Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., Vogtle Electric Generating Plant Units 3 and 4, 67734-67737 [2021-25952]

Download as PDF khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 67734 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 226 / Monday, November 29, 2021 / Notices physicals changes in any SSCs involved in the mitigation of any accidents. Thus, no new initiators or precursors of a new or different kind of accident are created. Furthermore, the partial exemptions do not create the possibility of a new accident as a result of new failure modes associated with any equipment or personnel failures. No changes are being made to parameters within which the plant is normally operated, or in the setpoints which initiate protective or mitigative actions, and no new failure modes are being introduced. Therefore, the partial exemptions do not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated. The grant of the partial exemptions would not authorize alteration of the design basis or any safety limits for the plant. The exemptions would not impact station operation or any plant SSC that is relied upon for accident mitigation. Therefore, the partial exemptions do not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety. For these reasons, the NRC has determined that approval of the partial exemptions requested involves no significant hazards consideration because granting a partial exemption from the recordkeeping requirements of 10 CFR 50.71(c); 10 CFR part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVII; and 10 CFR 50.59(d)(3) at the decommissioning PNP 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. Likewise, 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 because the exemptions grant relief from recordkeeping requirements for retired SSCs and activities that are no longer needed after the permanent defueling of the reactor or the after placement of irradiated nuclear fuel in dry storage. The exempted regulations are not associated with construction, so there is no significant construction impact. The exempted regulations do not concern the source term (i.e., potential amount of radiation involved in an accident) or accident mitigation; therefore, there is no significant increase in the potential for, or consequences from, radiological accidents. Allowing partial exemptions from the record retention requirements for which the exemption is sought involves recordkeeping requirements. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:55 Nov 26, 2021 Jkt 256001 Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b) and 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25)(i)– (vi)(A), no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need be prepared in connection with the approval of the partial exemption requests. IV. Conclusions The NRC has determined that the granting of a partial exemption from the recordkeeping (i.e., record retention and maintenance) requirements of 10 CFR 50.71(c); 10 CFR part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVII; and 10 CFR 50.59(d)(3), which will allow the licensee to discontinue records that are no longer required to support the licensed activities after permanent cessation of operations or after placement of irradiated fuel in dry storage, will not present an undue risk to the public health and safety. The destruction of the identified records will not impact remaining decommissioning activities; plant operations, configuration, and/or radiological effluents; operational and/ or installed SSCs that are quality-related or important to safety; or nuclear security. The NRC staff determined that the destruction of the identified records is administrative in nature and does not involve information or activities that could potentially impact the common defense and security of the United States. The purpose for the recordkeeping regulations is to assist the NRC in carrying out its mission to protect the public health and safety by ensuring that the licensing and design basis of the facility is understood, documented, preserved and retrievable in such a way that will aid the NRC in determining compliance and noncompliance, taking action on possible noncompliance, and examining facts following an incident. Since the PNP SSCs that were safetyrelated or important to safety have been or will be removed from the licensing basis and removed from the plant, the NRC staff finds that the records identified in the exemption request will no longer be required to achieve the underlying purpose of the records retention rule. Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12, the partial exemptions are authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to the public health and safety, and are consistent with the common defense and security. Also, special circumstances are present. Therefore, the Commission hereby grants Entergy a partial exemption from the recordkeeping requirements of 10 CFR 50.71(c); 10 CFR part 50, Appendix B, Criterion XVII; and 10 CFR PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 50.59(d)(3) for PNP only to the extent necessary to allow the licensee to advance the schedule to remove records associated with SSCs that have been or will be removed from NRC licensing basis documents by appropriate change mechanisms (e.g., 10 CFR 50.59 or via NRC-approved license amendment request, as applicable). The exemptions are effective upon submittal of the licensee’s certification of permanent fuel removal, under 10 CFR 50.82(a)(1). Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of November 2021. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. /RA/ Bo M. Pham, Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing. [FR Doc. 2021–25948 Filed 11–26–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. 52–025 and 52–026; NRC– 2008–0252] Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., Vogtle Electric Generating Plant Units 3 and 4 Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Exemption; issuance. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, the Commission) is issuing an exemption from the Commission’s regulations in response to a November 1, 2021, request from Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (SNC), as applicable to Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (VEGP) Units 3 and 4. Specifically, SNC requested a scheduler exemption from NRC regulations that require a holder of a combined license (COL) to implement certain physical protection and personnel access authorization requirements for a power reactor before fuel is allowed onsite (in the protected area). This exemption allows SNC to implement these requirements for each unit after the Commission finds that the acceptance criteria in the COL are met for the unit and prior to that unit’s initial fuel load into the reactor. DATES: The exemption was issued on November 23, 2021. ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2008–0252 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: SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29NON1.SGM 29NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 226 / Monday, November 29, 2021 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES • Federal Rulemaking website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2008–0252. 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. The request for the exemption was submitted by letter dated November 1, 2021, and is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML21305B797. • NRC’s PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents, by appointment, at the NRC’s PDR, Room P1 B35, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. To make an appointment to visit the PDR, please send an email to PDR.Resource@nrc.gov or call 1–800–397–4209 or 301–415– 4737, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cayetano Santos Jr., Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001; telephone: 301–415– 7270; email: Cayetano.Santos@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background SNC, Georgia Power Company, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, MEAG Power SPVM, LLC, MEAG Power SPVJ, LLC, MEAG Power SPVP, LLC, and the City of Dalton, Georgia are the holders of facility COL Nos. NFP–91 and NPF– 92, which authorize the construction and operation of VEGP Units 3 and 4. The facilities consist of two Westinghouse Electric Company (Westinghouse) AP1000 pressurizedwater reactors located in Burke County, Georgia. The licenses are subject to the rules, regulations, and orders of the NRC. Paragraphs 52.79(a)(35) and (a)(36) of title 10 of the Code of Federal VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:55 Nov 26, 2021 Jkt 256001 Regulations (10 CFR), ‘‘Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants,’’ require a COL applicant, including for VEGP Units 3 and 4, to include in its final safety analysis report a physical security plan, a safeguards contingency plan, a training and qualifications plan, and a cyber security plan that describes how the applicant will meet the applicable security requirements of 10 CFR part 73 and how the applicant will implement these plans. Vogtle satisfied these requirements in its COL application. For applicants or licensees under 10 CFR part 52, these security plans must carry out the requirements in § 73.55, including the requirements in § 73.55(a)(4) governing physical protection at the site and the requirements in § 73.56, including the requirements in § 73.56(a)(3) governing access authorization at the site. For VEGP Units 3 and 4, SNC applied for and was issued licenses under 10 CFR part 70, ‘‘Domestic Licensing of Special Nuclear Material,’’ as part of the COLs. These Part 70 licenses authorize possession and use of special nuclear material (SNM) in the forms and for the purposes specified in the COL. As relevant to this exemption, the VEGP Units 3 and 4 COLs (1) authorize the licensee to receive and possess, but not use, SNM as reactor fuel prior to the Commission’s finding under 10 CFR 52.103(g) that the acceptance criteria in the COL are met for a particular unit, and (2) authorize the licensee to use the SNM as reactor fuel, after the Commission has made the § 52.103(g) finding for the unit. After the § 52.103(g) finding is made, the licensee may begin operation, including loading of fuel, in accordance with the conditions of the license. As required by § 70.22(k), COL applicants seeking to possess SNM of moderate strategic significance (also known as a Category II quantity of SNM) or 10 kg or more of SNM of low strategic significance (also known as a Category III quantity of SNM), as defined in § 70.4, ‘‘Definitions,’’ must have a security plan that identifies how the licensee will meet the applicable security requirements in §§ 73.67(d), (e), (f), and (g) for the protection of the SNM (e.g., unirradiated reactor fuel, intermediate range detectors, etc.). Therefore, SNC developed, and the NRC approved, a physical security plan for VEGP Units 3 and 4 that demonstrates how SNC will meet the applicable security requirements in § 73.67, ‘‘Licensee fixed site and in-transit requirements for the physical protection of special nuclear material of moderate and low strategic significance.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 67735 II. Request/Action Pursuant to 10 CFR 73.5, ‘‘Specific exemptions,’’ by letter dated November 1, 2021 (ADAMS Accession No. ML21305B797), SNC requested a schedular exemption from the requirements of §§ 73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) to allow VEGP Units 3 and 4 to implement the requirements of a physical protection program in accordance with § 73.55, and the associated personnel access authorization program requirements in accordance with § 73.56, for each unit after the Commission makes its finding under § 52.103(g) for the unit and prior to the start of that unit’s initial fuel load into the reactor. As SNC’s exemption request indicates, the requested exemption would expire when SNC implements the requirements of 10 CFR 73.55 and 73.56. As required by 10 CFR 73.55(a)(4), ‘‘holders of a combined license under the provisions of 10 CFR part 52 of this chapter, shall implement the requirements of this section before fuel is allowed onsite (protected area).’’ The 2009 Power Reactor Security Requirements Final Rule states, ‘‘Section 73.55(a)(4) establishes when an applicant’s physical protection program must be implemented. The Commission concluded that the receipt of [SNM] in the form of fuel assemblies onsite, i.e., in the licensee’s protected area, is the event that subjects a licensee to the requirements of § 73.55. It is the responsibility of the applicant/licensee to implement an effective physical protection program before SNM in the form of fuel assemblies is received in the protected area’’ (74 FR 13936, March 27, 2009). Similarly, 10 CFR 73.56(a)(3) requires, in part, that ‘‘each holder of a combined license under the provisions of part 52 of this chapter, shall implement the requirements of this section before fuel is allowed on site (protected area).’’ III. Discussion Pursuant to § 73.5, the Commission may, upon application by an interested person, or upon its own initiative, grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 73, ‘‘Physical Protection of Plants and Materials,’’ as it determines (1) are authorized by law, (2) will not endanger life or property or the common defense and security, and (3) are otherwise in the public interest. A. The Exemption Is Authorized by Law A proposed exemption under 10 CFR 73.5 is authorized by law if it will not endanger life or property or the common defense and security and is otherwise in E:\FR\FM\29NON1.SGM 29NON1 67736 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 226 / Monday, November 29, 2021 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES the public interest, and no other provisions in law prohibit, or otherwise restrict, its application. The NRC has reviewed the exemption request and finds that granting the proposed exemption will not result in a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or other laws. As discussed below, the NRC also finds that the other requirements for an exemption under 10 CFR 73.5 are met. Accordingly, the NRC finds that the exemption is authorized by law. B. The Exemption Will Not Endanger Life or Property or the Common Defense and Security The schedular exemption from the requirements of §§ 73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) would allow SNC to continue construction activities without having to implement the physical security and access authorization requirements in §§ 73.55 and 73.56, respectively, until prior to each unit’s initial fuel load into the reactor. SNC stated that the exemption does not alter the design, function, or operation of any structure or plant equipment that is necessary to maintain a safe and secure status of the plant. Further, the exemption does not alter or otherwise invalidate any Physical Security Hardware-related Inspections, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria (ITAAC) closure notifications, which would have been submitted to, and accepted by, the NRC staff in advance of the § 52.103(g) finding that the acceptance criteria of the ITAAC in the COL are met. In its letter dated November 1, 2021, SNC stated, in part, that during the period between the § 52.103(g) finding and the implementation of the physical protection program and access authorization program, SNM will continue to be stored inside the controlled access area and protected in accordance with the requirements of SNC’s NRC-approved § 73.67 special nuclear material physical protection program (SNMPPP). Prior to moving fuel outside the controlled access area (i.e., from the auxiliary building to containment in support of fuel load), the § 73.55 physical protection program and § 73.56 access authorization program will have to be implemented, as the SNMPPP can no longer be used for physical protection. Thus, SNC stated that the exemption has no impact on the licensee’s capabilities to protect the unirradiated reactor fuel and intermediate range detectors already on site. And as SNC recognizes, it must implement the requirements of § 73.55 and § 73.56 before moving fuel outside the controlled access area. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:55 Nov 26, 2021 Jkt 256001 As required by 10 CFR 73.55(b)(1) and 10 CFR 73.56(c), applicants for an operating license under the provisions of 10 CFR part 50, and each holder of a COL under the provisions of 10 CFR part 52, shall (1) establish and maintain a physical protection program which will have as its objective to provide high assurance that activities involving SNM are not inimical to the common defense and security and do not constitute an unreasonable risk to the public health and safety and (2) have an access authorization program which provides high assurance that specified individuals are trustworthy and reliable, such that they do not constitute an unreasonable risk to public health and safety or the common defense and security, including the potential to commit radiological sabotage. The NRC has established a regulatory framework that protects SNM in a manner commensurate with the risk associated with the material. The security requirements in § 73.67 consider the risk significance of the material being protected. Unirradiated reactor fuel brought onsite at nuclear power reactors typically constitutes a Category III quantity of SNM. Because of its low enrichment, unirradiated reactor fuel poses no significant risk to public health and safety and protecting it in accordance with § 73.67 would not be inimical to the common defense and security. The NRC has determined that it is appropriate to protect unirradiated reactor fuel and other non-fuel SNM brought onsite at an NRC-licensed commercial nuclear power reactor in accordance with § 73.67 until that material is protected in accordance with § 73.55. Therefore, requiring SNC to implement the requirements of §§ 73.55 and 73.56 to protect unirradiated reactor fuel and other non-fuel SNM that is already being protected in accordance with the requirements of § 73.67 is unnecessary. Unirradiated reactor fuel (or other SNM) that is onsite after the 10 CFR 52.103(g) finding and prior to initial fuel load into the reactor is adequately protected by licensee implementation of the requirements in § 73.67, including the creation of a controlled access area. The security risk only increases once the material is irradiated or if the physical protection requirements are relaxed from that required by § 73.67. Therefore, applying § 73.55 and § 73.56 security requirements to the protection of unirradiated reactor fuel and intermediate range detectors stored onsite prior to initial fuel load into the reactor is unnecessary. SNC’s proposal to protect unirradiated reactor fuel and intermediate range detectors under its PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 NRC-approved § 73.67 SNMPPP after the Commission makes its finding under § 52.103(g) and prior to the start of each unit’s initial fuel load into the reactor would ensure that the SNM currently onsite is adequately protected. Accordingly, the NRC finds that the exemption will not endanger life or property or the common defense and security. C. The Exemption Is Otherwise in the Public Interest In a letter dated November 1, 2021, SNC stated, in part, that the public has an interest in the efficient execution of regulatory activities and that implementing a physical protection program and an access authorization program after the § 52.103(g) finding and before initial fuel load into the reactor, allows construction activities to continue without the burden of adhering to the requirements of §§ 73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3). Additionally, as stated in § 73.55(b)(1), the objective of § 73.55 is to provide high assurance that activities involving SNM are not inimical to the common defense and security and do not constitute an unreasonable risk to the public health and safety. Per § 73.55(b)(3), the physical protection program is designed to prevent significant core damage and spent fuel sabotage. SNC stated that without irradiated fuel there can be no significant core damage or spent fuel sabotage, thereby not constituting an unreasonable risk to the public health and safety. Additionally, the NRC issued a Part 70 license for SNC to receive fuel, and SNC has an NRCapproved SNMPPP to protect the SNM already onsite, where it is stored in a controlled access area. Furthermore, the NRC staff reviewed SNC’s SNMPPP and concluded that the plan satisfies the requirements specified in § 73.67. Therefore, SNC indicated that requiring the premature implementation of labor and other resources associated with §§ 73.55 and 73.56 before the § 52.103(g) finding represents a costly and unnecessary burden. Furthermore, the letter stated that granting the exemption would have a beneficial impact on construction of VEGP Units 3 and 4 by allowing personnel to continue to efficiently perform construction activities between the § 52.103(g) finding and the initial fuel load milestone. As previously stated, the