[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 246 (Thursday, December 23, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 80730-80731]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-32242]

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. 246 / Thursday, December 23, 2010 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 80730]]


10 CFR Part 70

[Docket No. PRM-70-9; NRC-2010-0372]

Francis Slakey on Behalf of the American Physical Society; 
Receipt of Petition for Rulemaking

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; notice of receipt.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Commission) is 
publishing for public comment a notice of receipt of a petition for 
rulemaking, dated November 10, 2010, which was filed with the NRC by 
Francis Slakey on behalf of the American Physical Society (APS). The 
petition was docketed by the NRC on November 18, 2010, and has been 
assigned Docket No. PRM-70-9. The petitioner requests that the NRC 
amend its regulations regarding the domestic licensing of special 
nuclear material to include proliferation assessments as part of the 
licensing process.

DATES: Submit comments by March 8, 2011. 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: Please include Docket ID NRC-2010-0372 in the subject line 
of your comments. For instructions on submitting comments and accessing 
documents related to this action, see ``Submitting Comments and 
Accessing Information'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of 
this document. You may submit comments by any one of the following 
    Federal rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-2010-0372. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher, telephone: 301-492-
3668, e-mail: [email protected].
    Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.
    E-mail comments to: [email protected]. If you do not 
receive a reply e-mail confirming that we have received your comments, 
contact us directly at 301-415-1966.
    Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 
20852 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. during Federal workdays 
(telephone: 301-415-1966).
    Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 

Announcements, and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative 
Services, Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, telephone: 301-492-3667.


Submitting Comments and Accessing Information

    Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted 
on the NRC Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site, http://www.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 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.
    You can access publicly available documents related to this 
document, including the petition for rulemaking, using the following 
    NRC's Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine and have 
copied for a fee publicly available documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O-
1F21, 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].
    Federal rulemaking Web site: Public comments and supporting 
materials related to this action can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID NRC-2010-0372.


    Francis Slakey, on behalf of APS (petitioner), submitted a petition 
for rulemaking dated November 10, 2010. The APS is an organization of 
research physicists with members in academia, national laboratories, 
and industry. The petitioner requests that the NRC revise its 
regulations regarding the domestic licensing of special nuclear 
material to include proliferation assessments as part of the licensing 
process. The NRC has determined that the petition meets the threshold 
sufficiency requirements for a petition for rulemaking under title 10 
of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), section 2.802, and the 
petition has been docketed as PRM-70-9. The NRC is requesting public 
comment on the petition for rulemaking.

Discussion of the Petition

    The petitioner stated that on February 18, 2010, the APS Panel on 
Public Affairs (POPA) released a report entitled ``Technical Steps to 
Support Nuclear Arsenal Downsizing.'' In the report, APS/POPA noted 
that over the next few years, the NRC would be reviewing license 
applications for new technologies, and that these new technologies 
could pose proliferation risks. Specifically, the report concluded that 
some of the enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies could pose 
unique proliferation risks, and that these risks can best be addressed 
by including a Nuclear Proliferation Assessment (NPA) in the ENR 
licensing process. The petitioner believes that the current licensing 
process may be insufficient to cover all of the issues that would arise 
in an NPA for two reasons:

[[Page 80731]]

    (1) By having an NPA emerge as a ``net effect'' of the current 
licensing process rather than as an explicit request, non-proliferation 
is not given an adequate level of attention. The petitioner states 
that, under the current process, proliferation issues are spread across 
the entire license application process. As a result, the current 
process may overlook some properties of the new technology which may 
merit attention in a proliferation context.
    (2) Key questions that indicate the degree of proliferation risk of 
an ENR technology may not be addressed under the NRC's ``net effect'' 
approach. The petitioner believes that a proliferation assessment would 
be incomplete without a consideration of these key questions, 
including, but not limited to:
     Could the design of the technology be altered easily to 
allow for diversion of nuclear material?
     Could the facility be constructed and operated in a manner 
that is undetectable?
     Are there unique components of the technology whose 
acquisition would indicate the construction of such a facility and 
could be easily tracked?
    The petitioner proposes that the NRC amend its regulations at 
subpart D of 10 CFR part 70, ``Domestic Licensing of Special Nuclear 
Material,'' to include a requirement for an NPA as follows:

Sec.  70.22 Contents of applications.

    (o) Nuclear Proliferation Assessment. Each applicant for the 
license of an enrichment or reprocessing facility shall include an 
assessment of the proliferation risks that construction and 
operation of the proposed facility might pose.

    The petitioner believes that including a specific requirement for 
an NPA in the NRC regulations is consistent with the NRC requirement to 
evaluate whether the issuance of a license ``would be inimical to the 
common defense and security or to the health and safety of the 

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

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,

Annette Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2010-32242 Filed 12-22-10; 8:45 am]