Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, 67365-67368 [2018-28202]

Download as PDF 67365 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 248 / Friday, December 28, 2018 / Notices Estimated Total Annual Burden: 200 hours. Total Annualized capital/startup costs: n/a. Total Annual costs: $5,546. OMB is particularly interested in comments that help the agency to: • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses). Dated: December 18, 2018. Kim Miller, Grants Management Specialist, Office of Grants Policy and Management. BILLING CODE 7036–01–P NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD Sunshine Act Meeting 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, January 15, 2019. PLACE: NTSB Conference Center, 429 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20594. STATUS: The one item is open to the public. MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED: 58626 Aircraft Accident Report— Runway Overrun during Rejected Takeoff, Ameristar Air Cargo, Inc., dba Ameristar Charters, flight 9363, Boeing MD–83, N786TW, Ypsilanti, Michigan, March 8, 2017. NEWS MEDIA CONTACT: Telephone: (202) 314–6100. The press and public may enter the NTSB Conference Center one hour prior to the meeting for set up and seating. Individuals requesting specific accommodations should contact Rochelle McCallister at (202) 314–6305 or by email at Rochelle.McCallister@ ntsb.gov by Wednesday, January 9, 2019. amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Dec 27, 2018 Jkt 247001 Dated: December 21, 2018. LaSean McCray, Assistant Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. 2018–28406 Filed 12–26–18; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 7533–01–P available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://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 e-mail to pdr.resource@ nrc.gov. 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. John G. Lamb, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001; telephone: 301–415–3100; e-mail: John.Lamb@nrc.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–219; NRC–2018–0288] Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Exemption; issuance. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an exemption in response to a letter dated March 29, 2018, as supplemented by a letter dated May 8, 2018, exemption request from Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon or the licensee). The exemption permits Exelon to reduce the minimum coverage limit for onsite property damage insurance from $1.06 billion to $50 million for Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. DATES: The exemption was issued on December 19, 2018. ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2018–0288 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–2018–0288. Address questions about Docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Krupskaya Castellon; telephone: 301–287–9221; e-mail: Krupskaya.Castellon@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclySUMMARY: [FR Doc. 2018–27652 Filed 12–27–18; 8:45 am] TIME AND DATE: The public may view the meeting via a live or archived webcast by accessing a link under ‘‘News & Events’’ on the NTSB home page at www.ntsb.gov. Schedule updates, including weatherrelated cancellations, are also available at www.ntsb.gov. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Candi Bing at (202) 314–6403 or by email at bingc@ntsb.gov. FOR MEDIA INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Knudson at (202) 314–6100 or by email at peter.knudson@ntsb.gov. PO 00000 Frm 00155 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the exemption is attached. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of December 2018. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. John G. Lamb, Senior Project Manager, Special Projects and Process Branch, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. Attachment—Exemption NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION Docket No. 50–219 Exelon Generation Company, LLC Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station Exemption I. Background. Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon, the licensee), is the holder of Renewed Facility Operating License No. DPR–16 for Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station (Oyster Creek). By letter dated February 14, 2018 (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML18045A084), Exelon submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) a certification in accordance with Section 50.82(a)(1)(i) of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), indicating that it plans to cease permanent operation no later than October 31, 2018. Exelon permanently ceased operations at Oyster Creek on September 17, 2018. By letter dated September 25, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18268A258), Exelon certified that all fuel was removed from the Oyster Creek reactor vessel. The facility consists of a permanently shutdown and defuled boiling-water reactor located in the town of Forked River, Ocean County, New Jersey. E:\FR\FM\28DEN1.SGM 28DEN1 67366 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 248 / Friday, December 28, 2018 / Notices amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 II. Request/Action. Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, ‘‘Specific exemptions,’’ Exelon requested an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1), by letter dated March 29, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18088A237), as supplemented by a letter dated May 8, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18128A291). The exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) would permit the licensee to reduce the required level of onsite property damage insurance from $1.06 billion to $50 million for Oyster Creek. The regulation at 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) requires each licensee to have and maintain onsite property damage insurance to stabilize and decontaminate the reactor and reactor site in the event of an accident. The onsite insurance coverage must be either $1.06 billion or whatever amount of insurance is generally available from private sources (whichever is less). The licensee states that the risk of an incident at a permanently shutdown and defueled reactor is much less than the risk from an operating power reactor. In addition, since reactor operation is no longer authorized at Oyster Creek, there are no events that would require the stabilization of reactor conditions after an accident. Similarly, the risk of an accident that would result in significant onsite contamination at Oyster Creek is also much lower than the risk of such an event at operating reactors. Therefore, Exelon is requesting an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) to reduce its onsite property damage insurance from $1.06 billion to $50 million, commensurate with the reduced risk of an incident at the permanently shutdown and defueled Oyster Creek site. III. Discussion. Under 10 CFR 50.12, the Commission may, upon application by any interested person or upon its own initiative, grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 when (1) the exemptions are authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to public health or safety, and are consistent with the common defense and security; and (2) any of the special circumstances listed in 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2) are present. The financial protection limits of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) were established after the Three Mile Island accident out of concern that licensees may be unable to financially cover onsite cleanup costs in the event of a major nuclear accident. The specified $1.06 billion coverage amount requirement was developed based on an analysis of an accident at a nuclear reactor operating at power, resulting in a large fission product release and requiring significant resource expenditures to stabilize the reactor and ultimately decontaminate and cleanup the site. These cost estimates were developed based on the spectrum of postulated accidents for an operating nuclear reactor. Those costs were derived from the consequences of a release of radioactive material from the reactor. Although the risk of an accident at an operating reactor is very low, the consequences onsite and offsite can be significant. In