[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 184 (Thursday, September 23, 2010)]
[Pages 57987-57989]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-23877]




Evaluation of the Groundwater Task Force Report: Public Meeting

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting; solicitation of public comments.


SUMMARY: In response to incidents involving radioactive contamination 
of groundwater wells and soils at nuclear power plants, the Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC) convened a Groundwater Task Force (GTF) in 
March 2010 to determine whether past, current, and planned actions 
should be augmented. The GTF, in its final report dated June 2010, 
determined that the NRC is meeting its mission of protecting public 
health, safety, and the environment. However, in view of stakeholder 
concerns, the GTF recommended that the NRC consider changes to its 
oversight of licensed material outside of its designed confinement. The 
NRC established a senior management review group to evaluate the GTF 
report, identify next steps, and make recommendations to the Commission 
about potential policy changes. The NRC will host a meeting with the 
public to discuss and solicit input on the potential policy changes 
being considered. The meeting will serve as a forum for members of the 
public to provide oral comments. The NRC is also requesting written 
comments on the potential policy issues, particularly for those members 
of the public unable to attend the meeting. The potential policy issues 
can be found in Section C, ``Topics for Discussion: Potential Policy 
Issues,'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

DATES: Public Meeting Date: Monday, October 4, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 5 
    Comment Dates: For individuals who wish to provide written comments 
on the potential policy issues, the comments are requested by October 
15, 2010. Comments received after this date will be considered if it is 
practical to do so, but the NRC is able to assure consideration only 
for comments received on or before this date.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held in the Commission Hearing 
Room at the NRC Headquarters building, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 
Maryland 20852. The NRC Headquarters building is located across the 
street from the White Flint metro station. For most attendees, the 
metro system is likely the most convenient mode of transportation, as 
there is very limited parking available. Please also allow time to 
register with building security. Individuals unable to travel to the 
NRC Headquarters building may participate by teleconference or observe 
by live Webcast. Please contact the individual listed below to get 
details for participating in this manner.
    You may submit comments by any one of the following methods. Please 
include Docket ID NRC-2010-0302 in the subject line of your comments. 
Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted on 
the NRC Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site 
Regulations.gov. Because your comments will not be edited to remove any 
identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you against 
including any information in your submission that you do not want to be 
publicly disclosed.
    The NRC requests that any party soliciting or aggregating comments 
received from other persons for submission to the NRC inform those 
persons that the NRC will not edit their

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comments to remove any identifying or contact information, and 
therefore, they should not include any information in their comments 
that they do not want publicly disclosed.
    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-2010-0302. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher 301-492-3668; e-mail 
[email protected].
    Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, Announcements and 
Directives Branch (RADB), Division of Administrative Services, Office 
of Administration, Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, or by fax to RADB at (301) 492-
    You can access publicly available documents related to this notice 
using the following methods:
    NRC's Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine and have 
copied for a fee publicly available documents at the NRC's PDR, Public 
File Area O1 F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, 
Rockville, Maryland.
    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): 
Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC are 
available electronically at the NRC's Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this page, the public can gain 
entry into ADAMS, which provides text and image files of NRC's public 
documents. If you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems 
in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC's PDR 
reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by e-mail to 
[email protected]. The potential policy issues are available 
electronically under ADAMS Accession Number ML102460172.
    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Public comments and supporting 
materials related to this notice can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID: NRC-2010-0302.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barry Miller, (301) 415-4117, e-mail 
address [email protected]. Public meeting attendees are requested to 
pre-register with the meeting contact by September 30, 2010.


A. Background and Purpose of the Public Meeting

    The NRC convened the GTF in March 2010 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML100640188) to evaluate NRC actions taken in response to recent 
releases of tritium into groundwater by nuclear facilities, reevaluate 
the recommendations made in the Liquid Radioactive Release Lessons 
Learned Task Force Final Report dated September 1, 2006 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML062650312), and review the actions taken in SECY-09-
0174 (Staff Progress in Evaluation of Buried Piping at Nuclear Reactor 
Facilities, ADAMS Accession No. ML093160004). The purpose of the review 
was to determine whether the actions taken in response to recent events 
need to be augmented.
    The GTF completed its work in June 2010, and provided the final 
report to the NRC Executive Director for Operations (EDO) (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML101680435). The GTF final report identified four major 
themes that provided focus for the report's conclusions: Theme 1--
Reassess NRC's Regulatory Framework for Groundwater Protection, Theme 
2--Maintain Barriers as Designed to Confine Licensed Material, Theme 
3--Create More Reliable NRC Response, and Theme 4--Strengthen Trust.
    As a result of this report, the EDO tasked a senior management 
review group to evaluate the report's conclusions and recommendations 
and identify actions that can be taken now, in addition to issues of 
policy that should be raised for Commission consideration. The senior 
management review group has completed their evaluation and compiled a 
list of potential policy issues for consideration. The purpose of this 
meeting is to receive input on these potential policy issues from a 
diverse group of public and industry stakeholders to ensure we have 
identified and are considering the right issues on which to focus our 
attention as we move forward. The potential policy issues can be found 
in Section C, Topics for Discussion: Potential Policy Issues, of this 
notice. Many of the issues listed in Section C contain specific 
references to the GTF report, with the references provided in 
parentheses following the specific issue.

