[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 227 (Friday, November 26, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 72737-72739]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-29738]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 227 / Friday, November 26, 2010 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 72737]]


10 CFR Part 50


Proposed Generic Communications Reporting for Decommissioning 
Funding Status Reports

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of opportunity for public comment.


SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to issue 
a regulatory issue summary (RIS) to clarify for licensees and external 
stakeholders the information that they should use and present to the 
NRC in the Decommissioning Funding Status (DFS) reports to ensure that 
the NRC staff, licensees, and stakeholders are using the same, correct 
figures and to prevent potential issues resulting from shortfalls in 
the licensee's decommissioning fund.

DATES: Comment period expires December 27, 2010. Comments submitted 
after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but 
assurance of consideration cannot be given except for comments received 
on or before this date.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to the Chief, Rules, Directives and 
Announcements Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of 
Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Mail Stop TWB-05-
B01M, Washington, DC 20555-0001, and cite the publication date and page 
number of this Federal Register Notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Aaron L. Szabo, at 301-415-1985 or by 
e-mail at [email protected].


NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 2010-XXX

10 CFR 50.75 Reporting for Decommissioning Funding Status Reports


    All holders of and applicants for a power reactor operating license 
or construction permit under Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR) Part 50, ``Domestic Licensing of Production and 
Utilization Facilities,'' except those that have permanently ceased 
operations and have certified that fuel has been permanently removed 
from the reactor vessel.
    All holders of and applicants for a power reactor early site 
permit, combined license, standard design certification, standard 
design approval, or manufacturing license under 10 CFR Part 52, 
``Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants.''


    The NRC is issuing this RIS to clarify the reporting requirements 
of 10 CFR 50.75(f)(1) and 10 CFR 50.75(f)(2) regarding the status of 
decommissioning funding assurance.
    In 2009, the NRC received the DFS reports for all the NRC licensed 
power reactors, including those undergoing decommissioning, as required 
by 10 CFR 50.75(f)(1) and (2). During the evaluation process for the 
DFS reports, the NRC staff determined that communication between the 
NRC and licensees could be enhanced. Therefore, the staff decided to 
provide this RIS to clarify the information that licensees should 
report to the NRC in the DFS reports to ensure standardization and 
consistency. This RIS does not replace any information provided in RIS 
2001-07, Revision 1, ``10 CFR 50.75 Reporting and Recordkeeping for 
Decommissioning Planning,'' dated January 8, 2009, and should be 
considered a supplement to it.


    SECY-07-0197, ``Reactor Decommissioning Trust Fund Oversight by 
Other Agencies and Recommendations Regarding Further Commission 
Action,'' issued November 2007, recommended to the Commission that the 
NRC staff begin to perform periodic spot-checks at the licensee's 
offices of the original statements and other related documents sent to 
a licensee from its trustee that disclose the trust fund balance to 
ensure that the amounts reported to the NRC in the DFS reports are 
equivalent to the amount stated in the licensee's year-end bank 
    The NRC has completed over half of the required spot-checks, 
ensuring in each case that the DFS report matched the licensee's 
submission and that the information provided to the NRC was correct.
    In 2009, during the NRC staff's review of the DFS reports, the 
staff held conference calls and issued requests for additional 
information to ensure compliance with reporting regulations under 10 
CFR 50.75(f). Also during the review, the NRC staff determined that 
stakeholders needed to be informed about the NRC's evaluation process 
for decommissioning funding assurance (DFA), as well as about the 
information that licensees should provide to the NRC when they submit 
their DFS reports. The current guidance that the NRC staff uses to 
evaluate the DFS reports appears in Office of Nuclear Reactor 
Regulation (NRR) Instruction LIC-205, Revision 3 (Agencywide Documents 
Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML100550465).
    Because of these issues, the NRC staff is clarifying for licensees 
and external stakeholders the information that they should use and 
present to the NRC in the DFS reports to ensure that the NRC staff, 
licensees, and stakeholders are using the same, correct figures and to 
prevent potential issues resulting from shortfalls in the licensee's 
decommissioning fund.

Summary of the Issue

    On the basis of a review of recent DFS reports submitted to the 
NRC, the staff has identified two general categories in which DFS 
report submittals could be improved:
    (1) Format and content of submittal.
    (2) Site-specific proposals.

Format and Content of Submittal

    Under 10 CFR 50.75(c)(2), the licensee must provide the most recent 
applicable regional data from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of 
Labor Statistics (BLS) when submitting the DFS report. The licensee 
should provide the month of December of the calendar year preceding the 
date of the report BLS

[[Page 72738]]

