[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 167 (Monday, August 30, 2010)]
[Pages 52997-52998]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-21637]



[NRC-2010-0061; Docket No. 50-298]

Nebraska Public Power District; Cooper Nuclear Station; Exemption

1.0 Background

    Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD or the licensee) is the holder 
of Facility Operating License No. DPR-46 which authorizes operation of 
the Cooper Nuclear Station (CNS). The license provides, among other 
things, that the facility is subject to the rules, regulations, and 
orders of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, the Commission) now 
or hereafter in effect.
    The facility consists of a boiling-water reactor located in Nemaha 
County, Nebraska.

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 (74 FR 13926-13993), 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. By letter dated February 26, 2010, the NRC 
granted NPPD an exemption from the March 31, 2010, implementation date 
until August 31, 2010, for three of these additional requirements. NPPD 
now seeks an exemption from the August 31, 2010, implementation date 
until December 31, 2010, for the same three additional requirements. 
All other physical security requirements established by this recent 
rulemaking have already been implemented by the licensee.
    By application dated July 7, 2010, as supplemented by letter dated 
July 20, 2010, the licensee requested an exemption in accordance with 
10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' The licensee's letter contains 
security-related information and, accordingly, those portions are not 
available to the public. The licensee has requested an exemption from 
the August 31, 2010, implementation date, stating that it must complete 
a number of modifications to the current site security configuration 
before all requirements can be met. Specifically, the request is for 
three requirements that would be met by December 31, 2010, instead of 
the August 31, 2010, deadline. Granting this exemption for the three 
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 the 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. By letter dated February 26, 2010 (Agencywide 
Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. 
ML100190100), the NRC approved an exemption that allowed NPPD an 
extension from March 31, 2010, until August 31, 2010, of the 
implementation date for three specific requirements of the new rule.
    NRC approval of this exemption, as noted above, would allow an 

[[Page 52998]]

from August 31, 2010, until December 31, 2010, of the implementation 
date for three 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 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 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 the letter from R.W. Borchardt (NRC) to M.S. 
Fertel (Nuclear Energy Institute) dated June 4, 2009 (ADAMS Accession 
No. ML091410309). The licensee's request for an exemption is therefore 
consistent with the approach set forth by the Commission and discussed 
in the letter dated June 4, 2009.

CNS Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in the Attachment to its 
letter dated July 7, 2010, as supplemented by letter dated July 20, 
2010, requesting an exemption. The licensee is requesting additional 
time to implement certain new requirements due to the impact on 
construction activities of the extremely wet spring and flooding of the 
Missouri River. The licensee describes a comprehensive plan to expand 
the protected area with upgrades to the security capabilities of its 
CNS site and provides a timeline for achieving full compliance with the 
new regulation. The Attachment to the licensee's letter dated July 7, 
2010, contains security-related information regarding the site security 
plan, details of the specific requirements of the regulation for which 
the site cannot be in compliance by the August 31, 2010, deadline, 
justification for the exemption request, a description of the required 
changes to the site's security configuration, and a timeline with 
critical path activities that would bring the licensee into full 
compliance by December 31, 2010. The timeline provides dates indicating 
when (1) construction will begin on various phases of the project 
(e.g., new buildings and fences), and (2) critical equipment will be 
ordered, installed, tested, and become operational. A redacted version 
of the licensee's exemption request dated July 7, 2010, including 
attachment, and the licensee's letter dated July 20, 2010, are publicly 
available at ADAMS Accession Nos. ML101900266 and ML102090069, 
    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 December 31, 2010, CNS will be in full compliance with the 
regulatory requirements of 10 CFR 73.55, as issued on March 27, 2009.

4.0 Conclusion for Part 73 Schedule Exemption Request

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's submittal and concludes 
that the licensee has justified its request for an extension of the 
compliance date with regard to three specified requirements of 10 CFR 
73.55 until December 31, 2010.
    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that pursuant to 10 CFR 
73.5, ``Specific exemptions,'' an exemption from the August 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 CNS 
modifications are complete justifies extending the full compliance date 
in the case of this particular licensee. The security measures that CNS 
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 
    As per the licensee's request and the NRC's regulatory authority to 
grant an exemption from the August 31, 2010, deadline for the three 
items specified in the Attachment to NPPD's letter dated July 7, 2010, 
as supplemented by letter dated July 20, 2010, the licensee is required 
to be in full compliance with 10 CFR 73.55 by December 31, 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.
    The exemption extends the compliance date of three specified 
requirements of 10 CFR 73.55 until December 31, 2010. The Commission 
has determined that granting this exemption from the requirements of 10 
CFR 73.55 involves (i) no significant hazards consideration, (ii) no 
significant change in the types or significant increase in the amounts 
of any effluents that may be released offsite, (iii) no significant 
increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation 
exposure, (iv) no significant construction impact, and (v) no 
significant increase in the potential for or consequences from 
radiological accidents. In addition, the requirements from which this 
exemption is sought involve 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(vi)(G), ``Scheduling 
requirements.'' Accordingly, the exemption meets the eligibility 
criteria for categorical exclusion set forth in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(i)-
(vi). Therefore, in accordance with 10 CFR 51.22(b), no environmental 
impact statement or environmental assessment need be prepared in 
connection with the NRC's consideration of this exemption request.
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of August 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Joseph G. Giitter,
Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-21637 Filed 8-27-10; 8:45 am]