NRC has established a regulatory framework that protects SNM in a manner commensurate with the risk associated with the material. The security requirements in § 73.67 consider the E:\FR\FM\29NON1.SGM 29NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 226 / Monday, November 29, 2021 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES risk significance of the material being protected. Unirradiated reactor fuel brought onsite at nuclear power reactors typically constitutes a Category III quantity of SNM. Because of its low enrichment, unirradiated reactor fuel poses no significant risk to public health and safety and protecting it in accordance with § 73.67 would not be inimical to the common defense and security. The NRC has determined that it is appropriate to protect unirradiated reactor fuel and other non-fuel SNM brought onsite at an NRC-licensed commercial nuclear power reactor in accordance with § 73.67. Therefore, requiring SNC to implement the requirements of §§ 73.55 and 73.56 to protect unirradiated reactor fuel and other non-fuel SNM that is already being adequately protected in accordance with the requirements of § 73.67 is an unnecessary burden on SNC. Based on the above, the NRC finds that the exemption is otherwise in the public interest. D. Environmental Considerations As further discussed, the NRC has determined that granting this exemption from the requirements of §§ 73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) meets the criteria for a categorical exclusion in 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25) because (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 exemption is from scheduling requirements. The granting of this exemption involves no significant hazards consideration (as defined by 10 CFR 50.92(c)) because: • The exemption does not alter the design, function, or operation of any plant equipment; therefore, granting the exemption would not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated. • The exemption does not alter the design, function, or operation of any plant equipment or create any new failure mechanisms, malfunctions, or accident initiators. Therefore, granting the exemption would not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:55 Nov 26, 2021 Jkt 256001 • The exemption does not adversely affect any structure, system, or component (SSC), SSC design function, or method of performing or controlling a design function. The exemption does not affect safety-related equipment or fission product barriers. No safety analysis or design basis acceptance limit or criterion is challenged or exceeded by the exemption. Therefore, granting the exemption would not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety. The requested exemption does not alter the design, function, or operation of any plant equipment, and there are no changes to effluent types, plant radiological or non-radiological effluent release quantities, any effluent release path, or the functionality of any design or operational feature credited with controlling the release of effluents during plant operation or construction. Therefore, the proposed exemption does not involve a significant change in the types or significant increase in the amounts of any effluents that may be released offsite. There are no changes to plant radiation zones, nor any change to controls required under 10 CFR part 20 that preclude a significant increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation exposure. Therefore, the proposed exemption does not involve a significant increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation exposure. The requested exemption does not alter the materials or methods for constructing or testing of any SSCs, and there is no change to the design or construction of the facility as a result of this exemption. Therefore, the proposed exemption does not involve a significant construction impact. Finally, the NRC determined, per § 51.22(c)(25)(vi)(G), that the requirements from which the exemption is sought involve scheduling requirements because 10 CFR 73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) govern when the requirements of 10 CFR 73.55 and 73.56 must be implemented. Accordingly, the exemption meets the eligibility criteria for categorical exclusion set forth in § 51.22(c)(25). Therefore, in accordance with § 51.22(b), no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need be prepared in connection with granting the requested exemption. IV. Granting of Exemption For the reasons stated in this notice, the Commission is granting the following exemption for VEGP Units 3 and 4 because it has determined, pursuant to § 73.5, that the exemption is PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 67737 authorized by law, will not endanger life or property or the common defense and security, and is otherwise in the public interest: • Effective immediately, the Commission hereby grants SNC an exemption for VEGP Unit 3 from the schedule requirements of §§ 73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) to allow SNC to implement the physical protection requirements in accordance with § 73.55, and the personnel access authorization requirements in accordance with § 73.56, after the Commission makes its finding under § 52.103(g) for Unit 3 and prior to the start of Unit 3’s initial fuel load into the reactor. The exemption for VEGP Unit 3 expires when SNC implements the requirements of 10 CFR 73.55 and 10 CFR 73.56 for VEGP Unit 3, which must occur before initial fuel load for VEGP Unit 3. • Effective immediately, the Commission hereby grants SNC an exemption for VEGP Unit 4 from the schedule requirements of §§ 73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) to allow SNC to implement the physical protection requirements in accordance with § 73.55, and the personnel access authorization requirements in accordance with § 73.56, after the Commission makes its finding under § 52.103(g) for Unit 4 and prior to the start of Unit 4’s initial fuel load into the reactor. The exemption for VEGP Unit 4 expires when SNC implements the requirements of 10 CFR 73.55 and 10 CFR 73.56 for VEGP Unit 4, which must occur before initial fuel load for VEGP Unit 4. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Dated: November 23, 2021. Gregory T. Bowman, Director, Vogtle Project Office, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2021–25952 Filed 11–26–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–608; NRC–2021–0140] SHINE Medical Technologies, LLC; SHINE Medical Isotope Production Facility Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact; issuance. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an environmental assessment (EA) and SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29NON1.SGM 29NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 226 (Monday, November 29, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67734-67737]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-25952]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 52-025 and 52-026; NRC-2008-0252]


Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., Vogtle Electric 
Generating Plant Units 3 and 4

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Exemption; issuance.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, the Commission) 
is issuing an exemption from the Commission's regulations in response 
to a November 1, 2021, request from Southern Nuclear Operating Company, 
Inc. (SNC), as applicable to Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (VEGP) 
Units 3 and 4. Specifically, SNC requested a scheduler exemption from 
NRC regulations that require a holder of a combined license (COL) to 
implement certain physical protection and personnel access 
authorization requirements for a power reactor before fuel is allowed 
onsite (in the protected area). This exemption allows SNC to implement 
these requirements for each unit after the Commission finds that the 
acceptance criteria in the COL are met for the unit and prior to that 
unit's initial fuel load into the reactor.

DATES: The exemption was issued on November 23, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2008-0252 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:

[[Page 67735]]

     Federal Rulemaking website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2008-0252. 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. The request for the 
exemption was submitted by letter dated November 1, 2021, and is 
available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML21305B797.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents, by appointment, at the NRC's PDR, Room P1 B35, One White 
Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. To make 
an appointment to visit the PDR, please send an email to 
[email protected] or call 1-800-397-4209 or 301-415-4737, between 
8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cayetano Santos Jr., Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-7270; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    SNC, Georgia Power Company, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, MEAG 
Power SPVM, LLC, MEAG Power SPVJ, LLC, MEAG Power SPVP, LLC, and the 
City of Dalton, Georgia are the holders of facility COL Nos. NFP-91 and 
NPF-92, which authorize the construction and operation of VEGP Units 3 
and 4. The facilities consist of two Westinghouse Electric Company 
(Westinghouse) AP1000 pressurized-water reactors located in Burke 
County, Georgia. The licenses are subject to the rules, regulations, 
and orders of the NRC.
    Paragraphs 52.79(a)(35) and (a)(36) of title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ``Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals 
for Nuclear Power Plants,'' require a COL applicant, including for VEGP 
Units 3 and 4, to include in its final safety analysis report a 
physical security plan, a safeguards contingency plan, a training and 
qualifications plan, and a cyber security plan that describes how the 
applicant will meet the applicable security requirements of 10 CFR part 
73 and how the applicant will implement these plans. Vogtle satisfied 
these requirements in its COL application. For applicants or licensees 
under 10 CFR part 52, these security plans must carry out the 
requirements in Sec.  73.55, including the requirements in Sec.  
73.55(a)(4) governing physical protection at the site and the 
requirements in Sec.  73.56, including the requirements in Sec.  
73.56(a)(3) governing access authorization at the site.
    For VEGP Units 3 and 4, SNC applied for and was issued licenses 
under 10 CFR part 70, ``Domestic Licensing of Special Nuclear 
Material,'' as part of the COLs. These Part 70 licenses authorize 
possession and use of special nuclear material (SNM) in the forms and 
for the purposes specified in the COL. As relevant to this exemption, 
the VEGP Units 3 and 4 COLs (1) authorize the licensee to receive and 
possess, but not use, SNM as reactor fuel prior to the Commission's 
finding under 10 CFR 52.103(g) that the acceptance criteria in the COL 
are met for a particular unit, and (2) authorize the licensee to use 
the SNM as reactor fuel, after the Commission has made the Sec.  
52.103(g) finding for the unit. After the Sec.  52.103(g) finding is 
made, the licensee may begin operation, including loading of fuel, in 
accordance with the conditions of the license.
    As required by Sec.  70.22(k), COL applicants seeking to possess 
SNM of moderate strategic significance (also known as a Category II 
quantity of SNM) or 10 kg or more of SNM of low strategic significance 
(also known as a Category III quantity of SNM), as defined in Sec.  
70.4, ``Definitions,'' must have a security plan that identifies how 
the licensee will meet the applicable security requirements in 
Sec. Sec.  73.67(d), (e), (f), and (g) for the protection of the SNM 
(e.g., unirradiated reactor fuel, intermediate range detectors, etc.). 
Therefore, SNC developed, and the NRC approved, a physical security 
plan for VEGP Units 3 and 4 that demonstrates how SNC will meet the 
applicable security requirements in Sec.  73.67, ``Licensee fixed site 
and in-transit requirements for the physical protection of special 
nuclear material of moderate and low strategic significance.''

