Earth Day Commitment/Friends of the Coast, Beyond Nuclear, Seacoast Anti-Pollution League, C-10 Research and Education Foundation, Pilgrim Watch, and New England Coalition; Notice of Receipt of Petition for Rulemaking, 59158-59160 [2010-24132]

Download as PDF 59158 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 75, No. 186 Monday, September 27, 2010 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. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Part 54 [Docket No. PRM–54–6; NRC–2010–0291] Earth Day Commitment/Friends of the Coast, Beyond Nuclear, Seacoast AntiPollution League, C–10 Research and Education Foundation, Pilgrim Watch, and New England Coalition; Notice of Receipt of Petition for Rulemaking Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; Notice of receipt. AGENCY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received and requests public comment on a petition for rulemaking dated August 18, 2010, submitted by Raymond Shadis and Mary Lampert on Behalf of Earth Day Commitment/Friends of the Coast, Beyond Nuclear, Seacoast AntiPollution League, C–10 Research and Education Foundation, Pilgrim Watch, and New England Coalition, for docketing as a petition for rulemaking under 10 CFR 2.802. In another letter dated August 18, 2010, Robin Read, State Representative for New Hampshire, requested to be included as a petitioner for this petition for rulemaking. The petition was docketed by the NRC and has been assigned PRM–54–6. The petitioners request that the NRC amend its regulations to permit a license renewal application no sooner than 10 years before the expiration of the current license and to apply the rule to all license renewal applications that have not yet been issued an NRC staff Final Safety Evaluation Report (FSER). The petitioners also requested a freeze on all new relicensing activity until the rulemaking is decided. DATES: Submit comments by December 13, 2010. Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is able to assure consideration only for comments received on or before this date. emcdonald on DSK2BSOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:48 Sep 24, 2010 Jkt 220001 Please include Docket ID NRC–2010–0291 in the subject line of your comments. For instructions on submitting comments and accessing documents related to this action, see ‘‘Submitting Comments and Accessing Information’’ in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. You may submit comments by any one of the following methods. Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC–2010–0291. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher, telephone 301–492–3668; e-mail Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, Attn: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff. E-mail comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do not receive a reply e-mail confirming that we have received your comments, contact us directly at 301–415–1966. Hand Deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. during Federal workdays (Telephone 301–415–1966). Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 301– 415–1101. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, Telephone 301–492– 3667, toll free 800–368–5642, Cindy.Bladey@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ADDRESSES: Submitting Comments and Accessing Information Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted on the NRC Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site http:// www.regulations.gov. Because your comments will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you against including any information in your submission that you do not want to be publicly disclosed. The NRC requests that any party soliciting or aggregating comments received from other persons for submission to the NRC inform those persons that the NRC will not edit their PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 comments to remove any identifying or contact information, and therefore, they should not include any information in their comments that they do not want publicly disclosed. You can access publicly available documents related to this document, including the following documents, using the following methods: NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine and have copied for a fee publicly available documents at the NRC’s PDR, Room O– 1F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland. NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC are available electronically at the NRC’s Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/ reading-rm/adams.html. From this page, the public can gain entry into ADAMS, which provides text and image files of NRC’s public documents. If you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC’s PDR reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, or 301–415–4737, or by e-mail to PDR.Resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number for the petition is ML1023803790. Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Public comments and supporting materials related to this action, including the petition for rulemaking, can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID NRC–2010–0291. Petitioners The petitioners all have a residence or interests within 50 miles of the NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station, which has applied for license renewal (Docket 050–00443) at 10 CFR 54.17(c), 20 years in advance of the end of its current license. The petitioning organizations all have members residing within 50 miles of NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station. The petitioners who are elected-officials represent constituents who reside within 50 miles of NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station. The petitioners are as follows: Friends of the Coast has been incorporated as a non-profit, for the public good, corporation in the State of Maine since 1995. Friends of the Coast has members who live within fifty miles of the NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station, which has applied E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 186 / Monday, September 27, 2010 / Proposed Rules for license renewal 20 years in advance of the expiration of its current license under 10 CFR 54.17(c). Beyond Nuclear is incorporated as a not for profit organization based in Takoma Park, MD, which aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Beyond Nuclear has members who live and work within fifty miles of the NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station which has applied for a license renewal 20 years in advance of the expiration of its current license under 10 CFR 55.17(c). New England Coalition has been incorporated as a not for profit corporation in the State of Vermont since 1971. It has intervened in NRC licensing and license amendment proceedings at Vermont Yankee, Yankee Rowe, and Seabrook. Seacoast Anti-Pollution League (SAPL). SAPL has worked since 1969 to protect the health, safety and general well-being of the New Hampshire Seacoast community from nuclear pollution