[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 157 (Tuesday, August 14, 2012)]
[Pages 48565-48566]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19929]

[[Page 48565]]



[Docket Nos. 50-309 and 72-30; NRC-2012-0189]

Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company, Maine Yankee Independent Spent 
Fuel Storage Installation, Exemption--Staff Evaluation

1.0 Background

    Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company (MY, the licensee) is the holder 
of Facility Operating License No. DPR-36 which authorizes possession of 
nuclear fuel under Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 
part 50. The license provides, 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. Per 10 CFR part 72, Subpart K, a general license is issued for 
the storage of spent fuel in an Independent Spent Fuel Storage 
Installation (ISFSI) to persons authorized to possess or operate 
nuclear power reactors under 10 CFR part 50. Thus, MY also holds a 10 
CFR part 72 general license for storage of spent fuel and greater than 
Class C waste at the MY ISFSI.
    Under Facility Operating License No. DPR-36, MY operated a 
Pressurized Water Reactor until 1997 when operations ceased. In 2002, 
MY began transferring fuel from the reactor spent fuel pool into 
vertical dry casks at their ISFSI facility. These activities were 
completed in 2004. The MY ISFSI is a stand-alone ISFSI located on 
Bailey Point Peninsula near Wiscasset, Maine.
    The Power Reactor Security Rule, which applies to all 10 CFR part 
50 licensees, was revised on March 27, 2009, with compliance required 
by March 31, 2010 (74 FR 13926). The NRC held a webinar on July 20, 
2010, on this subject to provide clarification on the applicability of 
the power reactor security regulations to 10 CFR part 50 licensees 
undergoing decommissioning or 10 CFR part 50 licensees that have only a 
general licensed ISFSI. On August 2, 2010, the NRC issued a letter to 
MY clarifying the applicability of the revised power reactor security 
regulations to a Part 50 licensee undergoing decommissioning or a Part 
50 licensee that has only a general licensed ISFSI. In the August 2, 
2010, letter the NRC noted that there are currently no security or 
health and safety concerns at these facilities that may not be in 
compliance with the current 10 CFR 73.55 requirements because the 
Security Plans at these facilities meet the baseline requirements of 
the previous version of 10 CFR 73.55 and also meet the requirements of 
subsequent NRC security orders. The NRC requested a response be 
submitted within 120 days of receipt of the August 2, 2010, letter.
    By letter dated November 29, 2010 (Agencywide Documents Access and 
Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML103410468), MY responded to 
the August 2, 2010, letter. In its response, MY requested exemptions 
from certain requirements in 10 CFR 73.55, ``Requirements for Physical 
Protection of Licensed Activities in Nuclear Power Reactors Against 
Radiological Sabotage,'' and 10 CFR 73.57, ``Requirements for Criminal 
History Checks of Individuals Granted Unescorted Access to a Nuclear 
Power Facility or Access to Safeguards Information'' which it 
considered either not applicable or caused an undue burden to a stand-
alone ISFSI. MY also submitted a matrix which described how MY either 
complied with 10 CFR 73.55, 10 CFR 73.57 and applicable orders or 
needed an exemption. MY further stated that its intent in submitting 
this exemption request is to maintain its NRC-approved Physical 
Security Plan (PSP). In addition, MY noted that the statement of 
consideration for the Power Reactor Security Rule states that the 
Commission did not intend to make changes to the substantive 
requirements of 10 CFR 72.212 and that the Commission has initiated a 
separate rulemaking to revise the ISFSI security requirements (March 
27, 2009; 74 FR 13958).