II. Request/Action

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 73.5, ``Specific exemptions,'' by letter dated 
November 1, 2021 (ADAMS Accession No. ML21305B797), SNC requested a 
schedular exemption from the requirements of Sec. Sec.  73.55(a)(4) and 
73.56(a)(3) to allow VEGP Units 3 and 4 to implement the requirements 
of a physical protection program in accordance with Sec.  73.55, and 
the associated personnel access authorization program requirements in 
accordance with Sec.  73.56, for each unit after the Commission makes 
its finding under Sec.  52.103(g) for the unit and prior to the start 
of that unit's initial fuel load into the reactor. As SNC's exemption 
request indicates, the requested exemption would expire when SNC 
implements the requirements of 10 CFR 73.55 and 73.56.
    As required by 10 CFR 73.55(a)(4), ``holders of a combined license 
under the provisions of 10 CFR part 52 of this chapter, shall implement 
the requirements of this section before fuel is allowed onsite 
(protected area).'' The 2009 Power Reactor Security Requirements Final 
Rule states, ``Section 73.55(a)(4) establishes when an applicant's 
physical protection program must be implemented. The Commission 
concluded that the receipt of [SNM] in the form of fuel assemblies 
onsite, i.e., in the licensee's protected area, is the event that 
subjects a licensee to the requirements of Sec.  73.55. It is the 
responsibility of the applicant/licensee to implement an effective 
physical protection program before SNM in the form of fuel assemblies 
is received in the protected area'' (74 FR 13936, March 27, 2009). 
Similarly, 10 CFR 73.56(a)(3) requires, in part, that ``each holder of 
a combined license under the provisions of part 52 of this chapter, 
shall implement the requirements of this section before fuel is allowed 
on site (protected area).''

III. Discussion

    Pursuant to Sec.  73.5, the Commission may, upon application by an 
interested person, or upon its own initiative, grant exemptions from 
the requirements of 10 CFR part 73, ``Physical Protection of Plants and 
Materials,'' as it determines (1) are authorized by law, (2) will not 
endanger life or property or the common defense and security, and (3) 
are otherwise in the public interest.

A. The Exemption Is Authorized by Law

    A proposed exemption under 10 CFR 73.5 is authorized by law if it 
will not endanger life or property or the common defense and security 
and is otherwise in

[[Page 67736]]

the public interest, and no other provisions in law prohibit, or 
otherwise restrict, its application. The NRC has reviewed the exemption 
request and finds that granting the proposed exemption will not result 
in a violation of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, or other 
laws. As discussed below, the NRC also finds that the other 
requirements for an exemption under 10 CFR 73.5 are met. Accordingly, 
the NRC finds that the exemption is authorized by law.

