[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 60 (Tuesday, March 30, 2010)]
[Pages 15746-15748]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-7026]



 [Docket No. 50-382; NRC-2010-0110]

Entergy Operations, Inc., Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 
3; Exemption

1.0 Background

    Entergy Operations, Inc. (the licensee), is the holder of Facility 
Operating License No. NPF-38 which authorizes operation of the 
Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 3 (Waterford 3). 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 
St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.

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

[[Page 15747]]

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 
Waterford 3 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 January 19, 2010, as supplemented by letter dated 
February 17, 2010, the licensee requested an exemption in accordance 
with 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' Portions of the letters 
dated January 19 and February 17, 2010, contain security-related 
information and, accordingly, redacted versions of the letters dated 
January 19 and February 17, 2010, are available for public review in 
the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession 
Nos. ML100210193 and ML100500999, respectively. The licensee has 
requested an exemption from the March 31, 2010, implementation 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 to extend the implementation date 
from the current March 31, 2010, deadline to November 15, 2010, for one 
requirement. Granting this exemption for the one item would allow the 
licensee to complete the modifications designed to update aging 
equipment and incorporate state-of-the-art technology to meet or exceed 
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.
    This exemption, as noted above, would allow an extension from March 
31, 2010, until November 15, 2010, of the implementation date with the 
new rule in one specified area. 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 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 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 
reach 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.

Waterford 3 Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in attachments to its 
application dated January 19, 2010, and supplemental letter dated 
February 17, 2010, requesting an exemption. The licensee describes a 
comprehensive plan to upgrade to the security capabilities of its 
Waterford 3 site and provides a timeline for achieving full compliance 
with the new regulation. Attachments to the letters contain proprietary 
information regarding the site security plan, details of specific 
portions of the regulation for which the site cannot be in compliance 
by the March 31, 2010, deadline, and why, 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 
November 15, 2010. The timeline provides dates indicating when critical 
equipment will be ordered, receipt of the equipment, installation, 
testing, and training.
    Notwithstanding the scheduler 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 November 15, 2010, Waterford 3 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 justified its request for an extension of the 
compliance date with regard to one specified requirement of 10 CFR 
73.55 until November 15, 2010.
    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that pursuant to 10 CFR 
73.5, ``Specific exemptions,'' 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 long-term benefits that will be realized when the complete 
system is in place justifies exceeding the full compliance date in the 
case of this particular licensee. The security measures Waterford 3 
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

[[Page 15748]]

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 to the March 31, 2010, deadline for the one item 
specified in the attachment to the Entergy letter dated January 19, 
2010, the licensee is required to be in full compliance with 10 CFR 
73.55 by November 15, 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 13798, dated March 23, 2010).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd 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. 2010-7026 Filed 3-29-10; 8:45 am]