Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1, 16241-16245 [2021-06328]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 57 / Friday, March 26, 2021 / Notices USEI. As documented in the Safety Evaluation Report, the NRC staff concludes that, consistent with 10 CFR 20.2002, WEC provided an adequate description of the materials and the proposed manner and conditions of waste disposal. The NRC staff also concluded that the use of the sitespecific dose assessment methodology to evaluate the projected doses associated with the transportation and disposal of the waste streams at USEI are acceptable. The NRC staff reviewed the input parameters included in this modeling and found that they are appropriate for the scenarios considered. The NRC staff also evaluated the potential doses associated with transportation, waste handling, and disposal and found that the projected doses have been appropriately estimated and are demonstrated to meet the NRC’s alternate disposal standard of contributing a dose of not more than ‘‘a few millirem per year’’ to any member of the public and are as low as is reasonably achievable. The NRC staff also concluded that the projected doses from the post-closure and intruder scenarios at USEI are also within ‘‘a few millirem per year’’ over a period of 1,000 years. Lastly, because of the presence of SNM, the NRC evaluated potential criticality in its SER, and found no concerns. This subsequent disposal request remains bounded by the parameters of the previous request and approval. Therefore, the NRC concludes that issuance of the exemption is will not endanger life, property, and is consistent with the common defense and security. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES The Exemption Is in the Public Interest Issuance of the exemption to WEC and USEI is in the public interest because it would provide for the efficient and safe disposal for the subject waste material, would facilitate the decommissioning of the East Lagoon at the CFFF site, and would conserve low-level radioactive waste disposal capacity at licensed low-level radioactive disposal sites, while ensuring that the material being considered is disposed of safely in a regulated facility. Therefore, based upon the evaluation above, an exemption is appropriate pursuant to 10 CFR 30.11 and 10 CFR 70.17. IV. Environmental Considerations As required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC performed an environmental assessment (EA) that analyzes the environmental impacts of the proposed exemption in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and NRC implementing regulations in 10 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:14 Mar 25, 2021 Jkt 253001 CFR part 51. Based on that EA, the NRC staff has determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed exemption and has issued a finding of no significant impact (FONSI). The EA and FONSI were published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2021 (86 FR 13915). V. Conclusions Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 70.17 and 10 CFR 30.11, the exemptions for WEC and USEI and associated WEC license amendment are authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to the public health and safety, is consistent with the common defense and security, and is in the public interest. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants WEC and USEI exemptions from 10 CFR 70.3 and 10 CFR 30.3 to allow WEC to transfer the specifically identified byproduct material and SNM waste described above from the WEC CFFF for disposal at the USEI disposal facility located near Grand View, Idaho, and issues WEC a conforming license amendment. Dated: March 23, 2021. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Jacob I. Zimmerman, Chief, Fuel Facility Licensing Branch, Division of Fuel Management, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards. [FR Doc. 2021–06301 Filed 3–25–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–289; NRC–2021–0079] Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Exemption; issuance. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued an exemption in response to a request from the licensee that would permit Exelon Generation Company, LLC to reduce the minimum coverage limit for onsite property damage insurance from $1.06 billion to $50 million for Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1. DATES: The exemption was issued on March 22, 2021. ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2021–0079 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly available SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16241 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–2021–0079. Address questions about Docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Stacy Schumann; telephone: 301–415–0624; email: Stacy.Schumann@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 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. • Attention: The PDR, where you may examine and order copies of public documents, is currently closed. You may submit your request to the PDR via email at pdr.resource@nrc.gov or call 1– 800–397–4209 or 301–415–4737, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Theodore Smith, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001; telephone: 301–415–6721, email: Theodore.Smith@ nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the exemption is attached. Dated: March 23, 2021. 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. 50–289 Exelon Generation Company, LLC Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 Exemption I. Background By letter dated June 20, 2017 (Agencywide Documents Access and E:\FR\FM\26MRN1.SGM 26MRN1 16242 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 57 / Friday, March 26, 2021 / Notices Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML17171A151), Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon, the licensee) certified to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, the Commission) that it planned to permanently cease power operations at Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 (TMI–1) on or about September 30, 2019. On September 20, 2019, Exelon permanently ceased power operations at TMI–1. By letter dated September 26, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19269E480), Exelon certified to the NRC that the fuel was permanenetly removed from the TMI–1 reactor vessel and placed in the spent fuel pool (SFP) as of September 26, 2019. Accordingly, pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) section 50.82(a)(2), the TMI–1 renewed facility operating license no longer authorizes operation of the reactor or emplacement or retention of fuel in the reactor vessel. The facility is still authorized to possess and store irradiated (i.e., spent) nuclear fuel. Spent fuel is currently stored onsite at the TMI–1 facility in the SFP. