[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 31 (Wednesday, February 17, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 8021-8022]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-03254]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 2

[Docket No. PRM-2-15; NRC-2015-0264]


Agency Procedures for Responding to Adverse Court Decisions and 
Addressing Funding Shortfalls

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; notice of docketing.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received a 
petition for rulemaking (PRM) requesting that the NRC amend its rules 
of practice and procedure to establish procedures for responding to 
adverse court decisions and to annually report to the public each 
instance where the NRC does not receive ``sufficient funds reasonably 
necessary to implement in good faith its statutory mandates.'' The 
petition, dated October 22, 2015, was submitted by Mr. Jeffrey M. Skov 
(the petitioner). The petition was docketed by the NRC on November 10, 
2015, and was assigned Docket Number PRM-2-15. The NRC is examining the 
issues raised in this petition to determine whether they should be 
considered in rulemaking. The NRC is not requesting public comment on 
PRM-2-15 at this time.

DATES: The PRM is available on February 17, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0264 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information for this petition. You may 
obtain publicly-available information related to this petition by any 
of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0264. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-
3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section 
of this document.
     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 ``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 pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The 
ADAMS accession number for each document referenced (if it is available 
in ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
     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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions contact Mr. 
Ian Irvin, Office of the General Counsel, telephone: 301-415-3138, 
email: Ian.Irvin@nrc.gov. For questions related to the petition for 
rulemaking process contact Mr. Anthony de Jes[uacute]s, Office of 
Administration, telephone: 301-415-1106, email: 
Anthony.deJesus@nrc.gov. Both are staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. The Petitioner

    The petitioner, Mr. Jeffrey M. Skov, states, among other things, 
that his ``interest is in securing for the NRC and the nation'' 
benefits that would ``[e]nhance public safety and health,'' ``[r]educe 
costs,'' and ``[a]lign NRC's practices with its principles.''

II. The Petition

    The petitioner requests that the NRC amend part 2 of title 10 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ``Agency rules of practice 
and procedure,'' to establish procedures for (1) responding to adverse 
court decisions, and (2) annually reporting to the public each instance 
where the NRC does not receive sufficient funds reasonably necessary to 
implement in good faith its statutory mandates. The petition is 
available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15314A075.

[[Page 8022]]

III. Discussion of the Petition

    The petitioner proposes that the NRC issue two new rules to address 
concerns about the NRC's actions in response to the August 13, 2013, 
decision in In re: Aiken County ruling \1\ by the U.S. Court of Appeals 
for the District of Columbia Circuit (``D.C. Circuit Court''). The 
petitioner requests that the NRC issue a regulation requiring prompt 
action ``in response to each instance where a court of competent 
jurisdiction rules that NRC violated applicable law.'' The petitioner 
also requests that the NRC issue an additional regulation ``intended to 
ensure that public safety and health, protection of the environment, 
the common defense and security, the reputation and credibility of the 
NRC as a `trusted, independent, transparent, and effective nuclear 
regulator,' and prudent stewardship of the national fisc all receive 
due consideration when the agency does not receive sufficient funding 
to implement its statutory mandates; and that both that consideration 
and the circumstances that require it are appropriately brought into 
the light.''
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    \1\ See https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/
BAE0CF34F762EBD985257BC6004DEB18/$file/11-1271-1451347.pdf.
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First Proposed Rule Request

    The petitioner requests that the NRC amend its regulations in 10 
CFR part 2 to require that in ``each instance where a court of 
competent jurisdiction rules that NRC violated applicable law'' the NRC 
promptly take the following actions:
     Evaluate and determine the cause or causes for each 
violation;
     conduct an ``extent of condition'' evaluation to determine 
whether NRC's implementation of other statutes and regulations (i.e., 
statutes and regulations beyond those identified by the court in its 
ruling) are similarly affected;
     implement immediate corrective actions to address any 
violations identified by the extent of condition evaluation;
     formulate and implement robust corrective actions to 
prevent recurrence that are based on the cause and extent of condition 
evaluations; and
     prepare and issue a report to the public that documents 
these activities.
    In addition, the NRC would be required to formally ``request review 
by the U.S. Department of Justice (1) of the adequacy of NRC oversight 
mechanisms and whether enhancements are warranted . . . and (2) of 
whether offenses proscribed by the federal criminal code . . . formed 
the basis of or contributed to the adverse court ruling.'' The 
petitioner states that these amendments ``would be effective 
retroactively, beginning with the 08/13/13 In re: Aiken County ruling--
because of the extraordinary significance of that ruling.''

Second Proposed Rule Request

    The petitioner also requests that 10 CFR part 2 be amended to 
require that the NRC annually ``report to the public each instance 
where it does not receive sufficient funds reasonably necessary to 
implement in good faith its statutory mandates. . . .'' The petitioner 
states that this report should include a discussion ``of whether NRC 
(1) was directed to request either no or insufficient funds, and 
complied with that direction; (2) did request sufficient funds, which 
were withheld by Congress; or (3) did not request sufficient funds.'' 
The petitioner recommends that the report also include ``a discussion 
of the consequences of each instance with respect to (1) public safety 
and health; (2) environmental protection; (3) the common defense and 
security; (4) the reputation/credibility of the agency as a `trusted, 
independent, transparent, and effective nuclear regulator,' and (5) 
collateral fiscal impacts (e.g., the ongoing Judgment Fund disbursals 
to the nation's nuclear utilities flowing from the government's breach 
of the NWPA [Nuclear Waste Policy Act] `standard contracts').''
    The petitioner asserts that some of the ``Benefits to [the] NRC and 
the Nation'' that would be gained as a result of issuing these proposed 
rules include:
     Enhancing public safety and health;
     Reducing cost;
     Aligning the NRC's practices with its principles;
     Aligning the NRC's practices with the tenets it has set 
out for ensuring a positive safety culture; and
     Aligning the NRC's practices with its mission statement, 
vision, and organizational values.

VI. Conclusion

    The NRC has determined that the petition meets the threshold 
sufficiency requirements for docketing a petition for rulemaking under 
10 CFR 2.802, ``Petition for rulemaking--requirements for filing,'' and 
the petition has been docketed as PRM-2-15. The NRC will examine the 
issues raised in PRM-2-15, to determine whether they should be 
considered in the rulemaking process.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 10th day of February, 2016.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2016-03254 Filed 2-16-16; 8:45 am]
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