[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 45 (Tuesday, March 9, 2010)]
[Pages 10839-10840]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-4935]



[Docket No. 50-395; NRC-2010-0067]

South Carolina Electric and Gas Company; Virgil C. Summer Nuclear 
Station, Unit 1; Exemption

1.0 Background

    South Carolina Electric and Gas Company, (SCE&G, the licensee) is 
the holder of Facility Operating License No. NPF-12, which authorizes 
operation of the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station, Unit 1 (VCSNS). 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 a pressurized water reactor located in 
Fairfield County, South Carolina.

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 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 two of these new 
requirements that VCSNS 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.
    On December 11, 2009, the licensee submitted two letters, SCE&G 
designation RC-09-0154 (NRC ADAMS ML093490316) and RC-09-0148 (NRC 
ADAMS ML093480496 and ML093480497), requesting an exemption in 
accordance with 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' SCE&G's letter 
RC-09-0148, contains security-related information and, accordingly, is 
not available to the public. SCE&G's letter RC-09-0154 is a redacted 
version of RC-09-0148 that does not contain security related 
information. The licensee has requested an exemption from the March 31, 
2010, compliance date for two provisions of the revised 10 CFR Part 73, 
stating that the scope of work necessary to complete these two 
provisions would require a schedule going past the March 31, 2010, 
implementation date in the revised 10 CFR Part 73. Specifically, the 
request is to extend the compliance date for two specific requirements 
from the current March 31, 2010 deadline to September 30, 2010. Being 
granted this exemption for the two items would allow the licensee to 
complete the study, design, planning, procurement, construction, 
testing, and project closeout for the two areas on a schedule that will 
allow adherence to the licensee's design control and work control 

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 would, as noted above, allow an 
extension from March 31, 2010, until September 30, 2010, for the 
implementation date for two specific requirements of the new rule. The 
NRC staff has determined that granting of the licensee's proposed 
exemption would not result in a violation of the Atomic

[[Page 10840]]

Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or the Commission's regulations. 
Therefore, the exemption is authorized by law.
    In the draft final rule provided to the Commission, (SECY-08-0099, 
dated July 9, 2008), 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 
    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 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 as discussed in the June 4, 2009, letter.

VCSNS Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in Enclosures 1 and 2 
and attachment 1 (NRC ADAMS ML 093480496) of its letter dated December 
11, 2009 (RC-09-0148), requesting an exemption. It describes a plan 
that proceeds from the now completed study phase to the major 
activities of design development of the engineering change request 
package to support the activities necessary for full compliance with 
part 73. These activities include the required plant modifications; 
design development of custom computer software; detailed field 
planning; work document development; schedule integration including 
integration of the new equipment with the existing security system; 
material procurement; field implementation of the required plant 
modifications including installation of fiber optic cables, large and 
small diameter conduit and distribution boxes; connections to the 
computer system; and project closeout. SCE&G has also provided a 
timeline for achieving full compliance with the new regulation that 
shows the design, planning procurement, construction, testing, and 
project closeout activities. SCE&G stated that the project schedule 
takes into consideration the logistical efforts required to maintain 
the current defensive strategy while implementing the security system 
upgrade. SCE&G's letter (RC-09-0148) and its Enclosures 1 and 2 and 
Attachment 1 (ADAMS ML093480496 and ML093480497) contains security-
related information regarding the site security issues, details of 
specific portions of the new regulation with which SCE&G cannot be in 
compliance by the March 31, 2010, deadline, why the required changes to 
the VCSNS security configuration could not be completed by March 31, 
2010, and a timeline with critical path activities that would enable 
SCE&G to achieve full compliance by September 30, 2010. The timeline 
provides milestone dates for engineering, planning and procurement, 
implementation, startup and testing, engineering closeout, and project 
    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 September 30, 2010, VCSNS 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 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 September 30, 2010, with 
regard to two specific 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 requested 
    The NRC staff has determined that the long-term benefits that will 
be realized when the licensee's equipment installation is complete 
justifies extending the full compliance date with regard to the 
specific requirements of 10 CFR 73.55. The security measures, that 
SCE&G needs additional time to implement, are new requirements imposed 
by the 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 two requirements specified in the licensee's two letters dated 
December 11, 2009, the licensee is required to be in full compliance by 
September 30, 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 8756; dated February 25, 2010.
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 1st day of March, 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Joseph G. Giitter,
Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-4935 Filed 3-8-10; 8:45 am]