[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 243 (Tuesday, December 20, 2005)]
[Pages 75485-75486]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E5-7544]



[Docket No. 50-382]

Entergy Operations, Inc.; Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 
3; Exemption

1.0 Background

    Entergy Operations, Inc. (the licensee) is the holder of Facility 
Operating License No. NPF-38 which authorizes operation of Waterford 
Steam Electric Station, Unit 3 (Waterford 3). The license provides, 
among other things, that the facility is subject to all rules, 
regulations, and orders of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, 
the Commission) now or hereafter in effect.
    The facility consists of one pressurized-water reactor located in 
St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.

2.0 Request/Action

    Sections IV.F.2.b and c of Appendix E, to Title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 50 require the licensee at each site 
to conduct an exercise of its onsite emergency plan and of its offsite 
emergency plans biennially with full or partial participation by each 
offsite authority having a role under the offsite plan. During such 
biennial exercises, the NRC evaluates onsite and the Federal Emergency 
Management Agency (FEMA) evaluates offsite emergency preparedness 
activities, including interaction with the various State and local 
emergency management agencies. The licensee successfully conducted a 
full-participation emergency preparedness exercise on May 21, 2003, and 
it was evaluated by the NRC and FEMA.
    The licensee had scheduled a plume exposure pathway exercise for 
December 7, 2005. However, due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the 
State of Louisiana was unable to support the exercise. Under the 
current regulations, the licensee would have had until December 31, 
2005, to complete its next biennial full or partial-participation 
emergency preparedness exercises consisting of both onsite and offsite 
exercises. By letter dated October 24, 2005, the licensee requested an 
exemption from Section IV.F.2.c of Appendix E to 10 CFR part 50. Though 
not referenced in the licensee's request, the NRC staff has determined 
that an exemption from Section IV.F.2.b of Appendix E to 10 CFR part 50 
is also necessary, since the last full participation onsite exercise 
was completed on May 21, 2003. The licensee commits to conduct the next 
biennial full participation emergency preparedness exercise on June 28, 
2006. Future onsite and offsite exercises will be scheduled biennially 
from the year 2005.

3.0 Discussion

    The Commission, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12(a)(1), may grant 
exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR Part 50 that are authorized 
by law, will not present an undue risk to public health and safety, and 
are consistent with the common defense and security. The Commission, 
however, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2), will not consider granting an 
exemption unless special circumstances are present. Under 10 CFR 
50.12(a)(2)(ii), special circumstances are present when application of 
the regulation in the particular circumstances would not serve the 
underlying purpose of the rule or is not necessary to achieve the 
underlying purpose of the rule. Under 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(v), special 
circumstances are present whenever the exemption would provide only 
temporary relief from the applicable regulation and the licensee or 
applicant has made good faith efforts to comply with the regulation.
    The underlying purposes for conducting a biennial exercise are to 
ensure that emergency organization personnel are familiar with their 
duties and to test the adequacy of emergency plans. In order to 
accommodate the scheduling of exercises, the NRC has allowed licensees 
to schedule the exercises at any time during the calendar biennium. 
Conducting the Waterford 3 exercise in calendar year 2006 places the 
exercise past the previously scheduled biennial calendar year of 2005.
    Since the last exercise conducted at Waterford 3 on May 21, 2003, 
Waterford 3 has conducted two emergency response team tabletops (site 
drills without state or parish participation) on August 8 and December 
9, 2003, and Waterford 3 site-wide drills (which includes state and 
parish participation) on March 11, June 17, September 30, and December 
2, 2004, and February 17, and August 4, 2005. The licensee also states:

    Emergency response team tabletops are conducted prior to each 
site-wide drill. The local parishes had limited participation 
(communication only) in each of the site-wide drills. The Louisiana 
Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness also 
participated to a limited extent (communications only) in these 
drills. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 
participated in all the site-wide drills by manning the Waterford 3 
Emergency Operations Facility and the Emergency News Center. The NRC 
and FEMA did not participate in any of the tabletops or site-wide 
drills. Although these drills were not evaluated by NRC and FEMA, 
the results were critiqued by the drill participants, our emergency 
response organization, and the parish and state officials who 
participated in the drills. The drills were also evaluated by our 
Quality Assurance Department. An emergency preparedness medical 
drill at Ochsner Medical Center (Ochsner) took place on July 23, 
2003, and FEMA evaluated a medical drill at Ochsner on August 6, 
2003. Issues identified during all emergency preparedness drills and 
in the critiques that follow all the drills have been resolved or 
are being resolved under our corrective action program.

The Waterford 3 emergency response, along with the parish and state 
emergency response, were further tested

[[Page 75486]]

as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Many of the elements of the Waterford 
3 emergency response were implemented in the preparation, response, and 
restoration efforts for Hurricane Katrina. This includes activation of 
the Waterford 3, parish and state emergency response organizations, 
evacuation and re-entry of the population, environmental sampling, and 
assisting Waterford 3 in the plans for restart of the unit.
    The NRC staff considers the intent of the regulatory requirement is 
met by having conducted these series of drills and the emergency 
response to Hurricane Katrina. The NRC staff considers that these 
measures are adequate to maintain an acceptable level of emergency 
preparedness during this period, satisfying the underlying purposes of 
the rule. Therefore, the special circumstances of 10 CFR 
50.12(a)(2)(ii) are satisfied. In addition, the staff has concluded 
that the above drills and exercises provide adequate protection of the 
public health and safety and are consistent with the common defense and 
    Only temporary relief from the regulation is provided by the 
requested exemption, since Waterford 3 will resume their normal 
biennial exercise schedule in 2007. The licensee has made a good faith 
effort to comply with the regulation. The exemption is being sought by 
the licensee in response to a request by the State of Louisiana to 
postpone the exercise. Louisiana was unable to support the original 
schedule for the exercise due to a series of severe weather events. 
FEMA, in its letter dated October 14, 2005, to the State of Louisiana, 
stated, ``* * * we concur that the Waterford-3 Radiological Emergency 
Preparedness (REP) Exercise currently scheduled for December 7, 2005, * 
* * should be postponed due to the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and 
Rita on the local infrastructure * * *.''
    The NRC staff, having considered the schedule and resource issues 
with those agencies that participate in and evaluate the offsite 
portion of the exercises, concludes that the licensee made a good faith 
effort to meet the requirements of the regulation. The NRC staff, 
therefore, concludes that the exemption request meets the special 
circumstances of 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(v) and should be granted.

4.0 Conclusion

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
50.12(a), the exemption is authorized by law, will not present an undue 
risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent with the common 
defense and security. Additionally, special circumstances are present, 
which make conducting the exercise impracticable in 2005, and which 
allow the underlying purposes of the regulation to be served with a 
postponement. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants Entergy 
Operations, Inc. an exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR part 50, 
Appendix E, Sections IV.F.2.b and c for Waterford 3.
    Pursuant to 10 CFR 51.32, the Commission has determined that the 
granting of this exemption will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment (70 FR 73311).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 13th day of December, 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Catherine Haney,
Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E5-7544 Filed 12-19-05; 8:45 am]