply every NRC action which substantially 
changes the expectations of current and future applicants.
    The exceptions to the general principle are applicable whenever an 
applicant references a 10 CFR part 52 license (e.g., an early site 
permit) and/or NRC regulatory approval (e.g., a design certification 
rule) with specified issue finality provisions. The staff does not, at 
this time, intend to impose the positions represented in the draft ISG 
section (if finalized) in a manner that is inconsistent with any issue 
finality provisions. If, in the future, the staff seeks to impose a 
position in the draft ISG section (if finalized) in a manner which does 
not provide issue finality as described in the applicable issue 
finality provision, then the staff must address the criteria for 
avoiding issue finality as described applicable issue finality 
Congressional Review Act
    This ISG is a rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act (5 
U.S.C 801-808). However, the Office of Management and Budget has not 
found it to be a major rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 5th day of September 2013.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Joseph Colaccino,
Chief, Policy Branch, Division of Advanced Reactor and Rulemaking, 
Office of New Reactors.
[FR Doc. 2013-22323 Filed 9-12-13; 8:45 am]