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Federal Register Extracts

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Documents & Publications

Agency: "Nuclear Regulatory Commission."

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued exemptions in response to a request from the licensee regarding certain emergency planning (EP) requirements. The exemptions eliminate the requirements to maintain an offsite radiological emergency preparedness plan and reduce the scope of onsite EP activities at the Duane Arnold Energy Center, based on the reduced risks of accidents that could result in an offsite radiological release at a decommissioning nuclear power reactor.

DATES: The exemption was issued on April 13, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2021-0066 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly available information related to this document using any of the following methods:

* Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to and search for Docket ID NRC-2021-0066. Address questions about Docket IDs in to Stacy Schumann; telephone: 301-415-0624; email: 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 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 The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in this document.

* Attention: The PDR, where you may examine and order copies of public documents, is currently closed. You may submit your request to the PDR via email at or call 1-800-397-4209 or 301-415-4737, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marlayna V. Doell, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-3178; email:

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the exemption is attached.

Dated: April 13, 2021.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Marlayna V. Doell,

Project Manager, Reactor Decommissioning Branch, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery, and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.


Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Docket No. 50-331; NextEra Energy Duane Arnold, LLC; Duane Arnold Energy Center; Exemption

I. Background

By letter dated January 18, 2019 (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML19023A196), NextEra Energy Duane Arnold, LLC (NEDA, the licensee) certified to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it planned to permanently cease power operations at the Duane Arnold Energy Enter (DAEC) in the fourth quarter of 2020. By letter dated March 2, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML20062E489), NEDA updated its timeline and certified to the NRC that it planned to permanently cease power operations at DAEC on October 30, 2020. By letter dated August 27, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML20240A067), NEDA certified to the NRC that power operations permanently ceased at DAEC on August 10, 2020, and in a letter dated October 12, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML20286A317), that the fuel was permanently removed from the DAEC reactor vessel and placed in the spent fuel pool (SFP) as of October 12, 2020. Based on the docketing of these certifications for permanent cessation of operations and permanent removal of fuel from the reactor vessel, as specified in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Section 50.82(a)(2), the 10 CFR part 50 renewed facility operating license (DPR-49) for DAEC no longer authorizes operation of the reactor or emplacement or retention of fuel in the reactor vessel. The facility is still authorized to possess and store irradiated (i.e., spent) nuclear fuel. Spent fuel is currently stored onsite at the DAEC facility in the SFP and in a dry cask independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI).

Many of the accident scenarios postulated in the updated safety analysis reports (USARs) for operating nuclear power reactors involve failures or malfunctions of systems, which could affect the fuel in the reactor core and, in the most severe postulated accidents, would involve the release of large quantities of fission products. With the permanent cessation of power operations at DAEC and permanent removal of fuel from the reactor vessel, many accidents are no longer possible. The reactor, reactor coolant system, and supporting systems are no longer in operation and have no function related to the storage of the spent fuel. Therefore, the emergency planning (EP) provisions for postulated accidents involving failure or malfunction of the reactor, reactor coolant system, or supporting systems are no longer applicable.

The EP requirements of 10 CFR 50.47, "Emergency plans," and Appendix E to 10 CFR part 50, "Emergency Planning and Preparedness for Production and Utilization Facilities," continue to apply to nuclear power reactors that have permanently ceased operation and have permanently removed all fuel from the reactor vessel. There are no explicit regulatory provisions distinguishing EP requirements for a power reactor that is permanently shut down and defueled from those for a reactor that is authorized to operate. To reduce or eliminate EP requirements that are no longer necessary due to the decommissioning status of the facility, NEDA must obtain exemptions from those EP regulations. Only then can NEDA modify the DAEC emergency plan to reflect the reduced risk associated with the permanently shutdown and defueled condition of DAEC.

II. Request/Action

By letter dated April 2, 2020, as supplemented by letter dated October 7, 2020 (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML20101M779 and ML20282A595, respectively), NEDA requested exemptions from certain EP requirements in 10 CFR part 50 for DAEC. Specifically, NEDA requested exemptions from certain planning standards in 10 CFR 50.47(b) regarding onsite and offsite radiological emergency preparedness plans for nuclear power reactors; from certain requirements in 10 CFR 50.47(c)(2) that require establishment of plume exposure and ingestion pathway EP zones for nuclear power reactors; and from certain requirements in 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E, Section IV, which establish the elements that comprise the content of emergency plans. In the letter dated October 7, 2020, NEDA provided supplemental information and responses to the NRC staff's requests for additional information concerning the proposed exemptions.

The information provided by the licensee included justifications for each exemption requested. The exemptions requested by NEDA would eliminate the requirements to maintain formal offsite radiological emergency preparedness plans reviewed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the requirements of 44 CFR, "Emergency Management and Assistance," Part 350, "Review and Approval of State and Local Radiological Emergency Plans and Preparedness," and would reduce the scope of onsite EP activities at DAEC. The licensee stated that the application of all the standards and requirements in 10 CFR 50.47(b), 10 CFR 50.47(c), and 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E, are not needed for adequate emergency response capability, based on the substantially lower onsite and offsite radiological consequences of accidents still possible at the permanently shutdown and defueled facility, as compared to an operating facility. If offsite protective actions were needed for a highly unlikely beyond-design-basis accident that could challenge the safe storage of spent fuel at DAEC, provisions exist for offsite agencies to take protective actions using a comprehensive emergency management plan (CEMP) under the National Preparedness System to protect the health and safety of the public. A CEMP in this context, also referred to as an emergency operations plan, is addressed in FEMA's Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101, "Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans," which is publicly available at Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101 is the foundation for State, territorial, Tribal, and local EP in the United States. It promotes a common understanding of the fundamentals of risk-informed planning and decision-making and helps planners at all levels of government in their efforts to develop and maintain viable, all-hazards, all-threats emergency plans. An emergency operations plan is flexible enough for use in all emergencies. It describes how people and property will be protected; details who is responsible for carrying out specific actions; identifies the personnel, equipment, facilities, supplies and other resources available; and outlines how all actions will be coordinated. A CEMP is often referred to as a synonym for "all-hazards planning."

III. Discussion

In accordance with 10 CFR 50.12, "Specific exemptions," the Commission may, upon application by any interested person or upon its own initiative, grant exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 when: (1) The exemptions are authorized by law, will not present an undue risk to public health and safety, and are consistent with the common defense and security; and (2) any of the special circumstances listed in 10 CFR 50.12(a)(2) are present. These special circumstances include, among other things, that the application of the regulation in the particular circumstances would not serve the underlying purpose of the rule or is not necessary to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule.

--This is a summary of a Federal Register article originally published on the page number listed below--

Exemption; issuance.

Citation: "86 FR 20209"

Document Number: "Docket No. 50-331; NRC-2021-0066"

Federal Register Page Number: "20209"



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