and other threats to the environment. Most of SAPL’s members live and work within fifty miles of the NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station. New England Coalition has members who live within fifty miles of the NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station, which has applied for license renewal 20 years in advance of the expiration of its current license under 10 CFR 54.17(c). Pilgrim Watch is a public interest organization located in Duxbury, MA. Pilgrim Watch is an intervener in the Entergy Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station license renewal application. Pilgrim Watch has members who reside within 50 miles of Seabrook Station. C–10 Research & Education Foundation is located in Newburyport, MA, and has members who reside within 50 miles of Seabrook Generating Station. C–10 maintains an environmental monitoring system in the vicinity of Seabrook Generating Station and provides public education on environmental and energy matters. Robin Read is a State Representative for the State of New Hampshire. emcdonald on DSK2BSOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS Background Grounds for Action Requested The petitioners state that the NRC’s current regulation (10 CFR 54.17), is unduly non-conservative with respect to its effect on accuracy and completeness of the application, public participation, changing environmental consideration, aging analysis and management, regulatory follow-through, National VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:48 Sep 24, 2010 Jkt 220001 Environmental Policy Act compliance, changing regulation, and more. The petitioners state that they seek to restore some margin of conservation by halving the lead time on license renewal applications from 20 to 10 years. The petitioners state that a rulemaking for 10 CFR 54.17(c) was conducted more than 15 years ago. The rulemaking took place before sweeping changes in NRC oversight and before economic and regulatory shifts that enabled unprecedented changes in ownership and an industry-wide shift of focus from anticipated decommissioning to uprate and license renewal. The petitioners state that the rulemaking cannot have contemplated how these changes have affected the dynamics of license renewal aging analysis and aging management planning over a period of 40 years (20 years of current license, plus 20 years of extended period of operation). The petitioners claim that because the rule does not take into consideration its present context, the rule is antiquated and obsolete and must be reconsidered. The petitioners state that of 32 license renewals granted, none were filed 20 years in advance of license expiration and only among 14 license renewal applications under consideration and filed in the last few years is an exception to be found, Seabrook StationUnit 1. The petitioners state that NextEra Seabrook has provided no credible justification for its very early filing. The petitioners state that the great majority of licensees have filed applications for license renewal within 10 years of original license expiration without any apparent negative consequences. The petitioners believe that this experience is a clear demonstration that more than 10 years lead time is unnecessary and of little benefit. The petitioners state that filing, reviewing, and granting license renewal applications more than 10 years in advance of the original license expiration can have negative consequences. The petitioners state that the rulemaking for 10 CFR 54.17(c) proceeded without sufficient consideration of the impact of 20 year advance consideration of license renewal on the hearing rights of affected persons. By renewing the license of a nuclear power station 20 years in advance of the licensed extended period of operation NRC removes to the distance of a full generation, the opportunity for an adjudicatory hearing, a coming generation of affected residents, visitors, and commercial interests as yet unable or unprepared to speak for themselves. The petitioners PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 59159 state that 10 CFR 54.17(c) introduces the question of whether the action proposed is obtaining the license or entering into an extended period of operation 20 years hence. The petitioners believe that the safety and environmental ramifications (the physical impact on affected persons) begin 20 years away. The petitioners state that 10 CFR 54.17(c) allows for effective segmentation of the proposed action rendering the permission so far removed in time from the implementation as to provide an intellectual disconnect or, in effect, void legal notice. The petitioners state that 10 CFR 54.17(c) allows licensees and NRC reviewing staff to press to untenable lengths the unproven ability to predict the aging and deterioration of systems, structures, and components (SSCs). The petitioners state that 10 CFR 54.17(c) promotes failure of the license renewal application to encompass the potential effects of an environment that is arguably changing at an unprecedented rate. The petitioners state that active proposals for more than 3,000 megawatts of wind power are currently on the books in New England, with potential for 12,000 more. The petitioners state that it cannot be credibly projected over 20 years what wind power will then be available, in part because wind power projects are seldom, if ever, planned 20 years in advance. The petitioners state that filing for license renewal at mid-term of the current license finds the licensee at a place in SSC service life where in industry experience, few failures are observed and, generally, those that are observed are episodic or anomalous in nature and cannot be readily plotted as a trend for prediction purposes. The petitioners state that the time of an elevated rate of failures due to design, manufacturing, and construction defects has passed and is largely irrelevant to aging management in the proposed extended period of operation. The petitioners state that the anticipated end-of-design life and aging issues have barely, if at all, begun to emerge, so little or no plant-specific information on how a given plant will age is available to be trended, provide lessons, or otherwise illuminate the path forward. It is generally observed that for many SCCs this information flow rates increase rapidly in the fourth quarter and toward the end of a license. The petitioners state that this SSC reliability progression is well-known and often illustrated in the so-called ‘‘Bath Tub Curve.’’ Additionally, corrosion risk is a function of time. The petitioners state that the Beaver Valley NPP containment E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 emcdonald on DSK2BSOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS 59160 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 186 / Monday, September 27, 2010 / Proposed Rules issue provides a powerful example of operating experience emerging at a late date in a way that affects the license renewal. VT Yankee also provides a series of later life structural failures as additional examples. The petitioners state that it is appropriate, from a regulatory audit standpoint, to wait until applicable failure rate and observed aging phenomena data is in hand, before attempting time-limited aging analysis or aging management planning; less than 10; not less than 20 years in advance of operating license expiration. The petitioners state that the current rule exacerbates NRC staff and licensee difficulty in following license renewal commitments. The petitioners state that license renewal applications are often approved with the proviso that certain commitments be made and fulfilled; generally before the period of extended operation begins. These commitments often include inspections, tests, analyses, and development of programs vital to safety and environmental protection. The petitioners state that regulatory experience shows NRC staff turnover, changes in oversight, licensee staff changes, and ownership (licensee) changes, greater in a 20-year period than a 10-year period, will at once complicate and place increased emphasis on proper handoff of unfulfilled licensee commitments. The petitioners state that 20 years from application to onset of extended operation will, based on regulatory history, certainly see an inordinate amount of applicable regulatory change, with lack of compliance likely to be grandfathered in. The petitioners state that current issues under consideration for treatment in the license renewal process include aging management for underground, buried, or inaccessible pipes that carry radionuclides, and aging management for safety-related low voltage cables that are below-grade and not qualified for a wet environment. The petitioners state that, in its current form, the regulation conflicts with, circumvents, and otherwise frustrates the letter and spirit of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The petitioners state it further conflicts with, circumvents, and otherwise frustrates the object and goals of NEPA. The petitioners state that the NEPA provides at Section 1500.2, that the Federal agencies, ‘‘shall to the fullest extent possible: (e) Use the NEPA process to identify and assess the reasonable alternatives to proposed actions that will avoid or minimize adverse effects of these actions upon the quality of the human environment.’’ The petitioners state that the Act provides at VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:48 Sep 24, 2010 Jkt 220001 Section 1500.1(b) that ‘‘NEPA procedures must insure that environmental information is available to public officials and citizens before decisions are made and before actions are taken. The information must be of high quality. Accurate scientific analysis, expert agency comments, and public scrutiny are essential to implementing NEPA. Most important, NEPA documents must concentrate on the issues that are truly significant to the action in question, rather than amassing needless detail.’’ The Petition The petitioners request that the NRC amend its regulations to change the time before expiration of the operating license or combined license currently in effect in which a licensee may apply for a renewed license from 20 to 10 years. The petitioners request that the NRC amend 10 CFR 54.17(c) to read as follows: An application for a renewed license may not be submitted to the Commission earlier than 20 years before the expiration of the operating license or combined license currently in effect. An application for a renewed license may not be submitted to the Commission earlier than 10 years before the expiration of the operating license or combined license currently in effect. Petitioner’s Request To Suspend All License Renewal Review Pending Disposition of the Petition for Rulemaking The petitioners request that the Commission suspend all license renewal review pending disposition of this petition for rulemaking. The petitioners state that given the lead-in time on the application(s) and the fact that no additional work would be required of the licensee, no significant additional burden would accrue to the applicant. The petitioners state that, inasmuch as several petitioners intend to file requests for a hearing and petitions for leave to intervene in the matter of Seabrook license renewal, this suspension would preserve the order of the application review process and contribute to judicial efficiency and economy. The petitioners state that further suspension of review activities now would avoid duplication of effort should the Commission issue the requested rule change. The petitioners state that although they are not parties to a proceeding in this matter and no proceeding has yet been convened, the petitioners urge the Commission to find that the present situation is analogous to that described in 10 CFR 2.802(d) and to exercise its PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 discretion for the benefit of the NRC and all parties by suspending review of all license renewal applications submitted more than10 years in advance of current license expiration until resolution of this petition. The NRC has determined that this request is not part of the rulemaking process. The NRC will address in a separate action the petitioners’ request to freeze all new relicensing activity pending disposition of the PRM. Conclusion For the reasons stated previously the petitioners request that NRC revise its regulations at 10 CFR 54.17 to permit license renewal application no sooner than 10 years before the expiration of current license and to apply the rule to all license renewal applications that have not yet been issued an NRC staff FSER. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of September 2010. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Annette L. Vietti-Cook, Secretary of the Commission. [FR Doc. 2010–24132 Filed 9–24–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Chapter I [NRC–2009–0279] Radiation Protection Regulations and Guidance; Public Meetings and Request for Comments U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). ACTION: Notice of Public Meeting and Request for Comment. AGENCY: The NRC is conducting a series of public meetings, in the format of facilitated roundtable workshops, to solicit early public input on major issues associated with potential updates to NRC’s radiation protection regulations and guidance in light of recommendations presented in the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Publication 103 (2007). To aid in that process, the NRC is requesting comments on the issues discussed in this notice. The NRC has not initiated rulemaking on this subject, and is seeking early input and views on the benefits and impacts of options to be considered before making any decision on whether to proceed with a rulemaking. Each meeting will include a panel of participants, selected in a convening process to represent the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 186 (Monday, September 27, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 59158-59160]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-24132]


