[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 40 (Tuesday, March 3, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 9178-9180]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-4444]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 40 / Tuesday, March 3, 2009 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 9178]]


10 CFR Part 72

[Docket No. PRM-72-6]; [NRC-2008-0649]

C-10 Research and Education Foundation, Inc.; Receipt of Petition 
for Rulemaking

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; Notice of receipt.


SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received and 
requests public comment on a petition for rulemaking dated November 24, 
2008, filed by the C-10 Research and Education Foundation, Inc. 
(petitioner). The petition was docketed by the NRC and has been 
assigned Docket No. PRM-72-6. The petitioner is requesting that the NRC 
amend the regulations that govern licensing requirements for the 
independent storage of spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive 
waste, and reactor-related greater than class C waste. The petitioner 
believes that the current regulations do not provide sufficient 
requirements for safe storage of spent nuclear fuel in dry cask storage 
or in independent spent fuel storage installations (ISFSIs). The 
petitioner states that the NRC does not adequately enforce the current 
regulations that govern dry cask storage by allowing manufacturers, 
vendors, and licensees to use alternatives to the American Society of 
Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code. The petitioner also states that the 
NRC has not specified license requirements for multiple cask designs 
under different expiration dates at the same ISFSI, has not adequately 
considered age-related degradation of dry cask systems, and has no 
requirements in place to address sabotage and adverse environmental 
effects on ISFSIs and current and future dry cask storage systems.

DATES: Submit comments by May 18, 2009. Comments received after this 
date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but assurance of 
consideration cannot be given except as to comments received on or 
before this date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this petition by any one of the 
following methods. Please include PRM-72-6 in the subject line of your 
comments. Comments on petitions submitted in writing or in electronic 
form will be made available for public inspection. Personal 
information, such as your name, address, telephone number, e-mail 
address, etc., will not be removed from your submission.
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
search for documents filed under Docket ID [NRC-2008-0649]. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher, 301-492-3668; e-mail 
[email protected].
    Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff. 
E-mail comments to: [email protected]. If you do not receive 
a reply e-mail confirming that we have received your comments, contact 
us directly at 301-415-1677.
    Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 
20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. Federal workdays, telephone 
number 301-415-1677.
    Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 
    Publicly available documents related to this petition may be viewed 
electronically on the public computers located at the NRC's Public 
Document Room (PDR), Room O1 F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland. The PDR reproduction contractor 
will copy documents for a fee. Selected documents, including comments, 
may be viewed and downloaded electronically via the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal http://www.regulations.gov.
    Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC, are 
available electronically at the NRC's Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this page, the public can gain 
entry into the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS), which provides text and image files of NRC's public documents. 
If you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems in 
accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC PDR Reference 
staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737 or by e-mail to 
[email protected].
    For a copy of the petition, write to Michael T. Lesar, Chief, 
Rulemaking, Directives and Editing Branch, Division of Administrative 
Services, Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001. The petition is also available 
electronically in ADAMS at ML083470148.

Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555. Telephone: 301-492-3663 or Toll-Free: 1-800-368-5642 or E-mail: 
[email protected].



    The NRC has received a petition for rulemaking dated November 24, 
2008, submitted by Sandra Gavutis on behalf of the C-10 Research and 
Education Foundation, Inc. (petitioner). The petitioner requests that 
the NRC amend 10 CFR Part 72, ``Licensing Requirements for the 
Independent Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level Radioactive 
Waste, and Reactor-Related Greater than Class C Waste.'' The petitioner 
requests that Part 72 be amended to require licensees to strictly 
adhere to ASME code requirements for design and use of spent fuel 
storage casks. The petitioner also requests that 10 CFR 72.42 be 
amended to clarify requirements for ``renewal'' and ``reapproval'' of 
certificates of compliance (CoCs) of spent fuel storage casks and to 
address license requirements for multiple cask designs under different 
expiration dates at the same ISFSI. The petitioner is also concerned 
that NRC requirements allow 20-year CoCs for spent fuel storage casks 
to be arbitrarily extended up to 60 years without adequate evaluation 
for protection of public health and safety. The petitioner also states 
that the NRC does not require control systems for dry cask storage 
systems at ISFSIs and that the NRC allows licensees numerous exemptions 
from design and construction requirements for dry cask storage systems 
that result in unresolved

