[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 224 (Monday, November 22, 2010)]
[Pages 71152-71154]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-29368]



[Docket Nos. 50-361 and 50-362; NRC-2010-0359]

Southern California Edison; San Onofre Nuclear Generating 
Station, Unit 2 and Unit 3; Exemption

1.0 Background

    Southern California Edison (SCE, the licensee) is the holder of the 
Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-10 and NPF-15, which authorize 
operation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), Unit 2 
and Unit 3, respectively. 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 or the Commission) now or 
hereafter in effect.
    The facility consists of two pressurized-water reactors located in 
San Diego County, California.

2.0 Request/Action

    Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) part 73, 
``Physical protection of plants and materials,''

[[Page 71153]]

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, 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 
(74 FR 13926), establish and update generically applicable security 
requirements similar to those previously imposed by Commission orders 
issued after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and 
implemented by the 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 additional 
requirements that SCE now seeks an exemption from the implementation 
date. All other physical security requirements established by this 
recent rulemaking have been implemented by the licensee.
    By letter dated August 24, 2010, as supplemented by letter dated 
October 17, 2010, the licensee requested an exemption in accordance 
with 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions.'' Portions of the August 24 
and October 17, 2010, submittals contain safeguards and security-
related information and, accordingly, redacted versions of those 
letters are available for public review in the Agencywide Documents 
Access and Management System (ADAMS), at Accession Nos. ML102380401 and 
ML102920691, respectively. By letter dated March 16, 2010 (Accession 
No. ML100630530), the NRC granted a previous exemption to SCE for two 
specific items subject to the revised rule in 10 CFR 73.55, allowing 
the implementation of one item to be deferred until October 31, 2010, 
and the implementation of a second item until January 31, 2011. The 
licensee has now requested an additional exemption from the current 
implementation date established in the prior exemption for one item, 
based on, in part, significant, unanticipated delays in the production, 
acceptance testing, and delivery of critical security equipment needed 
to meet the requirements of the new rule. Specifically, the licensee's 
request is to extend the implementation date deadline from the current 
date of October 31, 2010, to February 28, 2011, for one specific 
requirement. In its October 17, 2010, supplemental letter, SCE provided 
additional information supporting the requested extension for 
implementation of the first item, and also determined that it is 
currently in compliance with the new rule for the second item, thereby 
withdrawing its exemption request for the second item. Granting this 
exemption extending the implementation date for the one remaining item 
would allow the licensee to complete the modifications designed to 
update aging equipment and incorporate state-of-the-art technology to 
meet the noted regulatory requirements.

3.0 Discussion of Part 73 Schedule Exemption 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 would allow an additional extension 
of the implementation date approved under a previous exemption from 
October 31, 2010, until February 28, 2011, for one specific remaining 
requirement 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 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 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 a letter from R. W. Borchardt (NRC) to M. S. 
Fertel (Nuclear Energy Institute) dated June 4, 2009. 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.

SONGS Schedule Exemption Request

    The licensee provided detailed information in its letters dated 
August 24 and October 17, 2010, requesting an exemption. In those 
letters, the licensee described its comprehensive plan to design, 
construct, test, and turn over the new equipment for the enhancement of 
the security capabilities at the SONGS site to achieve full compliance 
with the new regulation. The August 24 and October 17, 2010, letters 
contain security-related and safeguards information regarding the site 
security plan, details of the specific requirements of the regulation 
for which the licensee seeks exemption, justification for the 
additional extension request, a description of the required changes to 
the site's security configuration, and a revised timeline with critical 
path activities that would enable the licensee to achieve full 
compliance by February 28, 2011. The timeline provides revised dates 
indicating when construction will be completed on various phases of the 
project and when critical equipment will be received, installed, tested 
and become operational.
    Notwithstanding the schedule exemption for this one remaining item, 
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 
February 28, 2011, SONGS would be in full compliance with all of the 
regulatory requirements of 10 CFR 73.55, as issued on March 27, 2009.

[[Page 71154]]

4.0 Conclusion for Part 73 Schedule Exemption Request

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's submittal and concludes 
that the licensee has provided adequate justification for its request 
for an extension of the previously authorized compliance date from 
October 31, 2010, to February 28, 2011, for one specific requirement. 
This conclusion is based on the staff's determination that SCE has made 
a good faith effort to meet the requirements in a timely manner, has 
sufficiently described the reasons for the unanticipated delays, and 
has provided an updated detailed schedule with adequate justification 
for the additional time requested for the extension, based on those 
delays and an expansion to the original scope of work that the staff 
agrees is needed to ensure that required system capabilities are met.
    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that pursuant to 10 CFR 
73.5, ``Specific exemptions,'' an exemption to further extend 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 exemption.
    The NRC staff has determined that the long-term benefits that will 
be realized when the SONGS security modifications are completed 
justifies exceeding the full compliance date with regard to the 
specified requirements of 10 CFR 73.55. The significant security 
enhancements SONGS 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 exemption.
    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 
remaining item specified in Enclosure 1 of SCE's letters dated August 
24 and October 17, 2010, the licensee is required to be in full 
compliance by February 28, 2011. 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 69136; November 10, 2010).
    This exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 10th day of November 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Joseph G. Giitter,
Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-29368 Filed 11-19-10; 8:45 am]