[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 56 (Wednesday, March 24, 2010)]
[Pages 14211-14212]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-6492]



[Docket Nos. 50-361 and 50-362; NRC-2010-0101]

Southern California Edison, San Onofre Nuclear Generating 
Station, Unit 2 and Unit 3; Exemption

1.0 Background

    Southern California Edison (SCE, the licensee) is the holder of the 
Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-10 and NPF-15, which authorize 
operation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), Unit 2 
and Unit 3, respectively. 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 or the Commission) now or 
hereafter in effect.
    The facility consists of two pressurized-water reactors located in 
San Diego 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 (74 FR 13926), 
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 
SCE 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 17, 2009, the licensee requested an 
exemption in accordance with 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' 
Portions of the December 17, 2009, submittal contain security-related 
and safeguards information and, accordingly, a redacted version of the 
December 17, 2009, letter was also submitted by the licensee on 
December 17, 2009 (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS) Accession No. ML093570268). This redacted version is available 
to the public. The licensee has requested an exemption from the March 
31, 2010, implementation 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 implementation date from the 
current March 31, 2010, deadline to October 31, 2010, for one specific 
requirement, and to January 31, 2011, for a second specific 
requirement. 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 of the implementation date from March 31, 2010, until October 
31, 2010, and January 31, 2011, 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 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 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. 
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.

SONGS Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in Enclosure 1 to its 
letter dated December 17, 2009, requesting an exemption. In that 
letter, the licensee described a comprehensive plan to study, design, 
construct, test, and turn over the new equipment for the enhancement of 
the security capabilities at the SONGS site and provides a timeline for 
achieving full compliance with the new regulation. Enclosure 1 of the 
application dated December 17, 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 enable the licensee to achieve full compliance by 
January 31, 2011.

[[Page 14212]]

The timeline provides dates indicating when (1) construction will begin 
on various phases of the project, (2) outages are scheduled for each 
unit, and (3) critical equipment will be ordered, installed, tested and 
become operational.
    Notwithstanding the schedule exemptions for these limited 
requirements, the licensee would 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 January 31, 2011, SONGS would be in full compliance with 
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 dates to October 31, 2010, and to January 
31, 2011, for two specified requirements.
    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 SONGS security modifications are completed 
justifies exceeding the full compliance date with regard to the 
specified requirements of 10 CFR 73.55. The significant security 
enhancements SONGS 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 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 items 
specified in Enclosure 1 of SCE's letter dated December 17, 2009, the 
licensee is required to be in full compliance by January 31, 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 12580; dated March 16, 2010).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 16th 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. 2010-6492 Filed 3-23-10; 8:45 am]