[[Page 9179]]

fabrication and performance issues. The petitioner is also concerned 
that the requirements for spent fuel storage casks do not adequately 
consider or address long term degradation of casks. Lastly, the 
petitioner states that NRC regulations do not adequately specify 
requirements for protection of ISFSIs and dry storage casks systems 
from terrorist attacks or environmental elements.
    The NRC has determined that the petition meets the threshold 
sufficiency requirements for a petition for rulemaking under 10 CFR 
2.802. The petition was docketed by the NRC as PRM-72-6 on December 11, 
2008. The NRC is soliciting public comment on the petition for 

Discussion of the Petition

    The petitioner states that because the Federal Government for over 
50 years has not resolved the long-term need to protect the public from 
exposure to irradiated nuclear fuel by creating a permanent high-level 
waste repository, the States will inherit the responsibility to store 
spent nuclear fuel indefinitely. The petitioner believes that the NRC 
is proposing to change the Nuclear Waste Confidence rule so there is no 
deadline for storage of spent nuclear fuel and that current NRC 
regulations are inadequate and not properly enforced. The petitioner 
states that the NRC allows licensees of dry cask storage systems to use 
alternatives to ASME Code requirements and grants numerous exemptions 
to cask designs instead of requiring strict compliance with current 
ASME Code requirements. The petitioner states that required design 
specifications have not been updated because no current complete 
studies exist.
    The petitioner also states that the renewal process for spent fuel 
cask designs in 10 CFR Part 72 is unclear. Specifically, the petitioner 
states that Sec.  72.42(a) clearly specifies that the initial term for 
a site-specific ISFSI must be for a fixed term not to exceed 20 years 
from the date of issuance. The petitioner states that an application 
for reapproval of a spent fuel storage cask design implies that the NRC 
would reevaluate the design basis of the original cask design with 
current standards and code requirements for the 20-year CoC storage 
cask license. The petitioner believes that current NRC practice under 
Sec.  72.42 uses the term ``renewal'' which implies that the design 
requirements remain the same as in the original CoC and ``simply 
replaces the original license.'' The petitioner states that the NRC has 
no clear requirements that distinguish between ``renewal'' versus 
``reapproval'' and has not addressed what the license requirements are 
for multiple cask designs under different expiration dates at the same 
    The petitioner is also concerned that the NRC arbitrarily extends 
CoCs for spent fuel casks beyond the 20-year term up to 60 years 
without evaluating technical data or regulatory implications to 
adequately protect public health and safety. The petitioner's chief 
concerns are that NRC requirements have not been updated; manufacture 
of spent fuel storage casks is not consistent with ASME Code 
requirements; ISFSIs are not required to be built to withstand a 
terrorist attack; and that spent fuel storage casks are not safeguarded 
against accidents, adverse weather-related events, and leakage caused 
by age-related degradation.
    The petitioner states that although the NRC has determined that 
spent fuel storage casks design and construction is as important as 
that of a reactor vessel, the NRC makes distinctions between wet and 
dry storage requirements. The petitioner cites Sec.  72.122(i) as an 
example that requires instrumentation and control systems be provided 
to specifically monitor and control heat removal, but states that the 
NRC does not require control systems for dry cask storage systems at 
ISFSIs. The petitioner also notes that Sec.  72.124(b) requires 