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES II. Request/Action By letter dated November 25, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19330D862), Exelon requested an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) concerning onsite liability insurance. The exemption from 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 TMI–1. 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 TMI–1, 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 TMI–1 is also much lower than the risk of such an event at operating reactors. Therefore, the licensee requested 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:14 Mar 25, 2021 Jkt 253001 permanently shutdown and defueled TMI–1 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 Nuclear Station, Unit 2 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 TMI–1 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 applicable. During reactor decommissioning, the largest radiological risks are associated with the storage of spent fuel onsite. In the exemption request dated November 25, 2019, the licensee discussed both design-basis and beyond design-basis events involving irradiated fuel stored in the SFP. The licensee determined that there are no possible design-basis events at TMI–1 that could result in an offsite radiological release exceeding the PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) early phase Protective Action Guides (PAGs) of 1 roentgen equivalent man at the exclusion area boundary 365 days after permanent shutdown, as a way to demonstrate that any possible radiological releases would be minimal and would 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 the design-basis accidents at TMI–1, in consideration of a permanently shutdown and defueled condition. The possible design-basis accident scenarios at TMI–1 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 TMI–1 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) 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 E:\FR\FM\26MRN1.SGM 26MRN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 57 / Friday, March 26, 2021 / Notices 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); Zion Nuclear Power Station, published in the Federal Register on December 28, 1999 (64 FR 72700); Kewaunee Power Station, published in the Federal Register on March 24, 2015 (80 FR 15638); Crystal River Unit 3 Nuclear Generation Plant, published in the Federal Register on May 6, 2015 (80 FR 26100); Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, published in the Federal Register on December 28, 2018 (83 FR 67365) and Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2020 (85 FR 1827)). These prior exemptions were based on these licensees demonstrating that the SFP could be air-cooled, consistent with the technical criterion discussed above. Exelon’s November 25, 2019, exemption request addressed air-cooling of fuel in a drained SFP. In the attachment to this request, the licensee compared TMI–1 fuel storage parameters with those used in NRC generic evaluations of fuel cooling included in NUREG/CR–6451, ‘‘A Safety and Regulatory Assessment of Generic BWR [Boiling-Water Reactor] and PWR [Pressurized-Water Reactor] Permanently Shutdown Nuclear Power Plants,’’ dated August 1997 (ADAMS Accession No. ML082260098). The analysis described in NUREG/CR–6451 determined that natural air circulation would adequately cool fuel that has decayed for 17 months after operation in a typical PWR, which is slightly longer than the zirconium fire period of 488 days that Exelon used for its reqest for TMI–1. Exelon evaluated the decay heat at TMI–1 and determined that the average decay heat for the most recently offloaded TMI–1 spent fuel assembly 488 days after shutdown will be slightly less than the decay heat for the average fuel assembly at 519 days for the representative PWR plant in NUREG/ CR–6451. This is in part because the power per fuel assembly at TMI–1 is 16 percent less than that modeled in NUREG/CR–6451. The licensee compared the postshutdown fuel storage conditions with those assumed for the analysis presented in NUREG/CR–6451. The licensee found that the TMI–1 fuel storage configuration is conservative in comparison to the representative VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:14 Mar 25, 2021 Jkt 253001 configuration used in the NUREG/CR– 6451 analysis with respect to the fuel assembly size (15 x 15 for TMI–1 vs. 17 x 17 for NUREG/CR–6451), the fuel storage pitch (TMI–1’s is smaller, due to a larger gap around fuel assemblies inside the cells), and the rack orifice size being the same size or larger than those modeled in NUREG/CR–6451. Thus, the cooling air flow should be comparable. Differences in the rack material were determined to have minimal impact, based on Table 3.1 of NUREG/CR–6441, which states that heat conduction in structures is of low relative importance when computing cladding temperatures, although racks for both TMI–1 and the NUREG/CR– 6451 model are stainless steel. Therefore, at 488 days after permanent shutdown (i.e., the effective date of the requested exemption), the NRC staff has reasonable assurance that fuel stored in the TMI–1 SFP would be adequately air-cooled in the highly unlikely event the SFP completely drained. 