[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 250 (Thursday, December 29, 2016)]
[Pages 96050-96051]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-31603]




Acceptance of Commercial-Grade Design and Analysis Computer 
Programs for Nuclear Power Plants

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Regulatory Guide; issuance.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing 
Revision 0 to Regulatory Guide (RG) 1.231, ``Acceptance of Commercial-
Grade Design and Analysis Computer Programs for Nuclear Power Plants.'' 
This RG describes methods that the NRC considers acceptable in meeting 
regulatory requirements for acceptance and dedication of commercial-
grade design and analysis computer programs used in safety-related 
applications for nuclear power plants.

DATES: Revision 0 to RG 1.231 is available on December 29, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0153 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may obtain publically-available information related to this document, 
using the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2016-0153. 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 Document 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 
ADAMS accession number for each document referenced in this notice (if 
that document is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a 
document is referenced. Revision 0 to Regulatory Guide 1.231, and the 
regulatory analysis may be found in ADAMS under Accession Nos. 
ML16126A183 and ML16126A181 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.
    Regulatory guides are not copyrighted, and the NRC's approval is 
not required to reproduce them.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Greg Galletti, Office of New Reactors, 
telephone: 301-415-1831; email: [email protected]; and Stephen 
Burton, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, telephone: 301-415-7000; 
email: [email protected]. Both are staff of the U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.


I. Introduction

    The NRC is issuing a new guide in the NRC's ``Regulatory Guide'' 
series. This series was developed to describe and make available to the 
public information regarding methods that are acceptable to the NRC for 
implementing specific parts of the agency's regulations, techniques 
that the NRC uses in evaluating specific issues or postulated events, 
and data that the NRC needs in its review of applications for permits 
and licenses.
    Revision 0 of RG 1.231 was issued with a temporary identification 
of Draft Regulatory Guide, DG-1305. This RG is being issued to endorse 
Revision 1 of EPRI Technical Report 1025243, ``Plant Engineering: 
Guideline for the Acceptance of Commercial-Grade Design and Analysis 
Computer Programs Used in Nuclear Safety-Related Applications,'' with 
respect to acceptance of commercial-grade design and analysis computer 
programs associated with basic components for nuclear power plants.

II. Additional Information

    The NRC published a notice of the availability of DG-1305 in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 2015, (80 FR 37666) for a 60-day public 
comment period. The public comment period closed on August 31, 2015. 
Public comments on DG-1305 and the NRC's responses to the public 
comments are available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML16126A179.

III. Congressional Review Act

    This regulatory guide is a rule as defined in the Congressional 
Review Act (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 regulatory guide describes acceptable methods for meeting the 
dedication requirements in part 21 of title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR) and Sec.  50.55(e) with respect to design and 
analysis computer programs for nuclear power plants. The regulatory 
guide, does not constitute backfitting as defined in 10 CFR 50.109 (the 
Backfit Rule) and is not otherwise inconsistent with the issue finality 
provisions in 10 CFR part 52, ``Licenses, Certifications and Approvals 
for Nuclear Power Plants.'' This regulatory guide, if finalized, 
represents the first NRC guidance on this subject. Issuance of new 
guidance, by itself, does not represent backfitting unless the NRC 
intends to impose the guidance on existing licensees and currently-
approved design certification rules issued under 10 CFR part 52. The 
NRC does not have such an intention.
    Existing licensees and applicants of final design certification 
rules will not be required to comply with the positions set forth in 
this regulatory guide, unless the licensee or design certification rule 
applicant seeks a voluntary change to its licensing basis with respect 
to safety-related power operated valve actuators, and where the NRC 
determines that the safety review must include consideration of the 
qualification of the valve actuators. Further information on the NRC's 
use of the regulatory guide, is contained in the regulatory guide under 
Section D. Implementation.
    Applicants and potential applicants are not, with certain 
exceptions, protected by either the Backfit Rule or any issue finality 
provisions under 10 CFR part 52. Neither the Backfit Rule nor the issue 
finality provisions under 10 CFR part 52--with certain exclusions

[[Page 96051]]

discussed below--were intended to every NRC action which substantially 
changes the expectations of current and future applicants. Therefore, 
the positions in any final regulatory guide, if imposed on applicants, 
would not represent backfitting (except as discussed below).
    The exceptions to the general principle are applicable whenever a 
combined license applicant references a 10 CFR part 52 license (i.e., 
an early site permit or a manufacturing license) and/or 10 CFR part 52 
regulatory approval (i.e., a design certification rule or design 
approval). The NRC does not, at this time, intend to impose the 
positions represented in the regulatory guide in a manner that is 
inconsistent with any issue finality provisions in the 10 CFR part 52 
licenses and regulatory approvals. If, in the future, the NRC seeks to 
impose a position in this regulatory guide in a manner which does not 
provide issue finality as described in the applicable issue finality 
provision, then the NRC must address the criteria for avoiding issue 
finality as described in the applicable issue finality provision.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of December 2016.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Edward O'Donnell,
Acting Chief, Regulatory Guidance and Generic Issues Branch, Division 
of Engineering, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research.
[FR Doc. 2016-31603 Filed 12-28-16; 8:45 am]