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Notice

Acceptance of Application for Special Nuclear Materials License From Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Opportunity To Request a Hearing, and Petition for Leave To Intervene, and Commission Order Imposing Procedures for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information for Contention Preparation

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ACTION:

Acceptance of a license application; opportunity to request a hearing and to petition for leave to intervene, and order.

DATES:

Requests for a hearing and petitions for leave to intervene must be filed by December 10, 2012. Any potential party as defined in section 2.4 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) who believes access to sensitive unclassified non-safeguards information (SUNSI) is necessary to respond to this notice must request document access by October 19, 2012.

ADDRESSES:

Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2012-0224 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may access information related to this document, which the NRC possesses and are publicly-available, using any of the following methods:

  • Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2012-0224. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
  • NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may access publicly-available documents online in the NRC Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then 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 pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced in this notice (if that document is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is referenced. The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) application is available electronically under ADAMS Accession Number ML110610468. Supplemental Information is also available under ADAMS Accession Numbers ML12192A612 and ML121920731. The May 3, 2011, acceptance letter from NRC's staff may be found under ADAMS Accession Number ML111180242.
  • NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Marilyn Diaz, Project Manager, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-492-3172, email: Marilyn.Diaz@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) has accepted, for detailed technical review, a March 2, 2011, application for a new license for the possession and use of special nuclear material (SNM) for assaying spent nuclear fuel for fissile material inventory as part of their research program at the RPI. The applicant requested the new license for a term of 10 years. The license application (LA), if approved, would authorize the RPI to possess and use special nuclear material under 10 CFR part 70, “Domestic Licensing of Special Nuclear Material.”

II. Discussion

The RPI requested a license to possess and use SNM as part of their research program to conduct tests for the purpose of demonstrating methods to assay spent nuclear fuel for fissile material inventory using a lead slowing down spectrometer. The original application was submitted on March 2, 2011. By letter dated May 3, 2011, the NRC staff informed the applicant that the staff found the LA acceptable to begin a detailed technical review. The NRC staff requested the applicant to provide additional information essential to conducting a detailed technical review. The applicant submitted additional information in letters dated June 30, 2011, September 30, 2011, and a revised LA, dated March 27, 2012. The application has been docketed in Docket No. 70-7025.

If the NRC approves the LA, the basis for approval will be documented in a Safety Evaluation Report (SER) supporting the issuance of a new NRC License. The SER would contain the findings required by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), and the NRC's regulations, for issuing an SNM license. The SER would also include a determination of the need to complete an Environmental Assessment based on the proposed action.

III. Opportunity To Request a Hearing and Leave To Intervene

Requirements for submitting hearing requests and petitions for leave to intervene are found in 10 CFR 2.309, “Hearing Requests, Petitions to Intervene, Requirements for Standing, and Contentions.” Interested persons should consult 10 CFR 2.309, which is available at the NRC's PDR, located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Room O1-F21, Rockville, Maryland 20852 (or call the PDR at 1-800-397-4209 or 301-415-4737). The NRC regulations are accessible electronically from the NRC Library on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/.

Pursuant to 10 CFR 2.309(a), any person whose interest may be affected by this proceeding, and who wishes to participate as a party in the proceeding must file a written request for hearing and petition for leave to intervene. As required by 10 CFR 2.309, a petition for leave to intervene shall set forth with particularity the interest of the petitioner in the proceeding and how that interest may be affected by the results of the proceeding. Pursuant to 10 CFR 2.309(d), the petition must provide the name, address, and telephone number of the petitioner; and explain the reasons why intervention should be permitted with particular reference to: (1) The nature of the petitioner's right under the Act to be made a party to the proceeding; (2) the nature and extent of the petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding; and (3) the possible effect of any decision or order that may be entered in the proceeding on the petitioner's interest.