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 aircooling 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 adiabatic heatup analyses demonstrate that there would be at least 10 hours after the loss of all means of cooling (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 PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16243 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 the attachment to its November 25, 2019, exemption request, 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,’’ dated June 30, 1999 (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 the attachment, at 488 days after permanent cessation of power operations (i.e., 488 days of decay time), the time for the hottest fuel assembly to reach 900 °C is greater than 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,’’ dated February 2001 (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 the 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 488 days after permanent cessation of power operations, 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. E:\FR\FM\26MRN1.SGM 26MRN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 16244 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 57 / Friday, March 26, 2021 / Notices The NRC staff performed an evaluation of the design-basis accidents for TMI–1 being permanently defueled as part of SECY–20–0041, ‘‘Request by Exelon Generation Company, LLC for Exemptions from Certain Emergency Planning Requirements for the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station,’’ dated May 5, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19311C762). Based on the evaluation in SECY–20– 0041 and SECY–96–256, 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 an 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 TMI–1 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 488 days after the permanent cessation of power operations on September 20, 2019, sufficient irradiated fuel decay time will have elapsed at TMI–1 to decrease the probability of an onsite radiological release from a postulated zirconium fire accident to negligible levels. In VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:14 Mar 25, 2021 Jkt 253001 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. The NRC staff also notes that in accordance with the TMI–1 PostShutdown Decommissioning Activities Report dated April 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19095A041), all spent fuel will be removed from the SFP and moved into dry storage at an onsite independent spent fuel storage installation by the end of 2022, and the probability of an initiating event that would threaten SFP 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 488 days after the permanent cessation of power operations, sufficient irradiated fuel decay time will have elapsed at TMI–1 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 the licensee’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 PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 TMI–1 are predicated on the assumption that the reactor is operating. However, TMI– 1 permanently shut down on September 20, 2019, and permanently defueled as of September 26, 2019. The permanently shutdown and 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 TMI–1. 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 the licensee’s ability to physically secure the site or protect special nuclear material. Physical security measures at TMI–1 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. Since TMI–1 permanently shut down on September 20, 2019, and permanently defueled as of September 26, 2019, it is no longer possible for the radiological consequences of design-basis accidents or other credible events at TMI–1 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 E:\FR\FM\26MRN1.SGM 26MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 57 / Friday, March 26, 2021 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES from the SFP. The analyses show that 488 days after the permanent cessation of power operations on September 20, 2019, 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 TMI–1 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 TMI–1 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’s approval of an exemption from 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:14 Mar 25, 2021 Jkt 253001 from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement in accordance with 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 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 Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, I have determined that approval of the exemption request involves no significant hazards consideration, as defined in 10 CFR 50.92, because reducing the licensee’s onsite property damage insurance for TMI–1 does not: (1) Involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated; (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 TMI–1 or site activities. 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) or any activities conducted at the site. 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 resulting from issuance of the requested exemption. The requirement for onsite property damage insurance involves surety, insurance, and indemnity matters only. PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16245 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 TMI–1. TMI–1 permanently ceased power operations on September 20, 2019. The exemption permits TMI–1 to lower the minimum required onsite insurance to $50 million 488 days after permanent cessation of power operations, which occurred on January 20, 2021. The exemption is effective immediately. Dated: March 22, 2021. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Patricia K. Holahan, Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards. [FR Doc. 2021–06328 Filed 3–25–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [SEC File No. 270–141, OMB Control No. 3235–0249] Proposed Collection; Comment Request Upon Written Request, Copies Available From: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of FOIA Services, 100 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20549–2736 Extension: Rule 12f–3 Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (‘‘PRA’’) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the Securities and Exchange Commission (‘‘Commission’’) is soliciting comments on the existing collection of information provided for in Rule 12f–3 (17 CFR 240.12f–3), under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (‘‘Act’’) (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.). The Commission plans to submit this existing collection of E:\FR\FM\26MRN1.SGM 26MRN1