B. Public Meeting Agenda

    A meeting notice and detailed agenda are available on the NRC 
public meeting schedule Web site http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index.cfm. The meeting will take place from 9 a.m.-5 
p.m. and consist of four sessions with a short break in between each 
one. Each session will correspond to one of the four themes identified 
in the GTF final report: Theme 1, Reassess NRC's Regulatory Framework 
for Groundwater Protection; Theme 2, Maintain Barriers as Designed to 
Confine Licensed Material; Theme 3, Create More Reliable NRC Response; 
and Theme 4, Strengthen Trust. Each session will have a panel 
consisting of public and industry stakeholders, with the aim of 
representing an array of perspectives. Each panelist will give an 
approximately ten-minute presentation summarizing their views on the 
policy issues covered by their session topic. These presentations will 
be followed by a facilitated open discussion with the general 
attendees, thereby providing an opportunity for any attendee to provide 

C. Topics for Discussion: Potential Policy Issues

    Provided below are the potential policy issues identified by the 
senior management review group from the GTF final report. The 
parenthetical notation following many of the potential policy issues is 
a reference to a conclusion in the GTF final report. For example, C.3.2 
is referencing conclusion C.3.2 in Appendix C of the report.

Theme 1: Reassess NRC's Regulatory Framework for Groundwater Protection

    Should NRC's programs be modified to ensure harmonization of the 
approaches we have taken to groundwater protection that are applied to 
different licensees under NRC regulations? (C.3.2)
    How should the NRC's programs accommodate or encourage industry 
initiatives that go beyond NRC requirements?
     E.g., for reactors, is the industry's voluntary initiative 
on groundwater protection sufficiently comprehensive? Should it be 
taken into account in NRC's regulatory framework? (B.3.4)
    How should NRC's programs address protection of the environment?
     Should requirements be promulgated to require prompt 
remediation of unintended releases of radioactive liquids? (C.3.3)
     Should the NRC consider modifying Part 20 to address those 
portions of International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) 
103 related to environmental protection? (E.3.4)
    Should changes be made to the radiological effluent performance 
indicator in the Reactor Oversight Process to make it more reflective 
of performance in the area of plant releases, both planned and 
unplanned? Should the performance indicator take into account public 
confidence in addition to the current risk-informed approach to 
radiation protection that

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verifies the effluent release program performance? (B.3.1)
    Should a policy statement be developed based upon NRC's existing 
regulations and guidance to address: (1) Protection of the environment 
within NRC's regulatory framework, (2) NRC's expectations of licensees, 
(3) the relationship to other regulatory schemes, and (4) NRC's desire 
to work cooperatively with other Federal agencies and States in 
protecting the environment?
    Should NRC's regulatory framework be informed by experience or 
guidance developed or applied by the International Atomic Energy 
Agency, the international community or by other U.S. agencies, e.g., 
Department of Energy directives (DOE STD 1153) and activities?

Theme 2: Maintain Barriers as Designed To Confine Licensed Material

    Should NRC's programs be modified to ensure that systems and 
components better contain radioactive liquids and gases?
     Are additional requirements appropriate for the design, 
operation and maintenance of systems and components that contain 
radioactive liquids and gases? (C.3.1)
     Should a more quantitative definition of the ``As Low As 
Is Reasonably Achievable'' (ALARA) concept be adopted with respect to 
leakage of radioactive liquids and gases?
     Is it feasible to apply the ALARA concept in 10 CFR 50.36a 
to ``unmonitored releases'' and to restricted areas as well as 
unrestricted areas?
     How could the principles in 10 CFR 20.1406 be applied to 
operating reactors?
     Do the existing General Design Criteria (GDC) (e.g., GDC 
60 and 64) in 10 CFR part 50, appendix A, provide a basis to require 
new licensee programs with respect to leakage of radioactive liquids 
and gases?

Theme 3: Create More Reliable NRC Response

    Should NRC's programs be modified to ensure greater consistency 
when addressing low risk, high public interest/confidence issues?
     Should NRC's oversight programs be modified to include 
more specific guidance on responding to reported incidents where risk 
is low but there is high stakeholder interest? Should this guidance 
address the follow up and disposition of a licensee's immediate 
actions, extent of condition, root cause, corrective action, and 
communication with the stakeholders? (A.3.1, A.3.2, B.3.3)
    How can the NRC improve communications and support to other 
regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
and the States, in understanding and exercising respective roles and 
responsibilities related to groundwater protection? (D.3.3)

Theme 4: Strengthen Trust

    How can the NRC increase confidence in its actions and 
communications related to groundwater protection?
    What role could third party verification or assessment play in 
responding to groundwater protection? (D.3.3)
    What would be the benefit of using the International Nuclear Event 
Scale for communicating the safety significance of events at Levels 0 
or 1 that attract high domestic or international public interest? Would 
this approach lead to confusion on the significance of the issue?
    How can greater clarity be given to the interplay between NRC 
regulations and existing State and other Federal regulations with 
respect to the objectives and level of protection provided by adherence 
to the regulations?

D. Conduct of the Meeting.

    This is a Category 3 Meeting. The public is invited to participate 
in this meeting by providing comments and asking questions throughout 
the meeting. The NRC's Policy Statement, ``Enhancing Public 
Participation on NRC Meetings,'' (May 28, 2002; 67 FR 36920), applies 
to this meeting. The policy contains information regarding visitors and 
security. The NRC provides reasonable accommodation to individuals with 
disabilities where appropriate. If a member of the public needs a 
reasonable accommodation to participate in the meeting, or needs the 
meeting notice or the transcript or other information from the meeting 
in another format (e.g., Braille, large print), please notify the NRC's 
meeting contacts. Determinations on requests for reasonable 
accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 16th day of September 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Michael R. Johnson,
Deputy Executive Director for Reactor and Preparedness Programs, Acting 
Office of the Executive Director for Operations.
[FR Doc. 2010-23877 Filed 9-22-10; 8:45 am]