Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Humboldt Bay Power Plant, Unit 3, 16677-16680 [2020-06111]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 57 / Tuesday, March 24, 2020 / Notices Week of March 23, 2020 There are no meetings scheduled for the week of March 23, 2020. Week of March 30, 2020—Tentative [FR Doc. 2020–06206 Filed 3–20–20; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P There are no meetings scheduled for the week of March 30, 2020. Week of April 6, 2020—Tentative NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION There are no meetings scheduled for the week of April 6, 2020. [Docket No. 50–133; NRC–2020–0081] Week of April 13, 2020—Tentative Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Humboldt Bay Power Plant, Unit 3 There are no meetings scheduled for the week of April 13, 2020. AGENCY: Week of April 20, 2020—Tentative There are no meetings scheduled for the week of April 20, 2020. lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with NOTICES For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Wesley W. Held, Policy Coordinator, Office of the Secretary. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Exemption; issuance. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Mar 23, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001; telephone: 301–415– 3017, email: john.hickman@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the exemption is attached. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 18th day of March 2020. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Bruce A. Watson, Chief, Reactor Decommissioning Branch, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards. Attachment—Exemption Nuclear Regulatory Commission The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an exemption in response to a January 13, Week of April 27, 2020—Tentative 2020, request from Pacific Gas and There are no meetings scheduled for Electric Company (PG&E or the the week of April 27, 2020. licensee). The exemption permits PG&E ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Meeting on to reduce the minimum coverage limit the Strategic Programmatic Overview of for onsite property damage insurance from $63.16 million to $50 million for the Operating Reactors and New Humboldt Bay Power Plant, Unit 3. Reactors Business Lines scheduled for April 2, 2020, has been postponed. ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION: NRC–2020–0081 when contacting the NRC about the availability of For more information or to verify the information regarding this document. status of meetings, contact Denise McGovern at 301–415–0681 or via email You may obtain publicly-available information related to this document at Denise.McGovern@nrc.gov. The using any of the following methods: schedule for Commission meetings is • Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to subject to change on short notice. https://www.regulations.gov and search The NRC Commission Meeting for Docket ID NRC–2020–0081. Address Schedule can be found on the internet questions about NRC docket IDs in at: https://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/ Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges; public-meetings/schedule.html. telephone: 301–287–9127; email: The NRC provides reasonable Jennifer.Borges@nrc.gov. For technical accommodation to individuals with questions, contact the individual listed disabilities where appropriate. If you in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION need a reasonable accommodation to CONTACT section of this document. participate in these public meetings or • NRC’s Agencywide Documents need this meeting notice or the Access and Management System transcript or other information from the (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclypublic meetings in another format (e.g., available documents online in the braille, large print), please notify Anne ADAMS Public Documents collection at Silk, NRC Disability Program Specialist, https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ at 301–287–0745, by videophone at adams.html. To begin the search, select 240–428–3217, or by email at ‘‘Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.’’ For Anne.Silk@nrc.gov. Determinations on problems with ADAMS, please contact requests for reasonable accommodation the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR) will be made on a case-by-case basis. reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301– Members of the public may request to 415–4737, or by email to pdr.resource@ receive this information electronically. nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number If you would like to be added to the for each document referenced (if it is distribution, please contact the Nuclear available in ADAMS) is provided the Regulatory Commission, Office of the first time that it is mentioned in this Secretary, Washington, DC 20555 (301– document. 415–1969), or by email at Tyesha.Bush@ • NRC’s PDR: You may examine and nrc.gov. purchase copies of public documents at The NRC is holding the meetings the NRC’s PDR, Room O1–F21, One under the authority of the Government White Flint North, 11555 Rockville in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b. Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John B. Hickman, Office of Nuclear Material of March 2020. SUMMARY: 16677 Docket No. 50–133, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Humboldt Bay Power Plant Unit No. 3, Exemption I. Background The Humboldt Bay Power Plant, Unit 3 (HBPP 3) facility is a decommissioning power reactor located in Humboldt County, California. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is the holder of HBPP 3 Facility Operating License No. DPR–7. On July 2, 1976, HBPP 3 was shut down for annual refueling and to conduct seismic modifications. In 1983, updated economic analyses indicated that restarting HBPP 3 probably would not be cost-effective, and on June 27, 1983, PG&E announced its intention to decommission the unit. In 1984, PG&E submitted the HBPP 3 SAFSTOR [Safe Storage] Decommissioning Plan in support of the application to amend the HBPP 3 operating license to a possession-only license. On July 16, 1985, the NRC issued Amendment No. 19 to the HBPP Unit 3 Operating License (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Legacy No. 507260040) to change the status to possess-but-notoperate, and the plant was placed into a SAFSTOR status. On December 11, 2008, PG&E completed the transfer of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from the HBPP 3 spent fuel pool (SFP) into the Humboldt Bay Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (HB ISFSI). All Greater-Than-Class-C (GTCC) waste was transferred to the HB ISFSI in 2013. PG&E began decontamination and dismantlement of HBPP 3 in June 2009, and currently plans to terminate the 10 CFR part 50 license in 2021. II. Request/Action Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, ‘‘Specific exemptions,’’ PG&E has requested an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) by letter dated January 13, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML20013G734). The E:\FR\FM\24MRN1.SGM 24MRN1 16678 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 57 / Tuesday, March 24, 2020 / Notices lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with NOTICES exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) would permit PG&E to reduce its onsite property damage insurance from $63.16 