[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 153 (Friday, August 8, 2014)]
[Pages 46472-46474]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-18818]




Treatment of Natural Phenomena Hazards in Fuel Cycle Facilities

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Draft generic letter; public meeting and request for comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking public 
comment on a draft generic letter to request information from licensees 
to address the treatment of natural phenomena hazards in fuel cycle 
facilities. The NRC has determined that facility-specific information 
is necessary to confirm that fuel cycle facilities are in compliance 
with appropriate regulatory requirements. The NRC will use information 
submitted by licensees in response to the generic letter if additional 
regulatory action is warranted.

DATES: Submit comments by November 6, 2014. 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: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
(unless this document describes a different method for submitting 
comments on a specific subject):
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2014-0187. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-287-
3422; email: [email protected]. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: 3WFN-06-A44M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001.
    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting 
comments, see ``Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Marcano, Office of Nuclear 
Materials Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-287-9063, email: 
[email protected].


I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2014-0187 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain 
publicly-available information related to this action by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2014-0187.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select

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``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin Web-based ADAMS 
Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public 
Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or 
by email to [email protected]. The ADAMS accession number for each 
document referenced in this document (if that document is available in 
ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is referenced.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2014-0187 in the subject line of your 
comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make 
your comment submission available to the public in this docket.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information in comment submissions that you do not want to be publicly 
disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC will post all comment 
submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment 
submissions into ADAMS, and the NRC does not routinely edit comment 
submissions to remove identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove such information before making the comment submissions available 
to the public or entering the comment into ADAMS.

II. Background

    The NRC is issuing draft Generic Letter 2013 XX-XX: ``Treatment of 
Natural Phenomena Hazards In Fuel Cycle Facilities'' (ADAMS Accession 
No. ML13157A158), to request information from addressees to demonstrate 
if compliance is being maintained with the regulatory requirements and 
applicable license conditions regarding the treatment of natural 
phenomena events in the facilities' safety assessments; and to 
determine if additional NRC regulatory action is necessary to ensure 
that licensees are in compliance with their current licensing basis and 
existing NRC regulations.
    On March 11, 2011, the Tohoku-Taiheiyou-Oki earthquake occurred 
near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. This magnitude 9.0 earthquake and 
the subsequent tsunami caused significant damage to at least four of 
the six units of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station and, as a 
result, there was a loss of offsite and onsite electrical power 
    On March 23, 2011, the Chairman of the NRC, via Tasking 
Memorandum--COMGBJ-11-0002, ``NRC Actions Following the Events in 
Japan,'' directed the NRC's Executive Director for Operations to 
establish the NRC Near-Term Task Force (NTTF) to evaluate available 
technical and operational information from the events in Japan 
following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima 
Dai-ichi nuclear power station. The NTTF was tasked to consider lessons 
learned from the event and to develop recommendations to improve the 
regulatory systems for reactors in the United States and their 
applicability to licensed facilities other than power reactors.
    On July 12, 2011, in light of the accident at the Fukushima Dai-
ichi nuclear power plant, the NTTF presented a set of recommendations 
as a result of a systematic and methodical review of NRC processes and 
regulations applicable to nuclear power reactors in the United States 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML111861807). The NTTF recommendations are 
intended to clarify and strengthen the regulatory framework for 
protection against natural disasters, mitigation and emergency 
preparedness of nuclear power reactors in the United States.
    For fuel cycle facilities, in light of the lessons learned from the 
accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the staff 
performed a systematic evaluation and inspection of selected fuel cycle 
facilities to confirm that licensees were in compliance with regulatory 
requirements and license conditions; and to evaluate their readiness 
under natural phenomena hazards (NPH) events and other licensing bases 
events related to NPH. The staff's assessment considered the NTTF 
recommendations to determine whether additional regulatory actions by 
the NRC are warranted.
    The staff completed inspections at selected fuel facilities and the 
results were used to perform a systematic evaluation of the processes 
and regulations applicable to fuel facilities. The results of the 
evaluation allow the staff to conclude that the current regulatory 
approach and requirements of these licensees continues to serve as a 
basis for reasonable assurance of adequate protection of public health 
and safety. However, the staff identified generic issues regarding 
compliance with the current regulatory framework with regards to the 
treatment of certain natural phenomena events in the facilities 
(uranium conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication) safety 
assessments. The NRC is issuing this draft generic letter to request 
information from licensees to verify that compliance is being 
maintained with regulatory requirements and license conditions 
regarding the treatment of natural phenomena events.

