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Rule

Increase in the Primary Nuclear Liability Insurance Premium

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is amending its regulations that govern financial protection requirements and indemnity agreements to increase the primary nuclear liability insurance layer from $300 million to $375 million for liability insurance coverage in the event of nuclear incidents at licensed, operating, commercial nuclear power plants with a rated capacity of 100,000 kW or more.

DATES:

Effective Date: May 3, 2010.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Anneliese Simmons, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, telephone 301-415-2791, e-mail Anneliese.Simmons@nrc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The NRC regulations at 10 CFR part 140, “Financial Protection Requirements and Indemnity Agreements,” provide requirements and procedures for implementing the financial protection requirements for certain licensees and other persons under section 170 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954, as amended. Section 140.11(a)(4) specifies the amount of financial protection required of a licensee for a nuclear reactor that is licensed to operate, is designed for the production of electrical energy, and has a rated capacity of 100,000 kW or more. This amount is currently $300 million and will increase to $375 million, based on an adjustment by American Nuclear Insurers (ANI), which currently writes all nuclear liability policies. On a periodic basis, ANI assesses current insurance levels to insure that adequate financial protection is available, and adjusts insurance levels as required. This adjustment is required by the Price-Anderson Amendments Act of 1988.

To implement this adjustment, the Commission is revising 10 CFR 140.11(a)(4), effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, to require large nuclear power plant licensees to maintain $375 million in primary financial protection. Because this adjustment by the Commission is essentially ministerial in nature, the Commission finds that there is good cause for omitting notice and public comment (in the form of a proposed rule) on this action as unnecessary, under the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 (5 U.S.C. 553b).

Voluntary Consensus Standards

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, Public Law 104-113, requires agencies to use technical standards developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies unless the use of such standards is inconsistent with applicable law or is otherwise impractical. The NRC is amending its regulations to increase the primary premium for liability insurance coverage in the event of nuclear incidents at licensed, operating, commercial nuclear power plants with a rated capacity of 100,000 kW or more. This action does not constitute the establishment of a standard that contains generally applicable requirements.Start Printed Page 16646

Environmental Impact: Categorical Exclusion

The NRC has determined that this final rule is the type of action described in categorical exclusion 10 CFR 51.22(c)(1). Therefore, neither an environmental impact statement nor an environmental assessment has been prepared for this final rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

This final rule does not contain a new or an amended information collection requirement subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Existing requirements were approved by the Office of Management and Budget, approval number 3150-0039.

Public Protection Notification

If a means used to impose an information collection does not display a currently valid OMB control number, the NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, the information collection.

Regulatory Analysis

Because this increase is required by statute, no other alternatives were considered. See also the discussion in the Regulatory Flexibility Certification for this rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Certification

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), the Commission certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This final rule affects only the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants. The companies that own these plants do not fall within the scope of the definition of “small entities” set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the size standards established by the NRC (10 CFR 2.810).

Backfit Analysis

The NRC has determined that the backfit rule does not apply to this final rule. A backfit analysis is not required for this final rule because this amendment is mandated by the Price-Anderson Amendments Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-408).

Congressional Review Act

Under the Congressional Review Act of 1996, the NRC has determined that this action is not a major rule and has verified this determination with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB.

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List of Subjects in 10 CFR Part 140

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For the reasons set out in the preamble and under the authority of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended; the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, as amended; and

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PART 140—FINANCIAL PROTECTION REQUIREMENTS AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENTS

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1. The authority citation for Part 140 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: (42 U.S.C. 2201, 2210); secs. 161, 170, 68 Stat. 948, 71 Stat. 576, as amended; (42 U.S.C. 2201, 2210); secs. 201, as amended, 202, 88 Stat. 1242, as amended, 1244 (42 U.S.C. 5841, 5842); Sec. 1704, 112 Stat. 2750 (44 U.S.C. 3504 note); Pub. L 109-58.

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2. In § 140.11, paragraph (a)(4) is revised to read as follows:

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Amounts of financial protection for certain reactors.

(a) * * *

(4) In an amount equal to the sum of $375,000,000 and the amount available as secondary financial protection (in the form of private liability insurance available under an industry retrospective rating plan providing for deferred premium charges equal to the pro rata share of the aggregate public liability claims and costs, excluding costs payment of which is not authorized by Section 170o.(1)(D), in excess of that covered by primary financial protection) for each nuclear reactor which is licensed to operate and which is designed for the production of electrical energy and has a rated capacity of 100,000 electrical kilowatts or more: Provided, however, that under such a plan for deferred premium charges for each nuclear reactor which is licensed to operate, no more than $111,900,000 with respect to any nuclear incident (plus any surcharge assessed under Subsection 170o.(1)(E) of the Act) and no more than $17,500,000 per incident within one calendar year shall be charged. Except that, where a person is authorized to operate a combination of 2 or more nuclear reactors located at a single site, each of which has a rated capacity of 100,000 or more electrical kilowatts but not more than 300,000 electrical kilowatts with a combined rated capacity of not more than 1,300,000 electrical kilowatts, each such combination of reactors shall be considered to be a single nuclear reactor for the sole purpose of assessing the applicable financial protection required under this section.

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 4th day of March 2010.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

R.W. Borchardt,

Executive Director for Operations.

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[FR Doc. 2010-7394 Filed 4-1-10; 8:45 am]

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