[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 45 (Tuesday, March 9, 2010)]
[Pages 10838-10839]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-4937]

[[Page 10838]]



[Docket Nos. 50-275 and 50-323; NRC-2010-0059]

Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Diablo Canyon Power Plant; 

1.0 Background

    Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E, the licensee) is the holder 
of Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-80 and DPR-82, which authorize 
operation of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, Units Nos. 1 and 2 (DCPP). 
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 
San Luis Obispo County, California.

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 on September 11, 2001, and implemented by the 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 PG&E 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 4, 2009, the licensee requested an 
exemption in accordance with 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' 
Portions of the December 4, 2009, submittal contain security-related 
and safeguards information and, accordingly, a redacted version of the 
December 4, 2009, letter was submitted by the licensee on January 22, 
2010 (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) 
Accession No. ML100270050). This non-proprietary version is available 
to the public. The licensee has requested an exemption from the March 
31, 2010, compliance date stating that a number of issues will present 
a significant challenge to the timely completion of the projects 
related to certain specific requirements in 10 CFR 73. Specifically, 
the request is to extend the compliance date from the March 31, 2010, 
deadline to June 30, 2011. Granting this exemption for the two items 
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 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 June 30, 2011, of 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 Part 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 exemption is authorized by 
    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 noted that 
the Commission's regulations provide mechanisms for individual 
licensees, with good cause, to apply for relief from the compliance 
date as documented in a letter from R. W. Borchardt, (NRC), to M. S. 
Fertel, (Nuclear Energy Institute) dated June 4, 2009. 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.

DCPP Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in Enclosure 1 to its 
application dated December 4, 2009, letter requesting an exemption. In 
that letter, the licensee describes a comprehensive plan to study, 
design, construct, test, and turn over the new equipment for the 
enhancement of the security capabilities at the DCPP site and provides 
a timeline for achieving full compliance with the new regulation. 
Enclosure 1 of the application dated December 4, 2009, 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 June 30, 2011. The timeline provides dates indicating 
when (1) Construction will begin on various phases of the project 
(i.e., new roads, buildings, and fences), (2) outages are scheduled for 
each unit, and (3) 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 

[[Page 10839]]

applicable physical security requirements as described in 10 CFR 73.55 
and reflected in its current NRC approved physical security program. By 
June 30, 2011, DCPP 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 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 June 30, 2011 for two specified 
    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 DCPP security modifications are complete justifies 
exceeding the full compliance date with regard to the specified 
requirements of 10 CFR 73.55. The significant security enhancements 
DCPP needs additional time to complete 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, the NRC concludes 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 
    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 items 
specified in Enclosure 1 of PG&E letter dated December 4, 2009, the 
licensee is required to be in full compliance by June 30, 2011. 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 8152; dated February 23, 2010).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd 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. 2010-4937 Filed 3-8-10; 8:45 am]