III. Cumulative Effects of Regulation

    The NRC is considering the cumulative effects of regulation (CER) 
as they relate to this Generic Letter. The CER considers the challenges 
licensees face in addressing the implementation of new regulatory 
positions, programs, and requirements (e.g., rulemaking, guidance, 
backfits, inspections). The CER initiative stems from the total burden 
imposed on licensees by the NRC from simultaneous or consecutive 
regulatory actions that can adversely affect the licensee's capability 
to implement those requirements while continuing to operate or 
construct its facility in a safe and secure manner. The NRC proposed 
several rulemaking process enhancements to address CER in SECY-11-0032, 
``Consideration of the Cumulative Effects of Regulation in the 
Rulemaking Process,'' dated October 11, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML112840466). In SECY-12-0137, ``Implementation of the Cumulative 
Effects of Regulation Process Changes,'' dated October 5, 2012 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML12223A162) built upon the recommendations in SECY-11-
0032. In its Staff Requirements Memorandum to SECY-12-0137 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML13071A635), the Commission directed the staff to, among 
other items, ``continue to develop and implement outreach tools that 
will allow NRC to consider more completely the overall impacts of 
multiple rules, orders, generic communications, advisories, and other 
regulatory actions on licensees and their ability to focus effectively 
on items of greatest safety importance.''
    With regard to this generic letter, the NRC requests that licensees 
comment about any CER challenges they may face. Specifically, the NRC 
requests comment on the following questions:
    a. In light of any current or projected cumulative effects, does 
this generic letter request provide sufficient time for licensees to 
respond with the information requested, including any

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need to develop this information through supporting engineering 
calculation or analyses?
    b. If a current or projected cumulative effect poses a significant 
challenge, what should be done to address it? For example, if more time 
is required to develop and provide the information, what period of time 
is sufficient? Are there equally effective alternatives to providing 
the requested information to the NRC that reduce the cumulative 
    c. Do other (NRC or other regulatory agency) regulatory actions 
(e.g., Orders, rules, generic letter, bulletins, 50.54(f) requests) 
influence licensee responses to this draft generic letter? If so what 
are they and do you have a suggested approach to reduce the cumulative 
effects in light of these other regulatory actions?
    d. Are there other projects that licensees are undertaking, plan to 
undertake, or should be undertaking that provide greater safety 
benefit, that might be displaced or delayed as a result of the 
expenditure of effort and resources to respond to this generic letter?
    e. Are there unintended consequences associated with responding to 
this generic letter at this time?
    f. Please comment on the NRC's supporting justification for this 
generic letter.

IV. Public Meeting

    The NRC is requesting public comments on the draft generic letter. 
The NRC plans to hold a public meeting approximately 45 days into the 
comment period to discuss draft Generic Letter 2013 XX-XX: ``Treatment 
of Natural Phenomena Hazards In Fuel Cycle Facilities'' (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML13157A158), to engage industry stakeholders and members 
of the public in a discussion of this issue. This meeting is scheduled 
during the comment period to allow industry stakeholders and members of 
the public time to submit comments on the proposed generic 
communication before the comment period closes. All comments that are 
to receive consideration in the final generic letter must still be 
submitted electronically or in writing as indicated in the ADDRESSES 
section of this document.
    Additional details regarding the meeting will be posted at least 10 
days prior to the public meeting on the NRC's Public Meeting Schedule 
Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index.cfm. Information regarding topics to be discussed, changes to the 
agenda, whether the meeting has been cancelled or rescheduled, and the 
time allotted for public comments can be obtained from the Public 
Meeting Schedule Web site.

    Dated at North Bethesda, Maryland, this 1st day of August 2014.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Marissa Bailey,
Director, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards, Office of 
Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2014-18818 Filed 8-7-14; 8:45 am]