Spent Fuel Reprocessing, 40764-40765 [2021-16173]

Download as PDF 40764 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 143 / Thursday, July 29, 2021 / Rules and Regulations resources between COVID–19 needs and implementation of this final rule could potentially compromise important State efforts related to COVID–19. Thus, it is in the best interest of the public to proceed to change the implementation date immediately without notice-andcomment rulemaking. Timothy English, Acting Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service. [FR Doc. 2021–16123 Filed 7–28–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–30–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Parts 50 and 70 [NRC–2015–0016] RIN 3150–AJ53 Spent Fuel Reprocessing Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Discontinuation of rulemaking activity. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is discontinuing a rulemaking activity that would have amended the NRC’s regulations to add a new part to the existing regulatory framework specific to nuclear spent fuel reprocessing facilities. The purpose of this action is to inform members of the public that this rulemaking activity is being discontinued and to provide a brief discussion of the NRC’s decision. This rulemaking activity will no longer be reported in the NRC’s portion of the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (the Unified Agenda). SUMMARY: As of July 29, 2021 the rulemaking activity discussed in this document is discontinued. ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2015–0016 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available 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–2015–0016. Address questions about NRC dockets to Dawn Forder; telephone: 301–415–3407; email: Dawn.Forder@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 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Jul 28, 2021 Jkt 253001 (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. For the convenience of the reader, instructions about obtaining materials referenced in this document are provided in the ‘‘Availability of Documents’’ section. • 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 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Easter Standard Time (EST), Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Boyce, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, telephone: 301–415– 7335; email: Tom.Boyce@nrc.gov; U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background Industry interest was the primary impetus for the NRC to update the regulatory framework for reprocessing light-water reactor spent fuel. In Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM)— SECY–13–0093, ‘‘Staff Requirements— SECY–13–0093—Reprocessing Regulatory Framework—Status and Next Steps,’’ the Commission approved the NRC staff’s recommendation to develop a reprocessing-specific rule. It directed the staff’s ‘‘continued development of the regulatory framework should be limited in scope— for the time being—to the resolution of Gap 5, ‘Safety and Risk Assessment Methodologies and Considerations for a Reprocessing Facility.’ ’’ Gap 5 focused on the development of analytical methods for the quantitative assessment of risks associated with reprocessing facility accidents to inform the basis for the development of regulatory requirements and regulatory guidance. From 2013 to 2016 the staff focused its efforts on assessing the quantitative risk associated with reprocessing facility accidents (i.e., Gap 5). In 2016, the staff found that industry interest in constructing and operating a commercial light-water reactor spent fuel reprocessing facility had declined. As a result, in 2016, the NRC suspended work on the spent fuel reprocessing regulatory framework because of other PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 higher priorities related to spent fuel storage and transportation, as well as budgetary constraints. II. Discussion To inform its decision making, the NRC reached out to stakeholders to determine the degree of stakeholder interest in constructing, operating, and licensing a spent fuel reprocessing facility. Specifically, the NRC held a Category 3 public meeting on March 4, 2020; participating stakeholders included the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), industry representatives, environmental groups, and private citizens. The NEI and industry representatives voiced their support for continuing the rulemaking primarily on the basis of a need for a clear and stable regulatory framework for reprocessing and to support advanced reactor licensing. However, no industry stakeholders indicated that they plan to submit an application to the NRC for a reprocessing facility in the foreseeable future. Other stakeholders, such as UCS and members of the public, indicated they do not support the continuation of the rulemaking because of proliferation and other concerns. In May 2020, after the public meeting, the NEI and the American Nuclear Society (ANS) sent letters to the NRC with further feedback on the need for rulemaking. The NEI stated that developers with advanced reactor designs that may eventually source their fuel from the spent fuel of other reactors are generally not planning to do so in the near future. The NEI encouraged the NRC to assess the technologies for advanced reactors before making any decisions on the reprocessing rulemaking. It also suggested that the NRC should not charge existing facilities with fees for work on a reprocessing rule. ANS encouraged the NRC to continue with the rulemaking and stated that the lack of an efficient, technically robust, and technologyinclusive regulatory foundation for reprocessing and recycling is a barrier to innovation in advanced reactor designs. The NRC also engaged organizations and vendors in the advanced reactor community to assess their interest in and specific needs for reprocessing, such as the use of fuel recovered from the existing spent fuel feedstock. Based on these interactions, the NRC concluded that, in addition to using fresh fuel obtained from enrichment and fabrication, some advanced reactor designs have the capability to eventually source their fuel from the spent fuel of other reactors, but there E:\FR\FM\29JYR1.SGM 29JYR1 40765 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 143 / Thursday, July 29, 2021 / Rules and Regulations was limited interest in pursuing reprocessing activities in the