million to $50 million. The regulation in 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 HBPP 3 site currently maintains $63.16 million in onsite insurance coverage in accordance with a previous exemption approved by the NRC on August 22, 1989 (54 FR 35738). The licensee stated that the HBPP 3 reactor has been removed and all SNF and GTCC waste is stored in the onsite ISFSI. In addition, plant structures associated with reactor operations have been removed from the site. This results in a significant reduction in the potential for and severity of onsite property damage because, with the HBPP 3 reactor removed, 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 the HBPP 3 site is also much lower than the risk of such an event at an operating reactor. Therefore, PG&E requested an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) that would permit a reduction in its onsite property damage insurance from $63.16 million to $50 million, commensurate with the reduced risk of an accident at the decommissioned HBPP 3 reactor. III. Discussion Pursuant to 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 coverage 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Mar 23, 2020 Jkt 250001 reactor conditions and ultimately decontaminate and clean up the site. The NRC developed these cost estimates from the spectrum of postulated accidents for an operating nuclear reactor and the consequences of any associated release of radioactive material from the reactor. Although the risk of an accident at an operating reactor is very low, the consequences can be large. In an operating plant, the high temperature and pressure of the reactor coolant system, as well as the inventory of relatively short-lived radionuclides, contribute to both the risk and consequences of an accident. With the decommissioning of the reactor at HBPP 3, and the movement of all the irradiated fuel assemblies into storage at the onsite ISFSI, such accidents are no longer possible. The reactor, reactor coolant system, and supporting systems have already been dismantled and removed from the site as part of the decommissioning process. Therefore, these systems and components no longer serve any function related to the storage of irradiated fuel. As such, postulated accidents involving failure or malfunction of the reactor, reactor coolant system, or supporting systems are no longer applicable at HBPP 3. During reactor decommissioning, the principal radiological risks are associated with the storage of spent fuel onsite, as well as the inventory of radioactive liquids, activated reactor components, and contaminated materials. In its January 13, 2020, exemption request, PG&E noted that all SNF and GTCC waste is stored at the HB ISFSI. Plant structures have been removed, and the site, including the remaining buildings, has been remediated for radioactive material. The licensee determined that the minimal radioactive material remaining at the site that resulted from HBPP 3’s operation is insufficient for any potential event to result in exceeding dose limits or otherwise involving a significant adverse effect on public health and safety. Specifically, there are no credible events at HBPP 3 that could result in a radiological release exceeding the limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) early-phase Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) of one roentgen equivalent man at the exclusion area boundary, which demonstrates that any possible radiological releases would be minimal and would not require precautionary protective actions (e.g., sheltering in place or evacuation). The staff evaluated the radiological consequences associated with credible accident events PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 at HBPP 3, in consideration of the permanently shutdown and decommissioned status of the facility. The possible accident scenarios at HBPP 3 have greatly reduced radiological consequences. Based on its review, the staff concluded that no reasonably conceivable radiological release event exists that could cause an offsite release greater than the EPA PAGs. In addition, given that all of the irradiated fuel assemblies at HBPP 3 have already been moved into storage at the onsite ISFSI, the fuel is no longer thermal-hydraulically capable of sustaining a zirconium fire and can be air-cooled in all credible accident scenarios and fuel configurations. Since NRC approval of the previous exemption in 1989, which permitted HBPP 3 to reduce its onsite insurance coverage to $63.16 million, the NRC staff has authorized a lesser amount of onsite property damage insurance coverage based on an 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 insurance regulations that would allow licensees to lower onsite insurance levels to $50 million upon demonstration that the fuel stored in the spent fuel pool 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 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 spent fuel pool was drained of water. The staff has used this technical criterion to grant similar exemptions to other decommissioning reactors (e.g., Fort Calhoun Station, published in the Federal Register on April 6, 2018 (83 FR 14898); and La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor, published in the Federal Register on August 1, 2018 (83 FR 37532)). These prior exemptions were based on the licensees demonstrating that the spent fuel could be air-cooled, consistent with the technical criterion discussed above. Based on this criterion, the NRC staff determined $50 million to be an adequate level of onsite property damage insurance coverage for the HBPP 3 site, given that the spent fuel is E:\FR\FM\24MRN1.SGM 24MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 57 / Tuesday, March 24, 2020 / Notices lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with NOTICES no longer susceptible to a zirconium fire. In addition, the 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, causing soil contamination and potential groundwater contamination, as the most costly postulated event to decontaminate and remediate (other than a 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. However, decommissioning activities at HBPP 3 have progressed to such an extent that there are no longer any large radiological waste storage tanks onsite. The staff concludes that there are no radioactive material sources that could be released from the HBPP 3 site that would challenge the assumptions made in SECY–96–256 regarding the rupture of a large contaminated liquid storage tank. Therefore, the 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. A. The Exemption Is Authorized by Law The regulation in 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) requires each licensee to have and maintain onsite property damage insurance of either $1.06 billion or whatever amount of insurance is generally available from private sources, whichever is less. In accordance with 10 CFR 50.12, the Commission may grant exemptions from the regulations in 10 CFR part 50, as the Commission determines are authorized by law. In 1989, the Commission granted HBPP 3 an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1), permitting the reduction of onsite insurance coverage from $100 million to $63.16 million. 