specific methods for criticality control but that the NRC has concluded 
that the potentially corrosive environment in wet storage conditions 
does not apply to dry storage systems. The petitioner notes that in 
1998 the NRC determined that because air and moisture are removed from 
dry storage casks and replaced with helium, the spent nuclear fuel is 
then inert and there is no reasonable basis to assume degradation will 
occur. ``Miscellaneous Changes to Licensing Requirements for the 
Independent Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive 
Waste'' (63 FR 31364, 31365; June 9, 1998). However, the petitioner 
states that this determination is refuted by the May 1996 incident at 
Point Beach, evidence from the reactor vessel inner seal failures at 
the Surry facility, and NRC reports of corrosion resulting from salt 
water air at other reactor sites.
    The petitioner also states that vital adequate technical radiation 
and heat monitoring data is not included in the regulations that govern 
dry storage casks and that this data is needed to protect nuclear 
workers and the public, and for future dry cask design and fabrication. 
The petitioner is also concerned that a lack of vendor compliance with 
ASME Code design requirements exists and that the NRC has allowed 
exemptions to vendors. The petitioner states that the NRC's remedy for 
this situation has been to simultaneously cite vendors and 
manufacturers with numerous violations and later approve repeated 
corrective actions. The petitioner believes that dry cask design, 
fabrication, and performance issues remain unresolved by this practice.
    The petitioner states that limited data exists to determine the 
extent of the long-term degradation of dry storage casks and the fuel 
cladding of the fuel in some dry cask designs. The petitioner notes 
that the NRC did support a research program, ``The Dry Cask Storage 
Characterization Project'' conducted at the Idaho National Engineering 
and Environmental Laboratory; but that this study was never completed 
because it was cancelled 15 years into the planned 20-year study 
timeframe. According to the petitioner, this study revealed that 
degradation of stored fuel was present when a dry cask at the Surry 
facility was opened, but the NRC reported that the condition of the 
stored fuel was acceptable. The petitioner believes that the study's 
inconsistencies did not provide conclusive data for either the cask 
integrity or condition of the stored spent fuel.
    The petitioner also cites a videotape provided by the Union of 
Concerned Scientists of an incident at the Point Beach facility; a copy 
of the videotape was included with the petition. The petitioner states 
that the video shows that the adverse effects of chemical reactions in 
a cask could cause heat build up within the cask. The petitioner 
suggests that a sampling of dry casks certified by the NRC should be 
opened periodically and studied for at least 60 years because the NRC 
has permitted extension of 20-year dry cask licenses up to 60 years.
    The petitioner lists the following technical concerns regarding dry 
storage casks: failure of cask materials over long periods of time; 
inadequate ability to observe and detect those failures because there 
is no active maintenance in place; difficulty assessing some 
construction materials for long-term integrity; lack of a formal aging 
management program; lack of dose rate and heat monitoring for increased 
heat and radiation levels on ISFSIs and individual casks; and 
vulnerability to weather-related deterioration and sabotage; and ISFSIs 
and dry casks are outdoors in plain sight (unlike reactor vessels and 
spent fuel pools) and are not designed to withstand various terrorist 
attack scenarios. The casks are the only barrier between radioactive 
nuclear fuel