near future (within 10 to 20 years). The NRC also engaged staff from the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy to exchange information regarding developments in reprocessing efforts and technologies, particularly in reprocessing of spent fuel for advanced reactors. The DOE efforts in the area of reprocessing are aimed at providing a limited near-term supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for initial advanced reactor designs. These DOE reprocessing initiatives do not require NRC licensing. The NRC is not aware of any other DOE initiatives to reprocess light water reactor spent fuel or potential commercial efforts to reprocess spent HALEU fuel for reuse in advanced reactors. rulemaking and the limited interest expressed or expected from industry to submit an application for any type of facility involving reprocessing technologies in the near-term. The staff estimates that $2.5 million would be needed to complete a regulatory basis, develop and issue guidance, and develop a proposed and final rule. Therefore, while a rule would provide additional clarity for potential applicants, the NRC concludes that it is not warranted at this time. III. Availability of Documents The documents identified in the following table are available to interested persons in the ADAMS Public Documents collection. Document ADAMS Accession No. SRM–SECY–13–0093, ‘‘Reprocessing Regulatory Framework—Status and Next Steps,’’ dated November 4, 2013 ..................... Summary of March 4, 2020 Public Meeting to Discuss Status of Spent Fuel Reprocessing Rulemaking, dated March 16, 2020 .. SRM–SECY–15–0129, ‘‘Commission Involvement in Early Stages of Rulemaking,’’ dated February 3, 2016 ................................. E-mail and Letter from R. McCullum: NEI Comments on Spent Fuel Reprocessing Rulemaking, dated May 28, 2020 .................. E-mail and Letter from J. Starkey: ANS Comments on Spent Fuel Reprocessing Rulemaking, dated May 28, 2020 ..................... SECY–21–0026, ‘‘Discontinuation of Rulemaking—Spent Fuel Reprocessing,’’ dated March 5, 2021 ............................................ ML13308A403 ML20077K146 ML16034A441 ML20154K554 ML20154K530 ML20301A387 IV. Conclusion DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY The NRC is no longer pursuing rulemaking for spent fuel reprocessing facilities for the reasons discussed in this document. In the next edition of the Unified Agenda, the NRC will update the entry for this rulemaking activity and reference this document to indicate that the rulemaking activity is no longer being pursued. This rulemaking activity will appear in the completed actions section of that edition of the Unified Agenda but will not appear in future editions. If the NRC decides to pursue similar or related rulemaking activities in the future, it will inform the public through new rulemaking entries in the Unified Agenda. 10 CFR Part 431 Dated July 26, 2021. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Annette L. Vietti-Cook, Secretary of the Commission. [FR Doc. 2021–16173 Filed 7–28–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES In the event that the NRC receives an application for a commercial reprocessing facility, the NRC could use its existing regulatory framework under part 50 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ‘‘Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities’’ for any near-term licensing needs, because a reprocessing facility is a type of production facility as defined in § 50.2, ‘‘Definitions.’’ Should an applicant submit such an application, there would likely be a need for exemptions from certain 10 CFR part 50 requirements. In such cases, the NRC could leverage knowledge from the gap analysis in SECY–13–0093 in considering any exemptions. The NRC’s decision to discontinue this rulemaking is based on the estimated costs to conduct the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Jul 28, 2021 Jkt 253001 [EERE–2017–BT–STD–0048] RIN 1904–AE38 Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Dedicated-Purpose Pool Pump Motors Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: On October 5, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (‘‘DOE’’) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (‘‘NOPR’’) to establish a test procedure and an accompanying labeling requirement for dedicated purpose pool pump (‘‘DPPP’’) motors. This final rule establishes a test procedure for DPPP motors. Specifically, the final rule incorporates by reference an industry standard pertaining to DPPP definitions; and requires the use of an industry testing standard for testing the energy efficiency of DPPP motors. This final rule does not establish a labeling requirement and DOE intends to address any such labeling and/or energy conservation standards requirement in a separate notification. DATES: The effective date of this rule is September 27, 2021. The incorporation SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 by reference of certain publications listed in this rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of September 27, 2021. ADDRESSES: The docket, which includes Federal Register notices, public meeting attendee lists and transcripts, comments, and other supporting documents/materials, is available for review at www.regulations.gov. All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. However, some documents listed in the index, such as those containing information that is exempt from public disclosure, may not be publicly available. A link to the docket web page can be found at www.regulations.gov/ docket?D=EERE-2017-BT-STD-0048. The docket web page contains instructions on how to access all documents, including public comments, in the docket. For further information on how to review the docket contact the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program staff at (202) 287–1445 or by email: ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ ee.doe.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jeremy Dommu, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Building Technologies Office, EE–2J, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, E:\FR\FM\29JYR1.SGM 29JYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 143 (Thursday, July 29, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 40764-40765]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-16173]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Parts 50 and 70