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[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 57 (Friday, March 26, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16241-16245]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-06328]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-289; NRC-2021-0079]


Exelon Generation Company, LLC; Three Mile Island Nuclear 
Station, Unit 1

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Exemption; issuance.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued an 
exemption in response to a request from the licensee that would permit 
Exelon Generation Company, LLC to reduce the minimum coverage limit for 
onsite property damage insurance from $1.06 billion to $50 million for 
Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1.

DATES: The exemption was issued on March 22, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2021-0079 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-2021-0079. Address 
questions about Docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Stacy Schumann; 
telephone: 301-415-0624; 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.
     Attention: The PDR, where you may examine and order copies 
of public documents, is currently closed. You may submit your request 
to the PDR via email at [email protected] or call 1-800-397-4209 or 
301-415-4737, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (EST), Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Theodore Smith, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-6721, email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the exemption is attached.

    Dated: March 23, 2021.

    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. 50-289

Exelon Generation Company, LLC

Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1

Exemption

I. Background

    By letter dated June 20, 2017 (Agencywide Documents Access and

[[Page 16242]]

Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML17171A151), Exelon Generation 
Company, LLC (Exelon, the licensee) certified to the U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC, the Commission) that it planned to 
permanently cease power operations at Three Mile Island Nuclear 
Station, Unit 1 (TMI-1) on or about September 30, 2019. On September 
20, 2019, Exelon permanently ceased power operations at TMI-1. By 
letter dated September 26, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19269E480), 
Exelon certified to the NRC that the fuel was permanenetly removed from 
the TMI-1 reactor vessel and placed in the spent fuel pool (SFP) as of 
September 26, 2019. Accordingly, pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (10 CFR) section 50.82(a)(2), the TMI-1 renewed 
facility operating license no longer authorizes operation of the 
reactor or emplacement or retention of fuel in the reactor vessel. The 
facility is still authorized to possess and store irradiated (i.e., 
spent) nuclear fuel. Spent fuel is currently stored onsite at the TMI-1 
facility in the SFP.

II. Request/Action

    By letter dated November 25, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML19330D862), Exelon requested an exemption from 10 CFR 50.54(w)(1) 
concerning onsite liability insurance. The exemption from 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 
TMI-1.
    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 TMI-1, 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 TMI-1 is also much lower than the risk of such an 
event at operating reactors. Therefore, the licensee requested 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 
TMI-1 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 Nuclear Station, Unit 2 
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 TMI-1 
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 applicable.
    During reactor decommissioning, the largest radiological risks are 
associated with the storage of spent fuel onsite. In the exemption 
request dated November 25, 2019, the licensee discussed both design-
basis and beyond design-basis events involving irradiated fuel stored 
in the SFP. The licensee determined that there are no possible design-
basis events at TMI-1 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 Guides (PAGs) 
of 1 roentgen equivalent man at the exclusion area boundary 365 days 
after permanent shutdown, as a way to demonstrate that any possible 
radiological releases would be minimal and would 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 the design-basis 
accidents at TMI-1, in consideration of a permanently shutdown and 
defueled condition. The possible design-basis accident scenarios at 
TMI-1 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 TMI-1 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) 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

[[Page 16243]]

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); Zion Nuclear Power Station, published in the Federal 
Register on December 28, 1999 (64 FR 72700); Kewaunee Power Station, 
published in the Federal Register on March 24, 2015 (80 FR 15638); 
Crystal River Unit 3 Nuclear Generation Plant, published in the Federal 
Register on May 6, 2015 (80 FR 26100); Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating 
Station, published in the Federal Register on December 28, 2018 (83 FR 
67365) and Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, published in the Federal 
Register on January 13, 2020 (85 FR 1827)). These prior exemptions were 
based on these licensees demonstrating that the SFP could be air-
cooled, consistent with the technical criterion discussed above.
    Exelon's November 25, 2019, exemption request addressed air-cooling 
of fuel in a drained SFP. In the attachment to this request, the 
licensee compared TMI-1 fuel storage parameters with those used in NRC 
generic evaluations of fuel cooling included in NUREG/CR-6451, ``A 
Safety and Regulatory Assessment of Generic BWR [Boiling-Water Reactor] 
and PWR [Pressurized-Water Reactor] Permanently Shutdown Nuclear Power 
Plants,'' dated August 1997 (ADAMS Accession No. ML082260098). The 
analysis described in NUREG/CR-6451 determined that natural air 
circulation would adequately cool fuel that has decayed for 17 months 
after operation in a typical PWR, which is slightly longer than the 
zirconium fire period of 488 days that Exelon used for its reqest for 
TMI-1. Exelon evaluated the decay heat at TMI-1 and determined that the 
average decay heat for the most recently offloaded TMI-1 spent fuel 
assembly 488 days after shutdown will be slightly less than the decay 
heat for the average fuel assembly at 519 days for the representative 
PWR plant in NUREG/CR-6451. This is in part because the power per fuel 
assembly at TMI-1 is 16 percent less than that modeled in NUREG/CR-
6451.
    The licensee compared the post-shutdown fuel storage conditions 
with those assumed for the analysis presented in NUREG/CR-6451. The 
licensee found that the TMI-1 fuel storage configuration is 
conservative in comparison to the representative configuration used in 
the NUREG/CR-6451 analysis with respect to the fuel assembly size (15 x 
15 for TMI-1 vs. 17 x 17 for NUREG/CR-6451), the fuel storage pitch 
(TMI-1's is smaller, due to a larger gap around fuel assemblies inside 
the cells), and the rack orifice size being the same size or larger 
than those modeled in NUREG/CR-6451. Thus, the cooling air flow should 
be comparable. Differences in the rack material were determined to have 
minimal impact, based on Table 3.1 of NUREG/CR-6441, which states that 
heat conduction in structures is of low relative importance when 
computing cladding temperatures, although racks for both TMI-1 and the 
NUREG/CR-6451 model are stainless steel.
    Therefore, at 488 days after permanent shutdown (i.e., the 
effective date of the requested exemption), the NRC staff has 
reasonable assurance that fuel stored in the TMI-1 SFP would be 
adequately air-cooled in the highly unlikely event the SFP completely 
drained.
    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 adiabatic heatup analyses demonstrate that there 
would be at least 10 hours after the loss of all means of cooling (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 the attachment to its November 25, 
2019, exemption request, 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,'' dated June 30, 1999 (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 the attachment, at 488 days after permanent 
cessation of power operations (i.e., 488 days of decay time), the time 
for the hottest fuel assembly to reach 900 [deg]C is greater than 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,'' dated February 2001 (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 the 
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 488 
days after permanent cessation of power operations, 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.

