[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 110 (Wednesday, June 8, 2016)]
[Pages 36963-36964]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-13569]




Fuel Retrievability in Spent Fuel Storage Applications

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Interim staff guidance; issuance.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing 
Interim Staff Guidance (ISG)-2, Revision 2, ``Fuel Retrievability in 
Spent Fuel Storage Applications.'' This revision to the guidance was 
developed to improve regulatory clarity due to uncertain duration of 
spent fuel storage in an independent spent fuel storage installation 
(ISFSI). The revision is to provide improved guidance to the staff on 
the practical implementation of determining whether storage systems are 
designed to allow ready retrieval of spent fuel.

DATES: This guidance is effective on June 8, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0241 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may obtain publicly-available information related to this document 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0241. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-
3463; email: [email protected]. 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 [email protected]. The 
final ISG-2, Revision 2, and responses to public comments are available 
electronically in ADAMS under Accession Nos. ML16117A080 and 
ML16117A082, respectively.
     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: Emma Wong, Office of Nuclear Material 
Safety and Safeguards, telephone: 301-415-7091, email: 
[email protected] and Haile Lindsay, Office of Nuclear Material Safety 
and Safeguards, telephone: 301-415-0616, email: [email protected]. 
Both are staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.


I. Background

    The NRC staff has developed ISG-2, Revision 2, ``Fuel 
Retrievability in Spent Fuel Storage Applications,'' to clarify section 
72.122(l) of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), 
Retrievability. By the use of options to meet ready retrieval, this 
guidance focuses on safety and design bases to allow maximum 
flexibility to meet retrievability for the longer storage duration. 
With the increased flexibility in the guidance to meet retrievability, 
evaluations of the internal components of the cask or canister may no 
longer be necessary for maintaining the ability to

[[Page 36964]]

remove the individual fuel assemblies by the use of normal means (e.g., 
degradation of the internal components such as radiation damage to 
internal components, depletion of the neutron absorbing material, Boral 
blistering, fuel degradation, and basket degradation) for the 
retrievability safety function. However, if these components' intended 
functions are relied upon for safety, these components would need to be 
evaluated for those safety functions which may include retrieval of the 
individual fuel assemblies safely.

II. Public Comments

    The NRC issued draft ISG-2, Revision 2 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML15239A683) in the Federal Register on October 21, 2015 (80 FR 63843), 
for a 30-day public comment period and received comments from the 
following sources:

                Document                        ADAMS Accession No.
Kristopher Cummings (Nuclear Energy       ML15337A082
 Institute (NEI)) dated November 16,
Robert Einziger, dated November 13, 2015  ML15324A253
Donna Gilmore (San Onofre Safety), dated  ML15337A007
 November 20, 2015.
Patricia Borchmann, dated November 20,    ML15337A010
Marv Lewis, dated November 21, 2015, and  ML15337A009
 November 26, 2015.                       ML15337A012
Diane D'Arrigo (Nuclear Information and   ML15337A011
 Resource Service (NIRS)), dated
 November 20, 2015.
Connecticut Yankee Atomic Power Company,  ML15337A083
 dated November 17, 2015.
Yankee Atomic Electric Company, dated     ML15337A083
 November 17, 2015.
Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company, dated  ML15337A083
 November 17, 2015.
Richard Morgal, dated November 20, 2015.  ML15337A084

    The NRC considered these comments in developing the final ISG. 
Detailed responses to the comments can be found in ML16117A082.
    The final ISG-2, Revision 2 is approved for NRC staff and 
stakeholder use and will be incorporated into the NRC's next standard 
review plan guidance revision.

III. Congressional Review Act

    This ISG is a rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act 
(Sec.  5 U.S.C. 801-808). However, the Office of Management and Budget 
has not found it to be a major rule as defined in the Congressional 
Review Act.

IV. Backfitting and Issue Finality

    This ISG provides guidance to the NRC staff for reviewing an 
application for an ISFSI license with respect to compliance with the 
retrievability requirement of 10 CFR 72.122(l). Issuance of the ISG 
does not constitute backfitting as defined in sections 72.62 and 50.59. 
Issuance of this ISG is not otherwise inconsistent with the issue 
finality provisions in 10 CFR part 52 for generally licensed ISFSIs. 
The staff's position is based upon the following considerations.
    1. The ISG does not constitute backfitting, inasmuch as the ISG is 
internal guidance to the NRC staff.
    The ISG provides interim guidance to the staff on how to review an 
application for NRC's regulatory approval in the form of licensing. 
Changes in internal staff guidance are not matters for which either 
ISFSI or nuclear power plant applicants or licensees are protected 
under the backfitting provisions in 10 CFR parts 50 or 72, or the issue 
finality provisions of 10 CFR part 52.
    2. Backfitting and issue finality do not--with limited exceptions 
not applicable here--protect current or future applicants.
    Applicants and potential applicants are not, with certain 
exceptions, protected by the backfitting provisions in sections 72.62 
or 50.109, or any issue finality provisions under 10 CFR part 52. This 
is because neither the backfitting provisions nor the issue finality 
provisions under 10 CFR part 52--with certain exclusions discussed 
below--were intended to apply to every NRC action which substantially 
changes the expectations of current and future applicants. The 
exceptions to the general principle are applicable whenever an 
applicant references a 10 CFR part 52 license (e.g., an early site 
permit) and/or NRC regulatory approval (e.g., a design certification 
rule) with specified issue finality provisions. However, the matters 
covered in this ISG are not subject matters or issues for which issue 
finality protection is provided.
    3. The NRC staff has no intention to impose the ISG on existing 
ISFSI or nuclear power plant licensees either now or in the future 
(absent a voluntary request for change from the licensee).
    The NRC does not intend to impose or apply the positions described 
in this ISG to existing (already issued) licenses (e.g., ISFSI 
licenses, operating licenses and combined licenses) absent a voluntary 
request for a change from the licensee. Hence, the ISG need not be 
evaluated as if it were a backfit.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of June, 2016.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Bo Pham,
Acting Deputy Director, Division of Spent Fuel Management, Office of 
Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2016-13569 Filed 6-7-16; 8:45 am]