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8 July 2011

Request to Shut Earthquake Zone Nuclear Plants

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 131 (Friday, July 8, 2011)]
[Page 40406]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2011-17163]




Receipt of Request for Action

    Notice is hereby given that by petition dated March 12, 2011, 
Thomas Saporito (petitioner) has requested that the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC) take action to order shutdown of all ``nuclear power 
reactors in the USA [United States of America] which are known to be 
located on or near an earthquake fault-line.''
    As the basis for this request, the petitioner states that following 
an 8.9 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, in Fukushima, Japan, one 
or more nuclear power reactors there sustained significant damage which 
resulted in the release of radioactive particles into the environment, 
and that the Japanese authorities ordered a ``General Emergency 
Evacuation,'' but many Japanese citizens were not able to timely leave 
the affected area and were subject to radioactive contamination at this 
time. The petitioner further stated that many of NRC's licensees 
operate nuclear power reactors on or near earthquake fault lines and 
could, therefore, be subject to significant earthquake damage and loss-
of-coolant accidents similar to that experienced by those in Japan for 
which an on-going state of emergency continued to unfold.
    The request is being treated pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations Section 2.206 of the Commission's regulations. The 
request has been referred to the Director of the Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation (NRR). As provided by Section 2.206, appropriate 
action will be taken on this petition within a reasonable time. The NRR 
Petition Review Board (PRB) held two recorded teleconferences on April 
14 and May 25, 2011, with the petitioner, during which the petitioner 
supplemented and clarified the petition. The results of those 
discussions were considered in the PRB's determination regarding the 
petitioner's request for immediate action and in establishing the 
schedule for the review of the petition. As a result, the PRB 
acknowledged the petitioner's concern about the impact of a Fukushima-
type earthquake and tsunami on U.S. nuclear plants, noting that this 
concern is consistent with the NRC's mission of protecting public 
health and safety. Currently, the NRC's monitoring of the events that 
unfolded at Fukushima has resulted in the Commission establishing a 
senior-level task force to conduct a methodical and systematic review 
to evaluate currently available technical and operational information 
from the Fukushima events. This will allow the NRC to determine whether 
it should take certain near-term operational or regulatory actions 
potentially affecting all 104 operating reactors in the United States. 
In as much as this task force charge encompasses the petitioner's 
request, which has been interpreted by the PRB to be a determination if 
additional regulatory action is needed to protect public health and 
safety in the event of earthquake damage and loss-of-coolant accidents 
similar to those experienced by the nuclear power reactors in Japan 
resulting in dire consequences, the NRC is accepting the petition in 
part, and as described in this paragraph.
    A copy of the petition, and the transcripts of the April 14 and May 
25, 2011, teleconferences are available for inspection at the 
Commission's Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White Flint 
North, Public File Area O1 F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), 
Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available documents created or received 
at the NRC are accessible electronically through the Agencywide 
Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) in the NRC Library at Persons who do not have 
access to ADAMS or who encounter problems in accessing the documents 
located in ADAMS should contact the NRC PDR Reference staff by 
telephone at 1-800-397-4209 or 301-415-4737, or by e-mail to

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 28th day of June, 2011.
Eric J. Leeds,
Director, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2011-17163 Filed 7-7-11; 8:45 am]