an operating plant, the high temperature and pressure of the reactor VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Dec 27, 2018 Jkt 247001 coolant system (RCS), as well as the inventory of relatively short-lived radionuclides, contribute to both the risk and consequences of an accident. With the permanent cessation of reactor operations at Oyster Creek and the permanent removal of the fuel from the reactor vessel, such accidents are no longer possible. As a result, the reactor vessel, RCS, and supporting systems no longer operate and have no function related to the storage of the irradiated fuel. Therefore, postulated accidents involving failure or malfunction of the reactor, RCS, or supporting systems are no longer be applicable. During reactor decommissioning, the largest radiological risks are associated with the storage of spent fuel onsite. By letter dated March 29, 2018, as supplemented by letter dated May 8, 2018, exemption request, Exelon discusses both design-basis and beyond design-basis events involving irradiated fuel stored in the spent fuel pool (SFP). The licensee determined that there are no possible design-basis events at Oyster Creek that could result in an offsite radiological release exceeding the limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) early-phase Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) of 1 rem (roentgen equivalent man) at the exclusion area boundary, as a way to demonstrate that any possible radiological releases would be minimal and not require precautionary protective actions (e.g., sheltering in place or evacuation). The NRC staff evaluated the radiological consequences associated with various decommissioning activities, and design-basis accidents at Oyster Creek, in consideration of a permanently shutdown and defueled condition. The possible designbasis accident scenarios at Oyster Creek have greatly reduced radiological consequences. Based on its review, the NRC staff concluded that no reasonably conceivable design-basis accident exists that could cause an offsite release greater than the EPA PAGs. The only incident that might lead to a significant radiological release at a decommissioning reactor is a zirconium fire. The zirconium fire scenario is a postulated, but highly unlikely, beyond design-basis accident scenario that involves loss of water inventory from the SFP, resulting in a significant heatup of the spent fuel, and culminating in substantial zirconium cladding oxidation and fuel damage. The probability of a zirconium fire scenario is related to the decay heat of the irradiated fuel stored in the SFP. Therefore, the risks from a zirconium fire scenario continue to decrease as a function of the time since Oyster Creek has been permanently shut down. The Commission has previously authorized a lesser amount of onsite financial protection, based on this analysis of the zirconium fire risk. In SECY–96–256, ‘‘Changes to Financial Protection Requirements for Permanently Shutdown Nuclear Power Reactors, 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) and 10 CFR 140.11,’’ dated December 17, 1996 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15062A483), the NRC staff recommended changes to the power reactor financial protection regulations that would allow licensees to lower onsite insurance levels to PO 00000 Frm 00156 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 $50 million upon demonstration that the fuel stored in the SFP can be air-cooled. In its Staff Requirements Memorandum to SECY– 96–256, dated January 28, 1997 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15062A454), the Commission supported the NRC staff’s recommendation that, among other things, would allow permanently shutdown power reactor licensees to reduce commercial onsite property damage insurance coverage to $50 million when the licensee was able to demonstrate the technical criterion that the spent fuel could be air-cooled if the SFP was drained of water. The NRC staff has used this technical criterion to grant similar exemptions to other decommissioning reactors (e.g., Maine Yankee Atomic Power Station, published in the Federal Register on January 19, 1999 (64 FR 2920); and Zion Nuclear Power Station, published in the Federal Register on December 28, 1999 (64 FR 72700)). These prior exemptions were based on these licensees demonstrating that the SFP could be air-cooled, consistent with the technical criterion discussed above. In SECY–00–0145, ‘‘Integrated Rulemaking Plan for Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning,’’ dated June 28, 2000, and SECY–01–0100, ‘‘Policy Issues Related to Safeguards, Insurance, and Emergency Preparedness Regulations at Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants Storing Fuel in the Spent Fuel Pool,’’ dated June 4, 2001 (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML003721626 and ML011450420, respectively), the NRC staff discussed additional information concerning SFP zirconium fire risks at decommissioning reactors and associated implications for onsite property damage insurance. Providing an analysis of when the spent fuel stored in the SFP is capable of air-cooling is one measure that can be used to demonstrate that the probability of a zirconium fire is exceedingly low. However, the NRC staff has more recently used an additional analysis that bounds an incomplete drain down of the SFP water, or some other catastrophic event (such as a complete drainage of the SFP with rearrangement of spent fuel rack geometry and/or the addition of rubble to the SFP). The analysis postulates that decay heat transfer from the spent fuel via conduction, convection, or radiation would be impeded. This analysis is often referred to as an adiabatic heatup. The licensee’s analyses referenced in its exemption request demonstrates that under conditions where the SFP water inventory has drained completely and only air-cooling of the stored irradiated fuel is available, there is reasonable assurance that after 12 months (365 days) from the permanent shutdown of the facility on September 17, 2018, the Oyster Creek spent fuel will remain at temperatures far below those associated with a significant radiological release. As discussed in the staff response to a question in SECY–00–0145, ‘‘the staff believes that full insurance coverage must be maintained for 5 years or until a licensee can show by analysis that its SFP is no longer vulnerable to such [a zirconium] fire.’’ The licensee’s adiabatic heatup analyses demonstrates that there would be at least 10 hours after the loss of all means of cooling E:\FR\FM\28DEN1.SGM 28DEN1 amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 248 / Friday, December 28, 2018 / Notices (both air and/or water), before the spent fuel cladding would reach a temperature where the potential for a significant offsite radiological release could occur. The licensee states that for this loss of all cooling scenario, 10 hours is sufficient time for personnel to respond with additional resources, equipment, and capability to restore cooling to the SFPs, even after a non-credible, catastrophic event. In the analysis provided in Attachment 2, ‘‘Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station Zirconium Fire Analysis for Drained Spent Fuel Pool (Calculation C–1302–226–E310– 457),’’ to the letter dated August 22, 2017 (ADAMS Accession No. ML17234A082), as supplemented by letters dated March 8, 2018, and March 19, 2018 (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML18067A087 and ML18078A146, respectively), the licensee compared the conditions for the hottest fuel assembly stored in the SFP to a criterion proposed in SECY–99–168, ‘‘Improving Decommissioning Regulations for Nuclear Power Plants’’ (ADAMS Accession No. ML12265A598), applicable to offsite emergency response for the unit in the decommissioning process. This criterion considers the time for the hottest assembly to heat up from 30 degrees Celsius (°C) to 900 °C adiabatically. If the heatup time is greater than 10 hours, then offsite emergency preplanning involving the plant is not necessary. Based on the limiting fuel assembly for decay heat and adiabatic heatup analysis presented in Attachment 2 to the application, at 12 months (365 days) after permanent cessation of power operations (i.e., 12 months decay time), the time for the hottest fuel assembly to reach 900 °C is 10 hours after the assemblies have