[NRC-2015-0016]
RIN 3150-AJ53


Spent Fuel Reprocessing

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Discontinuation of rulemaking activity.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is discontinuing 
a rulemaking activity that would have amended the NRC's regulations to 
add a new part to the existing regulatory framework specific to nuclear 
spent fuel reprocessing facilities. The purpose of this action is to 
inform members of the public that this rulemaking activity is being 
discontinued and to provide a brief discussion of the NRC's decision. 
This rulemaking activity will no longer be reported in the NRC's 
portion of the Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions 
(the Unified Agenda).

DATES: As of July 29, 2021 the rulemaking activity discussed in this 
document is discontinued.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0016 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may 
obtain publicly-available 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-2015-0016. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Dawn Forder; telephone: 301-415-3407; 
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]. For the convenience of the reader, 
instructions about obtaining materials referenced in this document are 
provided in the ``Availability of Documents'' section.
     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 
between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Easter Standard Time (EST), Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Boyce, Office of Nuclear Material 
Safety and Safeguards, telephone: 301-415-7335; email: 
[email protected]; U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Industry interest was the primary impetus for the NRC to update the 
regulatory framework for reprocessing light-water reactor spent fuel. 
In Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM)--SECY-13-0093, ``Staff 
Requirements--SECY-13-0093--Reprocessing Regulatory Framework--Status 
and Next Steps,'' the Commission approved the NRC staff's 
recommendation to develop a reprocessing-specific rule. It directed the 
staff's ``continued development of the regulatory framework should be 
limited in scope--for the time being--to the resolution of Gap 5, 
`Safety and Risk Assessment Methodologies and Considerations for a 
Reprocessing Facility.' '' Gap 5 focused on the development of 
analytical methods for the quantitative assessment of risks associated 
with reprocessing facility accidents to inform the basis for the 
development of regulatory requirements and regulatory guidance.
    From 2013 to 2016 the staff focused its efforts on assessing the 
quantitative risk associated with reprocessing facility accidents 
(i.e., Gap 5). In 2016, the staff found that industry interest in 
constructing and operating a commercial light-water reactor spent fuel 
reprocessing facility had declined. As a result, in 2016, the NRC 
suspended work on the spent fuel reprocessing regulatory framework 
because of other higher priorities related to spent fuel storage and 
transportation, as well as budgetary constraints.

II. Discussion

    To inform its decision making, the NRC reached out to stakeholders 
to determine the degree of stakeholder interest in constructing, 
operating, and licensing a spent fuel reprocessing facility. 
Specifically, the NRC held a Category 3 public meeting on March 4, 
2020; participating stakeholders included the Nuclear Energy Institute 
(NEI), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Union of Concerned 
Scientists (UCS), industry representatives, environmental groups, and 
private citizens. The NEI and industry representatives voiced their 
support for continuing the rulemaking primarily on the basis of a need 
for a clear and stable regulatory framework for reprocessing and to 
support advanced reactor licensing. However, no industry stakeholders 
indicated that they plan to submit an application to the NRC for a 
reprocessing facility in the foreseeable future. Other stakeholders, 
such as UCS and members of the public, indicated they do not support 
the continuation of the rulemaking because of proliferation and other 
concerns.
    In May 2020, after the public meeting, the NEI and the American 
Nuclear Society (ANS) sent letters to the NRC with further feedback on 
the need for rulemaking. The NEI stated that developers with advanced 
reactor designs that may eventually source their fuel from the spent 
fuel of other reactors are generally not planning to do so in the near 
future. The NEI encouraged the NRC to assess the technologies for 
advanced reactors before making any decisions on the reprocessing 
rulemaking. It also suggested that the NRC should not charge existing 
facilities with fees for work on a reprocessing rule. ANS encouraged 
the NRC to continue with the rulemaking and stated that the lack of an 
efficient, technically robust, and technology-inclusive regulatory 
foundation for reprocessing and recycling is a barrier to innovation in 
advanced reactor designs.
    The NRC also engaged organizations and vendors in the advanced 
reactor community to assess their interest in and specific needs for 
reprocessing, such as the use of fuel recovered from the existing spent 
fuel feedstock. Based on these interactions, the NRC concluded that, in 
addition to using fresh fuel obtained from enrichment and fabrication, 
some advanced reactor designs have the capability to eventually source 
their fuel from the spent fuel of other reactors, but there

