[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 108 (Thursday, June 4, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 34370-34371]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-10831]

Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.


Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 108 / Thursday, June 4, 2020 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 34370]]


10 CFR Part 170

[Docket No. PRM-170-7; NRC-2018-0172]

Categorization of the Licensee Fee Category for Full-Cost 

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; closure of petition.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has partially 
granted and partially denied a request to amend the NRC's regulations 
for licensing fees assessed to certain water treatment facilities. The 
request was submitted by Christopher S. Pugsley, Esq., on behalf of 
Water Remediation Technology, LLC (WRT), in a petition for rulemaking. 
This action closes the petition docket.

DATES: The docket for the petition for rulemaking, PRM-170-7, closed on 
June 4, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2018-0172 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information for this petition. You may 
obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of 
the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Website: Public comments and supporting 
materials related to this petition can be found at https://www.regulations.gov by searching on the petition Docket ID NRC-2018-
0172 or the fiscal year (FY) 2019 proposed and final fee rules Docket 
ID NRC-2017-0032. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol 
Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected]. For 
technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.
     The NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management 
System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in 
the ADAMS Public Document 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, at 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 the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
     Attention: The Public Document Room (PDR), where you may 
examine and order copies of public documents is currently closed. You 
may submit your request to the PDR via email at [email protected] or 
call 1-800-397-4209 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (EST), Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anthony Rossi, Office of the Chief 
Financial Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001, telephone: 301-415-7341; email: [email protected].


I. The Petition

    The NRC received and docketed a petition for rulemaking (PRM) 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML18214A757), PRM-170-7, dated July 2, 2018, filed 
by the petitioner on behalf of WRT. On November 2, 2018 (83 FR 55113), 
the NRC published a notice of docketing. The NRC did not institute a 
public comment period for this PRM because the NRC considered the 
issues raised in the petition in the FY 2019 proposed fee rule (84 FR 
578; January 31, 2019), and the public had an opportunity to comment 
during that process.
    The NRC identified three issues in the petition, as follows:
    Issue 1: The petitioner requested that the NRC amend its 
regulations under part 171 of title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR), ``Annual Fees for Reactor Licenses and Fuel Cycle 
Licenses and Materials Licenses, including Holders of Certificates of 
Compliance, Registrations, and Quality Assurance Program Approvals and 
Government Agencies Licensed by the NRC,'' to re-categorize licensees 
performing water treatment services (e.g., WRT) from a full-cost 
recovery category to a category with a fixed annual fee.
    Issue 2: The petitioner requested that the NRC address consistency 
issues between 10 CFR part 170, ``Fees for Facilities, Materials, 
Import and Export Licenses, and Other Regulatory Services under the 
Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as Amended,'' and 10 CFR part 171 for small 
    Issue 3: The petitioner requested that the NRC consider amending 
language under Sec.  170.11, ``Exemptions,'' to extend the timeframe 
within which a licensee may appeal the assessment of fees and apply for 
a fee exemption from 90 days to 180 days.
    Before filing this petition, the petitioner had made similar 
requests in public comments (ADAMS Accession No. ML18057B073) submitted 
on the FY 2018 proposed fee rule (83 FR 29622; June 25, 2018). In PRM-
170-7, the petitioner asked the NRC to consider the rule changes in the 
FY 2019 fee rulemaking.

II. Public Comments on the Petition

    The notice of docketing of PRM-170-7 did not request public 
comments; however, the NRC did request comments on the issues raised in 
the petition in the FY 2019 proposed fee rule. The comment period 
closed on March 4, 2019, and the NRC received one comment submission 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML19064B347) that was from the petitioner and 
expressed support for the proposed changes with respect to PRM-170-7.