B. The Exemption Will Not Endanger Life or Property or the Common 
Defense and Security

    The schedular exemption from the requirements of Sec. Sec.  
73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) would allow SNC to continue construction 
activities without having to implement the physical security and access 
authorization requirements in Sec. Sec.  73.55 and 73.56, respectively, 
until prior to each unit's initial fuel load into the reactor. SNC 
stated that the exemption does not alter the design, function, or 
operation of any structure or plant equipment that is necessary to 
maintain a safe and secure status of the plant. Further, the exemption 
does not alter or otherwise invalidate any Physical Security Hardware-
related Inspections, Tests, Analyses, and Acceptance Criteria (ITAAC) 
closure notifications, which would have been submitted to, and accepted 
by, the NRC staff in advance of the Sec.  52.103(g) finding that the 
acceptance criteria of the ITAAC in the COL are met.
    In its letter dated November 1, 2021, SNC stated, in part, that 
during the period between the Sec.  52.103(g) finding and the 
implementation of the physical protection program and access 
authorization program, SNM will continue to be stored inside the 
controlled access area and protected in accordance with the 
requirements of SNC's NRC-approved Sec.  73.67 special nuclear material 
physical protection program (SNMPPP). Prior to moving fuel outside the 
controlled access area (i.e., from the auxiliary building to 
containment in support of fuel load), the Sec.  73.55 physical 
protection program and Sec.  73.56 access authorization program will 
have to be implemented, as the SNMPPP can no longer be used for 
physical protection. Thus, SNC stated that the exemption has no impact 
on the licensee's capabilities to protect the unirradiated reactor fuel 
and intermediate range detectors already on site. And as SNC 
recognizes, it must implement the requirements of Sec.  73.55 and Sec.  
73.56 before moving fuel outside the controlled access area.
    As required by 10 CFR 73.55(b)(1) and 10 CFR 73.56(c), applicants 
for an operating license under the provisions of 10 CFR part 50, and 
each holder of a COL under the provisions of 10 CFR part 52, shall (1) 
establish and maintain a physical protection program which will have as 
its objective to provide high assurance that activities involving SNM 
are not inimical to the common defense and security and do not 
constitute an unreasonable risk to the public health and safety and (2) 
have an access authorization program which provides high assurance that 
specified individuals are trustworthy and reliable, such that they do 
not constitute an unreasonable risk to public health and safety or the 
common defense and security, including the potential to commit 
radiological sabotage.
    The NRC has established a regulatory framework that protects SNM in 
a manner commensurate with the risk associated with the material. The 
security requirements in Sec.  73.67 consider the risk significance of 
the material being protected. Unirradiated reactor fuel brought onsite 
at nuclear power reactors typically constitutes a Category III quantity 
of SNM. Because of its low enrichment, unirradiated reactor fuel poses 
no significant risk to public health and safety and protecting it in 
accordance with Sec.  73.67 would not be inimical to the common defense 
and security. The NRC has determined that it is appropriate to protect 
unirradiated reactor fuel and other non-fuel SNM brought onsite at an 
NRC-licensed commercial nuclear power reactor in accordance with Sec.  
73.67 until that material is protected in accordance with Sec.  73.55. 
Therefore, requiring SNC to implement the requirements of Sec. Sec.  
73.55 and 73.56 to protect unirradiated reactor fuel and other non-fuel 
SNM that is already being protected in accordance with the requirements 
of Sec.  73.67 is unnecessary.
    Unirradiated reactor fuel (or other SNM) that is onsite after the 
10 CFR 52.103(g) finding and prior to initial fuel load into the 
reactor is adequately protected by licensee implementation of the 
requirements in Sec.  73.67, including the creation of a controlled 
access area. The security risk only increases once the material is 
irradiated or if the physical protection requirements are relaxed from 
that required by Sec.  73.67. Therefore, applying Sec.  73.55 and Sec.  
73.56 security requirements to the protection of unirradiated reactor 
fuel and intermediate range detectors stored onsite prior to initial 
fuel load into the reactor is unnecessary. SNC's proposal to protect 
unirradiated reactor fuel and intermediate range detectors under its 
NRC-approved Sec.  73.67 SNMPPP after the Commission makes its finding 
under Sec.  52.103(g) and prior to the start of each unit's initial 
fuel load into the reactor would ensure that the SNM currently onsite 
is adequately protected.
    Accordingly, the NRC finds that the exemption will not endanger 
life or property or the common defense and security.

C. The Exemption Is Otherwise in the Public Interest

    In a letter dated November 1, 2021, SNC stated, in part, that the 
public has an interest in the efficient execution of regulatory 
activities and that implementing a physical protection program and an 
access authorization program after the Sec.  52.103(g) finding and 
before initial fuel load into the reactor, allows construction 
activities to continue without the burden of adhering to the 
requirements of Sec. Sec.  73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3). Additionally, 
as stated in Sec.  73.55(b)(1), the objective of Sec.  73.55 is to 
provide high assurance that activities involving SNM are not inimical 
to the common defense and security and do not constitute an 
unreasonable risk to the public health and safety. Per Sec.  
73.55(b)(3), the physical protection program is designed to prevent 
significant core damage and spent fuel sabotage. SNC stated that 
without irradiated fuel there can be no significant core damage or 
spent fuel sabotage, thereby not constituting an unreasonable risk to 
the public health and safety. Additionally, the NRC issued a Part 70 
license for SNC to receive fuel, and SNC has an NRC-approved SNMPPP to 
protect the SNM already onsite, where it is stored in a controlled 
access area. Furthermore, the NRC staff reviewed SNC's SNMPPP and 
concluded that the plan satisfies the requirements specified in Sec.  
73.67. Therefore, SNC indicated that requiring the premature 
implementation of labor and other resources associated with Sec. Sec.  
73.55 and 73.56 before the Sec.  52.103(g) finding represents a costly 
and unnecessary burden. Furthermore, the letter stated that granting 
the exemption would have a beneficial impact on construction of VEGP 
Units 3 and 4 by allowing personnel to continue to efficiently perform 
construction activities between the Sec.  52.103(g) finding and the 
initial fuel load milestone.
    As previously stated, the NRC has established a regulatory 
framework that protects SNM in a manner commensurate with the risk 
associated with the material. The security requirements in Sec.  73.67 
consider the

[[Page 67737]]

risk significance of the material being protected. Unirradiated reactor 
fuel brought onsite at nuclear power reactors typically constitutes a 
Category III quantity of SNM. Because of its low enrichment, 
unirradiated reactor fuel poses no significant risk to public health 
and safety and protecting it in accordance with Sec.  73.67 would not 
be inimical to the common defense and security. The NRC has determined 
that it is appropriate to protect unirradiated reactor fuel and other 
non-fuel SNM brought onsite at an NRC-licensed commercial nuclear power 
reactor in accordance with Sec.  73.67. Therefore, requiring SNC to 
implement the requirements of Sec. Sec.  73.55 and 73.56 to protect 
unirradiated reactor fuel and other non-fuel SNM that is already being 
adequately protected in accordance with the requirements of Sec.  73.67 
is an unnecessary burden on SNC.
    Based on the above, the NRC finds that the exemption is otherwise 
in the public interest.