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 because there is no credible risk of a zirconium fire with all irradiated fuel stored in the onsite ISFSI, where it is air-cooled in all accident scenarios. The NRC staff has determined that granting of the licensee’s proposed exemption will not result in a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or other laws. Therefore, based on its review of PG&E’s VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Mar 23, 2020 Jkt 250001 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 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 accident, onsite reactor conditions could be stabilized and the site decontaminated. The existing level of onsite insurance coverage for HBPP 3 is predicated on the assumption that the reactor is permanently shutdown and defueled and the site is being actively decommissioned with significant residual activity remaining. However, the fully decommissioned status of the facility has resulted 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 credible nuclear accidents at HBPP 3. 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 adversely affect PG&E’s ability to physically secure the site or protect special nuclear material. Physical security measures at HBPP 3 are not affected by the requested exemption. Therefore, the proposed exemption is consistent with the common defense and security. D. Special Circumstances Under 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii), special circumstances are present if the application of the regulation in the particular circumstances would not serve the underlying purpose of the rule or is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16679 release of a significant amount of radiological material. Because HBPP 3 is permanently shutdown and defueled, with all irradiated fuel assemblies stored in the onsite ISFSI, and decommissioning complete, it is no longer possible for the radiological consequences of designbasis accidents or other credible events at HBPP 3 to exceed the limits of the EPA PAGs at the exclusion area boundary. Therefore, the staff concludes that the application of the current requirements in 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1), as exempted, for PG&E to maintain $63.16 million in onsite insurance coverage is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule for the permanently shutdown and defueled HBPP 3 facility. 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 $63.16 million, 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. As such, the NRC staff finds that compliance with the existing requirement 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 for the HBPP 3 facility. E. Environmental Considerations The NRC approval of an 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 10 CFR 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 E:\FR\FM\24MRN1.SGM 24MRN1 lotter on DSKBCFDHB2PROD with NOTICES 16680 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 57 / Tuesday, March 24, 2020 / Notices 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. The Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery, and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, has determined that approval of the exemption request involves no significant hazards consideration because reducing the licensee’s onsite property damage insurance for HBPP 3 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 HBPP 3. 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. 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. The requirement for onsite property damage insurance involves surety, insurance, and indemnity matters. Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b) and 10 CFR 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 NRC has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12(a), the exemption is authorized by law, will not VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Mar 23, 2020 Jkt 250001 present an undue risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent with the common defense and security. Also, special circumstances are present. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants PG&E an exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) to permit the licensee to reduce its onsite property damage insurance coverage at the HBPP 3 facility to a level of $50 million. The exemption is effective March 18, 2020. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 18th day of March 2020. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Patricia Holahan, Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery, and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards. [FR Doc. 2020–06111 Filed 3–23–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC–2020–0078] Biweekly Notice; Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving No Significant Hazards Considerations Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Biweekly notice. AGENCY: Pursuant to section 189.a.(2) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is publishing this regular biweekly notice. The Act requires the Commission to publish notice of any amendments issued, or proposed to be issued, and grants the Commission the authority to issue and make immediately effective any amendment to an operating license or combined license, as applicable, upon a determination by the Commission that such amendment involves no significant hazards consideration, notwithstanding the pendency before the Commission of a request for a hearing from any person. This biweekly notice includes all amendments issued, or proposed to be issued, from February 25, 2020, to March 9, 2020. The last biweekly notice was published on March 10, 2020. DATES: Comments must be filed by April 23, 2020. A request for a hearing or petitions for leave to intervene must be filed by May 26, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2020–0078. Address questions about NRC Docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges; telephone: 301–287–9127; email: Jennifer.Borges@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact the individual(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. • Mail comments to: Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWFN–7– A60M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001, ATTN: Program Management, Announcements and Editing Staff. For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see ‘‘Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments’’ in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paula Blechman, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, telephone: 301– 415–2242, email: Paula.Blechman@ nrc.gov, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555– 0001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2020– 0078, facility name, unit number(s), docket number(s), application date, and subject when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publiclyavailable information related to this action by any of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2020–0078. • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclyavailable documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ adams.html. To begin the search, select ‘‘Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.’’ For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301– 415–4737, or by email to 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. E:\FR\FM\24MRN1.SGM 24MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 57 (Tuesday, March 24, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16677-16680]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-06111]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-133; NRC-2020-0081]