A request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene must also identify specific contentions that the petitioner seeks to have litigated in the proceeding. As required by 10 CFR 2.309(f), for each contention, the petitioner must provide a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted, as well as a brief explanation of the basis for the contention. The petitioner also must demonstrate that the issue raised by each contention is within the scope of the proceeding, and is material to the findings that NRC must make to support the granting of a license in response to the application. In addition, the petition must also include a concise statement of the alleged facts or expert opinions which support the position of the petitioner, and on which the petitioner intends to rely at the hearing—together with references to the specific sources and documents on which the petitioner intends to rely. Finally, the petition must provide sufficient information to show that a genuine dispute exists with the applicant on a material issue of law or fact, including references to specific portions of the LA that the petitioner disputes and the supporting reasons for each dispute; or, if the petitioner believes that the LA fails to contain information on a relevant matter as required by law, the identification of each failure, and the supporting reasons for the petitioner's belief. Each contention must be one that, if proven, would entitle the petitioner to relief. A petitioner who fails to satisfy these requirements with respect to at least one contention will not be permitted to participate as a party.

Those permitted to intervene become parties to the proceeding, subject to any limitations in the order granting leave to intervene, and have the opportunity to participate fully in the conduct of the hearing with respect to resolution of that person's admitted contentions, including the opportunity to present evidence and to submit a cross-examination plan for cross-examination of witnesses, consistent with NRC's regulations, policies, and procedures. The Licensing Board will set the time and place for any pre-hearing conferences and evidentiary hearings, and the appropriate notices will be provided.

Petitions for leave to intervene and requests for hearing, and motions for leave to file new or amended contentions that are filed after the deadline in 10 CFR 2.309(b) will not be entertained absent a determination by the presiding officer that the filing demonstrates good cause by satisfying the following three factors in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1): (i) The information upon which the filing is based was not previously available; (ii) the information upon which the filing is based is materially different from information previously available; and (iii) the filing has been submitted in a timely fashion based on the availability of the subsequent information.

A State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian tribe, or agency thereof may submit a petition to the Commission to participate as a party under 10 CFR 2.309(h)(1) and (2). The petition should state the nature and extent of the petitioner's interest in the proceeding. The petition should be submitted to the Commission by December 10, 2012. The petition must be filed in accordance with the filing instructions in section IV of this document, and should meet the requirements for petitions for leave to intervene set forth in this section, except that under 2.309(h)(2) State and Federally-recognized Indian tribes do not need to address the standing requirements in 10 CFR 2.309(d) if the facility is located within its boundaries. A State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian tribe, or agency thereof may also have the opportunity to participate under 10 CFR 2.315(c).

If a hearing is granted, any person who does not wish to become a party to the proceeding may, in the discretion of the presiding officer, be permitted to make a limited appearance pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.315(a), by making an oral or written statement of his or her position on the issues at any session of the hearing or at any pre-hearing conference, within the limits and conditions fixed by the presiding officer. However, that person may not otherwise participate in the proceeding.

IV. Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)

All documents filed in the NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with the NRC's E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve all adjudicatory documents over the Internet, or in some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in accordance with the procedures described below.

To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 10 days prior to the filing deadline, the petitioner/requestor should contact the Office of the Secretary by Email at hearing.docket@nrc.gov, or by telephone at 301-415-1677, to request: (1) A digital identification (ID) certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or representative) to digitally sign documents and access the E-Submittal server for any proceeding in which it is participating; and (2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a request or petition for hearing (even in instances in which the petitioner/requestor, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based on this information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding, if the Secretary has not already established an electronic docket.

Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/apply-certificates.html. System requirements for accessing the E-Submittal server are detailed in the NRC's “Guidance for Electronic Submission,” which is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants may attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but should note that the NRC's E-Filing system does not support unlisted software, and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer assistance in using unlisted software.

If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the document using the NRC's online, Web-based submission form. In order to serve documents through the Electronic Information Exchange System, users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC's Web site. Further information on the Web-based submission form, including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.

Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant can then submit a request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the documents are submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access to the document to the NRC's Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request/petition to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the document via the E-Filing system.

A person filing electronically using the NRC's adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC Meta System Help Desk through the “Contact Us” link located on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by email to MSHD.Resource@nrc.gov, or by a toll-free call to 1-866-672-7640. The NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.

Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a document in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the provider of the service. A presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists.

Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in the NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at http://ehd1.nrc.gov/ehd/, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the Commission, or the presiding officer. Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, or home phone numbers in their filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of such information. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submission.

Order Imposing Procedures for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information for Contention Preparation

A. This Order contains instructions regarding how potential parties to this proceeding may request access to documents containing Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information (SUNSI).

B. Within 10 days after publication of this notice of acceptance and opportunity to request a hearing, any potential party who believes access to SUNSI is necessary to respond to this Notice may request such access. A “potential party” is any person who intends to participate as a party by demonstrating standing and filing an admissible contention under 10 CFR 2.309. Requests for access to SUNSI submitted later than 10 days after publication will not be considered, absent a showing of good cause for the late filing addressing why the request could not have been filed earlier.

C. The requester shall submit a letter requesting permission to access SUNSI to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff; and provide a copy to the Associate General Counsel for Hearings, Enforcement and Administration, Office of the General Counsel, Washington, DC 20555-0001. The expedited delivery or courier mail address for both offices is: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. The email addresses for the Office of the Secretary and the Office of the General Counsel are Hearing.Docket@nrc.gov and OGCmailcenter@nrc.gov, respectively.[1] The request must include the following information:

(1) A description of the licensing action with a citation to this Federal Register notice;

(2) The name and address of the potential party and a description of the potential party's particularized interest that could be harmed by the action identified in C.(1); and

(3) The identity of the individual or entity requesting access to SUNSI and the requestor's basis for the need for the information in order to meaningfully participate in this adjudicatory proceeding. In particular, the request must explain why publicly available versions of the information requested would not be sufficient to provide the basis and specificity for a proffered contention.

D. Based on an evaluation of the information submitted under paragraph C.(3), the NRC staff will determine within 10 days of receipt of the request whether:

(1) There is a reasonable basis to believe the petitioner is likely to establish standing to participate in this NRC proceeding, and

(2) The requestor has established a legitimate need for access to SUNSI.

E. If the NRC staff determines that the requestor satisfies both D.(1) and D.(2) above, the NRC staff will notify the requestor in writing that access to SUNSI has been granted. The written notification will contain instructions on how the requestor may obtain copies of the requested documents, and any other conditions that may apply to access to those documents. These conditions may include, but are not limited to, the signing of a Non-Disclosure Agreement or Affidavit, or Protective Order [2] setting forth terms and conditions to prevent the unauthorized or inadvertent disclosure of SUNSI by each individual who will be granted access to SUNSI.

F. Filing of Contentions. Any contentions in these proceedings that are based upon the information received as a result of the request made for SUNSI must be filed by the requestor no later than 25 days after the requestor is granted access to that information. However, if more than 25 days remain between the date the petitioner is granted access to the information and the deadline for filing all other contentions (as established in the Notice of Hearing or Opportunity for Hearing), the petitioner may file its SUNSI contentions by that later deadline.

G. Review of Denials of Access.

(1) If the request for access to SUNSI is denied by the NRC's staff, either after a determination on standing and need for access or after a determination on trustworthiness and reliability, the NRC's staff shall immediately notify the requestor in writing, briefly stating the reason(s) for the denial.

(2) The requester may challenge the NRC staff's adverse determination by filing a challenge within 5 days of receipt of that determination with: (a) The presiding officer designated in this proceeding; (b) if no presiding officer has been appointed, the Chief Administrative Judge, or if he or she is unavailable, another administrative judge, or an administrative law judge with jurisdiction pursuant to 10 CFR 2.318(a); or (c) if another officer has been designated to rule on information access issues, with that officer.

