[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 227 (Friday, November 27, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 62257-62259]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-28380]



10 CFR Part 26

[Docket No. PRM-26-3; NRC-2009-0482]

Professional Reactor Operator Society; Receipt of Petition for 

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 October 16, 
2009, filed by the Professional Reactor Operator Society (petitioner). 
The petition was docketed by the NRC and has been assigned Docket No. 
PRM-26-3. The petitioner is requesting that the NRC amend the 
regulations that govern fitness for duty programs. Specifically, the 
petitioner requests that the definition of ``unit outage'' be changed 
to ``site outage'' and be amended to clarify the way licensees schedule 
manpower on the front and

[[Page 62258]]

back end of outages. The petitioner believes the suggested amendment 
would require licensees to abandon past practice that could impact 
licensees' ability to safely execute future outages and would help to 
ensure that nuclear utilities continue to perform outages in a safe and 
efficient manner.

DATE: Submit comments by February 10, 2010. 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-26-3 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.
    The NRC requests that any party soliciting or aggregating comments 
received from other persons for submission to the NRC inform those 
persons that the NRC will not edit their comments to remove any 
identifying or contact information, and therefore, they should not 
include any information in their comments that they do not want 
publicly disclosed.
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
search for documents filed under Docket ID [NRC-2009-0482]. 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 ML092960440.

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 October 16, 
2009, submitted by Robert N. Meyer on behalf of the Professional 
Reactor Operator Society (PROS) (petitioner). PROS is an organization 
of reactor operators employed at nuclear power plant sites throughout 
the U.S. The petitioner requests that the NRC amend 10 CFR part 26, 
``Fitness for Duty Programs.'' Specifically, the petitioner requests 
that the definition of Unit outage in Sec.  26.5, ``Definitions'' be 
changed to Site outage. The petitioner also requests that the text of 
the definition be amended to clarify the way licensees schedule 
manpower on the front and back end of outages. 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-26-3 on October 21, 2009. The NRC is soliciting 
public comment on the petition for rulemaking.

Discussion of the Petition

    The petitioner states that the final rule the NRC published on 
March 31, 2008 (73 FR 16965), pertaining to fitness for duty programs 
of nuclear facility licensees required all licensees to establish 
``clear and enforceable requirements for the management of worker 
fatigue.'' The petitioner notes that the term ``unit outage'' was added 
to clarify that a specific reactor has to be disconnected from the 
electrical grid to be declared in an outage. The petitioner states that 
the NRC added this term in response to a stakeholder comment raised 
during a public meeting to clarify that for the purpose of implanting 
work hour controls, a reactor unit would only be considered in an 
outage if disconnected from the power grid, not when reactor power was 
reduced for repair but not shut down. The NRC determined that its 
definition provides a clearly identifiable plant state for applying the 
work hour controls specified in Sec. Sec.  26.205(d)(4) and (5).
     The petitioner disagrees with the rationale for this definition 
and recommends two changes:
    (1) The definition should be changed from ``unit outage'' to ``site 
outage'' and
    (2) Clarify the definition of ``site outage'' to ``up to one week 
prior to disconnecting the reactor unit from the grid and up to 75 
percent turbine power following reconnection to the grid.'' The current 
definition of ``unit outage'' in Sec.  26.5 ``means, for the purposes 
of this part, that the reactor unit is disconnected from the electrical 
    The petitioner states that its proposal applies to dual-unit sites 
with a shared control room where the reactor operators are licensed on 
both units to allow the control room to use a 12-hour supercrew, 
resulting in less work hours for personnel on the operating unit. The 
petitioner believes this is particularly important in view of the 
recently implemented work hours rule. The petitioner notes that 
although the outage work for many crews falls between the breaker open 
and close phases, this is not true for operations crews. Just before 
shutdown, activities such as the switch from the non-outage shift to 
the outage shift schedules, training for the control room crew who will 
actually perform the shutdown, and final work schedule walkdowns occur.
    The petitioner states that many facilities combine the operations 
crews into four groups (two for days and two for nights) one week 
before shutdown to accommodate the additional workload. The petitioner 
believes the pre-outage advantages to the proposed amendment

[[Page 62259]]

include the crew's acclimation to the outage shift before shutdown and 
familiarization with each other, a transition period from normal shift 
rotation to the outage shift rotation, adequate staffing for outage 
crew preparation, and better preparation time to safely perform the 
large amount of infrequently performed tasks associated with plant 
shutdown. The petitioner also cites outage preparation that will be 
performed by outage crews, not regular shift personnel whose main 
responsibility should be monitoring the operating reactor, and more 
preparation time to keep the stress level as low as possible in the 
Control Room to reduce the chance of errors and improve overall safety 
as additional pre-outage advantages to its proposed amendment.
    The petitioner also states that post-outage advantages to its 
proposed definition include allowing major equipment to be tested and 
placed in service before release of support personnel, ensuring there 
are sufficient personnel on duty to handle any emergencies following an 
outage, and allowing for a controlled transition from an outage shift 
schedule to the normal schedule to eliminate worker fatigue because the 
same crews who were performing outage functions are now the ones 
operating the reactor. The petitioner sees the only disadvantage to its 
proposal is that the total outage time may be longer, meaning that 
personnel operating the plant just before shutdown or startup may have 
worked beyond the hourly limitations normally permitted for an 
operating reactor but believes the advantages cited far outweigh any 
potential disadvantage. The petitioner states that it is not proposing 
any change in the work hour allowance specified in Sec.  26.205(d)(4) 
but believes its proposed amendment would allow licensees more 
flexibility for applying the outage working hour limitations when 
preparing for and recovering from an outage.
    Lastly, the petitioner states that its proposed amendment would not 
require an environmental impact statement, does not contain any new or 
amended information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act 
of 1980, and does not involve backfit issues.
    The petitioner has concluded that adopting its proposed amendment 
will help ensure that nuclear power facilities continue to perform 
outages safely and efficiently.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of November 2009.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. E9-28380 Filed 11-25-09; 8:45 am]