========================================================================
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. 75, No. 186 / Monday, September 27, 2010 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 59158]]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 54

[Docket No. PRM-54-6; NRC-2010-0291]


Earth Day Commitment/Friends of the Coast, Beyond Nuclear, 
Seacoast Anti-Pollution League, C-10 Research and Education Foundation, 
Pilgrim Watch, and New England Coalition; Notice of Receipt of Petition 
for Rulemaking

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Petition for rulemaking; Notice of receipt.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received and 
requests public comment on a petition for rulemaking dated August 18, 
2010, submitted by Raymond Shadis and Mary Lampert on Behalf of Earth 
Day Commitment/Friends of the Coast, Beyond Nuclear, Seacoast Anti-
Pollution League, C-10 Research and Education Foundation, Pilgrim 
Watch, and New England Coalition, for docketing as a petition for 
rulemaking under 10 CFR 2.802. In another letter dated August 18, 2010, 
Robin Read, State Representative for New Hampshire, requested to be 
included as a petitioner for this petition for rulemaking. The petition 
was docketed by the NRC and has been assigned PRM-54-6. The petitioners 
request that the NRC amend its regulations to permit a license renewal 
application no sooner than 10 years before the expiration of the 
current license and to apply the rule to all license renewal 
applications that have not yet been issued an NRC staff Final Safety 
Evaluation Report (FSER). The petitioners also requested a freeze on 
all new relicensing activity until the rulemaking is decided.

DATES: Submit comments by December 13, 2010. Comments received after 
this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC 
is able to assure consideration only for comments received on or before 
this date.

