[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 54 (Monday, March 22, 2010)]
[Pages 13609-13610]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-6190]

[[Page 13609]]



[Docket Nos. 50-327 and 50-328; NRC-2010-0021]

Tennessee Valley Authority Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2 

1.0 Background

    Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA, the licensee) is the holder of 
Facility Operating License Numbers DPR-77 and DPR-79, which authorize 
operation of the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2 (SQN). 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 Westinghouse pressurized-water 
reactors located in Hamilton County, Tennessee.

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 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 new 
requirements that SQN 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 
6, 2009, as supplemented by letter dated January 11, 2010, the licensee 
requested an exemption in accordance with 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific 
exemptions.'' Portions of the licensee's November 6, 2009, letter 
contain safeguards and security sensitive information and, accordingly, 
are not available to the public. The January 11, 2010, letter is 
publicly available (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
Accession No. ML100130169). 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 for two specific 10 CFR 73.55 requirements that would be in 
place by September 24, 2012, versus the March 31, 2010, deadline. Being 
granted 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 or exceed regulatory 

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 September 24, 2012. 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, 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 (74 FR 13926, March 27, 2009). 
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 power reactor security 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.

Sequoyah Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in its November 6, 2009, 
letter, as supplemented by letter dated January 11, 2010, requesting an 
exemption. The NRC staff finds that the licensee has provided an 
adequate basis for the exemption request as well as appropriate 
detailed justification that describes the reason additional time is 
needed. Specifically, the SQN will be undertaking multiple large scope 
modifications to the physical protection program through three 
interrelated projects that require multiple supporting subtasks. These 
subtasks must be completed in sequence due to the complex 
interconnectivity of each project to other program components. The 
licensee has provided sufficiently detailed technical information that 
supports the described solution for meeting the identified 
requirements. Because of the large scope of the proposed modifications 
and upgrades, significant engineering analysis, design, and planning 
are required to ensure system effectiveness upon completion of the 
three projects. In addition to project-specific tasks and procurement 
details, the TVA has also identified a variety of site-specific 
considerations that will impact the final completion date, such as 
refueling outages, manpower resources, engineering/design changes 
during construction, and/or weather conditions that may impact 
completion milestones. As with all construction activities, the 
licensee must also account for site-specific safety and

[[Page 13610]]

construction methods regarding the areas in which work is to be 
performed, the location of existing infrastructure such as buried power 
lines, and/or unanticipated delays that could significantly impact the 
project schedules. These site-specific safety and construction methods 
must be accounted for in the proposed schedule that, in turn, impacts 
the final compliance date requested. The licensee has provided a 
coordinated/combined schedule for all three projects at SQN that 
outlines the sequence in which work must be conducted to ensure 
effective system connectivity. The required tasks/changes must be 
completed in sequence at each site to support all program upgrades 
being performed and to ensure effective connectivity of each project.
    The upgrades that the licensee identified within their exemption 
request support their solution for meeting the requirements.
    The proposed implementation schedule depicts the critical activity 
milestones of the security system upgrades; is consistent with the 
licensee's solution for meeting the requirements; is consistent with 
the scope of the modifications and the issues and challenges 
identified; and is consistent with the licensee's requested compliance 
    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 24, 2012, SQN 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 submittals and concludes that 
the licensee has provided adequate justification for its request for an 
extension of the compliance date to September 24, 2012, with regard to 
two specified requirements of 10 CFR 73.55.
    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that pursuant to 10 CFR 
73.5, the 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 exemption.
    The NRC staff has determined that the long-term benefits that will 
be realized when the security system upgrades are complete justify 
exceeding the full compliance date in the case of this particular 
licensee. The security measures SQN 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, the 
NRC staff 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 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 items specified in Enclosure 1 of the TVA letter dated November 
6, 2009, as supplemented by letter dated January 11, 2010, the licensee 
is required to be in full compliance by September 24, 2012. 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 3762, dated January 22, 2010).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 11th 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. 2010-6190 Filed 3-19-10; 8:45 am]