[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 62 (Thursday, April 1, 2010)]
[Pages 16521-16523]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-7379]



[Docket Nos. 50-280 and 50-281; NRC-2010-0079]

Virginia Electric and Power Company Surry Power Station, Unit 
Nos. 1 and 2; Exemption

1.0 Background

    The Virginia Electric and Power Company, (the licensee) is the 
holder of Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-32 and DPR-37, which 
authorize operation of the Surry Power Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2 
(Surry). 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 
Surry, Virginia.

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 certain new 
requirements that Surry now seeks an exemption from the March 31, 2010, 
implementation date. All other physical scrutiny requirements 
established by this recent rulemaking have already or will be 
implemented by the licensee by March 31, 2010.
    By letter dated December 7, 2009, the licensee requested an 
exemption in accordance with 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' 
Certain portions of the licensee's December 7, 2009, letter contain 
safeguards information and, accordingly, are not available to the 
public. The licensee has requested an

[[Page 16522]]

exemption from the March 31, 2010, compliance date stating that it must 
perform the upgrades to portions of the Surry security system before 
all of the Section 73.55 requirements can be met. Specifically, the 
request is to extend the compliance date for certain requirements from 
the current March 31, 2010, deadline to August 31, 2010, and August 31, 
2011, for Units 1 and 2, respectively. Being granted this exemption for 
this item would allow the licensee to complete the modifications 
designed to update equipment and 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 August 31, 2010, and August 31, 
2011, for Units 1 and 2, respectively, for the implementation date for 
certain requirements of the new rule. 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 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 these 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 (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.

Surry Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in its December 7, 2009, 
letter requesting an exemption. It describes a comprehensive plan for 
implementing certain requirements in the new Part 73 rule and provides 
a timeline for achieving full compliance with the new regulation. The 
December 7, 2009, submittal contains safeguards 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 
allow the licensee to achieve full compliance by August 31, 2010, and 
August 31, 2011, for Units 1 and 2, respectively. 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 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 
August 31, 2010, and August 31, 2011, for Units 1 and 2, respectively, 
Surry will 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 reviewed the licensee's submittal and concludes that the 
licensee has provided adequate justification for its request for an 
extension of the compliance date to August 31, 2010, and August 31, 
2011, for Units 1 and 2, respectively, with regard to certain 
requirements 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 long-term benefits that will be realized when the security 
system upgrades are complete justifies exceeding the full compliance 
date in the case of this particular licensee. The security measures 
Surry 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, it is concluded 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, implementation deadline for 
the item specified in the licensee's December 7, 2009, letter, the 
licensee is required to be in full compliance with 10 CFR 73.55 by 
August 31, 2010, and August 31, 2011, for Units 1 and 2, respectively. 
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 9618) published March 3, 2010, as corrected in 
the Federal Register on March 19, 2010 (75 FR 13318) by letter dated 
March 12, 2010 (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
Accession No. ML100600405).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 26th day of March 2010.

[[Page 16523]]

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Joseph G. Giitter,
Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-7379 Filed 3-31-10; 8:45 am]