ADDRESSES: Please include Docket ID NRC-2010-0291 in the subject line 
of your comments. For instructions on submitting comments and accessing 
documents related to this action, see ``Submitting Comments and 
Accessing Information'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of 
this document. You may submit comments by any one of the following 
methods.
    Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-2010-0291. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher, telephone 301-492-3668; 
e-mail Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
    Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attn: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.
    E-mail comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do not 
receive a reply e-mail confirming that we have received your comments, 
contact us directly at 301-415-1966.
    Hand Deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 
20852 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. during Federal workdays 
(Telephone 301-415-1966).
    Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 
301-415-1101.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative 
Services, Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, Telephone 301-492-3667, toll free 800-368-
5642, Cindy.Bladey@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Submitting Comments and Accessing Information

    Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted 
on the NRC Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site http://www.regulations.gov. Because your comments will not be edited to remove 
any identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you against 
including any information in your submission that you do not want to be 
publicly disclosed. The NRC requests that any party soliciting or 
aggregating comments received from other persons for submission to the 
NRC inform those persons that the NRC will not edit their comments to 
remove any identifying or contact information, and therefore, they 
should not include any information in their comments that they do not 
want publicly disclosed.
    You can access publicly available documents related to this 
document, including the following documents, using the following 
methods:
    NRC's Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine and have 
copied for a fee publicly available documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O-
1F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland.
    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS):
    Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC are 
available electronically at the NRC's Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this page, the public can gain 
entry into ADAMS, which provides text and image files of NRC's public 
documents. If you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems 
in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC's PDR 
reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, or 301-415-4737, or by e-mail to 
PDR.Resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number for the petition is 
ML1023803790.
    Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Public comments and supporting 
materials related to this action, including the petition for 
rulemaking, can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on 
Docket ID NRC-2010-0291.

Petitioners

    The petitioners all have a residence or interests within 50 miles 
of the NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station, which has applied 
for license renewal (Docket 050-00443) at 10 CFR 54.17(c), 20 years in 
advance of the end of its current license. The petitioning 
organizations all have members residing within 50 miles of NextEra 
Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station. The petitioners who are elected-
officials represent constituents who reside within 50 miles of NextEra 
Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station.
    The petitioners are as follows:
    Friends of the Coast has been incorporated as a non-profit, for the 
public good, corporation in the State of Maine since 1995. Friends of 
the Coast has members who live within fifty miles of the NextEra 
Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station, which has applied

[[Page 59159]]

for license renewal 20 years in advance of the expiration of its 
current license under 10 CFR 54.17(c).
    Beyond Nuclear is incorporated as a not for profit organization 
based in Takoma Park, MD, which aims to educate and activate the public 
about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Beyond 
Nuclear has members who live and work within fifty miles of the NextEra 
Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station which has applied for a license 
renewal 20 years in advance of the expiration of its current license 
under 10 CFR 55.17(c).
    New England Coalition has been incorporated as a not for profit 
corporation in the State of Vermont since 1971. It has intervened in 
NRC licensing and license amendment proceedings at Vermont Yankee, 
Yankee Rowe, and Seabrook.
    Seacoast Anti-Pollution League (SAPL). SAPL has worked since 1969 
to protect the health, safety and general well-being of the New 
Hampshire Seacoast community from nuclear pollution and other threats 
to the environment. Most of SAPL's members live and work within fifty 
miles of the NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station.
    New England Coalition has members who live within fifty miles of 
the NextEra Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station, which has applied for 
license renewal 20 years in advance of the expiration of its current 
license under 10 CFR 54.17(c).
    Pilgrim Watch is a public interest organization located in Duxbury, 
MA. Pilgrim Watch is an intervener in the Entergy Pilgrim Nuclear Power 
Station license renewal application. Pilgrim Watch has members who 
reside within 50 miles of Seabrook Station.
    C-10 Research & Education Foundation is located in Newburyport, MA, 
and has members who reside within 50 miles of Seabrook Generating 
Station. C-10 maintains an environmental monitoring system in the 
vicinity of Seabrook Generating Station and provides public education 
on environmental and energy matters.
    Robin Read is a State Representative for the State of New 
Hampshire.