been uncovered. As stated in NUREG–1738, ‘‘Technical Study of Spent Fuel Pool Accident Risk at Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants’’ (ADAMS Accession No. ML010430066), 900 °C is an acceptable temperature to use for assessing onset of fission product release under transient conditions (to establish the critical decay time for determining availability of 10 hours for deployment of mitigation equipment and, if necessary, for offsite agencies to take appropriate action to protect the health and safety of the public, if fuel and cladding oxidation occurs in air). The NRC staff reviewed the calculation to verify that important physical properties of materials were within acceptable ranges and the results were accurate. The NRC staff determined that physical properties were appropriate. Therefore, the NRC staff found that after 12 months (365 days) from the permanent shutdown of the facility on September 17, 2018, more than 10 hours would be available before a significant offsite release could begin. The NRC staff concluded that the adiabatic heatup calculation provided an acceptable method for determining the minimum time available for deployment of mitigation equipment and, if necessary, implementing measures under a comprehensive general emergency plan. The NRC staff performed an evaluation of the design-basis accidents for Oyster Creek being permanently defueled as part of SECY– 18–0062, ‘‘Request By The Exelon Generation Company, LLC For Exemptions From Certain VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Dec 27, 2018 Jkt 247001 Emergency Planning Requirements For The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station,’’ dated May 31, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18030B340). Based on the evaluation in SECY–18–0062 and SECY–96–256, ‘‘Changes to Financial Protection Requirements for Permanently Shutdown Nuclear Power Reactors, 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) and 10 CFR 140.11,’’ dated December 17, 1996 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15062A483), the NRC staff determined $50 million to be an adequate level of onsite property damage insurance for a decommissioning reactor, once the spent fuel in the SFP is no longer susceptible to a zirconium fire. The NRC staff has postulated that there is still a potential for other radiological incidents at a decommissioning reactor that could result in significant onsite contamination besides a zirconium fire. In SECY–96–256, the NRC staff cited the rupture of a large contaminated liquid storage tank (∼450,000 gallon), causing soil contamination and potential groundwater contamination, as the most costly postulated event to decontaminate and remediate (other than a SFP zirconium fire). The postulated large liquid radiological waste storage tank rupture event was determined to have a bounding onsite cleanup cost of approximately $50 million. Therefore, the NRC staff determined that the licensee’s proposal to reduce onsite insurance to a level of $50 million would be consistent with the bounding cleanup and decontamination cost, as discussed in SECY–96–256, to account for the postulated rupture of a large liquid radiological waste tank at the Oyster Creek site, should such an event occur. The NRC staff has determined that the licensee’s proposed reduction in onsite property damage insurance coverage to a level of $50 million is consistent with SECY– 96–256 and subsequent insurance considerations, resulting from additional zirconium fire risks, as discussed in SECY– 00–0145 and SECY–01–0100. In addition, the NRC staff notes that similar exemptions have been granted to other permanently shutdown and defueled power reactors, upon demonstration that the criterion of the zirconium fire risks from the irradiated fuel stored in the SFP is of negligible concern. As previously stated, the NRC staff concluded that after 12 months (365 days) from permanent shutdown of the facility on September 17, 2018, sufficient irradiated fuel decay time has elapsed at Oyster Creek to decrease the probability of an onsite radiological release from a postulated zirconium fire accident to negligible levels. In addition, the licensee’s proposal to reduce onsite insurance to a level of $50 million is consistent with the maximum estimated cleanup costs for the recovery from the rupture of a large liquid radwaste storage tank. Finally, the NRC staff notes that in accordance with the Oyster Creek Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) dated May 21, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18141A775), all spent fuel will be removed from the SFPs and moved into dry storage at an onsite independent spent fuel storage installation by the end of March 2024, and the probability of an initiating event that would PO 00000 Frm 00157 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 67367 threaten pool integrity occurring before that time is extremely low, which further supports the conclusion that the zirconium fire risk is negligible. A. The Exemption is Authorized by Law The requested exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) would allow Exelon to reduce the minimum coverage limit for onsite property damage insurance. As stated above, 10 CFR 50.12 allows the NRC to grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 when the exemptions are authorized by law. As explained above, the NRC staff has determined that the licensee’s proposed reduction in onsite property damage insurance coverage to a level of $50 million is consistent with SECY–96– 256. Moreover, the NRC staff concluded that 12 months (365 days) after the permanent shutdown of the facility, sufficient irradiated fuel decay time will have elapsed at Oyster Creek to decrease the probability of an onsite and offsite radiological release from a postulated zirconium fire accident to negligible levels. In addition, the licensee’s proposal to reduce onsite insurance to a level of $50 million is consistent with the maximum estimated cleanup costs for the recovery from the rupture of a large liquid radiological waste storage tank. The NRC staff has determined that granting the licensee’s proposed exemption will not result in a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or the Commission’s regulations. Therefore, based on its review of Exelon’s exemption request as discussed above, and consistent with SECY–96–256, the NRC staff concludes that the exemption is authorized by law. B. The Exemption Presents No Undue Risk to the Public Health and Safety The onsite property damage insurance requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) were established to provide financial assurance that following a significant nuclear incident, onsite conditions could be stabilized and the site decontaminated. The requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) and the existing level of onsite insurance coverage for Oyster Creek are predicated on the assumption that the reactor is operating. However, Oyster Creek permanently shutdown on September 17, 2018, and defueled on September 24, 2018. The permanently defueled status of the facility results in a significant reduction in the number and severity of potential accidents, and correspondingly, a significant reduction in the potential for and severity of onsite property damage. The proposed reduction in the amount of onsite insurance coverage does not impact the probability or consequences of potential accidents. The proposed level of insurance coverage is commensurate with the reduced consequences of potential nuclear accidents at Oyster Creek. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that granting the requested exemption will not present an undue risk to the health and safety of the public. C. The Exemption Is Consistent With the Common Defense and Security The proposed exemption would not eliminate any requirements associated with physical protection of the site and would not E:\FR\FM\28DEN1.SGM 28DEN1 amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 67368 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 248 / Friday, December 28, 2018 / Notices adversely affect Exelon’s ability to physically secure the site or protect special nuclear material. Physical security measures at Oyster Creek are not affected by the requested exemption. Therefore, the proposed exemption is consistent with the common defense and security. in excess of those contemplated when the regulation was adopted and are significantly in excess of those incurred by others similarly situated. Therefore, the special circumstances required by 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii) and 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(iii) exist. D. Special Circumstances Special circumstances, in accordance with 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii), are present whenever application of the regulation in the particular circumstances is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the regulation. The underlying purpose of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) is to provide reasonable assurance that adequate funds will be available to stabilize reactor conditions and cover onsite cleanup costs associated with site decontamination, following an accident that results in the release of a significant amount of radiological material. Oyster Creek permanently shut down on September 17, 2018, and permanently defueled on September 25, 2018, it is no longer possible for the radiological consequences of design-basis accidents or other credible events at Oyster Creek to exceed the limits of the EPA PAGs at the exclusion area boundary. The licensee has evaluated the consequences of highly unlikely, beyonddesign-basis conditions involving a loss of coolant from the SFP. The analyses show that after 12 months (365 days) from cessation of power operations on September 17, 2018, the likelihood of such an event leading to a large radiological release is negligible. The NRC staff’s evaluation of the licensee’s analyses confirm this conclusion. The NRC staff also finds that the licensee’s proposed $50 million level of onsite insurance is consistent with the bounding cleanup and decontamination cost, as discussed in SECY–96–256, to account for the hypothetical rupture of a large liquid radiological waste tank at the Oyster Creek site, should such an event occur. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the application of the current requirements in 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) to maintain $1.06 billion in onsite insurance coverage is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule for the permanently shutdown and defueled Oyster Creek reactor. Under 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(iii), special circumstances are present whenever compliance would result in undue hardship or other costs that are significantly in excess of those contemplated when the regulation was adopted, or that are significantly in excess of those incurred by others similarly situated. The NRC staff concludes that if the licensee was required to continue to maintain an onsite insurance level of $1.06 billion, the associated insurance premiums would be in excess of those necessary and commensurate with the radiological contamination risks posed by the site. In addition, such insurance levels would be significantly in excess of other decommissioning reactor facilities that have been granted similar exemptions by the NRC. The NRC staff finds that compliance with the existing rule would result in an undue hardship or other costs that are significantly E. Environmental Considerations The NRC approval of the exemption to insurance or indemnity requirements belongs to a category of actions that the Commission, by rule or regulation, has declared to be a categorical exclusion, after first finding that the category of actions does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Specifically, the exemption is categorically excluded from further analysis under § 51.22(c)(25). Under 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25), granting of an exemption from the requirements of any regulation of Chapter I to 10 CFR is a categorical exclusion provided that (i) there is no significant hazards consideration; (ii) there is no significant change in the types or significant increase in the amounts of any effluents that may be released offsite; (iii) there is no significant increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation exposure; (iv) there is no significant construction impact; (v) there is no significant increase in the potential for or consequences from radiological accidents; and (vi) the requirements from which an exemption is sought involve: surety, insurance, or indemnity requirements. As the Deputy Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, I have determined that approval of the exemption request involves no significant hazards consideration because reducing the licensee’s onsite property damage insurance for Oyster Creek does not (1) involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated; or (2) create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated; or (3) involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety. The exempted financial protection regulation is unrelated to the operation of Oyster Creek. Accordingly, there is no significant change in the types or significant increase in the amounts of any effluents that may be released offsite; and no significant increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation exposure. In addition, the exempted regulation is not associated with construction, so there is no significant construction impact. The exempted regulation does not concern the source term (i.e., potential amount of radiation in an accident), nor mitigation. Therefore, there is no significant increase in the potential for, or consequences of, a radiological accident. In addition, there would be no significant impacts to biota, water resources, historic properties, cultural resources, or socioeconomic conditions in the region. Moreover, the requirement for onsite property damage insurance involves surety, insurance, and indemnity matters. Accordingly, the exemption request meets the eligibility criteria for categorical exclusion set forth in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Dec 27, 2018 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00158 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b) and 51.22(c)(25), no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need be prepared in connection with the approval of this exemption request. IV. Conclusions. Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12(a), the exemption is authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent with the common defense and security. Also, special circumstances are present as set forth in 10 CFR 50.12. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants Exelon an exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) for Oyster Creek. The licensee permanently ceased power operation at Oyster Creek on September 17, 2018. The exemption will permit Oyster Creek to lower the minimum required onsite insurance to $50 million no earlier than 12 months (365 days) after the licensee’s certification of permanent cessation of operation under § 50.82(a)(1). The exemption is effective 12 months (365 days) from the certification of permanent cessation of operation under § 50.82(a)(1). Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of December 2018. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. /RA/ Kathryn M. Brock, Deputy Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2018–28202 Filed 12–27–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–219; NRC–2018–0288] Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Exemption; issuance. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing exemptions in response to a letter dated March 29, 2018, as supplemented by a letter dated May 8, 2018, exemption request from Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon or the licensee). The exemption permits Exelon to reduce the required level of primary offsite liability insurance from $450 million to $100 million and to eliminate the requirement to carry secondary financial protection for Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. DATES: The exemption was issued on December 19, 2018. ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2018–0288 when contacting the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28DEN1.SGM 28DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 248 (Friday, December 28, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67365-67368]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-28202]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-219; NRC-2018-0288]


Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating 
Station

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Exemption; issuance.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an 
exemption in response to a letter dated March 29, 2018, as supplemented 
by a letter dated May 8, 2018, exemption request from Exelon Generation 
Company, LLC (Exelon or the licensee). The exemption permits Exelon to 
reduce the minimum coverage limit for onsite property damage insurance 
from $1.06 billion to $50 million for Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating 
Station.

DATES: The exemption was issued on December 19, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2018-0288 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-2018-0288. Address 
questions about Docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Krupskaya Castellon; 
telephone: 301-287-9221; e-mail: Krupskaya.Castellon@nrc.gov. For 
technical questions, contact the individual 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 ``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 e-mail to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John G. Lamb, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-3100; e-mail: John.Lamb@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the exemption is attached.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of December 2018.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
John G. Lamb,
Senior Project Manager, Special Projects and Process Branch, Division 
of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

Attachment--Exemption

NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

Docket No. 50-219

Exelon Generation Company, LLC

Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station

Exemption

I. Background.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon, the licensee), is the 
holder of Renewed Facility Operating License No. DPR-16 for Oyster 
Creek Nuclear Generating Station (Oyster Creek). By letter dated 
February 14, 2018 (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS) Accession No. ML18045A084), Exelon submitted to the U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) a certification in accordance 
with Section 50.82(a)(1)(i) of Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR), indicating that it plans to cease permanent 
operation no later than October 31, 2018. Exelon permanently ceased 
operations at Oyster Creek on September 17, 2018. By letter dated 
September 25, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18268A258), Exelon 
certified that all fuel was removed from the Oyster Creek reactor 
vessel. The facility consists of a permanently shutdown and defuled 
boiling-water reactor located in the town of Forked River, Ocean 
County, New Jersey.

[[Page 67366]]

II. Request/Action.

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, ``Specific exemptions,'' Exelon 
requested an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1), by letter dated 
March 29, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18088A237), as supplemented by 
a letter dated May 8, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18128A291). The 
exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) would permit 
the licensee to reduce the required level of onsite property damage 
insurance from $1.06 billion to $50 million for Oyster Creek.
    The regulation at 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) requires each licensee to 
have and maintain onsite property damage insurance to stabilize and 
decontaminate the reactor and reactor site in the event of an 
accident. The onsite insurance coverage must be either $1.06 billion 
or whatever amount of insurance is generally available from private 
sources (whichever is less).
    The licensee states that the risk of an incident at a 
permanently shutdown and defueled reactor is much less than the risk 
from an operating power reactor. In addition, since reactor 
operation is no longer authorized at Oyster Creek, there are no 
events that would require the stabilization of reactor conditions 
after an accident. Similarly, the risk of an accident that would 
result in significant onsite contamination at Oyster Creek is also 
much lower than the risk of such an event at operating reactors. 
Therefore, Exelon is requesting an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) 
to reduce its onsite property damage insurance from $1.06 billion to 
$50 million, commensurate with the reduced risk of an incident at 
the permanently shutdown and defueled Oyster Creek site.