2.0 Discussion

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 73.5, Specific Exemptions, ``The Commission may, 
upon application by any interested person or upon its own initiative, 
grant such exemptions from the requirements in 10 CFR part 73 as it 
determines are authorized by law and will not endanger life or property 
or the common defense and security, and are otherwise in the public 
interest.'' The NRC evaluated the exemption requests submitted by MY in 
its November 29, 2010, letter. After evaluating the exemption requests, 
the staff determined that MY should be granted an exemption from 10 CFR 
73.55(e)(10)(ii). Section 73.55(e)(10)(ii) sets forth requirements for 
restricting access by waterborne vehicles. The remaining requirements 
from which the licensee requested exemptions were determined either to 
be inapplicable to the facility or are being met by the licensee's 
current PSP; therefore, these exemptions are denied. Additional 
information regarding the NRC staff evaluation is documented in a 
Safety Evaluation Report that contains Sensitive Unclassified Non-
Safeguards Information and is being withheld from public inspection in 
accordance with 10 CFR 2.390.
    The purpose of the regulations in 10 CFR 73.55 is to establish and 
maintain a physical protection system designed to protect against 
radiological sabotage. The purpose of 10 CFR 73.55(e)(10)(ii) is to 
restrict waterborne vehicle access and perform periodic surveillance of 
waterway approaches. However, there are no pathways which allow 
waterborne vehicles to gain direct access to the ISFSI. Furthermore, MY 
employs site specific barriers as part of its NRC-approved PSP which 
are appropriate for the reduced radiological risk associated with a 
stand-alone ISFSI. Therefore, the staff concludes that the exemption 
does not pose an increased risk to public health and safety and is not 
inimical to the common defense and security. Given the above 
considerations, this exemption will not endanger life or property or 
the common defense and security.
    In considering these exemption requests, the staff reviewed an NRC 
letter dated July 25, 2001, MY responses to Orders EA-03-97, EA-02-104, 
and EA-02-077, and the NRC approved MY ISFSI PSP, Rev. 0, dated August 
2009. The staff also reviewed the revised Power Reactor Security Rule, 
10 CFR 73.55, which became effective on May 26, 2009 (74 FR 13926), to 
identify substantive changes affecting previously approved exemptions. 
In addition, the staff reviewed a 2009 inspection report prepared after 
conducting an inspection of the licensee's facility, procedures, and 
PSP for compliance with applicable regulations and NRC Orders. Based 
upon its review, the NRC staff determined that current barriers and 
actions implemented under the MY ISFSI PSP satisfy the requirements of 
10 CFR part 73, and that granting the requested exemption will not 
result in a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or 
the Commission's regulations. After completing its review, the staff 
determined granting MY an exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 
73.55(e)(10)(ii) would not decrease the level of security currently in 
place at the MY ISFSI, and will not result in increased radiological 
risk to the public from operation of this general licensed, stand-alone 
ISFSI. Accordingly, the staff has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
73.5, this exemption is authorized by law and is otherwise in the 
public interest.
    Granting an exemption from the requirement in 10 CFR 

[[Page 48566]]

involves safeguards plans. Section 51.22(c)(25)(vi)(F) provides a 
categorical exclusion for exemptions involving safeguard plans provided 
that the criteria in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(i)-(v) are also satisfied. In 
its review of the exemption request, the NRC determined that, pursuant 
to 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25): (i) Granting the exemption neither involves a 
significant reduction in a margin of safety nor creates a new or 
different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated, and 
thus no significant hazards considerations because there is no 
significant increase in either the probability or consequences of an 
accident previously evaluated; (ii) granting the exemption would not 
produce a significant change in either the types or amounts of any 
effluents that may be released offsite because the requested exemption 
neither changes the effluents nor produces additional avenues of 
effluent release; (iii) granting the exemption would not result in a 
significant increase in either occupational radiation exposure or 
public radiation exposure because the requested exemption neither 
introduces new radiological hazards nor increases existing radiological 
hazards; (iv) granting the exemption would not result in a significant 
construction impact because there are no construction activities 
associated with the requested exemption; and; (v) granting the 
exemption would not result in a significant increase in the potential 
for or consequences from radiological accidents because the exemption 
neither reduces the level of security in place at the MY ISFSI nor 
creates new accident precursors. Accordingly, this exemption meets the 
criteria for a categorical exclusion in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(vi)(F).

3.0 Conclusion

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
73.5, the exemption is authorized by law, will not endanger life or 
property or the common defense and security, and is otherwise in the 
public interest. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants MY an 
exemption from the 10 CFR 73.55(e)(10)(ii) requirement to restrict 
waterborne vehicle access and perform periodic surveillance of waterway 
approaches. In addition, MY shall continue to follow the NRC approved 
ISFSI PSP and applicable NRC orders. As discussed in the preceding 
paragraph, the Commission has determined that this action meets the 
criteria for categorical exclusion set forth in 10 CFR 
51.22(c)(25)(vi)(F). Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b), no 
environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need be 
prepared in connection with the granting of this exemption. This 
exemption is effective upon issuance.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 6th day of August, 2012.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Douglas W. Weaver,
Deputy Director, Division of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation, 
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2012-19929 Filed 8-13-12; 8:45 am]