Pacific Gas and Electric Company; Humboldt Bay Power Plant, Unit 
3

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Exemption; issuance.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an 
exemption in response to a January 13, 2020, request from Pacific Gas 
and Electric Company (PG&E or the licensee). The exemption permits PG&E 
to reduce the minimum coverage limit for onsite property damage 
insurance from $63.16 million to $50 million for Humboldt Bay Power 
Plant, Unit 3.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2020-0081 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 Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2020-0081. Address 
questions about NRC docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges; 
telephone: 301-287-9127; email: [email protected]. 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 https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select ``Begin Web-based ADAMS 
Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public 
Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or 
by email to [email protected]. The ADAMS accession number for each 
document referenced (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first 
time that it is mentioned in this document.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John B. Hickman, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-3017, email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the exemption is attached.

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

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Bruce A. Watson,
Chief, Reactor Decommissioning Branch, Division of Decommissioning, 
Uranium Recovery and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety 
and Safeguards.

Attachment--Exemption

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Docket No. 50-133, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Humboldt Bay Power 
Plant Unit No. 3, Exemption

I. Background

    The Humboldt Bay Power Plant, Unit 3 (HBPP 3) facility is a 
decommissioning power reactor located in Humboldt County, California. 
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is the holder of HBPP 3 
Facility Operating License No. DPR-7. On July 2, 1976, HBPP 3 was shut 
down for annual refueling and to conduct seismic modifications. In 
1983, updated economic analyses indicated that restarting HBPP 3 
probably would not be cost-effective, and on June 27, 1983, PG&E 
announced its intention to decommission the unit. In 1984, PG&E 
submitted the HBPP 3 SAFSTOR [Safe Storage] Decommissioning Plan in 
support of the application to amend the HBPP 3 operating license to a 
possession-only license. On July 16, 1985, the NRC issued Amendment No. 
19 to the HBPP Unit 3 Operating License (Agencywide Documents Access 
and Management System (ADAMS) Legacy No. 507260040) to change the 
status to possess-but-not-operate, and the plant was placed into a 
SAFSTOR status. On December 11, 2008, PG&E completed the transfer of 
spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from the HBPP 3 spent fuel pool (SFP) into the 
Humboldt Bay Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (HB ISFSI). 
All Greater-Than-Class-C (GTCC) waste was transferred to the HB ISFSI 
in 2013. PG&E began decontamination and dismantlement of HBPP 3 in June 
2009, and currently plans to terminate the 10 CFR part 50 license in 
2021.

