[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 235 (Wednesday, December 9, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65165-65167]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-29326]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[NRC-2009-0536]


Proposed Generic Communication; NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 
2009-XX; Monitoring the Status of Regulated Activities During a 
Pandemic

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of opportunity for public comment.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to 
issue

[[Page 65166]]

this regulatory issue summary (RIS) to inform addressees of the NRC's 
desire for information on the evolving pandemic situations at licensee 
sites and the impact of a pandemic situation on operational decisions 
and requests for regulatory relief. The NRC intends to use this 
information to align NRC resources to be prepared to address potential 
safety and operational issues at affected licensee sites, and to 
support decision-making within the NRC. The NRC, therefore, is 
soliciting licensees to voluntarily provide information regarding the 
above.
    The NRC is also sharing this RIS with the Agreement States via a 
separate communication and is encouraging the Agreement States to share 
it with their licensees.
    This RIS is available through the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access 
and Management System (ADAMS) under accession number ML093210234.

DATES: Comment period expires January 25, 2010. Comments submitted 
after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but 
assurance of consideration cannot be given except for comments received 
on or before this date.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to the Chief, Rulemaking and 
Directives Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of 
Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Mail Stop TWB-05-
B01M, Washington, DC 20555-0001, and cite the publication date and page 
number of this Federal Register notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Alexion at 301-415-1326 or by 
e-mail at [email protected] or Joseph Golla at 301-415-1002 or by 
e-mail at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 2009-XX; Monitoring the Status of 
Regulated Activities During a Pandemic

Addressees

    All holders of operating licenses for nuclear power reactors and 
research and test reactors (RTRs) under the provisions of Title 10 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 50, ``Domestic Licensing 
of Production and Utilization Facilities,'' except those that have 
ceased operations and have certified that fuel has been permanently 
removed from the reactor vessel.
    All U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) fuel cycle facilities 
licensed under 10 CFR Part 40 or 70 and gaseous diffusion plants 
certified under 10 CFR Part 76.
    All 10 CFR Part 72 specific licensees and certificate holders and 
holders of operating licenses for nuclear power reactors who have 
permanently ceased operations and have certified that fuel has been 
permanently removed from the reactor vessel that are not 10 CFR Part 72 
specific licensees.
    All holders of radioactive materials licenses under the provisions 
of 10 CFR Parts 30, 40, and 70, regarding Rules of General 
Applicability to Domestic Licensing of Byproduct, Source, and Special 
Nuclear Material with Category 1 and 2 sources.

Intent

    The NRC is issuing this regulatory issue summary (RIS) to inform 
addressees of the NRC's desire for information on the evolving pandemic 
situations at licensee sites and the impact of a pandemic situation on 
operational decisions and requests for regulatory relief. The NRC 
intends to use this information to align NRC resources to be prepared 
to address potential safety and operational issues at affected licensee 
sites, and to support decision-making within the NRC. The NRC, 
therefore, is soliciting licensees to voluntarily provide information 
regarding the above.
    The NRC is also sharing this RIS with the Agreement States via a 
separate communication and is encouraging the Agreement States to share 
it with their licensees.

Background

    The NRC's overarching mission is to license and regulate the 
nation's civilian use of byproduct, source, and special nuclear 
materials to ensure adequate protection of public health and safety, 
promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment.
    Across the spectrum of government operations, there has been a 
concerted effort to prepare for and respond to pandemic outbreaks, 
including the H1N1 influenza virus. All government agencies have or are 
preparing pandemic plans to ensure the operation of the government 
during a pandemic. Part of this preparation and planning is an effort 
by the federal government to ensure the U.S. infrastructure is 
maintained to the fullest extent possible.
    The Homeland Security Council, in the National Framework for 2009-
H1N1 Influenza Preparedness and Response, described surveillance as the 
first of the pillars of preparedness and further defined the term to 
mean ``enhanced efforts to achieve timely and accurate situational 
awareness of evolving disease and the impact on critical sectors to 
inform policy and operational decisions.'' Under that definition, the 
NRC is in a ``situational awareness'' mode at all times when there is a 
threat of a pandemic, because: (1) Of the agency's need to be ready to 
respond quickly to any emergency that could threaten the agency's 
mission or the nuclear activities that it regulates, and (2) impacts to 
the electric grid may have an impact on plant safety.

Summary of Issues

    The NRC is interested in maintaining situational awareness of 
licensees' ability to cope with the challenges associated with a 
pandemic. This information will serve two functions:
    1. The NRC must be prepared to respond quickly if a safety or 
security event develops.
    2. The NRC is obligated to keep its stakeholders informed.