III. Discussion.

    Under 10 CFR 50.12, the Commission may, upon application by any 
interested person or upon its own initiative, grant exemptions from 
the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 when (1) the exemptions are 
authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to public health 
or safety, and are consistent with the common defense and security; 
and (2) any of the special circumstances listed in 10 CFR 
50.12(a)(2) are present.
    The financial protection limits of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) were 
established after the Three Mile Island accident out of concern that 
licensees may be unable to financially cover onsite cleanup costs in 
the event of a major nuclear accident. The specified $1.06 billion 
coverage amount requirement was developed based on an analysis of an 
accident at a nuclear reactor operating at power, resulting in a 
large fission product release and requiring significant resource 
expenditures to stabilize the reactor and ultimately decontaminate 
and cleanup the site.
    These cost estimates were developed based on the spectrum of 
postulated accidents for an operating nuclear reactor. Those costs 
were derived from the consequences of a release of radioactive 
material from the reactor. Although the risk of an accident at an 
operating reactor is very low, the consequences onsite and offsite 
can be significant. In an operating plant, the high temperature and 
pressure of the reactor coolant system (RCS), as well as the 
inventory of relatively short-lived radionuclides, contribute to 
both the risk and consequences of an accident. With the permanent 
cessation of reactor operations at Oyster Creek and the permanent 
removal of the fuel from the reactor vessel, such accidents are no 
longer possible. As a result, the reactor vessel, RCS, and 
supporting systems no longer operate and have no function related to 
the storage of the irradiated fuel. Therefore, postulated accidents 
involving failure or malfunction of the reactor, RCS, or supporting 
systems are no longer be applicable.
    During reactor decommissioning, the largest radiological risks 
are associated with the storage of spent fuel onsite. By letter 
dated March 29, 2018, as supplemented by letter dated May 8, 2018, 
exemption request, Exelon discusses both design-basis and beyond 
design-basis events involving irradiated fuel stored in the spent 
fuel pool (SFP). The licensee determined that there are no possible 
design-basis events at Oyster Creek that could result in an offsite 
radiological release exceeding the limits established by the U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) early-phase Protective 
Action Guidelines (PAGs) of 1 rem (roentgen equivalent man) at the 
exclusion area boundary, as a way to demonstrate that any possible 
radiological releases would be minimal and not require precautionary 
protective actions (e.g., sheltering in place or evacuation). The 
NRC staff evaluated the radiological consequences associated with 
various decommissioning activities, and design-basis accidents at 
Oyster Creek, in consideration of a permanently shutdown and 
defueled condition. The possible design-basis accident scenarios at 
Oyster Creek have greatly reduced radiological consequences. Based 
on its review, the NRC staff concluded that no reasonably 
conceivable design-basis accident exists that could cause an offsite 
release greater than the EPA PAGs.
    The only incident that might lead to a significant radiological 
release at a decommissioning reactor is a zirconium fire. The 
zirconium fire scenario is a postulated, but highly unlikely, beyond 
design-basis accident scenario that involves loss of water inventory 
from the SFP, resulting in a significant heatup of the spent fuel, 
and culminating in substantial zirconium cladding oxidation and fuel 
damage. The probability of a zirconium fire scenario is related to 
the decay heat of the irradiated fuel stored in the SFP. Therefore, 
the risks from a zirconium fire scenario continue to decrease as a 
function of the time since Oyster Creek has been permanently shut 
down.
    The Commission has previously authorized a lesser amount of 
onsite financial protection, based on this analysis of the zirconium 
fire risk. In SECY-96-256, ``Changes to Financial Protection 
Requirements for Permanently Shutdown Nuclear Power Reactors, 10 CFR 
50.54(w)(1) and 10 CFR 140.11,'' dated December 17, 1996 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML15062A483), the NRC staff recommended changes to the 
power reactor financial protection regulations that would allow 
licensees to lower onsite insurance levels to $50 million upon 
demonstration that the fuel stored in the SFP can be air-cooled. In 
its Staff Requirements Memorandum to SECY-96-256, dated January 28, 
1997 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15062A454), the Commission supported the 
NRC staff's recommendation that, among other things, would allow 
permanently shutdown power reactor licensees to reduce commercial 
onsite property damage insurance coverage to $50 million when the 
licensee was able to demonstrate the technical criterion that the 
spent fuel could be air-cooled if the SFP was drained of water. The 
NRC staff has used this technical criterion to grant similar 
exemptions to other decommissioning reactors (e.g., Maine Yankee 
Atomic Power Station, published in the Federal Register on January 
19, 1999 (64 FR 2920); and Zion Nuclear Power Station, published in 
the Federal Register on December 28, 1999 (64 FR 72700)). These 
prior exemptions were based on these licensees demonstrating that 
the SFP could be air-cooled, consistent with the technical criterion 
discussed above.
    In SECY-00-0145, ``Integrated Rulemaking Plan for Nuclear Power 
Plant Decommissioning,'' dated June 28, 2000, and SECY-01-0100, 
``Policy Issues Related to Safeguards, Insurance, and Emergency 
Preparedness Regulations at Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants 
Storing Fuel in the Spent Fuel Pool,'' dated June 4, 2001 (ADAMS 
Accession Nos. ML003721626 and ML011450420, respectively), the NRC 
staff discussed additional information concerning SFP zirconium fire 
risks at decommissioning reactors and associated implications for 
onsite property damage insurance. Providing an analysis of when the 
spent fuel stored in the SFP is capable of air-cooling is one 
measure that can be used to demonstrate that the probability of a 
zirconium fire is exceedingly low. However, the NRC staff has more 
recently used an additional analysis that bounds an incomplete drain 
down of the SFP water, or some other catastrophic event (such as a 
complete drainage of the SFP with rearrangement of spent fuel rack 
geometry and/or the addition of rubble to the SFP). The analysis 
postulates that decay heat transfer from the spent fuel via 
conduction, convection, or radiation would be impeded. This analysis 
is often referred to as an adiabatic heatup.
    The licensee's analyses referenced in its exemption request 
demonstrates that under conditions where the SFP water inventory has 
drained completely and only air-cooling of the stored irradiated 
fuel is available, there is reasonable assurance that after 12 
months (365 days) from the permanent shutdown of the facility on 
September 17, 2018, the Oyster Creek spent fuel will remain at 
temperatures far below those associated with a significant 
radiological release.
    As discussed in the staff response to a question in SECY-00-
0145, ``the staff believes that full insurance coverage must be 
maintained for 5 years or until a licensee can show by analysis that 
its SFP is no longer vulnerable to such [a zirconium] fire.''
    The licensee's adiabatic heatup analyses demonstrates that there 
would be at least 10 hours after the loss of all means of cooling

[[Page 67367]]