II. Request/Action

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, ``Specific exemptions,'' PG&E has 
requested an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) by letter dated January 
13, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML20013G734). The

[[Page 16678]]

exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) would permit PG&E 
to reduce its onsite property damage insurance from $63.16 million to 
$50 million.
    The regulation in 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 HBPP 3 site currently maintains $63.16 million 
in onsite insurance coverage in accordance with a previous exemption 
approved by the NRC on August 22, 1989 (54 FR 35738).
    The licensee stated that the HBPP 3 reactor has been removed and 
all SNF and GTCC waste is stored in the onsite ISFSI. In addition, 
plant structures associated with reactor operations have been removed 
from the site. This results in a significant reduction in the potential 
for and severity of onsite property damage because, with the HBPP 3 
reactor removed, 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 the HBPP 3 site is also much lower than the risk of 
such an event at an operating reactor. Therefore, PG&E requested an 
exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) that would permit a reduction in its 
onsite property damage insurance from $63.16 million to $50 million, 
commensurate with the reduced risk of an accident at the decommissioned 
HBPP 3 reactor.

III. Discussion

    Pursuant to 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 coverage 
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 conditions and ultimately decontaminate and clean 
up the site.
    The NRC developed these cost estimates from the spectrum of 
postulated accidents for an operating nuclear reactor and the 
consequences of any associated release of radioactive material from the 
reactor. Although the risk of an accident at an operating reactor is 
very low, the consequences can be large. In an operating plant, the 
high temperature and pressure of the reactor coolant system, as well as 
the inventory of relatively short-lived radionuclides, contribute to 
both the risk and consequences of an accident. With the decommissioning 
of the reactor at HBPP 3, and the movement of all the irradiated fuel 
assemblies into storage at the onsite ISFSI, such accidents are no 
longer possible. The reactor, reactor coolant system, and supporting 
systems have already been dismantled and removed from the site as part 
of the decommissioning process. Therefore, these systems and components 
no longer serve any function related to the storage of irradiated fuel. 
As such, postulated accidents involving failure or malfunction of the 
reactor, reactor coolant system, or supporting systems are no longer 
applicable at HBPP 3.
    During reactor decommissioning, the principal radiological risks 
are associated with the storage of spent fuel onsite, as well as the 
inventory of radioactive liquids, activated reactor components, and 
contaminated materials. In its January 13, 2020, exemption request, 
PG&E noted that all SNF and GTCC waste is stored at the HB ISFSI. Plant 
structures have been removed, and the site, including the remaining 
buildings, has been remediated for radioactive material. The licensee 
determined that the minimal radioactive material remaining at the site 
that resulted from HBPP 3's operation is insufficient for any potential 
event to result in exceeding dose limits or otherwise involving a 
significant adverse effect on public health and safety.
    Specifically, there are no credible events at HBPP 3 that could 
result in a radiological release exceeding the limits established by 
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) early-phase 
Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) of one roentgen equivalent man at 
the exclusion area boundary, which demonstrates that any possible 
radiological releases would be minimal and would not require 
precautionary protective actions (e.g., sheltering in place or 
evacuation). The staff evaluated the radiological consequences 
associated with credible accident events at HBPP 3, in consideration of 
the permanently shutdown and decommissioned status of the facility. The 
possible accident scenarios at HBPP 3 have greatly reduced radiological 
consequences. Based on its review, the staff concluded that no 
reasonably conceivable radiological release event exists that could 
cause an offsite release greater than the EPA PAGs.
    In addition, given that all of the irradiated fuel assemblies at 
HBPP 3 have already been moved into storage at the onsite ISFSI, the 
fuel is no longer thermal-hydraulically capable of sustaining a 
zirconium fire and can be air-cooled in all credible accident scenarios 
and fuel configurations. Since NRC approval of the previous exemption 
in 1989, which permitted HBPP 3 to reduce its onsite insurance coverage 
to $63.16 million, the NRC staff has authorized a lesser amount of 
onsite property damage insurance coverage based on an 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 insurance regulations that would allow licensees to lower 
onsite insurance levels to $50 million upon demonstration that the fuel 
stored in the spent fuel pool 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 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 spent fuel pool was drained of water. 
The staff has used this technical criterion to grant similar exemptions 
to other decommissioning reactors (e.g., Fort Calhoun Station, 
published in the Federal Register on April 6, 2018 (83 FR 14898); and 
La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor, published in the Federal Register on 
August 1, 2018 (83 FR 37532)). These prior exemptions were based on the 
licensees demonstrating that the spent fuel could be air-cooled, 
consistent with the technical criterion discussed above. Based on this 
criterion, the NRC staff determined $50 million to be an adequate level 
of onsite property damage insurance coverage for the HBPP 3 site, given 
that the spent fuel is