Background

Grounds for Action Requested

    The petitioners state that the NRC's current regulation (10 CFR 
54.17), is unduly non-conservative with respect to its effect on 
accuracy and completeness of the application, public participation, 
changing environmental consideration, aging analysis and management, 
regulatory follow-through, National Environmental Policy Act 
compliance, changing regulation, and more. The petitioners state that 
they seek to restore some margin of conservation by halving the lead 
time on license renewal applications from 20 to 10 years.
    The petitioners state that a rulemaking for 10 CFR 54.17(c) was 
conducted more than 15 years ago. The rulemaking took place before 
sweeping changes in NRC oversight and before economic and regulatory 
shifts that enabled unprecedented changes in ownership and an industry-
wide shift of focus from anticipated decommissioning to uprate and 
license renewal. The petitioners state that the rulemaking cannot have 
contemplated how these changes have affected the dynamics of license 
renewal aging analysis and aging management planning over a period of 
40 years (20 years of current license, plus 20 years of extended period 
of operation). The petitioners claim that because the rule does not 
take into consideration its present context, the rule is antiquated and 
obsolete and must be reconsidered.
    The petitioners state that of 32 license renewals granted, none 
were filed 20 years in advance of license expiration and only among 14 
license renewal applications under consideration and filed in the last 
few years is an exception to be found, Seabrook Station-Unit 1. The 
petitioners state that NextEra Seabrook has provided no credible 
justification for its very early filing. The petitioners state that the 
great majority of licensees have filed applications for license renewal 
within 10 years of original license expiration without any apparent 
negative consequences. The petitioners believe that this experience is 
a clear demonstration that more than 10 years lead time is unnecessary 
and of little benefit. The petitioners state that filing, reviewing, 
and granting license renewal applications more than 10 years in advance 
of the original license expiration can have negative consequences.
    The petitioners state that the rulemaking for 10 CFR 54.17(c) 
proceeded without sufficient consideration of the impact of 20 year 
advance consideration of license renewal on the hearing rights of 
affected persons. By renewing the license of a nuclear power station 20 
years in advance of the licensed extended period of operation NRC 
removes to the distance of a full generation, the opportunity for an 
adjudicatory hearing, a coming generation of affected residents, 
visitors, and commercial interests as yet unable or unprepared to speak 
for themselves. The petitioners state that 10 CFR 54.17(c) introduces 
the question of whether the action proposed is obtaining the license or 
entering into an extended period of operation 20 years hence. The 
petitioners believe that the safety and environmental ramifications 
(the physical impact on affected persons) begin 20 years away. The 
petitioners state that 10 CFR 54.17(c) allows for effective 
segmentation of the proposed action rendering the permission so far 
removed in time from the implementation as to provide an intellectual 
disconnect or, in effect, void legal notice.
    The petitioners state that 10 CFR 54.17(c) allows licensees and NRC 
reviewing staff to press to untenable lengths the unproven ability to 
predict the aging and deterioration of systems, structures, and 
components (SSCs). The petitioners state that 10 CFR 54.17(c) promotes 
failure of the license renewal application to encompass the potential 
effects of an environment that is arguably changing at an unprecedented 
rate. The petitioners state that active proposals for more than 3,000 
megawatts of wind power are currently on the books in New England, with 
potential for 12,000 more. The petitioners state that it cannot be 
credibly projected over 20 years what wind power will then be 
available, in part because wind power projects are seldom, if ever, 
planned 20 years in advance.
    The petitioners state that filing for license renewal at mid-term 
of the current license finds the licensee at a place in SSC service 
life where in industry experience, few failures are observed and, 
generally, those that are observed are episodic or anomalous in nature 
and cannot be readily plotted as a trend for prediction purposes. The 
petitioners state that the time of an elevated rate of failures due to 
design, manufacturing, and construction defects has passed and is 
largely irrelevant to aging management in the proposed extended period 
of operation. The petitioners state that the anticipated end-of-design 
life and aging issues have barely, if at all, begun to emerge, so 
little or no plant-specific information on how a given plant will age 
is available to be trended, provide lessons, or otherwise illuminate 
the path forward. It is generally observed that for many SCCs this 
information flow rates increase rapidly in the fourth quarter and 
toward the end of a license. The petitioners state that this SSC 
reliability progression is well-known and often illustrated in the so-
called ``Bath Tub Curve.'' Additionally, corrosion risk is a function 
of time. The petitioners state that the Beaver Valley NPP containment