Information of Interest

    The NRC is interested in maintaining situational awareness of the 
status of its regulated activities during a pandemic and requests that 
licensees voluntarily inform the staff of any potential impacts on 
those activities. Accordingly, answers to the following two questions 
should be considered during routine business contacts with NRC staff 
(e.g., during routine communications with the NRC licensing project 
manager or resident inspector or during inspections conducted by the 
NRC), or as licensees desire to report information:
    1. Does the licensee anticipate operational challenges at the 
facility or in the conduct of activities in the next 48 hours in the 
following areas as a result of the pandemic?
    a. Safety.
    b. Security.
    c. Safeguards.
    d. Emergency preparedness.
    2. Does the licensee anticipate the need to request regulatory 
action as a result of the pandemic in the next 48 hours?
    Responses to these questions will be voluntary. If either question 
results in a ``yes'' answer, the NRC expects the licensee to provide 
additional information specific to the needs of the licensee, as soon 
as possible. In such cases, the appropriate NRC staff will follow-up 
with the licensee. It should be noted that this RIS does not eliminate 
the need for licensees to meet the reporting requirements contained in 
applicable regulations. Further, there are no information collection 
expectations other than information that is typically exchanged through 
routine business activities or is already required by NRC regulations. 
The information provided will enable the NRC to

[[Page 65167]]

effectively respond to licensees with potential challenges.
    For materials licensees that have less frequent contact with NRC, 
the NRC regional offices are establishing an e-mail address that can be 
used to voluntarily submit the information discussed above. Materials 
licensees will receive a separate communication, by e-mail or phone, 
identifying the appropriate e-mail address for submitting information 
concerning potential pandemic impacts.
    NRC recognizes that during a pandemic, licensees' resources may be 
strained. Therefore, NRC understands that licensees will provide 
information to the best of their ability, given the circumstances.

Backfit Discussion

    This RIS requests that addressees voluntarily provide information 
as appropriate to assist the NRC staff in managing the impacts of a 
pandemic on regulated activities. This effort by the NRC is a part of 
the continuing federal effort in pandemic planning, and it supports 
situational awareness of potential issues at NRC-licensed facilities.
    The staff is not imposing any new positions nor is it imposing any 
new regulatory requirements on licensees. Any information provided by a 
licensee is strictly voluntary. No action is required on the part of 
any licensee; therefore, this document does not constitute a backfit 
under applicable backfit regulations. Consequently, the staff did not 
perform a backfit analysis.

Federal Register Notification

    To be done after the public comment period.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    This RIS does not contain new or amended information collection 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.). Existing information collection requirements were 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget, control numbers 3150-
0011 and 3150-0012.

Public Protection Notification

    The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to 
respond to, a request for information or an information collection 
requirement unless the requesting document displays a current valid 
Office of Management and Budget control number.

Contacts

Technical Contacts--Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR)

Joseph Golla, NRR, (301) 415-1002, E-mail: [email protected].
Thomas Alexion, NRR, (301) 415-1326, E-mail: [email protected]

Technical Contacts--Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards 
(NMSS)

Steven Ward, NMSS, (301) 492-3426, E-mail: [email protected].
Kevin Witt, NMSS, (301) 492-3323, E-mail: [email protected].

Technical Material Contacts--Office of Federal and State Materials and 
Environmental Management Programs (FSME) and the Regions

Duncan White, FSME, (301) 415-2598, E-mail: [email protected].
John Kinneman, Region I, (610) 337-5274, E-mail: [email protected].
Steven Reynolds, Region III, (630) 829-9800, E-mail: 
[email protected].
Art Howell, Region IV, (817) 860-8106, E-mail: [email protected].

End of Draft Regulatory Issue Summary

    Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's 
Public Document Room at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike 
(first floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be 
accessible electronically from the Agencywide Documents Access and 
Management System (ADAMS) Public Electronic Reading Room on the 
Internet at the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/ADAMS/index.html. 
If you do not have access to ADAMS or if you have problems in accessing 
the documents in ADAMS, contact the NRC Public Document Room (PDR) 
reference staff at 1-800-397-4209 or 301-415-4737 or by e-mail to 
[email protected].

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 30th day of November 2009.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Martin C. Murphy,
Chief, Generic Communications Branch, Division of Policy and 
Rulemaking, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E9-29326 Filed 12-8-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P