[[Page 16679]]

no longer susceptible to a zirconium fire.
    In addition, the 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, causing soil contamination and 
potential groundwater contamination, as the most costly postulated 
event to decontaminate and remediate (other than a 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. However, decommissioning activities at HBPP 3 have 
progressed to such an extent that there are no longer any large 
radiological waste storage tanks onsite. The staff concludes that there 
are no radioactive material sources that could be released from the 
HBPP 3 site that would challenge the assumptions made in SECY-96-256 
regarding the rupture of a large contaminated liquid storage tank. 
Therefore, the 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.

A. The Exemption Is Authorized by Law

    The regulation in 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) requires each licensee to have 
and maintain onsite property damage insurance of either $1.06 billion 
or whatever amount of insurance is generally available from private 
sources, whichever is less. In accordance with 10 CFR 50.12, the 
Commission may grant exemptions from the regulations in 10 CFR part 50, 
as the Commission determines are authorized by law.
    In 1989, the Commission granted HBPP 3 an exemption from 10 CFR 
50.54(w)(1), permitting the reduction of onsite insurance coverage from 
$100 million to $63.16 million. 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 because there is no credible risk of a zirconium fire with 
all irradiated fuel stored in the onsite ISFSI, where it is air-cooled 
in all accident scenarios.
    The NRC staff has determined that granting of the licensee's 
proposed exemption will not result in a violation of the Atomic Energy 
Act of 1954, as amended, or other laws. Therefore, based on its review 
of PG&E'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 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 accident, onsite reactor conditions 
could be stabilized and the site decontaminated. The existing level of 
onsite insurance coverage for HBPP 3 is predicated on the assumption 
that the reactor is permanently shutdown and defueled and the site is 
being actively decommissioned with significant residual activity 
remaining. However, the fully decommissioned status of the facility has 
resulted 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 credible nuclear accidents at HBPP 3. 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 adversely 
affect PG&E's ability to physically secure the site or protect special 
nuclear material. Physical security measures at HBPP 3 are not affected 
by the requested exemption. Therefore, the proposed exemption is 
consistent with the common defense and security.

D. Special Circumstances

    Under 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2)(ii), special circumstances are present if 
the application of the regulation in the particular circumstances would 
not serve the underlying purpose of the rule or is not necessary to 
achieve the underlying purpose of the rule. 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.
    Because HBPP 3 is permanently shutdown and defueled, with all 
irradiated fuel assemblies stored in the onsite ISFSI, and 
decommissioning complete, it is no longer possible for the radiological 
consequences of design-basis accidents or other credible events at HBPP 
3 to exceed the limits of the EPA PAGs at the exclusion area boundary. 
Therefore, the staff concludes that the application of the current 
requirements in 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1), as exempted, for PG&E to maintain 
$63.16 million in onsite insurance coverage is not necessary to achieve 
the underlying purpose of the rule for the permanently shutdown and 
defueled HBPP 3 facility.
    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 $63.16 million, 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.
    As such, the NRC staff finds that compliance with the existing 
requirement 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 for the HBPP 3 
facility.

E. Environmental Considerations

    The NRC approval of an 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 10 CFR 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

[[Page 16680]]

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.
    The Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery, and 
Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, has 
determined that approval of the exemption request involves no 
significant hazards consideration because reducing the licensee's 
onsite property damage insurance for HBPP 3 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 HBPP 
3. 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.
    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. The requirement for onsite 
property damage insurance involves surety, insurance, and indemnity 
matters. Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b) and 10 CFR 
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 NRC 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. 
Therefore, the Commission hereby grants PG&E an exemption from the 
requirements of 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) to permit the licensee to reduce its 
onsite property damage insurance coverage at the HBPP 3 facility to a 
level of $50 million. The exemption is effective March 18, 2020.

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

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Patricia Holahan,
Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery, and Waste 
Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2020-06111 Filed 3-23-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P