[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 88 (Friday, May 6, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 26223-26224]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-11112]

[[Page 26223]]



10 CFR Part 50

[Docket No. PRM-50-96; NRC-2011-0069]

Petition for Rulemaking Submitted by Thomas Popik

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; receipt and request for comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is publishing for 
public comment a notice of receipt for a petition for rulemaking (PRM), 
dated March 14, 2011, which was filed with the NRC by Thomas Popik. The 
petition was docketed by the NRC on March 15, 2011, and has been 
assigned Docket No. PRM-50-96. The petition requests that the NRC amend 
its regulations regarding the domestic licensing of special nuclear 
material to require production and utilization facilities licensed by 
the NRC to assure long-term cooling and unattended water makeup of 
spent fuel pools.

DATES: Submit comments by July 20, 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-2011-0069 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-
2011-0069. 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 301-415-1677.
     Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 
Maryland 20852 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. during Federal workdays 
(telephone: 301-415-1677).
     Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission at 301-415-1101.

Announcements, and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative 
Services, Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, telephone: 301-492-3667, toll free: 800-368-
5642, e-mail: [email protected].


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 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, O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 
Maryland 20852.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC 
are available electronically in the NRC Library 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 the 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 ADAMS Accession Nos. for this document and 
the incoming petition are ML110830730 and ML110750145, respectively.
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Public comments and 
supporting materials related to this petition for rulemaking can be 
found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID NRC-2011-


    The NRC received a petition for rulemaking on March 14, 2011 (PRM-
50-96). The petition was submitted by Mr. Thomas Popik on behalf of the 
Foundation for Resilient Societies (the Foundation). The petition 
states that the Foundation is an association within the U.S. with an 
interest in citizens' health and safety, and an interest [in ensuring] 
that large U.S. land areas do not become contaminated with nuclear 
radiation and, therefore, uninhabitable for hundreds of years. The NRC 
was unable to confirm the existence of the Foundation.\1\ The NRC 
requires in 10 CFR 2.802(c)(2) that each petition for rulemaking 
``[s]tate clearly and concisely petitioner's grounds for an interest in 
the action requested.'' The NRC has consistently interpreted this as 
requiring that the petitioner accurately identify itself, in part so 
that the NRC is able to evaluate the accuracy and weight to be given to 
any representations made by the petitioner in its petition. In light of 
the NRC's inability to confirm the Foundation as an actual 
organization, the NRC is treating Mr. Popik as the petitioner.\2\

    \1\ The original e-mail and petition submitted by Mr. Popik did 
not include any contact information for Mr. Popik or a mailing 
address for the Foundation. In response to an NRC inquiry, Mr. Popik 
provided a Nashua, New Hampshire mailing address for the Foundation 
(ML111080495). The NRC identified a Web site for the Foundation, 
which contains a news release on the petition, and a pdf file of the 
petition. The Web site provides no information describing the 
Foundation, its purpose or objectives, or the organizational 
structure of the Foundation. The only Foundation contact provided on 
the Web site is Mr. Popik. The NRC's search of the web did not 
disclose any information on the activities of the Foundation other 
than news articles about the Foundation's petition. The NRC was 
unable to identify the Foundation in a State of New Hampshire 
database of businesses and organizations registered in New 
    \2\ If the NRC receives additional information sufficient to 
establish the Foundation as an entity independent of Mr. Popik, then 
the NRC will re-characterize the petitioner of PRM-50-96 as the 
Foundation, rather than Mr. Popik. Notice of any action in this 
regard will be placed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site for 
this petition, and in the Federal Register notice of the NRC's 
resolution of PRM-50-96.


Grounds for Action Requested

    The petitioner is requesting that the NRC amend its regulations in 
Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 50 to address 
concerns about the effects of long-term commercial grid outage on spent 
fuel pool cooling and water makeup. The petitioner states that ``in the 
event of a long-term loss of

[[Page 26224]]

commercial grid power extending beyond a month, it is likely that water 
in spent fuel pools would heat up and boil off, fuel rods would become 
uncovered by water, zirconium cladding would catch fire, and large 
amounts of dangerous radionuclides would be released into the 
    The petitioner states that ``a primary rationale for this proposed 
amendment is a recently documented vulnerability of the North American 
power grids to severe space weather which could cause multiple-year 
power outages.'' In addition, the petitioner states that ``a 
government-sponsored study of second-order effects of commercial grid 
failure on petrochemical fuel and food supplies shows that any 
assumption of outside assistance to nuclear power plants, including 
resupply of diesel fuel and food, may not be valid.'' The risks to the 
North American commercial grids from space weather and geomagnetic 
disturbance, and the effects of a commercial outage on the 
petrochemical fuel resupply and food and water supply are discussed in 
the petition.
    The petition also expresses the petitioner's views on: (1) The 
necessity for the Department of Homeland Security to include in its 
National Security Guidelines a scenario for severe space weather and 
geomagnetic disturbance and the associated long-term and widespread 
commercial grid outage; (2) the August 1988 Oak Ridge National 
Laboratory (ORNL) and NRC Report ORNL/NRC/LTR-98/12, ``Evaluation of 
the Reliability for the Offsite Power Supply as a Contributor to the 
Risk of Nuclear Plants''; (3) the regulatory actions after the 2003 
northeastern blackout; (4) the necessity for the North American 
Electric Reliability Council to publish a reliability standard for 
geomagnetic disturbance; and (5) the role of other Government agencies 
in protecting ``public health and safety in regard to geomagnetic 
    In addition, the petitioner discusses the NRC's probabilistic risk 
assessment (PRA) in NUREG-1738, ``Technical Study of Spent Fuel Pool 
Accident Risk at Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants,'' February 2001, 
and proposes a ``PRA to more precisely gauge the probability of 
zirconium fires at spent fuel pools due to geomagnetic disturbance and 
resulting long-term Loss of Outside Power (LOOP).'' The petitioner 
stated that the purpose of the PRA is ``to show that an amendment to 
the CFR is required.''

The Petition

    The petitioner requests that the NRC amend its regulations in 10 
CFR Part 50 to require licensees to provide reliable emergency systems 
to assure long-term cooling and water makeup for spent fuel pools using 
only onsite power sources. Specifically, the petitioner proposes 
amending 10 CFR Part 50 to require that the emergency systems be able 
to operate for a period of 2 years without human operator intervention 
and without offsite fuel resupply and that backup power systems for 
spent fuel pools be electrically isolated from other plant electrical 
systems during normal and emergency operation. In addition, the 
petitioner requests the NRC revise its requirements to state if 
weather-dependent power sources are used, sufficient water or power 
storage must be provided to maintain continual cooling during weather 
conditions which may temporarily constrict power generation.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of May 2011.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2011-11112 Filed 5-5-11; 8:45 am]