D. Environmental Considerations

    As further discussed, the NRC has determined that granting this 
exemption from the requirements of Sec. Sec.  73.55(a)(4) and 
73.56(a)(3) meets the criteria for a categorical exclusion in 10 CFR 
51.22(c)(25) because (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 
exemption is from scheduling requirements.
    The granting of this exemption involves no significant hazards 
consideration (as defined by 10 CFR 50.92(c)) because:
     The exemption does not alter the design, function, or 
operation of any plant equipment; therefore, granting the exemption 
would not involve a significant increase in the probability or 
consequences of an accident previously evaluated.
     The exemption does not alter the design, function, or 
operation of any plant equipment or create any new failure mechanisms, 
malfunctions, or accident initiators. Therefore, granting the exemption 
would not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident 
from any accident previously evaluated.
     The exemption does not adversely affect any structure, 
system, or component (SSC), SSC design function, or method of 
performing or controlling a design function. The exemption does not 
affect safety-related equipment or fission product barriers. No safety 
analysis or design basis acceptance limit or criterion is challenged or 
exceeded by the exemption. Therefore, granting the exemption would not 
involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.
    The requested exemption does not alter the design, function, or 
operation of any plant equipment, and there are no changes to effluent 
types, plant radiological or non-radiological effluent release 
quantities, any effluent release path, or the functionality of any 
design or operational feature credited with controlling the release of 
effluents during plant operation or construction. Therefore, the 
proposed exemption does not involve a significant change in the types 
or significant increase in the amounts of any effluents that may be 
released offsite.
    There are no changes to plant radiation zones, nor any change to 
controls required under 10 CFR part 20 that preclude a significant 
increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation 
exposure. Therefore, the proposed exemption does not involve a 
significant increase in individual or cumulative public or occupational 
radiation exposure.
    The requested exemption does not alter the materials or methods for 
constructing or testing of any SSCs, and there is no change to the 
design or construction of the facility as a result of this exemption. 
Therefore, the proposed exemption does not involve a significant 
construction impact.
    Finally, the NRC determined, per Sec.  51.22(c)(25)(vi)(G), that 
the requirements from which the exemption is sought involve scheduling 
requirements because 10 CFR 73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) govern when the 
requirements of 10 CFR 73.55 and 73.56 must be implemented.
    Accordingly, the exemption meets the eligibility criteria for 
categorical exclusion set forth in Sec.  51.22(c)(25). Therefore, in 
accordance with Sec.  51.22(b), no environmental impact statement or 
environmental assessment need be prepared in connection with granting 
the requested exemption.

IV. Granting of Exemption

    For the reasons stated in this notice, the Commission is granting 
the following exemption for VEGP Units 3 and 4 because it has 
determined, pursuant to Sec.  73.5, that the exemption is authorized by 
law, will not endanger life or property or the common defense and 
security, and is otherwise in the public interest:
     Effective immediately, the Commission hereby grants SNC an 
exemption for VEGP Unit 3 from the schedule requirements of Sec. Sec.  
73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) to allow SNC to implement the physical 
protection requirements in accordance with Sec.  73.55, and the 
personnel access authorization requirements in accordance with Sec.  
73.56, after the Commission makes its finding under Sec.  52.103(g) for 
Unit 3 and prior to the start of Unit 3's initial fuel load into the 
reactor. The exemption for VEGP Unit 3 expires when SNC implements the 
requirements of 10 CFR 73.55 and 10 CFR 73.56 for VEGP Unit 3, which 
must occur before initial fuel load for VEGP Unit 3.
     Effective immediately, the Commission hereby grants SNC an 
exemption for VEGP Unit 4 from the schedule requirements of Sec. Sec.  
73.55(a)(4) and 73.56(a)(3) to allow SNC to implement the physical 
protection requirements in accordance with Sec.  73.55, and the 
personnel access authorization requirements in accordance with Sec.  
73.56, after the Commission makes its finding under Sec.  52.103(g) for 
Unit 4 and prior to the start of Unit 4's initial fuel load into the 
reactor. The exemption for VEGP Unit 4 expires when SNC implements the 
requirements of 10 CFR 73.55 and 10 CFR 73.56 for VEGP Unit 4, which 
must occur before initial fuel load for VEGP Unit 4.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
    Dated: November 23, 2021.
Gregory T. Bowman,
Director, Vogtle Project Office, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2021-25952 Filed 11-26-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P