H. Review of Grants of Access. A party other than the requester may challenge an NRC staff's determination granting access to SUNSI whose release would harm that party's interest independent of the proceeding. Such a challenge must be filed with the Chief Administrative Judge within 5 days of the notification by the NRC staff of its grant of access.

If challenges to the NRC staff's determinations are filed, these procedures give way to the normal process for litigating disputes concerning access to information. The availability of interlocutory review by the Commission of orders ruling on such NRC staff's determinations (whether granting or denying access) is governed by 10 CFR 2.311.[3]

I. The Commission expects that the NRC staff and presiding officers (and any other reviewing officers) will consider and resolve requests for access to SUNSI, and motions for Protective Orders, in a timely fashion to minimize unnecessary delays in identifying those petitioners who have standing and who have propounded contentions meeting the specificity and basis requirements in 10 CFR part 2. Attachment 1 to this Order summarizes the general target schedule for processing and resolving requests under these procedures.

It is so ordered.

Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of October, 2012.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Annette L. Vietti-Cook,

Secretary of the Commission.

Attachment 1—General Target Schedule for Processing and Resolving Requests for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information in This Proceeding

DayEvent/activity
0Publication of Federal Register Notice of acceptance of application and opportunity to request a hearing, including order with instructions for access requests.
10Deadline for submitting requests for access to sensitive unclassified non-safeguards information (SUNSI) with information: supporting the standing of a potential party identified by name and address; describing the need for the information for the potential party to participate meaningfully in an adjudicatory proceeding.
60Deadline for submitting petition for intervention containing: (i) demonstration of standing; and (ii) all contentions whose formulation does not require access to SUNSI (+25 Answers to petition for intervention; +7 petitioner/requestor reply).
25If NRC's staff finds no “need” or no likelihood of standing, the deadline for petitioner/requester to file a motion seeking a ruling to reverse the NRC staff's denial of access; NRC's staff files copy of access determination with the presiding officer (or Chief Administrative Judge or other designated officer, as appropriate). If NRC's staff finds “need” for SUNSI, the deadline for any party to the proceeding whose interest independent of the proceeding would be harmed by the release of the information to file a motion seeking a ruling to reverse the NRC staff's grant of access.
30Deadline for NRC staff reply to motions to reverse NRC staff determination(s).
40(Receipt +30) If NRC staff finds standing and need for SUNSI, deadline for NRC staff to complete information processing and file motion for Protective Order and draft Non-Disclosure Affidavit. Deadline for applicant/licensee to file Non-Disclosure Agreement for SUNSI.
AIf access granted: Issuance of presiding officer or other designated officer decision on motion for Protective Order for access to sensitive information (including schedule for providing access and submission of contentions) or decision reversing a final adverse determination by the NRC staff.
A + 28Deadline for submission of contentions whose development depends upon access to SUNSI. However, if more than 25 days remain between the petitioner's receipt of (or access to) the information and the deadline for filing all other contentions (as established in the notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing), the petitioner may file its SUNSI contentions by that later deadline.
A + 60(Answer receipt +7) Petitioner/Intervener reply to answers.
>A + 60Decision on contention admission.

Footnotes

1.  While a request for Hearing or Petition to Intervene in this proceeding must comply with the filing requirements of the NRC's “E-Filing Rule,” the initial request to access SUNSI under these procedures should be submitted as described in this paragraph.

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2.  Any motion for Protective Order or draft Non-Disclosure Affidavit or Agreement for SUNSI must be filed with the presiding officer or the Chief Administrative Judge, if the presiding officer has not yet been designated, within 30 days of the deadline for the receipt of the written access request.

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3.  Requesters should note that the filing requirements of the NRC's E-Filing Rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007) apply to appeals of NRC staff's determinations (because they must be served on a presiding officer or the Commission, as applicable), but not to the initial SUNSI request submitted to the NRC staff under these procedures.

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[FR Doc. 2012-24788 Filed 10-5-12; 8:45 am]

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