[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 56 (Monday, March 23, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16278-16279]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-06081]



10 CFR Chapter I


Backfitting, Forward Fitting, and Issue Finality Guidance

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Draft NUREG; request for comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing for 
public comment draft NUREG-1409, ``Backfitting Guidelines,'' Revision 
1. This draft NUREG provides guidance on the implementation of the 
backfitting and issue finality provisions of the NRC's regulations and 
the NRC's forward fitting policy in accordance with Management 
Directive and Handbook 8.4, ``Management of Backfitting, Forward 
Fitting, Issue Finality, and Information Requests.''

DATES: Submit comments by May 22, 2020. Comments received after this 
date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the Commission 
is able to ensure consideration only for comments received before this 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2018-0142. Address 
questions about NRC docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges; 
telephone: 301-287-9127; email: [email protected]. For technical 
questions, contact the individuals listed in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.
     Mail comments to: Office of Administration, Mail Stop: 
TWFN-7-A60M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001, ATTN: Program Management, Announcements and Editing Staff.
    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: Tim Reed, telephone: 301-415-1462, 
email: [email protected]; or Audrey Klett, telephone: 301-415-0489, 
email: [email protected]. Both are staff of the Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 


I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2018-0142 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 website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2018-0142.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, 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 (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first 
time that it is mentioned in this document.
     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-2018-0142 in your comment submission.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your 
comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at 
https://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions 
into ADAMS. 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

[[Page 16279]]

before making the comment submissions available to the public or 
entering the comment into ADAMS.

II. Discussion

    Backfitting occurs when the NRC imposes new or changed regulatory 
requirements or staff interpretations of the regulations or 
requirements on nuclear power reactor licensees, select nuclear power 
reactor applicants, or select nuclear materials licensees. Backfitting 
is an integral part of the regulatory process and may be needed when 
the NRC staff addresses safety or security issues. The NRC would only 
take a backfitting action after conducting a formal, systematic review 
to ensure that the action is defined and justified. This process 
ensures discipline, predictability, and optimal use of NRC and licensee 
resources. The backfitting requirements are located in title 10 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) sections 50.109, ``Backfitting,'' 
70.76, ``Backfitting,'' 72.62, ``Backfitting,'' and 76.76, 
``Backfitting.'' Provisions analogous to the backfitting requirements, 
referred to as issue finality provisions, are set forth in 10 CFR part 
52, ``Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power 
    Forward fitting occurs when the NRC conditions its approval of a 
licensee-initiated request for a licensing action on the licensee's 
compliance with a new or modified requirement or staff interpretation 
of a requirement that the licensee did not request. The new or modified 
requirement or staff interpretation must result in, generally, a change 
to the licensee's systems, structures, components, design, approval, 
procedures, or organization.
    In accordance with the NRC Principles of Good Regulation and the 
Administrative Procedure Act, the backfitting rules and policies and 
the forward fitting policies provide the following: (a) Regulatory 
stability, by ensuring that the changes the NRC makes are necessary or 
provide a substantial safety enhancement; (b) reasoned and informed NRC 
decisionmaking, by requiring the proposed action be properly justified; 
and (c) transparency of NRC decisionmaking, by requiring that the NRC 
document and make publicly available its analyses and evaluations.
    The NRC has drafted NUREG-1409, ``Backfitting Guidelines,'' 
Revision 1 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18109A498), to be consistent with 
recent updates to Management Directive and Handbook 8.4, ``Management 
of Backfitting, Forward Fitting, Issue Finality, and Information 
Requests,'' dated September 20, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18093B087). 
NUREG-1409, Revision 1, would supersede NUREG-1409, Revision 0 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML032230247), which was issued in 1990 and did not 
address the backfitting requirements in 10 CFR part 70, ``Domestic 
Licensing of Special Nuclear Material,'' 10 CFR part 72, ``Licensing 
Requirements for the Independent Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High 
Level Radioactive Waste, and Reactor-Related Greater Than Class C 
Waste,'' or 10 CFR part 76, ``Certification of Gaseous Diffusion 
Plants,'' or the 10 CFR part 52 issue finality provisions. NUREG-1409, 
Revision 1, would address all the backfitting and issue finality 
regulations and policies and the forward fitting policies. The NRC's 
intent in revising NUREG-1409 is to ensure consistency in implementing 
backfitting, forward fitting, and issue finality requirements across 
the NRC.

III. Public Meeting

    The NRC will conduct a public meeting to describe the draft NUREG 
and answer questions from the public. The NRC will publish a notice of 
the location, time, and agenda of the meeting on the NRC's public 
meeting website at least 10 calendar days before the meeting. 
Stakeholders should monitor the NRC's public meeting website for 
information about the public meeting at: https://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index.cfm.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 18th day of March 2020.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Mohamed K. Shams,
Deputy Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of 
Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2020-06081 Filed 3-20-20; 8:45 am]