(both air and/or water), before the spent fuel cladding would reach 
a temperature where the potential for a significant offsite 
radiological release could occur. The licensee states that for this 
loss of all cooling scenario, 10 hours is sufficient time for 
personnel to respond with additional resources, equipment, and 
capability to restore cooling to the SFPs, even after a non-
credible, catastrophic event.
    In the analysis provided in Attachment 2, ``Oyster Creek Nuclear 
Generating Station Zirconium Fire Analysis for Drained Spent Fuel 
Pool (Calculation C-1302-226-E310-457),'' to the letter dated August 
22, 2017 (ADAMS Accession No. ML17234A082), as supplemented by 
letters dated March 8, 2018, and March 19, 2018 (ADAMS Accession 
Nos. ML18067A087 and ML18078A146, respectively), the licensee 
compared the conditions for the hottest fuel assembly stored in the 
SFP to a criterion proposed in SECY-99-168, ``Improving 
Decommissioning Regulations for Nuclear Power Plants'' (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML12265A598), applicable to offsite emergency response 
for the unit in the decommissioning process. This criterion 
considers the time for the hottest assembly to heat up from 30 
degrees Celsius ([deg]C) to 900 [deg]C adiabatically. If the heatup 
time is greater than 10 hours, then offsite emergency preplanning 
involving the plant is not necessary. Based on the limiting fuel 
assembly for decay heat and adiabatic heatup analysis presented in 
Attachment 2 to the application, at 12 months (365 days) after 
permanent cessation of power operations (i.e., 12 months decay 
time), the time for the hottest fuel assembly to reach 900 [deg]C is 
10 hours after the assemblies have been uncovered. As stated in 
NUREG-1738, ``Technical Study of Spent Fuel Pool Accident Risk at 
Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants'' (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML010430066), 900 [deg]C is an acceptable temperature to use for 
assessing onset of fission product release under transient 
conditions (to establish the critical decay time for determining 
availability of 10 hours for deployment of mitigation equipment and, 
if necessary, for offsite agencies to take appropriate action to 
protect the health and safety of the public, if fuel and cladding 
oxidation occurs in air). The NRC staff reviewed the calculation to 
verify that important physical properties of materials were within 
acceptable ranges and the results were accurate. The NRC staff 
determined that physical properties were appropriate. Therefore, the 
NRC staff found that after 12 months (365 days) from the permanent 
shutdown of the facility on September 17, 2018, more than 10 hours 
would be available before a significant offsite release could begin. 
The NRC staff concluded that the adiabatic heatup calculation 
provided an acceptable method for determining the minimum time 
available for deployment of mitigation equipment and, if necessary, 
implementing measures under a comprehensive general emergency plan.
    The NRC staff performed an evaluation of the design-basis 
accidents for Oyster Creek being permanently defueled as part of 
SECY-18-0062, ``Request By The Exelon Generation Company, LLC For 
Exemptions From Certain Emergency Planning Requirements For The 
Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station,'' dated May 31, 2018 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML18030B340).
    Based on the evaluation in SECY-18-0062 and SECY-96-256, 
``Changes to Financial Protection Requirements for Permanently 
Shutdown Nuclear Power Reactors, 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) and 10 CFR 
140.11,'' dated December 17, 1996 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15062A483), 
the NRC staff determined $50 million to be an adequate level of 
onsite property damage insurance for a decommissioning reactor, once 
the spent fuel in the SFP is no longer susceptible to a zirconium 
fire. The NRC staff has postulated that there is still a potential 
for other radiological incidents at a decommissioning reactor that 
could result in significant onsite contamination besides a zirconium 
fire. In SECY-96-256, the NRC staff cited the rupture of a large 
contaminated liquid storage tank (~450,000 gallon), causing soil 
contamination and potential groundwater contamination, as the most 
costly postulated event to decontaminate and remediate (other than a 
SFP zirconium fire). The postulated large liquid radiological waste 
storage tank rupture event was determined to have a bounding onsite 
cleanup cost of approximately $50 million. Therefore, the NRC staff 
determined that the licensee's proposal to reduce onsite insurance 
to a level of $50 million would be consistent with the bounding 
cleanup and decontamination cost, as discussed in SECY-96-256, to 
account for the postulated rupture of a large liquid radiological 
waste tank at the Oyster Creek site, should such an event occur.
    The NRC staff has determined that the licensee's proposed 
reduction in onsite property damage insurance coverage to a level of 
$50 million is consistent with SECY-96-256 and subsequent insurance 
considerations, resulting from additional zirconium fire risks, as 
discussed in SECY-00-0145 and SECY-01-0100. In addition, the NRC 
staff notes that similar exemptions have been granted to other 
permanently shutdown and defueled power reactors, upon demonstration 
that the criterion of the zirconium fire risks from the irradiated 
fuel stored in the SFP is of negligible concern. As previously 
stated, the NRC staff concluded that after 12 months (365 days) from 
permanent shutdown of the facility on September 17, 2018, sufficient 
irradiated fuel decay time has elapsed at Oyster Creek to decrease 
the probability of an onsite radiological release from a postulated 
zirconium fire accident to negligible levels. In addition, the 
licensee's proposal to reduce onsite insurance to a level of $50 
million is consistent with the maximum estimated cleanup costs for 
the recovery from the rupture of a large liquid radwaste storage 
tank. Finally, the NRC staff notes that in accordance with the 
Oyster Creek Post Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report (PSDAR) 
dated May 21, 2018 (ADAMS Accession No. ML18141A775), all spent fuel 
will be removed from the SFPs and moved into dry storage at an 
onsite independent spent fuel storage installation by the end of 
March 2024, and the probability of an initiating event that would 
threaten pool integrity occurring before that time is extremely low, 
which further supports the conclusion that the zirconium fire risk 
is negligible.

A. The Exemption is Authorized by Law

    The requested exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) would allow 
Exelon to reduce the minimum coverage limit for onsite property 
damage insurance. As stated above, 10 CFR 50.12 allows the NRC to 
grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 when the 
exemptions are authorized by law.
    As explained above, the NRC staff has determined that the 
licensee's proposed reduction in onsite property damage insurance 
coverage to a level of $50 million is consistent with SECY-96- 256. 
Moreover, the NRC staff concluded that 12 months (365 days) after 
the permanent shutdown of the facility, sufficient irradiated fuel 
decay time will have elapsed at Oyster Creek to decrease the 
probability of an onsite and offsite radiological release from a 
postulated zirconium fire accident to negligible levels. In 
addition, the licensee's proposal to reduce onsite insurance to a 
level of $50 million is consistent with the maximum estimated 
cleanup costs for the recovery from the rupture of a large liquid 
radiological waste storage tank.
    The NRC staff has determined that granting the licensee's 
proposed exemption will not result in a violation of the Atomic 
Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or the Commission's regulations. 
Therefore, based on its review of Exelon's exemption request as 
discussed above, and consistent with SECY-96-256, the NRC staff 
concludes that the exemption is authorized by law.

B. The Exemption Presents No Undue Risk to the Public Health and 
Safety

    The onsite property damage insurance requirements of 10 CFR 
50.54(w)(1) were established to provide financial assurance that 
following a significant nuclear incident, onsite conditions could be 
stabilized and the site decontaminated. The requirements of 10 CFR 
50.54(w)(1) and the existing level of onsite insurance coverage for 
Oyster Creek are predicated on the assumption that the reactor is 
operating. However, Oyster Creek permanently shutdown on September 
17, 2018, and defueled on September 24, 2018. The permanently 
defueled status of the facility results in a significant reduction 
in the number and severity of potential accidents, and 
correspondingly, a significant reduction in the potential for and 
severity of onsite property damage. The proposed reduction in the 
amount of onsite insurance coverage does not impact the probability 
or consequences of potential accidents. The proposed level of 
insurance coverage is commensurate with the reduced consequences of 
potential nuclear accidents at Oyster Creek. Therefore, the NRC 
staff concludes that granting the requested exemption will not 
present an undue risk to the health and safety of the public.

