10 June 2011
Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facilities
[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 112 (Friday, June 10, 2011)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-14540]
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
10 CFR Part 50
Draft Regulatory Basis for a Potential Rulemaking on Spent
Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facilities
AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
ACTION: Proposed rule; public meeting and request for comments.
SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission)
plans to conduct a two-day public meeting in Augusta, Georgia, to
solicit input on issues associated with the development of a draft
regulatory basis document for a potential rulemaking on spent nuclear
fuel reprocessing facilities.
DATES: The public meeting will be held on June 21 and 22, 2011, from 9
a.m. to 5 p.m. See ADDRESSES section for public meeting location.
Submit comments on the issues and questions presented in this document
and discussed at the meeting by July 7, 2011. Comments received after
this date will be considered if it is practical to do so.
ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn
Augusta, 1065 Stevens Creek Road, Augusta, GA 30907; telephone: 706-
739-9990. Please include Docket ID NRC-2010-0267 in the subject line of
your comments. Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will
be posted on the NRC Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site,
http://www.regulations.gov. Because your comments will not be edited to
remove any identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you
against including any information in your submission that you do not
want to be publicly disclosed.
The NRC requests that any party soliciting or aggregating comments
received from other persons for submission to the NRC inform those
persons that the NRC will not edit their
comments to remove any identifying or contact information, and
therefore, they should not include any information in their comments
that they do not want publicly disclosed. You may submit comments by
any one of the following methods:
Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and
search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-2010-0267. Address
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-3668;
Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attn: Rulemakings and
E-mail comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do
not receive a reply e-mail confirming that we have received your
comments, contact us directly at 301-415-1677.
Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville,
Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. Federal workdays.
Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission at 301-415-1101.
You can access publicly available documents related to this
document using the following methods:
NRC's Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine
and have copied, for a fee, publicly available documents at the NRC's
PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike,
Rockville, Maryland 20852.
NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System
(ADAMS): Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC
are available online in the NRC Library at
From this page, the public can gain entry into ADAMS, which provides
text and image files of the NRC's public documents. If you do not have
access to ADAMS or if there are problems in accessing the documents
located in ADAMS, contact the NRC's PDR reference staff at 1-800-397-4209,
301-415-4737, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Public comments and
supporting materials related to this proposed rule can be found at
http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID NRC-2010-0267.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Raj Iyengar, Office of Nuclear
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-492-3174; e-mail:
Raj.email@example.com or John Sulima, Office of Nuclear Material Safety
and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC
20555-0001; telephone: 301-492-3180; e-mail: John.Sulima@nrc.gov.
The Commission directed the NRC staff, in a staff requirements
memorandum, SRM-SECY-07-0081 (ML071800084 [*at Cryptome]), to perform a
gap analysis to identify what changes in regulatory requirements
would be necessary to license a reprocessing facility. The staff was
also directed to provide a technical basis document with recommended
options on a path forward and an associated rulemaking plan, if appropriate,
for licensing facilities associated with reprocessing of spent nuclear
fuel. The staff provided the Commission with information on the
regulatory structure for spent fuel reprocessing (SECY-08-0134,
ML082110363[*]) and an update on the reprocessing regulatory framework
(SECY-09-0082, ML091520280[*] and ML091520365[*]). In May 2010, the staff
provided, in a memorandum to the Commission, an annual update on
reprocessing activities and stated that it anticipated that it could
complete the draft regulatory basis (formerly referred to as
``technical basis'') by September 2011.
The NRC has the authority under the Atomic Energy Act to license
commercial spent fuel reprocessing facilities. Currently, Title 10 of
the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 50, ``Domestic Licensing
of Production and Utilization Facilities,'' provides the licensing
framework for production and utilization facilities. Although a
reprocessing facility is one type of production facility, its
industrial processes are more akin to fuel cycle processes. This
framework was established in the 1970's to license the first U.S.
reprocessing facilities. The policy decision by the Carter
Administration to cease reprocessing initiatives was based, in part, on
the proliferation risks posed by the early reprocessing technology.
While that policy was reversed during the Reagan Administration, until
recently there was no commercial interest in reprocessing and, hence,
no need to update the existing reprocessing regulatory framework in 10
CFR part 50.
Although commercial reprocessing interest waned, the Department of
Energy (DOE) continued to pursue reprocessing technology development
through the National Laboratories. The DOE has sought to decrease
proliferation risk and spent fuel high-level waste through developing
more sophisticated reprocessing technologies.
During the Bush Administration, the Global Nuclear Energy
Partnership (GNEP) renewed interest in commercial reprocessing. The
GNEP sought to expand the use of civilian nuclear power globally and
close the nuclear fuel cycle through reprocessing spent fuel and
deploying fast reactors to burn long-lived actinides. In response to
these initiatives, the Commission directed the staff to complete an
analysis of 10 CFR part 50 to identify regulatory gaps for licensing an
advanced reprocessing facility.
In mid-2008, two nuclear industry companies informed the NRC of
their intent to seek a license for a reprocessing facility in the U.S.
An additional company expressed its support for updating the regulatory
framework for reprocessing, but stopped short of stating its intent to
seek a license for such a facility. At the time, the NRC staff also
noted that progress on some GNEP initiatives had waned and it appeared
appropriate to shift the focus of the NRC staff's efforts from specific
GNEP-facility regulations to a more broadly applicable framework for
commercial reprocessing facilities.
In SECY-08-0134, the staff discussed the shift in its approach to
developing the regulatory framework for commercial reprocessing
facilities. The staff noted that it would defer additional work on
regulatory framework development efforts for advanced recycling
reactors and focus on the framework revisions necessary to license a
commercial reprocessing facility. As a result of this shift, an
additional review of the initial gap analysis was warranted.
