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Decommissioning Trust Provisions; Correction

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:

Final rule; correcting amendments.

SUMMARY:

This document contains a correction to an amendment included with the final regulations establishing licensing criteria for the decommissioning trust provisions for nuclear power plants that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission published in the Federal Register of December 24, 2002.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

December 24, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Brian J. Richter, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, telephone (301) 415-1978; e-mail bjr@nrc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The final regulations that are the subject of this correction become effective on December 24, 2003. The final rule, published December 24, 2002 (67 FR 78332), amended parts 50 and 72 of 10 CFR Chapter 1. One of the amendments included in the final rule was to § 50.75(e). However, as a result of that amendment, paragraphs (e)(1)(ii)(A) and (e)(1)(ii)(B) would be inadvertently removed from the NRC's regulations at § 50.75(e) when the December 24, 2002, final rule becomes effective. The NRC does not intend to remove these paragraphs.

Need for Correction

As published, the final regulations erroneously omit two paragraphs of § 50.75(e) that address the requirements for an external sinking fund sufficient to fund decommissioning costs for a nuclear power facility at the time permanent termination of operations is expected. This correction restores those paragraphs to 10 CFR Part 50.

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List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 50

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Accordingly,

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PART 50—DOMESTIC LICENSING OF PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION FACILITIES

1. The authority citation for Part 50 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: Secs. 102, 103, 104, 105, 161, 182, 183, 186, 189, 68 Stat. 936, 937, 938, 948, 953, 954, 955, 956, as amended, sec. 234, 83 Stat. 444, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2132, 2133, 2134, 2135, 2201, 2232, 2233, 2236, 2239, 2282); secs. 201, as amended, 202, 206, 88 Stat. 1242, as amended, 1244, 1246 (42 U.S.C. 5841, 5842, 5846).

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Section 50.7 also issued under Pub. L. 95-601, sec. 10, 92 Stat. 2951 (42 U.S.C. 5841). Section 50.10 also issued under secs. 101, 185, 68 Stat. 955, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2131, 2235); sec. 102, Pub. L. 91-190, 83 Stat. 853 (42 U.S.C. 4332). Sections 50.13, 50.54(dd), and 50.103 also issued under sec. 108, 68 Stat. 939, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2138). Sections 50.23, 50.35, 50.55, and 50.56 also issued under sec. 185, 68 Stat. 955 (42 U.S.C. 2235). Sections 50.33a, 50.55a and Appendix Q also issued under sec. 102, Pub. L. 91-190, 83 Stat. 853 (42 U.S.C. 4332). Sections 50.34 and 50.54 also issued under sec. 204, 88 Stat. 1245 (42 U.S.C. 5844). Sections 50.58, 50.91, and 50.92 also issued under Pub. L. 97-415, 96 Stat. 2073 (42 U.S.C. 2239). Section 50.78 also issued under sec. 122, 68 Stat. 939 (42 U.S.C. 2152). Sections 50.80—50.81 also issued under sec. 184, 68 Stat. 954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2234). Appendix F also issued under sec. 187, 68 Stat. 955 (42 U.S.C. 2237).

2. In § 50.75, revise paragraph (e)(1)(ii) to read as follows:

Reporting and recordkeeping for decommissioning planning.
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(e) * * *

(1) * * *

(ii) External sinking fund. An external sinking fund is a fund established and maintained by setting funds aside periodically in an account segregated from licensee assets and outside the administrative control of the licensee and its subsidiaries or affiliates in which the total amount of funds would be sufficient to pay decommissioning costs at the time permanent termination of operations is expected. An external sinking fund may be in the form of a trust, escrow account, or Government fund, with payment by certificate of deposit, deposit of Government or other securities, or other method acceptable to the NRC. This trust, escrow account, Government fund, or other type of agreement shall be established in writing and maintained at all times in the United States with an entity that is an appropriate State or Federal government agency, or an entity whose operations in which the external linking fund is managed are regulated and examined by a Federal or State agency. A licensee that has collected funds based on a site-specific estimate under § 50.75(b)(1) of this section may take credit for projected earnings on the external sinking funds using up to a 2 percent annual real rate of return from the time of future funds' collection through the decommissioning period, provided that the site-specific estimate is based on a period of safe storage that is specifically described in the estimate. This includes the periods of safe storage, final dismantlement, and license termination. A licensee that has collected funds based on the formulas in § 50.75(c) of this section may take credit for collected earnings on the decommissioning funds using up to 2 percent annual real rate of return up to the time of permanent termination. A licensee may use a credit of greater than 2 percent if the licensee's rate-setting authority has specifically authorized a higher rate. However, licensees certifying only to the formula amounts (i.e., not a site-specific estimate) can take a pro-rata credit during the dismantlement period (i.e., recognizing both cash expenditures and earnings the first 7 years after shutdown). Actual earnings on existing funds may be used Start Printed Page 12572to calculate future fund needs. A licensee, whose rates for decommissioning costs cover only a portion of these costs, may make use of this method only for the portion of these costs that are collected in one of the manners described in this paragraph, (e)(1)(ii). This method may be used as the exclusive mechanism relied upon for providing financial assurance for decommissioning in the following circumstances:

(A) By a licensee that recovers, either directly or indirectly, the estimated total cost of decommissioning through rates established by “cost of service” or similar ratemaking regulation. Public utility districts, municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, and State and Federal agencies, including associations of any of the foregoing, that establish their own rates and are able to recover their cost of service allocable to decommissioning, are assumed to meet this condition.

(B) By a licensee whose source of revenues for its external sinking fund is a “non-bypassable charge,” the total amount of which will provide funds estimated to be needed for decommissioning pursuant to §§ 50.75(c), 50.75(f), or 50.82 of this part.

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 11th day of March, 2003.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Michael T. Lesar,

Federal Register Liaison Officer.

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[FR Doc. 03-6287 Filed 3-14-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7590-01-P