[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 40 (Tuesday, March 2, 2010)]
[Pages 9449-9451]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-4269]



[Docket Nos. 50-338 and 50-339; NRC-2010-0026

Virginia Electric and Power Company; North Anna Power Station, 
Unit Nos. 1 and 2

1.0 Background

    The Virginia Electric and Power Company, (the licensee) is the 
holder of Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-4 and NPF-7, which 
authorize operation of the North Anna Power Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2 
(NAPS). The licenses provide, 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 two pressurized water reactors located in 
Louisa County, Virginia.

2.0 Request/Action

    Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 73, 

[[Page 9450]]

protection of plants and materials,'' Section 73.55, ``Requirements for 
physical protection of licensed activities in nuclear power reactors 
against radiological sabotage,'' published March 27, 2009, effective 
May 26, 2009, with a full implementation date of March 31, 2010, 
requires licensees to protect, with high assurance, against 
radiological sabotage by designing and implementing comprehensive site 
security plans. The amendments to 10 CFR 73.55 published on March 27, 
2009, establish and update generically applicable security requirements 
similar to those previously imposed by Commission orders issued after 
the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and implemented by 
licensees. In addition, the amendments to 10 CFR 73.55 include 
additional requirements to further enhance site security based upon 
insights gained from implementation of the post September 11, 2001, 
security orders. It is from a certain requirement of these new 
requirements that NAPS now seeks an exemption from the March 31, 2010, 
implementation date. All other physical security requirements 
established by this recent rulemaking have already been or will be 
implemented by the licensee by March 31, 2010.
    By letter dated November 23, 2009, the licensee requested an 
exemption in accordance with 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' 
Certain portions of the licensee's November 23, 2009, letter contain 
proprietary and safeguards information and, accordingly, are not 
available to the public. The licensee has requested an exemption from 
the March 31, 2010, compliance date stating that it must perform the 
required upgrades to the NAPS security system before all of the Section 
73.55 requirements can be met. Specifically, the request is to extend 
the compliance date for a certain requirement from the current March 
31, 2010, deadline to August 31, 2010. Being granted this exemption for 
this item would allow the licensee to complete the modifications 
designed to update aging equipment and incorporate state-of-the-art 
technology to meet the noted regulatory requirement.

3.0 Discussion of Part 73 Schedule Exemptions from the

March 31, 2010, Full Implementation Date

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 73.55(a)(1), ``By March 31, 2010, each nuclear 
power reactor licensee, licensed under 10 CFR Part 50, shall implement 
the requirements of this section through its Commission-approved 
Physical Security Plan, Training and Qualification Plan, Safeguards 
Contingency Plan, and Cyber Security Plan referred to collectively 
hereafter as `security plans.' '' Pursuant to 10 CFR 73.5, the 
Commission may, upon application by any interested person or upon its 
own initiative, grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR Part 
73 when the exemptions are authorized by law, and will not endanger 
life or property or the common defense and security, and are otherwise 
in the public interest.
    The NRC staff has determined that granting of the licensee's 
proposed exemption would not result in a violation of the Atomic Energy 
Act of 1954, as amended, or the Commission's regulations. Therefore, 
NRC approval of the licensee's exemption request is authorized by law.
    In the draft final power reactor security rule provided to the 
Commission, the NRC staff proposed that the requirements of the new 
regulation be met within 180 days. The Commission directed a change 
from 180 days to approximately 1 year for licensees to fully implement 
the new requirements. This change was incorporated into the final rule. 
Based on the above, it is clear that the Commission wanted to provide a 
reasonable timeframe for licensees to achieve full compliance.
    As noted in the final rule, the Commission also anticipated that 
licensees would have to conduct site-specific analyses to determine 
what changes were necessary to implement the rule's requirements, and 
that these changes could be accomplished through a variety of licensing 
mechanisms, including exemptions. Since issuance of the final rule, the 
Commission has rejected generic industry requests to extend the rule's 
compliance date for all operating nuclear power plants, but noted that 
the Commission's regulations provide mechanisms for individual 
licensees, with good cause, to apply for relief from the compliance 
date (Reference: June 4, 2009, letter from R. W. Borchardt, NRC, to M. 
S. Fertel, Nuclear Energy Institute). The licensee's request for an 
exemption is therefore consistent with the approach set forth by the 
Commission and discussed in the June 4, 2009, letter.

NAPS Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided adequate information in its November 23, 
2009, letter requesting an exemption. It describes a comprehensive plan 
for implementing security system upgrades and provides a timeline for 
achieving full compliance with the new regulation. The site-specific 
information provided within the exemption request is relative to the 
requirements from which the licensee requested exemption and 
demonstrates the need for modification to meet the requirement.
    Notwithstanding the schedular exemptions for these limited 
requirements, the licensee will continue to be in compliance with all 
other applicable physical security requirements as described in 10 CFR 
73.55 and reflected in its current NRC approved physical security 
program. By August 31, 2010, NAPS will be in full compliance with all 
the regulatory requirements of 10 CFR 73.55, as issued on March 27, 

4.0 Conclusion for Part 73 Schedule Exemption Request

    The staff has reviewed the licensee's submittal and concludes that 
the licensee has provided adequate justification for its request for an 
extension of the compliance date to August 31, 2010, with regard to a 
specific requirement of 10 CFR 73.55.
    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that pursuant to 10 CFR 
73.5, ``Specific exemptions,'' an exemption from the March 31, 2010, 
compliance date is authorized by law and will not endanger life or 
property or the common defense and security, and is otherwise in the 
public interest. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants the requested 
    The NRC staff has determined that the long-term benefits that will 
be realized when the NAPS security system upgrades are complete 
justifies exceeding the March 31, 2010, full compliance date and is 
consistent with the scope of the modifications in the case of this 
particular licensee. The security measures NAPS needs additional time 
to implement are new requirements imposed by March 27, 2009 amendments 
to 10 CFR 73.55, and are in addition to those required by the security 
orders issued in response to the events of September 11, 2001. 
Therefore, it is concluded that the licensee's actions are in the best 
interest of protecting the public health and safety through the 
security changes that will result from granting this exemption.
    As per the licensee's request and the NRC's regulatory authority to 
grant an exemption from the March 31, 2010, implementation deadline for 
the item specified in the licensee's November 23, 2009, letter, the 
licensee is required to be in full compliance with 10 CFR 73.55 by 
August 31, 2010. In achieving compliance, the licensee is reminded that 
it is responsible for determining the appropriate licensing mechanism 
(i.e., 10 CFR 50.54(p) or 10 CFR 50.90) for

[[Page 9451]]

incorporation of all necessary changes to its security plans.
    Pursuant to 10 CFR 51.32, ``Finding of no significant impact,'' the 
Commission has previously determined that the granting of this 
exemption will not have a significant effect on the quality of the 
human environment (75 FR 4591, published January 28, 2010).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of February 2010.

    For The Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Allen G. Howe,
Acting Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of 
Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-4269 Filed 3-1-10; 8:45 am]