The NRC staff further refined the regulatory gap analysis by
focusing on commercial reprocessing and recycling using existing
reactor technology. The staff summarized this analysis in SECY-09-0082.
The staff's gap analysis identified 14 ``high'' priority gaps that must
be resolved to establish an effective and efficient regulatory
framework. The NRC staff's regulatory gap analysis considered several
documents in its analysis, including: NUREG-1909, a white paper
authored by the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste and Materials,
titled ``Background, Status and Issues Related to the Regulation of
Advanced Spent Nuclear Fuel Recycle Facilities,'' issued June 2008;
correspondence from the Union of Concerned Scientists titled,
``Revising the Rules for Materials Protection, Control and
Accounting;'' and a Nuclear Energy Institute white
paper titled, ``Regulatory Framework for an NRC Licensed Recycling
Building on the gap analysis, efforts are currently underway to
develop a regulatory basis (formerly known as ``technical basis'') to
pursue rulemaking that would enable the effective licensing and
regulation of reprocessing facilities. The status of the regulatory
basis development and estimated schedule for completing the
reprocessing regulatory framework development are summarized in the May
14, 2010, memorandum to the Commission (ADAMS ML101110444[* Zipped]).
Stakeholder perspectives have provided significant input into the
development process through the two public workshops which occurred on
September 8, 2010, in Rockville, Maryland, and on October 19, 2010, in
Albuquerque, New Mexico. The NRC staff considered the stakeholders'
feedback in the development of the regulatory framework. The proposed
workshop in Augusta, Georgia is intended to further enhance the
development of the regulatory framework and to continue the pursuit of
an open and transparent regulatory process.
The NRC develops a foundation for a rulemaking before beginning the
process to develop the rule. An adequate regulatory basis forms the
foundation for a rule. The regulatory basis provides the justification
for rulemaking as the appropriate path forward, describes the
technical, legal, or policy information that supports the direction and
content of the rulemaking, and provides a basis for informed decisions
to be made as the rulemaking process continues. A regulatory basis may
include background information and a listing of documents that
supported or addressed the current regulation or policy, or that
support staff positions in the regulatory basis.
The NRC staff is using the gaps and their resolution as the
framework for the regulatory basis for a potential rulemaking for
licensing a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing facility. The NRC staff is
in the process of completing an initial draft of the regulatory basis.
To facilitate stakeholder involvement and obtain comments on the NRC's
approach and rationale for resolving the regulatory gaps, the staff is
compiling summaries of the initial draft text for each gap. The gap
summaries, as appropriate, will include questions where the NRC staff
is seeking input that will assist in completing the draft regulatory
basis. During any potential rulemaking, the NRC staff will consider the
need for and the development of associated guidance. Thus, the NRC
staff is compiling a list of potentially pertinent guidance documents.
The summary documents for the gaps and a listing of potentially
pertinent guidance documents will be made available at
http://www.regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2010-0267 no later than
15 days prior to the meeting on June 21-22, 2011.
The agenda for the public meeting will be noticed ten (10) days
prior to the meeting on the NRC's public meeting schedule Web site at
refer to the Section II of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for
additional information on the issues proposed for discussion at the
public workshops. Members of the public may provide feedback at the
transcribed public meeting or may submit comments on the issues
discussed in this document by any method provided in the ADDRESSES
The NRC plans to consider these stakeholder views in the
development of the draft regulatory basis. During the June 21-22, 2011,
public meeting, the NRC staff will invite representatives of interested
stakeholders, in a ``roundtable'' format, to provide input, comments,
and perspectives on the issues being considered in the development of
the draft regulatory basis for a potential rulemaking on spent nuclear
fuel reprocessing facilities. In order to have a manageable discussion,
the number of participants around the table will be limited. The NRC
will attempt to ensure broad participation by the spectrum of interests
affected by the potential rulemaking, including citizen and
environmental groups, nuclear industry interests, State, and local
governments, and experts from academia and other Federal agencies.
Other members of the public are welcome to attend and participate.
Those not seated at the tables, including individual members of the
public, will have the opportunity to provide feedback on each of the
issues slated for discussion by the roundtable participants. Questions
about participation in the roundtable discussion may be directed to the
points of contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
II. Issues for Discussion
During the public meeting, the NRC plans to solicit stakeholder
comments and feedback during separate discussion sessions, which will
broadly cover four main areas of the regulatory basis for licensing
commercial reprocessing facilities: (1) Regulatory framework, (2) waste
management and environmental considerations, (3) safety, risk, and
licensing considerations, and (4) security considerations and materials
control and accounting. Each area includes the gaps related to that
In the summary documents posted at http://www.regulations.gov,
specific questions related to the gaps will be included. These
questions will shape the public meeting discussion and the feedback
obtained will be considered in the resolution of the gaps.
As part of the potential rulemaking, the NRC staff will consider
the need for and development of associated guidance. The listing of
potentially pertinent guidance documents will be made available prior
to the meeting on June 21-22, 2011, at http://www.regulations.gov under
Docket ID NRC-2010-0267. This list will include standard review plans
that may be applicable to the potential rulemaking.
Furthermore, in developing options for a potential rulemaking the
NRC staff seeks information on what timeline should be considered for
rulemaking. Is there a point when it becomes critical for this
rulemaking to become effective?
Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 6th day of June, 2011.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Chief, Engineering Branch, Technical Review Directorate, Division of
High Level Waste Repository Safety, Office of Nuclear Material Safety
[FR Doc. 2011-14540 Filed 6-9-11; 8:45 am]
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