[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 43 (Friday, March 5, 2010)]
[Pages 10328-10329]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-4675]



[Docket No. 50-482; NRC-2010-0032]

Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, Wolf Creek Generating 
Station; Exemption

1.0 Background

    Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation (WCNOC, the licensee) is 
the holder of Renewed Facility Operating License No. NPF-42, which 
authorizes the operation of the Wolf Creek Generating Station (WCGS). 
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 
Coffey County, Kansas.

2.0 Request/Action

    Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 73, 
``Physical protection of plants and materials,'' Section 73.55, 
``Requirements for physical protection of licensed activities in 
nuclear power reactors against radiological sabotage,'' published in 
the Federal Register on 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 programs. 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 two of these additional requirements that WCGS 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 December 15, 2009, the licensee requested an 
exemption in accordance with 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' 
Portions of the December 15, 2009, submittal contain security-related 
and safeguards information and, accordingly, is being withheld from the 
public. The redacted version of the December 15, 2009, letter was 
submitted by the licensee on January 12, 2010, and is available to the 
public (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) 
Accession No. ML100250025). The licensee has requested an exemption 
from the March 31, 2010, compliance date stating that it must complete 
a number of significant modifications to the current site security 
configuration before all requirements can be met. Specifically, the 
request is to extend the compliance date for two specific requirements 
from the current March 31, 2010, deadline to December 31, 2010. 
Granting this exemption for the two items would allow the licensee to 
complete the modifications designed to incorporate substantial 
configuration changes and incorporate state-of-the-art technology to 
meet or exceed the noted regulatory requirements.

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.
    NRC approval of this exemption, as noted above, would allow an 
extension from March 31, 2010, until December 31, 2010, for the 
implementation date for two specific requirements of the new rule. As 
stated above, 10 CFR 73.5 allows the NRC to grant exemptions from the 
requirements of 10 CFR 73. 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, the NRC approval of the licensee's exemption 
request is authorized by law.
    In the draft final 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. From this, 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 changes could be accomplished through a variety of licensing 
mechanisms, including exemptions. Since issuance of the final rule, the 
Commission has rejected a generic industry request to extend the rule's 
compliance date for all operating nuclear power plants, but

[[Page 10329]]

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, ADAMS Accession No. 
ML091410404). 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.

WCGS Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in its letter dated 
December 15, 2009, requesting an exemption. The licensee describes a 
comprehensive plan to install equipment related to certain requirements 
in the new Part 73 rule and provides a timeline for achieving full 
compliance with the new regulation. The submittal contains security-
related and safeguards information regarding the site security plan, 
details of the specific requirements of the regulation for which the 
site cannot achieve compliance by the March 31, 2010, deadline, 
justification for the extension request, a description of the required 
changes to the site's security configuration, and a timeline with 
critical path activities that would bring the licensee into full 
compliance by December 31, 2010. The timeline provides dates indicating 
when (1) the various phases of the project begin and end (i.e., design, 
field construction and (2) critical equipment will be ordered, 
installed, tested and become operational.
    Notwithstanding the scheduler 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 December 31, 2010, WCGS will be in full compliance with the 
regulatory requirements of 10 CFR 73.55, as issued on March 27, 2009.

4.0 Conclusion for Part 73 Schedule Exemption Request

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's submittals and concludes 
that the licensee has provided adequate justification for its request 
for an extension of the compliance date to December 31, 2010, for two 
specified requirements 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 required 
    The long-term benefits that will be realized when the WCGS 
equipment installation is complete justifies exceeding the full 
compliance date in the case of this particular licensee. The security 
measures that WCGS 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, deadline for the two 
requirements specified in WCNOC letter dated December 15, 2009, the 
licensee is required to be in full compliance by December 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 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 5631; February 3, 2010).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 26th 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. 2010-4675 Filed 3-4-10; 8:45 am]