[[Page 9180]]

and the public and the environment while reactor vessels are in a 
containment building in a controlled environment with a trained team of 
operators, inspectors, and maintenance staff.
    The petitioner suggests that the NRC regulations be amended as 
    (1) Prohibit dry storage cask systems that do not meet NRC 
certification requirements from being produced under what the 
petitioner states is industry pressure to ``accept-as-is.''
    (2) Base certification of casks on code requirements to include 
design criteria and technical specifications on a 100-year timeframe 
instead of the current 20-year design specification that the petitioner 
views as inadequate. The petitioner also suggests that the NRC conduct 
a regulatory review of an in-depth technical evaluation for public 
comment at the 20 year CoC reapproval interval to address cask 
deterioration issues.
    (3) Approve a method for dry cask transfer capacity as part of the 
original ISFSI certification process and construction license that will 
allow for immediate and safe maintenance on a faulty or failing cask. 
The petitioner states that stored irradiated fuel in dry casks 
approaches approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit while the irradiated 
waste storage pool water is kept at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The 
petitioner subsequently asserts that the re-submersion of dry casks and 
resultant steam flash threaten workers, and may thermally shock the 
irradiated nuclear fuel rods. The petitioner also states that the 
ability to perform maintenance safely should be a regulatory priority 
and that procedures to act promptly in an emergency situation and 
safely transfer spent fuel must be outlined in NRC regulations.
    (4) Ensure that dry casks are qualified for transport at the time 
of onsite storage approval certification. The petitioner states that 
transport capacity of shipment offsite must be required if an 
environmental emergency occurs or for security purposes to an 
alternative storage location or repository as part of the approval 
criteria. The petitioner suggests that Chapter 1 of the NRC's Standard 
Review Plan (NUREG 1567) should clearly define the transport 
requirements in Sec. Sec.  72.122(i), 72.236(h), and 72.236(m).
    (5) Specify that the most current ASME codes and standards be 
adopted for all spent fuel storage containers with no exceptions. The 
petitioner states that the NRC should no longer issue ``justifications 
and compensatory measures'' for ASME codes or allow the industry to 
design or manufacture casks that conform to safety regulations to ``the 
maximum extent practical'' instead of actual ASME Code requirements. 
The petitioner also states that ASME Code requirements should be 
enforced unconditionally, with no exceptions or exemptions.
    (6) Require ASME code stamping for fabrication, which would specify 
that an ASME-certified nuclear inspector, who is independent from the 
manufacturer and vendor, must be onsite at the fabrication plant. The 
petitioner also suggests that code stamping activities be subject to 
unannounced NRC inspections.
    (7) Require that all fabrication materials be supplied by ASME-
approved material suppliers who are certificate holders. The petitioner 
is concerned that if a supplier who is not certified is used, material 
certification under the NG/NF-2130 ASME standard is not possible and 
means that material traceability is not achieved.
    (8) Require that the current ASME Codes and standards for 
conservative heat treatment and light tightness are adopted and 
    (9) Require a safe and secure hot cell transfer station coupled 
with an auxiliary pool to be built as part of an upgraded ISFSI 
certification and licensing process. The petitioner states that the 
licensee must have a dry cask transfer capability for maintenance and 
during emergency situations after decommissioning for as long as the 
spent fuel remains on site.
    (10) Require real-time heat and radiation monitoring at ISFSIs at 
all nuclear power plant sites and storage facilities that are not 
located at reactor sites maintained by the utilities and that the 
monitoring data be transmitted in real-time to affected State health, 
safety, and environmental regulators.
    (11) Require what the petitioner describes as ``Hardened Onsite 
Storage'' to fortify ISFSIs and dry casks from terrorist attacks. The 
petitioner cites a study by the National Academy of Sciences entitled, 
``Safety and Security of Commercial Nuclear Fuel Storage,'' supported 
by the NRC (Grant No. NRC-04-04-067). According to the petitioner, this 
study states that the NRC should upgrade the requirements in 10 CFR 
Part 72 for dry casks, specifically to improve resistance to terrorist 
attacks. The petitioner also quotes from a paper describing the 
potential of terrorist attacks on dry casks by Gordon Thompson, the 
Director of the Institute for Resource and Security, entitled, 
``Assessing Risks of Potential Malicious Actions at Commercial Nuclear 
Facilities: A Case of a Proposed ISFSI at Diablo Canyon Site'' (June 
27, 2007): ``the dry cask storage modules used at ISFSIs are not 
designed to resist attack. At all recently established ISFSIs in the 
USA, spent fuel is contained in metal canisters with a wall thickness 
of about 1.6 cm. Each canister is surrounded by a concrete over pack, 
but the over pack is penetrated by channels that allow cooling of the 
canister by convective flow of air. Attackers gaining access to an 
ISFSI could employ readily available skills and explosives to penetrate 
a canister in a manner that allows free flow to the spent fuel, and 
could use incendiary devices to initiate burning of fuel cladding, 
leading to a release of radioactive material to the atmosphere.''
    (12) Establish funding to conduct ongoing studies to evaluate the 
effects of age-related material degradation on dry casks and to assess 
the structural integrity of the casks and fuel cladding. The petitioner 
has stated that these studies would gather the data necessary for the 
management of future damage and to determine design specifications for 
future irradiated nuclear waste storage.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 25th day of February 2009.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
 [FR Doc. E9-4444 Filed 3-2-09; 8:45 am]