regional data, if available, for labor, and fourth quarter of the 
calendar year preceding the date of the report BLS regional data, if 
available, for energy; if either or both of those numbers are not 
available, then the licensee should use the latest available numbers 
and specify which month or quarter.
    Under 10 CFR 50.75(f), the licensee must submit the amount of 
decommissioning funds accumulated at the end of the calendar year. In 
some cases, licensees who recover their costs in rates are authorized 
to accumulate funds outside the decommissioning account until a 
determination is made by their rate regulator regarding whether the 
funds will be deposited into the account. Funds held outside the 
decommissioning trust using a method not listed in 10 CFR 50.75(e) 
should not be included in the amount of funds reported as accumulated. 
In some cases, the licensee has accumulated funds in its 
decommissioning trust greater than needed to satisfy the minimum amount 
required by NRC regulations or has commingled funds set aside to 
satisfy the NRC requirement with other decommissioning-related funds; 
if so, the licensee must report the total accumulated amount in its 
decommissioning trust for radiological decommissioning, pursuant to NRC 
regulations, and may, separately report the amount accumulated for 
State costs, spent fuel management costs, or other purposes. The 
licensee needs to preserve the distinction between NRC-determined cost 
estimate and all other decommissioning cost estimates in their reports.
    The licensee should report the actual amount accumulated for 
decommissioning, as defined by the NRC's regulations. When performing 
spot-checks of decommissioning fund accounts, the NRC staff discovered 
that some licensees provided the book value of their Decommissioning 
Trust Fund (DTF) balance instead of the market value. Although the book 
value has usually been a lower amount than the market value, the market 
value is a more accurate measure of the worth of the DTF, because it is 
the value of the DTF if liquidated on the date reported. Licensees 
should avoid providing the book value and consider providing the market 
value for their DTF balance. The DFS reports will allow the NRC staff 
to track the amounts in all licensees' DTFs to determine financial 
market trends and ensure that licensees are following all NRC 
    When submitting the DFS report, if the licensee provides a schedule 
of the annual amounts remaining to be collected, the licensee should 
avoid providing an aggregated amount and instead provide the amounts in 
a year-by-year breakdown that gives the source of the annual amounts 
remaining to be collected (i.e., rate-recovery or non-bypassable 
charges, as allowed under 10 CFR 50.75(e)(ii)(A) or (B)). If a licensee 
is relying on any contracts under 10 CFR 50.75(e)(i)(v) as the source 
of the annual amounts remaining to be collected, the licensee should 
identify the contracts and provide the amounts to be collected on an 
annual basis. The licensee may also provide the NRC with the regulatory 
order stating the amounts and length of the schedule.
    If the licensee claims a greater than 2 percent real rate of 
return, in accordance with 10 CFR 50.75(e)(1)(i), the licensee should 
provide the rate-setting authority order permitting a greater real rate 
of return or other documentation granting the higher rate, including 
inflation and other escalation factors. The licensee should also 
indicate whether the higher real rate of return has been allowed during 
the decommissioning period.
    Under 10 CFR 50.75(f), the DFS report must state the modifications 
to the method of providing DFA. This includes, but is not limited to, 
adding or eliminating funding methods, changing existing methods (for 
example, changing the terms of contractual obligations or the face 
amount of a surety, insurance, or other guarantee method), and changing 
the commingling of funds (creating subaccounts, moving funds from one 
unit to another within the same site). Any material changes to the 
trust agreement must also be reported in the DFS report (Note: under 10 
CFR 50.75(h)(1)(iii), material changes to the trust agreement require 
prior written notification to the NRC).

Site-Specific Proposals

    Licensees are required to provide a site-specific cost estimate 
five years prior to cessation of operations. However, if a licensee 
chooses to submit a site-specific cost estimate prior to that time, it 
must be equal to or greater than the NRC minimum, as calculated in 10 
CFR 50.75(c), and be accompanied by the same information required for 
the site-specific study required under 10 CFR 50.75(f)(3). It should be 
consistent with the cost assessments made in the most recently 
submitted site-specific cost estimate to the NRC, Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission, state public utilities commission, or other 
regulatory body. The licensee should provide a reference and citation 
to any site-specific cost estimate submitted to another regulatory 
body. If the licensee does not provide this information, the NRC staff 
may determine the site-specific method to be insufficient as submitted 
and only allow the licensee to use the regulatory formula, with no 
credit for safe store, unless more information is provided.
    The detailed site-specific study should have a year-by-year cost 
breakdown combined with the overnight cost (cost without inflation or 
cost escalation) of decommissioning the plant using constant dollars 
for the year reported. The NRC staff evaluates the site-specific method 
using the following steps: (1) Applying the current revision of NRR OI 
LIC-205 to calculate the growth of the fund during operations, (2) for 
each year during decommissioning, (a) subtracting the annual cost to be 
incurred and then (b) providing a 2 percent real rate of return, unless 
a higher rate has been allowed, and (3) repeating step (2) for each 
year of the decommissioning period until either the decommissioning 
period is completed or the DTF is depleted.

Backfit Discussion

    This RIS provides regulatory clarification and does not represent a 
new or different staff position regarding the implementation of 10 CFR 
50.75, ``Reporting and Recordkeeping for Decommissioning Planning.'' It 
requires no action or written response beyond that required in 10 CFR 
50.75. Any action by addressees to implement changes to their reporting 
procedures in accordance with the clarifications in this RIS is 
strictly voluntary, ensures compliance with current regulations, and 
therefore is not a backfit under 10 CFR 50.109, ``Backfitting.'' 
Consequently, the NRC staff did not perform a backfit analysis.

Federal Register Notification

    To be done after the public comment period.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    This RIS contains and references information collection 
requirements that are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Existing requirements were approved by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB), approval number 3150-0011.

Public Protection Notification

    The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to 
respond to, a request for information or an information collection 
requirement unless the requesting document displays a currently valid 
OMB control number.
    If you have any questions about this regulatory issue summary, 
please contact the person listed below or the

[[Page 72739]]

NRR project manager for your specific nuclear power plant.


    Please direct any questions about this matter to Aaron L. Szabo at 
301-415-1985 or by e-mail at [email protected].

End of Draft Regulatory Issue Summary

    Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's 
Public Document Room at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike 
(first floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be 
accessible electronically from the Agencywide Documents Access and 
Management System (ADAMS) Public Electronic Reading Room on the 
Internet at the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov/NRC/ADAMS/index.html. 
If you do not have access to ADAMS or if you have problems in accessing 
the documents in ADAMS, contact the NRC Public Document Room (PDR) 
reference staff at 1-800-397-4209 or 301-415-4737 or by e-mail to 
[email protected].

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of November 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Theodore R. Quay,
Deputy Director, Division of Policy and Rulemaking, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-29738 Filed 11-24-10; 8:45 am]