[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 194 (Friday, October 7, 2005)]
[Pages 58758-58760]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E5-5530]



[Docket No. 72-27]

Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Humboldt Bay Independent Spent 
Fuel Storage Installation; Issuance of Environmental Assessment and 
Finding of No Significant Impact Regarding a Proposed Exemption

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) is 
considering issuance of an exemption, pursuant to 10 CFR 72.7, from the 
provisions of 10 CFR 72.72(d) to Pacific

[[Page 58759]]

Gas and Electric Company (PG&E or applicant). The requested exemption 
would allow PG&E to maintain a single set of spent fuel, high-level 
radioactive waste, and reactor-related Greater than Class C (GTCC) 
waste records in accordance with the requirements of its NRC-approved 
Quality Assurance program, which satisfies the criteria of 10 CFR part 
50, Appendix B, for the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation 
(ISFSI) at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant (HBPP) in Humboldt County, 

Environmental Assessment (EA)

Identification of Proposed Action

    In its application for an ISFSI license, submitted on December 15, 
2003, PG&E requested an exemption from the requirement in 10 CFR 
72.72(d); which states in part that, ``Records of spent fuel, high-
level radioactive waste, and reactor-related GTCC waste containing 
special nuclear material meeting the requirements in paragraph (a) of 
this section must be kept in duplicate. The duplicate set of records 
must be kept at a separate location sufficiently remote from the 
original records that a single event would not destroy both sets of 
    The proposed action before the Commission is whether to grant this 
exemption pursuant to 10 CFR 72.7.

Need for the Proposed Action

    The applicant stated that ISFSI spent-fuel, high-level radioactive 
waste, and reactor-related GTCC waste records will be maintained in a 
manner consistent with the records of the HBPP, which are stored in 
accordance with the NRC-approved Quality Assurance (QA) program. The 
approved QA program for the HBPP complies with the requirements 
established in 10 CFR part 50, Appendix B, which incorporates by 
reference the specific recordkeeping requirements in 10 CFR 
50.71(d)(1). PG&E did not request exemption from the records retention 
period requirements of 10 CFR 72.72(d). The applicant seeks to provide 
consistency in recordkeeping practices for the records related to the 
proposed Humboldt Bay ISFSI and those records currently maintained 
under the HBPP QA program. The exemption would also preclude the need 
for PG&E to construct and operate a separate, second records storage 
facility to store a duplicate set of spent fuel, high-level radioactive 
waste, and reactor-related GTCC waste records.
    In its application, PG&E indicated that the NRC-approved QA program 
for the Diablo Canyon Power Plant will be applied to all Humboldt Bay 
ISFSI activities, and that program meets the provisions of ANSI 
N45.2.9-1974. The requirements in ANSI N45.2.9-1974 have been endorsed 
by the NRC as an acceptable method of satisfying the recordkeeping 
requirements of 10 CFR part 50, Appendix B, which states, in part, that 
``[c]onsistent with applicable regulatory requirements [including 10 
CFR 50.71(d)(1)], the applicant shall establish requirements concerning 
record retention, such as duration, location, and assigned 
responsibility.'' Further requirements for the maintenance of nuclear 
power plant records are provided in 10 CFR 50.71(d)(1), which states, 
in part, that, ``The licensee shall maintain adequate safeguards 
against tampering with and loss of records.'' ANSI N.45.2.9-1974 also 
satisfies the requirements of 10 CFR 72.72 by providing for adequate 
maintenance of records regarding the identity and history of the spent 
fuel in storage. Such records would be subject to, and need to be 
protected from, the same types of degradation mechanisms or loss as 
nuclear power plant Quality Assurance records.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    An exemption from the requirement to store a duplicate set of ISFSI 
records at a separate location has no impact on the environment. 
Storage of records does not change the methods by which spent fuel will 
be handled and stored at the HBPP ISFSI and does not affect the 
potential for radiological or non-radiological effluents associated 
with the ISFSI.

Alternative to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to the proposed action, the staff considered 
denial of the proposed action (i.e., the ``no-action'' alternative). 
Denial of the application would result in no change in current 
environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the proposed action 
and the alternative action are similar.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    On August 30, 2005, the NRC staff discussed the environmental 
assessment for the proposed action with Ms. Barbara Byron, Senior 
Nuclear Policy Advisor for the California Energy Commission (CEC). On 
September 14, 16, and 27, 2005, the staff provided additional details 
regarding the proposed storage of the Humboldt Bay ISFSI records, in 
response to Ms. Byron's requests for clarification. The CEC had no 
further comments on the EA. The NRC staff has determined that a 
consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is not 
required because the proposed action is administrative or procedural in 
nature and will not affect listed species or critical habitat. The NRC 
staff has also determined that the proposed action is not a type of 
activity having the potential to cause effects on historic properties 
because it is an administrative or procedural action. Therefore, no 
further consultation is required under Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    The environmental impacts of the proposed action have been reviewed 
in accordance with the requirements set forth in 10 CFR part 51. Based 
upon the foregoing EA, the Commission finds that the proposed action of 
granting the exemption from 10 CFR 72.72(d), so that PG&E may store 
spent fuel records for the proposed ISFSI in a single records storage 
facility, in accordance with its NRC-approved Quality Assurance program 
(which satisfies the criteria of 10 CFR part 50, Appendix B, and 10 CFR 
50.71(d)(1)), will not significantly impact the quality of the human 
environment. Accordingly, the Commission has determined that a Finding 
of No Significant Impact is appropriate, and that an environmental 
impact statement for the proposed exemption is not necessary.
    For further details with respect to this exemption request, see the 
PG&E ISFSI license application, and the accompanying Safety Analysis 
Report, dated December 15, 2003. The request for exemption was docketed 
under 10 CFR 72, Docket No. 72-27. In accordance with 10 CFR 2.390 of 
NRC's ``Rules of Practice,'' final NRC records and documents regarding 
this proposed action are publicly available in the records component of 
NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). These 
documents may be inspected at NRC's Public Electronic Reading Room at 
http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. These documents may also be 
viewed electronically on the public computers located at the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR), O1F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR reproduction contractor 
will copy documents for a fee. Persons who do not have access to ADAMS 
or who encounter problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, 
should contact the NRC PDR Reference staff by telephone at 1-800-397-
4209 or (301) 415-4737, or by e-mail to [email protected].

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    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 30th day of September, 2005.
    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
James R. Hall,
Senior Project Manager, Spent Fuel Project Office, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards.
 [FR Doc. E5-5530 Filed 10-6-05; 8:45 am]