C. The Exemption Is Consistent With the Common Defense and Security

    The proposed exemption would not eliminate any requirements 
associated with physical protection of the site and would not

[[Page 67368]]

adversely affect Exelon's ability to physically secure the site or 
protect special nuclear material. Physical security measures at 
Oyster Creek are not affected by the requested exemption. Therefore, 
the proposed exemption is consistent with the common defense and 
security.

D. Special Circumstances

    Special circumstances, in accordance with 10 CFR 
50.12(a)(2)(ii), are present whenever application of the regulation 
in the particular circumstances is not necessary to achieve the 
underlying purpose of the regulation.
    The underlying purpose of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) is to provide 
reasonable assurance that adequate funds will be available to 
stabilize reactor conditions and cover onsite cleanup costs 
associated with site decontamination, following an accident that 
results in the release of a significant amount of radiological 
material. Oyster Creek permanently shut down on September 17, 2018, 
and permanently defueled on September 25, 2018, it is no longer 
possible for the radiological consequences of design[dash]basis 
accidents or other credible events at Oyster Creek to exceed the 
limits of the EPA PAGs at the exclusion area boundary. The licensee 
has evaluated the consequences of highly unlikely, beyond-design-
basis conditions involving a loss of coolant from the SFP. The 
analyses show that after 12 months (365 days) from cessation of 
power operations on September 17, 2018, the likelihood of such an 
event leading to a large radiological release is negligible. The NRC 
staff's evaluation of the licensee's analyses confirm this 
conclusion.
    The NRC staff also finds that the licensee's proposed $50 
million level of onsite insurance is consistent with the bounding 
cleanup and decontamination cost, as discussed in SECY-96-256, to 
account for the hypothetical rupture of a large liquid radiological 
waste tank at the Oyster Creek site, should such an event occur. 
Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the application of the 
current requirements in 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) to maintain $1.06 billion 
in onsite insurance coverage is not necessary to achieve the 
underlying purpose of the rule for the permanently shutdown and 
defueled Oyster Creek reactor.
    Under 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(iii), special circumstances are present 
whenever compliance would result in undue hardship or other costs 
that are significantly in excess of those contemplated when the 
regulation was adopted, or that are significantly in excess of those 
incurred by others similarly situated.
    The NRC staff concludes that if the licensee was required to 
continue to maintain an onsite insurance level of $1.06 billion, the 
associated insurance premiums would be in excess of those necessary 
and commensurate with the radiological contamination risks posed by 
the site. In addition, such insurance levels would be significantly 
in excess of other decommissioning reactor facilities that have been 
granted similar exemptions by the NRC.
    The NRC staff finds that compliance with the existing rule would 
result in an undue hardship or other costs that are significantly in 
excess of those contemplated when the regulation was adopted and are 
significantly in excess of those incurred by others similarly 
situated.
    Therefore, the special circumstances required by 10 CFR 
50.12(a)(2)(ii) and 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(iii) exist.

E. Environmental Considerations

    The NRC approval of the exemption to insurance or indemnity 
requirements belongs to a category of actions that the Commission, 
by rule or regulation, has declared to be a categorical exclusion, 
after first finding that the category of actions does not 
individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human 
environment. Specifically, the exemption is categorically excluded 
from further analysis under Sec.  51.22(c)(25).
    Under 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25), granting of an exemption from the 
requirements of any regulation of Chapter I to 10 CFR is a 
categorical exclusion provided that (i) there is no significant 
hazards consideration; (ii) there is no significant change in the 
types or significant increase in the amounts of any effluents that 
may be released offsite; (iii) there is no significant increase in 
individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation exposure; 
(iv) there is no significant construction impact; (v) there is no 
significant increase in the potential for or consequences from 
radiological accidents; and (vi) the requirements from which an 
exemption is sought involve: surety, insurance, or indemnity 
requirements.
    As the Deputy Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, 
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, I have determined that 
approval of the exemption request involves no significant hazards 
consideration because reducing the licensee's onsite property damage 
insurance for Oyster Creek does not (1) involve a significant 
increase in the probability or consequences of an accident 
previously evaluated; or (2) create the possibility of a new or 
different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated; 
or (3) involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety. The 
exempted financial protection regulation is unrelated to the 
operation of Oyster Creek. Accordingly, there is no significant 
change in the types or significant increase in the amounts of any 
effluents that may be released offsite; and no significant increase 
in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation 
exposure.
    In addition, the exempted regulation is not associated with 
construction, so there is no significant construction impact. The 
exempted regulation does not concern the source term (i.e., 
potential amount of radiation in an accident), nor mitigation. 
Therefore, there is no significant increase in the potential for, or 
consequences of, a radiological accident. In addition, there would 
be no significant impacts to biota, water resources, historic 
properties, cultural resources, or socioeconomic conditions in the 
region. Moreover, the requirement for onsite property damage 
insurance involves surety, insurance, and indemnity matters. 
Accordingly, the exemption request meets the eligibility criteria 
for categorical exclusion set forth in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25). 
Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b) and 51.22(c)(25), no 
environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need be 
prepared in connection with the approval of this exemption request.

IV. Conclusions.

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 
CFR 50.12(a), the exemption is authorized by law, will not present 
an undue risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent 
with the common defense and security. Also, special circumstances 
are present as set forth in 10 CFR 50.12.
    Therefore, the Commission hereby grants Exelon an exemption from 
the requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) for Oyster Creek. The 
licensee permanently ceased power operation at Oyster Creek on 
September 17, 2018. The exemption will permit Oyster Creek to lower 
the minimum required onsite insurance to $50 million no earlier than 
12 months (365 days) after the licensee's certification of permanent 
cessation of operation under Sec.  50.82(a)(1).
    The exemption is effective 12 months (365 days) from the 
certification of permanent cessation of operation under Sec.  
50.82(a)(1).

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of December 2018.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

/RA/

Kathryn M. Brock,

Deputy Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of 
Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

[FR Doc. 2018-28202 Filed 12-27-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 7590-01-P