[[Page 40765]]

was limited interest in pursuing reprocessing activities in the near 
future (within 10 to 20 years).
    The NRC also engaged staff from the DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy 
to exchange information regarding developments in reprocessing efforts 
and technologies, particularly in reprocessing of spent fuel for 
advanced reactors. The DOE efforts in the area of reprocessing are 
aimed at providing a limited near-term supply of high-assay low-
enriched uranium (HALEU) for initial advanced reactor designs. These 
DOE reprocessing initiatives do not require NRC licensing. The NRC is 
not aware of any other DOE initiatives to reprocess light water reactor 
spent fuel or potential commercial efforts to reprocess spent HALEU 
fuel for reuse in advanced reactors.
    In the event that the NRC receives an application for a commercial 
reprocessing facility, the NRC could use its existing regulatory 
framework under part 50 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(10 CFR), ``Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization 
Facilities'' for any near-term licensing needs, because a reprocessing 
facility is a type of production facility as defined in Sec.  50.2, 
``Definitions.'' Should an applicant submit such an application, there 
would likely be a need for exemptions from certain 10 CFR part 50 
requirements. In such cases, the NRC could leverage knowledge from the 
gap analysis in SECY-13-0093 in considering any exemptions.
    The NRC's decision to discontinue this rulemaking is based on the 
estimated costs to conduct the rulemaking and the limited interest 
expressed or expected from industry to submit an application for any 
type of facility involving reprocessing technologies in the near-term. 
The staff estimates that $2.5 million would be needed to complete a 
regulatory basis, develop and issue guidance, and develop a proposed 
and final rule. Therefore, while a rule would provide additional 
clarity for potential applicants, the NRC concludes that it is not 
warranted at this time.

III. Availability of Documents

    The documents identified in the following table are available to 
interested persons in the ADAMS Public Documents collection.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Document                        ADAMS Accession No.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SRM-SECY-13-0093, ``Reprocessing Regulatory     ML13308A403
 Framework--Status and Next Steps,'' dated
 November 4, 2013.
Summary of March 4, 2020 Public Meeting to      ML20077K146
 Discuss Status of Spent Fuel Reprocessing
 Rulemaking, dated March 16, 2020.
SRM-SECY-15-0129, ``Commission Involvement in   ML16034A441
 Early Stages of Rulemaking,'' dated February
 3, 2016.
E-mail and Letter from R. McCullum: NEI         ML20154K554
 Comments on Spent Fuel Reprocessing
 Rulemaking, dated May 28, 2020.
E-mail and Letter from J. Starkey: ANS          ML20154K530
 Comments on Spent Fuel Reprocessing
 Rulemaking, dated May 28, 2020.
SECY-21-0026, ``Discontinuation of Rulemaking-- ML20301A387
 Spent Fuel Reprocessing,'' dated March 5,
 2021.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. Conclusion

    The NRC is no longer pursuing rulemaking for spent fuel 
reprocessing facilities for the reasons discussed in this document. In 
the next edition of the Unified Agenda, the NRC will update the entry 
for this rulemaking activity and reference this document to indicate 
that the rulemaking activity is no longer being pursued. This 
rulemaking activity will appear in the completed actions section of 
that edition of the Unified Agenda but will not appear in future 
editions. If the NRC decides to pursue similar or related rulemaking 
activities in the future, it will inform the public through new 
rulemaking entries in the Unified Agenda.

    Dated July 26, 2021.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Annette L. Vietti-Cook,
Secretary of the Commission.
[FR Doc. 2021-16173 Filed 7-28-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P