[[Page 16244]]

    The NRC staff performed an evaluation of the design-basis accidents 
for TMI-1 being permanently defueled as part of SECY-20-0041, ``Request 
by Exelon Generation Company, LLC for Exemptions from Certain Emergency 
Planning Requirements for the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station,'' 
dated May 5, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML19311C762).
    Based on the evaluation in SECY-20-0041 and SECY-96-256, 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 an 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 TMI-1 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 488 days 
after the permanent cessation of power operations on September 20, 
2019, sufficient irradiated fuel decay time will have elapsed at TMI-1 
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.
    The NRC staff also notes that in accordance with the TMI-1 Post-
Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report dated April 2019 (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML19095A041), all spent fuel will be removed from the SFP 
and moved into dry storage at an onsite independent spent fuel storage 
installation by the end of 2022, and the probability of an initiating 
event that would threaten SFP 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 488 days after the permanent 
cessation of power operations, sufficient irradiated fuel decay time 
will have elapsed at TMI-1 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 the licensee'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 
TMI-1 are predicated on the assumption that the reactor is operating. 
However, TMI-1 permanently shut down on September 20, 2019, and 
permanently defueled as of September 26, 2019. The permanently shutdown 
and 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 TMI-1. 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 the licensee's ability to physically secure the site or protect 
special nuclear material. Physical security measures at TMI-1 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. Since TMI-1 permanently 
shut down on September 20, 2019, and permanently defueled as of 
September 26, 2019, it is no longer possible for the radiological 
consequences of design-basis accidents or other credible events at TMI-
1 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

[[Page 16245]]

from the SFP. The analyses show that 488 days after the permanent 
cessation of power operations on September 20, 2019, 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 
TMI-1 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 TMI-1 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's approval of an exemption from 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 the 
requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental 
impact statement in accordance with 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 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 Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery and 
Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, I 
have determined that approval of the exemption request involves no 
significant hazards consideration, as defined in 10 CFR 50.92, because 
reducing the licensee's onsite property damage insurance for TMI-1 does 
not: (1) Involve a significant increase in the probability or 
consequences of an accident previously evaluated; (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 TMI-1 or site activities. 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) or any activities conducted at the 
site. 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 resulting from issuance of the requested exemption. The 
requirement for onsite property damage insurance involves surety, 
insurance, and indemnity matters only.
    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 TMI-1. TMI-1 permanently 
ceased power operations on September 20, 2019. The exemption permits 
TMI-1 to lower the minimum required onsite insurance to $50 million 488 
days after permanent cessation of power operations, which occurred on 
January 20, 2021.
    The exemption is effective immediately.

    Dated: March 22, 2021.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Patricia K. Holahan,

Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery and Waste 
Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.

[FR Doc. 2021-06328 Filed 3-25-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P