[[Page 59160]]

issue provides a powerful example of operating experience emerging at a 
late date in a way that affects the license renewal. VT Yankee also 
provides a series of later life structural failures as additional 
examples. The petitioners state that it is appropriate, from a 
regulatory audit standpoint, to wait until applicable failure rate and 
observed aging phenomena data is in hand, before attempting time-
limited aging analysis or aging management planning; less than 10; not 
less than 20 years in advance of operating license expiration.
    The petitioners state that the current rule exacerbates NRC staff 
and licensee difficulty in following license renewal commitments. The 
petitioners state that license renewal applications are often approved 
with the proviso that certain commitments be made and fulfilled; 
generally before the period of extended operation begins. These 
commitments often include inspections, tests, analyses, and development 
of programs vital to safety and environmental protection. The 
petitioners state that regulatory experience shows NRC staff turnover, 
changes in oversight, licensee staff changes, and ownership (licensee) 
changes, greater in a 20-year period than a 10-year period, will at 
once complicate and place increased emphasis on proper handoff of 
unfulfilled licensee commitments.
    The petitioners state that 20 years from application to onset of 
extended operation will, based on regulatory history, certainly see an 
inordinate amount of applicable regulatory change, with lack of 
compliance likely to be grandfathered in. The petitioners state that 
current issues under consideration for treatment in the license renewal 
process include aging management for underground, buried, or 
inaccessible pipes that carry radionuclides, and aging management for 
safety-related low voltage cables that are below-grade and not 
qualified for a wet environment.
    The petitioners state that, in its current form, the regulation 
conflicts with, circumvents, and otherwise frustrates the letter and 
spirit of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The petitioners 
state it further conflicts with, circumvents, and otherwise frustrates 
the object and goals of NEPA. The petitioners state that the NEPA 
provides at Section 1500.2, that the Federal agencies, ``shall to the 
fullest extent possible: (e) Use the NEPA process to identify and 
assess the reasonable alternatives to proposed actions that will avoid 
or minimize adverse effects of these actions upon the quality of the 
human environment.'' The petitioners state that the Act provides at 
Section 1500.1(b) that ``NEPA procedures must insure that environmental 
information is available to public officials and citizens before 
decisions are made and before actions are taken. The information must 
be of high quality. Accurate scientific analysis, expert agency 
comments, and public scrutiny are essential to implementing NEPA. Most 
important, NEPA documents must concentrate on the issues that are truly 
significant to the action in question, rather than amassing needless 
detail.''

The Petition

    The petitioners request that the NRC amend its regulations to 
change the time before expiration of the operating license or combined 
license currently in effect in which a licensee may apply for a renewed 
license from 20 to 10 years. The petitioners request that the NRC amend 
10 CFR 54.17(c) to read as follows:
    An application for a renewed license may not be submitted to the 
Commission earlier than 20 years before the expiration of the operating 
license or combined license currently in effect.
    An application for a renewed license may not be submitted to the 
Commission earlier than 10 years before the expiration of the operating 
license or combined license currently in effect.

Petitioner's Request To Suspend All License Renewal Review Pending 
Disposition of the Petition for Rulemaking

    The petitioners request that the Commission suspend all license 
renewal review pending disposition of this petition for rulemaking. The 
petitioners state that given the lead-in time on the application(s) and 
the fact that no additional work would be required of the licensee, no 
significant additional burden would accrue to the applicant. The 
petitioners state that, inasmuch as several petitioners intend to file 
requests for a hearing and petitions for leave to intervene in the 
matter of Seabrook license renewal, this suspension would preserve the 
order of the application review process and contribute to judicial 
efficiency and economy. The petitioners state that further suspension 
of review activities now would avoid duplication of effort should the 
Commission issue the requested rule change.
    The petitioners state that although they are not parties to a 
proceeding in this matter and no proceeding has yet been convened, the 
petitioners urge the Commission to find that the present situation is 
analogous to that described in 10 CFR 2.802(d) and to exercise its 
discretion for the benefit of the NRC and all parties by suspending 
review of all license renewal applications submitted more than10 years 
in advance of current license expiration until resolution of this 
petition.
    The NRC has determined that this request is not part of the 
rulemaking process. The NRC will address in a separate action the 
petitioners' request to freeze all new relicensing activity pending 
disposition of the PRM.

Conclusion

    For the reasons stated previously the petitioners request that NRC 
revise its regulations at 10 CFR 54.17 to permit license renewal 
application no sooner than 10 years before the expiration of current 
license and to apply the rule to all license renewal applications that 
have not yet been issued an NRC staff FSER.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of September 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2010-24132 Filed 9-24-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P