[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 58 (Friday, March 26, 2010)]
[Pages 14641-14643]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-6728]



[Docket No. 50-443; NRC-2010-0108]

NextEra Energy Seabrook, LLC, et al.*; Seabrook Station, Unit No. 
1; Exemption

    * NextEra Energy Seabrook, LLC is authorized to act as agent for 
the: Hudson Light & Power Department, Massachusetts Municipal 
Wholesale Electric Company, and Taunton Municipal Light Plant and 
has exclusive responsibility and control over the physical 
construction, operation and maintenance of the facility.

1.0 Background

    NextEra Energy Seabrook, LLC, (the licensee) is the holder of 
Facility Operating License No. NPF-86, which authorizes operation of 
the Seabrook Station Unit No. 1 (Seabrook). 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 
Seabrook, New Hampshire.

2.0 Request/Action

    Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 73, 

[[Page 14642]]

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 one of these new requirements that 
Seabrook 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 February 25, 2010, as supplemented by letter dated 
March 5, 2010, the licensee requested an exemption in accordance with 
10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' The licensee's February 25, 2010, 
and March 5, 2010, letters contain security-related information and, 
accordingly, portions are withheld from the public pursuant to 10 CFR 
2.390(d)(1). The licensee has requested an exemption from the March 31, 
2010, compliance date stating that it must complete installation and 
testing of modifications to the current site security configuration 
before all requirements can be met. Completion of these activities has 
been delayed by inclement weather. Specifically, the request is to 
extend the compliance date for one specific requirement from the 
current March 31, 2010, deadline to June 4, 2010. Being granted this 
exemption for the one item would allow the licensee to complete the 
modifications designed to incorporate state-of-the-art technology to 
meet the noted regulatory requirement.

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 4, 2010, for one specific 
requirement in 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 exemption is 
authorized by law.
    In the draft final power reactor security rule sent 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 request to generically 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.

Seabrook Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in Enclosure 1 to the 
letter dated March 5, 2010. It provides details addressing an upgrade 
and change of components and provides a date for achieving full 
compliance with the new regulation. Enclosure 1 also contains details 
of the specific portion of the regulation with which the site cannot be 
in compliance by the deadline of March 31, 2010, why the site cannot be 
in compliance by the deadline, and identifies a date of full compliance 
of June 4, 2010.
    Notwithstanding the schedule exemption for this one requirement, 
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 
June 4, 2010, Seabrook indicated that it would be in full compliance 
with all 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 4, 2010, with regard to one 
specified requirement 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 security upgrades are complete justifies extending 
the March 31, 2010, full compliance date for the one item specified in 
the licensee's exemption request. The security measure Seabrook needs 
additional time to implement is a new requirement imposed by March 27, 
2009, amendments to 10 CFR 73.55, and is 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 
    As per the licensee's request and the NRC's regulatory authority to 
grant an exemption from the March 31, 2010, deadline for the one item 
specified in Enclosure 1 of NextEra letter dated

[[Page 14643]]

March 5, 2010, the licensee is required to be in full compliance by 
June 4, 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 13319; dated March 19, 2010].
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of March 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Allen G. Howe,
Acting Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of 
Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-6728 Filed 3-25-10; 8:45 am]