III. Reasons for Consideration

    The petitioner assists small community water systems with 
compliance with uranium drinking water standards. The petitioner 
asserted that its licensed operations are not intended to produce 
source material for its commercial value, thereby reducing the 
financial benefit to the licensee as compared to uranium recovery 
facilities that process ore primarily for its source material content. 
Further, the petitioner stated that it treats the source material as a 
contaminant, rather than as a commodity. The petitioner explained that 
it only receives payment for services to remove uranium from drinking 
water or other water sources; therefore, it does not profit from 
processing the source material itself. The petitioner asserts that 
uranium water treatment licensees should be re-categorized from their 
current designation of full-cost fee recovery

[[Page 34371]]

licensees under fee category 2.A.(5), ``Licenses that authorize the 
possession of source material related to removal of contaminants 
(source material) from drinking water,'' to the annual fee category 
2.F, ``All other source material licenses,'' of 10 CFR 170.31 and 
    Additionally, the petitioner asserted that, because small entities 
have limited employees, market share, and revenue, it makes sense to 
charge small entities fixed fee amounts. The petitioner concluded that 
because of its current small entity designation for 10 CFR part 171 
annual fees under the NRC's regulations, and the nature of its licensed 
operations, it should be re-designated under the 10 CFR part 170 fee 
category and charged a fixed-fee amount.
    The NRC reviewed PRM-170-7, WRT's public comment on the FY 2018 
proposed fee rule, and related documentation and addressed the first 
two requests raised in the petition in its FY 2019 fee rule, issued on 
May 17, 2019 (84 FR 22331). At the time of filing of the petition, an 
entity that removed uranium from drinking water at community water 
systems (e.g., WRT) was viewed as a fee category 2.A.(5) licensee under 
Sec. Sec.  170.31 and 171.16. Additionally, at that time, fee category 
2.A.(5) required full-cost recovery of fees under 10 CFR part 170 for 
all licensing and inspection activities and assessed an annual fee.
    Based on its review, the NRC concluded that full-cost recovery is 
not warranted for licensees that remove contaminants from drinking 
water. Therefore, in its FY 2019 fee rule, the NRC addressed the first 
two of the three petition requests by eliminating fee category 2.A.(5) 
under Sec. Sec.  170.31 and 171.16, and categorizing existing and 
future uranium water treatment licensees as fee category 2.F. Because 
of the elimination of fee category 2.A.(5) and the use of category 
2.F., uranium water treatment licensees such as WRT shifted from a 10 
CFR part 170 full-cost fee category to a flat-fee category. Moreover, 
licensees in the 2.F. fee category, including WRT, may qualify for the 
small entity reduced fee. Therefore, the NRC finds this action 
addresses the first two issues submitted in the petition.

IV. Reasons for Denial

    The NRC is denying the third change requested by the petitioner, 
which was related to the timeframe to appeal the assessment of fees 
under Sec.  170.11(c). The petitioner stated that it disagrees with the 
90-day timeframe in Sec.  170.11(c), which was added in the FY 2018 fee 
rule, and requested that the NRC extend the timeframe to apply for a 
fee exemption to 180 days. The petitioner asserted that the current 
regulation does not allow an applicant or licensee enough time to 
assess NRC's billings, its progress on an application or other work, 
and whether there are grounds for an exemption request. The petitioner 
also stated that an applicant or licensee should not be restricted 
regarding when it can request an exemption.
    The 90-day timing requirement only applies to those exemption 
requests for special projects submitted under Sec.  170.11(a)(1), which 
states that no application fees, license fees, renewal fees, inspection 
fees, or special project fees shall be required for a special project 
that is a request/report submitted to the NRC. Therefore, the 90-day 
timeframe is limited to only those who are seeking fee exemptions after 
submitting a request or report to the NRC under Sec.  170.11(a)(1). 
This timing requirement does not apply to applicants or licensees that 
submit an application for the routine licensing activities addressed in 
the petition. For these licensing activities, an applicant or licensee 
may request an exemption pursuant to Sec.  170.11(b) at any time. In 
addition, Sec.  170.51, ``Right to review and appeal of prescribed 
fees,'' all debtors' requests for review of the fees assessed and 
appeal or disagreement with the prescribed fee (staff hours and 
contractual) must be submitted in accordance with the provisions of 10 
CFR 15.31, ``Disputed Debts.'' Under Sec.  15.31(a), a debtor who 
disputes a debt shall explain why the debt is incorrect in fact or in 
law within 30 days from the date that the initial demand letter was 
mailed or hand-delivered. The petitioner did not indicate any concerns 
related to these requirements. For these reasons, the NRC is denying 
the third change requested by the petitioner.

V. Conclusion

    For these reasons, the NRC granted the first two requested changes 
in PRM-170-7 in the FY 2019 final fee rule, and is denying the third 
requested change. This action closes docket PRM-170-7.

    Dated: May 14, 2020.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2020-10831 Filed 6-3-20; 8:45 am]